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ClearChoiceMD plans to open urgent care clinic at Belknap Mall

BELMONT — ClearChoiceMD has filed an application with the town's Planning Department to open a urgent care facility in the Belknap Mall.

The independent health care provider proposes to employ two full-time practitioners and five support staff members. If the application for a site plan is approved, the new agency said it will use a state-of-the-art X-ray technology called Image Wisely/Image Gently that measures the dose according to patient size and age.

According to its application, ClearChoiceMD chose the Belknap Mall because of its location in a commercial corridor that provides a convenient location and abundant parking for area residents in need of urgent care.

ClearChoiceMD is a New Hampshire-based physician-owned and operated urgent car organization that was founded by Dr. Marcus Hampers who is on the clinical staff in the emergency department of the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

The company hopes to open facilities in New Hampshire and Vermont. A ClearChoiceMD facility opened in Berlin last week and one is slated to open soon in St. Albans, Vt.

ClearChoiceMD President Michael Porembski said if they get approval at the July 28 Planning Board meeting, they hope to open in Belmont in late August or early September.

He said New Hampshire requires a license submission around 60 days before construction is complete but because it is defined as a physician's practice, the company is exempt from the requirements of a state-issued certificate of need.

Porembski said they typical patient walks in and out of a ClearChoiceMD facility for less than $200. He said the maximum cost to a self-paying customers is $250. He also said the agency accepts Medicaid and will be negotiate individual reimbursement rates for the various insurers within the state.

"We are open to everybody," he said.

When asked about people who come to the facility who need immediate emergency care, Porembski said it would be like any other doctor's office — an ambulance would be called.

"It happens all the time," he said. "A patient complains of indigestion but they are having a cardiac emergency. They go to the emergency room."

But, said Porembski, 90-percent of the people who arrive at a doctor's office drove themselves there and 90 percent of those people can drive themselves to the hospital should their needs be beyond those of ClearChoiceMD or any other non-hospital affiliated office.

The application said the according to studies, unnecessary ER visits waste $14 billion annually and delay critical care to those who need it. The company also said that a recent study in rural New York showed 44 percent of emergency room visits could have been handled in a physician's office and 70 percent of the emergency room visits from people with employee-sponsored health insurance were unnecessary.

He said the company has reached out to LRGHealthcare, operators of Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia, about some co-operation with electronic medical records and similar things but said the reception so far has been "lukewarm."

"We gave them some options but as of now they haven't chosen any of them," he said.

A LRGHealthcare spokeswoman said they were aware the application was forthcoming and would be preparing a statement.

LRGHealthcare currently operates a walk-in care clinic called Convenience Care at the Laconia hospital. The clinic is open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 June 2014 12:26

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Need an alligator seat for that chopper?

LACONIA — Known as "The Seat Doctor", Mike Miller has restored and replaced motorcycle seats for the past 25 years, using the hides of a handful of exotic animals.

Miller, who works out of Newark, Delaware and Melbourne, Florida when he is not on the road, said his family was among the first to settle in the Sunshire State, when it was swampy wilderness. His grandfather began hunting alligators and selling hides around 1900 and his father owns and operates a tannery.

Miller said that he began with riding saddles and leather products, but soon specialized in motorcycle seats. He offers seats covered with the hides of alligator, crocodile, ostrich elephant, shark and stingray, stressing that all his materials are acquired in compliance with the "Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora," known for short at "CITES."

The alligator comes from Florida, crocodile from Columbia, elephant and ostrich from South Africa and shark and stingray from the Gulf of Mexico. He said he uses both the belly and back of alligators and crocodiles, along with the back, belly, ears and trunk of elephants. Prices for the exotic seats begin at $1,000. Apart from the exotics, Miller also fashions seats from medical gel, molded and fitted to the shape, size and weight of individual motorcyclists. When working at rallies, Miller finishes a seat in two or three hours and returns seats from his workshop within 48 hours.

"I get to all the major rallies — Daytona, Sturgis, Johnstown — all of them," Miller said, adding that the 91st running of Laconia Motorcycle Week is his 14th rally, most of which he has spent at the same spot at the top of the hill behind the Weirs Beach Lobster Pound. "This is one of my favorite places," he said.


CAPTION: Mike Miller, who has fashioned motorcycle seats from the hides of exotic animals at the lat 14 rallies, stands alongside a rack of alligator skins at his stand at the Weirs Beach Lobster Pound. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)

Last Updated on Friday, 20 June 2014 01:37

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Rib Whisperer adds Lone Star personality to Motorcycle Week

LACONIA — The History Channel chose Motorcycle Week as one of five stops for its "cross county cookout, featuring the "Ultimate Smoker & Grill," to promote its programming by offering barbecue, games and prizes."We brought this fine weather with us," drawled Trace Arnold, known as "The Rib Whisperer" because wherever he goes everywhere and shares his barbecue someone can be heard asking a friend "have you tried the ribs?"

"We brought this fine weather with us (from Texas)," Arnold said. "They told me it rained up here and to bring my slicker and boots. I knew if I brought 'em I wouldn't need 'em, so I brought 'em."

Arnold said he had cooked for 30 years, but conceived of what became the "Ultimate Smoker and Grill" while working on a dude ranch in Justin, Texas in 1997. He built a large smoker and five years later, enlarged and improved, it took to the road. The trailer carrying the smoker and grill is 55-feet long and with the tractor makes an 80-foot-long rig. Arnold said that the smoker and grill can cook up to a ton of meat at one time, which amounts to 1,000 hot dogs, 500 hamburgers or 200 16-ounce rib-eye steaks. "It'll feed a whole bunch of people," he said, describing his team of five as "very efficient.".

Brandishing a tray of warm jalapeno peppers stuffed with pulled pork and wrapped in bacon, Arnold said "try one. They're fat free. They're full of fat and they're free." He said that sausages from the smoker are served between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the rally.

While Arnold and his smoker are the centerpiece of the History Channel promotion, they are accompanied by a claw game for American Pickers and Gator Tag for Swamp People and a raffle for a custom chopper.

Arnold said he was enjoying his spell in Laconia and exclaimed "the worst time is always the best we've ever had."

The Ultimate Smoker & Grill is located at the top of the Lobster Pound complex at Weirs Beach.W

CAPTION: Trace Arnold, "the Rib Whisperer," fishes a rack of ribs from the "Ultimate Smoker and Grill," centerpiece of the cross country cookout sponsored by the History Channel. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).

Last Updated on Friday, 20 June 2014 01:26

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3-time champ downs 2-pound burrito in 1:11 to win Motorcycle Week contest in downtown Laconia

LACONIA — Jon Churchill of Laconia continued his domination of the Bike Week Downtown Burrito Eating contest by devouring a two-pound burrito in just one minute and 11 seconds Thursday afternoon, outpacing his nearest competitor by 34 seconds.
It was the third straight year that Churchill has won the event and his winning times have improved each year, from 2:44 in 2012 to two minutes last year.
''It's hard when you get to a certain point. Controlling your gag reflex is the most difficult part,'' says Churchill, who works as a machine operator at New Hampshire Ball Bearing and had to punch in at 3:30 yesterday afternoon, abut 90 minutes after the eating competition, which attracted 16 contestants got underway.
The second best time of the day was a 1:45 performance by Keil Ackerson of Laconia, who was off to a good start with several good bites but slowed down at the end. He said he plans on returning next year.
Churchill, who was wearing an ''I conquered anorexia'' T-shirt and said that he weighs abut 360 pounds, was cheered on by his wife, Ioana, who works at Shaw's in Gilford, and his five-year-old daughter, Scarlett. The couple also have a five-month-old son, Nolan.
He said that in recent years he has watched the Man Vs. Food Show on the Food Channel which stars Andrew Richman, who was at last year's Bike Week doing a travel show and disappointed Burrito Eating Contest watchers who had expected that he would show up with a crew and film the competition.
Churchill was presented with a cash prize of $100 by Reuben Bassett, co-owner of Burrito Me, one four businesses located in the historic Laconia Railroad Station which sponsored the Bike Week Downtown event. Other sponsors included Prescott's Florists, Kramer and Hall Goldsmiths and Franklin Savings Bank.
A Custom Bike Show was held throughout the day at the station which drew some spectacular looking custom bikes, including a 2014 custom owned by Mike Yeo and Spartacus, an elegantly decorated 2012 owned by Christian Rivard and John Harrison.
There was also a Slow Race in which competitors tried to keep their bikes upright without using their feet to maintain its balance while staying within their designated lanes on a 40 foot course. Local competitors who tried and failed were Bob Fay, retired operator of the Lakeport Dam, and Bill Bickford, owner along with his wife, Sally, of Kitchen Cravings restaurant in Gilford.



burrito 1

Keil Ackerson of Laconia works on a two-pound burrito at a burrito eating contest held as part of Bike Week Downtown at the Laconia Railroad Station. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

burrito 2

John Churchill of Laconia won the Bike Week Downtown Burrito Eating contest for the third straight year by devouring a two-pound burrito in one minute and 11 seconds. He is shown accepting the $100 cash prize from Reuben Bassett, co-owner of Burrito Me. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

burrito 3

Competitors in the Slow Race held at the Laconia Railroad Station as part of Bike Week Downtown try and keep their cycles moving while avoiding using their feet to balance themselves and staying within their designated lanes. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

burrito 4

One of the entries in the Custom Bike Show held at the Laconia Railroad Station as part of Bike Week Downtown was a 2014 custom bike owned by Mike Yeo. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)


Last Updated on Friday, 20 June 2014 01:12

Hits: 361

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