Large number of employees outraged as county home head gets his job back

LACONIA — The Personnel Committee of the Belknap County Convention has voted unanimously to reinstate Belknap County Nursing Home Administrator Mathew Logue to the position he was fired from by the Belknap County Commissioners in late August.
The decision was announced yesterday afternoon by two of the three committee members, Rep. Colette Worsman (R-Meredith) and Rep. Robert Greemore (R-Meredith), who met yesterday at the Belknap County Complex to approve minutes of the two and a half hour non-public session held Monday night at which the decision was made and in which Rep. Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton), who was not present yesterday, also joined the unanimous vote.
The committee also voted to enter into the record a three-page copy of its decision but did not reveal its contents until asked by County Finance Director Glen Waring what the decision was as they sought to close the meeting.
Worsman then read the decision to those who were at the meeting, most of whom were nursing home or county employees, most of whom were already aware of the decision due to the circulation of a communication from Burchell earlier in the day which said that the decision had been to reinstate Logue without loss of pay.
Logue was terminated by commissioners effective September 13 and had been notified by the commissioners in a letter sent to him on August 27. He subsequently appealed the termination to the Personnel Committee, which heard testimony for nearly six hours at a hearing on Monday, October 6.
According to the committee's statement, their deliberations focused on the issues of dishonesty, neglect of duty, willful in subordination and lack of cooperation, which witnesses called for the county commissioners had testified to on Monday.
At Monday's hearing County Administrator Debra Shackett had testified that there were at least two times in which Logue was untruthful with her, in February of this year when he had told her that all of the personnel evaluations except one had been completed, and in May of this year when she inquired about developments in a situation with an employee identified only as Employee A and he had told her that it was being handled with meetings every other week.
She said that she was shocked to discover a month after Logue had told her that evaluations had been completed except for one that none had been delivered to the Human Resources Department.
Shackett also said that in August, when she talked to Employee A, whom she had questioned Logue about earlier, the employee told her that no meetings had been held regarding her situation.
Employee A testified behind closed doors at Monday's hearing.
The committee said that Logue had credibly and persuasively testified that he had delayed submitting evaluations because some were due shortly after he assumed his duties in December of 2012 and he wanted more time and in other cases he had evaluations. They also found his testimony credible in the situation with Employee A.
The committee also noted ''although the commissioners presented credible evidence that Mr. Logue neglected important duties when he failed to submit his budget, staff analysis and employee evaluations in a timely, the Personnel Committee found Mr. Logue's testimony credible and more persuasive.''
The committee also sided with Logue on charges of willful insubordination for failure to sign a disciplinary letter and said that despite evidence that he had failed to cooperate with the county administrator, the Human Resources director and Finance director on several occasions that some of the delays came as a result of his ''sincerely held beliefs regarding the proper administration of the nursing home.''
After Worsman read the letter, Waring said from his seat in the audience that the report ''was not worth the paper it was written on,'' and there was a general clamor of discontent from the audience.
''It's a circus. I've never seen anything like this in my 40 years here,'' said Deborah White of Belmont, the longest tenured employee at the Belknap County Nursing Home.

''I'm ashamed of them,'' she said of the committee members, adding ''If I were them, I wouldn't show my face in public.''
Fellow employee Carolee Sliker of Laconia, who has been at the nursing home for 16 years as dietary manager, said ''I'm appalled that after the amount of evidence brought forth on Monday that they came up with a decision like this. It's a disservice to our residents, their family members and staff to bring him back. They should not be putting the nursing home in jeopardy for political reasons.''
Sliker said that she and more than 40 other nursing home employees had signed a petition which was circulated last week asking that Logue not be reinstated. County Administrator Shackett confirmed that she had received the petition Friday and that it had 43 signatures.
Belknap County Commissioner Steve Nedeau (R-Meredith) said he was ''disgusted'' with the decision. ''Evidently they (the committee members) didn't go to the same hearing I was at Monday.''
Thea Aloise of Gilford, whose husband, Dana, is a resident at the nursing home, said that she thinks the committee had no intention of listening to what the county officials had to say at Monday's hearing. ''I think it was pre-determined before they ever started.''

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Officials shutter Laconia house apparently occupied by squatters; water & sewer had been cut off

LACONIA — After getting a complaint that an apartment house at 2 Center Street was without water and sewer service, city fire officials condemned the property after being unable to reach the owner.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson said when fire officials went to the house yesterday as many as four adults and six children were told to vacate the premises. He said none of them admitted to living there but the adults said they were staying there.
He said all will be allowed back in to retrieve their belongings.

He said to the best of his knowledge, none of them needed emergency assistance from the city although the city manager and the welfare department were notified.

Two men who didn't want to be identified said they were staying in an upstairs apartment and that there had been no water for a few days. A posting on the inside of the front door shows the Water Department shut off the water on August 29 due to non-payment. The outstanding bill is $552.35.

One of the men said he was going to get his property out of the house by asking a friend with a truck to help him.. The two left the street riding bicycles and wearing backpacks.

Laconia on-line assessing records show the two-apartment home is owned by John J. Suldenski of Northfield. The Daily Sun called a number listed to a John J. Suldenski in Northfield but it was not in service.

Erickson said the health inspection revealed that there was no running water and there was human waste was in the toilets and bathtubs.

Hallways on the first and second floor were crowded with stuff but a person could get though. The stairs on all three levels were free of clutter.

Erickson said there were working smoke detectors in the building but one of them needed a battery.

The rear part of the outside of the home was cluttered with garbage and children's toys. The lawn is unmowed and there is a dead tree that Erickson said is dangerously close to the side of the house.

This summer, the fire department condemned a multi-family home near the corner of High Street and Union Avenue because of a variety of code violations including broken windows and non-working smoke detectors.

CAPTION: (Center Street) Two of the adult residents of a house on Center Street leave their apartment yesterday afternoon after it was condemned by the fire department for not having any running water.

CAPTION 2: (Center Street) Garbage piled up in a hall way inside the a condemned home on Center Street.

WEEKEND - Knowing a little about its history adds to enjoyment of the Sandwich Fair

SANDWICH — What has become a fall Columbus Day weekend tradition, the Sandwich Fair started out as an agricultural event that local farmers hoped would turn into an annual market day where they could trade and sell their cattle. Records show that in 1886, area farmers exhibited 184 yoke of oxen at the fair.
In August of 1887 it was decided that the fair would be held on October 11th and that a band would be hired and a baby contest considered. Judges were appointed for the various categories and a prize list was announced. The fair was held as planned, with 3,000-4,000 in attendance.
During the summer of 1888 a plan for a fair in October was formulated. A committee to nominate a slate of permanent officers was appointed and J. Edwin Beede was elected president. Fancy work, curiosities and antiques, flowers and plants were again shown in the G.A.R. hall. A baby contest for the pretties, heaviest and best dressed (under the age of two) was planned. For the first time there was a printed program of events. That year the weather was miserable with snow and only a small number of people attended.
A 1893 report from the "Sandwich Reporter" states regretfully that all the prizes in the baby show which was held in Mrs. A.E.R. Beede's hall were won by Moultonboro babies. It was also reported that the traffic was heavy and that Wilfred Plummer was run over by a horse driven by Eugene Wright and suffered a fractured arm. It was estimated that 3,000 people attended the fair and very little drunkenness was reported and all of those drunk were from out of town.

At the 1894 fair, one of the unusual exhibits recorded for display was a large American Eagle and the fox; shown by Dr. J. Alonzo Greene of Roxmount Poultry Farm on Long Island. Moultonborough.
For many years the fair was held in a grove with exhibits scattered around town and that changed in 1937 when it moved to Quimby Field, its present location. By 1980 the fair was running one and a half days with a parade on Sunday and the fairgrounds open Sunday afternoon and Monday.
According to records kept by fair organizers Sunday, October 12, 1986 was a delightful sunny day, and as always the parade was much enjoyed. Monday was cloudy, but the rain held off until late afternoon. This year there was an all new midway, and the stage shows featured bluegrass and popular music from the 1950's and 60's. Poultry from local breeders were shown, but out of state poultry was still banned. Due to a poor growing season and early frosts there was a scarcity of fresh flowers at the flower show.
It was a nasty, cold Sunday in 1987, but the parade went on despite snow, sleet and mist. A new horse pulling ring and horse logging area were constructed and the old ring was used for judging dairy and beef cattle. There were less canned foods than in previous years; freezing has become more popular. David Dodson, a singer, songwriter from Maine performed on the stage.
The first three-day Fair was held on October 8, 9, and 10 1988. Good weather held for all three days. Stuart Heard led the parade on horseback, and a group of riders on antique bicycles were part of the parade also. A new cover had been put over the stage, paid for by a concert held in August. There were five stage shows, all musical. A new single horse or mule twitching area had been constructed. There were cow-pie pitching contests (using a manure fork) and wood pitching contests. Thirty-two categories of cooked (baked) food were on display, and last year's prize winning recipes were posted.
The three-day fair, which has drawn over 40,000 in recent years, gets underway at 8 a.m. Saturday with a  variety of events, including an antique auto show, demonstrations and exhibits. Sunday will see the Grand Street Parade at 1 p.m. as well as horse competitions and a woodsmen's field day.

This year's fair will see additional parking available according to Dan Peaslee, Sandwich Fair president, who says that a seven-acre plot of land just up the road from the midway on Rte. 109 was purchased last year from the Emerson Trust and provided more than two additional acres of parking last year. Two more acres have been added this year. Gillette Shows will once gain provide rides and amusements and there will be dozens of food vendors on the midway.
This year's Sandwich Fair Handbook is dedicated to Roland ''Chappy'' Kilgore, who has been the lot-man for Sandwich Fair concessions since 1975 and served with seven Sandwich Fair Association presidents.
Kilgore, a 1960 graduate of Ashland High School, served four years in the Marine Corps, and started his own concession business when he returned to Granite State. He owns Chappy's Concessions, which is located in Canaan and sponsors the Chappy's Concessions 100 Modified Racing championship at the Canaan Fair Speedway.
Kilgore has worked with countless concession owners over the last 39 years and officers and directors of the fair say that he always arrives early and leaves late and is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need of assistance.

CAPTION: pix slugged Chappy

Chappy Kilgore has been lotman for the Sandwich Fair concessions department since 1975.
(Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Cars runs up into back of paving truck on Rte. 106 in Belmont

BELMONT — A Meredith man was taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia yesterday morning after his car collided with a GMI Paving Truck.

Police said Joshua Fox was driving a 4-door compact sedan south on Rte. 106 at 6:40 a.m. when he drove into the back of the paving truck that was trying to accelerate up the hill after coming out of the GMI driveway.

The driver of the truck was uninjured.

The front end of Fox's car was heavily damaged.

Police said they don't know why Fox rear-ended the truck and are investigating the speed of both vehicle as well as the sight lines on that section of road.

If anyone witnessed the crash they are asked to call Belmont Police at 267-8350 and ask for Officer Joel Pickowicz.