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It's been an honor & a privilege. . . Love, Maggie'

LACONIA — "it's hard to leave," Maggie Rushbrook conceded yesterday, her last as head nurse at the Community Wellness Center at Normandin Square as she was showered with cards, flowers, food and gifts by those with whom she has shared the last decade.

"She is the heart beat of the Wellness Center," said Lorraine Parkhurst of Gilford. "She has worked here heart and soul. If you had come her earlier, you wouldn't have gotten in there were so many people here to say goodbye."

In 2004, when LRGHealthcare announced it could no longer sustain the center, Rushbrook, together with John Allen, a retired minister of St. James Episcopal Church, led the effort to place it on a sound financial footing and in a suitable permanent home. With the support of generous clients, individuals and businesses as well as assistance from the hospital company, they raised the funds to purchase the space on the ground floor at Normandin Square Apartments while increased memberships defrayed operating costs. Since 2006 the center has operated as a self-supporting department of LRGHealthcare.

"Together we have turned a dream into a reality," Rushbrook wrote high on a wall of the center. "The Center is an outward sign of an inward faith and determination. Thanks to all who believed!"

Rushbrook said that the center offers supervised exercise regimens designed to increase stamina and strength for individuals with a wide range of medical conditions that hinder their mobility. "We have people in their late 30s and one person 96 years old," she noted. But, just as important as the physical exercise, she stressed, is the social camaraderie. "They renew old friendships and make new ones," she remarked. "if someone is missing, they'' get a phone in the next day to make sure they're okay."

As one person after another said their goodbyes, Rushbrook said "it's a roller-coaster around here. One minute you're laughing and the next you're crying."

A message, penned on a whiteboard, read "if you love your job, you will never work another day in your life. It has been an honor and a privilege to care for and to care about you. Love, Maggie."


CAPTION: Maggie Rushbrook (center and inset) is surrounded by just some of the many men and women she has served at Community Wellness Center who paid their respects when she retired yesterday (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)








Last Updated on Saturday, 21 September 2013 02:48

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Day of Caring fosters long-term bonds between businesses & United Way agencies

LACONIA — Hundreds of volunteers fanned put across the Lakes Region and in the Plymouth and Tamworth areas Friday for the annual Day of Caring for the Granite United Way's Central region.
Now in its 18th year, the event pairs teams of volunteer workers up with area non-profit agencies for a variety of needed projects, ranging from landscaping and painting to office work and cleanup.
Sponsoring this year's Lakes Region Day of Caring, which got underway with an early morning kickoff event at Sacred Heart Parish Hall, was AFL-Noyes of Belmont.
A group of volunteers AutoServ of Tilton showed up to undertake a variety of projects at the Salvation Army's Carey House homeless shelter on Union Avenue.
''This is our third year here. We've kind of adopted the shelter,'' said Carolyn Gaudet of AutoServ, who was working on the landscaping beneath the sign on the shelter's lawn.
''We've formed a connection to shelter that continues more or less year-round,'' said Gaudet, who said workers at AutoServ donate funds and food to the shelter and have formed relationships with the families which use the facility.
''They come here every year and do a great service, helping us with projects we couldn't accomplish on our own'' said Captain Steve Warren of the Salvation Army. ''It's a great relationship.''
Paul Gaudet, Jr. said that last year AutoServ workers provided assistance to families at the shelter during the Christmas season and are working to get flat screen TVs for the shelter, as well as filling up the Salvation Army's food pantry.
He said that 15 AutoServ workers, about 10 percent of the firm's employees, were taking part in Day of Caring activities.
Kamal Gosine of Franklin, who works in sales and customer relations at AutoServ, was directing a group of workers who were working on cleaning the grounds and trimming trees and shrubs on the border of the Carey House property.
''We're here to help the people who live here. It's their home for the time that they're here and they need to be proud of it,'' said Gosine, who noted that there were 31 people at the shelter, including a two-week-old baby.
Also helping out at Carey House was Elaine Cartier, senior director for patient care at LRGHealthcare, who was working on the flower beds.
She said that there were several others from LRGHealthcare helping out and that she was pleased to be working outdoors on a meaningful community project.
''It's a great day to be out and I don't mind getting my hands dirty,'' one bit.


Carolyn Gaudet was one of a crew of workers from AutoServ in Tilton who were doing a variety of projects at the Salvation Army's Carey House homeless shelter on Union Avenue Friday. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Elaine Cartier, senior director for patient care at LRGHealthcare, works on the flower beds at the Salvation Army's Carey House homeless shelter on Union Avenue Friday. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 September 2013 02:33

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Gammon asks judge to open ballot box so those 3 write-in votes can be verified

LACONIA — Dave Gammon yesterday petitioned the Belknap County Superior Court to order a recount of the primary election results in Ward 5, where three write-in votes for the City Council were cast, but not recorded.

"We had no alternative," Gammon said, adding that the he will pay close to to $300 to file the suit.

When the polls were closed on September 10, votes tallied and ballots sealed, incumbent city councilor Bob Hamel, who ran unopposed, was declared the winner with 39 of 47 ballots cast. No write-in votes for city councilor were reported. However, a computer print-out reports that three write-in ballots were cast in the race.

The City Charter makes no specific reference to write-in votes, but simply prescribes that the two candidates receiving the most votes for each office shall advance to the general election in November.

Gammon claims that he, his wife and another woman cast write-in ballots for his friend, former mayor Tom Tardif, which would account for the three write-in votes for city council that appear on the computer print-out. Election officials reported that Tardif received three of four write-in votes for ward clerk, but none for city council. If Gammon's claim is confirmed, the City Clerk would be bound to offer Tardif a place on the ballot for the general election, which he could either accept or decline.

On the strength of advice from the city attorney, Laura Spector-Morgan, City Clerk Mary Reynolds advised Gammon and Tardif that five registered voters could petition the New Hampshire Secretary of State to conduct a recount before the second Friday after the election, which fell yesterday. But, when Tardif met with Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan on Thursday, he was told that this process applied only to questions, not candidates, on the ballot and advised him to approach the Superior Court.

Yesterday Gammon submitted a petition with the signatures of 10 registered votes and asked the court to set aside the the reported results of the primary election in Ward 5 and direct the City Clerk to "schedule a recount or review of the three write-in ballots." Alternatively, he suggested the court review the ballots to identify who received the second highest number of votes in the primary election and therefore, qualified for the general election. He also asked the court to instruct the clerk not to print the ballots for the general election until "the irregularities in the conduct and reporting" of the primary election are resolved. Finally he asked the curt to award him "out of pocket expense for having to correct the results of the Ward 5 primary election results."

Meanwhile, Tardif has not decided whether or not to run in November in the event that a recount confirms that he polled the second highest number of votes for City Council.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 September 2013 02:28

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Gilford biz back looking for adult entertainment permit

GILFORD — The owner of the former Kings Grant Inn has applied for a live entertainment license that if granted will allow so-called adult entertainment that includes near-naked dance performances.

Willard Drew and his news business partner Tom Lyons have formed the Lakes Region Cafe & Tavern and submitted their application on September 16. Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the application will be on the Selectboard agenda when it meets Wednesday night.

In October of 2011, state narcotics agents accompanied by two SWAT Teams, nearly the entire Gilford Police Department, and all three selectmen and other civilian town employees raided what was then called Mardi Gras North after an undercover investigation by members of the former New Hampshire Drug Task Force.

Task force members said they had purchased a variety of illegal drugs from the female entertainers over the course of their investigation. On the night of the raid, two of the five women targeted by police plus one woman who was entertaining that night were arrested at the bar.

Two other female entertainers along with two male patrons were arrested the same night by cooperating police in Franklin, Tilton, and Holderness.

All five women were convicted or pleaded guilty to some drug violations stemming from the DTF investigation and all served some time in either the Belknap County House of Corrections or the N.H. State Prison.

The raid and it's subsequent fallout led to Drew having his liquor license suspended by the N.H. Board of Liquor Commissioners at the request of selectmen. The commission held an inquiry into charges that included that he allowed his business to be used for unlawful activities. The liquor violation stemmed from activities witnessed by members of the DTF.

After a three-day hearing before the Liquor Commission in July of 2012, Drew — who is the holder of the liquor license Mardi Gras North was operating under — was exonerated of the most serious charge of allowing his business to be used for unlawful activities.
The commissioners found him responsible for over-serving a patron — for which he received the three-day suspension and a $150 fine; for having an employee consume alcohol while working — for which he was fined $100; and for giving away a free drink — for which he was fined $100.

During this time, selectmen revamped the town's live entertainment ordinance and included a provision that the holders of liquor licenses must be the operators of a nightclub in order to have live and/or adult entertainment. Owners are not allowed to lease the club to a different entity.

The ordinance also requires buildings where there is live entertainment to undergo a safety inspection by the town's fire chief and code enforcement officer.

The police chief will determine if uniformed officers will be required. All uniformed officers are paid for by the holder of the permit. The Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook is an example of a live entertainment permit holder being required to provide uniformed police officers at its events.

After he made substantial upgrades to the building and after closing for his three-day license suspension, Drew reapplied for a live entertainment license in late July of 2012 but selectmen voted 2-to-1 to given him his requested license but only if he excluded near-naked dancers.

He stayed open for a while but for the past year the club has been closed.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 September 2013 02:20

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