Shaheen hosts LRGH doctor at drug abuse roundtable

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen hosted the president of the medical staff at Lakes Region General Hospital for a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill yesterday on how to address the heroin and opioid drug abuse epidemic in New Hampshire and around the country.

In addition to his 30 years of experience practicing emergency medicine in the Lakes Region, Dr. Paul Racicot has run an intensive outpatient drug and alcohol recovery program for two decades. Also in attendance at the roundtable was Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, who has recently visited New Hampshire twice to be briefed on New Hampshire's fight against the heroin and opioid addiction epidemic.

"The heroin crisis is a national emergency," said Shaheen, D-N.H. "It is destroying families and ravaging communities in New Hampshire and all across our country. Dr. Racicot is on the front lines of this crisis in New Hampshire and his expertise and first-hand experience was highly valued in today's meeting. I commend Dr. Racicot's many years of work treating those suffering from addiction in the Lakes Region and I appreciate his willingness to brief Congress as we seek ways to address this epidemic."

"In New Hampshire, and the Lakes Region in particular, we've seen the devastating consequences of heroin and opioid addiction," said Racicot, "In the healthcare community we know that tackling addiction isn't just a law enforcement matter but calls for a coordinated effort that requires treatment, education and community involvement. That's why conversations like the one we had today are so important. We must bring together healthcare providers, treatment professionals and federal policy makers to address this problem on all fronts like we have done in Laconia. I appreciated the opportunity to share my perspective on this issue with the members of the committee this morning."

Also yesterday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration released its annual National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, which finds that drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, surpassing motor vehicle deaths and firearms.

Shaheen has made addressing New Hampshire's heroin and opioid addiction epidemic a top priority in the Senate. Yesterday, Shaheen sent a letter to Senate appropriators calling for more resources to address the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic and pointed to must-pass government funding legislation as a critical opportunity to provide more support to states like New Hampshire. And this week, she introduced legislation to help the state police forensic lab in New Hampshire and other labs across the country that are experiencing a backlog of seized drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl, that require lab identification.

Belmont man charged with choking wife

BELMONT — Police arrested a local man who allegedly punched and choked his wife at the couple's home shortly on Sunday night.

Gregory Ryan Potter, 33, of 8 Green Leaf Court, Belmont is being held in Belknap County Jail in lieu of $6,500 cash bail charged with two counts of second degree assault, a class B felony, and domestic violence assault, domestic violence, resisting arrest and breach of bail, all class A misdemeanors., following his arraignment in Fourth Circuit Court, Laconia Division, on Monday.

Shortly before 10 p.m. on Sunday, Belmont police responded to a report that a woman was calling for help at the Village Apartments on Concord Street. When officers arrived, there were people gathered around a women in the parking lot. The woman's left eye was swollen shut and turning black and blue, and there were abrasions on her neck. She told police that her husband had hit her in the face and choked her until she ran short of breath.

When officers sought to speak with Potter, he refused to open the door of the apartment at 8 Green Leaf Court. When an officer began trying to force the door, Potter relented and was taken into custody.

Potter is scheduled to appear for a probable cause hearing on Nov. 12.

Pumpkin festival parking fees go to charities

LACONIA — Proceeds from parking some 250 cars at Fair Street businesses during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival on Oct. 24 have been donated to five local charities, according to Sally McGarry, president and general manager of Boulia-Gorrell Lumber Company.
She said that funds were presented to Boy Scout Troop 65, the Lakes Region Boys and Girls Club, the Laconia Historical and Museum Society, the New Hampshire Humane Society and the Lakes Region Children's Auction.
McGarry said the parking was organized by Richard Kordas, who handles outside sales for Boulia-Gorrell, and saw the event as an opportunity to raise money for local charities.
Kordas said that his daughter, Emily, her friend, Danielle Clairmont, and volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 65 worked for 13 hours helping park cars in the parking lots at Boulia-Gorrell, Mills Industries and at the Citizen Publishing Company property, which is owned by Beacon Mills Inc.
''All the businesses were great. The shuttle, which took people into downtown, stopped at the Citizen Publishing Company lot and it went very smoothly. We were pretty busy all day,'' said Kordas.
He said that those who parked their cars were asked for a suggested $20 donation and many said they were glad to see that the money would be going to local charities.
''It was a good, neighborly kind of event and we're looking forward to doing the same thing next year,' said Kordas.