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'Much better boat' awarded to retired dentist as grand prize in Ice Arena raffle

LACONIA — Dr. Leo Sanfacon, 82, and still hoping to learn how to skate, won an 18-foot long Chaparral H20 Sport Boat, motor and trailer package valued at over $25,000 in the Laconia Ice Arena/Winnipesaukee Skating Club capital improvements campaign fundraiser.
Sanfacon, a retired dentist and a member of the board of directors of the Lakes Region Boys and Girls Club, said that he had completely forgotten buying tickets for the raffle.
He said that when Will Fay, manager of the Laconia Ice Arena, called him during the Patriots-Jets game on last Sunday and told him he had won the boat he asked ''what boat?''
He picked up the keys to the boat, which was donated by Merrill Fay of Fay's Boat Yard, Saturday morning and said that he was still trying to decide whether to keep his current boat, which he keeps on Squam Lake, or replace it with the new one.
''It's really a much better boat than the one I have,'' said Sanfacon, who was a student at Rochester High School when Merrill Fay's dad, Wilbur, taught there in the 1950s.
Will Fay, who heads up the arena's fund-raising effort, said that the capital campaign, which was launched last year, is now about halfway to its $250,000 goal.
''There is a lot of hard work ahead of us, but I am confident our board and volunteers will get things done. Just as we did when we built this arena, we will work hard to get the community involved in this campaign.''
Sanfacon said that Merrill Fay, who provided the boat for fundraiser, keeps a low profile in the community but has played a key role in youth sports, having donated the land on which the arena is built and having led a successful $1.7 million fund drive to build the arena in 1996.
The arena is home to the Lakes Region Youth Hockey Association, which provides programs for area youth ages 4-18, is home ice to three high school teams, many men's hockey leagues as well as the Central N.H. figure skating club and offers daily public skating.
The capital campaign was launched last year and needs $117,000 for repairs and improvements to the nearly 20-year-old refrigeration system, $56,000 for operational needs due to system malfunctions and a current debt service of $94,000.
''We've had a cash flow problem due to system malfunctions which have cost us revenue due to unplanned shutdowns. We want to recover those costs so that current year revenues can be used exclusively for current year operating expenses,'' says Fay.


Will Fay, second from left, manager of the Laconia Ice Arena, presents keys to a Chaparral Sport Boat to Leo Sanfacon. center, of Gilford, who won the S25,000 boat, motor and trailer in a fundraiser for the arena's capital improvements program. With them are Alex Evans, left, and Tom Woodward, second from right, Ice Arena employees, and Merrill Fay, right, of Fay's Boat Yard, which donated the boat for the fundraiser. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 03:34

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Another fugitive arrested in Mass. accused on selling heroin in Belknap County

LACONIA — Police from Swansea, Mass. arrested a man who had skipped out on appearing in Belknap County Superior Court after being indicted by a grand jury for multiple counts of selling drugs in the area.

Sheriff Craig Wiggin said Andre Garcia, 23, whose last known address was in Dorchester, was a passenger in a car that police had stopped.

Paperwork obtained from the Belknap County Superior Court showed Garcia was indicted for three separate counts of possession of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute the drugs in Tilton on March 8, 2012. He was also indicted for possession of marijuana in Tilton.

On April 20, 2012, Garcia was indicted for the special felony of possession of more than one gram of heroin with the intent to distribute it in Laconia. If convicted, he could serve up to 20 years in prison and pay a $300,000 fine.

He was scheduled for court appearances on October 17, 2012 and December 17, 2012 on each separate charge and failed to appear for either. Warrants in each case were filed.

Det. Sgt. Matt Dawson said Tilton Police arrested Garcia in January of 2012 after a few days of surveillance while he was staying at a local motel. Dawson said Garcia allegedly came once or twice a month to the area and sold various drugs from his hotel room.

He said police and witnesses observed him allegedly staying in his room most of the time, paying in cash for the hotel room and refusing all room service. Dawson said police saw him meeting people briefly in the parking lot and witnesses told police he would occasionally have women come to his room for a brief period of time.

Dawson said Tilton Police detectives worked with Laconia Police detectives to apprehend Garcia.

When he failed to appear for his second court date — after two delays, allegedly for a brain aneurism and his grandmother's funeral, he was added to the fugitive from justice list which is disseminated to the U.S. Marshal's Service of which Belknap County is a participant. In April of 2013 he was named the fugitive of the week.

Wiggin said he was being held in the Bristol County (Massachusetts) Jail pending his appearance in the Fall River District Court for a fugitive from justice charge.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 02:26

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Forced to choose 1 of 3 networds, some Medicaid recipients worried their specialists won't be included

LACONIA — An official from the state Department of Health and Human Services said yesterday that there has been some initial confusion about the new managed-care Medicaid enrollments — especially surrounding recipients who have extraordinary medical needs.

Assistant DHHS Commissioner Mary Ann Cooney said the state is asking recipients to choose one of three private managed care organizations by determining which organization has his or her primary care physician included. Each participant has been given a deadline to make the selection.

Each recipient can only pick one managed-care health plan and must use doctors who are certified and participate in that plan. The three plans are Well Sense, New Hampshire Healthy Families, and Meridian.

Those who haven't enrolled by the middle of November will be assigned a primary care provider and a health plan at random.

The deadline for enrollment by health care providers is December 1 and the plan, which is part of the federal government's Affordable Care Act, is scheduled to become effective on January 1, 2014.

The initial confusion, said Cooney, is that some of the primary care providers and hospital providers are still in the process of becoming certified and have not been listed on the state Website that lists which physicians have signed up with which plan. When recipients call their primary care physicians to see which network they are on, many are told the provider hasn't made the decision yet.

Those with special health care needs are having a particularly hard time because they are not finding all of their doctors on one single plan.

One local woman who asked that she not be identified has a 7-year-old son with multiple medical needs and sees different kinds specialist as needed. Medicaid insures her child through a program that supplements parents primary private insurer if they have children with severe medical needs.

She said it has taken her the better part of her son's life to put together a panel of physicians/specialists where each one provides a different component of his care. She said he had had multiple surgeries and sees specialists in Concord, Laconia, Manchester, Lebanon and Boston.

"We're on the third nephrologist (kidney specialist)," she said, adding that she is terrified about disassembling the medical team she and her husband have worked so long to put together.

"I have three shells. If I pick the wrong one, I'm without a doctor," she said. "I feel like I'm gambling with my son's life."

This mother is a member of New Hampshire Family Voices — a network of parents with children with multiple medical diagnoses. Network Co-Coordinator Terry Ohlson-Martin said at first she shared the same concerns as the Laconia mother.

Also a mother of a child with multiple medical needs, Ohlson-Martin said she is feeling more confident now than when the new plans were first announced because it appears the state has settled on a final program and that many providers are signing contracts with all three managed-care providers.

"It's a new world for those with Medicaid, but for those of us who have private insurance, we've been on a managed-care system all along," she said.

She said she was ready to keep asking the hard questions but not ready to panic yet.

Cooney said the DHHS "recognizes that there are families with special health care concerns" and they are "working hard to see that their needs are met."

"There will be some delays for some of them," she said, but added that every day more and more providers are enrolling in one, sometime two, and in many cases, all three of the managed-care providers.

"If you don't see your medical provider on one of the plans, check back in a day or two and check again," she said.

Cooney also said there has been "cross-borders" outreach to medical providers that are not in New Hampshire — like Boston Children's Hospital that has signed up for all three plans.

She said that participants can change networks 90 days after their selection so as more providers become certified by the private managed-care providers, participants can reselect a plan that better fits their needs.

Ohlson-Martin said she has also heard that many health care providers are selecting all three managed-care plans. Locally, LRGHealthcare has decided to participate in all three, said Executive Vice President Henry Lipman.

Cooney said there are about 120,000 people in the state who qualify for Medicaid and to date about 11,000 of them have chosen their health-care plan and every day more and more physicians and medical providers become certified with one of the plans and their information get added to the website.

She said any Medicaid-eligible people can contact the DHHS in two ways — the first is to go to www.nheasy.nh.gov to either created a NH Easy account or to manage the one they have.

The second option is to call 1-888-901-4999 to speak to someone at the Care Management Enrollment Call Center.

"I am confident that the vast majority of people will be happy with us," she said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 03:11

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Chief says rash of Laconia fires are all 'suspicious'

LACONIA — Fire Chief Ken Erickson said yesterday that the eight fires that lit the city from one Saturday to the next, including two major building fires, are all considered "suspicious" and under investigation.

The spate of fires began shortly before 3 a.m. on Sunday, September 22 when one fire destroyed a large, multi-tenant commercial building at 161 Court Street while a second charred a garage on Bay Street. The fires continued this past weekend with three minor fires around Water Street, another that damaged Pitman's Freight Room on New Salem Street and a third that burned the former Christmas Island Motel on Weirs Boulevard.

"I'm definitely very concerned," said Erickson, who said that along with members of his department and local police officials, the Office of the State Fire Marshall and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) are participating in the investigation. "There were eleven people working the scene at Christmas Island until 2 p.m. on Sunday," he said.

Erickson said the most recent fires began around 1 a.m. on Saturday morning as firefighters extinguished fires in two dumpsters and a shed in the Water Street neighborhood. He said that as Captain Landry and his crew were returning to the station shortly after 2 a.m. they received a call of an alarm activation at Pitman's Freight Room, where they found flames from a fire outside the building reaching to the interior. Erickson said that although firefighters stopped the fire before it reached the ceiling of the wooden frame structure to spare the building, the damage could run to $20,000.

At 8:48 p.m. on Saturday numerous callers reported fire at the Christmas Island Motel. Firefighters from the Weirs Beach Station arrived within four minutes to find much of the two-story, wood-framed building ablaze. Captain Kirk Beattie sounded a second alarm while firefighters aboard the engine from the Weirs station ran two hoses from a hydrant in front of the nearby Christmas Island Steakhouse, which poured 1,000 gallons of water per minute on the fire. The ladder truck from Central Station, supplied by an engine from Gilford, added another 1,200 gallons per minute while another engine from Central Station laid hose from a hydrant near Stonecrest Condominiums to feed a portable deck gun

Erickson said that the overriding concern was to confine the fire to the motel, which was scheduled for demolition. At the Christmas Island Steakhouse, the Laconia High School Class of 1973 was celebrating its 30th reunion and there are a number of private homes in the neighborhood. Although the fire was contained relatively quickly, Erickson said that a crew remained on the scene throughout the night and it took hours to extinguish it.

Units from Gilford, Tilton-Northfield, and Franklin responded to the fire while firefighters from Belmont and Meredith and personnel from Stewart's Ambulance Service staffed the fire stations.

The motel land is to be used as the site for a housing development.

Erickson said that that the fire at Pitman's Freight Room began outside, where there was no apparent source of ignition, and the the Christmas Island Motel was without power when it caught fire. Likewise, he said there were no obvious causes for the minor fires downtown. Moreover, he said that the investigation of the fire on Court Street the week before "began turning suspicious" last week.

Chief of Police Chris Adams said that the fires have been referred to the detective bureau, which is investigating each as a separate incident. "We don't want to jump to conclusions that they're related, which could hinder our investigations," he said, stressing that "we're taking this rash of fires very, very seriously."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 02:22

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