No-fly flags

Flag6

This is the city’s current flag, designed in 1965. A contest to choose a new design failed to impress the Laconia City Council, so the current flag will continue to be used. (Michael Kitch/Laconia Daily Sun)

$1,000 in prizes to go to contestants, despite no winner

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Although the city will not fly a new flag, three of those who designed the six flags recommended by the Flag Competition Committee from among some 100 entries submitted will share $1,000 in prize money, with the winner pocketing $500, the runner-up $300 and the third-place finisher $200.

After finding none of the top entries to their liking, the six councilors voted to keep the flag adopted in 1965. However, Councilor David Bownes (Ward 2) insisted the competition should be continued and the prize money distributed. The six councilors will each cast votes on the six finalists —with one point for their most favored design and six points for their least favored design — and the lowest scores declared the winners.

Meanwhile, last week Bree Henderson of Polished and Proper, who led the initiative to replace the city flag and was openly disappointed by the council's decision, approached New Hampshire Public Radio, which not only broadcast a story on the competition but also posted the six designs alongside the existing flag and invited listeners to vote for their favorite. (http://nhpr.org/post/after-crowdsourcing-new-options-laconia-will-keep-its-old-flag-thank-you-very-much)

By Monday, 103 votes were cast, nearly a third of them for the design featuring the bird flying within the gear. The council's favorite, the existing flag, polled seven votes, one more than flag with the three gold stars within the white stripe on a field blue.

Henderson has said that she intends to pursue her efforts to replace the city flag after the next election, when she hopes that some of the councilors will also be replaced.

 

Flag1 This flag, at left, was the most popular flag according to a poll conducted by New Hampshire Public Radio. The Laconia City Council has not yet determined its own the top three, whose designers will be awarded cash prizes. In the radio poll, the flags, ranked in order shown, got the following votes: 1- 32 votes, 2 - 22 votes, 3 - 18 votes, 4 - 11 votes, 5 - 7 votes, and 6 - 6 votes. (Courtesy photos)

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Overdose help

Laconia Fire Department names paramedic/firefighter Brian Keyes drug recovery coordinator

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — When addicts overdose, most often the first person they see is a firefighter. This week, the Laconia Fire Department stepped up its effort to address the crisis of opiate addiction by naming a drug recovery coordinator.

Brian Keyes, a full-time firefighter/paramedic and recovery coach in his sixth year of sobriety, will be among the firefighters responding to every overdose in the city — day or night — and will begin the process of steering the patient into treatment and recovery. Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Riley likened Keyes's role to that of Officer Eric Adams of the Police Department, who for years has encouraged addicts to seek treatment for their addiction, helped place them in appropriate programs and supported them along their road toward recovery.

However, unlike the police, firefighters respond to every overdose, providing Keyes with an opportunity to reach every patient. Since the year began, Riley said, the department has responded to 101 cases of drug overdose, four of which proved fatal. The police make contact with most but not all patients while others are reluctant to speak with the police for fear of prosecution. He said that those using illicit drugs may be be more willing to approach a firefighter than a police officer about seeking help. Firefighters will carry cards with Keyes's contact information.

"We're hoping that Brian will be able to reach those that the police might not," Riley said.

Riley described Keyes as "a pebble in the shoe," referring to his role in leading addicts toward treatment and recovery in aftermath of an overdose when they are most alive to the risks of their addiction. At the same time, Keyes will continue to work his regular shifts as a firefighter/paramedic.

Keyes said that the program is modeled after Adams's role as the PET — "Prevention, Treatment, Enforcement" — officer and that the two will be working together.

Riley said that department considered a program akin to the Safe Station initiative that began in Manchester and was recently introduced in Nashua, which enables addicts to turn to the fire department for help, but found it lacked the resources to ensure its success.

Tursi named Shaker superintendent

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — The Shaker Regional School Board has chosen interim Superintendent Michael Tursi to be its permanent superintendent.

Michael TursiHe was one of two candidates selected by the Superintendent Search Committee that was composed of parents, community members, administrators, faculty, staff and a school board member.

The second candidate, Dennis Duquette of Massachusetts, withdrew his name from contention.

"The board is confident that Mr. Tursi is unquestionably the best candidate for the position," said a media release issued after the board reviewed the search process and the community feedback.

"This was a thoughtful search, and Mr. Tursi is positive, enthusiastic, and wants to play an active role in our schools and community," said School Board Chairman Sean Embree.

Tursi has been interim superintendent since July 1, 2016.

Tursi holds a Bachelor's Degree in geology from Radford Univeristy in Virginia, a Master's of Education degree from Plymouth State University, and his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from Plymouth State University.

He previously served as superintendent for SAU 64 – Milton and Wakefield, and as the assistant superintendent for the Manchester School District.

He and his family live in Strafford, where they also manage a small farm.

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