LACONIA — When Brenda Polidoro began researching the early history of Lakes Region General Hospital, she knew that she had already discovered a forgotten detail of the health care institution's founding. Jeremiah S. Jewett, whose exhaustive daily journal Polidoro had already transcribed, offered his family's farm land, located on a hill overlooking the city, for the creation of the hospital; not only did he sell the land for a friendly price, Jewett immediately donated half of the purchase price to the building fund.
What Polidoro would soon find out in her research was that there were many other stories of civic pride and personal generosity that wove together to make possible the creation of what has become Belknap County's health care network.
Polidoro, executive director of the Laconia Historical and Museum Society, performed the research with help from Patricia Rice, manager of Communications & Program Development for LRGHealthcare. The results of their work for the exhibit "Shall We Have a Hospital," on display at the Laconia Public Library. An opening reception for the exhibit will be held this evening, beginning at 6 p.m.
As Polidoro learned, Jewett's generous act, made at Old Home Day in 1905, was hardly the spark that set off the chain of events that resulted in the creation of a hospital for Laconia. In fact, that spark had occurred 14 years prior, in the form of an editorial printed in the Laconia Democrat.
The column, printed in 1891, noted that Concord had a hospital and that there were campaigns in Claremont and Exeter to build similar facilities. The editorial stated, "We want, in short, a place where sick people can go to recover their health and be sure of getting careful nursing and good, wholesome sanitary surroundings. We want beds for those able to pay and we want free beds for those who cannot pay and are deserving of charity."
The editorial is thought to have found accord with many Laconians, not the least of which was Rhoda C. Ladd, who died of cancer the following year. In her will, she gave her estate, including her Court Street home, to the city, on condition that her assets be held in trust until the municipality could raise $10,000 to create a hospital.
Though her gift was accepted by the city, it was held in trust for several years while the fund raising efforts struggled to reach goal.
Polidoro believes that a spectacular tragedy helped to underscore the need for a local hospital.
As reported in a September 3, 1897 news article, a young couple was out for an evening ride in a horse-drawn carriage. When the pair, Frank W. Clay and Minnie B. Johnson, both Laconia residents, were on Messer Street, their carriage was struck by the 7:45 Lake Shore train where it crossed the road. The victims were reported to be thrown a hundred feet by the impact, where they lay for a half-hour before being transported to a hotel in Lakeport to wait for doctors that had been sent for.
Clay died, according to the report, while Johnson was gravely injured. The following year, the town had raised enough to honor Ladd's request, and opened what is known as the "Cottage Hospital" in her home on Court Street. The Cottage Hospital, which had room for up to eight beds, was in operation until 1905, the year of Jewett's donation.
The opening of a hospital created a new problem in the form of staffing. Where would Laconia find skilled nurses to assist the patients? To address the question, a nursing school was immediately formed. From 1898 to 1968, the nursing school offered a three-year, 12-class program that graduated more than 500 nurses. Most of the graduates were from Laconia or nearby towns, and as far as Polidoro can tell, they were exclusively female. Her exhibit features many artifacts from the nursing school, including uniforms and photographs of graduating classes.
These are just a few of the stories Polidoro and Rice have uncovered. The exhibit includes many others, including the story of Mrs. John F. "Nellie" Zebley, a Weirs native who grew up to become a world-traveling, wealthy New York City resident, whose affection for her hometown was evident in the inventive ways she found to help the hospital become functional.
Polidoro said, of the project, "It's been exciting. There's so much information that wasn't known before."
Rice added, "Working on this project has been extremely rewarding for me, because of the sense of pride I feel about our community hospital. Not just as an employee, but also as a community member. We are so fortunate to have a hospital with roots so firmly planted in the community. And learning the details about the level of support and commitment community members had to open a hospital in Laconia is really inspiring to me. As we continue to build upon their legacy, I am so very proud to be a part of it.
"I also want to acknowledge how fortunate our community is," continued Rice, "to have the Laconia Historical and Museum Society, and dedicated Executive Director Brenda Polidoro. Her level of enthusiasm to this project was nothing short of amazing. I have enjoyed working with Brenda and getting to know her better. I can't thank her enough for helping LRGHealthcare and the community celebrate our legacy of caring."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 12:45
PLYMOUTH — Pat and Marion Maney of Londonderry yesterday looked a little like weary tourists returning from an extended stay in some far-away land.
Each had two suitcases plus a duffel bag they were lugging down the sidewalk next to the Mary Lyon Hall — their daughter's home for the next nine months at Plymouth State University.
Fortunately for the Maney's, the bags were empty and they were on their way home.
"We came with a car and a half" said Pat.
When asked what items their freshman daughter Maureen Maney couldn't live without, they both laughed.
"We have four suitcases," said Marion, "and one of them was filled with shoes."
The Maneys delivered a fan, a humidifier for allergies and the requisite four suitcases of clothing for their honor's business major daughter. Fortunately for them, one of the other two girls in her flat brought the refrigerator and the third girl brought the microwave.
The Maney's were but two of the hundreds of sets of parents who converged upon PSU for the traditional "move in" day who got to play the role of Sherpa — or one of the members of a tribe in Nepal who guide hikers up the mountains and, perhaps more importantly, carry their provisions up there, too.
But the Maney's, like the rest of the parents, were met with a pleasant surprise yesterday — the PSU Panthers football team.
"We pull up and we get swamped by these huge handsome guys," said Marion Maney, who said they loaded all of her daughter's things into a big white plastic tote on wheels and brought them in to the dorm.
Sophomore Quarterback Jimmy Boulay, senior defensive lineman Jeff Nussek and senior wide receiver Nick Cavallo were three of those coach assigned to help the students of Mary Lyons Hall. Nussek said the wrestling team will take over a noon and the sorority sisters of Delta Zeta will take over at 4 p.m.
When asked what orders they were given by their coach Nussek said, "Kill them with kindness."
"We walk up to people and asked them if we can help them bring their stuff up to their dorm rooms, Nussek said.
For Mark Tulley, the father of freshman Jordan Tulley, of Hollis the football players were a godsend.
"This is great," he said. "I haven't been up to the third floor yet."
Mark Tulley stood behind the open door of his black SUV and handed Jordan's things to members of the football team who carried them up to the third floor at Blair Hall.
According to his father, Jordan's couldn't live without his television, his X-box and dad's American Express card.
Moe Giddis of Pembrook stood next to his SUV and sipped on a cup of coffee.
Courtney Giddis is the fourth and youngest of Moe Giddis's daughters — and the second who has gone to college.
When asked how much packing he had done the night before, Moe grinned and said, "None."
He said his daughter had "gotten a little mouthy" the night before so he informed her she was packing her own things in the back of the SUV.
"She did it all herself," he said, showing off a framed collage of pictures of her friends and family she had made the night before.
"See," he said pointing to his own picture in the top left corner of the collage. "I'm right here so she can't still be too mad at me."
Looking at the football players lugging all of her things up to the dorm, Giddis leaned back and sighed.
"This is sweet," he said. "I haven't done a darn thing all morning."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 12:40
SANBORNTON — A 23-year-old man from Chichester who suffered a diving injury at a sandbar on Lake Winnisquam Sunday was transported by helicopter to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon following the incident.
Marine Patrol received a 9-1-1 call at 12:45 p.m. which reported that a man dove into the waters on Lake Winnisquam near the sandbar and ultimately lost feeling in his extremities. Marine Patrol Officer Jason Patten arrived on scene within minutes and also assisted responding members of the Sanbornton Fire/Rescue with transporting equipment to the scene.
Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim had been a passenger in a boat. As they approached the sandbar, the victim dove out of the boat in an attempt to stop its forward momentum. After diving out of the boat into the shallow water, the victim advised that he could not feel his extremities.
He was transported to Lakes Region General Hospital for initial evaluation and treatment.
The incident remains under investigation.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 01:29
Selectman suggests building contractors started effort to remove Moultonborough Planning Board members
MOULTONBOROUGH — While the selectmen appear bent on going forward with removal proceedings against two members of the Planning Board and refusing to name the individuals who brought the original complaint against the pair, when the issue was last discussed Selectmen Russell Wakefield suggested that building contractors were among the complainants.
On July 10, the Planning Board, by a tortured process and in a controversial decision, approved the construction of an observation tower on Red Hill that was built without requisite permits. At least two of the five selectmen fielded complaints from citizens and the Selectboard may or may not have received a written statement from one or more individuals apparently questioning the conduct of Josh Bartlett and Judy Ryerson.
Following their regularly scheduled meeting on July 18, the selectmen held a "non-meeting" with town counsel Peter Minkow to consider the information they had received. At the meeting the Selectboard agreed to begin removal proceedings while instructing Town Administrator Carter Terenzini and Minkow to offer the two members the opportunity to resign rather than be embarrassed by a public hearing. After both Bartlett and Ryerson refused to resign, the selectmen scheduled the public hearings on Monday, September 9 (1 p.m.) to determine if Bartlett and Ryerson should be removed for "inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office."
At their regular meeting last week the selectmen were again pressed to identify those who brought the original complaints, by both residents and Selectman Chris Shipp, who repeatedly said Bartlett and Ryerson were entitled to face their accusers.
In reply to questioning by Steve Maguire, Wakefield said that "if you are a contractor out there in Moultonborough trying to make a living and you had a complaint, you had a problem, you'd be the last one in here complaining, because you may have to go to that Planning Board and you don't want to make enemies on that Planning Board because your application may have some bias to it and maybe it's going to get voted no. I'm not telling you that would happen," he continued, "but you as a contractor are going to think like that. And don't tell me you wouldn't."
"You're playing favorites and protecting people," said Nancy Wright.
Wakefield also said that the complaints were discussed by the board in the July 18 non-meeting and as such remain privileged. He said that "everything we talked about cannot be dispensed to the public." He said that because of how the issue reached the board "we're between a rock and a hard place."
Steve Maguire said that any complaints lodged with the Board of Selectmen are public documents and the identity of those who submit them should not be protected.
Answering a question from Paul Puntunieri, a member of the Planning Board, Wakefield acknowledged that the Selectboard deliberated and voted when they met with Town Counsel. Puntunieri is among those who have noted that the selectmen sought the advice of town counsel in a "non-meeting," not a non-public meeting, of which there is no record. According to the Memorandum of the New Hampshire Attorney General on the application of the "Right-to-Know" law, "deliberation about the matter on which advice is sought may not occur during consultation with legal counsel." Instead, any deliberation, decisions and votes subsequent to that advice must take place in public session.
Selectmen Jonathan Tolman said that the case is a matter of public record. He said that the selectmen decided to proceed after reviewing the minutes and the video of the meeting, which he suggested offered sufficient cause to bring charges against Bartlett and Ryerson. Acknowledging that a number of people had expressed concerns to the Selectboard, he said that their identity was not relevant since the decision to act was made by the selectman.
Wakefield's recent remarks are at odds with earlier statements. Last month he told the Planning Board that the Selectboard received a "petition" from one individual and said that town counsel advised the board there was no alternative but to begin removal proceedings on the strength of it. He insisted that the complainant, not the Selectboard, initiated the proceedings and even suggested the complainant would present the case at the public hearings. He also assured the Planning Board that the identity of the complainant would be disclosed to Bartlett and Ryerson.
However, when the Selectboard next discussed the issue, Joel Mudgett, the chairman, said he could not recall seeing a petition, but allowed that concerns were expressed to him by a number of people who wished to remain anonymous because they might be appearing before the Planning Board in the future.
Since then the Selectboard has denied a Right-to-Know request for records of the non-meeting on July 18, claiming that minutes are not required of non-meetings, and firmly refused to name any of those who approached them about the decision of the Planning Board or the conduct of its members.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 September 2013 01:22
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