Meredith Public Library update postponed to Jan. 9


MEREDITH — A discussion by selectmen about the future of the Meredith Public Library will not happen until Monday, Jan. 9, due to a requested postponement.
Last week, the library trustees requested that the topic be postponed; Meredith selectmen originally were scheduled to take up the issue on Monday.
Miller Lovett, a trustee for the library board, wrote on Dec. 17 to town officials: "The trustees would like to give a project update at the next available meeting, could we get a new date?"
With holiday schedules, selectmen won't meet again until a workshop on Jan. 9.
Over two years ago, the library trustees formed a Library Master Plan Committee and hired a library consultant to analyze space needs. On March 1, a library planning committee, regarding a public forum at the time, reported, "There is a clear and identified lack of space. This is true of collection space, meeting space, quiet space, and parking space. A number of codes with regard to access and safety have drastically changed over the more than a century since the library was built. It is currently in violation of a number of the current codes, including lack of an elevator, lack of a sprinkler system, and lack of appropriate, sufficient egresses from the higher levels. The library being on seven levels presents a number of problems both for safety and efficient operation."
The Meredith Public Library Planning Committee reported, "In its current form the library has outlived its ability to meet the community's needs. There are also a number of costs associated with maintaining the status quo that in no way help to move towards a library that meets the community's needs, but must be implemented simply to keep the building functioning, for instance the recent masonry and gutter project."
Library officials reported 53,498 visits last year, and more than 6,000 attendees to programs last year.
Trustees have considered several properties, including the nearby First Baptist Church and Humiston Building, but no firm plans have materialized.

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Celebrating recovery - Chryss LaRoche to run 5K at Disney World after nearly dying in 2011


SANBORNTON — "2011 was my year from hell," recalled Chryss LaRoche, who that summer twice escaped close scrapes with death in as many months but next month will celebrate her recovery by running a 5K at Walt Disney World at Orlando.

In the summer of 2011, LaRoche, a senior benefit technology consultant with Cigna, found herself, at 42, a single mother with two teenage children— a daughter, Allison, and son, Logan — a demanding job, and a 225-year-old home in need of a new furnace, oil tank and septic system. And that was just the beginning.

While coaching her son's soccer team, LaRoche watched as he and the goalie leapt to head a ball away from the goal mouth only to collide. Logan's left cheekbone and eye socket were shattered, leaving him with a steel plate in his face. On July 9, as Logan was recovering, LaRoche returned home from a birthday party and decided she would mow the lawn. She said that as she walked toward the house she was overcome by a flush— "a super blush" — that swept from her feet to her face and went into a seizure. Scout, the family dog, sounded the alarm and stayed with her. Logan came from the house and immediately called for an ambulance. She said that later he told her "I thought you were possessed by the devil."

LaRoche said she was taken to Concord Hospital then flown to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, unable even to speak her name, and that night underwent surgery for a brain aneurysm. She awoke the next morning to find a drain protruding from her head, wondering "Am I a unicorn?" Later she would learn that 60 percent of aneurysms are only diagnosed during an autopsy and her chance of surviving surgery was 10 percent.

During a week in the intensive care unit, LaRoche said "I was never alone. My parents and kids came every day." At the same time, she said that her supervisor at Cigna assured her children that their mother's job was secure. Meanwhile, her doctors began putting her through tests to determine the extent of what they called "deficits" she might have suffered. "They asked me to draw pictures," she said, "and I'm a terrible artist to begin with." Then she began suffering severe pain in her neck and slurring her speech. "I was on the verge of a stroke," she said. She underwent a second operation to relieve the pressure on her brain, this time with 1 percent chance of survival.

Altogether, LaRoche spent nearly a month in the hospital. But, within 24 hours of returning home, she began experiencing chest pains. "I think I'm having a heart attack," she told Logan, who again called for ambulance. Once more she was shuttled from Concord to Lebanon where she was treated for a blood clot in her lung, and after another week in the intensive care unit returned home, this time for good.

LaRoche, who has has been with Cigna for 27 years after beginning in the mail room to pay for degree in psychology at the University of New Hampshire, was eager to return to work, if only to assure herself she could perform to her accustomed standard. In the meantime, she said, "I got hooked on archery and decided to ask for two weeks off for deer season." In September, she returned to work. Offered a series of new assignments, she said I told them "I don't want a new job" then pointed to her shaved head and insisted "I just want to have bangs."

"It all seemed so surreal," LaRoche remarked. She said that for some time she did not express emotion. "I just didn't show joy or sorrow as I always had," she said. "The doctors suggested it was psychological. I thought of it as a defense mechanism." That changed when he children encouraged her to start dating and she met the father of a friend of her daughter. "We had family dates," she said. The dates became a relationship, mending another tear opened in 2011.

In June, when Cigna announced its annual Marathon Weekend, LaRoche said "I decided I'm going to put my name in the hat." She explained that the company holds a contest, requiring each entrant to wrote a short essay telling why they want to run the 5K. "That was a struggle for me," she laughed, confessing she is not one of few words. When Cigna's 40,000 employees read the entries and cast their votes, LaRoche was the winner.

On Jan. 5, LaRoche, who has moved to a new home and formed a new relationship, and her son will run together. "Crossing the finish line," she said, "will signify closure and a new year."

12-20 Chris LaRoche - family

Chryss LaRoche will run the Disney 5K on Jan. 5, to celebrate her recovery from a near-fatal health issues. She is shown here wearing a hat, with  her daughter, Allison, and son, Logan, with their dog, Scout. (Courtesy photo)

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MVSB helps Wicwas Grange with donation for homeless veterans


MEREDITH — The Wicwas Lake Grange's efforts to raise funds to benefit homeless veterans got a helping hand from Meredith Village Savings Bank.

The Nov. 11 dance raised $1,110 in ticket sales as the band, Jimmy and The Jesters waived their performance fee for the event. The bank doubled the amount raised agreeing to match the gate, said Steve Durand, who heads the grange.

The fraternal civic organization also raised $166 that will be used to purchase items to create toiletry packages for each of the 203 beds at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton. Dawn Durand donated her $100 prize money awarded for submitting the best scrapbook to the State Grange.

Louis's Pizza of Meredith and the Center Harbor Diner each donated $100 and employees of KRL NAPA of Meredith gave an additional $50. The proceeds of the dance combined with MVSB's donation will be given to Liberty House in Manchester, that helps the homeless veterans build the skills needed for a healthy independence and assists them in
making the transition to affordable, permanent housing.

12-13 MVSB Donation

Steve Durand, Worshipful Master of the Wicwas Lake Grange, left, accepts a $1,110 donation from Meredith Village Savings Bank presented by Carrie Jordan Assistant Vice President Branch and Business Development Manager. The bank matched the amount the Grange raised to benefit homeless veterans during a benefit dance held Nov. 11. Jimmy and The Jesters provided the music and waived their performance fee. (Bea Lewis for/The Laconia Daily Sun)

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