Laconia Mayor Engler to stay in California for start of chemotherapy


LACONIA — Mayor Ed Engler has undergone surgery in California for colon cancer and will remain out of state for the initial phase of of postoperative treatment.

City Manager Scott Myers reported on Engler’s condition at the City Council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Surgeons at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center removed a malignant tumor on Sept. 29.

Engler is expected to be placed on a six-month course of chemotherapy, which will begin in California.

Doctors will monitor how his system is handling this therapy. If it goes well, he hopes to return to Laconia around Dec. 1 and continue the chemotherapy locally.

Commissioners defend elder care study funds


LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners Wednesday morning defended their decision to spend $10,000 to assist in development of a plan for long-term care of the elderly.
At a meeting of the Belknap County Delegation's Executive Committee, Chairman Rep. Michael Sylvia (R-Belmont) said that the delegation did not make an appropriation for that purpose and questioned the authority of the commissioners to spend the money.
But Commissioner Glen Waring (R-Gilmanton) said the commissioners had been given authority over the manner in which the appropriated funds were spent because the delegation had approved a bottom line number for the budget instead of specified line items.
Sylvia protested that the interpretation was absurd and did not follow the law but Waring said that would be the case if the delegation had approved a line by line budget but that “was not the vote the delegation took.”
The $10,000 is going to the New Hampshire Association of Counties to provide matching funds for the development of a long-term care plan for the elderly which may offer alternatives to the managed care program the state is currently working to implement. The legislature approved $100,000 for the study this year when it passed House Bill 517, with the provision that the counties provide $100,000 as their share of the costs of developing the program.
Delegation Vice Chairman Rep. Ray Howard (R-Alton) said the entire plan for a study is “a boondoggle with money going into private pockets.”
Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) said the proposed Medicaid changes are so important to the county and its role in taking care of the elderly that “we need to be represented” in exploring alternatives to the managed care program.
Currently, most New Hampshire Medicaid program recipients receive health care services through New Hampshire Medicaid’s Care Management program, which uses two health plans to manage health care for recipients. New Hampshire Healthy Families and Well Sense Health Plan both provide the same services that New Hampshire Medicaid does.
DeVoy said commissioners support exploring options for providing long term services to individuals eligible for Medicaid with a nursing home level of care.
The Executive Committee approved two budget transfers at the meeting, one for $18,850 to pay for higher-than-anticipated interest on debt service, and the other for $1,000 for Belknap County Delegation meeting costs.
The transfers, both from the county's contingency fund, had been sought by Belknap County Commissioners, who said the county needed to borrow an additional $1.5 million in order to fund its operations through the end of the year and would have run out of money by Dec. 17 had it not borrowed the additional money.
The county had been authorized by the delegation earlier this year to borrow as much as $10 million but was advised by its bond counsel that it should borrow only as much as was needed, which at that time of the initial borrowing was $8.1 million.
County Commissioner Waring said it was a timing issue and that was the most that the county could borrow at that time.
He said the need for more money has been brought about by the county spending down its cash reserves at a faster pace than in recent years. 

Unfounded report of suicidal woman prompts K9 response

NORTHFIELD — Police from four departments responded to a 911 call about a stabbing and a suicidal person in what turned out to be about two intoxicated people.
Northfield Detective Brian Beach said the emergency call came from a man who claimed to have been stabbed on the Winnipesaukee River Trail. He told the dispatcher that the woman with him was threatening to commit suicide, which prompted a response from both Northfield and Tilton.
Beach said the caller did not know exactly where he was, but referenced a pond off the Winnipesaukee Trail which police determined to be off Scribner Road.
Northfield officer Mike Fitzherbert was the first to locate the man, who said he had removed several knives from the woman before she fled, ranging from a jackknife to a Bowie knife. He had two knives beside him and he wore the largest one in a sheath.
Although he had reported being stabbed, police found the man to be uninjured but intoxicated.
Franklin police provided assistance in the investigation and, given that the woman was said to have been suicidal, Northfield called in Bristol’s K9 unit, Officer Nick Kelley and Arro. The dog was able to locate the woman, who was hiding in the woods a quarter-mile off the trail.
Beach said she was fine, but also intoxicated, and both she and the caller were taken into protective custody until they could be released to sober parties.
“The report that she was suicidal did prompt a somewhat massive response,” Beach said, “but until we could learn she was not injured, we had to treat it as such.
“It was a successful K9 track. It was very quick; it took six minutes for the dog to locate her.”