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Report ranks Belknap 6th healthiest of N.H.'s counties

CONCORD — Belknap County was ranked as the sixth healthiest among the 10 counties in the state by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which for the past five years has measured the health of all the counties in the 50 states.

The "County Health Rankings" apply two broad sets of criteria: health outcomes, which measure the length and quality of life, and health factors, or the individual behaviors, social, economic and environmental conditions conditions, and clinical resources that affect health. The different elements are weighted to determine the final rankings.

Belknap County ranks sixth in health outcomes, seventh in health factors and sixth overall. The county tracks the state average by most but not all measures.

The rate of premature death, defined as years of life lost before age 75, in the county, is 6,086 per 100,000 people, which is 15-percent above the average of 5,267 per 100,000 people for the entire state. The number of individuals surveyed reporting they were in poor or fair health was 12 percent in the county compared to 11 percent in the state, Likewise, 3.6-percent of those surveyed reported mental health issues, slightly more than the 3.3 percent for the state as a whole. However, low birth rate deliveries represented 6.3-percent of births in the county, but 6.8 percent in the state.

The incidence of smoking and obesity among adults in the county, 18-percent and 27-percent respectively, matches the state averages. But, intoxicated or impaired drivers are involved in 41 percent of all fatal accidents in the county compared to 32 percent in the state. The rate of violent crime in the county, 200 per 100,000 people, also exceeds the state figure of 172 per 100,000 people. The teen birth rate in the county — 24 per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19, is seven points above the state average.

While 14-percent of the children in the state live in poverty, in Belknap County the portion is one-fifth, and a third of all children live in single-parent households compared to 27-percent throughout the state.

The report ranks Rockingham, Grafton, Hillsborough Merrimack and Cheshire as the five healthiest counties, and Carroll, Strafford, Sullivan and Coos as the four least healthiest.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 12:33

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Laconia Airport exempted from Gilford vendor fees

GILFORD — Selectmen last night voted unanimously to waive the vendor fees for the Laconia Airport's third annual Community Day scheduled for June 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Airport Manager Diane Cooper-Terrill told selectmen that there are about 12 very local vendors who will be setting up displays at the "Wings, Water, and Wheels" open house event and the airport has had to charge them $35 to set up their displays.

Cooper-Terrill told selectmen she didn't think most of them would be able to afford to continue if the had to also pay a $65 vendor fee assessed by the town.

She also asked the board to consider a permanent waiver for the Laconia Airport for all future vendor fees, noting that Gunstock Mountain Resort, Ellacoya State park and Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook all enjoy similar waivers.

While the board didn't have any objections to the request, Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the addition of the airport to the list of permanent exemptions would require a change in the overall policy.

Selectmen asked Dunn to reword the policy and return to the board at its next meeting with a draft for their potential approval.

In other business, selectmen reorganized the board as a result of the March elections, naming John O'Brien as chair, Gus Benevides as vice-chair and Richard "Rags" Grenier as secretary.

O'Brien will be the selectman's representative to the Planning Board while Grenier will be the selectman's representative to the Budget Committee.

Benevides will be the selectman's representative to the Laconia Airport Authority, the Heritage Committee and the Historic Preservation Committee. He will be the negotiator with AFCSME — the union that represents the Public Works employees.

Grenier will also represent the board on the Teamsters negotiating committee, the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Committee, and the Capital Improvement Committee.

He was also named liaison to the Belknap County Corrections Jail Planning Committee.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 01:25

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Belknap delegation breaks 12 to 5 against legalizing pot

CONCORD — When the New Hampshire House of Representatives reversed itself yesterday by scuttling the bill to legalize the recreational use of marijuana it passed in January, a majority of the Belknap County delegation voted kill the bill.

In January, the House rejected the recommendation of its Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee by passing House Bill 492 by a mere eight votes — 170 to 162. Then the county delegation split evenly with seven members in favor and seven against with four absent. Since the bill would have taxed retail sales of marijuana it was referred to Ways and Means Committee, which by a vote of 14 to 5 recommended against it.

Yesterday the House followed the recommendation of its committee by rejecting the bill by a vote of 192 to 140 to reject the bill as the county delegation divided 12 to 5 against legalization.

The five county representatives voting against the motion to kill House Bill 492 yesterday were Republicans Bob Greemore and Herb Vadney of Meredith and Michael Sylvia of Belmont, all of whom backed the bill in January, and Democrats Beth Arsenault of Laconia and Ruth Gulick of New Hampton. In January Gulick supported the bill and Arsenault did not vote.

The bipartisan majority of the delegation opposing the bill consisted of nine Republicans — Richard Burchell of Gilmanton, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Jane Cormier and Stephen Holmes of Alton, Dennis Fields of Sanbornton, Charles Fink of Belmont, Bob Luther and Frank Tilton of Laconia and Colette Worsman of Meredith — three Democrats — Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, David Huot of Laconia and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton. Republican Don Flanders of Laconia was absent and did not vote.

Apart from Burchell, Comtois and Fink, who voted for the bill in January but against it yesterday, the other members of the county delegation voted consistently.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 01:12

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County Reps Reject Common Core

CONCORD — The Belknap County Delegation divided along party lines when the New Hampshire House of Representatives  rejected one bill to impede and another to thwart the introduction of the Common Core educational standards in the public schools.

House Bill 1239 would direct the State Board of Education to prepare a fiscal analysis of the program and hold five public hearings before implementing the Common Core standards, while House Bill 1508 would simply terminate the program altogether.

Last week, the House rejected HB-1239 by a vote of 182 to 124 and HB-1508 by a vote of 210 to 138. However, a majority of the county delegation backed both bills. The delegation split 11 to 6 in favor of HB-1239 and 12 to 5 in favor of HB-1503.

The five Democrats on the county delegation — Reps. Beth Arsenault and David Huot of Laconia, Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton and Ian Raymond of Sanbornton — voted against both bills and were joined on HB-1239 by Republican Dennis Fields. However, Fields joined the other Republican delegation members in voting for HB1508.

All the other Republicans voted for both bills — Reps. Richard Burchell of Gilmanton, Guy Comtois of Barnstead, Jane Cormier and Stephen Holmes of Alton, Charles Fink and Michael Sylvia of Belmont, Bob Greemore, Herb Vadney and Colette Worsman of Meredith, and Bob Luther and Frank Tilton of Laconia. Republican Don Flanders of Laconia was absent and did not vote.

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 12:53

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