Dr. Robert Evans named interim CEO at LRGHealthcare

LACONIA — The Board of Trustees of LRGHeathcare has appointed Dr. Robert Evans, an anesthesiologist who has been with the organization since 1991, as interim president and chief executive officer.

Evans succeeds Seth Warren who after serving for six months tendered his resignation for undisclosed personal reasons last month.

Apart from his clinical experience, Evans has served on a variety of committees overseeing both medical staff and hospital administration since 1994. He joined the board of trustees in 1995 and has chaired its Finance and Investment Committee since 1999.

In addition to his medical degree from the School of Medicine at Tufts University, Evans, a native of Rochester, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration at the University of New Hampshire.

In a prepared statement Scott Clarenbach, chairman of the board, said that "Dr. Evans' business and medical education, along with his extensive experience with LRGHealthcare's clinical operations and financial performance, make him the right choice for this interim position. Along with the board and senior team," he continued, "his insight and assessment of our organization's processes and financial turnaround will be vital as make the transition to a new CEO."

For his part, Evans said in a prepared statement, "I'm honored to be selected to lead LRGHealthcare through this transition. My experience in multiple realms of health care operations has afforded me the ability to review things from all perspectives and I look forward to doing just that in my new role."

Evans will assume his new responsibilities on Monday, April 4.

A park near you

By Adam Drapcho

The Lakes Region saw temperatures in the 70s on Friday, after a warm and sunny day on Thursday. Looking for a way to enjoy these early tastes of springtime weather? The Lakes Region is dotted with public parks, including some unfamiliar to people who live nearby or drive past them every day.

Asked to name a public park in the Lakes Region, many people would reference Ellacoya State Park — and for good reason. Ellacoya, easily accessed from Route 11 as it passes through Gilford, is the only state park on Lake Winnipesaukee, and boasts a long, sandy beach with views across the lake and of the mountains to the north.

Ellacoya is one of only two state parks with an RV campground. It also has bathroom facilities and a pavilion available for reservation. Ellacoya sees about 33,000 visitors each year, most of whom will pay $5 per person during its operating season, which starts on May 28. However, just because the park is not officially open, doesn't mean it's off-limits. There's no staffing or amenities, but visitors are able to park on the side of the road and walk into the park to enjoy the beach, picnic areas and open spaces.

Not nearly as well-known as Ellacoya, but just one town away, is Ahern State Park, accessed in Laconia off of Parade Road. This 128-acre parcel was once part of the Laconia State School property, and became a state park in 1994.

Ahern, despite its low profile, has two prime features. The first is a network of trails that ranges from broad and flat, well-suited to walking or jogging in the warm weather, or snowshoeing or skiing in the winter. Criss-crossing the land encircled by the broad trails are single-track paths to challenge mountain bikers.

The system of trails makes Ahern a favorite for local dog owners to take their pet for a walk. Pets are permitted on the trails but not on the beach, which is Ahern's best-kept secret.

Ahern State Park abuts Lake Winnisquam, and boasts 3,500 feet of shoreline on the water body's northeastern shore. Much of the trail system explores the shoreline, including two rocky outlooks and a sandy beach, a quieter alternative than the more populated Ellacoya or Weirs Beach.

Other state parks in the Lakes Region include Wentworth State Park, on Lake Wentworth in Wolfeboro, Endicott Rock at Weirs Beach, Wellington State Park on Newfound Lake in Bristol, White Lake State Park in Tamworth, and Livermore Falls Recreation Area in Holderness. For more about these and other state parks, visit www.nhstateparks.org.

There are many more public areas to explore beyond the state parks, though, such as Waukewan Highlands Community Park, a town-managed and conserved parcel located in Meredith, off Route 106.

Waukewan Highlands is the kind of park that hundreds of people drive past everyday without realizing what they're passing by. The park features four trails, totaling 3.1 miles, and each trail leads either to or from Hart's Pond.

The pond at the center of the park is a reservoir that, until 31 years ago, served as a public water supply. Still standing in the pond is a 120 year-old pump house. On the bank of the reservoir is a picnic table, as well as a notebook, inviting visitors to leave a message.

A variety of ow-impact uses are permitted in Waukewan Highlands, such as hiking and mountain biking. A recent visit proved that the park is, like Ahern, a favorite for dogs and their owners, as the trails are wide and well-marked as they pass through a varied topography and a mixture of tree stands. Those interested to learn more should pick up a pamphlet from the green mailbox at the trailhead; numbered entries contain insights into the park that correspond with certain points along the trails.

These represent just a sampling of local parks. Across the region, drivers pass small gravel parking lots with kiosks containing trail information, perhaps its time to see where those trails lead.

Unified basketball brings out best in Belmont

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Sam Wright makes a shot to the basket during Belmont High School's the unified basketball game held on Thursday morning. The game honored all the students who participate in the sport, included those with special needs. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

BY GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

BELMONT — The gymnasium was packed with students, teachers and parents, the enthusiastic sports cheers came from the stands, and the unified basketball team took to the floor after a brief awards ceremony led by Principal Dan Clary.

Broken into white and red, the two teams battled throughout two 10-minute halves only to see the white team trounce the red team by a score of 30 to 18.

But in this case the score didn't matter at all. The only thing that mattered at Belmont High School yesterday was school spirit and student body support for the student athletes who played their hearts out for their fellow classmates.

"I love it and the kids enjoy it," said unified basketball player and student teacher aide Mercedes Scott, who said she plays all unified sports and has a goal of becoming a special education professional after graduation.

Grouped together in the stands were six residents of Great Brook Village, friends and relatives of Sam Wright one of the student athletes on the team. Henry Arlinghaus, whose grandson Henry plays unified basketball, said they go to every game and think the entire unified sports concept is wonderful.

This special group of senior citizens called the play-by-play among themselves, described the skills of each athlete, talked about the intricacies of unified basketball, noting there are no penalties for traveling or double dribbling and how the students who are on the girls and boys basketball teams assist the special-needs players.

But it's real basketball. Cheers went up for the students who grabbed their own rebounds, for the students who took the ball up the court, for the struggles for loose balls and for Henry, who has a devastating on-the-run layup shot.

For Superintendent Maria Dreyer, whose teaching career began in special education, seeing the entire student body cheering when one of the unified players sinks a basket and does a dance for joy or a high-fives with another teammate brings tears to her eyes.

"You know, when you can take an unfortunate incident and turn it into something positive, that's wonderful," Dreyer said.

The "unfortunate incident" happened when some of the unified sports team members were not given certificates during the unified sport pizza party. Realizing the omission, at least one student was given a certificate with another person's name crossed out and his written in with a felt-tipped marker.

His sister, senior Kylie Donovan, took to Facebook to chastise the administration for the omission and the unintended insult. Administrators responded by personally apologizing to all of the parents and students involved and holding a schoolwide assembly so everyone could watch and cheer on their unified team.

Donovan said yesterday that she was happy with the way everything turned out for her brother, the unified team, and the school at large.

"I never meant to bash my school but just assumed that they didn't get it," she said, the "they" meaning the school administration. She added that she has since posted an additional Facebook message to say she didn't mean to bash but wanted everyone to understand special-needs students. Donovan said that for her brother Keegan, playing unified sports makes him feel like "he is the man" and that he belongs to the whole student body.

"(Unified sports) is a varsity team like every other varsity team," she said.

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Amanda Berg looks to the basket for her shot during Belmont High School's unified basketball game on Thursday morning. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)