Learning to fly - Belmont teen hopes for policy allowing drones at practices


BELMONT — As a child, Devin Poslusny said, he loved any kind of car racing. When he couldn't attend a race with his family, he would draw race tracks on giant pieces of cardboard and run his own races.

"I would broadcast the races and imitate the Fox newscasters," said, smiling as he remembered some fond moments that he thinks are a little silly now.

But like all boys, Devin, 16, outgrew his Matchbox cars and his hand-drawn racetracks. When he was 12, he decided to hit the big time and created his own car racing Webcast and YouTube page, commenting and bringing news of car racing alongside his Uncle Dave, who is also a big fan.

They called it Racing Hotspot and the weekly show brings news to his viewers about NASCAR, Indy Cars, Formula 1, Red Bully Rally Cross and a few other racing venues. His absolute favorites are the Legend Cars that are 5/8 fiberglass replicas of the cars driven in the 1940s and 1950s in NASCAR by drivers like Buck Baker, Fireball Roberts and Banjo Mathews.

With the acquisition of a video camera, Devin begin filming his own races, mostly at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson International Speedway in Connecticut.

All along, Devin said his goal was to be as near to car racing as possible, even today, at his age, he is still not allowed into the "hot" pits at any speedway which are for those who are 18 or older, but also to improve his hand speed with the video cam and keep his target in focus. Limited to his positions along the outside of the racetracks and along the fences, he said he gradually became very good at keeping his target in frame.

When he became a freshman at Belmont High School last year, he began to channel some of his energy into high school sports and soon became the official videographer for the Belmont High School athletic department.

"I've always loved being members of teams," he said, noting that he played soccer and golf in middle school, but that he much prefers being a member of all the teams as the videographer.

"People love to see themselves on video," he said.

He continued to work on video hand speed while focusing on rapidly moving golf balls, basketballs, softballs, baseballs, and finally and arguably most difficult of all, a hockey puck.

"It's all snowballed," he said, saying that at first his parents thought he was taking on too much, but Devin said he hates saying no to people who ask.

His father, Roy, said that the family agreed that if Devin kept his grades at a certain level they would allow him to continue with both his weekly show and his videography for the school.

Roy said Tuesday that the Shaker Regional Athletic Director Erica Knolhoff actually set higher academic standards for Devin than he and his wife did, so that made him happy.

As for Devin, he thinks he should get good grades.

"I try to study hard and stay up with my homework," he said.

So while all of the things in Devin's professional life seem to be moving in the right direction, his recent acquisition of a much-desired drone isn't getting the support he had expected.

Devin said he worked all last summer at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion and has saved all of the birthday money and Christmas money in order to buy the drone. He said he used some of the money he had been saving for a car to purchase it and chose one that is already compatible with the software in the rest of his computer systems for both his school videography and his racing show.

The problem is the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association has a firm "no drone" policy when it comes to recording high school sports contests.

So Devin and Knolhoff have come up with a new solution that would have Devin filming with his drone all of the practices like soccer and basketball so the coaches have videos to review and show the players.

While the solution is a possible one, at the present time, there is no policy at all regarding drones and their use at the Shaker Regional School District.

Discussed briefly at last week's meeting, members of the School Board agreed they needed to address this as a policy. Canterbury member Heidi Chaney she spoke briefly with someone in Concord and said that, to the best of her knowledge, few to no schools allow drones to be used.

Nevetheless, the School Board, at the encouragement of Superintendent Maria Dreyer, has agreed that Devin could make a presentation to them about his previous work and his proposed work with his drone. The presentation is scheduled for the May 24 School Board meeting scheduled for the Belmont Elementary School at 6:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Devin is preparing his presentation. He said he would ideally like to show the School Board how capable he is, that he has excellent control over his drone and that it would be a benefit to the school's athletic teams for him to use it to record their practices.

But regardless of how his drone proposal goes, things are still looking up for Devin as a sports videographer. In two years when he turns 18, he will be able to gain better access to his beloved race tracks and next school year, which will be his junior year, he has been accepted into the Media Arts Program at the Huot Technical Center, something both he and his family were thrilled to learn.

devin and drone

Belmont High School Sophomore Devin Poslusny flies his drone over the table used by him and his uncle to broadcast their weekly car racing show. Devin hopes to be able to use his drone to record practices for the high school athletic teams. (Submitted photo)

Baring it all won’t be tolerated in Laconia

Police chief says they'll enforce city's nudity ordinance despite recent ruling


LACONIA — Police Chief Chris Adams said yesterday that his department will continue to enforce the city ordinance prohibiting women from fully exposing their nipples in public places as well as prohibiting others from urging them to do so.

Adams said that despite a order to the contrary by Judge James M. Carroll of the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division issued in January and reaffirmed last week, he has been advised by the City Attorney that the ordinance can be enforced.

The ordinance was adopted in 1998 to curb what was a ritual during Motorcycle Week when women were encouraged, pestered and harassed to reveal their breasts. Titled "public indecency," the ordinance forbids a number of behaviors, including to "appear in a state of nudity," in a public place. As defined by the ordinance "nudity" includes "the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple." Under the ordinance it is unlawful "for any person to knowingly or intentionally aid, induce or cause another" to commit acts prohibited by the ordinance. Violations of the ordinance carry fine of $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for the third and subsequent offenses.

Carroll's order arose from an incident in Gilford on Labor Day weekend last year when police cited two women who appeared topless at the town beach. The judge dismissed the case, holding that the town lacked the authority to bring a prosecution under its local ordinance because nothing in state law prohibits women from exposing their breasts in public places.

When, in response to a motion to reconsider his decision, Carroll reaffirmed his decision, he noted that the Legislature soundly rejected a bill introduced by Rep. Brian Gallagher (R-Sanbornton) adding a prohibition against exposing the full female breast in public places to state law.

Carroll's ruling bears directly on the first part of the city ordinance forbidding women to fully expose their breasts. However, several attorneys said that if that section cannot be enforced, the second part, prohibiting others from aiding, inducing or causing them to do so, could not be enforced either, since the conduct they would be abetting would not be unlawful. The second section of the ordinance was intended to dissuade men from harassing women to expose themselves, which had become commonplace at Motorcycle Week.

LRGH lays off 58


LACONIA — LRGHealthcare announced yesterday that it is laying off 58 full-time employees, including clinical, technical and managerial personnel, as one of several measures to reduce operating costs and improve financial performance amid the changing regulatory environment and economic conditions of the health care marketplace.

Seth Warren, president and chief operating officer of LRGHealthcare who announced his resignation earlier this month, said that layoffs represent less than 4 percent of the total payroll of the organization, which will be reduced from 1,585 to 1,527. He said that approximately a quarter of the layoffs will be at Franklin Regional Hospital and the balance at Lakes Region General Hospital.

In addition, Warren said that during the past several months another 80 positions have been eliminated through attrition. "We took great efforts to reduce staff through attrition in order to decrease the numbers losing their jobs," he said. "That being said," he continued, "any reduction of employees is not taken lightly. We are altering people's lives and for that we are truly sorry."

Cass Walker, vice president of administrative and support services, said that staffing has undergone review since January and a "position review committee" meets weekly to consider whether to fill any vacancies that arise as well as any requests for new positions or additional personnel.

The layoff followed an intensive review of of all aspects of operations throughout LRGHealthcare by Prism Healthcare Partners LTD, a consulting firm, which identified between $15 million and $21 million in both lower costs and higher revenues. Warren said that payroll represents close to 60 percent of operating costs at LRGHealthcare and added "we would like to run below 56 percent."

Warren said that the Affordable Care Act has led outpatient care to displace hospital admissions and reimbursement payments to reward efficient operations. At the same, expanding eligibility for Medicaid has increased the volume of patients. In other words, while the number of patients has grown, the length of their stay has shrunk.

"LRGHealthcare is at or below its target for shortening length of stay," he said. "But, with increased patient volumes coupled with higher costs and generally lower reimbursement than we historically received," he continued, "our challenge is to staff our campuses in line with these changes."

Warren stressed that the reduction of personnel will not impair the care of patients
He explained when the organization was staffed to meet maximum demand "we were sending employees home for lack of work." By what he called "staffing to volume," he said, "we can flex up or down by calling in per diem personnel to staff more efficiently and run more efficiently."

Moreover, Warren said that the hospitals are working closely with visiting nurse associations, nursing homes and other agencies as patients are leave the hospital for more appropriate settings.

"We are continuing to care for our patients after they are discharged," he said.

Without discounting the hardship to those who are losing their jobs, Walker pointed out that there is strong demand for health care workers. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is seeking to fill 471 positions and there are two dozen open positions at LRGHealthcare. She said that by laying off rather than reassigning employees, all could compete equally for positions for which they are qualified. She said that the human resources department will assist all employees affected by the layoff and work with the both the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security and the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the Employee Assistance Program.

Warren said that with the restructuring underway LRGHealthcare will be "operating in the black and able to reinvest in the organization and be well prepared for whatever hits next."