Genesis mental health agency awarded grant for primary care

LACONIA — Genesis Behavioral Health has been awarded a $1.6 million grant by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that will enable the agency to integrate primary with behavioral health care at sites in Laconia and Plymouth.

Dr. Vladimir Jelnov, medical director at Genesis, explained that individuals with serious mental illness are at greater risk than others from chronic conditions and diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and diabetes. "It is challenging enough for a person with a thought disorder to manage their illness without the added complication of a chronic health condition," he said, adding that on average the life-span of the mentally ill is shortened by 25 years. "It's our role as providers to ensure we are caring for the whole person," Jelnov continued, "Bringing primary care to the mental health center will hep our patients tremendously."

Gensis will partner with HealthFirst Family Care Center and Mid-State Health Center to offer primary care at each of its sites in Laconia and Plymouth. The project, called OneHeath, is expected to improve outcomes, expand access and reduce costs while providing patients with high quality medical care.

Genesis is designated by the state as the community mental health center serving more than 3,500 children, adults and families in Belknap County and southern Grafton County each year.

Laconia schools open on Monday; procedures detailed for registration of new students

LACONIA — Superintendent Dr. Phil McCormack noted yesterday that the first day of school is Monday, August 31 and for those families who have yet to register their children there are procedures to follow.

Parents of elementary school children who have not registered should go to the SAU offices on Harvard Street and, depending on where the family lives, will be assigned one of the three city elementary schools. Kindergarteners must have a birth certificate so the district knows their exact birthday and to determine if they are eligible for kindergarten.

Once elementary students are assigned a school, parents should bring biographical and contact information, proof of residency like a lease document, tax bill, utility bill, court documents stating custody arrangements, if necessary, immunization/ health records and a sign "request of records" form that allows the administration to get records from previous schools.

For registration purposes, parents of middle schoolers, or grades 6 through 8, should report to the Laconia Middle School and parents of High School students should go to the high school.

If a student is new to the High School, Principal Jim McCollum asks that copies of transcripts should be provided so the administrators can properly schedule classes. Freshman will start of Monday to get a day alone in the school to acclimate and sophomores, juniors, and seniors start on Tuesday.

McCollum said that once a new student is registered at the high school, he or she will be contacted by the school counseling department to schedule a meeting to review academic records and create an academic schedule.

For more information at the high school contact Jamie Mckone, the registrar and assistant to the school counseling department at 524-3350 ext. 4006 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Free the Nipple' protestors say they will target Weirs Beach next

LACONIA — The co-organizer for the Free the Nipple N.H. campaign said yesterday that they are bringing their campaign to Laconia, likely Weirs Beach, before summer's end.

Heidi Lilley of Gilford said yesterday that she wasn't sure when the protest event would be held but said it would be this year.

Laconia is being targeted because it is the only city in New Hampshire where exposing the nipple portion of the female breast is not allowed. The city ordinance was passed in 1998 primarily to quell some of the rowdiness directed at females during Motorcycle Week.

"We want to firm things up a bit and have our lawyer write letters to notify both the City Council and the Laconia Police about our selected date, she said, adding that some "friendly" motorcycle clubs will be joining them.

Free the Nipple N.H. is a Facebook-centered campaign that is trying to equalize the rights between men and women. In previous interviews, Lilley said that the rights women seek are only to be able to go topless — like men — at beaches and pools. The movement began as an offshoot of a group supporting public breast-feeding and evolved into an equality movie of the same name that was released in 2014.

She said the people in the campaign have no desire to go into restaurants and shops — where shirtless men are also prohibited — but only to have the same rights as they do, primarily at the beach and pools.

Lilley also talked about last weekend's rally at Hampton Beach where the rain kept the numbers of participants lower that hoped. She said she was pleased with the turnout but it ended up being a spectacle because all of the participants were huddled under a shelter because of the rain.

"Because we were gathered in one place, we were a spectacle," Lilley said, adding that the group just wanted a nice day at the beach where they could lay topless in the sun while sunbathing.

Since 2010, Laconia police have about a handful of violations of the no naked female breasts ordinance each year and those cited also include people who encourage women to expose their breasts. The ordinance stipulates a violation-level offense and calls for $250 fine for the first offense up to a $1,000 fine for a third offense.

Three city councilors who spoke on the record two weeks ago said their impression was the ordinance was passed primarily for safety reasons and not for public morality purposes.

Lilley said yesterday that the groups' intentions in coming to Laconia is not to create a spectacle but to sunbath topless.

"We're not anticipating any problems and we're not planning on causing any," Lilley said.