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Saturday matinees at Opera House were bedlam & we loved it

To The Daily Sun,

The discovery of the drape used at the Lakeport Opera House unleashed many memories for me. I have jotted down a few thinking some of your readers might find them of interest.

My first memory of the Opera House was when I was 5 or 6 years old. I was on a sled pulled by a neighborhood boy when he slipped on ice and fell jerking the sled around and into the snowbank. An icicle, hidden in the snow, punctured my face and slashed from my upper nose to upper lip. The doctor decided not to sew the pieces together as that would leave a bad scar so he taped the edges together (and also most of my face) gave me a dime to go to the Saturday matinee at the Opera House and told me not to laugh or smile. The movie was a comedy and even today at age 96 I have the faint remains of that old scar and lots of good memories of an afternoon at the Opera House.

Every Saturday after that my father gave me 10 or 15 cents for the matinee and 5 cents for candy. The movies were silent and Mrs. Tefft played the piano. She had no music, but improvised for each change of scene on the screen. The movies may have been silent, but the kids were not. We booed the villains, cheered the hero, and giggled at the love scenes. It was bedlam and we kids loved it. The regular fare was westerns, comedies, and serials. One serial about pirates lasted for several weeks and caused me to have terrible nightmares. However, the Tom Mix westerns gave us lots of material for "cowboy and Indian" games all week.

The Mechanic Street School children frequently put on plays and musicals there. I remember being a Russian dancer in one and a police officer in another. Organized groups put on a variety of programs. I vividly remember my older sister dressed as a Dutch girl, complete with wooden shoes, dancing across the stage while singing. "Tiptoe Through the Tulips." Another group put on a play with a Mexican theme. I was asked to advertise it by riding my Welsh Pony through the streets of Lakeport, dressed as a Mexican boy carrying ads about the production.

In the 1950s the theater reopened for a short time. My husband, Dexter Royce a professional projectionist, recovering from surgery decided to visit the new theater. Talking to the owner we found the man very low on funds, actually living in the theater and running the equipment himself. Dexter volunteered to help him for a short time and I volunteered to sell tickets. The theater closed after Dexter returned to his full-time employment at the Laconia Colonial Theater.

I'll always remember climbing that long steep stairway to the theater, hearing the noisy children, and anticipating the excitement and joy that was to come at the Saturday matinee.

Lorraine T. Royce


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State funding for vital ServiceLink program is in jeopardy

To The Daily Sun,

ServiceLink, a cost effective, critical service to our community is at risk of losing its funding.
In the late 1990's the N.H. Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (BEAS), in partnership with local agencies, held community conversations across the state to better understand the challenges faced by older adults. At these sessions, the vast majority of seniors identified the complexities of navigating the health care and social service systems. They reported making telephone calls to one agency after another trying to find assistance, which often led to frustration and surrender. Many people said they were unable to get the help they needed. At that time, the N.H. Legislature was discussing their concerns about the aging of N.H. and the impact on the economy. Use of traditional, nursing home care was the service of choice in meeting long-term care needs and due to the high cost of care, was not sustainable. It was clear to them that the health care and social service system could not accommodate the growing needs of older adults. Reform was needed. State legislators and seniors agreed that services must focus on supporting older adults in the least restrictive and lowest cost care . . . that being in their home and in their community.
In 1998, Senate Bill 409 called for reforming the system of long term care. In 2000, ServiceLink was established to provide information, referral and assistance for older adults, adults with disabilities, and people living with chronic illness. The goal was to assist older adults and their families navigate the health care and social service system and link them to services and supports that would help them remain in their homes.
When ServiceLink was established in 2000, 15.1 percent of the population was 65 and older in Belknap County. It is projected that in 2030, the population (65 and older in Belknap County) will exceed 36 percent (Source: NH Office of Energy and Planning) . With this dramatic increase in population, traditional nursing home care at a cost of approximately $230/day, (mostly paid through the Medicaid program) is not sustainable.
Over the past 15 years, ServiceLink has helped thousands of older adults, adult with chronic illness and disability and their families navigate through the health care and social service systems. In fiscal year 2014, ServiceLink Resource Center of Belknap County answered over 5,800 calls for help. Assistance to callers range from meeting basic needs such as a ride to the doctors to complex needs such as dementia, caregiver support and services, housing, and isolation leading to deteriorating health. ServiceLink provides:
• Free, one-on-one assistance for cost-saving options/ resources to understand and access long-term care supports and services.
• Assistance and guidance in Long-Term Care Options Counseling, which helps families apply for needed services and supports to keep loved ones out of nursing facilities and remain in their homes.
• Medicare counseling which provides assistance in enrollment, understanding Medicare bills, reporting suspected Medicare fraud and accessing prescription plans at affordable costs (when a person turns 65 or is disabled).
• Family caregiver supports through one-on-one counseling, education and training. Small respite grants in the amount no larger than $2,000/year are provided to caregivers to extend their ability to continue to care for their loved one in their home.
• Assistance to individuals as they transition from the hospital to their home. These services reduce hospital re-admissions and the resulting costs of these re-admissions to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
• Home visits to older adults and their families when they are unable to come to the office due to disability or caregiving responsibilities.
• Services and supports to veterans and their family members so that veterans can live as independently as possible in their own homes and reduce the need for hospitalization or nursing home care.

In order to prevent nursing home care and extend the time people can remain in their homes, it is essential that community- based services and supports continue to be available and that Servicelink continue to be a portal for individuals and their families in accessing them.
Our New Hampshire legislators are currently working on the budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 which begins July, 2015. The funding for ServiceLink is in jeopardy. Please contact your representatives and senators and let them know how important ServiceLink is to you, your family and to the state economy:

Senator Jeannie Forrester (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 271-4980)
Senator Andrew Hosmer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 271-8631)
House of Representatives (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/wml.aspx 271-3661)

Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health Board of Directors
Maggie Pritchard, Betty Anson, Dr. Richard Wilson, Kathy Berman, David Emberley, Liane Clairmont, John Beland Brian Hoffman, Denise Hubbard, Alida Millham, Andrew Moeller and Karin Salome

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