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Let's come together in support of better health for all of us

To the editor,
Communities from coast to coast observe National Public Health Week every April, celebrating the work of public health and coming together in support of better health for all.
The value of a strong public health system is all around us — it's in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the places where we all live, learn, work and play. It's in the thousands of people whose lives are saved by seat belts, the young people who say "NO!" to tobacco and the children given a healthy start thanks to vaccines. These are examples public health's return on investment.
Good health doesn't happen by chance. Good health is shaped and nurtured — it's connected to the environments in which we live, learn, work and play. Personal responsibility and better access to quality medical care play a critical role in our good health . But that's not enough to turn around health care spending, curb disease rates and continue to move toward a healthier future. For example, while diabetes and obesity can be treated inside a doctor's office, the costly and preventable conditions won't be solved there. Tackling obesity and diabetes will take increasing access to affordable healthy foods; providing opportunities for physical activity in our community through smarter transportation and land use planning; educating the public on the science of nutrition, working with industry, schools and employers on common solutions; and collecting the data to see what works. These are the roles of public health.
By adequately funding public health and prevention, we can transform a health system that's now focused on treating illness to one focused on preventing disease and promoting wellness. And we all have a role to play. By taking small actions, we can help our communities, friends and families see the much larger benefits of prevention: Make just one positive change a day to improve your health. Small things such as eating healthy foods, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and staying up to date on vaccines can make a big difference in helping you live a longer, healthier life.
You have the power to make positive preventative changes in your community. Think about what your community needs most-more bike lanes, increased access to healthy foods, safer places to play outside-brainstorm solutions. Tell others about your ideas and take action!
Please join our staff and our partners in our desire to better understand the health problems confronting our citizens and in the development of strategies to respond to the public health needs of our community. Visit our website (www.lrpph.org) and others to learn more about public health issues such as obesity prevention, emergency preparedness, healthy aging, family caregiving, substance abuse prevention, access to area services and other relevant public health issues. Here's to your health!
Lisa Morris, Executive Director
Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health

Last Updated on Friday, 05 April 2013 12:32

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71% of all winter emergency calls were answered by one LFD vehicle

To the editor,
It was a busy winter in Laconia for the Fire Department. We responded to 1,163 emergency calls in the four-month period. An average winter is 1,089 emergency calls. So this is a 9 percent jump in call volume. There were 425 simultaneous or back-to-back emergencies.
Response time to high-risk emergencies was 63 percent within four minutes and 80 percent within five minutes. These are very respectable response times. Seventy one percent of all calls were handled by one emergency vehicle (two firefighters); 18 percent required two vehicles (four or five firefighters); 11 percent of the calls required three or more vehicles, or the entire work group (eight or more firefighters).
There were nine major emergencies: three "all hands working"; four first alarms; one second alarm; and one third alarm. For fires requiring suppression efforts we had a 75 percent control rate with the first alarm assignment. There were 33 fires in buildings, which is well above the average of 25 fires. Preliminary fire loss is $822,000 and $920,000 in property saved.
There were 22 high-risk, high-priority emergency medical patients.
Seventy two percent of all emergencies were in the central area of the city; 10 percent were in Lakeport; 10 percent were in the Weirs; 3 percent were in north Laconia; and 2 percent were in the south end.
The 11 a.m. time period was the busiest with 8 percent of all emergencies. 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. were all tied for second busiest hour.
Twenty-five percent of all emergencies were between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Chief Ken Erickson
Laconia Fire Department

Last Updated on Friday, 05 April 2013 12:28

Hits: 362

What hasn't been discussed with PAYT is saving & care of environment

To the editor,
The barrier to implementing Pay-As-You-Throw appears to have been resolved.
The city manager, mayor and council have all said they will remove $500,000 from the taxes that will equate to a savings to each taxpayer. This will be built into the tax cap so that the savings will be moved forward permanently. Therefore, there will be NO double taxation.
Trash collection should be viewed as the same as a utility — water and electricity — you only pay for what you use, not what others use. Residents who are already recycling to the maximum will not be negatively impacted by PAYT. They will be, however, relieved of the burden of subsidizing residents who chose not to recycle.
PAYT will give each resident the freedom to choose how much they recycle and how much they throw away. If you recycle, you will not buy as many bags. If you don't, you will pay for the cost of collection, transport, and disposal of your trash. The cost of a large trash bag is estimated at $1.75. Assuming one bag per week is used the daily cost is 25 cents. Most people could afford this.
One complaint was that tenants would not cooperate in the recycling program. Yet at the public meeting last fall, one tenant recycled extensively and had done so for years. Now that everyone would pay for what they don't recycle, the motivation is higher.
We recycle about 80 percent of our trash. The only things we throw away are plastic wrap that clogs up the recycling machines and styrofoam. Each week we have about five gallons of trash. If it was compacted it would be much less. All food waste and wet paper products are composted in the back yard. The rest is recycled.
There have been probably about 50 responses from the community regarding opinions on recycling options; those for and those against. With the total number of registered voters in Laconia at 9,665, this may be too small a sample to get any definitive number of those for and those opposed.
What has not been discussed has been the saving and care of the environment. Our lifestyle is detrimental to land, water and air quality. We live in a throw away society. Our economic system depends on producing and consuming. This disposable process creates continued waste and trash. Unless we develop a plan to recycle the waste, it won't be long before we destroy our precious resources. Recycling is just one way to help preserve our environment.
Option #3 Mandatory Recycling at 25 percent recycling rate would would save $11,700 in 2013 and a projected 10 year savings of $1,281,117 while PAYT at 30 percent recycling rate would save $156,000 in 2013 and a projected 10 year savings of $1,708,155.
In addition to the financial cost which had been a main objective to PAYT there could be an underlying issue. At the public hearing held in the fall of 2011 one speaker was irate at PAYT stating that he recycles now but if the city implements PAYT then he would not cooperate. Where is the concern for others, for the "community", for the environment? As citizens we need to step up and make a decision for the greater good of everyone.
Dick Smith

Last Updated on Friday, 05 April 2013 12:24

Hits: 346

Please help neighbors in need by making donation to SA Food Pantry

To the editor,
The Salvation Army Food Pantry is seeking food donations for our Food Pantry. Shelves that are overflowing between Thanksgiving and Christmas are now looking very bare. Unfortunately need knows no season and folks are scraping to get by year round. Major items needed are canned soups, vegetables, fruits, pasta and pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned chicken and canned tuna.
Please help your neighbor in need and consider making a donation of can goods to the pantry at 177 Union Ave. in Laconia.
Captain Sally Warren
The Salvation Army - Laconia

Last Updated on Friday, 05 April 2013 12:19

Hits: 343

Thanks for joining us in attempt to keep Year-Round Library doors open

To the editor,
We extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who joined us at the Gilmanton Year-Round Library brainstorming meeting on March 28. We appreciate you taking the time, at the end of a work day, to show your interest and support. As a result of your participation and enthusiasm, we will move forward to ensure the continuation of services to the community. There were so many great ideas and skills presented to us, it was truly a successful evening.
We are in the process of following up on the information and skills that were offered and we will be contacting attendees to update you on how you can be of further help.
Thank you again for joining us in our efforts to keep the doors open!
Board of Directors
Gilmanton Year-Round Library

Last Updated on Friday, 05 April 2013 12:16

Hits: 412

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