To The Daily Sun,
I am writing this as a letter to the state representatives, county commissioners and the taxpayers of Laconia and other Belknap County towns.
The 2015 session of the state Legislature has convened and already the bills are pouring in for consideration. This is also the budget year and most of the bills will have an effect on all of us. There are many, but for this particular letter I want to spend some time on the proposal to cut $7 million from the current Health & Human Services budget for nursing home care.
The article on this appeared in The Daily Sun on Saturday, Jan. 24 and lawmakers were told the cut was necessary to cover a current $58 million shortfall in this department. Isn't it funny how the governor on Thursday, the 22nd, announced this fiscal period ends with a $1 million revenue surplus. The reasons for this shortfall are increases in the number of children added to Medicaid rolls, administrative costs for N.H. Expansion for Obamacare program, and the state's settlement of lawsuit over mental illness problem. None of these have to do with nursing homes or home care programs, but let's take their money to cover them.
Further, while there is money unexpended in this HHS budget that should be paid to nursing homes and home care facilities as reimbursements, Nick Toumpas, the director of HHS, wants to use it to plug shortfall with Gov. Hassan's approval.
We also must note the president's budget plans include further cuts to Medicare over the next 10 years, if passed.
All of this means, that county nursing homes that do not receive their fair reimbursements, will be forced to pass the losses onto the local taxpayer to fund their budgets.
This is just part of the problem. In looking at it down the road, shouldn't we be doing something to take care of the hundreds more each year that will be eligible for nursing home care and unable to afford private care. The Belknap County Home has had the best reputation and the best care of all nursing homes in the region forever. At this time, we are looking at spending millions for a new jail that is overflowing with criminals. This jail abuts this wonderful nursing home. We are all aware of the statistics that have shown the overwhelming increase in seniors living in Belknap County, and the percentage is even greater in Laconia. An interesting fact is that in the age of primary taxpayers, taxpayers over 60 increased by 15 percent, while the 30-to-40 age group declined by 25 percent, and under 30, dropped 21 percent. Shouldn't this group be given more consideration than those that pay nothing instead of cutting services they need.
These cuts that are being proposed nationally and locally are adding to the loss of doctors and health care givers. Schools for medical training and research are also getting the axe, which means more reductions in health care givers at a time when we need them more.
I wonder if money for the jail could be spent by buying the state school property for the jail needs and for the farming land it contains for raising produce and stock, thereby making feeding needs more sustainable and giving work and exercise to the inmates. Giving them worthwhile duties that only help in rehabilitation.
This would make the county nursing Home safer and the opportunity to use new space for future expansion or improvements.
So, state representatives and commissioners, please do what you must to defeat this bill and restore monies that are due our nursing homes and home care programs.
Councilor Brenda Baer
Ward 4, Laconia
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 January 2015 10:19
To The Daily Sun,
Addiction — been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Personal experience is an advantage but ...
Stand Up Laconia, is a good idea that to me translates into hope as well as unification. It also puts into perspective a serious and worsening problem that can't be exaggerated. People who have been directly or indirectly affected — and that means virtually all of us — by the ancient phenomenon of opiate addiction, are often very passionate about the havoc on the human spirit that it wreaks. Those who are in short- to medium-term recovery from this condition still feel the post trauma that manifests both personally and psychosocially. When a drug such as heroin is long gone from the system, mind and emotions must continue to readjust to a world of insecurity and intense guilt as the newly recovering addict evaluates the destruction in its wake.
Some clinical components of the modern addiction recovery treatment process are better off left to specialized clinicians who have put a lot into developing their skills. Quite often the most effective direct recovery support providers are those who come up from the hardship of addiction with gritty, up-close and personal experience as to how relentless and ruthless active heroin addiction can be. But if it were only those who have survived such addiction and have been in recovery long enough to provide that help, there wouldn't be enough soldiers to fight in the war. The casualty rate is high for those addicted to opiates. If a long-term recovering addict, particularly a heroin addict, can make it to the point where they can give recovery away in order to keep it, then they truly do have an edge. Empathy is powerful.
Yet if direct substance abuse treatment were to be delegated only to those few ... and unfortunately very few, who make it to the point where they are able to do just that, there would not nearly be enough to go around. The vast majority of active addicts and alcoholics die from their addiction if they don't seek treatment. They just eventually die. Recovery is not easy because addiction wants death and misery in the meantime. The person takes the drug. The drug takes the drug. Then the drug takes the person.
Point being that we need our devoted psychologists, physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, mental health therapists, street-wise direct service caseworkers and counselors, law enforcement professionals, task forces, clinics, drug courts, undercover police, school teachers, guidance counselors, post-trauma specialists, EPA programs, pharmaceutical companies who are willing to continue appropriate research, politicians, dedicated, well-meaning clergy of all religions and the list goes on.
We will be at a disadvantage against this recent upsurge of the darkest addiction of all, unless we work closely together and contribute whatever we can. Those who were at the Stand Up meeting are examples of diversity in cohesion who offer what they have toward a common cause. Opiate and opioid addiction have been part of the human condition for a very long time and as technology continues to advance in all areas, drug "providers" use every new method at hand to distribute their product.
Likewise, so should we as a community in tandem, use whatever appropriate means that is available to respond. Advancements in medicine and addiction potential, such as the hypodermic syringe in 1853 as well as the advent of milligram-packed oxycodone pills during the 1990s, have tremendous positive and negative potential. With fluent information and a focus on the common goal, we can utilize everything that is brought to the table by individuals who have specialized tools and weapons.
The best, and likely the only means by which we as a community can make a serious difference in terms of fighting the spread of opiate addiction, is with mutual support on all fronts. We all have something to offer. Those who have had personal experience and live to tell about it can humbly say, "Been there, done that," and I strongly prefer to never go there again. My T-Shirt says, "No more peanuts, monkey," but only on this day. Tomorrow will be, "Again one day."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. once referred to opium addiction as a frightful endemic demoralization. To underestimate the horrific potential of this condition, which is hugely more widespread than 20 years ago, is to leave a convenient window of vulnerability for a disease that wants anyone who falls into its clutches, dead. There is no such thing as "recovered", only "recovering".
The "co-addict" recovering community are those immediate family members who have been through the torment of watching loved ones deteriorate as well as perhaps being victims of drug related-crime and the cost incurred.
These days generation Z — the late teens to 20s age group — has been left with far more daunting socioeconomic challenges than ever before in America. Low wages, rapidly rising education costs and an overall situation that all but completely eliminates any realistic concept of what once was the American dream, is what preceding generations leave them. The very least we can do is absolutely everything possible to hinder, minimize and discourage the threat of opiate drug addiction.
When a child or teenager crosses that invisible line from experimentation into opiate addiction, the majority of them at best will strive for the rest of their lives to stay clean and their sunshiny visions of successful futures are then permanently eclipsed, mitigated by a looming dark cloud that wants to stifle any shred of hope they may still have. That is an extra burden they should not have to bear.
A&D Recovery Counseling
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 11:51
To The Daily Sun,
While the world becomes more dangerous by the day and Yemen becomes just the latest story of an Obama successful counter-terrorism effort gone terribly awry, Deflategate has been front and center within our mainstream media. While liberals like Jon Hoyt don't just think, but actually write, that our president ended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the focus is on how to attack hard work and success. While more U.S. troops head into Iraq for a war that didn't end because Obama couldn't negotiate a status of forces agreement, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have become the sneaky, evil 1 percent. While another sneaky, unilateral swap deal for another Gitmo terrorist in Qatar is made and the Bowe Bergahl for five terrorists swap investigation remains a big secret, it is the Patriots that have become the object of hate and scorn. While the State Department continues to tell the lie that we don't negotiate with terrorists, our beloved media has been gazing into the eyes of Brady and Belichick and concluding that they are likely lying.
While President Obama can spend quality time with Glozell Green, though not while sharing a tub full of milk and fruit loops, it's the psi levels of footballs that deserves the lion's share of the spotlight. Does one think FDR spent any time chatting with a carnival barker while the world was on fire? No matter, there seems to be a concerted effort to go after the most successful football team of the past decade.
To say this so-called New England Patriot scandal has been blown out of proportion should be self-evident to most everyone. This in stark contrast to the voluminous amount of real scandals by this administration.
Here's a question for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. If the amount of air that is in a football is so vital to the "fairness" of the game, then why for heaven's sake don't you have the officials keep them after they have checked them out instead of giving them back to the teams? If Tom Brady prefers his footballs a little softer than other quarterbacks and Aaron Rodgers likes his a little harder than most, then just what is the big deal? Does anyone know why precise football air pressure is so important or how it has suddenly become such a big issue after all this time?
I don't understand the way the NFL has decided to handle the management of game day footballs. Perhaps someone can help me here. It doesn't appear that the investigation has been able to ascertain any wrongdoing. There apparently were discrepancies in the amount of air in the footballs, but pigskin prognosticators of all stripes disagree whether it was man-caused or weather-caused.
Now I don't believe for a second that Bill Belichick or Tom Brady had anything to do with the alleged "soft balls." However, if the powers that be decide there was some wrongdoing, then can't they just fine the team, be done with it and find a better solution? Despite what some Patriot haters might think, one does not send one to jail for jaywalking, and so equating this to a major cheating scandal is patently absurd. Any difference in the firmness of the footballs had nothing to do with the Pats crushing the Indianapolis "sour grapes" Colts. There appears to be something more than meets the eye going on here, but I doubt Mr. Goodell will ever get around to enlightening us. Nor do I think the "totally lost its way" mainstream media has a strong desire to uncover the real truth.
So can't we just celebrate success borne of talent, dedication, focus, intelligence and teamwork? Can't we just enjoy the game and the few hours respite from a world gone mad? I can assure you that I will. Monday will be soon enough to return to the rigors of bringing to light the madness of the left, from Clinton's Lewinsky to Obama's Alinsky.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 11:44
To The Daily Sun,
A big "Hats Off" to the Laconia Public Works crew which worked very long hours to clear the streets during and after the snowstorm.
The plows went by my home at least three times. This was followed by the sand trucks. I was able to go to the store early Wednesday morning without any problems as the streets were in great condition considering all the snow we received.
Thanks to all of you who did an excellent job.
Gordon D. King
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 11:38
To The Daily Sun,
I oppose the three traffic circle proposal for Meredith because it doesn't solve our congestion problem. It slows down traffic, and you don't solve a congestion problem by slowing down traffic. You solve a congestion problem by eliminating and/or speeding up traffic.
Several writers, Miller Lovett, Rosemary Landry, Marc Abear, Lou Kahn, David L. Bennett, and others, have provided useful suggestions, information, and comments.
You eliminate traffic by providing bypassing Meredith as Lovett suggested, e.g., from Route 104 to Center Harbor via Winona Road (or even Hatch Corners Road) to Waukewan Road to U.S Route 3 to Route 25-B. We could start reducing traffic through Meredith today by identifying this bypass. (Yes, improvements to this route would be helpful.)
The fact that a Meredith bypass would not be funded by the state or federal governments is another example of government mismanagement. Government willingly throws money at problems but not real solutions. It's crazy to fund a poor or non-solution when we keep hearing about failing roads and bridges. Government waste like this happens repeatedly (e.g., education, welfare, job retraining programs) and explains why our nation is deeply in debt and why problems don't get solved.
You speed up traffic by eliminating the things that slow traffic, i.e., pedestrians, stop light delays, and left turn delays.
As Bennett suggests, you eliminate pedestrian caused delays by providing overpasses to eliminate pedestrian crossings. (I doubt that the medians in the three circle proposal would help much, but the idea could be tested next summer by use of temporary barriers between the traffic lanes.)
You reduce left-turn delays by eliminating left turns that slow the congested traffic. Signs could be posted to start eliminating these delays today. (The current proposal eliminates some left turns.)
Left turns from Route 3 northbound in the congested area should be eliminated everywhere unless there is a left-turn lane or a stop light. All left turns into Route 3 northbound in the congested area should be eliminated. Traffic can enter at, or north of, the intersection with Route 25.
On Fridays during the summer, left turns from Route 3 southbound onto Route 25 eastbound should be eliminated or the traffic signal could be programmed to delay these turns for several cycles to allow Route 3 northbound traffic to continue mostly unimpeded. A northern bypass from Route 3 North of downtown to Route 25 should also be considered, perhaps an extension of Greemore Road.
Things could be done today inexpensively to help relieve Meredith's congestion problem.
Every citizen and every community can help provide better government by demanding solutions that actually solve problems and by rejecting even "free money" that doesn't actually solve problems.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 11:07