Local/regional briefs: New London Hospital discontinues ophthalmology services

Staff, Wire Reports
Published: 7/30/2021 9:46:15 PM
Modified: 7/30/2021 9:46:19 PM

NEW LONDON — New London Hospital is set to discontinue its ophthalmology service at the end of September, according to a community message this week from CEO Tom Manion.

He pointed to staffing and costs as the reason for the change. The current service model was designed to meet the community’s surgical eye care needs, but demand favors optometry, or basic vision care, Manion said.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to support optometry care in a staffing and cost-efficient way at this time,” he wrote in his message on Wednesday.

Letters are slated to go out to about 800 affected patients, Manion said in an email.

The patients will be directed to other area providers as appropriate, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s ophthalmology service, where one of the two ophthalmologists at New London Hospital, Dr. David Lawlor, will continue to see patients.

The other ophthalmologist, Dr. Patrick Morhun, has returned to work for the Veterans Health Administration.

COVID vaccination clinics setfor Sullivan County in August

CLAREMONT — Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics are scheduled for sites in Claremont, Newport and Cornish in August, according to the Greater Sullivan County Regional Public Health Network and the city of Claremont.

The clinics are free and open to anyone 12 years or older. No appointment is necessary, but participants are asked to bring a form of identification that shows a date of birth.

■On Saturday, a mobile vaccine van is scheduled to be at the Claremont visitor’s center green on North Street from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

■Then, on Monday, a walk-in clinic is scheduled for the Claremont Fire Department, 100 Broad St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

■On Aug. 20, another clinic is scheduled for the Newport Senior Center, 76 S. Main St., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

■Also on Aug. 20, a clinic is scheduled for the Newport Farmers Market on the common from 3-6 p.m.

■The next day, Aug. 21, a clinic is scheduled for the Cornish Fair on 294 Town House Road from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

■On Aug. 31, a clinic is scheduled for the Claremont Community Center, 152 South St., 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Organizations that would like to host a clinic can reach out to GSCPHN@Hitchcock.org, Taralyn.Bielaski@NewLondonHospital.org or Stephen.J.Belmont@hitchcock.org. More information about COVID vaccine locations is available online at vaccines.gov.

Sununu vetoes bill to holdNH state primary in August

CONCORD — Republican Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday vetoed a bill that would have moved up the date of New Hampshire’s state primary elections from September to the first Tuesday in August.

New Hampshire is known for its first-in-the-nation presidential primary every four years, but its state primary, held the second Tuesday in September, is one of the nation’s latest. Sununu, in his veto message, said he agrees with Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who’s run New Hampshire’s elections for 45 years, that the bill “creates more problems than it solves.”

Sununu said the date change would move the elections and the campaign season into the middle of the summer, a time when more people would be enjoying their vacations than participating in the electoral process. He also said that moving the date to the summer could make it harder for communities to recruit poll workers and Election Day volunteers.

The governor said some advocates of the bill “point to the supposed challenge of election officials meeting the deadlines to send absentee ballots to members of the military or other overseas Granite Staters.” But Sununu said New Hampshire has never failed to meet those deadlines.

‘Big chair’ in front of Vermont bank damaged by vandals

BENNINGTON, Vt. — A giant ladderback chair that stands 19 feet tall may be big but it wasn’t tough enough for some vandals.

Damage to the massive “Big Chair” made from 3,000 pounds of cedar and white pine was captured early Thursday by surveillance video outside a credit union where the chair sits. The video shows two males and two females climbing and jumping on the chair.

The original chair was built in the late 1940s and became a popular roadside attraction. Over the decades it has been rebuilt several times.

The security video captured the moment the joints gave way, apparently injuring one of the vandals who was seen being helped away. The Bennington Banner reports the weight of the people who climbed on the chair caused the sockets that held the cross pieces to split wide open. Now the chair’s wooden joints are in splinters and the rope seat is no longer in place.

“We have people on a daily basis come and take pictures with the chair. They drive here specifically to see it,” said Linda M. Bow, the chief business officer for the Tri State Area Federal Credit Union’s Bennington branch. Bow said. “It’s going to be hard to replace. It wasn’t meant for climbing.”

Masks recommended for younger students in Bay State schools

BOSTON — Students from kindergarten through sixth grade, most of whom are not eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine, should wear masks indoors when schools reopen this fall, according to recommendations released Friday by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Older students who are not yet vaccinated, as well as unvaccinated teachers and staffers, should also wear masks indoors, the department said in guidance developed in conjunction with the state Department of Public Health.

Indoor masking is not required for medical or behavioral reasons.

“Masks are not necessary outdoors and may be removed while eating indoors,” the agency said.

The agency also said it recommends “that schools allow vaccinated students to remain unmasked.”

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, is still required to wear a face covering while on a school buses, per federal regulations.

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