Written by Barbara Tetreault
By Sarah Kinney
BERLIN - Dr. William Foord of Berlin, an ophthalmologist, entered into a settlement with the NH Board of Medicine for allegations of professional misconduct.
The professional misconduct allegations include prescribing certain pain medications to patients, instead of referring them to a pain specialist and improperly prescribing painkillers to himself and family.
In February 2013, the Board suspended his prescribing privileges. Foord has now agreed to a permanent prohibition from prescribing types II, III, IV, and V controlled substances.
In addition to the prescription prohibition, Foord was reprimanded, given a $2,000 administrative fine, required to meaningfully participate in eight hours of continuing medical education focused on professional boundaries and medical ethics related to prescribing practices, and, for the next two years, must furnish a copy of the settlement agreement to any current or prospective employer.
The settlement agreement said Foord was issued an Emergency Suspension of Prescribing Privileges on Feb. 4, 2013 for posing "an imminent threat to life, safety, and/or health."
On Feb. 20, 2013 the Board held a hearing on the restrictions. Foord voluntarily agreed not to prescribe the II, III, IV, and V controlled substances until further notice, pending the professional misconduct allegations.
Foord was sent a letter of concern back in 2011 after a patient of his died of acute intoxication from the combined effects of Oxycodone and Alprazolam (Xanax), which Foord had prescribed from June 2007 through June 2011 and had not referred to a pain specialist.
Another complaint brought to the board was that Foord continued to prescribe Alprazolam to a patient who became addicted, and then tried to manage her symptoms without referring the patient to a special for drug treatment.
He violated both NH Medical Administrative Rules and the American Medical Association's Code of Ethics by prescribing Prilosec to one member of his immediate family and Zoloft to another and by prescribing Lipitor, Prilosec and Enalapril Maleate, used to treat high blood pressure, to himself on several occasions.
Foord attended medical school at Harvard University Harvard Medical School and graduated in 1971. He was licensed to practice in NH in 1975.
Last Updated on Friday, 25 July 2014 20:16
At approximately 11 p.m. Tuesday, Norma Dimick, 68, was located by a New England K-9 team after having been reported missing earlier in the day. Groveton ambulance and Stratford Fire Department responded and assisted with the extrication of Dimick out of the woods. She was transferred by ambulance to Weeks Memorial Hospital in Lancaster for further evaluation.
The Stratford woman went missing at about 1 p.m. Her caregiver called authorities after looking for her for approximately 20 minutes. N.H. Fish and Game Department was notified, and search efforts began shortly after.
A State Police helicopter, Fish and Game K-9 units and conservation officers, state police and personnel from the Stratford Fire Department began looking for Dimick in surrounding woodlands and roadways. Dog teams from New England K-9 Search and Rescue were called in to search through the night.
No further information is available at this time.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 20:20
Written by Barbara Tetreault
BERLIN – After 15 years at Tri-County Community Action Program doing everything from running the welfare to work program to managing the North Forest Heritage Park, Dick Huot will retire Friday.
But his career at TCCAP is only part of his contribution to his home city. Huot has served as mayor, chaired both the planning board and industrial park authority, and helped reorganize the chamber of commerce. He is head of the Androscoggin Valley ATV Club and has been involved in many local organizations and groups.
Huot will be recognized for his many contributions at an open house at the Brown Company House from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday.
Huot had been self-employed for 28 years, working as a barber at his shop, The Razor's Edge, when he decided to look for a job that would provide health benefits. One of his customers, then TCCAP CEO Larry Kelly, mentioned the agency was looking to hire someone to oversee a new program, Welfare to Work. Huot said Kelly suggested it might be a good fit for him because he was used to working with people.
Huot applied, interviewed for the position, and was hired. He admits after years of working for himself, he was nervous about the new job.
"It was kind of scary. I said what am I going to do now," he recalled.
In his career at TCCAP, Huot moved through various positions, taking on tough assignments for Kelly. From Welfare to Work, he became head of workforce development. Then Kelly asked him to take on the position of Housing and Community Development Coordinator and complete the development of the Cornerstone project in downtown Berlin. The agency, with other community partners, renovated a blighted three story building into a mix of retail and senior housing. Huot also oversaw a similar project in Ashland for TCCAP, turning a former schoolhouse into space for non-profit agencies.
In 2006, the chamber of commerce was in deep financial trouble and its future was uncertain. Northway Bank President William Woodward and Kelly stepped in and asked Huot to serve as interim director. Huot helped set up a transition committee that developed a new board of directors for an Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce. Huot spent a year as interim director and still remains a board member for what has become a thriving chamber.
At the same time, TCCAP had agreed to take over management of the Northern Forest Heritage Park and Kelly handed oversight to Huot. Huot said the park at the time was hosting two festivals a year and the city council said it wanted to see more activity there if the city was going to continue its annual appropriation. He said he aggressively began to rent out the park for private events. He also added a new event and reintroduced an old festival. Eventually, he had the park rented out for 70 different events annually, ranging from wedding to corporate parties.
But TCCAP, which formally took over ownership of the park in 2009, ran into financial problems in December 2012. A decision was made to concentrate on the agency's core mission and TCCAP is currently looking to sell the park to an appropriate organization. At the moment, Huot said the park is still open for rentals but does not host any events on its own.
Huot is particularly proud that under his tenure at the park, he was able to get volunteer labor to clean up along the river to open up a river walk. He said there was an old rusty barbed wire fence and abandoned rail tracks all covered with some overgrown trees and brush. A New England endurance training group offered to clean up the area and in a six-hour span, cut and cleared out a lot of trees, brush, and wire. Bob Chapman of Chapman Container took all the steel and old tracks and also removed some additional trees without charge. In exchange for an easement, Berlin Water Works agreed to hydro seed the site. Huot said the transformation has garnered a lot of compliments.
"That's my proudest accomplishment here," he said.
While he had been involved in many local groups such as Kiwanis and the North Country Softball League, Huot's first public office was the planning board. Soon after being appointed to the board in the early nineties, he was asked to chair a Route 110 committee to help come up with a proposed bypass. It was an issue the city had been looking at for years. After talking to residents of the neighborhood and studying truck patterns, Huot said it became obvious the route had to use Green Street. He said the committee also decided the truck traffic should be routed to the Cleveland Bridge. Eventually, the committee's recommendation became Phase I.
"That was my first big project – Phase I of the Route 110 bypass," he said.
Huot served six years on the planning board including three years as chairman. In 1998, newly elected mayor Robert DePlanche resigned to take a job out of state. Huot said he decided to run for the remaining 14 months of DePlanche's term because he felt he could bring some order to what was a highly contentious body. He said he worked to create a team spirit and get city officials to work together.
Huot said he decided not to run for re-election because he had accepted the position at TCCAP and was also working part-time at his shop. But he did agree to serve on the Berlin Industrial Development and Park Authority and soon took over as chair. Huot said he worked to get new business people on the board and BIDPA expanded its focus to include the downtown. Huot stepped down as chair but continues to serve on BIDPA.
Huot said he has enjoyed his work at TCCAP. There are people who are victims of circumstance and need help and he said TCCAP is there for them.
While he is retiring from TCCAP, Huot said he will remain active through his work on the chamber, BIDPA, and the Androscoggin Valley ATV Club. And mornings, he can still be found cutting hair at Razor's Edge.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 20:19
Written by Barbara Tetreault
By Daymond Steer
CONWAY – As of Tuesday afternoon, law enforcement was still trying to piece together how formerly missing teen Abby Hernandez came home on Sunday night after being missing for nine months.
Abby Hernandez, 15, disappeared after leaving Kennett High School on Oct. 9 at the end of the school day. She wrote one letter home at the end of October but had not been heard from since until Sunday when she was reunited with her family.
Many anticipated a press conference would be held Tuesday evening but instead the attorney general's office released a statement saying the investigation is ongoing.
Law enforcement also asked if anyone saw a woman wearing a multicolored sweatshirt and black pants on the North-South Road between 10 and 10:30 Sunday night. The outfit appears to be similar to the one she wore on the day she disappeared, based on school security footage of her walking down the school's hall on Oct. 9.
"Investigators continue to conduct interviews and review videotape surveillance from the businesses in the area surrounding the Hernandez home in order to gain answers to the many questions surrounding the disappearance and return of Abigail," the statement reads.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Conway Police at 356-5715 or State Police at 271-3636.
The statement says Abby had no known means to sustain herself for the nine months she was missing.
"Should the investigation reveal evidence that a person or persons were involved with Abigail's disappearance and/or detainment or concealment, then the appropriate criminal charge(s) will be brought," reads the statement. "Until such time that law enforcement officials have a comprehensive understanding of the facts surrounding Abigail's disappearance and nine month absence, there will be no further press briefings."
The mystery enthralled the community, and various Facebook pages, including The Conway Daily Sun's page and Bring Abby Home, have been lighting up with comments about the case.
"No offense but could this get any more strange?" wrote Claes Swede Hermanson on the Facebook page. "Does she have amnesia? Is she not cooperating? Did she forget if she wore those clothes? Either she was wearing those clothes or she was not."
On Tuesday afternoon, the Sun asked Kieran Ramsey, of the FBI, how common it is for a child to be found after being missing for so long. Ramsey said authorities were still sorting out the details of her disappearance. He said trying to put Abby's case in perspective by comparing it to other cases would be "very difficult." However, he said it's not hard to characterize Abby's return.
"To see her come home is a win in any column," said Ramsey.
The FBI's Kidnapping and Missing person's web page had about 70 names and faces on it as of Tuesday afternoon. Abby's name was still on the list but the word "located" was under her photo. She was the only person listed as located.
Ramsey hasn't spoken to Abby directly but says the core law enforcement agencies in the case, Conway police, State Police and the FBI, were working with Abby on Tuesday afternoon and that he was waiting for a briefing from them.
"We know everyone has a million questions," said Ramsey adding law enforcement wants to make sure their information is as "solid" as possible before they release anything. Ramsey says his understanding is Abby is well. He said concerns for her well-being are another reason why they are being careful about releasing information.
Earlier in the day, Senior Associate Attorney General Jane Young said she is "very, very, happy" that Abby is home safely.
"A lot of times it doesn't end that way," said Young who was on her way to Conway.
She says the investigation into what happened with Abby is "ongoing and dynamic." She told the Sun's reporter to be patient.
Conway police chief Ed Wagner said he was "extremely happy" that Abby has come home.
Abby's father posted a message on his Facebook page.
"We have prayed for this day — welcome home Abby," said Ruben Hernandez on his Facebook page.
Bring Abby Home volunteer Amanda Smith said Abby and Abby's mother, Zenya, won't be doing interviews right away.
Paul Kirsch, who led the Bring Abby Home effort, said he was at work when he got the news. Kirsch had organized a number of vigils, started a Bring Abby Home website and helped distribute a number of Bring Abby Home fliers and magnetic posters.
"I was filled with a combination of total shock and happiness, said Kirsch about how he felt.
Kirsch reacted to the news by contacting Smith because he figured Zenya would be swamped.
"After that, the next thing I did, with complete joy, was walk out to my truck and take the Abby magnet off the back of it," said Kirsch. "My wife and I got to see the family last night and it was very special. We are so happy for them and for the community support."
On Tuesday afternoon, Kennett High School principal Neal Moylan said he had no information about Abby but did say she would be welcome to return to school in September. Moylan has received countless media inquiries after news broke that Hernandez was home.
"We're glad she's home and safe with her family," Moylan said.
Abby's ex-boyfriend told WMUR that this ordeal has been "horrible" because he wondered what happened to her. He's glad she's home, WMUR reported.
For many months, Abby was listed on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children's web page as a child who is missing from New Hampshire. She had been removed from the list by Tuesday afternoon. When reached Tuesday, Bob Lowery, a national center vice president in the missing children division, said his organization is "delighted" with the news.
He said center's success rate drops off dramatically the longer a child has been missing but it has helped find people who have been missing for much longer. Lowery cited two examples. One person was found after 18 years and another was found after 42 years. The center won't close a case until the person is physically found.
"We don't give up," said Lowery.
The national center's success rate has improved over the years, according to its website.
"The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 196,488 missing children since it was founded in 1984," states missingkids.com. "Our recovery rate for missing children has grown from 62 percent in 1990 to 97 percent today."
As of Tuesday afternoon, Bring Abby Home's Facebook page had well over 10,000 likes.
Most people on Facebook were thrilled with Abby's return. However, some commenters were negative. Desiree Reed, who posted on Bring Abby Home's Facebook page, addressed some of the negative comments.
"Sorry but even IF she did run away I don't feel like my time was wasted getting the word out about her disappearance and I'm sure a lot of people who wanted her home safe feel the same," said Reed. "She is just a CHILD. Even if she ran away by her own free will this could have ended badly. Stop being so selfish; just be happy she is home."
Lee Albert Pelletier wrote, "The family certainly doesn't owe me any explanation. Just glad to hear they've been reunited with her."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 17:23
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