Quality of Life 22/03/03

Not so sinful

New Hampshire is the sixth least sinful state in the country, according to a report from WalletHub. The personal finance website compared all 50 states in the country based on several of what it calls “key indicators of immoral or illicit behavior,” including anger and hatred, jealousy, excesses and vices, greed, vanity and laziness (measured by looking at data such as thefts and fraud to gauge jealousy or percentage of adults not exercising as part of gauging laziness — to which QOL responds, hey, maybe some of us are busy doing other things). To read the full report, visit wallethub.com/edu/most-sinful-states/46852.

QOL Score: +1

Comment: The study found the Granite State to be the least angry, with Massachusetts ranking as the second least angry. Perhaps the study’s authors have never seen us share a highway headed north on a long weekend.

DEI training for businesses

The New Hampshire Tech Alliance and the Center for Women and Enterprise are partnering up to offer ongoing virtual or in-person Diversity Equity and Inclusion office hours, open to any interested Granite State businesses. According to a press release, participants will work directly with Equity and Racial Justice consultant Kile Adumene, a local community organizer and native of Nigeria who has lived in New Hampshire for more than 20 years. Adumene is the co-founder and facilitator of the Manchester Community Action Coalition, which hosts regular meetings for people of color, immigrants and others to come together on civic and community matters.

QOL Score: +1

Comment: “This partnership … will help small businesses from all sectors access the guidance and support they need to navigate their own DEI challenges at no cost,” Center for Women and Enterprise director Chandra Reber said in a statement.

Housing supply

The state’s Department of Business and Economic Affairs recently released its annual report on housing supply from its office of planning and development, according to a press release. As of 2021, the total housing supply in the state is estimated to be 642,800 units, seven-tenths of a percent higher than the number of housing units recorded during the 2020 census. According to the release, New Hampshire added 4,446 units to its housing supply in 2020, slightly less than in 2019, when the housing stock increased by 4,483. Data from the U.S. Census report shows that New Hampshire saw a population growth of 5,500 between July 2019 and July 2020, with the state registering the fourth-highest percentage (61.6 percent) of inbound moves in the country that year.

QOL Score: 0

Comment: “This report is a reminder that New Hampshire’s appeal and pro-growth economy requires that we continue working on solutions to provide housing to meet the demand,” BEA commissioner Taylor Caswell said in a statement.

New EMTs

Sixteen newly trained EMTs have completed American Medical Response (AMR)’s Earn While You Learn program in Manchester, according to a press release. They were recently celebrated at the Manchester Fire Department; eight of them were hired as full-time EMTs and eight are part-time for AMR Manchester. Over the last 12 weeks, many of the Earn While You Learn classes were taught at various fire stations across the city. Participants are hired as employees and compensated while attending the EMT-Basic certification course.

QOL Score: +1

Comment: “It has been a privilege to work alongside these future lifesavers who have demonstrated a strong commitment to our citizens and community,” said Manchester Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Cashin, who was on hand for the celebration.

QOL score: 60

Net change: +3

QOL this week: 63

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

ESPN ranks NBA’s top 75

Last weekend ESPN released its ranking of the 75 players on the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, and as you might expect I have some thoughts.

Given the evolution of the skills it’s hard to compare the pioneers with the players in the uber-athletic, crazy shooting 21st-century game. So these thoughts are based on how players dominated their era. Bonus points are given to their impact on winning in the playoffs and after joining a team. Like for Larry Bird, Kareem AbdulJabbar and Shaq, when the C’s, Bucks and Magic went from 29 to 61, 27 to 56 and 21 to 41 wins respectively the year they arrived in town.

Doesn’t belong

Carmelo Anthony (69): He scored a lot of points, 28,042 and counting. But so did Dan Issel (27,482), Vince Carter (26,728), Alex English (25,613) and Artis Gilmore (24,941), who also was a great rebounder, while Melo is a ball hog non-defender with zero playoff success.

Anthony Davis (71): His high is pretty high, but it’s too early to be here. Especially since he made the playoffs just twice in his first seven seasons, has no MVP and his title came as the second dog to LeBron.

Let me think about this

Russell Westbrook (68): Super stats, but hard to play with because he never gave it up until he couldn’t get his shot and that’s why he’s won bupkis.

James Harden (50): The most effortless scorer I’ve ever seen. But he doesn’t even try on defense and rewarding that goes against my grain Plus, while it’s irrational, I really hate the beard.

Who’s missing

The candidates are the four mentioned above, along with Bernard King, Pau Gasol, Bob Lanier, Chris Mullen, Joe Dumars, Dennis Johnson, Jo Jo White, David Thompson, Dwight Howard and Klay Thompson. All were/are better than Melo. On highest peak I’ll add King.

Surprising, but they deserve to be here

Dennis Rodman (67): Say what you will about him, but he personified the fact that greatness doesn’t have to be about scoring. He was vital to five championship teams when he was a smothering defender who gave Bird fits with Detroit and later was arguably the best post-Chamberlain/Russell rebounder the NBA has seen.

Bob McAdoo (45): All the injuries fog how dynamic he was with Buffalo when the under-sized centers battle between Dave Cowens (61) and him was so cool to watch. Then as the showtime Lakers’ sixth man he juiced the fast break to be even crazier when he replaced Kareem.

Too high

Giannis Antetokounmpo (18): But only because he’s just at mid-career with one title and two MVPs. So can’t see him yet ahead of the early dominance of George Mikan (28), who won seven titles in 10 (NBA/BAA) seasons, or later Lakers Jerry West (19) and Elgin Baylor (20).

Pete Maravich (54): Truly unbelievable in college, but not so in the NBA. Belongs in high 70s, maybe.

Kevin McHale (39): We all love Kevey, whose defensive versatility was vastly underrated and who for a few years was downright unstoppable. But Cedric Maxwell was more important to two of his three title teams and I’ve got him just eighth on my all-time Celtics list behind Cowens, Paul Pierce (62), Sam Jones (60) and Robert Parish (63). Sorry, Bob Ryan, Elvin Hayes (58) was better for much longer too.

Chris Paul (29): With him still looking for his first title, with no MVP or even being over .500 in the playoffs, he’s certainly not better than Steve Nash (37 — two MVPs), Bob Cousy (34 — six titles, one MVP, who invented what everyone does today in real time on the fly) or Allen Iverson (31).

Are you kidding me?

Willis Reed (57): Earl Monroe (55) is my favorite Knick ever and I loved watching Walt Frazier (41) grow from the pilfering, defense-first player he came to the NBA as to the unstoppable scorer he became. But even with Clyde actually being the real star of the Willis Reed game (36 points, 18 assists, 10 steals), sorry, those guys weren’t better than the Captain. Are they daft? Reed was the heart and soul of the golden era ’70s Knicks and the Finals MVP on both championship teams. No blanking way.

Reed was also better than his somehow ranked 48 rival Wes Unseld (teammate The Big E was better than big Wes too) and especially stat boy but no titles and no MVP Patrick Ewing (40). Reed is the greatest Knick ever and it ain’t close.

The Top 10: You can quibble with a place or two, like I’d flip Kobe (10) and Shaq (11) because it’s not a coincidence the big fella was the Finals MVP for all three of their shared championships. But aside from one glaring mistake they mostly got it right with, from 1 to 11: Jordan, LeBron, Kareem, Magic, Wilt, Russell, Bird, Duncan, Big O, Kobe and Shaq.

The Big Mistake: Superior talent, great stats and major awards are nice. But the only stat that actually matters is winning and a guy’s impact on that. Jordan won six MVPs and six titles (which might have been eight straight if he hadn’t retired the first time). Kareem matched both and is the all-time scorer. But Bill Russell matched the MVPs while winning 11 titles in 13 years and never lost a deciding Game 7. And no, he didn’t always play with the most talent. His final title came when he was at the end (averaged under 10 points a game) and, beyond a prime-of-life John Havlicek, was playing with aging starters and a bench full of scrubs against L.A. with three from the Top 75. But thanks to the incomparable will to win he still won. The winning started when he arrived and ended when he left. They now call him the greatest winner ever. But in my book, if you’re the “greatest winner” that also means you’re the greatest player.

Care for carers

SNHMC welcomes new chief nurse

Meet Susan Santana, the new vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua.

What is your background in health care?

I came from Lowell General Hospital, and I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years in various leadership positions. I have extensive experience driving and improving nursing practice. … I have a lot of experience in the Magnet designation program and the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s program, which is a designation for excellence in patient care, and that has really been the footprint that has driven much of what I’ve done as a leader in nursing. … I would say that, as a leader, I’m compassionate, visible, accessible and approachable. I’m focused on the work environment for nurses and also, more broadly, for all health care workers. My No. 1 professional passion is to create an environment that empowers the voices of the nurses so that they can provide quality care for patients, and to create a culture of teamwork and shared decision-making.

What does your job entail?

I oversee all of the nurses and their practice at Southern New Hampshire Health. I’m visible to the frontline nursing department, and I work collaboratively with the non-clinical departments, as well, with the goal of improving care for our patients [at SNHMC], and patients within our community. I’m involved in driving strategy that makes for a very strong Patient Care Services Division and positioning us to be the best place to work and the best place to practice medicine.

What are some of the biggest challenges in the nursing field right now?

I would say that the biggest challenges are staffing and the impact that the pandemic has had on the health care environment as a whole. There is a shortage of nurses. Many people are deciding to leave health care due to the effects of the pandemic. We’re working very closely on recruitment, retention and growing our workforce. Workforce development and professional development of our employees is of great importance, so we’re making sure that we’re partnering with human resources and posting those positions. … Also, because there aren’t enough nurses, the nurses are often working overtime, and they do get tired, so it’s very important that we support those nurses who are working tirelessly to care for our patients.

What do you hope to accomplish in your role?

To bring pride and excellence to the nursing division, to continue the good work that’s been started by this organization and to create a work environment that is a magnet for people to want to work in. … My vision is to have an engaged workforce that simply enjoys and loves the work that they do, and a workforce that is driven by the outcomes of their patients and in being involved in making a difference by improving the care of the patients.

What do you find rewarding about your work?

Helping to grow our young nurses and to mentor them as young leaders. Seeing that growth is very rewarding, and you don’t see it everywhere. The culture here at [SNHMC] is very special, and the teamwork and commitment of its employees is really second to none, so being in an environment like that is certainly rewarding, as well.

Why should someone consider a career in nursing?

I would say that nursing is one of the most rewarding fields that you can go into. There are endless opportunities as a nurse in this health care environment. There’s nursing inside of health care organizations, nursing in the community, the business side of nursing — there’s something for everyone in the nursing profession.

Featured photo: Susan Santana. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 22/03/03

Covid-19 update As of Feb 18 As of Feb 25
Total cases statewide 293,697 297,729
Total current infections statewide 3,073 2,130
Total deaths statewide 2,333 2,373
New cases 5,506 (Feb. 12 to Feb. 18) 4,032 (Feb. 19 to Feb. 25)
Current infections: Hillsborough County 749 588
Current infections: Merrimack County 286 163
Current infections: Rockingham County 439 310
Information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Covid-19 news

State health officials reported just 93 active hospitalizations due to Covid-19 on Feb. 23 — that’s down from more than 400 back in early January and also the first time since the early fall that it has dipped below 100. “The omicron surge is decreasing, both in New Hampshire and nationally,” state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said during a press conference that day. “As population immunity has increased, there’s also been a notable decline … in the severity of disease from Covid-19, and largely due to the availability of vaccines.” In response to the continued downward trend of cases and hospitalizations, Chan announced new updates to the state’s mask recommendations. “At this point … we are no longer recommending universal face masks for people in indoor, public locations, unless a person is required to wear [one] for their specific situation,” he said. Chan noted that this change does not apply to certain situations where face masks are still required under federal guidance or regulations, such as while someone is on board public transportation or when inside of a health care facility.

As of Feb. 25 there were 2,130 active infections and 92 hospitalizations. The state averaged 290 new cases per day over the most recent seven-day period, a decrease of 27 percent compared to the week before. All 10 counties remain at substantial community transmission levels.

Governor veto

Last week, Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed HB 319, which would have required students in the university and community college systems of New Hampshire to pass the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services civics naturalization test. In his veto letter, Sununu said that last year he passed SB 320, which implements a similar civics competency exam for high school students that goes into effect in 2023 “and will help continue the Granite State tradition of a citizenry actively engaged in self-government. As such, House Bill 319 would serve to address the lack of civics education only in out-of-state public post-secondary students. House Bill 319 would also represent the first time the legislature has imposed a universal graduation requirement for students at our public colleges and universities. I am concerned that this would create a precedent for future legislatures to mandate extreme requirements.”

State settlements

New Hampshire is expected to receive its full share of settlement funds — approximately $115 million paid over 18 years — following the final approval of the $21 billion opioid agreement with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors: Cardinal Health, Inc., McKesson Corporation., and AmerisourceBergen Corporation. According to a press release from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, the defendants will start releasing funds to a national administrator on April 2, and states will start getting funds in the second quarter of 2022. Under state law, all of the funds will be used for opioid abatement purposes to support treatment, recovery, harm reduction, and other strategies to address the opioid epidemic, with 85 percent of those funds going directly into a dedicated opioid abatement trust fund, the release said.

The State has also entered into a settlement agreement with the Monsanto Company, Solutia Inc., and Pharmacia regarding polychlorinated bi-phenyl contamination of state waters and other state property. According to a press release, the old Monsanto Co. marketed and sold numerous products containing PCBs knowing that PCBs caused harm to human health and the environment from 1929 to at least 1977. This caused 104 state water bodies to be impaired with PCBs and has required the state to issue numerous fish advisories. Monsanto has agreed to pay $25,000,000 to resolve this case, and the State will get $20,000,000 of that after paying attorneys’ fees, the release said.

Lottery app

The New Hampshire Lottery has launched a new mobile app, allowing players to check their tickets, find retail locations, stay up to date on new promotions and customize the app to their preferences to show their favorite games and winning numbers. According to a press release, the app is available on iOS and Android devices, giving users an easy way to stay up to date with the latest news from the New Hampshire Lottery, including winning numbers, jackpot amounts, current scratch ticket games and results. A Ticket Checker lets players see if they are winners by scanning the barcode from the bottom front of scratch tickets and Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky For Life, Tri-State Gimme 5, KENO 603 and other games, the release said. Players can also purchase Fast Play tickets from any Lottery vending machine by scanning the QR code.

No Russian spirits

On Feb. 26, Gov. Chris Sununu issued Executive Order 2022-2, an order instructing all of the state’s Liquor & Wine Outlets to immediately remove all Russian-made and Russian-branded spirits from store shelves until further notice. The order is one of several similar measures taken by state governors as a show of solidarity with Ukraine against Russia’s invasion of the country just days earlier. “New Hampshire stands with the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom,” Sununu said in a statement on social media. Brands include Stolichnaya, Russian Standard and Hammer and Sickle — according to a statement from the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, sales have been suspended at each store per the governor’s order, and updates on each product’s availability will be provided “as the situation evolves.” Visit liquorandwineoutlets.com.

Dining with dogs

Sununu also signed SB 17, an act relative to permitting dogs in outdoor dining areas of restaurants, last week. The bill will go into effect on April 25, according to a report from NHPR. It allows restaurants to permit dogs in outdoor dining areas alongside their owners if the restaurants follow certain guidelines, like putting up a sign so patrons know where dogs are allowed, taking food safety measures, ensuring dogs are under their owners’ control, and not allowing restaurant staff to play with or pet the dogs.

Travel board

State Division of Travel and Tourism director Lori Harnois has been elected to serve on the U.S. Travel Association’s Board of Directors. According to a press release, Harnois will serve a two-year term beginning this month. “It is an honor to be elected to serve in this capacity,” Harnois said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to being more involved in national issues … and elevating New Hampshire’s presence on a national level.” Based in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Travel Association represents all components of the travel industry and produces research in the form of travel data, analysis and insights to keep the industry and lawmakers informed. According to the release, the newly elected directors will convene for the first time in person at a meeting in Washington, D.C., in April.

The Raymond Coalition For Youth is partnering with Unite Us to expand Unite Us in New Hampshire, a coordinated care network that aims to address the unmet needs of people and families throughout the state. According to a press release, Unite Us helps connect people to mental and behavioral health services, youth and family resources, and financial assistance. By partnering with Unite Us, the Raymond Coalition For Youth will offer a central point of contact where health care providers, social service organizations and individuals can access and refer people to needed services while monitoring progress.

The public is invited to the Manchester Land Use Code Code-a-Palooza on Monday, March 7, and Tuesday, March 8, at the Palace Theatre’s Spotlight Room. Put on by the City of Manchester and Town Planning and Urban Design Collaborative, the event is a chance for residents to talk with community members, city staff and planners to share ideas, hopes and concerns about the future of the Queen City’s sustainability, character, housing, and development, according to a press release. A schedule of meetings can be found at manchesternh.gov/landusecode.

Rev. Andrew Armstrong, Senior Minister of The First Church Nashua, plans to travel approximately 2,000 miles from Nashua, Iowa, to Nashua, New Hampshire, to raise awareness and funds for repairs to the 129-year old church bell tower. According to the press release, the church has started a GoFundMe page to support Armstrong’s ride and the restoration of the historic New England landmark.

Very like mine

Their kitchen is very like mine: a coffee maker, bowl of fruit, and a shelf of spices, under a window that looks outside. On their counter is a small TV or computer screen. Yes, it almost exactly mirrors my kitchen here in New Hampshire, but theirs is in an apartment building in Kyiv and one whole wall of their kitchen has been blown out from a Russian missile yesterday morning.

Their family is very like mine. Together today, we are three generations: my wife, our son and our daughter-in-law, and our two grandchildren. They are having breakfast at our house, stopping here on the way to Logan airport for a two-week vacation. I’ve been playing number games with my grandson and our granddaughter is learning to say “Aloha.” As a family, we look very much like them, but they, with their small children, are taking shelter in a subway station as the air raid sirens wail and the sounds of nearby shelling shakes the benches they are sitting on. I see joy and expectation in the face of my grandchildren and fear in the faces of that Ukrainian family. Mine knows where they are going. They have no idea where or when they will be safe.

Their neighborhood is very like mine. The houses are along a tree-lined street with cars parked outside. My neighbors are cleaning up after a snow storm, grumbling when the town snowplow deposits a plug of ice at the end of their newly cleared driveways. But the family outside Lviv is outside trying to halt a line of Russian tanks making its way through their otherwise quiet neighborhood.

Their neighbors are very like mine. Across my street lives a physician, next door is the owner of a construction company, further down is a retired school superintendent and a business executive, and beyond the owner of a tech company. Even in Covid times, we gather in one of our driveways to share a beverage in the evening and catch up on local news. But in Kharkiv, the neighbors gather to collect empty bottles — just like the ones we have — to make Molotov cocktails. And there, too, the counterparts of my neighbors — a physician, a builder, an executive, a retired superintendent, don makeshift uniforms and take rifles into their hands, many of which have never even held a weapon before. Why? Because their country means so much to them.

Empathy is the very human capacity to feel as another person might. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is like no other war in my experience. I do not read about it in a newspaper 24 hours later. Instead, it is broadcast live into my kitchen as it is happening and through those media relays from Ukrainian kitchens, families, neighbors and neighborhoods so very like mine, I am drawn deeply into their plight because it is now so possible to imagine what such a conflict would entail in my otherwise safe life.

They are fighting for democracy and their country. They are also fighting for us. We must help in any way we can.

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