Pandemic Reflections

A year of COVID in N.H.

She saw her father live, before she watched him die

Kara Pioli holds a photo of her father, William Pioli, in the guest room of her Penacook home on Friday. Her father died of COVID last year.

Kara Pioli holds a photo of her father, William Pioli, in the guest room of her Penacook home on Friday. Her father died of COVID last year. Photo by Geoff Forester

William Pioli had a flair for making a point. Take his stance on illegal drug use, for example. Thirty years ago, Pioli went beyond merely telling his three children, gathered around the dinner table, that using drugs was stupid. Instead, he showed Kara Pioli and her two brothers the absurdity of using, comparing it to what he did next: a face plant into his slice of pizza. Read story.

Funeral homes help families find a new way to grieve

Katie Roan, who owns Roan Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Service with her husband, Matthew, discusses the challenges of the past year during an interview at their Allenstown facility

Katie Roan, who owns Roan Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Service with her husband, Matthew, discusses the challenges of the past year during an interview at their Allenstown facility, Petit-Roan Funeral Home, on Wednesday. Photo by Geoff Forester

When the state’s funeral homes first started discussing how to safely commemorate COVID-19 patients last spring, the worst of the pandemic was still months away. What followed was unlike anything funeral directors had ever seen. Read story.

Local restaurants have weathered a year of virus-related hardships, here’s how they’re doing

Dos Amigos manager Kina Gilson gets slammed with lunchtime takeout orders on Friday afternoon. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Dos Amigos manager Kina Gilson gets slammed with lunchtime takeout orders on Friday afternoon. Photo by Geoff Forester

When the pandemic suddenly upended lives last March and abruptly closed all restaurants in the state on St. Patrick’s Day, the uncertainty was one of the hardest parts for Kosmas Smirnioudis, owner of the Windmill Restaurant in Concord. Read story

Reflecting on a year that has reshaped our economy and workforce

Businesses have faced a ton of problems during the pandemic year, but as they start the transition back to some form of normalcy, the biggest effect may prove not to be technical, financial or operational, but personal. Read story.

A life of dedication brought to an end

Gail Berggren

Gail Berggren. Courtesy photo

Gail Berggren was the type of person who never stopped moving. At every stage of life, she enthusiastically dedicated herself – and excelled – at whatever activity intrigued her or needed her attention. In high school, that meant going through 115 pounds of flour to perfect her famous pastries, which ultimately won her a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair. A couple of years later in college, she became a legendary ping-pong player in the girl’s dormitory of Iowa State University. “I believe that for four years she never lost a ping pong match,” her brother, Kay Ressler, recalled. Read story.

A grim milestone for nursing homes in New Hampshire

A little more than a year ago, the United States reported its first outbreak of COVID-19 at a nursing home at a suburban facility in Kirkland, Washington. Two-thirds of the residents tested positive for the virus and 35 people died. Brendan Williams, the president of the New Hampshire Health Care Association, knew the facility intimately – years ago, he worked with the home during his tenure the Washington Health Care Association. The death toll set off red flags in his mind. Read story.

When virus hit, ‘we turned our board room into a war room’

Ana Queiroz, an IT support technician for the Concord School District, works in a conference room that serves as the headquarters for device repairs, in the basement of the district offices on Liberty Street in Concord on Friday.

Ana Queiroz, an IT support technician for the Concord School District, works in a conference room that serves as the headquarters for device repairs, in the basement of the district offices on Liberty Street in Concord on Friday.

The first time Concord school administrators and digital learning specialists met last March to discuss an unfamiliar but growing threat known as the coronavirus, it was Friday the 13th. Read story

Some education changes may stick around

After a year of remote education, hybrid schedules, outdoor classrooms and the reinvention of how lessons are delivered, school leaders say some changes may be here to stay even when everything returns to “normal.” Read story

A friendly caring face, now behind a mask

Carol Hyslop, the hospitality manager at Concord Hospital, stands in the front lobby atrium on Wednesday

Carol Hyslop, the hospitality manager at Concord Hospital, stands in the front lobby atrium on Wednesday. Photo by Geoff Forester

Carol Hyslop never intended to work in the hospitality field – but once she started, she couldn’t stop. When Hyslop got her first job at Concord Hospital as a greeter, she had just completed her phlebotomy training and wanted to get her foot in the door at a clinical lab. Once she started welcoming families and escorting patients to their rooms, she realized she had stumbled into the perfect career. Read story

New Hampshire hospitals are struggling financially

Concord Hospital medical personnel wave to passing emergency vehicles in front of the hospital on Friday afternoon, April 10, 2020.

Concord Hospital medical personnel wave to passing emergency vehicles in front of the hospital on Friday afternoon, April 10, 2020. Photo by Geoff Forester

New Hampshire hospitals have been bleeding millions of dollars a month as they fight to care for the casualties of the pandemic. The impacts on the state’s healthcare system may last for years. Read story



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