Tag Archives: Rotary

McDonald’s Alton (NH): Employees Not Washing Hands — State Is Going To Look Into Incident.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

The Mopping Floors to Dispensing Ice Cream Cones Without Washing Hands Incident on August 7, 2013.

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

First time ever that I have ever filed a complaint about food service.

But I could not let this go unreported. That would have been irresponsible.

I am sure that more egregious violations happen all the time.

Lets see what will transpire.


McDonald’s Alton (NH): Employees Not Washing Hands, Mopping Floor Then Dispensing Ice Cream Cones!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Happened at 4:30 pm today, Wednesday, August 7, 2013.

Yes, I summoned the Manager — who happened to be seated at one of the tables!

Yes, I made sure that everybody within earshot heard about it.

Yes, I called up McDonald’s Corporate, gave them my name and contact information, and filed a report.

Yes, I have e-mailed NH Health & Human Services (Food Protection) & Copied the Alton Health Inspector

Anything more you think I should do?

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

This was pretty amazing. Six hours later I am still in shock!

~4:30 pm today I stopped at the McDonald’s in Alton (by the rotary, 4 Homestead Place) to get the kids two dipped ice creams.

When I walked through the door there was nobody at the registers.

Two young girls, in red shirts, were together mopping the seating area with one of their big buckets on wheels and two mops.

As I approached the counter one of the girls involved in the mopping peeled away and appeared behind the counter to take my order. I didn’t think anything of that since she was not touching any food. Plus, they handle change, without gloves …

I ordered the two dipped cones and was paying when I saw the other girl put her mop in the bucket and walk over to behind the counter, take a cone, in a bare hand and start filling it up!

I immediately asked her: ‘did you wash your hands?’

She looked at me blankly, the half filled cone in her hand. She didn’t say anything.

Then the girl who took the order and three others in food prep all piped up: ‘no she didn’t wash her hands, she should have‘.

The girl taking my order reached over, took the cone from her hand and threw it away.

I asked for the manager. She happened to be seated right there, at a table, where the mopping was taking place.

She agreed that the employee should have washed her hands. That was it.

This is incredible.

Mop handle to handling a ice cream cone.


This is insane.

Yes, you never know what really happens with your food at any restaurant. Yes, I am sure many don’t wash their hands.

Well, over to you all …

Ed Engler, Editor of ‘Laconia Daily Sun’ Running For Laconia (NH) Mayor.


Ed from our wedding on January 1, 2003.

. ..by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
Check CATEGORY ‘Laconia Daily Sun’ for other posts using Sidebar >>>>

Click to access June 14, 2013 'Daily Sun' with this article.

Click to access June 14, 2013 ‘Daily Sun’ with this article.

I have known Ed since the Summer of 2001 when I joined Laconia Rotary and he was the official scribe-in-chief. See my Ed & ‘University of  ‘Whales’ story.

Ed is a good guy. I know that he always tries to do the right thing. So I am glad he is running for Laconia Mayor. I wish him the best of luck.

As he correctly states in the above piece there is a lot of homework he has to do. Not sure whether he will be a Matthew Lahey (1996 – 2003 as Mayor) but I think he will try.

Given the conflicts of interests we have suffered, of late, with ‘The Braysider‘ I will be curious to see how Ed handles the ‘presses’ in the coming months. Knowing Ed I am sure he will publish a few letters that promote his opponents, BUT it will be interesting to see where he draws the line. Not sure whether there is another press outlet for his opponents. But I guess Bloomberg with his publishing empire ran for NYC Mayor, so Ed is following in good footsteps, and like Bloomberg he too can use all of his resources to make sure that he is elected.

Well this should be fun. Best of luck Ed. I guess you will now be too busy to have lunch with us.

Today’s Laconia Daily Sun Decides That We Are In ‘N.N.’ (Possibly Because The State Voted Obama).

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.


..by Anura Guruge

Today, December 6, 2012, in the 'Laconia Daily Sun'.

Today, December 6, 2012, in the ‘Laconia Daily Sun’.

Given that my middle name is ‘Typo‘, I better than most appreciate the joys and pitfalls of typos, but I have to say that the ‘Laconia Daily Sun‘ puts me to shame on a regular basis. I had at one point considered setting up a blog just to keep track of the daily bloopers from the Sun — which is the only newspaper I read in ‘print form’ on a regular basis. But, I realized that I just wouldn’t have the time to do it justice. Often I am convinced that Ed Engler, the Editor, who is noted for his wit, does this on purpose — just to get a rise. You may recall he is the same one that published that I had attended the ‘University of WHALES‘ — shamelessly making fun of my blubber. This amused me. So I wanted to share. The whole Liquor Store story doesn’t make sense either, but that isn’t a case of Ed pulling our collective leg. I read the story on WMUR. A bit of a stretch even for NH.

I Take Umbrage To The Implication That ‘Alida Milham’ Of Gilford Looks Like ‘Ray Burton In Drag’! That Is Insulting To ALL.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

It is no secret that we are ardent Democrats (though I was a staunch, to the ‘Right Of Margret Thatcher‘ conservative/republican until my ‘Road to Baghdad‘ epiphany in 2003). You only have to scroll through this blog or check my popes and papacy blog where I rail against the inane Catholic Bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin, who has stated that those that vote Democrat are going to hell!

We know Alida Milham. Her husband, Peter, has been our lawyer. He was a fellow member at Laconia Rotary. Alida and Peter attended our wedding.

I know Ray Burton. He knows me, but not by name. Irrespective of his orientation, or probably because of it, Ray is a LOVELY man. You cannot take that away from him. Period. For the last 15 years, whether it be Gilford Ol’ Home Day parade, Sandwich Fair or an exclusive ‘Rose Garden‘ tea party in Meredith (organized by the local GOP stalwarts), Ray will come and shake my hand — probably because I stand out, usually being the only non-white for miles. I like Ray. I like his Cadillac too (or is it an Oldsmobile).

So here is the offending post. I am NOT going to give it publicity by stating where it came from. Most of you from around here will figure it out.

Click to ENLARGE … so you can read it. This is WRONG! No need for this kind of base behavior. These two, irrespective of political persuasion, lifestyle choice and looks, are outstanding HUMAN BEINGS.

Alida Milham from 2003 and I think she looks great, as does Peter, the always debonair attorney.

Well I have already said ALL I have to say about
Lisa DeMartino.

If Alida, Lisa and Ray are supposed to be wrong, I don’t want to be RIGHT!

Gunstock Inn, Gilford, NH — Sold Again. Second Time In The Last 10 Years.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

Our wedding, with “Anu’s Piper”.

We used to have a kind of emotional attachment to ‘the Inn’ given that we got married there on January 1, 2003.

It worked out well for us. We got married, to the day, 6 weeks after meeting online. So we didn’t have much time. I was working for MacDurgin in Laconia and the ‘Inn’ was a customer. So I had got to know the owner, when I delivered stuff, help set up printers and quoted them for various computer systems for the Health Club.

The restaurant, at that time, and going back a few years, was quite good. They used to do a nice Sunday brunch. My son, Matthew, liked their brunch. We used to frequent the restaurant a fair amount. The Chef did us proud! All together it went well.

I kind of knew the then ‘recent’ history. A couple from MA had bought it, when he, a longtime UPS employee, did good when UPS went public in the mid-1990s. Then, they got divorced. She ended up with the place. Following 2001 things were tight and she wanted out. It was hard (for all). In addition to the wedding I organized a few other events at the ‘Inn’ around that time frame for Laconia Rotary and MacDurgin. I kind of got fed up getting ‘nickeled and dimed‘ after we had agreed on ‘terms’. Silly, crazy stuff, but I would get these frantic calls at night demanding ‘another $17’ when I had already agreed to pay $960 (and would have paid a round $1,000 in the first place, if I had been asked that to begin with)! It was a shame. Had a bit of that with the wedding (like getting charged for rooms he didn’t want or use), but I just paid up. I was glad that it was sold.

Since we liked the place we tried to go to the restaurant whenever we could and was hoping to establish a tradition of going there for our anniversary, each year, on January 1.

In the Summer of 2003, right before Bike Week, the chef left in a huff. I was very upset. He was a good guy. Good chef.

I know we went there on January 1, 2004. The restaurant changed hands so many times after that, that we just gave up.

We got invited to a pool party somewhere around 2005 – 2006. I was shocked at the mold and mildew in the changing rooms. I told Deanna that I wouldn’t be going back — and I haven’t. Deanna took the kids to another pool party during the last 18 months. I asked her about the mold and mildew. It was still there, though she said that it looked like they had tried to clean up.

Just now, before I started writing this I did a quick Google of the ‘Inn’. Saw reviews on ‘Trip Advisor‘. I do use them sometimes. So I looked them up. Cracked me up. There was a review from September 2012 talking about ‘mold and mildew’! That is a shame. The 2 couples, ‘brother-and-sister’ (or similar), with missionary backgrounds, that bought the place might have been over their heads. They had no hospitality background. So, it could be 3rd time lucky for the ‘Inn’. I would like to see the restaurant make a come back. So I am rooting for the ‘Inn’.

Click to access ‘Trip Advisor’ and the reviews.

New Hampshire Stories: Laconia Rotary Club and Arthur C. Clarke Being American.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

  by Anura Guruge

Arthur C. Clarke in Sri Lanka with the famed Sigiriya rock fortress with its fabled images of topless beauties behind him.

What Arthur C. Clarke is MOST famous for though this was BUT just a small part of his huge legacy … Click image to read about Arthur in Wikipedia.

“New Hampshire Stories” sets out to chronicle noteworthy, but mostly amusing, events from my 3 decades in New Hampshire.
Check the CATEGORY ‘New Hampshire Stories’ or do a SEARCH using sidebar search box for ‘stories’ for other posts.

Please read this post
for more about my induction to the Laconia Rotary Club ….

So per President Kinney’s instructions I did my two presentations to the club about my life, the first devoted to my early days.

A few weeks later, per the club edict that you really must mingle, I sat at the informally designated ‘head table’ for what was always an outstanding buffet lunch. The professional dignitaries invariably gravitated to this table.

On of those at the table was a recently retired surgeon from Laconia. Big guy in every sense of the word, but very nice. He had just recently been the President of some prestigious board of NE surgeons (possibly doctors). His brother was a dentist (in Laconia) and a member of the club. They always sat at the same table. The dentist was a chair-smoker. Whenever I saw him I would have these images of him, in the 70s (when I assumed there were no laws against where you smoked), leaning over his patients with a cigarette dangling from his lips.

I am seated diagonally from the surgeon; his brother seated next to him.

The surgeon puts down his cutlery, looks up at me and says: ‘So Anu, who is the MOST famous American author living in Ceylon … Sri Lanka?

I am stumped. I don’t know. I THOUGHT that maybe he was getting Arthur C. Clarke confused, but dared not mention that name.

I had, in my 1st presentation mentioned Arthur C. Clarke. Pointed out that he had moved to Ceylon in the late 1940s for the sunken shipwrecks that he dove (and for some other local ‘attractions’). Mentioned that my father knew him and that the very first telescope that I had seen (and used) belonged to Arthur C. Clarke. It was a brass telescope and Arthur had lent it to my father for a couple of nights. My father managed to find Saturn with it. Was I impressed and hooked. Wow. Yes, I could see the rings. I am sure Arthur gave my father directions as to where to point as my father, though an expert in many fields, is not an expert when it comes to the night sky. So I had covered Arthur in my presentation. So you can blame Arthur for my abiding interest in astronomy.

So, I am hesitating.

The surgeon by now is visibly getting excited. He goes: ‘Hhhhmmm. I thought you would KNOW. It is Arthur C. Clarke‘.

I am shocked. I am amazed. But, I have a knack of always hedging my bets …

So, I say: ‘You know, I am fairly sure Clarke is BRITISH‘.

This is a TRUE story with no embellishments whatsoever. But, can we PLEASE have a drum roll here …

He turns a bit pink and splutters:
Ha … He writes DAMN WELL for not being American’!


That to me will always be how I remember Laconia Rotary.

New Hampshire Stories: Laconia Rotary Club and the ‘University of Whales’

by Anura Guruge

Getting inducted into Laconia Rotary (in Sept. 2001, I think), by the late Kinney O’Rouke, wearing my ‘Granite State Ambassador’ (GSA) shirt, the first thing that Kinney got me into.

University of Swansea

University of Swansea, across from Mumbles Beach with its amazing long (I think 2 mile) tidal ebb-and-flow. No we didn’t use the beach much. During term time it was usually too cold.

Laconia Rotary Park with the historic Belknap Mill in the background, where Laconia Rotary has their meetings (on the 3rd floor).

“New Hampshire Stories” sets out to chronicle noteworthy, but mostly amusing, events from my 3 decades in New Hampshire.
Check the CATEGORY ‘New Hampshire Stories’ or do a SEARCH using sidebar search box for ‘stories’ for other posts.

How I met the once bestriding Kinney O’Rouke in the parking lot of the Laconia CVS and how me got me involved in ‘Granite State Ambassadors‘ (GSA) and Laconia Rotary were described in this July 14, 2012, post. So I won’t revisit that again. If you want the background, please read that post.

Kinney who was President of Laconia Rotary at the time ‘fast tracked’ my induction. I had to fill in a questionnaire about my life and meet with a 3 person ‘Induction Committee’ who wanted to ensure that I had integrity (and took regular showers). Anyway, since Kinney wanted me (and that was mainly to boost his recruitment score) they agreed to have me, integrity be damned.

I was not the first non-white that had been inducted. Dr. Prabhkar K. Shetty, the renowned Ophthalmologist from Gilford, had been a member for a longtime. But, I was by far, the most exotic person they had inducted and that was what Kinney wanted. As Kinney emphasized from the start, we were going to have fun and that fun started with my induction ceremony.

Birthdays are a BIG deal at Laconia Rotary. Around the time of your birthday you are supposed to bring in an item that is then auctioned, at the weekly lunchtime meeting, to raise money for the Club. The goal is to sell your item for as much as you can. So some get very creative and I remember items selling for $300. So, as part of the induction they announce your birthday. Based on a comment I had made that I knew somebody that was born on that day, Kinney announced that my birthday was ‘April 1’ — thus trying to set the tone that I was a clown, if not a fool.

Right after the induction meeting, Kinney tells me: ‘You are ON for the next 2 weeks. You are doing the presentation. Just tell them about your life‘. Another brilliant Kinney move. Each weekly Rotary meeting is supposed to have a ‘meaningful’ (hopefully educational) 20 – 30 minute presentation. As with the Birthday Auction each member is supposed to find speakers to fill these slots — again some setting out to excel (and keeping their speaker secret until the meeting). Once when it was my turn, I got Philip McLaughlin who had just finished his term as the Attorney General of NH. (Yes, they were impressed. Philip, a Laconia native, wowed them.) So, by getting me to fill in 2 slots, right away, Kinney, as President, didn’t have to worry about whether those two meetings were going to have speakers — that always been a challenge. [If he didn’t have school, e.g., Summer, Matthew, who was 8-9, used to attend the meetings with me, kids being encouraged to attend. At one of the meetings the speaker did not show up. I bribed Matthew, who had just come back from ‘Global Finals’, to talk about Destination Imagination (DI). I can’t remember what the bribe was, but I know it was expensive. He must have been 9 at the time. He got up on the podium. His face just about cleared it. So, he is now facing 100 adults. He, hesitated for a minute, but then launched straight in. He got a standing ovation. For the next 2 weeks I would meet people in Laconia or Gilford who would say: ‘I heard about your son’s speech at Rotary‘.]

So, per Kinney, my brief was that in my 1st slot, I had to talk about my ‘early’ life and that the 2nd slot should be about my experiences in high-tech.

Ed Engler, Laconia Daily Sun

Ed Engler at our wedding, January 1, 2003 — looking very happy, as he should.

So, as instructed, I did my first presentation talking about my life in Ceylon, growing up in the U.K. and going to school there.

As per rote, the proceedings of all the Rotary meetings are documented and posted on the Web. In those days, given his professional credentials, our official chronicler of all matters Rotary was Ed Engler, the Editor/President of the Laconia Daily Sun. Ed is a great guy. Very nice, very obliging. But, as anybody who is familiar with the Laconia Daily Sun will know, Ed and his lovely crew don’t waste too much time about accuracy.

The meetings are on Thursday. The report of the proceedings get posted by Monday. So given that I was still new and curious, I checked what dear Ed had said about my presentation.

He had done a decent job covering my time in Ceylon, Buffalo, Paris and London, but then said: ‘he got his first degree from the University of WHALES’!

I am not exactly thin, but I am NOT that fat.

I called Ed up and asked him what that was all about. He says: ‘That is what you said, right? University of Whales‘.

Yes, I know I have an accent, ironically part of it Welsh undertones. So, Ed had heard my: ‘I went to Swansea, University of WALES’ and interpreted it, without ever thinking to check, that I had gone to the ‘University of WHALES‘.

Following that start, just for the fun of it, bottles of “Whaler’s” rum became my trademark auction item at Laconia Rotary.

Dr. James R. Eakin in Laconia – BEST Family Optometrist (Optician) in Central New Hampshire, Possibly the Whole State

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

I have been wearing gas permeable (hard) contact lenses since 1969 (when I was 15). So over those 4 decades I have seen plenty of ‘eye doctors’ in the U.K. (in and around London) and in the U.S. (Maryland, Boston and NH).

Around 1983 they found that the cornea of my right eye was distorted. I thought I was going blind. As it transpired, after I saw a slew of experts, all I needed were specially fitted, rather small ‘Keratoconus‘ contact lenses. I used to call them my bionic lenses because one pair, in 1989, from a famed, crème de la crème hard lens expert on Boylston Street, Boston cost me $3,300!

So, over the years, especially with my need for special ‘Keratoconus’ contact lenses I have seen various optometrist, some of them with the reputation of being the best in their field. When I lived in the U.K. I used to see ‘Keratoconus’ legend in Harley Street — Harley Street synonymous with top quality doctors. Once I settled in New Hampshire in 1986, at the recommendation of an optometrist in Chelmsford, MA I started going to see another legend in Boston. I saw him for nearly 20 years. He was a co-inventor of ‘cantilevered’ contact lenses — lenses that only touch the eyes at the edges and not in the middle. This doctor was amazing. I thank him in my mind every day. He stabilized my eyes, and ensured that even today, approaching 59, with contacts I have 20/20 or close to 20/20 vision! Yes, he is the one who charged me $3,300 for my first set of lenses; but visits to him were 4 to 6 hour appointments with him checking and rechecking the fitting over the course of those lengthy visits.

I met Dr. Eakin when I joined Laconia Rotary in 2001. He was an honored member of long standing. I got to know him, as Rotarians are encouraged to do; he was an avid skier and in those days I too used to ski (a fair amount). My son needed his eyes checked. I took to Dr. Eakin. I was amazed by his diligence, expertise, manner and care. Seeing all the plaques in his office I also realized that he does a huge amount of pro bono work, some of it for the Lions, with kids! I was beyond impressed.

The prescription and fitting of my contact lenses rarely change since my eyes were stabilized, with good, well fitting contacts, in the late 1980s. So, I asked my Boylston ‘god’ whether I could see Dr. Eakin for my yearly eye health exams rather than trekking all the way to Boston for what invariably would be an all day expedition. He readily agreed and even sent all my records to Dr. Eakin with a very nice letter. So, I started seeing Dr. Eakin. He is so thorough. Trust me. I know my eye doctors and Dr. Eakin is as good as they get.

We all go to him now. He is amazing with the kids. This post was motivated because we took our 11 year old to him yesterday for a contact lens for her right eye. She keeps on losing her glasses and we can’t find them anymore. So easier to have her wear a lens. Her right is fine. So she only needs a lens in her left eye. Again, I was struck as to how amazing Dr. Eakin is.

Yes, he does not do my hard lenses. After a joker in Nashua injured my cornea, I now see an up and coming young eye doctor in Manchester. He is very nice. I still haven’t fully made up my mind about him. I think he will mature into a wonderful doctor. But, he is not Dr. Eakin. Hi eye examinations are nowhere near as thorough as those done by Dr. Eakin. Given that he is a part of a very fancy, upscale practice with fish tanks and flat screen TVs he bills my insurance company three times, yes, three times as much as Dr. Eakin! That is something else about Dr. Eakin. I have actually talked to his ‘office’ about that. I don’t think Dr. Eakin has changed his prices in 20 years (in marked contrast the dentist we go to in Winnisquam who ups his price every every six months and has the audacity to joke about thinking that it is funny). To him it is not a business. It is a service.

His office staff is wonderful too; especially Pat.

So trust me on this. If you are looking for an EXCEPTIONAL eye doctor in NH, go to see Dr. Eakin. You will NOT regret it.

Back Volunteering As A Granite State Ambassador (GSA)

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

I ‘passed’ my 2-day, SNHU run, GSA certification course, in Laconia, in the Spring of 2001. So, I have been a GSA since then. I was fairly active during the first 18 months, typically volunteering Thursday mornings at the Laconia Chamber of Commerce. It was the then director of that Chamber, the larger-than-life, Kinney O’Rouke, who got me involved with the GSA.

Kinney O’Rouke at our Gilford house in 2003.

It was the first warm day of Spring in 2001 and I was at the Laconia CVS in my daughters bright yellow 1995 Corvette (with its distinctive WOWNH plates), with the hood down. As I was about to pull out, this tall, ruddy figure, in a Hawaiian shirt walks up to my window, looks down at me, over his tinted glasses, and asks: ‘where are you from?’. In my case that questions has multiple answers. But, I could tell that Kinney was after ethnicity. He grilled me for a few minutes. He established that I was self-employed and worked my own hours (albeit quite a lot of them). Then he says, nary any compunction: ‘I have a 2 day class starting next week, in Gilford. I want you to attend. We need more people like YOU.’ That was the GSA certification class. It was a blast. As is invariably the case when I attend any kind of class (which thankfully is very rare since I turned 18) I was the ‘trouble maker’. They even made me switch seats the next day. But, I do remember winning a rather fancy moose cap from Molly Hodgson Smith, who had something to do with NH tourism at the time, for getting the answers right on some questions she posed. Over the next two years Kinney changed my life, most times without actually telling me beforehand. Shortly after the GSA course he had me inducted into Laconia Rotary. Kinney was the then President (and to be fair he was, in my case, just trying to fill his designated quota of new members). A few months later, in August, I was congratulated by another member for being elected the new ‘Sergeant-at-Arms‘. Another cute Kinney move. He needed a Sergeant-at-Arms and had me co-opted at a Board Meeting without even asking me beforehand if I would be interested. I was Sergeant-at-Arms for over 2 years, even after Kinney ceased to be the President.

Somewhere around 2003 I stopped the GSA volunteering. There was too much going on in my life. Time has always been a premium. I try to use every spare minute that I can salvage on writing and research. Between 2003 and 2011 I wrote 7 books – and managed to become an expert on papal history! So that is where much of the time went, though during that period I also ended up having two additional kids.

A couple of months ago, upon receiving a flyer, I agreed to volunteer at the upcoming HopFest on July 20, 2012. That got me thinking. I felt bad that I had not done any GSA work. So, I e-mailed them. They were, as ever, very nice. They didn’t chastise me for having gone missing for so long. Just wanted to know when I would start. Well, that was today. I did ‘3 hours’ at the Alton Bay information Center. It was fun. I like the interaction. I have a lot of fun. As has been noted, I am a ‘way off the scale‘ extrovert. Psychologist actually have a scientific definition for extroverts and introverts. Introverts are exhausted after public interactions; extrovert re-energized. Interacting with strangers has never made me tired.