Written by Barbara Tetreault
Steven and Penny Binette told the council Monday night that they continue to oppose an open drainage pond on their property. Steve Binette said DOT is seeking an easement on half an acre of his 1.75-acre site. The drainage pond would be located at the rear of the 4 Hillside Avenue property.
DOT officials say the pond is needed because the re-alignment of Route 110 would send storm water from the avenues into the Dead River. The pond would collect that water and prevent it from going into the river.
Documents indicate the pond would be about 100 by 100 feet with a maximum depth of 7.5 feet.
At a meeting on the issue last summer, the council requested DOT look at putting the pond on Roderick Street to avoid the Binettes' property. Community Development Director Pamela Laflamme said DOT determined Roderick Street would be much more expensive because of the presence of ledge there. The cost estimate for the pool on the Binettes property is $125,000 compared to $350,000 to $450,000 on Roderick Street. Laflamme reminded the council that the city is responsible for 20 percent of the cost. DOT also looked at putting the pool behind the Notre Dame but the location did not serve the entire drainage area.
Steve Binette said the couple purchased the property in 2004 and has worked hard to revitalize the restaurant and improve the site. He said he filled in the area in question and it is currently used for parking when the Notre Dame area is holding events. He said the couple has long standing plans to expand the restaurant to include a larger dining area.
Penny Binette said she fears the open pool will have an odor that will hurt their business. The couple said it will be unattractive and will take away from the appearance of their property.
"I've done nothing but invest money in that property since I brought it nine years ago," Steve Binette said in a phone interview yesterday. He said he feels the couple is being penalized for improving their property.
The Binettes noted their business employs nine people and pays property taxes. They also cited their reputation as strong community supporters who organize an annual free Thanksgiving dinner and contribute to a host of civic causes.
Binette said DOT has offered a total of $50,000 to the couple for the easement. If the Binettes do not respond, the state is prepared to condemn the property.
Binette said DOT has refused to make public what it paid for property along the new alignment. He said one of the properties taken was the Guay Brothers garage, which could serve as a comparable for their property.
Steve Binette said the couple would accept an underground drainage pool that would allow them to continue to use the land for parking. But Laflamme said the cost for an underground drainage pool would be very high and the city would have to rent special equipment to do annual maintenance on it.
Councilor Russell Otis suggested the Binettes' restaurant will benefit from the Route 110 work, which should increase traffic by the business. Steve Binette said there is no guarantee other restaurants won't move to take advantage of that traffic flow.
Binette said if DOT is determined to put the pool on his property, he would rather sell the entire property to the state and relocate his business.
Councilor Mike Rozek said he had not changed his mind that the pool should go on Roderick Street.
"No matter how you slice it, this is not very attractive," he said.
Steve Binette said DOT could grind up some of the ledge at Roderick Street for fill for the project to reduce costs.
Mayor Paul Grenier said he could support putting the drainage pool on Roderick Street even though it might cost the city $40,000.
Councilor Lucie Remillard said the problem must be settled soon because the Route 110 project is scheduled to get underway this summer.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 20:37
Written by Barbara Tetreault
The job fair is being held at the NHES office from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to allow people who have jobs but are interested in opportunities at the federal prison to attend without missing work.
NHES Berlin Manager Mark Belanger and Employer Services Representative Diana Nelson said the Bureau of Prison is still recruiting for approximately 100 positions. Many of the available positions are for correctional officers but there are other openings as well. The two said the bureau has been searching for some time for vocational instructors in carpentry and electrical training.
Bureau of Prison officials will be available to talk to potential applicants about the application process and required qualifications. Belanger said people who may not qualify for prison jobs now can learn how to prepare to get jobs there in the future.
The Bureau of Prison will not hire anyone over 37 years of age for the vast majority of jobs. Exceptions to the age limit are medical and clergy positions or for qualified veterans. For those who qualify, Belanger said the prison offers great career jobs with the ability to retire after 20 years with a law enforcement pension.
Positions at the federal prison are posted online at www.usajobs.gov. and can be searched by location. Belanger said job seekers should register so they can receive e-mails and text messages when new jobs get posted.
Nelson said there currently are no 'Road Map to a Job with the Federal Government' workshops scheduled but if there is a demand, one can be scheduled. The workshops focus on helping applicants navigate the computer-graded application process. She and Belanger said the workshops are invaluable in teaching applicants how to fill out the application to get through the computer grading. Applicants whose initial applications were rejected, can polish up their resumes and reapply.
"You have to tailor your resume to match the job description," Belanger said.
People interested in attending a workshop should call White Mountains Community College at 752-1113, Ex. 3062.
Belanger and Nelson, who both sit on the community relations board for the Berlin prison, said there are 195 staff people on-site at the prison and another 35 people hired but not on site yet. When fully staffed, there will be 341 employees at the prison.
The federal prison was activated to accept medium security inmates on Jan. 14 and it is expected to receive the first medium security inmates within a month or so. The prison is rated to hold 1,152 medium security inmates. There are about 70 minimum-security inmates on-site housed in a satellite camp that is designed to eventually hold 128 inmates.
The prison is scheduled to be in full operation this November.
Belanger also reported two job openings have come in for the Burgess BioPower plant – an operations manager and maintenance manger. He said all applications for those positions will be done on-line. The openings are posted on the N.H. Works/Job Match at www.nhgov/nhed. The biomass plant is expected to start operating this fall.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 February 2013 23:08
BERLIN – A Berlin police officer responding to a call for a disorderly patient at Androscoggin Valley Hospital, hit a heavy patch of sand in the road, lost control and rolled over into the bank at the side of the road.
The accident occurred Tuesday morning, Feb. 5, at 6:54 a.m. on Page Hill Road. The officer, William Daisey, was not hurt, but the vehicle was heavily damaged.
Police Chief Peter Morency said they are waiting for an insurance adjuster to determine if the vehicle is totaled. It was a 2005 SUV cruiser and was due to be replaced soon.
State police are investigating the accident. No other vehicles were involved.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 00:21
MILAN – A public hearing on the Milan town and schools budgets will be held on Monday, Feb. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Village School.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 00:09