Three inductees into NH Hockey Hall of Fame have Berlin connection

CONCORD — Three of the seven Class of 2017 inductees into the N.H. Legends of Hockey Hall of Fame have connections to the city of Berlin.

N.H. Legends of Hockey announced this year’s inductees includes former Berlin High hockey players Jim Griffin and Roger Letourneau and Berlin hockey supporter Clarence Lessard. The class also includes Howard P. Campbell, Maurice Couture, Wayne Pecknold and George Thurston.

The induction ceremony will be held on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 1:30 p.m. at New England College. Tickets must be purchased by Oct. 15 and can be bought through PayPal.

• Jim Griffin. A standout youth player growing up in Berlin, Griffin went on to play for two years at New England College, where he was the leading scorer as a sophomore, before transferring to Plattsburgh. As a junior, he amassed 33 points as Plattsburgh reached the NCAA Division 2 championship game. As a senior, he recorded 24 goals and 32 assists and again the Cardinals were runners-up to the national champions in Division II. He was named ECAC West Division 2 playoff MVP that year and finished with 60 goals and 94 assists in 117 college games.

• Clarence Lessard. A successful businessman, Lessard provided integral moral and financial support to the Berlin Maroons until his death in 1971, and was heavily vested in other aspects of hockey in town. He served as a director of the Berlin Athletic Booster Club and the Notre Dame Arena Corporation, and served as a mentor to many young players, encouraging them to develop career plans and life goals. In 1974, his contributions were recognized with a plaque dedication at Notre Dame Arena.

• Roger Letourneau. A native of the province of Quebec, Letourneau enrolled at Berlin High School in the fall of 1965 and made an immediate impact once he was cleared to play on the school's hockey team the following February. He helped the team win the New Hampshire state championship in 1966, and the state and New England tournaments the following year, getting named New England tourney MVP. From 1968-71, he was a standout player for the Berlin Maroons, compiling 117 goals and 76 assists. He received training camp invitations from the Boston Braves and Hartford Whalers, and later played for the Concord Eastern Olympics and finally the Concord Budmen through the 1975-76 season.

Council approves new contract, hears update on Route 16 project

By Barbara Tetreault

BERLIN — The city council Monday approved a new three-year contract with the Teamsters Union, representing seven department heads.

The contract calls for the department heads to get a 1.3 percent raise in fiscal 2018, a 1.2 percent raise in fiscal 2019, and a 1.1 percent raise in fiscal 2020. The cost of the raise is offset by changes in the health insurance that will reduce the city’s cost.

The cost of the raise is $7,176 in year one, $6,710 in year two, and $6,225 in year three. But savings in health insurance are estimated at $7,103 in year one.

Jay Poulin of HEB Engineers updated the council on the Route 16 reconstruction project. He said much of the work done so far this construction season has been on replacing drainage between Eleventh Street and Heritage Lane. Installing new drainage is expected to continue into July.

With Brown School closed for the summer, work will soon begin on that section of the project with a goal of getting the base pavement work done before school opens on Aug. 25.

Poulin said the preparation work is underway for the concrete sidewalk between St. Anne Church and Maple Street and pouring of the sidewalks should begin next week.

The overhead utility work including pole removal is nearing completion and should be done next month. New curbing between Eighth Street and Twelfth Street is schedule to get underway July 5. Improvements to the Twelfth Street intersection will take place during the month of July and the East Milan Road will be used as a detour during major impacts of the work.

Poulin said the general contractor, Sargent Construction, is doing a good job and the project is on budget. Completion is still scheduled for the end of September.

Noting the city has received funding for a riverwalk from the Service Credit Union Heritage Park to the Twelfth Street Bridge, Poulin said that project has been incorporated into the design of the Route 16 project. He said the edge of pavement along the river between Brown School and Tenth Street will be about 6 feet further away from the river that it currently is to allow construction of the 10-foot river walk. The riverwalk is scheduled to be constructed next year.

Cutline: Pinette retires after 22 years of service to the Berlin public schools

Pinette RetirementAfter working 22 years for the Berlin public schools, Roland Pinette (pictured center) will be retiring from his role as the regional career and technical director and building trades teacher. There to recognize his contributions to the students and community were, from left, SAU 20 Superintendent Paul Bousquet, Gorham Randolph Shelburne Cooperative School Board Chair Jo Carpenter, SAU 3 School Board Chair Nicole Plourde and SAU 3 Superintendent Corrine Cascadden. While presenting Pinette with a plaque to commemorate his contributions, Plourde praised Pinette for his collaborative work with the college and local business, citing the success of many students in their chosen fields. (KIRSTAN KNOWLTON PHOTO)

Destination Imagination students describe it as "once in a lifetime experience"

By Barbara Tetreault

BERLIN-GORHAM — Two local teams competed this year in the Destination Imagination global finals, and the students that participated described it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I thought it was an amazing experience,” said Julia Belanger.

“It was really fun ... a once in a lifetime experience,” added Aiden Wood.

Belanger and Wood were both part of the Berlin High School “Abstract Minds team. The Abstract Minds as well as the Gorham Ed Fenn Elementary School team, “The 7 Pixel People” traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., last month to join more 8,000 students and 1,400 teams from 45 states and 15 counties in what organizers call the “world’s largest celebration of student creativity.”

Both teams competed in the scientific challenge category “Top Secret,” which required them to create and present a story about a secret mission. As part of the challenge, the teams had to research and apply methods from cryptography and steganography to reveal secret messages and create a gadget that appears as an everyday object.

The students said they worked hard on their projects, competing first on a regional and then state level to reach the global finals. From October until the day of the competition, students were working on sets and components of the projects.

Alexis Griffin of Abstract Minds said she used to play more winter sports but she said her involvement with Destination Imagination has made it hard to participate as much in sports.

“You have to be dedicated,” she said.

Shannon Wydra, manager for the 7 Pixel People said one circuit stopper on their project stopped working and the students had to fix it right before the competition.

“They got very good at troubleshooting,” she said.

Guy Stever, co-manager for the Abstract Minds with David Griffin, said the competition was tough with the local teams competing against top teams from other states and countries.

“You had to be good to get there,” Griffin noted.

Stever said the Berlin High team came in 40th out of about 70 other high school teams on the prepared challenge. He said he felt that was a good showing, considering it was a young team.

More impressive, Stever said, was the fact the team tied for 13th on the instant challenge, which he said is more difficult because the students had eight minutes to respond.

The Ed Fenn team finished an impressive 20th in its level, helped by the fact that three of the team members competed in last year’s global finals,

But the students and managers agreed that while the competition was important, it became secondary to the experience of meeting and spending time with students from all of the country and world.

“It’s amazing,” said Abstract Mind team member Dorothy Alice Winslow. She described the experience as a culture shock to someone coming from a small rural town where there is not the diversity that she found at the global competition.

“We met a lot of people from different countries,” said Kelsey Alimandi, also on the Abstract Minds team.

The high school team members pointed out that most of the foreign students could speak English, in addition to their native language.

Several said it made them want to learn a foreign language. The 7 Pixel People team said at the elementary level many of the foreign students were not as fluent in English. Several had translators to help.

An International Block Party was held one night and the students got to sample foods from different countries. There was also a day trip to Dollywood, the theme party highlighting the Great Smokey Mountains, which both teams enjoyed.

Josh Berthiaume, of the Abstract Minds team, said the students at Destination Imagination were friendly and it was easy to sit and have a conversation with the other competitors.

“The kindest people ever,” he said.

Brie Bergeron said she accidently left her suitcase behind in the middle of a field and it was an hour before she realized she had forgotten it. When she returned to collect the suitcase, it was right where she had left it, untouched.

Designed as a way to encourage the students to mix and meet, pin trading is a popular activity at Destination Imagination. It is also an opportunity for teams to showcase their creativity and talent by designing a pin that relates to their project. Many of the local students put together displays of the pins they collected.

“We got pins from all over,” said Liam Alnwick of 7 Pixel People.

Wydra said the fourth and fifth grades that make up the Ed Fenn team got to experience dorm life, pin traded with other students from around the world, attended an expo, constructed a hovercraft, visited museums, played soccer, and geocached to earn a special pin.
Both teams are thankful for the community support that allowed them to raise the approximately $13,000 each team needed to make the trip.

Next year’s competition is already on their radar. Stever said the students took some workshops at the global finals and the overall experience showed them what they need to be successful competitors.

The Abstract Minds team consisted of Dorothy Alice Winslow, Kelsey Alimandi, Julia Belanger, Aiden Wood, Brie Bergeron, Josh Berthiaume, and Alexis Griffin.

The 7 Pixel People were Shianna Wood, Addison Eastman, Gavin Corrigan, Ayden Corrigan, Kody Lemieux, Abram Wydra and Liam Alnwick.