Gorham and Berlin Proms venues highlight themes for magical events

By Barbara Tetreault and Kirstan Knowlton

ANDROSCOGGIN VALLEY — Prom night — it’s one night some remember long after their high school days are over. Dressed in semi-formal attire, prom night is a magical evening full of dancing and socializing as students take a major step toward adulthood.

This year, Berlin and Gorham seniors and juniors sought out different venues for their proms that captured the mood and theme of their festivities.

First up was the Gorham prom on May 13. Organized by the junior class, class officer Riley Fitzmorris said a committee is set up to plan the event. She said the committee decided on “Enchanted Forest” as the theme of the prom and set about looking for a place to hold it.

The committee looked at a number of potential sites but some were too big or did not fit with the theme.

“We wanted kind of a rustic look,” Fitzmorris said.

When they checked out the Service Credit Union Heritage Park in Berlin with its replica logging camp, they were sold.

Owned by the city, the park is managed by the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce and chamber officials were excited to host the Gorham prom there.

“I think it was awesome. We want to attract more events,” said Chamber Executive Director Paula Kinney. She noted that since the city and chamber partnership took over the park, a lot of work has been done to improve it.

“The park has come a long way,” she noted.

For the students, it was perfect. The log structure of the cookhouse and bunkhouse fit perfectly with the theme. Fitzmorris said the strings of lights the students strung all around showed off the beauty of the wood. A black carpet was laid down in the dance floor area in the bunkhouse. The cookhouse was decorated with flowers and lights and the tables had flowers in vases.

“It was beautiful. Everyone loved the place this year,” said Fitzmorris.

With 70 people attending, she said the students liked the smaller space of the logging camp because it made the place feel full. Dinner was catered with food from the Gorham Dynasty Buffet in Gorham.

Outside, photographers Dennis and Kari Wade set in front of the horse hovel to take the formal prom pictures. After the obligatory parent and child dances, the students were left to dance the night away.

Fitzmorris said many students said this year’s prom was very memorable.

“One of the best in ages,” she said.

Berlin High School Prom 2017

Berlin's prom night, Saturday, May 20, was a night that Berlin High School senior Brianne Morneau and her classmates won’t soon forget.

Pulling up to the historic Brown Company Barn on East Milan Road in Berlin, it was clear this wasn’t your typical cookie-cutter prom.

With the barn doors open wide, students could see the softly lit dance floor, and rustic charm of the post-and-beam structure.

With everything perfectly in place, from tabletop centerpieces, a country style photo booth, and a dance floor begging to be used, it’s hard to imagine that the prom would be held anywhere else.

Beginning back in her freshman year, Morneau knew that she wanted something different out of her prom experience. Although she wasn’t formally on the student council yet, that didn’t stop her from keeping the idea alive.

Entering her junior year, Morneau was finally elected class president and quickly went to work putting plans in motion for the 2017 prom.

Several of her classmates began approaching her asking for a rustic barn atmosphere for their function, and Morneau knew the perfect place — the East Milan Road barns.

Knowing that there could be some challenges to securing the location, Morneau did plenty of legwork before her meeting with the board of the historical society.

Morneau spoke to her father and other members of the board to see what concerns they might have so she could properly prepare for the meeting.

Among the main concerns were students parking on the lawn and the liability that comes with using the space. Morneau was able to make arrangements with Tri-County Community Action Program to use its buses to shuttle students from a nearby parking area.

Tri-County CAP ended up donating its time and two buses to help with evening, and stayed until everyone had left.

Along with securing the perfect venue, Morneau also wanted to make it a priority to use local vendors for the evening. Rudy’s Market in Berlin did the catering for the event, and Berlin High graduate Sam Aldrich provided music for the evening.

The location was not equipped with bathroom facilities, but Morneau was able to work with Go Time restrooms to bring in portable units for the prom.

In total, 78 couples attended prom this year, and Morneau felt that the evening went well.

“Overall, it went really well. Once people arrived they could take pictures at the photo booth and carriages,” said Morneau.

This prom also marked a milestone for the barn, as the first formal event ever to be held there. In honor of the prom, the historical society wanted to keep a sign that had been handmade by Berlin student Sarah Clark.

The wood-burned sign, which reads “Prom 2017,” will remain in their permanent collection as part of the city’s local history.

“It’s nice to have something different. It was really a representation of Berlin,” said Morneau.

 

Council gets praise at budget hearing

By Barbara Tetreault

BERLIN – A small crowd turned out for the fiscal 2018 budget hearing last Wednesday night and gave the city council praise for putting together a budget lower than the current budget.

Mayor Paul Grenier went through the budget by department, offering the public an opportunity to ask questions or make comments as he moved through the document.

Overall, the proposed 2018 general fund budget of $32.5 million is $278,926 less than the current general fund budget of $32.8 million. But revenues are also down and there is uncertainty about future state and federal revenues.

Grenier said the initial budget proposal presented to the council in February projected a $4.59 increase in the property tax rate. He said the council, with help from department heads, has reduced that projected increase to 79 cents. Grenier promised the council will continue to try and whittle away at the tax increase. As the fiscal 2017 year comes to a close, he said the city will have a clearer picture of appropriation and revenue surplus figures.

“We are a frugal bunch and very sensitive to expenses,” Grenier said.

 

Noah Hallgren, head of Berlin Professional Firefighters Local 1088, thanked the council on behalf of firefighters for appreciating the work of the department and giving it the tools needed to do the job.

The council also earned accolades from the two residents who posed the most questions at the meeting, which drew mostly department heads and city staff.

“As a whole, I think it’s pretty good,” said Mike Laflamme.

Laflamme had questioned the library budget and also inquired about capital improvement projects.

Rodney Bengston asked why the tax rate was going up when expenditures were down. He also asked the percentage of taxable properties compared to non-taxable properties. He was told 48 percent of properties are not subject to taxes because they are non-profit organizations or churches.

Bengston asked the number of students in the Berlin school system and was told there are about 1,200. He asked how tuition rates are set and SAU 3 Business Administrator Bryan Lamirande explained the state sets criteria schools follow to set tuition rates. Bengston also wanted to know how the schedule for public works supervisors is arranged.

But in the end, Bengston agreed that the council had done a good job in working with staff and administration to cut costs.

“I think you did a great job,” he said.

The council is scheduled to make a final decision on the fiscal 2018 budget at its June 19 meeting.

 

 

Gorham OHRV Rules and Regulations

GORHAM OHRV TRAIL INFORMATION
Presidential OHRV Club

GORHAM HAS A ZERO TOLERANCE RULE
Obey the rules and laws or you will be ticketed.

Must have a valid New Hampshire OHRV registration which can be purchased at:
Absolute Power Sports – 461 Main St., Gorham.
The Corner Store – 385 Main St., Gorham.
Jericho Outdoors – 232 Jericho Rd., Berlin.
The Royalty Inn – 130 Main St. Gorham.
The Milan Luncheonette – 717 Milan Rd., Milan.

Trails in Gorham and the Jericho ATV park close a half hour after sunset.
Trails in Gorham and the Jericho ATV park open a half hour before sunrise.
Note that the city of Berlin ATV hours are different than Gorham. Be sure to give ample time to return to Gorham before dark.
Must have a forestry-approved quiet exhaust less than 96db with a spark arrestor in accordance with NH RSA 215-A:12 Zero tolerance.
Working head light and tail light. Light bars must be turn off during the day.
Use hand signals on paved roads only.
Respect our neighbors.
Obey all signs and rules.
No off-trail riding.
Stay in the trails or stay home.
Stay off of and out of the sand pit.
Carry out what you carry in do not litter.
No closed-course competition — dirt bikes or OHRVs.
No loud or modified exhausts.
Make no dust or loud noise when entering or leaving the trail system. Turn down your stereo system.
No speeding. Trail speed limit is 10 mph at the trail entrance/exit and 25 mph unless otherwise posted.
Do not travel in the breakdown lanes; stay in road (30 mph).
Must turn left at the lights at Route 2 and 16 intersection; do not go north past the lights.
Do not go past the trail entrance at the Route 2 parking lot.
AGAIN, PLEASE RESPECT OUR RESIDENTS.

YOUTH OPERATOR REQUIREMENTS
UNDER AGE 12
• While operating on personal property or other public property and trails, must have helmet and eye protection and cannot carry passengers on an ATV or ride along or across any public road.
• While operating on public property or trails (other than personal property): must be accompanied by a licensed adult over 18 years of age at all times.
• Cannot operate across or on public roads.
• May take an OHRV Safety class but cannot be certified (11 year olds may take class and receive card; becomes valid on 12th birthday). Go to ride.nh.gov for more information.
AGE 12 OR 13
• While operating on own personal property or other public property and trails, must have helmet and eye protection and cannot carry passengers on an ATV.
• Must possess an OHRV Safety Certificate if operating off personal property.
While operating on public property or trails:
• Must be accompanied by a licensed adult over 18 years of age at all times.
• May cross roads.
• May operate on approved roads but must be accompanied by a licensed adult over 18 years of age at all times.
AGE 14 OR 15
• While operating on own personal property or other public property and trails, must have helmet and eye protection and cannot carry passengers on an ATV.
• Must possess an OHRV Safety Certificate if operating off personal property.
• While operating on public property or trails: Not required to be accompanied.
• May cross roads.
• May operate on approved roads but must be accompanied by a licensed adult over 18 years of age at all times.
AGE 16 OR 17
• While operating on own personal property or other public property and trails, must have helmet and eye protection and cannot carry passengers on an ATV.
• Must possess an OHRV Safety Certificate if operating off personal property or must possess a valid motor vehicle driver’s license.
While operating on public property or trails:
• Not required to be accompanied.
• May cross roads.
• If not licensed to drive a motor vehicle, may operate on approved roads but must be accompanied by a licensed adult over 18 years of age at all times.
AGE 18 OR OLDER
• While operating on personal property or other public property and trails, helmet and eye protection recommended. May carry passengers on an ATV.
• Must possess an OHRV Safety Certificate if off of personal property or must possess a valid motor vehicle driver’s license.
• May cross roads.
• If not licensed to drive a motor vehicle, may operate on approved roads but must be accompanied by a licensed adult over 18 years of age at all times. (Age of accompanying adult subject to change; see ride.nh.gov for updates.)
• Go to www.ride.nh.gov for more information
• Support your local club! Without it these trails would not be possible. Ask for an application or visit www.presidentialOHRVclub.com or check the club out on Facebook.

The trails and roads are opened for us enjoy. It is a privilege and not a right, so please do not jeopardize it for everyone.

Thank you for your cooperation and support.

 

Berlin's OHRV Rules and Regulations

BERLIN — The city just updated its OHRV ordinance to address the issue of unlicensed operators riding on city streets. In the past, the city allowed unlicensed drivers age 12 and over to ride on city streets if accompanied by a licensed driver provided the licensed driver was 21 or older. The council is not required the licensed driver to be at least 25 years old. The person accompanying the unlicensed driver shall be liable for the violation of any provision of this section or rules adopted rules hereunder committed by such unlicensed driver. Below is a condensed version of the city’s OHRV ordinance.

Operation of OHRVs
No person shall operate an OHRV, as defined by NH RSA 215A:1, in or on any street, lane, bridge, alley, sidewalk or other public place in the city except as provided below:
1. In addition to the public trails at Jericho Mountain State Park, the following is an authorized municipal public OHRV trail within the City of Berlin:
a) The city of Berlin’s roadways, within the urban compact, will be open to OHRV riders for the purposes of accessing the designated Connector OHRV Trail, (via the shortest possible route) as well as accessing local businesses and services. Riding on municipal streets for any other purpose is prohibited with the exception of Sec. 13-112 (4).
b) On city streets, OHRV signage and markings, as well as traffic signs and signals which must be obeyed by the OHRV operator.
c) The Berlin OHRV Connector Trail and the city of Berlin’s roadways will be closed to OHRV riders when the Bureau of Trails declares that the snow machine trails are no longer useable. The connector trail will re-open on May 23, or a reopen date set by the State Trails Bureau. Berlin’s roadways will reopen accordingly.
d) OHRV Connector Trail: This authorized municipal trail runs where marked from the Jericho Mountain State Park to Route 110 and follows Route 110 southeasterly as it changes from Jericho Road to Wight Street. The trail continues to follow Wight Street to Hillside Avenue, for a short distance to York Street (determined by how the trail is actually marked and signed) where it continues easterly to Granite Street. The trail then turns onto Mason Street where it follows Mason Street southeasterly to East Mason Street where it continues southeasterly to Hutchins Street where it follows Hutchins Street northeasterly to Success Pond Road where it follows Success Pond Road to the Berlin/Success line. This authorized municipal trail includes the section of East Mason Street from the RR tracks east of Hutchins Street to Hutchins Street.
e) Any person who violates the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a violation, punishable by a fine as follows: All violations are subject to a loss of OHRV operating privileges on City streets, NOT including the OHRV Connector trail.
First offense, $100.00 fine.
Second offense, $250.00 fine.
Third offense, $500.00 fine.
2. OHRV users in the city must abide by all state and city laws when on designated trails on city streets and must abide by all motor vehicle traffic laws. However, all unlicensed operators shall be accompanied by a responsible adult who is 25 years of age or older and is a licensed driver (Pursuant to RSA Chapter 263). The person accompanying the unlicensed driver shall be liable for the violation of any provision of this section or rules adopted rules hereunder committed by such unlicensed driver.
a) OHRV’s must yield to pedestrians at all times.
b) OHRV operators, when operating on the designated trail on city streets, shall ride single file in traffic in the paved travel lane (not gravel or paved shoulders).
c) There will be no OHRV riders on city streets between the hours of 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. unless authorized by the city council during special events.
e) All OHRVs operating on designated trails on city streets must have working head and taillights.