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Rick Samson: Commissioner's Corner

A brief update on what is transpiring at the Stewartstown Nursing home and the Coos County farm and land will be of interest to all Coos County taxpayers.
The administration has had meetings with several different companies concerning the water system at the Stewartstown facility. The towns of Stewartstown, Canaan and Beecher Falls are in the process of installing a new water facility. We are looking at the possibility of the County joining in the project to benefit all parties concerned. The possibility exists that it could save all parties considerable expenses.
At the commissioner's regular March meeting, the commissioners agreed to have our county forester Brendan Prusik establish a long range sustainable forestry plan for the county's forest land. Coos County was the only county in the state without a forester doing this.
With last year's decision by the commissioners and also the delegation not to sell any more county property, it will give the commissioners an opportunity to save and manage our county land for the benefit of the entire county.
The commissioners have just signed a one year lease for the use of the county farm land with CJEJ farm of Columbia owned and operated by Chris and Joyce Brady and Blue Mountain Farm, also of Columbia, owned and operated by Scott and Debi Dublois.
Both farms work with Coos County Extension Service office and the USDA Rural office in Lancaster. They rotate their crops, manage their land with the greatest of care, and also are trying different crops in our area. They are also educating and working with young farmers.
The outside correction officer and some of the inmates are doing a great job of upkeep and lawn maintenance to make the facility look as it should. Most of the old fencing and eyesores have and are being removed.
On a bothersome note, I wonder why some of the papers are not reporting on the positive events that are taking place at the Stewartstown facility. I am more than willing to provide a tour to any reporter that would like to see firsthand what we are trying to do with our facilities. Not reporting the positive and ongoing things in Stewartstown will not make the facility go away nor does it do the farm justice.
Times have changed and we commissioners and the delegation are willing to change and remake the farm into the showcase that it once was by working with these two farms. We are trying to save and restore this farm that once was a "Dairy of Distinction" in 1987. Milking is not our goal but to allow the use of the facilities by farmers that have the best interest of the farm and land is.

Rick Samson, Coos County Commissioner District Three

Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 14:02

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Ithaca Bound: An Ominous Move

Haven't we been down this road before? It seems very familiar. Our government announces that it has decided to send a few hundred of our troops to a foreign land fighting unwelcome insurgents attempting to overthrow the duly elected government of that country. Our troops are only being sent to help train the armed forces of that foreign land to better resist the insurgency, not to engage in actual combat. At least, that is what we are told.
Before long, however, we are told that it is now necessary to send more of our men and women in uniform to do some actual battlefield fighting, that our own national interests are at stake. Little by little, there are now more and more thousands of our battle-clad troops doing more and more of the frontline fighting, and we soon find ourselves involved in another never-ending quagmire necessitating more and more of our military forces spilling more and more of their blood and draining more and more of our dwindling national treasury.
The Middle East has been a battleground from the beginning of recorded history. Iraq is a country cobbled together, largely by the British, at the end of World War I, without regard to its deep ethnic and religious divisions. It is hardly surprising that deep unrest and occasional uprisings have marked its rather brief history. For years, the only thing holding the country together was the brutal suppressing of such anti-government activity by an unconscionable leader, such as Saddam Hussein.
Other nations in the Middle East tolerated such a man because at least they knew who and what he was and how best to deal with him. Keep in mind that Hussein was left in place at the end of the First Gulf War. How much did the other nations in the Middle East have to do with that? Did they find it best to deal with the devil they knew?
The ill-advised Second Gulf War did little to enhance our nation's image, not only in the Middle East, but around the world. As some tried to tell us, the weapons of mass destruction that we were told Iraq had and was near ready to use proved to be untrue. Hussein was our sworn enemy, true enough, but he never had the means to do much of anything about it.
Many of us who voted for him hoped that Barack Obama would end such ill-advised adventuring into the affairs of other nations and regions. To a certain extent, he has, almost always against the opposition of those who believe that only military action is always a cure-all. (Why we are still in Afghanistan, though, is still a mystery, however. It seems that we never learn anything from history. Despite numerous and prolonged efforts by other nations, Afghanistan has always remained a nation in name only. It is unlikely that we will change that, regardless of how long our troops stay there.)
Now, in my opinion, President Obama is making the same mistake that others before him have made. We should allow whatever happens in Iraq to happen. Let the other nations of the Middle East deal with the issue. We have enough internal issues of our own right here in the United States.
Spilling more of our own blood and spending more of our own treasury is not going to resolve Iraq's problems. Only Iraq can solve Iraq's problems.
Religious differences in the Middle East run deep, and the spilling of blood over them is never far from the surface. (Christianity's own history is a bloody one, for that matter.) Iraq's duly elected leader has made his position on the religious issue quite clear. We are not going to change that.
The oil issue will always be with us, at least it will until we can find acceptable alternatives to it that will not be opposed or suppressed by the oil industry. And does our own overuse of oil justify the spilling of our own precious blood to sustain it?
Three hundred "advisors" have been sent to Iraq. Where will it end?
Ithaca Bound writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Ithaca Bound is the pen name of Dick Conway. His email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 June 2014 13:43

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Poof Tardiff: 1945 V

Once upon a Berlin Time

Hello fellow Berlinites. In last week's story I mentioned the meat shortage in Berlin. The following week Congressman Merrill rushed to the "Paper City" to investigate this problem.

For the first time in its history, the city of Berlin had a meatless weekend. As acute as a shortage had been in the past few weeks, it had not reached the point where the stores had nothing to offer in the form of meat until the past weekend.

This shortage reached its peak in the end of June when Berlin and the vicinity were getting only seven percent of their normal meat quota.

Congressman Merrow came to Berlin between speaking engagements to view the situation here. Mr. Merrill immediately wired to the WFA in Washington requesting an emergency shipment of meat for this area. Even though the shipment came, the problem was not quickly solved.

Mr. George Brassard of Brassard's Market said that the shortage was also due to an influx of summer tourists in the state and fewer shipments of beef from the Midwest. Restaurants and hotels were also faced with a serious problem of finding enough foodstuffs. The problem was supposed to be alleviated by the end of July 1945.

Another death was contributed to the war when the newspaper announced that Roland G. Rasmussen was killed in action the ninth of May 1945. First Class Petty Officer Rasmussen was the first member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church to give his life for his country.

He was born in Berlin December 18, 1914 and graduated from Berlin High School with the class of 1934. Rasmussen enlisted in the U.S. Navy the same year, where he served four years. He reenlisted for service on June 23, 1942 and took part in the campaigns of Africa, Sicily and Italy.

During the middle of August 1945 Berlin's population reacted in two sharply contrasting ways when they heard the news of the official surrender of the Japanese. Thousands of people had been listening tensely to the broadcast on the radio, hoping to learn that the end of the war had finally come.

Then, amidst tears and joyful shouts, countless thousands rushed out of their homes the moment that they heard the long awaited message and they shouted, "It's over, the war is over".

While the majority rushed down the street to join the jubilant crowds, others humbly made their way to church where in the peace and quiet of the sanctuary, they let go their pent-up emotions to thank the Lord for the victory and protection accorded their sons, or to find solace upon the realization that there boy would never return home.

Joyful celebrations streamed up and down Main Street, tooting their car horns, gathering papers and shouting at the crowds lined up on the sidewalks. Over 8,000 Berlin citizens stood on the sidewalks for two long hours waiting for a grand parade that eventually took place.

Church bells rang every half hour, in concert with the mill whistle and the sirens from the fire department. All of the stores closed immediately following the news and remained closed the following day.

Our greatest generation had just won their great fight for freedom and celebrated the victory that they had just gained. These were true Americans and they were proud of it.

The end of August and beginning of September brought two sad incidents to the city of Berlin. In this city, on Tuesday, September 4, 1945, twelve year old Maurice Letarte of Third Street drowned in the Androscoggin River at the mouth of Bean Brook, just under one mile from his home.

The young lad apparently slipped and plunged into the water while walking along the bank of the river. The boy was clad in swimming trunks and was accompanied by his nine-year-old brother, who ran home when Maurice failed to come to the surface

His mother called the fire department immediately, but the body was recovered by a truck driver for the Brown Company, who was at the Motor Mart across the river when the accident occurred.

Once the firemen arrived, they tried artificial respiration without success. Young Maurice was the son of Joseph and Rose Belanger Letarte and was in the fifth grade at St. Regis Academy. Besides his parents, he left seven brothers and three sisters Maurice was one of several drownings that took place in the summer of 1945.

The other sad incident took place near Osnabruck, Germany when a Berlin boy was murdered by German civilians. I remember writing up this story over 13 years ago.

Although it took quite some time, the news of the death of Sgt. William A. Dumont, reached his parents in the middle of August 1945, through the War Department. For months, the Dumont family had anxiously awaited for news of their son who failed to return from a bombing mission over Germany.

They received a letter from the Adjutant General's office that read as follows: "It is with deep regret that I am writing to confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your son Sgt. William A. Dumont. The records of this office showed that Sgt. Dumont was a crew member of a B-24 (Liberator) type aircraft which failed to return from a bombing mission to Hanover, Germany on 24 August 1944. The airplane encountered enemy antiaircraft fire over their target and his bomber last seen in the vicinity of the target.

At a war crimes trial held in Darmstadt, Germany, before a military commission of the Seventh Army in which eleven German civilians were charged with violating the "laws of war", testimony was submitted that your son's bomber crashed near Osnabruck, Germany on August 24, 1944 and he was captured. It was later revealed that while en- route to a prisoner of war camp and under guard, your son was murdered by German civilians on August 26, 1944.

You may be assured that swift justice was being meted out to the perpetrators of this crime. I deeply regret that so long a delay had occurred in receiving this information for transmittal to you and I know the suffering that has been yours during these long and trying months since he was reported missing in action.

The War Department was dependent upon the theaters of operation for the prompt transmittal of casualty reports and why the information regarding your son was not furnished at an earlier date is sincerely regretted.

You have my deepest sympathy in your sorrow and I hope that the knowledge of your son's heroic service to his country may be of sustaining comfort to you". It was signed by the acting Adjutant General of the Army.

The body of Sgt. Dumont was eventually brought back to the United States and Berlin for burial. This soldier is buried along with his mother and father in Mount Cavalry cemetery on the road to Cates Hill.

I will continue with the year 1945 in my next writing.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Also, join the many fans of "Once upon a Berlin Time" on Facebook and guess at the weekly mystery picture.

Berlin-circa-1945Berlin circa 1945

Dumont-William-AWilliam A. Dumont

Rasmussen-Roland-GRoland G. Rasmussen

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 15:15

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Ithaca Bound: A War Forgotten

Two young girls of high school age came up and stood beside me for a moment. They seemed to hesitate. Then, one spoke up. "What was this war all about," she asked?
We were standing before the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. A few years back, my wife and I had joined a tour group visiting our nation's capital. Despite the services of a highly knowledgeable and well-spoken local guide, I frequently wandered off on my own or lagged behind when something of greater interest to me caught my attention. So it was that I was standing in front of the line of nineteen United Nations garbed statues that make up a major part of the Korean War Memorial.
From what they were wearing, it was obvious that the two girls who had asked me about the war were also part of a tour group, this one being a school group whose chaperones had given them some leeway to gather some information about the memorials and monuments on their own. For whatever reason, they had decided to ask me.
As best I could, I told them about the reasons for the three-year conflict between North and South Korea that had never had a definitive end to it. It was a war that drew other nations into it, as communist countries tried to exert their influence over the Korean Peninsula and mostly democratic Allied countries tried to stop what they saw as a serious threat to their way of life hat could lead to a third world war. An uneasy truce has held ever since 1953, but technically, the two sides are still at war. The girls thanked me for the information I gave them and went on their way.
Tomorrow, the 25 of June, marks the 64th anniversary of the beginning of that highly bloody conflict that was fought on some of the most inhospitable terrain in the world. I had just finished my sophomore year in high school when the highly trained and well-equipped North Korean Army invaded its South Korean neighbor, swept away the poorly trained and ill-equipped army that stood in its path, captured the South Korean capital of Seoul. and very nearly were able to claim victory before any serious opposition could be mounted in response.
Led largely by United States troops, military contingents from around the world quickly gathered and finally were able to halt the North Korean advance and begin to push back. When the Allied forces made moves that threatened the Chinese mainland, the Chinese entered the conflict on the side of the North Koreans. The battle ground to a stalemate and both sides agreed to peace talks. Talks dragged on for two long years, the issue of prisoner exchange being a primary sticking point. Unable to reach a final peace treaty, the two sides agreed to a truce. A dividing line was established at the 38th parallel, with a two-and-a-half-mile wide no-mans land separating the two warring forces. Sixty-four years later, that is where the conflict still stands. The Koreas are still divided, and every so often the North makes threatening gestures against the South.
The Korean War was an especially bloody one, particularly for civilians. Half of the estimated five million casualties in the three-year conflict were civilians, more civilians than in either World War II or the Vietnam War, according to a couple of sources I researched for this article.
Ironically, however, this war has become an almost forgotten war in this country. Perhaps this is because it ended in a stalemate that is still unresolved. And then, of course, there is the bitter experience of the Vietnam War, and the more recent battlegrounds of Afghanistan and Iraq, which cause many of us to question the decisions of our country's civilian and military leadership over the last decade and a half.
The Korean War Memorial has always reached deeper into my soul than any other but one, which I will discuss shortly. The faces on the nineteen battle-weary young men tell a story about war that no amount of words, no matter how brilliantly penned could possibly convey.
Not far from this Memorial is the Vietnam Women's Memorial. To me, it makes a far more universal statement. The Memorial depicts three woman, all in nurse's uniform, one looking skyward, another praying, and a third cradling a wounded soldier. The women are meant to represent Faith, Hope, and Charity.
This highly expressive piece of statuary never fails to remind me of the opening scenes of the highly acclaimed television series M*A*S*H, which was set in a field hospital in South Korea. Perhaps you remember, too. There is the shot of the incoming helicopters bearing the wounded and the dying. The grim faces of the men and women of the field hospital unit hurrying to see what they will have to do this time, who will live and who will die. It is ironic that this serio-comic television series told many of us perhaps all we know about this Forgotten War.
Ithaca Bound writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Ithaca Bound is the pen name of Dick Conway. His e-mail address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Monday, 23 June 2014 18:33

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Poof Tardiff: 1945 IV

Once upon a Berlin Time

Hello fellow Berlinites. By the middle of June 1945 the meat situation in certain homes was desperate.

The problem of preparing meals for a brood of growing children and a hard-working husband had become a dilemma for the New England housewife. The situation in some homes became frantic as far as the meat situation was concerned and even substitutes were hard to get.

Believe it or not, a congressional food investigation committee made a detailed study in Boston and found eighty percent of the meat in New England was black market meat. Many families couldn't wait to get a good supply of meat, for a good meal of meat and potatoes, but now that the war was almost done, the black market was holding up this supply.

In June of 1945, State Senator Emmet J. Kelly was appointed as a Democratic member of the State Racing Commission by Governor Dale and the Executive Council on Thursday, June 14. He took the oath of office Monday before justices of the peace Henry N. Moffett and Gaston Cournoyer.

Senator Kelly, who was a minority member of the commission, attended his first Racing Commission meeting on Tuesday, June 26, 1945.

Kelly was on his sixth term as State Senator, being elected minority leader in 1943- 1944 and in 1945 became Dean of the Senate, having served the longest term of office ever registered for any Senator during the past 100 years.

During his present term, Mr. Kelly served on seven major committees. In 1943 he became a member of the Committee of Interstate Cooperation. In 1944 he was a delegate at large, ranking second highest in the state at the National Democratic Convention in Chicago.

Senator Kelly had been familiar with race track legislation for a number of years and was one of its staunchest supporters since 1933.

Kelly was born in Berlin and became engaged in the automobile business and was acting in an advisory capacity with the Industrial Equipment Division of the Brown Company at this time. This same year Kelly and Arthur Napert got into the sawmill business, which is now called White Mountain Lumber and operated by Kelly's two sons Barry and Mark. He was certainly a man with many credentials.

A Berlin man, Armand Napoleon Cusson 32, suffered severe burns as a result of an explosion while he was at work at the New England Shipbuilding Corporation in Portland, Maine. Mr. Cusson died on Saturday, June 23, 1945 as a result of his injuries.

It was announced locally in the newspapers of mid-July 1945, by Avery Schiller, President of Public Service Company of New Hampshire, that very substantial interests in the development and underdeveloped water power on the Androscoggin River in the state of New Hampshire had been purchased by the company.

These interests were previously owned by the International Paper Company and included an old hydroelectric station in Berlin now operated by the Brown Company under lease and undeveloped sites on the Androscoggin above and below Berlin.

This purchase also included the acquisition of a stock interest in the Androscoggin Reservoir Association. This association, among other things owns the Aziscoos Dam and exercises considerable control over the flow of the river.

Mr. Schiller pointed out that this purchase very substantially increased the interests of the Public Service Company of New Hampshire in Coos County and the Berlin area. It not only looked forward to the construction of large power developments, but it also anticipated full coordination with the Brown Company activities to promote local industry.

He further stated that the completion of this purchase became almost imperative when the federal government seized the 27,000 horsepower floating power plant "Jacona", which Public Service Company of New Hampshire had partly owned and operated its power generating systems since 1930.

This seizure created an immediate need for other sources of power which were lost when "Jacona" was finished. Plans called for the early development of the present plant in Berlin just as rapidly as materials and manpower could be obtained.

This was going to be followed by other developments along the river as needs arose, so that the full program could be carried out over a period of time.

Finally, the Brown Bulletin for the July 26, 1945, carried a nice story about Brown Company's great photographer Victor Beaudoin. It said that his pictorial career was highlighted by incidents which his work could only describe.

In 1926 after three years of commercial photographic work in New York, Vic began a successful uninterrupted career with the Brown Company. He occupied his quarters at the Research Department on Upper Main Street and delved into industrial photography, as he termed it. This involved a little of almost everything. That was taking portraits, doing copy work, photographing landscapes and soaring to the skies for aerial views. By 1940, motion picture work was added to his list of duties.

It is interesting to note that in the spring of 1945, Beaudoin shot 3,000 feet of moving picture film of the Maine logging drives that were headed for the mills in Berlin, to be used in connection with the Pulpwood Procurement Program of the Periodical Publishers Association.

Disregarding the average photographer's assertion that a baby picture requires patience and all the knowledge of this of the science of photography, Mr. Beaudoin credits his most difficult assignments to taking pictures of horses, of which the Brown Company had many. In order to show the thoroughbred's finer points, it was necessary that more conditions existed at the same time.

Victor Beaudoin found all of his work entirely enjoyable and agreed that one picture was really worth 1,000 words. This genial photographer was a perennial asset to the Brown Company, as he left for posterity a gallery of tangible proof and pictorial history of Berlin's once great paper company. The Plymouth State University library can vouch for that.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Also, join the many fans of "Once upon a Berlin Time" on Face book and guess at the weekly mystery pictures.

IP-MillInternational Paper Company

Beaudoin VicVictor Beaudoin

Kelley-Emmet-JEmmet J. Kelly

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 14:30

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