Poof Tardiff: 1978 III

Hello fellow Berlinites. How many people can remember the store that once stood just before the Cleveland Bridge, on the way out of Berlin? It was there before the bridge was built, but a fire destroyed it during a Monday morning in late February of 1978.

It was called Norm's Trading Post, and before this, it was Romeo and Grace's. There were two fires that destroyed this Berlin business. Firefighting efforts during the second fire were hampered by three hydrants that were either damaged or frozen. During the first critical assault on the second fire, firefighters lost time laying out useless long hose lines to hydrants near Cross Machine Shop and on Watson Street, according to Fire Chief Norman Lacroix.

This all started with the buzzing of a smoke detector that roused owner Norm Martel from his sleep when a fire broke out in his kitchen area, which was in the front of his sporting goods and variety store. Out in front of this was his Sunoco gas pumps, so he evacuated his wife and two sons, from the apartment that had recently been added to the store.

Mr. Martel broke down the door to the kitchen and saw smoke in the corner near a rubbish container, but there were no flames. About this time, a passing motorist on Glen Avenue spotted smoke and called the fire department. Three trucks were dispatched to the scene at 3 a.m. according to the fire records.

Chief Lacroix said that the fire fighters immediately tried to hook up to a hydrant near Sanels Auto Parts store, but were unable. They were able to contain the fire using 1,000 gallons of water from the tanker and pumper.

Now, after the firefighters cut through some floors, the fire was considered to be completely out by 5 a.m. This is what the chief reported, so, engine No. 5 remained on standby until 5:40 a.m. to ensure the fire was completely out.

Martel boarded up the fire-damaged section of the structure before going to the fire station to thank the firefighters for their efforts and took a coffee break with them. When the owner returned to the store at 6 a.m., he saw more smoke and flames at the rear of structure. Three more engines, a ladder truck and tanker were dispatched to the scene. Off duty firefighters were also called by their homeowner radios.

The firefighters were unable to draw water from any of the three nearby hydrants so, two pumpers each carrying 500 gallons relayed water to the tanker. Firefighters had to use the available water sparingly. Even though 7,000 gallons of water were poured onto the flames, high snowbanks prevented firefighters from moving a pumper truck close enough to the river to draw water from that source. Firefighters then cut through the roof, to get more access to the fire. Others used portable air packs to fight the fire from inside.

By 7:30 a.m. the fire was again under control and the store itself was blackened and gutted throughout the interior. Martel had insurance, but not enough to cover all all the loss. It was a tough day for new store owner Norman Martel. I do not believe he rebuilt, and then the Cleveland Bridge was built using his land.

In the beginning of March, 1978, the Notre Dame Arena was put on the market. Arena manager E. F. Guay announced to the news media that they were going to try and sell the arena as an arena, in hopes that the buyer would continue to use the facility as a rink for skating enthusiasts and area hockey programs. He said that the current owners would only sell to other interests as a last resort. The asking price was not disclosed.

Guay said there were many reasons for the decision to sell. He said the owners had talked with some parties about the arena, but nothing had been definite. He also said that they were under no time frame to sell, as long as they had it, the arena would not close. The Notre Dame Arena is still with us in 2017.

The Berlin High School gymnasium was transformed into a large capacity party place on April 12, 1978, when the famous Irish Rovers appeared in concert there. Proceeds went to Berlin High School scholarships and to the Androscoggin Valley Hospital building fund. In February of 1976, this group had played to a packed house of 1,700 fans.

Audience involvement was the key to the Irish Rovers outstanding success in live concert appearances. In 1978, the group performed more than 100 concert dates each year.

During the 1978 March local election, voters elected Leo Ouellett as Mayor of Berlin. In an easy victory Ouellett defeated former council member Donald Borschers and a third candidate Raymond Blais.

While the election brought about only minor changes in the city council with Richard Payeur replacing Councilman Duquette and Mayor-elect Ouellett replacing Mayor Laurier Lamontagne. City hall observers suggested that the changes would be dramatic.

Mr. Ouellett, who also served as commander of the National Guard in Northern New Hampshire, was a strong leader who had smoothly and skillfully run the local planning board during the 1970s. The city of Berlin was now waiting to see how he would do as their top leader.

On the sports scene, two local lads had completed a fine season in Division I hockey with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. The UNH team had concluded its 1977-1978 season in the beginning of March, when they lost the first round playoff game to powerful Boston University in overtime 6 to 5.

After a rough start which saw UNH drop several one goal decisions, the Wildcats had a very successful second half of the season. In Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference play, they concluded with a 14-11 record and an overall mark of 19-12. In the Eastern Collegiate playoffs, the Wildcats were seated in the eighth and final spot.

One of the main reasons for the club's success was the high scoring first line, which included Berlin's Frankie Roy and Johnny Normand. The former centered the unit which had Normand at left wing and Ralph Cox on right wing.

It was Roy's third year in a Wildcat uniform and his best one to date. Frankie had 22 goals and assisted on 36 others. His 58 points put him among the top 10 scorers in the ECAC. In three campaigns he had recorded 129 points (55-74) and was 18th on the UNH all-time scoring list.

Johnny Normand was responsible for total 31 points (17-14), which was a significant improvement over his initial season when he scored four times and collected five assist.

There were only four graduates in the year 1978, with the promise of an excellent year in 1978- 1979, they were touted to be the ECAC champions in 1979. I do not know if they accomplished that, but the city of Berlin was surely proud of their young college stars and their fans knew the route to UNH very well.

I will continue with the year 1978 in my next writing.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions and comments email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, join the many friends of “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the weekly posted mystery pictures.

Roy FrankieFrankie Roy

Norms Trading PostNorm's Trading Post

Normand JohnnyJohnny Normand

Irish RoversIrish Rovers

Why We Must Support Human Rights

By John McCain

New York Times

Washington, D.C. — Some years ago, I heard Natan Sharansky, the human rights icon, recount how he and his fellow refuseniks in the Soviet Union took renewed courage from statements made on their behalf by President Ronald Reagan. Word had reached the gulag that the leader of the most powerful nation on earth had spoken in defense of their right to self-determination. America, personified by its president, gave them hope, and hope is a powerful defense against oppression.
As I listened to Mr. Sharansky, I was reminded how much it had meant to my fellow P.O.W.s and me when we heard from new additions to our ranks that Mr. Reagan, then the governor of California, had often defended our cause, demanded our humane treatment and encouraged Americans not to forget us.
In their continuous efforts to infect us with despair and dissolve our attachment to our country, our North Vietnamese captors insisted the American government and people had forgotten us. We were on our own, they taunted, and at their mercy. We clung to evidence to the contrary, and let it nourish our hope that we would go home one day with our honor intact.
That hope was the mainstay of our resistance. Many, maybe most of us, might have given in to despair, and ransomed our honor for relief from abuse, had we truly believed we had been forgotten by our government and countrymen.
In a recent address to State Department employees, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said conditioning our foreign policy too heavily on values creates obstacles to advance our national interests. With those words, Secretary Tillerson sent a message to oppressed people everywhere: Don’t look to the United States for hope. Our values make us sympathetic to your plight, and, when it’s convenient, we might officially express that sympathy. But we make policy to serve our interests, which are not related to our values. So, if you happen to be in the way of our forging relationships with your oppressors that could serve our security and economic interests, good luck to you. You’re on your own.
There are those who will credit Mr. Tillerson’s point of view as a straightforward if graceless elucidation of a foreign policy based on realism. If by realism they mean policy that is rooted in the world as it is, not as we wish it to be, they couldn’t be more wrong.
I consider myself a realist. I have certainly seen my share of the world as it really is and not how I wish it would be. What I’ve learned is that it is foolish to view realism and idealism as incompatible or to consider our power and wealth as encumbered by the demands of justice, morality and conscience.
In the real world, as lived and experienced by real people, the demand for human rights and dignity, the longing for liberty and justice and opportunity, the hatred of oppression and corruption and cruelty is reality. By denying this experience, we deny the aspirations of billions of people, and invite their enduring resentment.
America didn’t invent human rights. Those rights are common to all people: nations, cultures and religions cannot choose to simply opt out of them.
Human rights exist above the state and beyond history. They cannot be rescinded by one government any more than they can be granted by another. They inhabit the human heart, and from there, though they may be abridged, they can never be extinguished.
We are a country with a conscience. We have long believed moral concerns must be an essential part of our foreign policy, not a departure from it. We are the chief architect and defender of an international order governed by rules derived from our political and economic values. We have grown vastly wealthier and more powerful under those rules. More of humanity than ever before lives in freedom and out of poverty because of those rules.
Our values are our strength and greatest treasure. We are distinguished from other countries because we are not made from a land or tribe or particular race or creed, but from an ideal that liberty is the inalienable right of mankind and in accord with nature and nature’s Creator.
To view foreign policy as simply transactional is more dangerous than its proponents realize. Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in. It could cost our reputation in history as the nation distinct from all others in our achievements, our identity and our enduring influence on mankind. Our values are central to all three.
Were they not, we would be one great power among the others of history. We would acquire wealth and power for a time, before receding into the disputed past. But we are a more exceptional country than that.
We saw the world as it was and we made it better.
John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) is a Republican senator from Arizona.

Poof Tardiff: 1978 II

Hello fellow Berlinites. A celebration took place in Berlin on the 60th Diamond Jubilee of Sister Anne Therese on February 6, 1977. Sister Anne was a French teacher for 62 years and a nun in this city for 40 years. Thirty of these years were at St. Joseph School on 3rd Avenue.

Her life in Berlin had been enjoyable and she loved the mountain scenery, along with amicability of the local citizens. Mostly though, it was her students and the subsequent mutual admiration they and Sister Anne had for each other that were most rewarding to her. Many former students would still call her asking for prayers and employment help.

This great Berlin educator deserved all of the honors that she received as she taught one year at Notre Dame, six years at St. Regis Academy and a year at Guardian Angel, besides her 30 years at St. Joseph's School. How many people can remember this outstanding Berlin educator, as she must have touched many lives in Berlin's parochial schools.

How about a business that some people still refer to as Food Trend? Locally we had two of these stores, one in Berlin and one in Gorham. The one in Gorham closed, but the one in Berlin became Irving on the corner of Pleasant and Green Streets. Food Trend was a combination grocery and self-service gas store and it opened for business on Feb. 2, 1978. It was formerly a Dairy Queen.

Owned by the Dead River Company of Maine, the Food Trend was the second such store in the area. The Gorham Food Trend opened its doors in the fall of 1977. According to Paul Morris, who was the assistant manager in Berlin, Food Trend would be open seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. The manager of the store at this time was Mr. Roland Goulet. Many of us remember Food Trend very well, because it was the newest convenience store in town.

Another business that is no longer with us was a place called Collins Corner. It was located on 743 Third Ave. It was later called Collins General Store. Primarily a meat store, the new store became a complete general store featuring clothing, boots, tools, hardware, firearms and ammunition. Owner Dan Collins also maintained the grocery, meat and deli sections of the store, however. In the 1950s it was called the Tri-Corner Market operated by Mr. Phil Fortier. There were other owners, but today it is just an empty lot.

Also in February of 1978, City Marshall Carl Giordono officially announced his retirement. He was to be replaced by Assistant City Marshall Paul Morin. Morin had been selected from several candidates, including one from out of town.

A short story was related about these two officers that I would like to share with my readers, as the changing of the guard took place on Saturday morning, Feb. 18. This short recollection was then written about both officers.

Morin, who was then 43, had been with the department since May 22, 1957, when he became a special officer. Previously, he had served with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. His military training included specialized study in automatic weapons, bomb detection and disarming.

He had been certified as a police firearms instructor by the FBI for at least 15 years. He was also on National Rifle Association certified chief hunter safety instructor for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Morin became a sergeant with the local police department in May of 1973 and was promoted to assistant marshal in May of 1975.

Giordono was 53 years old at the time of his retirement, and all 30 years of his career was with Berlin Police Department. From his early days as a patrolman on the beat to his tenure as chief, Carl had watched Berlin evolve from a somewhat rowdy mill and logging town of 20,000 people, to a smaller community of about 15,000 people pestered with vandalism.

Carl was a Detroit, Mich., native and to him New Hampshire was some place up north. Then, he signed up for military police duty in New England during World War II. He was stationed at an Army base in Massachusetts at the time.

Mr. Giordono's introduction to Berlin came when he served 2 1/2 years as an MP at Camp Stark, watching over German POWs. He spent his leisure time here in Berlin where he met his wife Rose.

The Giordonos returned to Detroit after the war, but decided that life in the White Mountains was a lot slower pace than that of the big city. Carl worked construction jobs, until he landed a patrolman's position with the Berlin Police Department.

The marshal spoke about the police officers of 1978 and said that he had to combine a good education with the skills of a psychologist, social worker and at times a priest. Qualifications were different when Giordono joined the force in the late 1940s. Then, a police candidates' physical size rather than intellectual caliber was the primary consideration.

Berlin's five Main Street beer joints and several bootlegging operations were an attraction to the numerous construction workers and lumberjacks in the area. Many of them liked to blow off steam when the weekends came around. The site of a policeman's uniform was often enough to provoke a spirited celebrant to prove his macho abilities against an officer, but most of the rowdies lost. The trend by 1978 had changed.

Even though prohibition was a thing of the past by the late 1940s, illegal liquor operations still existed and occasionally the local police had to assist federal agents with after-hours raids. By the mid-1950s, when the courts cracked down on bootleggers, this came to an end.

This city's police protection in the late 1940s was provided by five patrolman on walking beats and a single cruiser. The former chief recalled the beats that were covered. They were the East Side, Berlin Mills, Upper Main Street, Green Square and Pleasant Street.

Communication back then would probably be the considered primitive compared to today's standards. The cruiser was equipped with a two-way radio and the men on the beat used telephone boxes to contact the station. The station contacted the officers by lighting red lamps signaling the patrolman to call in to headquarters. Cruiser patrol was provided only on weekdays and the vehicle sat in the garage when the driver took the weekend off.

By 1960, changing attitudes about authority added a new dimension to police work. Kids were now less self-confident about blue uniforms. Years ago, when people saw a police officer they got out of the way.

Even when a police officer retires today, they will tell you how their work has changed in just 20 years, especially from 1978 to now.

I will continue with the happenings and history that took place during the year 1978 with my next story.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments email 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 posted weekly mystery pictures.

Sr. Anne ThereseSr. Anne Therese

Morin PaulPaul Morin

Giordono Carl 1Carl Giordono

DQ 1975 Food Trend 1978DQ 1975 Food Trend 1978

Why Legalizing Casino Gambling Would be Wrong for New Hampshire

Why Legalizing Casino Gambling Would be Wrong for New Hampshire

By Judd Gregg and John Lynch

For more than 40 years New Hampshire Legislatures have debated the merits of legalizing casino gambling, and for 40 years they have rejected it. On May 4, when it next convenes, the New Hampshire House will debate and vote on it once again.

Casino gambling would be wrong for New Hampshire. We urge representatives of both parties to reject it once more. Here’s why.

First, and most importantly, casino revenue is not the state budget windfall that many people think it is.

Most states that open the door do not stop at one or two casinos.

Across the country, state governments have become addicted to gambling dollars to fund new or expanded state programs. Experience shows that in any economic downturn these states then turn to gambling tax revenue to try to balance their budgets.

When existing gambling revenue isn’t enough they have to add more games and more locations to keep state programs going. This becomes a perpetual problem that only builds on itself. Every state that has opened the door to gaming has experienced this cycle.

Second, it won’t take long for the gaming industry to gain undue political influence. All you need is for the owner of a casino, which delivers millions of dollars to the state, to take a position on a bill and say, “If you don’t pass this bill, or veto this bill, I’m going to have to lay off hundreds of people,” and legislators will be pressured to go along. Just ask state officials in Delaware, which bailed out its casino industry a few years ago to the tune of $8 million.

Third, the potential total revenue from the two casinos the current bill proposes is about $650 million. Where is this money going to come from? It is not like there is the potential of incremental discretionary spending. It’s a zero sum game.

The money spent in casinos will come from spending that will be shifted away from local restaurants, shops, theaters or other small businesses into the coffers of large corporations. The $650 million diverted from local businesses to corporate casinos represents the loss of hundreds of jobs and potentially empty storefronts on nearby main streets.

Fourth, as casinos advertise, which they most certainly will do, the New Hampshire brand image will change dramatically. The state does not does not have the dollars to match casino advertising.

Our brand will change from a family-friendly state to one that specializes in gambling. To put it in perspective, over the course of a year, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut spend roughly $25 million in advertising. The State of New Hampshire spends approximately $6 million.

We are not opposed to gambling for moral reasons. We are opposed to it because we believe that it will have an overall negative impact on the State of New Hampshire.

Our state is rated as one of the most livable, one of the safest, and the best state in the country in which to raise children. Why would we ever go forward with a structural change that could negatively impact those metrics?

The collective wisdom of the New Hampshire House of Representatives has served us well on this issue for the last 40 years. In an historic vote last week, the House’s own Ways and Means Committee resoundingly gave the latest bill its thumbs down by a vote of 19 to one.

Casino gambling is the wrong choice for New Hampshire. We urge House members to reaffirm that on May 4. Let's not put at risk a successful strategy that is clearly working.

Judd Gregg (R) served New Hampshire as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981-1989, as governor from 1989-1983 and as U.S. senator from 1992-2011. John Lynch (D) served as governor of New Hampshire from 2005-2013.

Poof Tardiff: 1978

Hello fellow Berlinites. How many people can remember the tragedies, events and history that took place in the city of Berlin 39 years ago? What about some of the businesses that were here then and are now gone? Can you remember them? Sometimes we forget what happened last week. I will try to refresh your memory about some of the things that took place in 1978 in my next selection of stories.

What about a business called Bob's Tire? It was run and operated in 1978 by a man named Bob Bourassa, a 33-year-old dedicated business man. He spent from 12 to 18 hours in his shop at least six days a week.

Not only did Bob do an admiral job serving his customers, he had quality products to go on every vehicle that entered his shop at 177 Glen Ave. Bob did balancing, alignments and shock absorbers himself, while Mike Fortier and Everett Rasys did the brake work, tire changing and exhaust systems.

Bob's Tire was located between Sanels and Cross Machine, tucked back a bit from the road. I do not remember when this place closed its business.

In the middle of January, one of Berlin's older buildings, built in the early 1890s was leveled by a J & M company crane. Most people referred to it as the Buber Block. It was originally built as a business called Gilbert and Parent and had many businesses thereafter. It stood next to the old Princess Theater, going up Main Street.

Public transportation was about to become a reality in the Berlin-Gorham area after many years. The North Country Transit System sponsored by by Tri-County Community Action Program, which was on Willard Street, was scheduled to begin operating in February of 1978.

Two 20-passenger buses would travel fixed routes in Berlin and Gorham, providing area residents with inexpensive, safe, comfortable and warm rides to local destinations. Fare for the Berlin area rides would be 50 cents, with the Berlin-Gorham route costing 75 cents.

The new buses were white with orange stripes on the side and had large vista windows that slid open to give the passengers a clear view of the passing countryside.

Plans for the bus service had been developing since June of 1977 and were created by the North Country Council and CAP. It was funded by $75,000 of phase 1 funds from the US Department of Transportation. The routes were developed with help from the Berlin Community Development Office and the Housing Assistance Center.

The system would operate with three primary routes and buses would run from 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. One bus would operate between Berlin and Gorham, making stops at the shopping centers, Cascade and Western Avenue.

Another route was a loop around Berlin that included the East Side and western sections of the city near the avenues, Hillside Avenue and the Androscoggin Valley Hospital area. The third route would travel north from Berlin to White Mountains Community college and nursing homes along with Liberty Gardens (Brookside Park today).

After all the problems in the past had been worked out, today's (2017) North Country Transit System still operates efficiently after 39 years.

In the beginning of February, Mr. Leo G. Ouellett was the first to announce this candidacy for mayor of Berlin. Ouellett who lived at 257 Willard St., made this known publicly in a press release dated February 1, 1978. He was seeking the office of Mayor held by Laurier Lamontagne, who had announced that he would not seek reelection.

In an interview with the local news media, Ouellett said that he planned to stress harmony in the government theme during his campaign. As mayor, he hoped assume a leadership role and give a sense of direction to the often divided City Council. Plus, he hope to involve more people in city government.

Candidate Quellett said that he believed the mayor and council form of government could work most effectively if the city's political leadership acted as a board of directors, cooperating with and directing the city's professional management.

In keeping with his harmony and government theme, Ouellett said that he hoped to run a campaign free of personal dickering and mudslinging. He said that he would announce his stance on the issues as the campaign developed.

Mr. Ouellett saw himself as a new man in politics, but he had a long history of participation in city government. He was chairman of the Berlin Planning Board, helped organize the zoning board of appeals and was also the vice chairman of the Industrial Development and Park Authority. Ouellett stepped aside as chairman of the planning board when he ran for mayor and declared a political conflict of interest during his next monthly meeting of the board.

He was a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard and had been the battalion commander of Battery A based at the Berlin Armory since February of 1967. He joined the National Guard as a lieutenant in April of 1950.

Leo Ouellett also had experience as a downtown businessman, as he owned and operated the Simon Davis Smart Shop on Main Street in partnership with his wife Jane. He had also been the treasurer of the Berlin Merchants Committee and a director at the North Country Bank.

Although Ouellett was born in Lebanon, N.H., he came to Berlin with his family at an early age. Here, Leo attended St. Regis Academy, St. Joseph Juniorete in Tyngsboro, Mass., and then he graduated from Berlin High School with all those great skiers in 1942.

He entered U.S. Army Air Corps in November of 1942 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant at the age of 19. He was then an Air Force reserve officer from the end of the World War II until 1950. Leo attended Butler University in Indiana and graduated from the Boston Businesses Institute in 1948, where he majored in business administration, real estate, accounting and business law. His educational background also included military training schools and civil service schools.

Leo was a member of the VFW, the American Legion and the Eagles club. He was also certainly qualified to take on the business of running the city of Berlin.

I will continue with the year 1978 in my next writing.

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

Transit 1978Transit 1978

Ouellett LeoLeo Ouellett

Gilbert and ParentGilbert and Parent

Bourassa BobBob Bourassa