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Howe Pony Truss Bridge Work Begins in Randolph


RANDOLPH -- The N.H. Bureau of Trails and the Bureau of Historic Sites announced that the 1918 Snyder Brook Bridge, on the Presidential Recreational Rail Trail in Randolph, will be lifted from its abutments next week. The bridge, a Howe Pony Truss Bridge, is one of only seven known to exist in North America, is in critical need of stabilization and repair due to its eastern abutment being undermined by Snyder Brook.

Tree removal and site stabilization work has begun and a crane will arrive on scene the week of Dec. 1. The crane will lift the bridge off of its abutments and set it on the recreational rail trail. Abutment stabilization will take place at that time but final repair work and resetting of the bridge will not occur until next summer. The trail will be closed to all public use at the bridge site; however, snowmobilers will be able to use the remainder of the trail, NH Corridor 12, with a reroute in the White Mountain National Forest. Summer users will also have a route around the bridge.

"This project has been worked on for more than a year now and we are very excited to have the expertise of our counterpart, Bureau of Historic Sites, working with us to save this truly extraordinary historic Railroad Bridge," said Trails Chief Chris Gamache. Historic Sites director Ben Wilson, noted "This type of Railroad Bridge is a rare survivor as a historic asset. The bridge is an important interpretive resource in explaining the development of railroads in New Hampshire."


Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 16:17

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Shaheen tours Burgess BioPower biomass plant

BERLIN – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen carried the Androscoggin Valley by a large margin in the recent midterm election and Monday she returned to say thank you and to highlight her support for tax credits for renewable energy projects like the Burgess BioPower plant.
In a close race against her Republican opponent Scott Brown, Shaheen beat him locally by about 2,000 votes.
"I was very pleased with the support I got from the North Country," Shaheen said, during a tour of the biomass plant.
After a lunch meeting with local officials, Shaheen spent about 90 minutes touring the biomass plant. She noted the facility had come a long way since her last visit.
"Burgess BioPower has made exceptional progress in transforming a former paper and pulp mill into an up-and-running clean energy production site that's supporting New Hampshire jobs," Shaheen said. "The clean energy investments I saw today at the Burgess BioPower plant are what we should be encouraging, and that is why Congress needs to extend the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit and the Investment Tax Credit, which support biomass power and expired at the end of 2013."
Plant Manager David Walker told Shaheen the plant reached substantial completion on July 19, about eight months behind schedule. At that point, Babcock and Wilcox, the company that constructed the plant, turned it over to Delta Power Services. Delta, a subsidiary of Babcock and Wilcox, has a six-year contract to operate and maintain the facility. Walker said Babcock and Wilcox is completing the final punch list and site work.
Walker, a native of Bucksport, Maine, came on-board in April 2013 and now lives in Gorham. He said there are 27 full-time employees at the plant and said he expects there will be a few more people hired. He said there are another eight to ten employees working off-site.
At 75 megawatts, Burgess BioPower is the largest clean biomass plant in New England and third in the country in capacity.
While the turbine is rated at 75 megawatts, Walker said it consistently puts out 75.4 megawatts, meaning it is more efficient than planned. The plant generates an average of 1,626 megawatts per hour to the grid, which is sold to Public Service of N.H. under a long-term purchase power agreement.
To generate that power, the plant consumes 2,100 to 2,200 tons of low grade wood per day, slightly less than estimated. Supplying the plant with wood requires 80 to 90 trucks in and out of the plant daily. Richard Carrier has a wood procurement contract with Burgess BioPower and Walker said there have been no issues with wood supply. Burgess BioPower had talked the city about doing some chipping on-site but there are now no plans to pursue that option.
Wood deliveries are allowed Monday through Saturday but Walker said there are few deliveries on Saturdays. He said the bulk of the wood chips come from New Hampshire with some from Vermont and Maine.
Burgess BioPower has been certified as a Class I renewable energy source in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island, and thus eligible to generate renewable energy credits. Under its agreement with Public Service, the utility has the right to purchase the first 400,000 RECs or about four-fifths of the plant's annual output.
Shaheen noted that in addition to her support for renewable energy sources, she is he sponsor of the bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which would help the United States transition to a more energy-efficient economy while driving economic growth and private sector job creation.
Shaheen began her day with a tour of the interactive science exhibit at the Mt. Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center in North Conway.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 16:14

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City decides to hire company to upgrade and maintain computer system

BERLIN – The city council has decided to hire Secured Network Services to upgrade the city's entire computer technology system and provide support services for the next three years.
The total cost of upgrading the hardware and software for both the city and police department is $182,259, which the city will finance through Cisco Systems Capital Corporation over three years.
In addition the city and police department will each pay $21,900 annually to have SNS support and maintain the system.
City staff came to council with the proposal two weeks ago and last week SNS founder and president Kevin Low met with the body to talk about the company and service it will provide.
City Manager James Wheeler explained that the city's server is 11 years old and there are 30 computers that still run Windows XP, which Microsoft no longer supports. The fire department, wastewater treatment, library, and the recreation departments are not networked and Wheeler said connectivity has always been a problem the staff has worked around. He said the city has to do something to upgrade the system.
Community Development Director Pam Laflamme said the city's server is at capacity and needs software upgrade – for example the finance department cannot upgrade its software on the existing server.

The city has been using Elvis Houle of Genesys Computer Systems for computer issues and Laflamme said he has been very responsive. But she and Wheeler noted the city does not have an IT person on staff and Houle has other clients.
SNS was founded in 2002 and currently has locations in Norwood, Mass., Providence, R.I. and Littleton. Low told the council his company serves over 85 businesses. In the North Country, clients include Weeks Memorial Hospital in Lancaster, AHEAD, Northern Community Investment Corporation, and Northern Human Services.
He said SNS employs 28 people consisting of engineers, managers, and technology experts and provides 24 hour service seven days a week. The company also makes regular site visits to customers and will conduct four quarterly planning meetings as part of the service contract.
The city maintains a server at city hall and the police department has its own server at the station. Laflamme said the plan is to move the server at city hall to the police station where there is a climate-controlled room and a back-up generator.
Low said individual computers will be replaced with terminals and the data will all be stored on the server. He said that will eliminate the need to back up 80 individual computers on a regular basis. Centralizing the system and using individual virtual desktops is also cheaper.
City Councilor Peter Higbee, who oversaw IT issues during his tenure at Tri-County Community Action Program, said he reviewed the proposal and liked it.
Mayor Paul Grenier noted the city has been paying about $17,000 to $18,000 a year for IT services for city departments excluding the police. He said the annual service fee of $21,900 will be about $5,000 more but Laflamme noted the city has been getting service on a trouble-shooting basis. The contract with SNS will provide regular service as well as on-call support.
Wheeler said going with SNS will require the council to waive the normal process of going out for Requests for Proposals.
Laflamme said the finance department would like to have the new system in place Jan. 1 to allow the department to upgrade its software.
The city had set aside some funds for computer upgrade and the city also received a computer grant for the library. Those funds will be used to pay for the loan payment for the remaining six months of fiscal 2015. Grenier said the city will budget the remaining payments as part of future capital expenditures.
The council voted to waive its normal RFP process and approve the lease-purchase agreement with Cisco and a one-year maintenance agreement with SNS.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 16:14

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11/18 Gorham Police log

Gorham Police news

Nov. 8

Darlene Mason, 50, Berlin, was arrested for shoplifting at Wal-Mart. She was released on $500 bail and is to appear in court Jan. 6.

Nov. 9

Alegra Dyer, 30, Gorham, was arrested on Glen Road for driving after the suspension of her license. She was released on a summons and is to appear in court Jan. 6.

Nov. 10

Louis Bilodeau, 38, Gorham, was arrested on Cascade Flats for drug possession. He was released on $500 bail and is to appear in court Jan. 6.

Nov. 11

Janet Wheeler, 70, Berlin, was arrested at Wal-Mart for criminal trespass. She was released on $500 bail and is to appear in court Jan. 6.


Last Updated on Monday, 24 November 2014 20:59

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