Written by Barbara Tetreault
BERLIN – Gorham High students were encouraged to dream big and take risks to create a career that allows them to follow their passion.
The message came from Nancy Clark, the owner of the Glen Group marketing company as part of a daylong conference last Friday aimed at helping students explore paradigm shifts in their thinking. Principal David Backler provided a definition of paradigm shifts as a "fundamental change in an individual's or a society's view of how things work in the world."
In break-out groups, the students explored the food industry and what they are eating, experienced what it is like to be physically handicapped, discussed gender roles, looked at technology and crime, and debated the cultural impact of the television show 'Seinfeld'.
In addition to encouraging students to look a different ways of thinking, the event was designed to give students a sense what it is like to attend a conference as they might do in their future professional careers.
Kicking off the day was a keynote address by Clark, who used her personal history to encourage students to take chances.
Clark grew up in New York state and originally said she went to college for speech pathology until she hit physics and decided a career change was needed. She told students she loved communicating, writing, and skiing and decided to transfer to major in communications. She also interned at a ski area, traveling three hours to get valuable experience. After graduating, she applied and landed a job as a marketing assistant at Attitash and moved to Bartlett. After five years at Attitash, Clark said she thought it was time for a career change. She sent out resumes and interviewed for some positions but decided to stay at Attitash because she liked the community.
But she dreamed of owning her own business and the opportunity came in 1996 when she was offered the Glen Group. Clark said she weighed the risks, which including giving up a job with health benefits and paid vacations. While she said there was a lot of risk, she decided to buy the business because it offered an opportunity to control her own destiny.
Clark has loved owning and running her own company and said the first 10 years were good with lots of cash. But she warned running a small business can be tough.
"It's not all happiness, roses and balloons," she said.
For her the tough times came with the recession and her company lost a million dollar client. She decided to continue, although it meant downsizing and shutting off lights and turning down the heat to save money. Still the business lost money and took seven years to return to profitability.
Clark says the business is doing great now and she is still passionate about its future. Next up is a name change to Drive Brand Studio that will be announced next month (you read it here first).
"Dream big, take risks," she urged the students. Failure, she told them, is all right because the lessons it imparts makes you stronger. Above all, she advised them to figure out what they love to do.
"You can be successful because of who you are and where you live," she concluded.
Last Updated on Friday, 30 January 2015 20:41
Written by Barbara Tetreault
BERLIN – With the recent snow, Berlin Public Works Director Michael Perreault is reminding residents to follow the city's snow removal ordinance.
Perreault is particularly concerned about residents plugging up sidewalks with snow and creating a safety hazard by forcing residents to walk in the road. He said it creates a special problem in areas near the city's schools with student walkers.
In some cases, Perreault said the snow is piled so high, the city's sidewalk plows can't make it through to clear a path.
The ordinance prohibits people from depositing snow against any fire hydrant, street, bridge, alley, or sidewalk.
People can deposit or place snow from their property along the street side of their property line or along the property line of an abutter on either side or across the street with written permission from the other property owner.
The ordinance states clearly that "No person or commercial or private property owner or entity shall deposit, place, shovel, or plow snow in such a manner as to block passage of municipal equipment or pedestrian traffic on public sidewalks that are designated by the city as routinely plowed sidewalks."
Fines are $50 for the first offense, $100 for a second offense, and $1,000 for subsequent violations.
Perreault said he understands the density of the city can make snow removal tough.
"I know it's difficult but we need a little bit of help," he said.
Residents are also encouraged to help keep fire hydrants clear. In a recent fire in Salem, firefighters said a man who had dug out the fire hydrant saved crews valuable time when a fire broke out at a neighbor's house. Firefighters said the man's actions allowed firefighters to save his neighbor's house.
The city's snow removal ordinance is below:
Sec. 13-4. Obstructions on public ways.
(a) No person or commercial or private property owner or entity shall put or place or cause to be put or placed by mechanical means or otherwise in or on any street, lane, bridge, alley, sidewalk or other public place in the city, any house dirt, ashes, garbage, household refuse, shreds, shavings, filth, suds, offal, bark, brush, sawdust, grass or rubbish of any nature. No person or commercial or private property owner or entity shall deposit or cause to be deposited any snow or ice on or against any fire hydrant, street, lane, bridge, alley, sidewalk, or other public rights of way except in a manner as provided for in paragraph (b) of this Section. Additionally excepted will be that the city, during the snow plowing process, may store snow upon selected sidewalks until such time as scheduled snow removal by the city occurs.
(b) A person may deposit or place snow from private property either along the street side of their property line or along the property line of property owners either across the street or to either side, so long as these property owners have given written permission to do so. All such snow must be placed in a smooth manner along the existing snow banks and will not interfere with the public ways by protruding into the roadway or creating traffic hazards or obstructions to any neighboring properties.
(c) No person or commercial or private property owner or entity shall deposit, place, shovel, or plow snow in such a manner as to block passage of municipal equipment or pedestrian traffic on public sidewalks that are designated by the City as routinely plowed sidewalks. These sidewalks shall be listed in the City's Snow Removal Policy, streets or rights of way.
(d) No person or commercial or private property owner or entity shall deposit, place, shovel or plow snow in such a manner as to hinder or interfere with the ability to see pedestrian or vehicle traffic.
(e) Persons or commercial or private property owners of the removed snow are solely responsible for their actions or the actions of any agent involved in the snow removal process.
(f) Any person or commercial or private property owner or entity deemed to be in violation of this section shall be liable for costs incurred by the city to have such obstructions or deposits removed. All bills will be subject to the same liabilities of interest penalties and liens in relation thereto as in the collection of taxes.
(g) Any person or commercial or private property owner or entity found violating any element of this section shall be subject to a fine of not less than $50 plus penalty assessment, plus other costs as defined in subsection (f) above. Each violation shall be deemed a separate offense. Second violations will be subject to a $100 fine plus penalty assessment, with subsequent violations assessed with a maximum fine of $1,000 plus penalty assessment.
Last Updated on Friday, 30 January 2015 20:37
HOLLISTON, Mass. – The Berlin Water Works was named a 2014 Utility of the Year by the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA), the region's largest and oldest not-for-profit organization of water works professionals.
"This award recognizes a utility that has made significant improvements to its water system infrastructure, customer service, staff training, and operations to further protect the safety of its water supplies and the public health of its consumers," said Raymond J. Raposa, NEWWA executive director.
The water works was recognized in the medium-size systems' category, which includes utilities that service a population between 3,301 and 49,999 at NEWWA's recent monthly membership meeting in Concord.
The water works has overcome a string of hardships over the years, all while ensuring its customers continued to receive a safe and reliable water supply. Faced with the economic downturn, closed mills (and subsequent revenue loss), and an aging infrastructure, the utility worked to secure funding to perform system upgrades that significantly reduced the number of water main breaks from 80 per year to less than 6 per year, and reduced its unaccounted-for water from 65 percent in 2003 to less than 20 percent currently.
From water main replacements to a dam rebuilding and overall system enhancements, the entire team at the Berlin Water Works has worked tirelessly to ensure the utility is stable and continually working to provide the best service possible to its current and future customers.
The New England Water Works Association is a nonprofit, independent, member-driven organization dedicated to serving the region's water works professionals and the public interest. It is the oldest and most active regional water works association in the United States. For more than a century, NEWWA has worked to improve and sustain public water supplies, protect public health and safety, and advance the water supply profession. Visit us at newwa.org.
Last Updated on Friday, 30 January 2015 19:43
BERLIN – The city council still has to formally approve the 2015 sewer rate but City Manager James Wheeler is recommending it remain at $7.99 per hundred cubic feet for the seventh year in a row.
The city has been able to keep the sewer rate flat despite an almost $20 million upgrade of the wastewater treatment system. But Wheeler is projecting the rate will increase by an average of two percent annually from 2016-2020.
Wheeler said the city borrowed $12.5 million from U.S> Rural Development that it projected paying off over 30 years. But because of a technicality, the city will actually have to pay the bond off over 23 years, driving up the annual payments from $477,000 to $709,204. Despite the increase in the debt service payment, Wheeler said the city is able to limit the impact on the sewer rate because of the $6.4 million in the undesignated fund balance. He is recommending using $5.6 million from the fund over the next four years to kept the sewer rate down. He said the former city manager and council deserve credit for building up the fund.
The city also benefited from picking up the federal prison, Burgess BioPower, and the Androscoggin Valley Regional Refuse Disposal District as major sewer customers.
The city bills for three quarters of usage so Wheeler noted customers are billed at about 75 percent of actual flows.
Mayor Paul Grenier suggested the city should look at semi-annual billing and mailing the sewer bill out with the tax bill. Currently, the city bills annually for sewer.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 22:06
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