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Court issues default judgment against Laidlaw

BERLIN – The owner of the Burgess BioPower plant has won a $140,000 default judgment against Laidlaw Biopower and CEO Michael Bartoszek. Judge Andrea Johnstone, of U.S. District Court in New Hampshire, also awarded Newco Energy/Berlin Station interest and legal costs.
Laidlaw was the original developer of the 75-megawatt biomass plant but sold its interest in the project to Newco Energy in 2010. After a dispute arose about the purchase and sale agreement, the two parties reached a settlement agreement. Newco Energy/Berlin Station said it paid Laidlaw $3.5 million for the chemical recovery boiler and 60 acres of land.
Three years after the settlement agreement, Newco Energy/Berlin Station said it mistakenly wire transferred $140,000 to an old Laidlaw account. The suit said Cate Street Capital Managing Director Alexandra Ritchie twice left phone messages and sent e-mails to Bartoszek, requesting he return the money. Cate Street Capital is the parent company of Berlin Station and Newco.
But Newco/Berlin Station said Bartoszek refused to return the $140,000, claiming Laidlaw was entitled to keep the funds as an offset against money owned. Newco/Berlin Station said it had fulfilled the settlement agreement.
Newco/Berlin Station alleged Bartoszek refused to accept service of the complaint or summons and the company was forced to hire a private investigator to serve him. The court docket reveals Laidlaw did not respond to the summons or court case.
In 2007, Laidlaw announced plans to purchase 60 acres of former pulp mill land along with the mill's chemical recovery boiler and convert the boiler to a biomass plant. After receiving the necessary permits, Laidlaw sold the project to Newco/Berlin Station, which raised the necessary financing and the biomass plant is now in full operation.
Laidlaw and Bartoszek were charged with insider trading by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission in June 2013. The SEC charged Bartoszek failed to publicly disclose his company's financial struggles while selling huge blocks of cheap stock. The SEC also charged Laidlaw and Bartoszek misled investors to believe purchasers of two billion unregistered shares had acquired them as in investment when they knew the purchasers had long dumped all the stock.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 November 2014 22:06

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Publishing schedule for Thanksgiving week

Our publishing schedule next week will change because of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will be publishing a paper on Wednesday instead of our usual Thursday edition. Our Tuesday and Saturday editions will publish as usual. Look for our Black Friday shopping supplement in the special Wednesday edition. We wish everyone a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 November 2014 22:06

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Trophy renews interest in silent film star

BERLIN – He was one of the biggest stars of the silent movie era and described as a debonair man-about-town known for both his parties and generosity.
Lew Cody performed in at least 99 films, appearing with some of the best-known actors of his day including Buster Keaton, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, and Gloria Swanson.
"Cody was one of the liveliest of lively Hollywood characters, a bon vivant. His house offered the best cocktails – and he never turned one down," said a San Jose News article reporting his death in 1934.
"Cody was one of the pioneers in the film colony," said an Associated Press article at that same time.
Long forgotten, Cody grew up in Berlin as Louis Joseph Cote. But recently, his story has come to light because of a silver-plated trophy purchased at a swap meet.
Steve Van Duyn of Asheville, N.C. worked in the entertainment industry and collects memorabilia such as trophies and movie scripts as well as historical pieces. Van Duyn said he saw the ornate cup at an antique swap in Long Beach, Calif., and initially passed by it. Engraved on the cup were the words, "Lew Cody, Trophy, Photo Players Night, The Sunset Inn, Sept. 22, 1920. At the time, Van Duyn said the name Lew Cody didn't mean anything to him. But he remembered there was a Photo Players magazine and he knew that was an early name for film actors.
Van Duyn purchased the trophy and set out to learn about both Cody and the possible origin of the award itself. His journey took him to the Berlin Coos County Historical Society and to St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery in Lewiston, Maine where Cody is buried.

Cody's father, also Louis Joseph Cote, was born in Quebec and moved as a teen to Lewiston, Maine. The senior Cote moved to Berlin in 1880 where he opened the first drug store for Dr. Henry Maple and operated a grocery store for himself. Cote was living in Waterville, Maine, when his son was born in 1884. He returned to Berlin in 1893 — a year after the death of his wife Elizabeth and eventually would own three drug stores, a large milk farm, and a real estate business in the city, including the downtown building known as the Cote Block.
"He has been a very active and successful businessman and is now the largest individual real estate owner and taxpayer in the city," said the 1908 Genealogical and Family History of the State of N.H., Vol. 3.
Young Cody worked as a soda jerk in his father's store and claimed that training stayed with him his entire life.
"A standard Cody joke was that he learned in Berlin to 'set up drinks on the house' and that he couldn't forget his early training," according to the San Jose News article.
After high school, Cody went to McGill University in Montreal with plans of pursuing a medical career. But accounts suggest that after receiving favorable reviews for his performance in a school play, he told his father he wanted to be an actor. He then went to New York to study drama at the Stanhope Wheatcroft School of Acting. Along the way, he adopted the stage name Lew Cody.
In a piece his half-sister Cecile Cote wrote in the 1935 edition of the Berlin High School Yearbook, she said Cody worked hard doing one night stands "experiencing all the heartbreaks of a small-town actor". He went into vaudeville and toured in stock companies before performing with his own company. By 1917, he had advanced to full-length feature films, generally playing "a suave, roguish leading man, with a few villainous heroine–defilers in his resume."
Van Duyn said actors did not have a great reputation in those early days and couldn't stay in Hollywood at night. An exception was the Sunset Inn in Santa Monica where the manager set up a weekly night where film stars could gather and socialize. Van Duyn said he is still researching the trophy given to Cody. He said he believes the trophy given to Cody may be the first movie actor trophy in history. He noted the Academy Awards didn't come out until eight or nine years later.
His house in Beverly Hills was described as palatial and by all accounts Cody loved entertaining. But one article stressed that he was proud that his parties did not get out of control and he kept order by having noisy guests thrown into the pool.
Early in his career, Cody married Dorothy Dalton, another silent film actress. Wikipedia indicates the couple married, divorced, and remarried, all in a course of four years. He later married Mabel Normand, a well-known star and one of the first female screenwriters, producers, and directors. Normand is credited with saving Charles Chaplin's career by persuading director Mack Sennett to give Chaplin another chance when he wanted to fire him after his first film.
Normand and Cody had acted together and were reportedly friends when Cody proposed to her at a party in 1926 in what has been described as a joke. She accepted and a judge was called to perform a wedding at 3 a.m. The two lived in separate houses but were still married four years later when Normand died. The latest Steve Nicks album has a song, 'Mabel Normand' detailing her struggle with cocaine addiction.
Cody died four years later of a heart attack in his sleep. As befitting a man known for his style and fine clothes, newspaper accounts reported he was wearing a pair of gaudy purple pajamas. His funeral service was by invitation only and he was buried in the family plot.
His make-up kit is on display at the Berlin and Coos County Historical Society's Moffett House Museum on High Street in Berlin.


Last Updated on Friday, 21 November 2014 19:03

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Selectmen vote to pay for river study after residents fail to contact town

GORHAM—Selectmen Monday night voted to cover the total cost of an engineering study for repairs to be made to Moose Brook River after abutters failed to contact the town regarding their ability to cover a portion of the cost. Originally, selectmen were not in favor of fully funding the study, however concerns were raised that if action were not taken soon, public and private property could be damaged.

Earlier this month, the town sent out letters to abutting landowners that were directly affected by erosion on the banks of Moose River. The letters outlined the reason for the study and requested that residents contact the town directly to discuss covering the costs.

Similar to projects completed after Hurricane Irene, the town was looking to collect twenty-five percent of the total cost for the study. It is estimated that the cost for an engineering study would be close to $9,000, and land owners would have been expected to contribute to the cost based on river property frontage.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers originally constructed the berm in the early 1920's, and some residents feel very strongly that the corps should be the ones responsible for maintaining it.

Concerned landowner Dennis Arguin has attended the selectmen meetings regularly to voice his concerns about the rising water. The town temporarily placed sand bags long the property, but Arguin said more permanent measures need to be taken.

The town agrees  the problem needs to be addressed, but the issue lies in funding the project. Most grants are used to protect public property and in general private property is not covered.

Another aspect to the project that the town is considering is addressing other areas of concern like the Peabody River. Town Manager, Robin Frost acknowledged that flooding concerns are not a localized problem, and that it affect the entire town.

"We need to look at this from a whole town perspective, and realize that if we do work here, we have to be prepared to do it elsewhere," said Frost.

Budget Committee Chair Michael Waddell suggested that the town consider a warrant article to cover the expenses of the project.

Selectmen Grace LaPierre motioned that the town use $9,000 from the River Maintenance Fund to get the study completed, and then look into a warrant article to cover additional expenses.

Frost agreed that it was time to move forward with the project, even without the financial contributions of the landowners.

"I think that would be money well spent," agreed Frost.
During the final vote to use $9,000 from the River Maintenance Fund, Selectmen Jeff Schall voted no, while Terry Oliver and LaPierre voted in favor of the motion.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 21:33

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