Written by Barbara Tetreault
COOS COUNTY – The state's Congressional delegation is backing a $2.49 federal grant application to install two liquefied natural gas fueling stations in Coos County as well as on-site gas storage facilities at four locations. The fueling stations would be located at Gorham Paper and Tissue in Gorham and the former mill site in Groveton.
Northern Community Development Corporation submitted an application in March to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for a fiscal 2014 Economic Development Assistance grant.
Cathy Conway, vice president of economic development for NCIC, said the grant would allow liquefied natural gas storage (LNG) tanks at the GPT mill, Groveton, Freudenberg Industries in Bristol, and St. Johnsbury, Vt., to serve St. Johnsbury Academy and NSA Industries. She said the tanks would provide storage for about 300,000 gallons although the Gorham mill would likely have more storage. The fueling stations will supply the fleet of tractor-trailer trucks used to transport the LNG.
Earlier this year, Clear Energy announced plans to build a $100 million liquefied natural gas plant in Groveton that would convert natural gas from the Portland National Gas Transmission System natural gas pipeline and convert it into liquefied natural gas customers in southern New England. The plant would produce 300,000 gallons of LNG per day and create a total of 84 jobs at the plant and in trucking.
That plant is not projected to be ready for operation until the winter of 2015.
The hope is to get the fuel stations and storage facilities in place for this coming winter. Conway said if the grant is successful, they would go out to bid for a supplier.
In a phone interview, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen said she has spoken to Gorham Paper and Tissue officials about ways to help the struggling paper mill. She said the fueling station and storage facilities there would help the mill in the short-term by reducing natural gas costs in the winter months when heavy demand causes price spikes. This past winter, the mill curtailed operations because the price of natural gas created a situation where production costs exceeded market prices for some products.
In her letter supporting the application, Shaheen said the on-site storage facilities would reduce energy costs for the five businesses, including the Gorham mill, by about $3.4 million annually. She said the savings would help the mill rebound from the recent layoffs and help saving 165 jobs there.
Conway said U.S. Congresswoman Annie Kuster and U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte are also supporting the application.
The application is currently going through internal review by EDA and then will go to the agency's regional office in Philadelphia for a decision. Conway said there is no definite timetable for a decision but said she hopes to hear soon.
Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 22:10
Three area runners will compete in the 2014 Boston Marathon
By Gail Scott
BERLIN/RANDOLPH—With the April 15 anniversary of the tragic 2013 Boston Marathon last Tuesday, three area runners are putting the finishing touches on their preparation to race the 2014 marathon on April 21: Wendy Walsh, 47, of Randolph, Rich Landry, 47, of Berlin, and Mark Kelley, 57, of Randolph.
All are sanguine about the race. Security is in place and directions for the runners are precise: Runners will be bused from the Boston Common to their start in Hopkinton and will not be allowed to take anything other than their numbered bibs and essential wear. Extra clothing left at the start location will be given away to Boston area needy by the race organization, the Boston Athletic Association. Any food or drink will have to be handheld during the transportation to the start line—no bags or backpacks. And there are numerous other organizational requirements both intended to keep order among the 36,000 participants as well as provide security.
An extra 9,000 racers will run this year because the BAA decided to allow those who couldn't finish last year, to race in the 2014 marathon. Kelley is among that number although, he points out, he hadn't qualified on time in the first place: he was part of a fundraising effort for the Greater Boston Chapter of the Spinal Cord Injury Association—"one of many non profit organizations that are given bibs to use for fundraising. As part of that bib, I agreed to raise a minimum of $3,000. When the final tally came in, my friends had helped me raise $6,351!"
This year Walsh is raising money for the Children's Alopecia Project, but, her husband, Steve Hartman points out, she qualified with her time in the Burlington Marathon.
All three runners say they started running for fitness and became challenged by the possibilities of improving with training for marathons.
"The thing about running," says Rich Landry, 47, a financial planner who says he started running when he was 42, "It's you against yourself. When you start off, you have a hard time running a mile, but the more you do it, it gets easier and easier. You build up endurance over time."
Walsh, 47, research professor at the UNH Crimes Against Children Center, says she has been running for some time—even some in high school when she played field hockey and in college where she weighed 45 pounds more than she does today. But to run the Boston Marathon "has always been a life goal." Now she has a special purpose for her participation: raising money for the Children's Alopecia Project.
As she says on the fundraising site, www.razoo.com, she has been living with alopecia universalis since she was 10 years old. Those suffering from the condition, lose all their hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes. Not much is known about it but it may be an autoimmune condition. Hair may or may not return.
In any case, when Walsh was growing up, "there were no support groups so I did not know any other kids like me. I had a very hard time finding myself. During high school most of my hair grew back and then fell out again," she writes.
"As one would expect, this was pretty traumatic. I remember hiding my lack of hair from my field hockey teammates in high school, my roommate in college, and all of my close friends (even though I'm sure people knew about it). I never brought it up, thinking perhaps if I didn't talk about 'it,' then I was just like everyone else. . . . it wasn't until I met my husband 15 years ago, who asked, 'what's up with the hair?' (I always had a hairpiece on back then), that I could acknowledge it to someone else.
"He got me to start talking about living with alopecia," Walsh continues on the website. "He kept telling me how alopecia was a gift and to embrace it because it is part of who I am. I had never had a conversation like this with anyone."
At the same time, Walsh recalls, she started running on a consistent basis and in 2004, when a friend decided to train for a half marathon, Walsh started running more and found that it helped her find peace with herself and with life.
"It was my meditation," she writes.
In 2006 she ran her first half marathon and loved it. She then qualified for a marathon (26 miles) in 2007 "and at the end, I said I would never do that again. . . . . . But as the months went by, she realized she had enjoyed the training schedule and having a goal to work towards. She signed up for another one, "I actually had fun . . . . and I could actually walk afterwards. I was hooked."
Three years ago she ran in the Hartford, Conn. marathon and asked family and friends to contribute to the Massachusetts Alopecia Support Group. She raised $2,100 to help families attend the national alopecia conference.
"It felt great" to contribute to the cause, she recalls.
She trained to qualify for the Boston Marathon last year, but missed the qualifying time by seconds. This year she made the cut off, running the Burlington marathon in 3 hours 46 minutes, under the Boston qualifying time for her age group of 3 hours 55 minutes, and once again, she is raising money to help support children living with alopecia, specifically, the Children's Alopecia Project. "This project has amazing groups that help children living with alopecia develop self-esteem and have fun living with alopecia," she writes.
To contribute, go to www.razoo.com if you'd like to make a donation. The site features a picture of Walsh, running with her seamlessly bald head uncovered.
Walsh plans to continue her running after the Boston marathon. She has already qualified for the New York marathon in November, a marathon she has done before.
"I ran it last year and I'm doing it again because it's so much fun," she said.
For Landry, this will be a second Boston Marathon. He participated last year and had finished about thirty minutes before the bombs went off at the finish line. It was a scramble to get his family together but all were safe and, unable to return to their hotel because of the security chaos, all 15 spent the night in a niece's two-bedroom apartment.
His goal this year is to qualify for next year. The qualifying time for his age group is 3 hours 25 minutes. His time last year at 3 hours and 19 minutes, despite a terrible cramp in his right calf that hampered him during the last 10 miles of the 26-mile race.
"That's all part of it," Landry says. "The body is pretty exhausted after a few hours."
Landry has changed his training routine over time. "Last year I was running six days a week. I put on 750 miles of training for the marathon over four to five months. But I found this year that running every other day and cross training—skiing, biking, elliptical—10 to 15 hours a week of training—there's a lot less pounding on the body."
Landry and Walsh also watch what they eat.
"Your body needs good fuel to put the miles on. If it's going to have a lot of ice cream and chocolate, it's not going to want to run," Landry says. "I'm regimented about what I do. My diet is oatmeal for breakfast, a bagel and yogurt at lunch and a good dinner and some snacks—eating every two to three hours, but eating light meals."
He regards discovering the best training regime to be a matter of trial and error. "You read a lot and ask questions and talk to people who have done it," he says. "What you find is that everyone's body is different and nothing replaces the experience of doing it over time."
Landry notes that the goal is "not to run fast. It's not to slow down."
"The marathon is about pacing. You are trying to run the same pace of the whole 26 miles. If you go out too fast, at mile 18 or 20 your body has had it and you will slow down," he says.
In general, Landry says, when you're training, "you start off slow and increase the miles each week to near the peak. In the last three weeks before the marathon, you start cutting back and resting. Come the marathon day, you body has had a chance to rest from all those training miles."
"There's a lot of science to it," he adds. "I wear a heart rate monitor. When you are running the hills, you run slower. If you exhaust yourself on the hill, you will run out of gas."
He has discovered that you need nutrition during a long run or "you hit the wall at mile 20. In the '70s, they were tough guys, they didn't believe in taking food or water, but 'they' have come to realize you need to take in food and water to get beyond 2 hours of running."
Landry, as do others, carries "gel shots—sugar in a packet. You take one of those every half hour so by the time you are at the 2 hour mark and beyond, you're replacing the carbohydrates and can go beyond that."
"A lot of this is trial and error. Some things don't agree with you and some do. You have to practice," he says.
He's hoping it won't be too hot in Boston. "You train for five months for the race but the weather factor can mean everything. If it's too windy or too hot your time slows down tremendously," he says.
He doesn't often run with anyone. "The great thing about running is that it is at your own convenience. You can work it around the family schedule," he says, although his wife, Christine, is training for a half marathon in May. Landry expects to use the month after the Boston marathon for "healing. I won't run for a month," he says, but after that he expects to go running with Christine at times.
In general, training for a marathon involves running some days at 20 to 22 miles, "just to get your body used to distance, and then you do days when you run shorter distances but quicker, to get your body used to speed. You want the marathon pace to be an easy pace for you. On marathon day, it all comes together," he says.
He's delighted to be running the Boston Marathon, noting that this will be the 118th year for it.
"There's a huge history," he says. "They are expecting over a million spectators this year. It's the World Series or the Super Bowl of running. It's the only sport where you can play with the pros—not that you have a chance to beat them, but it is still nice to be on the same course. In running, it's just your sneakers and you."
He also notes that the numbered bibs have chips that signal when the runner goes over the start and when he or she crosses the finish line.
"And they have checks along the way so anyone can go on the Internet and track you. My family at home will go to the website, punch in the bib number, and they can watch my progress."
For Kelley, the marathon idea occurred in January 2011 when he started a weight loss program with Dick Kimber at the Body Line health club.
"He asked me my goal and I blurted out that I had always wanted to run a marathon, so he asked me to find one to run before my next session with him. I was able to register for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D. C. for Oct. 2011. During that training time, I ran 5ks, 10ks, a half marathon and a 30k road race in October.
"I successfully completed running 26.2 miles, but my time was 5 hours 10 minutes, which I was disappointed with," Kelley says.
He was able to register to take part in the 2012 Boston Marathon because of his fund raising, but "it was so hot the day of the marathon that they asked people in the fundraising category to please not run and we would be given the opportunity to try again in 2013 without the fundraising requirement. "
"The next year," Kelley recalls, "I didn't train very much and asked my family not to come, since I didn't know if I'd be able to finish"—which turned out to be a good thing.
"I'm glad they didn't come, because they most likely would have been in the same spot as bomb number one exploded," he says.
This year, Kelley says he feels more fit than last year, but has done no more than a 10-mile run—"a long cry from the 26.2 I have to cover."
However, he says, "I'm determined to cross the finish line on Boylston Street April 21."
Landry reminds everyone that One Fund Boston, which right after the April 15 tragedy raised $61 million in donations for the victims of the 2013 bombing, is still working to raise money to help the victims.
"You know how it is, right after something people donate, but the victims will be living with their injuries for their whole lives. There is still need," he says.
Last Updated on Saturday, 19 April 2014 01:22
Written by Barbara Tetreault
BERLIN – A long-time city official, a high school clerk, and a Marine Corps League detachment were honored Monday night with the Berlin Volunteer Award.
The award is given out annually during National Volunteer Month to recognize volunteers who are making a difference in the community. This year's recipients are David Morin, Michele Lamphere, and Maine Corps League Detachment 1111. The names of the winners will be permanently displayed on the city's Volunteer Tree in city hall.
David Morin this month stepped down from the planning board after almost 25 years of service on the board. He also served eight years on the city council, was a member of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Committee, served on the North Country Council Transportation Committee, and is an active member of the Berlin Main Street Program. He worked on two city master plans, helped rewrite the zoning ordinance, and was a part of eight city budgets.
"He has put in countless hours, accumulating a great amount of knowledge about local government and sharing it with all who serve with him. Mr. Morin has provided insight and guidance in downtown, economic development, and housing issues which he gained from his time serving the city," the citation reads.
"David has never expected anything in return other than working hard to make Berlin a great place to live and work," said Berlin Community Development Director Pamela Laflamme in nominating Morin.
Michelle Lamphere is a familiar face at Berlin High School where she works as attendance clerk. But her involvement in school events does not end there. Lamphere was nominated for her many years of work organizing events, fundraisers, and trips for Berlin High and the community-at-large.
She is vice president of the Berlin High School Backers, the Class 2015 advisor, an organizer and captain for the Relay for Life, has chaperoned the senior class trip to New York City for the last eight years, served as the Mountaineer Mascot at RiverFire, and has organized and run the Backer's concession stand at various city events. Under her guidance, a group of students cleaned and repainted the BHS field house. Two Berlin High students nominated her for the award.
"Mrs. Lamphere is the 'go-to' person for every game, every dance, every fundraiser and every concession stand at Berlin High. She promotes school spirit and recruits students to volunteer their time," said Miranda Chouinard in her nomination letter. Erika Gendron added that the students love Lamphere because she never hesitates to offer to help.
At most parades or veteran remembrances, the members of Cpl. Richard Demers Marine Corps League, Detachment 1111 are visible in their uniforms of blue-stripped pants and red jackets. But serving as the color guard at parades, memorials, school assemblies, and funerals is only one aspect of the service provided by the corps. They provide flags and flag poles to schools and parks. The group organizes an annual 'Toys for Tots to insure that all local children have presents at Christmas. The detachment has established a local scholarship and throughout the year fund raises to provide money to area graduates. They have also supported local soldiers and their families during recent deployments.
The detachment was nominated for the award by the Berlin High School Backers, Berlin Superintendent of Schools Corinne Cascadden, and Berlin Public Works Director Michael Perreault.
Perreault said the group operates with honor, dignity, and patriotism and that rubs off on those they encounter.
"The dedication that they show in their support for our community is truly admirable and is an excellent example for our youth," said BHS Backers President Stephanie Ayotte.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 21:38
Written by Barbara Tetreault
GORHAM — In oral arguments before the state Supreme Court Wednesday, attorneys for the town of Gorham and Portland Pipe Line Corporation differed over how to determine the taxable valuation of 4.95 miles of the pipeline that runs through Gorham.
Gorham appealed the state Board of Tax and Land Appeals decision, which found the town’s assessment of the pipeline in tax years 2008, 2009, and 2010 were too high and abated the values set by the town.
The town’s appraiser, George Sansoucy, assessed the pipeline at $4,541,600 in tax year 2008 and $5,941,700 in tax years 2009 and 2010.
Portland Pipe Line’s appraiser, John Davis III, set an assessment of $2,324,000 in 2008, $2,540,000 in 2009, and $2,503,000 in 2010.
In its decision, the BTLA said it placed more weight on the assessments performed by Davis although the board said it did believe there was merit in the town’s arguments that Davis understated the market value of the property. The board arrived at abated assessments of $3,840,000 for tax year 2008, $4,088,000 for 2009, and $4,384,00 for 2010. The board noted its assessments were lower than those submitted by the town but higher than figures set by both PPLC and the state Department of Revenue Administration. The DRA appraised the pipeline for the state utility property tax at approximately $1.6 million in 2008 and $1.3 million in 2009 and 2010.
The BTLA issued its decision last July and denied the town’s request for reconsideration, paving the way for the town to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Portland Pipe Line Corporation is a subsidiary of Portland Montreal Pipe Line Limited, which operates a 236 miles crude oil pipeline running from South Portland, Maine to a refinery in Montreal. The PPLC operates 167 miles of the pipeline from Maine through Vermont and New Hampshire to the Canadian border.
Representing the town, Attorney Robert Upton II argued Portland Pipe Line Corporation performed a business valuation and used a unit or system approach that arrived at a value for the entire 167-mile pipeline. Under that approach, Upton said Davis then allocated a value for the section in Gorham based on mileage. He said the unit approach is not valid because the N.H system of taxation requires property to be appraised and taxed solely within the town it is located.
He said Sansoucy considered three different valuation approaches – cost replacement, income, and comparable sales – in assessing the pipeline. Upton said there were no comparable sales and Portland Pipe Line Corporation would not provide needed income or expense figures so Sansoucy based his assessments on the cost approach.
Justice Carol Ann Conboy noted the decision and said Sancoucy’s reliance on the cost approach lead to “wildly fluctuating value for exactly the same pipeline property.” The 2008 assessment increased to $6.5 million, 2009 to $6.8 million and 2010 to $6 million.
Upton explained that Sancoucy updated values for the different years as part of his assessment work for the town.
In his 15-minute presentation, PPLC Attorney Jonathan Block said his client had waived confidentiality to allow Gorham to see the DRA valuations but not their experts. He said the DRA valuations were highly relative because the state appraiser is experienced.
Block said the court had allowed the unit approach in another case involving Gorham and the Androscoggin Valley Country Club.
The attorney argued the 4.7 miles of pipeline in Gorham has no market value without the rest of the system.
Brock challenged some of the data used by Sancoucy, stating there were factual errors including the size of the pipe and the inside pressure. He pointed out the BLTA decision said Sansoucy’s work lacked credibility. Not only were Sansoucy’s assessments four to five times higher than those produced by DRA, Brock said he provided ten different valuations for the three tax years.
A video of the oral arguments can be viewed on the N.H. Supreme Court website at http://www.courts.nh.gov/cstream/index.asp
Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 21:26
- No major flooding reported
- VA to open health care clinics in Berlin and Colebrook
- Chancellor emphasizes committement to WMCC and reports tuition decrease
- Destination Imagination team going all the way to nationals
- Council donates to Destination Imagination
- School board comes back to council with reduced budget