Colebrook man killed in accident

DIXVILLE - A Colebrook man was killed Friday afternoon when his car struck some paving equipment parked off the shoulder of a section of Route 26 under construction.
George Heald, 60 of Colebrook was driving a 2001 Toyota Celica west on Route 26 when his vehicle hit some traffic cones and went off the right side of the road, striking the guardrail which caused the vehicle to veer off the left side of the road. The vehicle then struck an embankment, went airborne, striking a piece of paving equipment before coming to a rest. Heald suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The construction zone was inactive at the time of the accident. Police do not believe speed or alcohol were factors.
State police Troop F were notified of the accident at about 3:30 p.m. Assisting at the scene were State Police Troop G as well as the department’s Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Unit, Colebrook police, Colebrook and Errol Fire and EMS.
The investigation is on-going and anyone who witnessed the collision is being asked to contact Trooper Michael Petrillo at State Police, Troop F at (603)-846-3333.

Berlin nursing home to seek skilled nursing facility status


By Edith Tucker
The Berlin Daily Sun

WEST STEWARTSTOWN — The Coos County Nursing Home in Berlin is laying the groundwork now to become a skilled nursing facility as of July 1, 2017, under the federal Medicare Part A and B programs.

“This will reduce the dollars we will have to raise by taxes,” explained Commissioner Paul Grenier of Berlin at the commission’s regular monthly on Oct. 12.
“There are, of course, challenges,” explained nursing home administrator Louise Belanger.

Fortunately, she said, both Hillsborough and Carroll counties have previously taken this same step, bringing more rehabilitation into their nursing homes.

The Hillsborough facility in Goffstown is a 300-bed skilled and intermediate care facility that includes a 24-bed skilled unit.

Carroll County’s 103-bed facility, Mountain View Community in Ossipee, discusses the rationale for its skilled admissions in its online October newsletter.

“Let me assure you that money is not the main reason that we offer skilled nursing care — also known as rehabilitation — here at MVC,” writes administrator Howard Chandler. “We offer skilled nursing-rehabilitation in order to benefit our own long-term-care residents.”

A skilled nursing failicty requires a program manager, speech therapist, physical therapist and occupational therapist, and 103 beds would provide enough business to justify having them at the Berlin facility, he explained. “But if we allow short-term admissions from the outside. We help pay the bills and ensure that if a resident requires skilled nursing/rehab, that we will be ready,” Chandler points out. It also allows Mountain View Community to serve more county residents.

On Oct. 12, the census stood at 87 at the Berlin home: 10 private pay and four Medicaid pending with an average September daily census of 88.7 percent.
Grenier pointed out that the two county nursing homes are heading towards a combined deficit of $8.3 million.

The September occupancy at the West Stewartstown facility was 80 percent.

The Van Dyke assisted living facility on Main Street in Colebrook is closing.

Berlanger announced that two Berlin nursing home employees had been presented with awards at the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Association of Counties.

Helen Couture received the Edna Mckenna Public Service Award for her outstanding dedication.

Karen Berube, R.N., was given the Coos County Nursing Home Employee of the Year Award for her many years of dedicated service.

The roof replacement and HVAC upgrades are underway at the Berlin facility, and, Belanger said, the contractor is working hard to minimize disruption.

Coos Botanical Garden Club blossoms in Berlin and Gorham

By Rachael Brown

The Coos Botanical Garden Club grew out of a passion. Will O’Brien planted the seed. His idea was to get local growers and the community to work together to share their knowledge of organic growing, conservation and beautification.

It has been 10 years since the club began, O’Brien says things are going well, change is happening.

“I started this in 2006. It was my brainchild. I thought about starting a club where growers would work together with the Berlin and Gorham rec departments and Northern Human Services in conservation and beautification,” said the affable and enthusiastic O’Brien, director and ambassador of the Coos Botanical Club.

O’Brien has the agricultural background. He created a botanical garden club which includes a botanical garden park, labeled theme gardens and a wildlife habitat garden club, all the while educating children and adults.

“I lived in Tennessee, and grew up on a dairy farm, as a kid I knew how to grow things organically. We had 700 chickens. We used to put the eggs in shopping carts and peddle them throughout the neighborhood. We did pretty well,” he beamed, adding he also studied conservation and worked with N.H. Fish and Game.

The club collaborates with Northern Human Services at the Community Services Center in Berlin, the Berlin Rec Department, the Gorham Rec Department, the National Wildlife Federation, WREN, Berlin Farmer’s Market Community Garden, Peabody Farm House Museum of Shelburne, Top Notch Inn and Mount Moriah Cottage of Gorham, N.H. Arts and Libations and local farms.

"This year the theme of the club is 'club to farm' and 'club to garden,'" O’Brien said. “We mange gardens in Berlin and Gorham with volunteer staff and the help of Northern Human Services. We couldn’t do it without the support of human services.”

The locations include Laura Lee Vigor Botanical Garden in Berlin, Gorham Community Planters and Gardens, Wildlife Habitat Garden at Peabody Farm House Museum and Berlin Farmer’s Market Community Garden.

“We have a couple of freebies, too, the gardens at Rite-Aid, the White Mountain Cafe and Sears in Gorham. We also put in 73 hours at WREN. Don Myers donated the vegetables,” added O’Brien.


A garden to cultivate the senses

Taste, touch, smell, see and hear. That’s what the sensory garden at Gorham Common exhibits.

“The sensory garden and planter at the podium, which Josh Labonville built, is filled with herbs and bright flowers. Children can taste and touch, adults, too. We show people how to utilize herbs,” explained O’Brien.

One of the group's goals is to educate.

“We want to teach youth and children to grow organically. Teachers help educate kids about plants that attract animals, O’Brien said. Children are excited to see how things grow, they like to touch and harvest. Some say they didn’t know green beans taste like that, and there is nothing like a garden tomato, especially grown organically,” he added.

We talk about and experience wildlife habitats, said O’Brien.

Speaking of habitats, the club is in the process of being certified by the National Wildlife Federation.

“We supply the four things needed for wildlife: a place for animals to have young, food, shelter and water. We have sent in all the information to become certified and are just waiting for the approval,” said O’Brien.

The club is not dormant in the winter.

"The Gorham Library is our satellite. During the winter we have monthly presentations," said O'Brien.  And just before the winter season on Nov. 14 is the Golden Shovel Award.

“The Northland Dairy Bar is our sponsor for the awards dinner. We recognize three people for their outstanding work and the Best Favored Club Event,” O’Brien said.

Speaking of dinners, Merrily Lepage’s Joyful Farm in Gorham hosts the potluck, Yankee swap Christmas Party and other dinners.

“Will and I met and he asked me to join the club. I went to the first club meeting two years ago. We have some events here, the Christmas party, we had a maple syrup gathering last spring,” said Lepage, an ambassador for the club.

The 2-acre farm is home to chickens, goats and abundance of tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, squashes, corn, hay, elderberries and apples. Lepage cans what ever she is able to and is making her own dandelion wine.

“We hope the wine is ready for Christmas,” she added.

‘We like to talk to people, to promote a healthy way of living. People seem to be more interested in what they put in their bodies and on their bodies. While Lepage was talking, Dick Downs, a customer, came in for his goat milk and eggs.

He said, “This is the most interesting place in town. Well, actually the North Country. And this is the coolest stuff.” Downs was referring to one of the natural healing balms, Baack-Off, which is made from goat’s milk.

Lepage’s products can be found on her farm, at the Berlin Farmer’s Market and at the Gorham Corner Market.

Allen and Tina Binette, owners of the Corner Market and gas station since July, are excited about featuring local products and food. They see change happening.

“Anyone who has a farm, we take them in for our products. Our big seller is bread and eggs. People request pork, too,” said Tina Binette.

“People want to know where their food comes from, what am I ingesting?,” added Allen Binette.

“Just the other day, a customer came in and purchased green pepper, onion and hamburger, just about a whole meal from local products,” smiled Tina.

To celebrate local, this past June, New Hampshire Arts and Libations held a benefit for the club at the Mount Moriah Cottage next to the Top Notch Inn in Gorham. The event brings together artists, gardeners and the community.

“We have fancy dishes and live music, it is a fund-raiser for the club. Will does so much for the club, I can’t say enough about him,” said Sally Brassill, inn owner and one of the organizers of the event.

O’Brien suggests people check their website for events and to give a call first, sometimes dates are adjusted because of the weather.

A schedule of events, along with membership information, can also be found at Gorham Public Library.

“We have a lot of fun and the dishes are extraordinary,” said O’Brien.

For more information: visit, call Will O’Brien, (603) 466-2181 or visit the club on Facebook.

Firefighters tackle another forest fire

By Kirstan Knowlton

BERLIN — Firefighters once again responded to heavy smoke coming from the area near the Burgess Reservoir where crews had responded to a fire just over a month ago.

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, shortly before 1 p.m., the Berlin Fire Department received several calls reporting smoke coming from the woods near Burgess Street.

Not knowing the exact location of the fire, firefighters began searching the woods off the end of Burgess and Champlain Streets looking for signs of smoke.

Crews were able to quickly pinpoint the location of the fire to a small ATV trail nearly 100 yards from the end of Champlain Street. There they found roughly one acre of forest burning.

Knowing that more help was needed, a general alarm was called requesting further assistance.

Fortunately because of the location, firefighters were able to connect water hoses to a nearby hydrant, providing a constant flow of water.

Necessary equipment was transported in by using the department's UTV and rescue vehicle.

Low winds, made it easier for firefighters to keep the fire from spreading to nearby homes. Once the fire was under control, firefighters had to dig into the ground to extinguish hot spots that still might be burning.

While on scene, firefighters found an encampment with an unattended campfire and a lean-to, possibly used for shelter or a fort.

Firefighters were back to the station by 5:30 p.m. that evening. In total, 20 first responders aided in the effort. Personnel from the Berlin, Milan and Gorham Fire Departments were on scene along with members from the state Forestry and the American Red Cross.

“The Red Cross really does a great job every time. They help us immensely by bringing us drinks and food, and we can’t thank them enough. We always appreciate their efforts in assisting us,” said Chief Randall Trull of the Berlin Fire Department.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Berlin Fire Department by calling (603) 752-3135.

Forest fireThis photo was take at the Berlin Market Place located across from where the fire took place. Smoke could seen from different locations across town. (RITA DUBE PHOTO)