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Construction Heroes Honored

by Tom Tollefson


Tony Belanger, Jerry Kerr, Steve Nadeau, and Steve Earner, recieve commendation from Shawn Jasper while Selectman Ben Nadeau and Fire Chief Shawn Murray look on.

The real heroes in life are not always found performing in concerts or athletic competitions; some can be found working construction in our own town.

The Board of Selectmen and Fire Department presented commendation awards to Steve Nadeau (owner of 24-7 Construction) Steve Earner, Jerry Kerr, and Tony Belanger.

On the morning of Monday, June 18, Earner, Kerr, and Nadeau were working on renovating a house while Belanger was delivering trash containers to close-by homes, when a fire took over the home of a Hudson residence on Bungalow Street, just down a little ways from where the men were working. 

“Steve pointed out that there was a fire and adrenaline took over, and we didn’t think about it until it was done,” Kerr said about the experience.

The men arrived on the scene of the fire to find homeowner Theresa Bernard along with daughter Priscilla Corcoran and caregiver Malissa DiMarco trapped inside their home.

“Renovating at 7:00, saving lives by 10:00,” Nadeau happily commented.

According to Nadeau, they hooked up two garden hoses to spray down the door, then kicked down the door and broke a window to get in and bring the flaming home’s occupants out to safety.

“While their actions are not something that the fire service would encourage individuals to do, I think it’s very important that people in our community take action to help those in need whatever the circumstance, and, hopefully, always keep their own safety in mind,” Board of Selectman Chairman Shawn Jasper stated on a personal note.


Disaster Strikes for Bronco Marching Band

by Katelyn Haggerty


Rusty water leaked on to garment bags and uniforms.

This past week, the Alvirne High School Bronco Marching Band held their annual band camp.  The week had seemed easy as of Wednesday night, and the band was looking good. 

On August 16, however, according to Alvirne’s Music Director Gerry Bastien, “Thursday, which was supposed to be picture day, turned into uniform disaster day.”

The morning started off with catastrophe.  Diane McDonald, volunteer and uniform manager for the Friends of Music, had been in and out of the room where the uniforms had been stored that morning.  The uniforms had been placed in a temporary classroom location so that volunteers could prepare them for the band pictures and the band’s march on Saturday in Londonderry’s Old Home Day Parade.  The uniforms were hemmed and ready to go. 

“It happened in the few minutes I was out of the room,” said McDonald.  While the uniforms were hanging on their racks, a heating pipe in the ceiling burst, dumping black rusty water all over the white custom jackets and maroon pants.

“Black water was pouring from the ceiling,” said Jessica Destramp, band alumna and writer of this year’s marching show.  “We had to open up all the bags.  Some uniforms were just absolutely ruined.”

Students, parents, staff, and volunteers helped to pull the uniforms out from under the leak.  Needless to say, the band pictures were cancelled.  The leak occurred when a system test went wrong. 

“We have been doing an upgrade on our heating systems,” said Mr. Bryan Lane, Principal of Alvirne High School.  “We replaced a lot of valves and when they tested the system they filled it with water.  A valve joint didn’t hold.”

The black water was due to the rust from the old pipes.

“It looked like oil was pouring from the ceiling,” said McDonald.  Only twice has a pipe burst in the school, and both times were the locations above band uniforms.  A guidance office was also flooded during the test. 

The band’s uniforms were inside garment bags, but, with holes in the tops of the bags for hangers, water was able to leak inside to the white jackets and even some pants.  One uniform costs a total of $500, which is too expensive for the Friends of Music, Alvirne’s volunteer music organization, to be replacing them. 

The band, now with a crisis on their hands, had to get the uniforms cleaned immediately for their Saturday parade.  As they say, “the show must go on,” and, as of Thursday, Bastien said they would wear something different if all else failed.

The uniforms were sent to Paramount Plus Dry Cleaners in Hudson where Diane Destrempe, a music teacher at Hudson Memorial School, works at the shop with her husband who owns the business.  With this musical connection, many band members and volunteers know the Destrempes and their staff. 

“Paramount worked long hours with more staff to get the uniforms to us,” said McDonald.  Workers stayed late last Friday night, and McDonald picked up the final parts of the uniforms on Saturday morning before the parade.

Support was also offered to the band by parents and friends, and even other band directors called to offer help.  With the fast work by Destrempe’s cleaners, all of the uniforms were returned before the parade. 

“Thank you to the dry cleaners, who went above and beyond,” said Principal Lane.

“The worst of the uniforms had muted stains, near the collars, where the water leaked in,” said McDonald.  Thankfully, no uniforms had to be replaced.  However, the cost of cleaning and the replacement of the garment bags (not washable) will cost the Friends of Music a large amount of money and a blow to their budget.


Litchfield Trash Under Discussion

by Lynne Ober

Litchfield’s incinerator will not have a license to run after 2010 and it is doubtful that a new license can be obtained for burning.

As a result, selectmen and Incinerator Manager Dave Mellon have already entered into discussions about the future.

“2010 will be here sooner than we think,” commented Board of Selectmen Chairman Raymond Peeples.  “We need to work now to ensure the future.”

After Selectman Al Raccio commented that he wished they could bring in more revenue from the incinerator, Mellon presented a plan for separating steel and aluminum cans and compacting and selling them separately.  To do that, Mellon found a refurbished compactor that cost $5,900.  It would need some money for installation and require some renovations at the incinerator. 

Mellon told selectmen that they would also have to educate residents to separate their cans into two separate piles.  While it appeared that there might be a first year’s cost savings, selectmen had just established a solid waste committee to look into the future.

Peeples suggested that Mellon, as part of the newly formed solid waste committee, should bring that proposal to the committee and let them consider it.

Selectmen discussed a variety of topics and decided that since it was, at this time, uncertain how the town would handle trash after 2010, letting the solid waste committee review all alternatives made the most sense for the town and taxpayers.  As Selectman Pat Jewett pointed out, “We could even have curb-side pickup.  We just don’t know.”

Selectman George Lambert will chair the new solid waste committee.  He did not announce a potential first meeting date.


VAX Server to be Replaced by MuniSmart

by Tom Tollefson 

After using the VAX, an older computer server program, for nearly two decades, the Town of Hudson’s Information Technology (IT) Department has been transitioning its record-keeping and billing functions to MuniSmart, a municipal software system. Pay roll, purchase orders, and dog licensing were some of the first modules to go online over a year ago.

“If we don’t get off the VAX, we’ll be sinking fast,” IT Director Lisa Nute said.  “Come December, we won’t be able to get into the VAX unless someone comes up with $3,000 that wasn’t budgeted for.”  Nute did not explain why the unbudgeted amount was needed.

The IT Department has been working since last December to make this transition, and the deadline for getting all town departments off the VAX is by the end of the year. 

Finance Director Kathy Carpentier began the process when she managed the IT function before Nute stepped in.  Carpentier has also helped this process along recently by training Community Development and Engineering personnel on new practices of using MuniSmart for their agency-fee function.  “The VAX is old technology and hardware and costs us a premium to maintain,” Nute said.

The new MuniSmart modules have been in place now for more than a year, and new modules are added as necessary.  Nute has reported that it will cost an estimated $1,400 to customize the town’s tax billing module to incorporate capital assessment fees for the Sewer Department.  This customization will provide the Sewer Department with a way to track and maintain the sewer billing function through MuniSmart instead of the VAX.

Nute believes this investment will be worthwhile when considering the high maintenance cost of the VAX and the increased efficiency of MuniSmart.  After these capital assessment fees are no longer entered into the VAX, the IT Department will concentrate on pulling off data for archival purposes and then power the VAX down.

“The new Energy Committee will be invited to a future plug-pulling party,” joked Nute.  “Perhaps PSNH will see a huge dip in our energy costs when we can finally take this old equipment off-line.”

Selectman Rick Maddox wanted to know why the “plug hasn’t’ already been pulled on the VAX.”  “You still have to do something with all that information.  All that data stored still needs to be moved off and put on our Windows-driven system,” Nute said about the remaining data, which is largely archival. 

Maddox said that he would call Community Development to remind them of the upcoming deadline. 

“Whatever’s put in has got to come out again.  Write it on paper and when you figure out how to do it, put it on the new system, and don’t put anything else in it right now,” Chairman Shawn Jasper said about transition from VAX to MuniSmart.

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