Roland Bergeron Remembered

by Lynne Ober

Litchfield will always remember Roland Bergeron and his many contributions, and soon they will have a new reminder.  Road Agent Jack Pinciaro, with the help of many of his friends, has organized a small park just off the bike path by Liberty, the tiny street that runs in front of Litchfield Town Hall.

This past week the Board of Selectmen Chairman Frank Byron and Pinciaro provided an early glimpse for the family.  The official opening of the park will be in September.

“We will hold the official ceremony on September 16 at 10:30 a.m. when Governor John Lynch comes down to groundbreaking and official dedication of the Roland Bergeron Bike and Pedestrian Path,” said Pinciaro, “but I wanted the family to be able to see the monument and area now.  Roland did so much for the community.”

Byron noted that the ceremony would be held at Litchfield Town Hall.

“Roland actually chose this stone,” Pinciaro told the assembled group.  “We had this boulder saved.  Roland chose it and saved it.  I had it moved here.”

Michael Bergeron liked the shape of the stone, saying, “It looks like New Hampshire.”

Mounted on the large boulder is a plaque with Roland’s picture.  Selectmen and private donations paid for the plaque.  Three granite benches were donated; one by the Kevin Lynch family and two by anonymous donors.  Other community members joined the effort.  Tim’s Turf donated the pavers and stones that surround the boulder.  Nowak Landscaping Construction donated the labor to set the boulder and lay the pavers and stones.

“It really came together,” said Pinciaro.  Louise Bergeron agreed and told everyone how happy the family was with this remembrance.

Bergeron Family

Nick Fiorentino Earns Prestigious Assignment

by Lynne Ober

What is it they say about the Marines?  Oh yes, the few and the proud.  Well, the entire Litchfield community can be proud of Campbell High School graduate Nicholas Fiorentino, now a Private First Class in the Marines.  He’s earned an assignment to the White House Marine detail.

It was Nick’s dream to go into the Marines after high school graduation and he did, but he hit a medical snag.  Halfway through his basic training, Nick was diagnosed with a bad case of mononucleosis and had to drop out of his basic training class.  Worse, this made him eligible for discharge, but it took over two months for him to be well enough to be medically eligible for discharge.  Two miserable months.  He was sick.  His dream was in tatters.

He came home.  He got a job.  He had medical treatment, and along the way he met Dr. Susan Lynch, wife of Governor Lynch.

“She gave him a photo of herself with her husband,” said Nick’s father, John.

Time passed, and he was once again eligible to apply for the Marines.  This time no medical issues stood in his way.  He graduated at the top of his class.

After he graduated, he dropped Mrs. Lynch a note and reminded her of the photo that she’d given him and enclosed a photo of himself in his Marine dress uniform.  She then wrote him a congratulatory note.

From basic training, Nick went into infantry training.  Again he earned high marks.

Then he and 400 other qualified Marines were chosen to compete for duty at the White House.  Marine Barracks Washington, also known as 8th & I, is the oldest active post in the Marine Corps.  You don’t get posted there — you have to complete a rigorous selection period and only the few and the proud are chosen.  It’s a dream only reached by a few.

As time passed, Nick knew that he was still in the running and that others had been eliminated.  Finally there were 80 left in the selection pool.  After more consideration, that selection pool dropped to 27 and then 12.  Nick was still in the pool, and finally he was told that he was chosen for this two-year duty.

This unit has a number of important assignments.  Nick said, “We do whatever the President needs us to do.”

Marines stationed with the 8th & I are broken into two companies.  Company A, or Alpha Company, is one of two ceremonial marching companies at Marine Barracks Washington and is comprised of two marching platoons, the Silent Drill Platoon and the Marine Corps Color Guard Section.  Company A’s primary mission is to provide ceremonial support throughout the National Capital Region as directed by the Military District of Washington and the Naval District of Washington.  Company A conducts Joint Service Honors ceremonies at the Pentagon, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the White House, as well as local street parades.  Additionally, during the summer months, the company marches all Sunset Parades on Tuesday nights at the Marine Corps War Memorial and Evening Parades on Friday nights on the parade deck of Marine Barracks Washington.  Company A Marines provide the dignified transfer of fallen Marines who arrive from overseas at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.  This tradition of honoring our fallen comrades continues as Company A provides a ceremonial escort and firing party to render final honors as Marines are laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

Company B is home to the world-famous United States Marine Corps Body Bearer Section and is comprised of 15 Marine infantry men whose primary mission is to bear caskets at funerals for Marines, former Marines, and Marine family members at Arlington National Cemetery and the surrounding cemeteries in the National Capitol Region.  On occasion, they are called to travel to locations all around the country to support funerals for senior statesmen, heads of state, and former Presidents of the United States.  The Body Bearer section is also the saluting battery at 8th & I, firing three 40mm cannons located at the south end of the parade deck.  Each member has to demonstrate that he has the bearing and physical strength to carry out this mission.  A typical day for a Body Bearer includes several hours of ceremonial drill practice and intensive weight training and conditioning.  The remainder of the day includes infantry knowledge and skills proficiency training.

Nick said that he expects to be trained in all the duties and is looking forward to representing the Marine Corps.  His father, John, is very proud.

“I didn’t think he would go back after the mono, but he said it was his dream, and we are very proud of his achievements.”

Nick’s brother, John, joined the Air Force, so there’s a friendly rivalry in the Fiorentino household about the two branches of service.

Litchfield Superintendent said, “This is amazing.  It’s an accomplishment to be proud of.  Nick is definitely one of America’s heroes.  We thank him for his service to our country.”

Note from Dr. Susan Lynch, wife of Governor Lynch, congratulating Nick on his graduation from Marine Basic Training.

Selectmen Terminate Roofer Contract for Benson Park

by Gina M. Votour

Kevin Langill checks out photographs of dumping areas presented by selectmen

After several weeks of strife between various Hudson town personnel and a contractor working on the Benson Park site, the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted this week to terminate the remainder of this contract.

Back on June 29, the board awarded a $96,996 contract to KSL Contracting for roof work on four buildings within the 165 acre site; the Hazelton Barn, the Office building, the Gorilla House, and the A-Frame Building.  

Based in Merrimack, KSL Contracting has been in business for 16 years and is co-owned by Kevin Langill and his son Eric.

Earlier this summer, KSL completed and received prompt payment for roof work on the A-Frame.  A concern arose however when payment was delayed for work finished next on the Gorilla House.  According to KSL, quick payments are essential in covering their equipment, labor, and dumpster rental costs.  A related face-to-face confrontation followed between Hudson’s Assistant Town Administrator Mark Pearson and Eric Langill over the contract stipulation which indicated that invoices be paid “at the acceptance of the work.”  Eric Langill was subsequently banned from the Benson Park property.

KSL Contracting was then issued two separate ‘Not to Proceed’ orders which prevented any start up of work on the Hazelton Barn and later served to halt work on the Office Building.  (The enactment of the ‘Not to Proceed’ orders was later ratified by the board through a motion which passed 3-0-2).  These orders remained in place until the August 25 Board of Selectmen meeting.  

Assuming the role of chairman during a hearing held on the evening of August 25, Selectmen Vice Chairman Massey outlined four separate allegations related to KSL’s performance from the town’s perspective.  One such issue was that of unacceptable workmanship.  Massey revealed that the town had enlisted the services of an outside architectural firm for a review and analysis of the work performed by KSL.  Results indicated that some of the new roof boards were uneven and unstained on the A-Frame.  With regard to the Gorilla House, the report observed that “several of the installed posts were loose, roofing at one of the skylights had noticeable sag, intermediate supports were missing and a sag was observed at the middle soffit wall on the right hand side.”

Responding on KSL’s behalf, Kevin Langill disagreed with many of these points and referred to a report from Structural Response LLC, whom he had enlisted, which concluded that “the current work conforms to the structural requirements of Addendum E [of KSL’s Gorilla House contract with the town]”.  The report went on to state that “the items listed in the Addendum E provided by the town do not address all of the structural issues with the building structure” and listed additional items of suggested repair work. 

The town’s next allegation had to do with “using non-like material” which referred to KSL’s use of OSB Exposure-1 boards on the roof of the Gorilla House.  Langill responded that “OSB is used in roofs throughout the country, [there] is nothing wrong with OSB….I don’t think that’s a problem.”  Since the OSB issue was not mentioned in the report made by the outside firm enlisted by selectmen, this topic was let go.

Another major concern had to do with the issue of dumping.  The selectmen provided photographs of several areas on the property in which large pieces of debris from the A-Frame building had been dumped, thereby violating the original contract promise that the work areas would be “clean and free of debris at the end of each day.”  

Taking it a step further, Massey let it be known that the debris was “well concealed” while Selectman Ben Nadeau pointed out that he observed large portions of materials discarded from the A-Frame about 25 feet over a fence.  “Dumping huge sections of building where they thought no fool would ever go…there was no doubt that this was done to hide them,” agreed Selectman Richard Maddox.

Langill steadfastly denied that KSL was responsible for this dumping.  With regard to the large areas of debris, Langill responded, “Where that stuff came from…. how it got there, I have no idea….if it’s ours, I’ll clean it up, it’ll be gone, I’ll have another dumpster down there tomorrow morning.”  He then rhetorically asked why he would have spent over $3000 on dumpsters if his company were leaving debris on the property, however.

Selectman Shawn Jasper countered that “sections of that building [the A-Frame] were deliberately dumped” and additionally suggested that this may have been done to prevent dumpster overage costs. Selectman Chairman Roger Coutu later added, “I’m finding it hard to believe that you were not aware that this amount of material just disappeared from the site.”

Finally, another breach of contract issue was put on the table when Massey revealed that KSL’s insurance company, Benway Johnson, informed the town that KSL’s policy had been canceled as of midnight on August 24.  Vehemently denying this allegation, Langill responded, “No it isn’t.  I could have you a certified letter right now.  They called us yesterday and we straightened it all out.”  Langill encouraged the selectmen to verify this the following day. 

In summary, Coutu stated that the “evidence clearly indicates that they did not meet all of their contractual obligations.”  Both Jasper and Maddox added that they had lost faith in the company, primarily due to the dumping issue.  Massey also expressed a lack of confidence, especially since the next two buildings on KSL’s agenda, the Office Building and the Hazelton Barn, would need to be preserved by state-set historical standards. 

A motion, worded by the town’s attorney, then passed unanimously to prohibit KSL Contracting from working on the remaining buildings.  Afterwards, when Massey apologized to Langill for the way things turned out, Langill replied, “Well, to be honest with you, I don’t think this is the end of it.”

Kevin Langill, who told the Hudson-Litchfield News prior to the meeting that he did not believe this contract would be terminated, later responded “absolutely” when asked if he was shocked about the turnout of the evening’s events.  

When speaking to reporters following the meeting, Kevin and Eric Langill also stated that the RFPs provided by the town were incorrect but that when KSL brought these mistakes to light, “they [the town] did not want us here.”  While Eric Langill further opined that the next contractor will likely have ties to the selectmen, Kevin Langill expressed confidence that this incident will have no effect on the future business of his company as they have “plenty of references.”

The Langills also stated that, based upon the opinion of their attorney, a lawsuit against the Town of Hudson will follow as a result of this incident.  According to Eric Langill, KSL has received approximately $30,000 to date and expect to receive the entire $96,996 promised in the package deal for all four buildings.  “This isn’t the end,” reiterated Kevin Langill.

Selectmen Vice Chairman Ken Massey explains construction faults

Selectmen Chairman Roger Coutu looks on in exasperation"

A close-up of the debris photos provided by selectmen

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