December 13, 2012OSSIPEE — The plan has been mapped out and some start-up donations have come in. Now the project just needs people who are willing to serve on a committee that will take the idea of building a walking trail at the County complex in Ossipee from dream to reality. At their Dec. 5 meeting, Commissioner David Sorensen offered up ideas about who should be on the committee and acknowledged that, so far, commissioner-elect David Babson is the only one who has volunteered.
"It would be nice if we could have someone from the public, at least two members of the public, who might be interested in such a venture," said Sorensen.
Friends of Mountain View Community, the non-profit group charged with fundraising and donation management to purchase quality-of-life enhancement items for residents of the nursing home, gave a check to the commissioners and mapped out the plan for the trail. Now it's up to the county commissioners and their appointed committee to get the trail built.
The plan is to build a wheelchair accessible walking and nature trail complete with fitness stations that can be used by nursing home residents, county employees, and the general public. The hope is, if enough helpers step forward, to get the trail open by summer 2013.
Anyone interested in volunteering can call the business office at 539-7751.
In other commission meeting news, the board has hired a new recording secretary, Nancy Desrosiers of Effingham. The board has struggled with finding someone will to stay in the job more than a few months at a time. On Desrosiers first try at the meeting minutes, Commissioner Dorothy Solomon said, "It was a pleasure reading them this week. Most everything was readable." Michelle Clancy, who had quit the job as the commissioner's recording secretary last month, has taken the job of secretary to the county delegation.
County Farm Manager Will DeWitte reported that the fallen pole barn has been disassembled and much of the building material was salvageable, with only one pickup truck load going to the burn pile. As reported previously, the pole barn was under construction when high winds reportedly caused it to collapse. The project is now back on the to-do list for next year. In other farm news, DeWitte presented his case for a new wood processor in the 2013 budget. Currently, the Farm processes about 150 cords of wood annually with the help of Farm staff and jail inmates. With the current processor, DeWitte said, two staff and four inmates can process about five cords of wood in a six-hour workday. His cost-per-cord estimate is $72 for staff time. With the new processor, DeWitte said the crew will be able to process 18 cords of wood a day with one staff member and no inmates, bringing the cost of production to $10 per cord.
If the delegation approves the purchase of the new processor, inmates will still be used to stack firewood, bag the campfire wood, and load firewood. He said the new processor would eliminate the repreated handling of the firewood since it accepts logs in four-foot lengths. This, he said, would reduce the risk of injury in "picking up the heavy wood." Chain saw use would be limited as well, thus lowering the risk of chainsaw related injuries.
Currently, the County Farm supplies campfire wood to NH State Parks and cordwood to both private customers and Tri-County CAP Fuel Assistance Program customers. At this time, a truckload of logs are purchased at a cost of $15,000 per load. It has been mentioned at previous commissioner's meetings that the goal is to be able to use timber harvested from the 900-plus county property thus eliminating the need to purchase truckloads of wood.
It was reported that an inmate has filed a grievance against a policy at the jail. The grievance has been forwarded to the county attorney for review. The inmate argued that the jail staff violated his first amendment rights for denying him the right to visit with his wife who is also currently an inmate at the jail.
As for the complaint filed against the commissioners Nov. 7 by a jail employee, Commissioner Sorensen said that Commissioner Asha Kenney and the county attorney were charged with trying to find someone outside of the county to investigate the complaint. As of the Dec. 5 meeting, no one had been found to conduct the investigation.
Despite denying the budget item request in a previous meeting, Sorensen said he might have found money to buy the perimeter fence for the jail. There is about $30,000 left over from a settlement that could be used to fund the fence, he said. That money is what remains after the commissioners settled with the jail construction engineer after cracking and structural problems were found with the outside front wall of the building. Babson suggested that money be put in a capital reserve fund to save for future repairs rather than spending it on something else. To date, short term, mainly cosmetic repairs have been made but no permanent fix to the problem.
A request for a copy of the settlement was unable to be fulfilled as of press time because the settlement file is in a locked cabinet, unavailable to office staff.