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Selectmen bid farewell to town planner



PLYMOUTH
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PLYMOUTH SELECT BOARD Chairperson Valerie Scarborough presents a plaque to outgoing Town Planner Miriam Bader, with gratitude for her professional and devoted service to the Town. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
July 28, 2010
PLYMOUTH— Town officials expressed their deep appreciation and gratitude to out-going Town Planner Miriam Bader during the regular select board meeting Monday evening at Plymouth Town Hall.

In a bittersweet acknowledgement of her departure, Chairperson Valerie Scarborough presented Bader with a plaque in recognition of her hard work and service over the past three and a half years.

"In that time, you have accomplished so much more than anyone expected," said Scarborough. "You have been such an asset to this town, and you will be missed by everyone."

While expressing confidence in the skills and abilities of her successor, new Town Planner Sharon Penney, Scarborough said that Bader will be difficult to replace.

Bader received a standing ovation from citizens and board members in attendance, a bouquet of flowers, and a hug from Town Administrator Paul Freitas.

Scarborough read aloud from the plaque honoring Bader's service.

"Your personal commitment and professionalism have earned you the respect and gratitude of the Town of Plymouth and its employees. Thank you for your many contributions," said Scarborough.

Bader is re-locating to Washington, D.C., where her husband, Joel, has accepted an important national position in government.

Following the brief ceremony, the board took up several pending issues, including an update on the Groton Windfarm project from Iberdrola Renewables' representative, Ed Cherian.

Cherian presented a full set of site plans and maps to the board and reminded town officials of the upcoming technical review hearing in front of the state Site Evaluation Committee on the Groton Windfarm project, scheduled to take place in early August in Concord. He re-iterated his willingness to meet with the Plymouth Planning Board to brief members on the windfarm project, possibly at the next regularly scheduled meeting in August.

As part of the site evaluation process, the town of Plymouth has been awarded status as an "intervener," and will testify before the SEC, which has ultimate jurisdiction over the proposed windfarm development. The Plymouth Planning Board or other local authorities otherwise do not have jurisdiction in the regional and statewide permitting process for the project.

In other business, board members heard an update on Emergency Preparedness/Public Health Coordinator Donna Quinn.

Quinn explained that the state has recently re-organized into 15 public health networks (formerly All Health Hazards areas), with the Plymouth area merged with 12 other communities composed of approximately 20,000 people. As coordinator, she works out of Plymouth Town Hall at no expense to the town.

Quinn said that the local network was honored this past year for organizing more than 40 H1N1 vaccination clinics in the smallest public health region. They are currently in the process of recruiting and training a volunteer medical reserve corps to help staff an acute care center that would serve as many as 25 patients in an emergency and provide backup and support to the hospital or homeless shelter if needed.

They have also been able to acquire and supply two community response vehicles, one to be housed at the Plymouth Highway Department and the other to be housed by the Thornton Fire Department.

She said that members of the public are invited to attend bi-monthly meetings of the public health network members that take place in host communities on a rotating basis. More information on the Public Health Network can be found on the Web site at www.plymouthpublichealth.com.

Finally, the board approved the hiring of Lyman Boyce to full-time status in the Highway Department and approved an "on-call" pay hike of $6 per week, along with other minor policy adjustments.

In her remarks, Scarborough took the opportunity to congratulate Highway Department Head Peter Furmanick on becoming a Master "Roads Scholar" --a feat of education and training requiring more than 160 hours of work to attain the highest level certification of professional development, as well as environmental and technical expertise, by the University of New Hampshire.

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