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Joyce Endee

Dispatch service switch, retirements lead the way in New Durham

January 03, 2012
NEW DURHAM — The beginning of the year started with a celebration for Road Agent Mark Fuller and his 34 years of service in the town of New Durham.

Michael Clarke took over and during the celebration for Fuller, Clarke talked about the challenge of filling his big shoes.

In February, Wolfeboro Community Television hosted a live call-in show, which allowed citizens to call in and ask questions about the town warrant articles to member of the New Durham Board of Selectmen.

During the March election, Jeffrey Kratovil was elected as a member of the selectmen via write-in votes.

During the Town Meeting, James Griff was introduced as the Citizen of the Year.

Taxpayers voted on several warrant articles including: Repealing the ethics ordinance and establishing a board to rewrite the ethics policy for the town, a bottom line budget of $2,953,808 was approved, purchasing many pieces of new equipment, which included purchasing/leasing a new grader, purchasing a new truck, purchasing a new cruiser for the police department and many other town projects that were approved by the taxpayers.

Many capital reserve funds were added to, including: solid waste equipment, solid waste facilities improvement, public safety, dry hydrant, fire truck, police cruiser, library facilities, meeting house restoration and ball field and equipment and milfoil removal.

In late March, Kratovil began his time on the board of selectmen. Fred March was thanked for his years of service to the town.

In April, the Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) announced that bus service would be provided from New Durham to Rochester.

The service began running on April 21 and allowed residents service to different stops throughout Rochester.

New Durham Dancing with the Stars was held in April, with Frank Alden of Sporto's Restaurant capturing the crown.

In May, Denis Martin starting broadcasting his show Lisnup on Wolfeboro Community Television.

The board of selectmen and Police Chief Shawn Bernier squared off during a selectmen's meeting in May when talking about the Strafford County Domestic Violence Project being dissolved.

Bernier felt the need for a fifth officer, while selectman David Bickford opposed the addition of a fifth officer.

Bickford's statements against Bernier were addressed in a meeting later in May and Terry Jarvis addressed allegations by Bickford, with many of them found to be untrue.

In June, Barbara Reed announced that she would be retiring from New Durham Elementary after 18 years of service. She was replaced by Lisa Tremblay in September, and in December, Reed was honored with a plaque near the front of the school for her years of service.

In June, the board of selectmen approved an update to the Solid Waste Ordinance, which amended and clarified several procedures and penalties for non-compliance.

In August, the New Durham Parks and Recreation Department held a very festive Hawaiian themed New Durham Day that was well attended.

Attractions at the festivities included a climbing wall, a bouncy house, other events for children, live music, a coconut pie eating contest and many other events.

In August, Clarke came forward during a board of selectmen meeting and voiced concerns about the budgeting for fuel and oil for the remainder of the year.

In late September, members of the New Durham Fire Department held a celebration to honor Dave Stuart for 30 years of service with the fire department.

In October, the board of selectmen made the decision to withdraw from the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid Association (LRMFAA) for dispatch services.

The selectmen made the decision as a cost-saving measure, as the switch will save more than $100,000 annually.

In late October, the board of selectmen was presented with a document about the Ethics Policy Revision Committee.

The selectmen reviewed information on hybrid vehicles, which provide better mileage but at a much higher cost.

K.G. Lockwood gave the board an update on the transition away from LRMFAA dispatch and to Strafford County dispatch. Lockwood reported that he had been looking in mutual-aid system with Farmington and Middleton.

In November, the 2011 tax rate was established as $22.40 per thousand.

This was a 5.7 percent increase compared to last year's rate, which was $21.19.

The majority of the increase, $1.23, came from the Governor Wentworth School District portion.

The New Durham Parks and Recreation Department held a holiday fair in early December.

In December, the New Durham Planning Board approved a final design for a 22-lot subdivision on Birch Hill Road to True Value Land and Homes, LLC.

Fire Chief Peter Varney and Deputy Chief Lockwood came before the board of selectmen for a request of $11,525 that would allow the transfer of dispatch service from LRMFAA to Strafford County. This money would allow the purchase of 20 new pagers.

The selectmen approved the request.

In mid-December the New Durham Police Department announced that it was investigating several thefts from motor vehicles on the Valley Road area in town.

Plans are currently in the works for the celebration of the 250th anniversary of New Durham as a town.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

Martin Lord Osman
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Garnett HIll
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