Northland American Legion Post 47 Commander Richard Baribeau presents Glenn Perry Sr. with a framed proclamation recognizing him as the sole surviving member of the Canaan post's original 33 charter members, during a ceremony held on Friday, May 11 at the Coos County Nursing Hospital in West Stewartstown. Members of Mr. Perry's family, several local veterans and American Legion officials attended the special event. (Alan Farnsworth photo)

Manchester Driver Had Children in Van During Three-Town Police Chase
By Jake Mardin

A Manchester man is facing several charges following a vehicle chase on Sunday that started in Colebrook and ended in Stratford.

Michael Bean, 32, is charged with operating after being certified as a habitual offender, driving after suspension, disobeying an officer, reckless operation and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child following the pursuit, which involved Colebrook Police Department and N.H. State Police.

Colebrook Police Lt. Paul Rella said Officer Brendan McKeage was running radar near the N.H. Electric Coop building on Route 3 at around 11:45 a.m. when he saw a 2005 Dodge Caravan traveling south, bearing no inspection sticker and several rust spots. Officer McKeage activated his lights and attempted to pull Mr. Bean over, but he allegedly increased his speed and did not stop.

Lt. Rella said the van passed vehicles on the double-yellow line at a high rate of speed in an attempt to elude Officer McKeage. As the chase approached downtown, northbound drivers pulled over to avoid it. At the center of town Trooper Blake Chestna of N.H. State Police joined the pursuit, which continued south through Columbia and into Stratford. Lt. Rella said the van made a left-hand turn onto Bog Road in Stratford Hollow, and stopped in the middle of a hayfield.

Lt. Rella said Mr. Bean is certified as an habitual offender and had warrants out for his arrest, and he was taken into custody. Two children, ages two and three, were found in the vehicle and released to a relative.

Mr. Bean was transported to Colebrook Police Department and to the Coos County House of Corrections, where he was held for lack of cash bail. He was arraigned on Monday, and the Coos County Attorney is handling the case due to the felony charge of operating as a habitual offender. The vehicle was impounded by Troop F pending a search warrant.

(Issue of May 16, 2018)


Ann and Lindsey Gray hosted their annual sugaring off party on Saturday, April 28, with over 60 people in attendance. Aidan Gray, Isabella Gray, and Elizabeth Page enjoy some sugar on snow while Lindsey Gray pours some warm syrup over it. (Ann Gray photo)

New Committee Holds First Meeting to Discuss Academy Building's Future
By Rob Maxwell

Five Colebrook citizen volunteers met on Wednesday, May 9 in the first of what will be a series of meetings in the coming months to discuss what to do with the Academy building, should a proposal to consolidate all Colebrook students at the elementary campus for the 2019-20 school year come to fruition.

An eight-member citizens' committee was formed shortly after this year's annual March school meeting in response to the school board's announcement of its intention to move grades 9-12 out of the Academy building by 2019.

Meeting on Wednesday were school board member John Falconer, selectman Greg Placy, Amy Patterson, Clint Brooks and Bob Mills; committee members absent from the meeting were Jonathan Frizzell, Donald Dickson and Dan Smith. Mr. Falconer said the brief gathering on Wednesday was mainly intended to familiarize the committee members with each other and to get a general idea of the group's goals.

"We discussed proceeding in a similar fashion to the committee that put together the plan for the elementary school expansion nearly 20 years ago," he said. "The idea is to discuss the pros and cons of as many scenarios as possible before presenting a small number to the public."

At the annual school meeting in March, SAU 7 superintendent Bruce Beasley presented the board's tentative plan to move the high school across town. A number of questions were raised about what would become of the Academy building, and school board chairman Brian LaPerle suggested the formation of a citizens' committee to explore the issue. Mr. Falconer noted that he expects the committee to look at a wide range of possibilities, "from tearing the building down to leaving it empty, and many possibilities in between."

everal people at the March meeting suggested using the Academy as a new location for the town offices including the police department and possibly the district court. This move would necessitate transfer of the property from the district to the town, and inclusion of the court and its offices would involve inclusion of the state judiciary as well as leaving the Town Hall on Bridge Street largely vacant.

Mr. Falconer observed that the committee will also look into the possibility of moving the SAU offices into the Academy building, which would leave the two-story, wood frame house at the corner of Academy and Pleasant Streets available to be put on the market or razed to create a vacant corner lot. "We'll be looking at all of these possibilities and, I expect, many more," Mr. Falconer said, "but in the end, voters will be making the final decisions."

(Issue May 16, 2018)


The Prince (Penelope Rowell) proposes to Rapunzel (Jordan Brooks) in a scene from "Into the Woods,"" presented by the Colebrook Academy Players at the Tillotson Center on Friday and Sunday, May 11 and 13. (Alan Farnsworth photo)

Beecher Falls Bridge Work Resumes, Project Due for Completion This Fall
By Jake Mardin

After a busy construction season last year, general contractor CPM Constructors of Freeport, Maine, has resumed its work on the $4.64 million Stewartstown-Beecher falls bridge project.

The spandrel-supported steel truss bridge was originally built in 1930 and rehabilitated in 1970, and it was in poor condition when crews arrived, according to Dan Caouette of the N.H. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Construction. "The concrete deck and Vermont abutment were severely deteriorated," he said. "The old lead-based paint was flaking off. The expansion joints had stopped functioning and were leaking salty runoff onto the arch and structural steel."

As a result, about 25 percent of the truss had to be replaced. The bridge was at the top of the DOT's red listed projects for years, and about ten years ago it was closed to trucks, which had to be detoured through West Stewartstown and Canaan.

Work began last March, when the bridge was closed to all traffic so that a work platform and containment system that hung off the bridge could be installed. After the old water line and material at the expansion joints (both of which contained asbestos) were removed, the lead paint was sandblasted from the structural steel and it was then primed. "With the lead paint and rust removed, we could accurately inspect the condition of the structural steel," Mr. Caouette said.

The N.H. DOT Bureau of Bridge Design inspected the steel in May. "During our inspection we discovered localized increased section loss to the top flanges of both arch girders," Mr. Caouette said. "New half-inch-thick steel cover plates are going to be laminated to approximately half of the downstream arch, and almost a quarter of the upstream arch to restore their strength." The added work was done from July to August at a cost of $130,000.

During the steel work the abutment on the Vermont side was rehabilitated. "There were about 52 square yards of concrete repairs to the thrust block, which transmits the loads from the arch to the earth," Mr. Caouette said. The entire abutment was replaced and the drainage on the Vermont side was upgraded with stone riprap.

During the summer, workers removed the original concrete deck and started replacing structural steel. In the design stage, about 25 percent of the original steel was slated to be replaced, mostly at the leaky expansion joints. From late fall until winter break, falsework (temporary structures) was built for the new concrete bridge deck, which supported the concrete and shielded the work platform from winter storms.

The bridge remained closed to all traffic and pedestrians during the winter. "It was CPM's intention at the start to essentially complete the project this year and open the new bridge to traffic for the winter of 2017-18," Mr. Caouette said. "As feared, we opened up the proverbial can of worms during the painting process, as more steel was revealed that required replacing."

Work resumed in March with construction of the concrete bridge deck. Most of the forming is complete and the crew is setting and tying the stainless steel reinforcement, with the first concrete on the deck to be placed this week. Lightweight concrete, which is about 75 percent of the weight of normal concrete, is being used to increase the capacity of the bridge.

Once the deck and new sidewalk are in, the bridge rail will be installed and the steel will receive the final intermediate and "Dartmouth Green" colored top coats. All the work to the New Hampshire approach on Bridge Street will take place this summer. The drainage system on River Road will be replaced and extended and the roadway from the bridge to Route 3 will be rebuilt.

The original contract completion date is October 26, but Mr. Caouette says he hopes work will be finished by the end of September. "After discussions with the contractor, for the safety of the workers we will probably open the bridge to all traffic only after a majority of the work is complete," Mr. Caouette said. "While the bridge and approach will be complete by the end of July, there will still be men and equipment in the road."

Mr. Caouette said Jim Wells is doing all the earth work on the project, and all lumber was bought from Hicks in Colebrook. There are also local workers on the CMP crew from Colebrook and Canaan.

(Issue of May 11, 2018)



The News & Sentinel
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Colebrook, NH 03576