Gilford to go forward with replacing Varney Point sewer pumps

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — With the two Varney Point sewer pumps failing, selectmen gave permission to Public Works Director Peter Nourse and Underwood Engineers to create a design and bid specifications for their replacement.

According to UE President Keith Pratt the two pumps are 30 years old and at the end of their useful lifespan. He said each was designed to pump 125 gallons per minute; however, a recent test showed the "left" one pumping at 34 gallons per minute and the "right" one pumping at 100 gallons per minute.

He said the town was able to get the left one back to 100 gallons per minute by replacing the impellers.

The two pumps and houses are part of the system that prevents raw sewage from getting into Lake Winnipesaukee. The dual stations pump the sewage into the Winnipesaukee Sewage Basin, which is transmitted to the wastewater treatment plant in Franklin.

Key deficiencies include no separation of the wet well from the manholes to stop gasses from getting in the pump house. The alarms don't work and when the generators work, gas gets into the pump house.

Pratt said overhangs on the "right" pump make it difficult to clean the wet well, and the pumps needs a 3-phase electrical system, one of which recently failed.

Pratt gave selectmen three options for repairing the houses and replacing the well.

The first, which was recommended by Nourse and Underwood, is to rehabilitate the "guts" of the pump system and do little with the house. He said they would fix the overhang on the "right" side pump and shift the house on the "left" pump house so it is not sitting on top of one of the manholes. This option would cost the sewer district $775,000.

The second option is to scrap the stations and replace the wet wells. A cost of $1.1 million eliminated this from consideration.

The third option is to put in a new station with submersible wells and put the piping values in separate stations. Selectmen did not like the idea of submersible wells and this option was eliminated. This option would have cost $825,000.

Town administrator Scott Dunn said there is $321,000 in the capital reserve and $561,000 in the sewer fund itself. He also said there is the possibility that there could be a state grant that would pay for the generators.

"I think we can do this without raising rates or going to the taxpayers," Dunn said.

PSU faculty petitions to form union

PLYMOUTH —  Tenured and tenure-track faculty at Plymouth State University filed a petition Wednesday with the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board to form a collective bargaining chapter with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Included with the petition were union authorization cards from a majority of the tenured and tenure-track faculty members at Plymouth State, greatly exceeding the minimum that is required to call for a union election under New Hampshire labor law.

Plymouth State University – AAUP, the group of faculty members leading the union drive, asserts that a faculty union will help create a more collaborative relationship with the PSU administration by establishing a collective bargaining agreement that outlines fair and clear processes. Rebecca Noel, an Associate Professor of History at PSU, is hopeful that a faculty union will create "an environment built on transparency, communication and shared decision-making, with respect for the needs of university students, faculty and staff." Gary McCool, an Associate Professor in the Lamson Library & Learning Commons at PSU, believes that "the entire university community benefits when faculty are empowered to help ensure the quality of education at PSU by having fairly negotiated, legally binding policies and conditions of employment."
There are roughly 170 tenured and tenure-track faculty currently working at Plymouth State University who would be eligible to vote in a union election. Plymouth State University is one of four public universities that make up the University System of New Hampshire. Should PSU faculty vote in favor of unionization, they would be following in the footsteps of their unionized colleagues at the University of New Hampshire and Keene State College. The tenured and tenure-track faculty at UNH, along with the full-time non-tenure-track faculty at UNH, are both unionized with the American Association of University Professors. The Plymouth State University – AAUP expects that an election will be scheduled this spring.

Laconia arrests one more in drug sweep, Northfield grabs two

LACONIA — City police arrested one of the people they couldn't find during the drug sweep conducted Wednesday morning after a patrol officer spotted him near the Laconia Community Center.

Police said Christopher Hodges, 40, of 54 Adams St. was wanted on four separate warrants: one for conspiracy to sell a controlled drug, one for sales of a controlled drug, and two warrants issued in November 2015 for two separate counts of breach of bail.

Hodges allegedly tried to run from police when they went to apprehend him and faces additional charges of resisting arrest, falsifying physical evidence and possession of controlled drugs.

He is being held on $10,000 cash-only bail.

Northfield Police have arrested two of the other people who were wanted by Laconia Police for drug sales. Krystal Sanborn and Phay Pheuychandauong were arrested yesterday.

— Gail Ober