Meredith takes delivery of new truck paid for with federal grant


For The Laconia Daily Sun

MEREDITH — A federal grant has helped fund the addition of a new truck to the Meredith Fire Department's fleet.

The 2016 Pierce Arrow XT manufactured in Appleton, Wisconsin, was delivered in late October.

Fire Chief Ken Jones is no stranger to grant writing. When he headed the Livermore Falls, Maine, Fire Department he authored a successful grant for a new truck. When he took over the leadership of the Meredith Department in June 2008, he brought that skill set with him.

He twice drafted and submitted grant applications using statistical data collected by department members, but failed to get an award. The third time proved a charm, however, and the department was awarded a $380,953 Assistance to Firefighters Grant on the pledge that the municipality would match five percent or about $19,000 of the purchase price.

The grant program was launched in the wake of the 9/11 attacks that brought to light that many fire departments lacked the critically-needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operations efficiencies, foster interoperability and support community resilience.

Factors that aided in Meredith in scoring high enough to win a grant included the age of its existing fleet, which includes a rescue truck manufactured in 1986, a 1983 engine and a 1988 tanker.

"This one means a lot to me," Chief Jones said, as he touted the many features of the new truck that the department began drafting specifications for in July 2015. To address the shrinking number of volunteer call firefighters facing departments nationwide, Jones decided combining the features of two of the oldest vehicles in the fleet and placing one of them on reserve duty status was the needed solution.

The vehicle brings several new features to the department including a "dump tank" a portable reservoir that Jones explained allows the department to move water at a quicker pace than via the traditional "rural hitch."

The new truck is also equipped with 20 gallons of Class A foam. It can carry 2,500 gallons of water and is fitted with a pump rated at 1,750 gallons per minute, powerful enough to supply the department's tower.

The 10-wheel truck that tips the scales at 70,800 pounds has a six-man cab, is powered by a 525-horse power Detroit diesel engine and will be used as the second engine sent to calls that now average between 380 to 450 a year.

The National Fire Protection Association standard sets the life expectancy of a fire truck at 20 years, but Jones said that given the high cost of replacement, that is unlikely to happen in Meredith. He credits the department's preventative maintenance schedule and call volume with pushing the useful service to their trucks to 25 years.

The new truck will go into service in the next week or two after the department drivers complete logging the required hours behind the wheel and firefighters finish training in its use.

The grant was written and submitted in 2014. It was awarded in Aug. 2015.

The truck was purchased through Minuteman Trucks Inc., of Walpole, Massachusetts, a Pierce dealership.

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PSU Dedicates Open Lab, key part of new integrated clusters model

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University dedicated its new "Open Laboratory" Monday in honor of long-time New Hampshire Executive Councilor Ray Burton, a 1962 graduate of what was then Plymouth Teachers College, who was remembered by all those who spoke as a dedicated public servant with a special allegiance to the North Country.
Located in Lamson Learning Commons, the lab offers students, faculty, community and business partners a technologically advanced space to collaborate and learn and is an important milestone in the university's transformation to an integrated clusters learning model.
"Integrated clusters allow us to provide the type of education, beginning at the freshman level, that integrates the learning process in such a way as to create opportunities to interact with our communities," said Donald L. Birx, PSU president. "Using open laboratories, we can work across disciplines and with community members to solve problems and challenges that give students insights into how education is relevant to the needs of the world."
He said that Burton, who provided 40 years of public service to the North Country as an Executive Councilor and Grafton County Commissioner, was a "role model for public service,"' and that it was fitting that the open lab should be named for him.
Governor Maggie Hassan said that Burton, who died on Nov. 12, 2013, at the age of 74, was one of the most dedicated and caring public servants the state has ever known and that his "unwavering commitment to service made our democracy and our state stronger."
Burton's long-time friend, Duane Baxter, chairman of the Raymond S. Burton Legacy Fund, and Reta Presby, who along with her husband, Wayne, own the Cog Railway and formerly owned the Mount Washington Hotel, donated $250,000 to establish what will be known as The Raymond S. Burton '62 Open Laboratory.
Baxter said that Burton was "a truly selfless public servant who believed in the power and value of practical experience. And he loved Plymouth State."
In June the university announced a multi-year reorganization plan that it said will prepare students for an active role in the revitalization of the region's economy. "Currently the University has 24 undergraduate academic departments organized under three colleges (Arts and Sciences, Business Administration and Education, Health and Human Services) and a graduate studies program for master's and doctoral students. The new structure is based on an integrated liberal arts education that gives the students the ability to think critically and link across multiple disciplines. It will be organized into seven interdisciplinary academic clusters, and feature open labs and collaborative partnerships with community and industry to provide students with integrated learning, research, and service opportunities."
Unlike the traditional program framework at most colleges, this new model focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship, will create opportunities for Plymouth State University students, faculty and community partners to work together on real-world challenges and projects.
"The landscape of public higher education is changing, and in addition to traditional degrees, employers seek graduates who can collaborate to solve problems, develop products, think innovatively and lead their organizations," said Birx. "Over the next few years, Plymouth State will evolve as an integrative university where students have significant opportunities to work with regional industry partners, and gain exposure to multiple disciplines."
The University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees voted unanimously to support the strategic vision and infuse $10.6 million of USNH internal borrowing funds.
Beginning in September of 2017, all degree programs at Plymouth State University will be organized within the following academic clusters:
Arts and Technology
Education, Democracy and Social Change
Exploration and Discovery
Health and Human Enrichment
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Justice and Security
Tourism, Environment and Sustainable Development
A significant feature of this new model is the concept of open labs. Open labs will place students and faculty in teams with community and business leaders on projects to create innovations and new discoveries. Plymouth State has a strong tradition of partnerships that will be enhanced by the new vision and open labs.
"For years, Plymouth State University has partnered with local businesses to involve students in real-life environments," said Robyn Parker, dean and faculty member in the current College of Business Administration and cluster development leader. "For example, each year a group of students works with the Common Man restaurant to develop new ice cream flavors. Students from various disciplines work in teams to research, design marketing materials, create business plans, manage budgets, develop and test their products, and introduce their ice cream flavors." Going forward, all Plymouth State students will have opportunities to participate in projects such as this.
Students will graduate from Plymouth State University with traditional undergraduate and graduate degrees, but once this model is implemented, students will also be able to earn certificates in various specialty areas within each cluster.

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New Hampton Thanksgiving fight lands man in jail

NEW HAMPTON — A Thanksgiving Day brouhaha between neighbors on Kelley Pond Road led to a host of charges against one man who allegedly tried to stab someone during the argument.

The argument began, according to police affidavits, when Scott Batchelder, 52, of 115 Kelley Pond Road, learned that one of his neighbors verbally chastised his granddaughter because she allegedly spat on him.

After learning of the scolding, Batchelder, who police said was intoxicated, went to his neighbor's house and started an argument with the people who were at his neighbor's home.

During the argument, Batchelder allegedly found himself surrounded by people and grabbed one of the males at the home and threatened to stab him with a knife he had on him.

At one point, said police, Batchelder held the knife to the man's throat but was able to get away.

Batchelder left after someone in the neighbor's home allegedly fired a gun in the air to settle everyone down. But before he left, affidavits said he was going to come back and kill one of the women in the house and her children.

While trying to arrest Batchelder, he allegedly struggled with two officers and kept his hands on the bars of the cruiser so they couldn't get him into handcuffs.

After futilely trying various pressure points and strikes with a baton, police used a Taser on him and Batchelder was down long enough for them to get one hand in handcuffs. He allegedly continued to struggle so police employed the Taser a second time and were able to get him in cuffs and into the cruiser.

He is being held on $25,000 cash or corporate surety in the Belknap County House of Corrections.

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