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Going above and beyond
RUMFORD -- As the Board of Selectmen met for the first time in the New Year, they talked about their appreciation for town employees, exemplified by two who went above and beyond their jobs.
Selectman Jeff Sterling said that a week ago when he went into the town office, he saw a man outside who was "very cold and not in very good shape."
It turned out that he had hitchhiked from Michigan and somehow ended up in Rumford.
Sterling said Terri Palmer, the town manager's secretary, spent time afterhours to find some help to find a hotel for the man to stay. He said she also gave money from her own pocket so he could get some food.
"That's what our town employees are all about; the character of whom we employ," he noted.
Selectman Jolene Lovejoy said she is part of a church group, which includes Thelma Giberson, the town's welfare director.
Recently, the group held a celebration, but Giberson was not there. Lovejoy asked a woman where Giberson was and then learned Giberson received a call and spent 90 minutes assisting a family that didn't have any heat.
"Most of us never know about it. They take it upon themselves and work as much as they can to resolve these problems," said Lovejoy. "I feel we're well represented by them."
Board Chairman Greg Buccina noted, "Rumford has a lot to be proud of."
In other business, Town Manager Carlo Puiia announced that the Swain Road would be closed to traffic beginning on Jan. 9 for bridge construction.
He said the work by CPM Constructors of Freeport to replace a temporary logging bridge over Bean Brook with a twin box culvert is estimated to take 2.5 weeks, provided there are no unforeseen weather problems.
In a Dec. 22 to residents of Swain, Glover, Isthmus, Beliveau and Eaton Hill roads, and Alexander Avenue, Puiia said “The town anticipates a maximum of four weeks to complete installation of the twin box culverts."
The portion from 327 Swain Rd. on will be inaccessible, so people will have to use the Isthmus Road. That means a six-mile one-way trip from the upper Swain Road side of Bean Brook just to the intersection of Routes 2 and Hancock Street (Route 120) instead of less than a mile into the downtown area.
Local oil delivery companies, all emergency responders, the Postal Service and RSU 10 were also notified of the coming road closure.
Town officials view the construction and addition of twin box culverts as a long-term fix to a perennial problem of higher flows that turn Bean Brook into a raging river.
The last straw came in late August when Tropical Storm Irene nailed Rumford with 6.25 inches of rain in a few hours. Woody debris washing down the brook jammed against newly installed culverts until the water force blew them and the road out.
Rumford logger Jim Nicols donated use of his 46-foot-long logging bridge and his crew and a Public Works crew installed it as a temporary solution.
Selectmen approved a goal setting workshop scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday. Puiia said the boards will meet for an hour before Police Chief Stacy Carter discussed the police department operations for the year, providing the board with good information before the budget season gets underway.
Puiia said the first goal setting workshop was held in December when selectmen discussed some of the goals before meeting with Fire Chief Bob Chase, who talked about the fire department operations for the year.
The board approved a bid of $3,733 from Construction Caterers of Mexico to the library eave and soffit repair. The action was tabled at the previous meeting to give Puiia a chance to get references of the three bidders. Puiia then recommended Construction Caterers to selectmen for the work.
Selectmen voted to reject a single bid gathered over an attempt to sell used police tires with a posting on town police Facebook page and the town's website.
Lovejoy said in fairness to people within the community, it must be advertised in the newspaper.
Selectman Brad Adley concurred with that statement.
Carter said the intent was to maximize the profit, "not to use the profit on a newspaper bid."
He added that he will put it out to bid in the newspaper.
Before a truck was traded in recently, Carter was savvy enough to remove the good tires on it, tires that he said have 75 percent of their tread remaining. He believed they would have gotten "ample bids" by posting it rather than advertising it.
It was noted, however, that doing it this way prevented some citizens from having an equal opportunity to bid on the tires.
Puiia announced that the newly-formed Comprehensive Planning Committee will meet at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26 in the Rumford Falls Auditorium.
Appointed to the nine-person committee were Kenrick Thibodeau, Samantha Byam, Jim Windover, Dennis Breton, Rita Aromaa, Frank DiConzo, Peter Buotte, Phil Blampied and Kevin Saisi.