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Rumford police officer resigns
RUMFORD -- A Rumford police officer has resigned.
Police Chief Stacy Carter informed the Board of Selectmen Thursday that Ptl. Michael Belanger has resigned the position. "We hope we'll be able to attract an academy training officer. There's a lot of openings in the state; a lot of competition."
In his report to the board, the chief also noted that the department has seen a number of burglaries. "Some are solved. Others are ongoing."
Carter went on to note that complaints for the year are up by 237. This includes an increase of assaults by 38, burglaries by 24, domestics by 41 and thefts by 87. However, the number of cases of operating under the influence have gone down.
In other business, Public Works Director Andy Russell, in updating the board on his crews' completed and ongoing projects, said this summer's Prospect Avenue/Eaton Hill Road sewer pipe replacement project is expected to top $300,000.
The good news is that taxpayers won't be stuck with the bill because the town raised and appropriated more than $800,000 over the years for Rumford's Sewer System Capital Improvement Fund, said Town Manager Carlo Puiia. "We had built a surplus up, but we never earmarked it for anything."
Russell said the sewer pipe replacement project's total cost as of Thursday night was $291,080. He said that would increase to more than $300,000 with the upcoming project to pave the affected area. He said his crew has been doing pre-paving work at the site.
Russell also said that a leak had been discovered in the newly fixed area that is allowing sand to again enter the sewer pipe. However, he said contractor Ted Berry of Livermore would soon install an eight-foot patch on the affected pipe by relining it with cured-in-place pipe lining.
Responding to a selectman's question, Russell said they don't have to dig it up again because the patch can be applied via insertion of a resin material between manholes.
The problem began June 8 with a sinkhole about 10x15 feet and a foot deep in the road. It was expected to be a two-day job at most to replace the failed pipe section and broken manhole.
But when the crew started excavating to determine where the dirt went, it learned the pipe section and manhole were within a huge aquifer more than 18 feet below street level.
They couldn't reach it because of the abnormal volume of water and sandy soil in the dig site that kept collapsing toward the trench cage.
All along, Russell said it would be a two-day job if they could only drain the work site long enough to replace the broken pipe and manhole that were installed during the 1960s or 1970s under former Route 2.
So what began as a one- or two-day, $54,000 project quickly escalated to beyond the scope of the department’s resources to the point where Russell had to hire additional contractors to de-water the site and create a safe work space.
Rental equipment and materials alone totaled $181,438, labor was $68,145, and equipment totaled $41,496, according to two itemized spreadsheets Russell gave to selectmen per their request from a previous meeting.
Among the other Public Works project updates, Russell said the crew installed overflow culverts on Swain and Milton roads, swept out and cleaned catch basins and paved areas around town that have recurring pothole problems. They also did ditching work and trimmed and removed overgrown brush, improving sight distance for drivers on affected roads.
Some other roads "in pretty rough shape" will be fixed with overlay and a 4,500-foot stretch on Whippoorwill Road will be reconstructed to solve drainage issues.
Librarian Luke Sorensen of the Rumford Public Library said, "I'm happy to report that the library has experienced many positive changes lately." It's now open Tuesdays and Thursdays until 8 p.m.
Previously, due to budget cuts, the library could only remain open one night a week. The library continues to remain open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
"So it gives people in the community more time to access their library," said Sorensen.
The hiring of part-time employee Tracy Daigle enabled Sorensen to increase library hours.
"Miss Daigle is already proving to be an invaluable addition to the library staff and I am thankful the library was able to hire her," he said.
Sorensen then mentioned that the library will hold its annual Halloween event on Halloween Day, Wednesday, Oct. 30. To participate, patrons need to check something out of the library, such as a book or DVD, earning them a prize. Prizes are candy, a Halloween pencil, Halloween eraser or a Halloween sticker.
During the event, which is being held to encourage people to visit the library on Halloween, staff will wear costumes.
"So I hope that everyone comes to the library on Halloween," Sorensen said.
He also said he is working with Puiia to get energy-efficient lighting installed in the library.