The Sewer Budget
At Wednesday’s selectmen’s meeting, the outlook for major capital expenses to be incurred next year covered replacing the Chapman Street main, 1,286 feet; replacing the Vernon Street pump station and main; replacing the Mill Hill pump station and constructing a new dewatering system and garage at the waste water treatment plant. The estimated expense for these major projects comes to $1,228,000. As shown on the prepared revenue and expenditure report the coming fiscal year would be short of revenues by $17,689. That is not the end of the story but discussion centered on adjusting minimum rates by volume and employee compensation.
The board wanted to extend the discussion to another meeting so that other options could be prepared for consideration. Rate payers now face a significant rate increase because in simple terms there is more system to pay for than there are customers to pay. But that is another story from 15 years ago.
The Sign Makers
Also at Wednesday night’s meeting of selectmen a bid from Swan Screen Printing of Bethel allied with Ryan Mechanical Services of Rumford for making town directional signs for placement either on the highway (large) or in the village (smaller) was accepted. The other bidder was Neokraft Signs Inc. of Lewiston. Since the sign dimensions, content and construction were specified by the town the only variable for consideration was price. Selectmen voted to accept the Swan/Ryan combination.
The sign format consists of a header with logo and one, two or three slats. The Swan/Ryan bid for a highway sign made up of a header (with a new Bethel logo) and three slats was $6,305.50 and Neokraft’s bid for the same sign was $8,525. Final appearance and location of these signs will be a wait and see affair. Each slat or panel can have one or two lines of information, plus a universal graphic depicting the owner’s function, food, lodging, etc, and distance from the sign to the site.
Poles holding these sign arrangements will be 11 feet 8 inches above the ground. To see illustrations of these signs look at the Bethel Web site and click on Roadside Directional Sign Graphics. This Web page has been available since April 2013; however, when voters at the annual town meeting voted to approve the sign ordinance changes these pages showing sign illustrations were not part of the package. So I wonder if voters will feel that they voted for something not fully explained. Sign pictures are part of the Bethel Journals news for this week.
Ross Timberlake and Lorrie Hoeh, two veteran Senior College Players, will lead the Players this fall. Ross, as director, and Lorrie, assistant director, along with an enthusiastic team of veteran Players are excited about continuing the Players and moving in new directions. Both Ross and Lorrie have performed in a variety of plays over the past six years. Ross majored in theater at USM and has written, produced, and directed a number of plays including his popular “Porch Plays,” and the “Legend of Lefty.” Lorrie’s interest in drama and past experience led her to an interest in directing. Veterans and newcomers alike are invited to join the troupe. Rehearsals start Sept. 16. FMI call Ross at 824-6545 or Lorrie at 824-2917. From Rosabelle Tifft.
At the Airport
Thursday Ashton and I went to the airport to take photos of the soon to be removed terminal building inside and out. Bethel has received a grant of $600,000 to construct a new terminal building, apply non-precision pavement markings, enhanced taxiway centerline markings and surface painted holding position markings at the Bethel Regional Airport. Glen Builders of New Hampshire will do the terminal construction.
Due to Col. Sydney Dyke’s initiative Bethel Airport became part of the National Airport Plan in 1965. In 1967, the year after Col. Dyke died in a plane crash, the town named the airport for him. From 1968 to 1975, Richard Davis and then Robert Lowe managed the airport. In 1975 town manager Elwyn Dickey became airport manager. In 1988 when the old runway known as 12-30 was closed and the new (present) runway 14-32 opened, the terminal building was not moved to its present location. In 1995 when Dan Bilodeau and Steve Whitney were the Fixed Base Operators the “terminal” was still near the old runway. In November 1995 the Bethel Airport Authority was created by a referendum vote.
On Aug. 23, 2011, there were 12 aircraft based at Bethel Airport, nine were single engine and one was a multi engine craft; there were two Ultralights based at the airport. In the last two years, the airport authority has reported about 2,000 arrivals and departures annually. Talking with one of the plane owners last week he remarked about the airport’s popularity due to low airplane fuel prices. He noted that the good gas price brings in more planes to refuel which in turn gives the airport authority better numbers when they apply for FAA grants.
The new terminal building may be completed before we leave for Florida in late November.
For more about Bethel aviation and the airport, go to the Bethel Journals index – Bethel Aviation and Airports.
Last weekend’s beautiful weather must have boosted the spirits of the many families and groups who make Neil Olson’s Trappers Weekend an annual must visit. Ashton went with me and after he had taken in the layout and seen what was going on, he had the bright idea of getting a small bottle of skunk scent as a joke gift for a special friend of his. It seems like most of the trapping goods vendors handling wild animal scents group the tents together because they were easy to find just from the area’s aroma.
We ended up making the deal at a large layout from Orwigsburg, Pa. – a Raw Fur Buyer. The owner had a choice of a $20 bottle or a $5 one. Ashton thought that was great and bought the $5 bottle.
Steve Stone from Bethel had his chainsaw carving and rustic furniture spread in the usual spot. Steve was also driving a tour tractor and trailer with visitors sitting on bales of hay as they traveled over the rutted roadways in the large field parking area.
As always these weekends seem to be very social affairs for the many groups and vendors who attend.
Inside the fairgrounds there was a large billboard size frame with vinyl posters from Oxford Casino, Cabela’s, and Trapper’s Post, “The Pulse of North America’s Trapping Industry” published by Bob Noonan, and the largest sign of all, Olson’s Furs – Tents – Baseball.
A slide show of photos with interesting characters and setups will be on YouTube after Aug. 27, look for Trappers Weekend 2013.
Stan Howe’s Retirement Party
Sunday afternoon off Broad Street, under a large tent, and accompanied by fine weather, an appreciative crowd of about 60 people heard many accolades expressed for Stan Howe’s 39 years as Executive Director of the Bethel Historical Society. While he received political best wishes from various elected officials, the real guest of honor who could speak with long time authority of Stan’s career was Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Maine State Historian. Mr. Shettleworth has provided guidance and professional advice to Stan and the Bethel Historical Society since Stan became museum director in 1974.
Mr. Shettleworth spoke at length of Stan’s work both here and throughout Maine. Nancy Stowell White, newly elected president of the society, gave a brief account of Stan’s long, broad involvement in Maine and local history. Cathy Newell, also one of the afternoon’s speakers, was one of only a very few in the audience who was involved with the historical society at the time of Stan’s accepting (after a little gentle arm twisting) the offer to be its first director. At that time the late Margaret Tibbetts was the society president.