Charlestown road draws residents’ ire

Baldwin Court residents Jason Thibodeau (gray shirt), Elizabeth (orange shirt) and Paul Norton (with cane) asked the Charlestown select board to do something about their road.

Residents of Baldwin Court in Charlestown brought complaints to the select board meeting Wednesday night, saying the road ices over in winter and becomes dangerous to drive and walk on. 

Paul Nickerson told the selectmen, “The water’s been coming down the road over 10 years. I’ve been complaining about it for 10 years. What are you going to do about it?” 

Select board member Thomas Cobb said, “It’s not the road; it’s the neighbor’s impervious surface.” Cobb said the runoff from the storage unit lot is what’s flooding the road. 

However, Nickerson was not alone in complaining. 

Elizabeth and Paul Norton, who live at 27 Baldwin Court, said when the road ices over it’s dangerous. 

“I don’t want to walk out there in the winter because I don’t want to break my bones,” said Paul Norton. Norton, who uses a cane to get around, said the ice essentially prevents him from leaving his house.

Jason Thibodeau of 44 Baldwin Court said he’s rebuilt his driveway three times because of the water washing over it from the road. 

Cobb said that Highway Superintendent Keith Weed can fix the problem with a structure he can put in the ground, “basically a dry well,” but the holdup is the town finding money for the work. 

“We don’t have a lot of extra money,” said Selectman Steve Neill. “It was in the minutes and it was discussed. The discussion was that we were going to see if there was money left over in the highway budget.” 

“At the end of construction season our goal is to get a structure in there,” said Cobb. “The roads are not intentionally not maintained.” 

Damage at fire station

Town Clerk Patricia Chaffee reported that less than a month ago, “the little wall at the fire station got hit by something.” 

Two low walls project from the back of the fire station, said Chaffee. It appears the accident happened after 5:20 p.m. about two weeks ago, when no one was there to witness it. Some yellow paint was left on the bricks. 

“The bricks became dislodged, and it cracked at the bottom,” said Chaffee. “I don’t think it’s going to be as much as our insurance deductible; we have to pay $1,000 every time [we make a claim]. 

Neill said the other wall “got hit a couple years ago.” 

“I checked the cameras,” said Police Chief Patrick Connors. “I didn’t see anything. Something of tractor-trailer size hit it. It’s possible the driver could have never known.” 

Chaffee said she wanted to close the claim because insurance wouldn’t cover the repair, but the select board wanted to look at the issue before making that decision. Selectman Albert St. Pierre said they’d look at it at the next meeting. 

Fire department busy

Fire Chief Charlie Baraly asked the board to approve a new employee. The fire department covered three structure fires in two days, as well as having a lot of “small calls” and trees blown down. 

“We could have really used him,” said Baraly. He said the new applicant is not only full trained, he has years of experience, both in Connecticut and locally in Goshen. “He’s ready to go.” 

Neill said they haven’t reviewed the applicant’s documents and promised to give an answer at the next meeting. 

Water and Wastewater Superintendent David Duquette got into the conversation when fire department training came up. St. Pierre wanted to know what the heavy use from the firefighters does to the rest of the system. 

“We try not to use the hydrants,” said Baraly. 

Duquette said later it would help to know when firefighters are using hydrants, because it “sends a wave through the system.” The water pressure in the pipes changes when a lot is pumped out at once. 

After some discussion it was decided Duquette should get a text message when firefighters go out on a call. That way the guys at the water department will know why water pressures are fluctuating.  

Duquette said although the state hasn’t declared a severe drought, he disagrees.

“We need water in a big way,” said Duquette. “The reservoir is down six feet; the stream above the fire department is dry. I say it’s a severe drought.”

The water department has been fixing water leaks as well as dealing with a lot of plugged sewers lately. “The roots seem to be trying to find our pipes because there’s no water in the ground,” he said. 

“Still,” said Duquette, “We have water. We could use rain.” 

Bank robber caught

A man who robbed the Claremont Savings Bank in Charlestown on June 26 has been apprehended by police, but Police Chief Patrick Connors said they are not ready to release the name. 

“The guy that’s responsible for it is in jail,” said Connors. The man was caught on camera at the bank during the robbery. However, police are continuing to investigate whether others might have been involved. 

Connors reported that the department has made 88 arrests this year to date, 866 motor vehicle stops, responded to 44 crashes, and executed 18 search warrants. Over 4,000 calls were made to dispatch (911). 

“I’ve been busy,” said Connors. “The warmer weather brings people out. There seem to be a lot of neighborhood disputes.” 

Nancy Fontaine, chair of the recreation committee, asked about bear sightings in town. 

“Leave them alone,” Connors responded. “We’re not going to relocate bears or get into that. Just take away their food source. They’ll move on.” 

The Charlestown Ambulance has been busy, too. Connors is also the director of operations for the ambulance service. He reported 264 calls this year, up from 188 at the same time last year. “Deb’s [Deborah Beaudry] leadership has been crucial,” he said. “They are really crankin’.” 

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