Warner takes innovative approach to saving historic Odd Fellows building

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Warner rockin’ the state (according to The Hippo)

Here’s a couple of the “Best of 2017” awards that recently went to locals from The Hippo…
* Best Concord-area “Cup of Coffee” – Schoodacs Coffee & Tea, 1 E. Main St , Warner, 456-3400, schoodacs.com
* Best Concord-area Bookstore – Main Street BookEnds of Warner, 16 E. Main St., Warner, 456-2700, mainstreetbookends.com
* Best Concord-area Community Event – “Warner Fall Foliage Festival, held in downtown Warner every fall, is a free, family-friendly event that highlights rural life and colorful foliage. The Festival features live entertainment, parades, a 5K, amusement rides and food. This year’s event goes from Friday, Oct. 6, through Sunday, Oct. 8, wfff.org.”
The whole list is here.

Rewarding, but (really) no surprises… Great folks doing great things for the community. Who else should be on the list?

Read about the whole state’s “best” list here.


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Main Street view of site where town leaders want to put a new fire station

Warner residents learn about solar array, fire station plans

By Ray Carbone

WARNER – About 30 residents gathered at the MainStreet BookEnds store Thursday (Feb. 23) night  to hear about two ideas that will be considered by voters at the annual town meeting next month. One is a proposal to build a solar panel array to mitigate the town government’s electrical bill. The other would move forward plans to build a new fire department station on Main Street.

Selectman Clyde Carson, speaking for his board and its energy committee, said that the solar array facility would include 380 panels and be built on an acre of land adjacent to the transfer station off Main Street. (At last year’s town meeting, a similar proposal narrowly missed the two-thirds majority needed for approval.)

Carson noted that the town’s Village Water District, which provides water and sewer service to approximately 200 customers, installed a similarly sized solar facility last year and is already reaping the benefits.

“It powers the wastewater treatment plant and the wells there,” he said of the project. “They use a lot of electricity.”

Now there’s even more reason to seriously consider the solar array option, Carson explained. Under the state’s original 2012 “net metering law,” solar power users who generate more energy than they need can transfer that excess back into the regional power grid, which provides electricity to communities throughout New England. The user gets a check back from the company that can be used as a credit against his electrical bill.

“But in 2013, what made this really attractive is that the state instituted ‘group net metering,’” the selectman said. “That means I can put in a lot of solar panels in one location and I can feed anything excess back into the electrical grid, and use (the value of that power) to pay for other places.

“And there are number of town buildings around the town,” he noted. That means the solar array facility can provide power for the transfer station, and pay for electric power used at the Pillsbury Free Library, the highway department’s facility and the police station, Carson said. (The proposed facility has been sized to provide – or finance – electrical energy for all the town buildings.)

The energy committee worked hard to keep the cost of the new solar project “tax neutral,” Carson added. “It will not increase the tax rate. In fact, we’ll be getting more revenue.

 

“It’s served its purpose, but it’s past its useful lifespan now.”

Anthony Mento, Warner resident and project manager with Sherr, McCrystal, Palson Architecture, who is working with town on new fire station proposal

 

 

The project’s $338,530 construction costs will be funded using a low 2-percent interest, 12-year loan from the state’s Community Development Finance Authority, and a $65,000 grant. Projections are that the facility will provide power for the transfer station and about $60,000 in additional revenue the first year it’s operating. (The town’s total annual electric bill is approximately $30,000, Carson said.)

Earlier in the meeting, Anthony Mento, a project manager with Sherr, McCrystal, Palson Architecture, Inc., of Concord, and a Warner resident, reviewed information related to the fire station project. He explained the need for a new facility because the current Main Street building is simply inadequate for a modern department.

“It’s served its purpose but it’s past its useful lifespan now,” he said. “There are lots of requirements that we fail miserably on… It’s not code-compliant, not ADA-accessible, and on and on…” In addition, the building is too small to house necessary equipment, particularly modern trucks and other apparatuses.

Since last year’s town meeting, a committee has been working on moving the building plan forward. Mentos said the group has been working with North Branch Construction of Concord to deal with some of the most important issues including noise pollution, traffic and longevity.

The tentative plan currently call for constructing a facility that would be approximately 11,00-square feet and would include offices and meeting space (for emergency management and training, as well as fire department personnel), a kitchen and a garage space for all the department’s apparatus. The one-story brick building, which would be on a 4-acre parcel at the southern corner of Main Street and Split Rock Road, will look somewhat smaller from the main road because its longest length will run north-south.

Early estimates are that the energy-efficient station will cost approximately $2.5-million or less but this year the selectmen are only asking for $100,000 to be raised in taxes. The money will be used to move engineering and design work forward, with an eye towards presenting a building proposal to voters next year.

Both the solar array project and the building proposal have the support of the budget committee and the selectmen. Voters will consider them at the town meeting on March 14.

This story first appeared in the InterTown Record, Feb. 28, 2017.

Ray Carbone can be reached at raycarbone@yahoo.com


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MainStreet BookEnds of Warner featured on WMUR-TV

Katherine Nevins and the folks at our favorite solar-powered bookstore made the “big time” (New Hampshire-style) on channel 9 last week.

Not sure it’s a recent production but still good to see that “Something Wonderful is Happening in Warner”…

Did you see it? Check it out here…

http://www.wmur.com/article/thursday-january-12th-mainstreet-bookends-of-warner/8562451


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Bookstores and Libraries – These are a few of my favorite things…

DSCN5237I spend a lot of time in both our local bookstore and our local library. Having just been elected a trustee of the Pillsbury Free Library, I’ll be spending even more time there, more than I had initially anticipated as I took on the position of Assistant Treasurer. From summer programs for my children to our local book group to special events, there’s a lot for local residents to choose from at both our local bookstore, MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, and our library. Not only is the bookstore right next door to the Pillsbury Free Library, these two places are also connected in some very special ways. The bookstore is actually the Pillsbury family homestead. Just wander down to the bathroom in the Gallery and you will see the original Pillsbury three-holer.  This is the actual top to the family bathroom, found in the attached 1700’s outhouse that was located on the site of the new bathroom, and then mounted to the wall as a reminder of days gone by.  Before the Pillsbury’s of flour and doughboy fame moved to Minnesota, Mr. George Pillsbury and his family lived in Warner in our bookstore and eventually made plans to gift a library to the town they resided in for twelve years. The beautiful brick and granite library opened for business in 1892. The architect for the library designed it in the Richardsonian Romanesque style which I find absolutely stunning.

 

In addition, the library and bookstore are connected by a beautiful brick pathway that denotes donations to MainStreet Warner, Inc. for the purpose of building the Jim Mitchell Community park and amphitheatre. Both library and bookstore events use this lovely outdoor space.DSCN5241

Our book group called BookEnds BookGroup took a break for a little while but we’re back in action on Sunday, May 1st as we discuss Katarina Bivald’s ‘The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend’. Join us at 4 pm at Warner’s bookstore for a discussion of how bookstores change the lives of their communities. You can ask your local library if they have the book or you can purchase it at BookEnds. Book club members always get 20% off.

 

As I trudge back and forth, back and forth between bookstore and library, I get a happy feeling inside. Soon, the lilacs will be blooming and it will smell like summer. Mr. Pillsbury wanted the people of Warner to have a library where they could borrow books. Little did he know that they could also attend musical events and plays in the community amphitheatre and shop in the best bookstore on the planet where he once lived, right next door. The partnership which exists between these two entities is very special indeed making it very convenient to enjoy some of my favorite things!  I hope you enjoy these special places as much as I do.


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Anastasia (Anna) Glavas was born in Canada but somehow found her way to small town America. She works part-time in the local schools and at Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum. When she isn't there, she is either at home...

Darryl Parker is an elected official with the Town of Warner (Almoner) and a Director for the Warner Historical Society. He and his wife purchased 1 East Main Street next door to Town Hall in 2014 and renovated...

Joanna and her family have lived in Warner for 14 years. She enjoys her job in Special Education in the Kearsarge District, her Communications and Illustration freelance work, and her volunteer work as a Costume Desi...

Katie has lived in Warner for the last two years and has enjoyed becoming familiar with the small town's atmosphere. Prior to living in Warner, she lived in Henniker, NH. Katie is an alumni of New England College and...

Ray Carbone was born in Virginia and grew up in the New York City area. But he moved to New England in the 1970s and he's he never left.
Ray's byline has appeared on a variety of media platforms including National Pu...

Vince was born in New Mexico, raised in California and then moved to New Hampshire in 1993. He became a resident of Warner officially in 2001. Vince has coached soccer in the WYSA program for many years. Now that...

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