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Editorials published by the Goffstown Residents Association are written by various members and contributing non-members of the GRA.

Town flood control and relief efforts show great results
Officials outshine last year's excellent performance
April 20, 2007

Last May, Goffstown suffered some of the worst effects from the Mother's Day floods that hit the area.  Amidst the chaos that ensued, town departments, officials and employees did an outstanding job addressing the situation.

This year, we expected the same from them in dealing with Monday's nor'easter.  But we didn't get it.  

Instead, what we got was much more.

Town Departments Step Up

During this week's flood control and relief efforts, every Town department involved in dealing with the storm not only did an incredible job, but every one of them outshined their own excellent performances during last year's Mother Day flood.

The Police Department was out in force, especially in the Lynchville and Danis Parks areas, helping residents evacuate from that still-recovering area.  

Firefighters worked diligently with rescue efforts, flood control and pumping water, all while handling numerous medical calls.  During the crisis, Lt. Bill Connor volunteered his time to inspect 63 homes - on his day off.

Over at Public Works, dealing with the storm without vacationing department head Carl Quiram's hand on the tiller, the crews were nevertheless a step ahead this year with patching, filling, drainage and flood control work.  Under guidance from Mike Hillhouse and Mike Sullivan in Quiram's absence, roads were closed with barricades in place well before they became a serious threat, and crews worked expertly and efficiently throughout the night making repairs to insure those roads could be safely traveled as quickly as possible.  

Recently, the new Board of Selectmen has made an issue of utilizing the town's website more efficiently as a tool for keeping the public better informed.  Town Hall apparently understood the importance of that too, making vast improvements over last year by continually updating the town website throughout Monday and subsequent days with public safety information on everything from school and road closures, police informational updates and emergency relief information, as well as assisting in the quick establishment of an evacuation center at Bartlett Elementary school.  And much of this was done after Town Hall had closed.  

Selectmen Quick to React

During the course of the storm, selectmen were out on the roads assessing problems the town was facing and planning on how to address them quickly: Lt. Bill Conner of the fire department escorted selectman Vivian Blondeau around town; board chairman John Caprio rode with Mike Hillhouse of DPW.  

Selectmen also
quickly arranged for dumpsters and port-a-potties to be delivered to affected areas no later than today, immediately waived fees for disposal of flood related debris at the Transfer Station, and also waived fees for building permits for flood-damaged homes. 

And although Town Hall was closed Monday, selectmen stayed the course and moved their scheduled meeting over to the Police Department building.  In keeping with the new board's effort to improve communication with the public, they also held a special meeting with department heads last night (see related article) to access the current situation and began establishing plans for dealing with the flood quickly and efficiently.  

Another meeting is scheduled for Saturday at 1:00PM at the Craig Heiber Auditorium at Goffstown High School for all members of the community who have been impacted by the flood. 

Residents and Citizen Groups Contribute

In addition to town departments, local residents, citizen and volunteer groups contributed to relief efforts as well.

All day Monday, citizen-responders from the Goffstown Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) were out in force collecting information for town officials and assisting with evacuations.  

Local web sites such as our own, and provided hourly updates to the community, drawing from numerous town and media outlets.  

St. Anselm College students volunteered their time to assist at the temporary evacuation shelter established at Bartlett Elementary School.

Crispin's House of Goffstown provided a detailed information listing of recovery information that was - and remains - vital in assisting those who have suffered losses this week.

And in one instance, when an outboard motor on a fire department boat failed as debris clogged water intake inlets, a local resident readily provided the department with his own outboard motor so as to assist department efforts during the storm.

Many Thanks to All

The GRA would like to thank all town officials and employees, citizen and volunteer groups, community organizations and those many residents who stepped up to assist town officials and their neighbors in need during this week's storm for your contributions and great efforts.  Even after your tremendous response to last year's flood, you all somehow managed to take it up another notch. 

Nice job, folks.


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