CANTON — Selectmen decided Tuesday night to schedule a meeting with Hartford selectmen in Hartford to resolve a road-plowing matter.

They also got an update on the final cost of the Staples Hill Road project and shared memories and a moment of silence for longtime Canton resident Norman Vashaw, 88, who passed away May 10 at Rumford Hospital.

Town Clerk Kathy Walker and Administrator Scotty Kilbreth told selectmen Thursday night that Hartford Town Clerk Lianne Bedard contacted them about the Hartford board’s decision earlier this month concerning Farrand Hill Road.

“They want to discuss possibly swapping plowing of their portion of Farrand Hill for say (Route) 140 up to the ball field or something like that,” Kilbreth said.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Donny Hutchins said he wants Road Foreman Paul McKenna to share his opinion, “because he’s going to have to do the work.”

“Is it good, plowable road?” Selectman Malcolm Ray asked.

Selectman Brian Keene said he didn’t know and would go look at it. Hutchins and Ray asked Keene if he would take McKenna with him to the requested meeting with Hartford’s board this month and figure out the details. Hutchins said he’d go if Keene can’t make it.

Kilbreth said he’d set it up.

In other roads business, Ray said the Staples Hill Road reconstruction and paving project is complete, except for some town crew work.

He said the town received contractor Bruce Manzer’s total bill two weeks ago “and sorted out some issues with that.”

That bill was for $267,545. With the addition of about $5,319 in miscellaneous items such as advertising, lawyer time and Ted Berry’s work draining catch basins, the total is $272,864.

“Bruce Manzer’s original bid was $300,488, so he did a good job coming in about $33,000 under bid,” Ray said. “And also, we got a better project than we originally put in for. We added a lot of curbing, we went from overlay to milling and paving, etc.”

Hutchins credited RoadSafe LLC, Ray’s company, for volunteering engineering work.

“Well, thank you,” Ray said. “It was a good time.”

“We appreciate it,” Hutchins said.

Earlier in the meeting, Hutchins asked the board and audience to share memories of Vashaw, a Berlin, N.H., native, volunteer Canton firefighter and longtime community service-oriented resident of Canton.

“It seems like we do this too often, but again we’ve lost another of our, well, I don’t quite know how to describe Norm Vashaw,” Donny Hutchins solemnly said. “He’d been around for an awful long time and passed away a couple weeks ago.”

“We called him ‘Dad,'” someone said in the audience.

“Everybody’s dad,” Kathy Hutchins, Donny’s mother and former Canton administrative assistant, added.

“I literally grew up on weekends with Norm,” Donny Hutchins said. “He and I were very good friends. He was a neighbor.”

He asked for memories. His mother related one where she used to take him and his siblings trick-or-treating at Vashaw’s house. “That was our first stop every year,” she said.

Donny Hutchins said Vashaw helped build the town’s new fire station when he was in his 80s. “And he wasn’t standing around, he was working,” he said.

A woman in the audience spoke of Vashaw’s generosity, especially using his talent at making large quilts and donating them to be auctioned off to help raise money for children. He also bought and donated hot dog rolls, she said. “He was very, very community oriented,” she said. “He was a good man.”

“We shouldn’t take our older generation for granted, because they are not going to be around forever,” Donny Hutchins said.

Resident and businessman Chris Dailey prompted laughter when he said Vashaw kept Canton beautiful for many years by making leather belts for Dailey to keep his pants up. Applause joined the laughter.

Donny Hutchins asked residents to visit Mildred Vashaw, Norman’s wife of 65 years. “She’s probably going to be lonely, so go see her if you would. She will get lonely in that big house.”

The room got quiet after Hutchins asked for a moment of silence in Norman Vashaw’s memory.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.