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Every Thursday morning, the Property Team works for 2-3 hours around the grounds of Holy Trinity to spruce it up before our Sunday worship services. Their usual tasks include minor building repairs, mowing the grass, indoor cleaning, setting up heavy equipment, and painting. After finishing the tasks for the day, they meet for 30 minutes for coffee, snacks, and fellowship. If you are interesting in joining or helping out, contact email@example.com
Our current Property Team leader is David Mercer.
There is always something! With the recent incidents of very heavy rain, we have experienced a couple of minor water intrusion events in the basement. These recent cases have been relatively minor compared to cases we experienced over the past 6-7 years. The water is not deep, at most an 1/8 inch or so in a very predictable pattern and location, but enough to damage any non-water-resistant materials placed directly on the floor in these locations. We know where the water enters and we can reasonably surmise that the problem is an unintended consequence of removing and not replacing damaged roof gutters and downspouts on the right side of our main entrance. When we experience particularly heavy rainfall, there is a considerable build up of water along the building foundation. We believe some of this water finds its way under our building slab, builds up behind the west basement wall, and enters the basement through a wall penetration. The Property Team is reasonably confident that replacement of the missing gutters and downspouts will resolve this issue. Until the matter is resolved, we caution everyone to avoid leaving items directly on certain portions of the basement floor if such items would be damaged by exposure to water. Please see me if you need some additional information about risky storage locations. Then there is the water which is inside the building by plan, but sometimes gets away from us. We recently experienced a toilet blockage problem and overflow. These things happen, but in this case the problem was not reported. Fortunately, no water damage resulted. If you should ever encounter such a problem, please report it as soon as possible. Dave Mercer, Property Team Leader
The Property Team has been busy with the normal outside tasks of mowing, trimming, garden care and such, as well as our normal inside routine of cleaning and minor repairs. Since my last report, the contractor for our basement sump pump system and dehumidifier system has been in to inspect and service this equipment. This equipment is working well with no problems noted. Also, I called our exterminator in to apply chemicals for carpenter ant control in selected areas of the Sanctuary after hearing some reports that these potentially problematic visitors had been seen. Please let me or the office know if you see any problems with insects, rodents, etc.
By the time this report is published, work to seal the parking lot and driveways should be in progress. The work has begun on Tuesday and we’re on schedule to complete on time by Friday, concluding with painting of the parking lines. Also, the carpet replacement work in the Gathering Area, Sacristy, first floor hallways, and two first floor classrooms is scheduled to begin on August 7 and be completed in about a week. I have also been working with the Newington Fire Department to obtain a renewal of our permit for the tent. The permit expired on July 1. I anticipate the permit will have been renewed prior to the next planned use for Vacation Bible School. David Mercer, Property Team Leader
With the arrival of warm weather and the spring growing season the Property Team has been busy with mowing, trimming, bushes, plantings and other matters to keep the grounds in good order. The tent is up, a sure sign of the new season and another church picnic. The normal inside routine has continued. The air conditioners have been installed. The Education Office has been repainted and new shelving has been installed. A failed water heater serving the Sacristy and adjoining restroom has been replaced with a new unit. Other routine property matters were resolved. The gas company completed one of its periodic checks for gas leaks in and around the building, and found no issues.
The team has obtained bids for carpet replacement in the Sacristy, first floor hallways, two classrooms, and the Gathering Area. Bids have also been obtained for work to seal the parking lot and driveways and restripe the parking lines. Proposals for the carpet and parking lot work will be presented for approval at the congregational meeting this month.
These are things that jumped to mind as I wrote this blog entry. I probably overlooked something important. Just another few weeks for the Property Team. Stand by for more as the year moves along. David Mercer for the Property Team
Spring has sprung! The mowers have been serviced and put into use for the first time this season. The snow removal equipment has been returned to the storage barn. The tent has been put up (or should I say, pitched) for the season. We all need to remember that our tent requires a permit from the Town of Newington. Our permit allows a maximum of 50 people under the tent at any given time. We will be seeking to renew our permit which expires in July, but the 50 person limit is unlikely to change. As weather permits, we will be doing a variety of outdoor tasks as well as keeping up with the normal indoor routine and projects. Painting and book shelf upgrades in the Education Office are in progress. The Property Team is seeking bids for carpet replacement for several areas of the building (Sacristy, first floor hallways, back classrooms), and is also seeking bids to seal and stripe the parking lot and driveways. If council concurs, we anticipate bringing proposals for this work to the congregational meeting in June. If approved, the parking lot work would be done this summer, and the carpet work would done when it can be scheduled with suppliers. David Mercer, Property Team Leader
Martha and I will be leaving for Florida about January 24th and will be returning about the second week of April. During my absence, Barry Philbrick will be coordinating the activities of the Thursday Morning Group and will be the point of contact for general property matters except for the period February 3-16 when he will also be away. Property issues can always be brought to the attention of the church office who can reach me by e-mail. See you in the spring! Dave Mercer, Property Team Leader
It is that time of year when we have to think about the inevitable reality of winter ... snow and ice. It is worth taking a trip down memory lane and recalling how we dealt with the "winter wonder land". Back in the day when the congregation was younger, the parking lot and driveways smaller, the outside walkways and emergency exits fewer, we handled snow and ice largely with volunteers. As our facility became larger, this became impractical, and we hired professional help to plow the lot and driveways. We continued to rely on volunteers to take care of the sidewalks and to clear access and egress paths for our emergency exits. For these ongoing volunteer duties, we have had a group of folks who coordinated among themselves so one or more of them would come in during and after storms or ice events to take care of things. I started calling them the "snow removal team". I should have called them the "snow angels". They were here doing their collective thing even when Martha and I were basking in the warmth of Florida each winter. They have been great, but times change, people's responsibilities change, and some years the demands on this team have been very heavy, if not excessive. A couple of years ago, I asked our snow removal contractor to expand their scope to include sidewalks and paths to emergency exits. This has worked out well, particularly for large snow events, but we are still not off the hook for lesser snow events and icing events. Last Christmas Eve was an important example. Up to about mid-afternoon that day, our lots, driveways, and walks were clear, but we had a significant icing event an hour or so before the start of services, making footing treacherous. It was too late to get our contractor out to do anything about it. We had to deal with it ourselves. In hindsight, I could have done a better job watching the weather forecast which correctly predicted icing throughout the area ... lesson learned! Another thing to keep in mind, the snow removal contractor comes only after significant snowfall, so there will be many cases where we will have to deal with snow on the parking lot, drives, and walks. We would typically not do anything with small accumulations of snow on the lots or drives, but we would take care of the walks. Of course, we would also call in our contractor to treat the lots and drives if there was a buildup of packed snow and ice.
All that said, I suggest all of us who are physically able and so inclined, consider ourselves to be informal members of the snow team ... "snow angels". If you arrive on Sunday or for other church activities and find snow or slippery conditions on the walks, grab one of the shovels just inside the doors and clear a path and put down some ice melt (also available near the doors). I also plan to retain the snow removal team to deal with other, possibly larger, snow removal tasks that arise, but we can all help with the smaller tasks. Thanks in advance to all who may offer a hand from time to time. Dave Mercer, Property Team Leader.
A mysterious thing happens from time to time as the hours of daylight change. Typically, I know it has happened again when I observe the parking lights are on when they should be off, or off when they should be on. This usually means that a mystery person has gone to the boiler room, opened the control box for the lights, and changed the settings on the timer. More often than not, the setting has been changed such that the lights are on and stay on. I really wish the mystery person or persons would not do this, because energy is wasted. In a few cases, the settings have prevented the lights from coming on when needed. Please contact me in person or by phone (603-953-3855) if you believe the controls for the parking lot lights need to be changed.
Lighting matters are an ongoing challenge. We recently changed another of the bulbs in the high overhead lighting fixtures in the Sanctuary using a reach rod device provided by Jonathan Bock. This is the third time to date that one of these bulbs has been changed without the need for an aerial lift. Thank you, Jonathan!
I also hope you notice improved lighting in the gathering area. We recently replaced three of failed spot lights above the entrance to the Sanctuary and also replaced several failed bulbs in the overhead light fixtures in the Gathering Area. As part of this work and previous work, all of the fixtures in the Gathering Area now have LED bulbs which will save energy without loss of illumination and should give significantly longer bulb life. Work to add additional lighting for the library has continued, and should complete soon. We will be working on some additional lighting matters in the coming weeks. Let there be light!
When the "garage" door is open, you will notice improvements to the back wall. The new drywall work to resolve a fire code issue has been completed and new shelving has been installed to improve storage and reduce clutter.
David Mercer, Property Team Leader
Fall has arrived and the big tent is down and stored for the winter. Of all the unlikely things to bring some controversy this year, the tent would have been low on my list. We have used it for years without issue, but then State of New Hampshire regulations found us in the form of a required permit from the Newington Fire Department. As it happens, a large tent such as ours (greater than 600 square feet) requires an inspection and permit. We have the permit which will require renewal in 2018. Who knew?
Beginning this spring, we have been working to resolve some fire code compliance issues in the "garage" and the boiler room. This work has primarily involved addition and repairs to drywall and sealing pipe penetrations through the walls. This work should be completed by winter.
This spring, the library team requested improved lighting for the library area. In response to that request the existing fluorescent lighting in that area has been repaired and redirected. About half of the existing lights were out of service due to a failed ballast. The ballast has been replaced and all of the fixtures have been turned upward to provide more effective indirect lighting. LED track lighting has been added to provide direct lighting for the book shelves, tables, and displays in the library.
Holy Trinity now hosts an open mic acoustic music event (The New Grounds Coffee House) on the third Friday of each month. To support this event we applied donated equipment to implement a fully portable and effective sound system for use in the gathering area. The system provides up to eight instrument and microphone inputs to a mixer board, and uses the existing overhead speakers in the gathering area.
We have seen the first "church mouse" of the season. It is not unusual to see these little visitors as the season turns colder. We typically let our pest control service know they have arrived so we can take some preventative action. Be aware of their potential presence and take care to avoid leaving food crumbs and such that will attract them.
We recently replaced one of the overhead bulbs in the sanctuary. This has been a reasonably rare event since we made the change to LED bulbs.
What a summer season it has been! We have seen hot, cold, wet, dry and whatever. Surely, we cannot complain, particularly in view of the the extreme weather challenges being endured by the folks in Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere. We have been fortunate here in Newington. The lawn, bushes, plantings and such have suffered a bit from the hot and dry periods, but things seem to be recovering. Overall, the property has fared well with the help of our volunteers. Most of us are unaware of the ongoing work to maintain the property, inside and out, and the many hours of volunteer work to make it happen.
As you pass by the office side of the building, you may notice the tree adjacent to the Sanctuary has been cut back significantly to resolve a problem with large branches overhanging the roof and hanging low over the bushes and sidewalk.
Over the past month or so, the Property Team has been working to resolve some fire protection issues of concern to the Newington Fire Department who noted some problems with the drywall and the door closer for the boiler room. Progress is being made to resolve these issues. The door closer has been repaired and returned to service. Drywall repairs are in progress in the boiler room, and new drywall is being installed on the back wall of the "garage".
Take a message to Garcia! This phrase has been on my mind recently. A little history is appropriate here. In the run-up to the Spanish-American War in 1898, the United States dispatched a young Army officer to Cuba with orders to deliver a message to the leader of the rebels trying to overthrow the Spanish government there. All I remember from my history lessons is that the message was unlikely to be well received. So it was that three expressions came into common use in American lexicon in the years following that war. The rebel leader was named Garcia, and the expression, "Take a message to Garcia." has come to mean a risky task involving telling someone something they may not want to hear. Similarly, as the story goes, the young Army officer was told to "Keep one foot in the stirrup" meaning be ready to get back in the saddle and get out of there if things did not go well. A third related expression may well have originated with the young Army officer, "Don't shoot the messenger!"
As regards our tent, I feel a bit like the Army officer and some of you are my Garcia. Recent rules from the State of NH require us to have a permit for our tent and the process results in restrictions on how many people we can have under our tent. We now have a permit which limits us to no more than fifty people. The requirements become significantly more complicated when the number of occupants exceeds fifty. I know this occupancy limitation impacts our use of the tent. I have made council aware of the pertinent aspects of the state rules so we can make informed decisions about future tent use. I have no idea where all this is going. I only ask that you do not shoot the messenger or cast our local FD in a negative way. We have a very good relationship with them and I have always found them to be reasonable. In this case they are doing what the State Fire Marshal Office requires in terms of tent permits and inspection criteria for tents.