Fort Calhoun prepares for more flooding
By: Jake Wasikowski
U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid
When General Nakasone took over both Cyber Command and the N.S.A. a year ago, his staff was assessing Russian hackings on targets that included the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, which runs a nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kan., as well as previously unreported attempts to infiltrate Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper Nuclear Station, near Brownville. The hackers got into communications networks, but never took over control systems.
Who is to say the great exodus of homeowners and renters out of town isn't about the lawlessness within the town? They don't want to deal with dangerous racism at the schools and the sense they are unsafe on our streets. Dead bodies all over the place. Who is to say this is about taxes, not safety and security in the street with a high performance police department.
We are right in the middle of a heroin apocalypse and the dealers are in control of our town.
Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2019 7:51 pm
By Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer
HINSDALE, N.H. — The town of Hinsdale has 10 slots designated for its police department, counting the chief of police. But at this moment, it only has four officers and its chief.
"Our department is currently in crisis mode," said Corp. Adam Belville, reading from a statement during the Monday evening meeting of the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen. "Often times there is only one officer working at a time who is responsible for responding to calls and handling investigations."
After reading from his statement, Belville went on to describe the situation as "a boiling point."
"I wouldn't be here if I didn't have the best interests of the town and department in mind," said Belville, who noted many small-town departments get rookie cops who stay on board for a year or two for experience before hopping to a bigger city with better pay.
All four officers on the town's payroll went to Monday night's meeting, but Chief Todd Faulkner stayed away.
"They didn't tell the board anything that I haven't told the board before," said Faulkner, and most of that is about how much pay he can offer new recruits to the department.
"Every year I have expressed to the town that pay is an issue," said Faulkner. "I am sympathetic about how the budget works and how much the people of Hinsdale are paying in taxes, but the hiring pool that's out there is not sustainable and my officers will do what's right for them and their families, regardless of how dedicated they might be to Hinsdale."
Starting pay in Hinsdale is about $19 an hour, or $39,520 a year, for applicants with no certification. With prior experience, the starting pay is a little less than $22 an hour, or about $45,760 a year.
"Do you feel one of the biggest factors in the retention of officers has to do with pay?" asked Selectmen Mike Carrier during the Monday night meeting. Carrier himself is a police officer with the Winchester Police Department and a former member of both the Hinsdale and Brattleboro police departments.
Belville said there are a lot of factors weighing against Hinsdale and other small-town police departments, but pay is one of the major factors.
"Larger departments ... are definitely dangling the pay in front of them," he said. In addition, he noted, officers can work at a larger department and have a smaller caseload because there are more officers on staff.
Sgt. Joshua Murray put it more bluntly.
"Would you go to the town that pays less to do more or go to the town that pays you more to do less?" asked Murray.
Up until about two years ago, said Faulkner, the town guaranteed all of its employees a 3 percent pay raise each year, dependent on a performance review, in addition to cost-of-living increases, amounting to about 5 percent a year.
The town went to performance-based pay raises for two years, he said, but this year has placed a freeze on all pay raises.
The Hinsdale police budget for fiscal year 2019, which ends June 30, is $1,390,493.
Both Belville and Faulkner acknowledged that all the departments in the region are fighting over the best applicants, but only the ones, like Keene, that offer a better starting pay, are winning.
The Keene Police Department is currently hiring, with a starting pay between $43,992 and $55,681, depending no experience.
Pay in nearby Winchester is similar to what is offered in Hinsdale, said Chief Mike Tollett, who has eight full-time slots, counting himself, all of which are filled. However, noted Tollett, one of his officers is leaving on Saturday. Pay starts at about $19 an hour for non-certified officers and $21 to $22 per hour depending on experience.
"Winchester is horrible with pay," said Tollett. And that's not just in his department. "No town employees get annual raises or cost of living increases."
In the past, said Tollett, the way to get a pay raise in the Winchester Police Department was to get promoted.
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"I try to look for folks who are going to fit in the department and who have a sense of loyalty," he said.
He also asks new hires to sign a contract, promising they will stay for three years, but even that doesn't guarantee an officer will stay the full three years.
"Other departments such as in Keene and Swanzey will buy out the contract," said Tollett. "Recently, Swanzey paid Winchester $16,000 to buy out a contract."
Chesterfield, which offers a slightly higher introductory pay rate, also has no openings, said Chief Duane Chickering.
"We have five full-time officers, including myself, and three part-time officers," he said.
Starting pay for non-certified officers in Chesterfield is $21.14 and $21.92 for certified officers. Chesterfield also has eight pay steps for its officers, meaning they can earn up to $27.22 an hour.
"Even though we are fully staffed, we are always looking," said Chickering, who noted during the last hiring process he received more than 50 applications, of which only three who passed all the tests.
Chesterfield doesn't require that its new hires sign a contract, but they must live in town, he said.
"If you live in the town, you have a vested interest," said Chickering, who noted two of his current officers are approaching their three-year mark, and their experience makes them a valuable asset to any department.
"Outside agencies are salivating over the amount of work we put into our officers," he said.
Belville noted that between March and May of this year, the Hinsdale Police Department received nearly 40 resumes.
"Only 10 applicants showed up ... to begin the hiring process," he said. "Of those applicants, the majority couldn't pass the physical fitness test. The ones who could, either couldn't pass the next step i the hiring process or backed out altogether."
"Recruitment is the same for us as for everybody else," said Tollett. "We get applications. We set up physical fitness tests. Some don't show up and some don't pass the test."
Faulkner said that the officers who have remained on staff in Hinsdale have done so because they are dedicated to the town and to its police department. But that dedication is no match for better pay somewhere else when someone's life situation changes.
"I had an officer leave because he wanted to start a family and buy a house," he said. "You can't do that on the pay we offer. Any one of my current officers could walk away today for the same reason."
"We have a great group of people now who work well together," said Belville during the Monday night meeting. "The downside is, we are getting absolutely swamped with calls."
According to numbers compiled by Jerod Tier, a Hinsdale resident, seven officers responded to or worked 6,842 incidents, or 977 incidents per officer.
If the same call volume holds steady in 2019, that's 1,710 incidents per each of the department's four officers, not counting the chief, who said he is currently working 20 cases he would normally assign to a detective.
"Everyone is tired," said Faulkner.
"All of the town departments are feeling the same issue," said board member Bernie Rideout.
Board Chairman Mike Darcy thanked Belville and the other officers for bringing the situation to their attention and promised they would "start working on it" as soon as possible.
"As you can see we're about level with what the river level is right now," Danielle Cram said, Project Manager at the Fort Calhoun Station. She says they have been reinforcing flood measures that have been out since March.
They have Hesco barriers around the switch yard, and thousands of sand bangs protecting transformers.
"We will test our barriers we are very confident we will be able to protect the plants," Cram said.
Crews are also building a scaffolding walk way to the nuclear station.
The plant was shut down in 2011 before the floods started, and stayed dry through a long flood emergency surrounded by water.
Since the station is in the process of deconstruction, one main priority is to make sure no hazardous materials end up in flood waters.
"So as we start to dismantle buildings and work towards the demolition process it's making sure that we have positive control of all of that demolition material so that we're not inadvertantly releasing something to the environment that we don't want to," Cram said.
Isabelle Thomas has lived a short distance away from the nuclear station, and says she's glad OPPD is putting the public's safety first.
"i think that's very important because of the fact of the contamination and getting rid of the nuclear waste in the proper way, that also was a concern to me," Thomas said.
OPPD anticipates having their flood protection system out at least until Mid-July as the river may continue to fluctuate throughout the season.
Power Reactor Event Number: 54096 Facility: RIVER BEND
Region: 4 State: LA
Unit:   
RX Type:  GE-6
NRC Notified By: ALFONSO CROEZE
HQ OPS Officer: JEFFREY WHITED
Notification Date: 06/01/2019
Notification Time: 03:15 [ET]
Event Date: 05/31/2019
Event Time: 23:45 [CDT]
Last Update Date: 06/01/2019
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS ACTUATION - CRITICAL
JASON KOZAL (R4DO)
Unit SCRAM Code RX Crit Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode 1 M/R Y 30 Power Operation 0 Hot Shutdown
MANUAL REACTOR SCRAM DUE TO LOW REACTOR WATER LEVEL
"At 2345 CDT at River Bend Station (RBS) Unit 1, a manual Reactor scram was inserted in anticipation of receiving an automatic Reactor Water Level 3 (9.7") scram due to the isolation of the 'B' Heater String with the 'A' Heater String already isolated. The 'B' heater string isolation caused loss of suction and subsequent trip of the running Feed Water Pumps 'A' and 'C'. All control rods fully inserted with no issues. Subsequently Reactor level was controlled by the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling (RCIC) system. Feed Water Pump 'C' was restored 4 minutes after the initial trip and the RCIC system secured. Currently RBS-1 is stable and is being cooled down using Turbine Bypass Valves.
"No radiological releases have occurred due to this event from the unit."
The plant is currently under a normal shutdown electrical lineup.
The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.