State beach interests Rye
Cigarette butts foul sands
Senior housing construction bids due in August
Track project on hold
Magnant new Town Administrator
Cronin leaving as Rye Public Library director
Workforce housing meeting July 22
Staff of Rye Reflections
Symbolic of June was this Rye Harbor scene at 9 a.m. on the month's last Sunday, usually a day that would be bustling with activity. It was reminiscent of stories in "Bert and I" with the boats "locked in a dungeon of fog". (Jim Cerny photo)
(NEWS ITEM: A day after Rye Reflections had been published the State withdrew the draft plan "based on substantial public feedback." Click here for a text of the statement.)
The Rye Board of Selectmen has moved quickly to pass a motion stating that "the Town of Rye is interested in re-acquiring Jenness State Beach."
The June 29 action came on the heels of the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation issuing a draft of its Ten-Year Strategic and Capital Improvement Plan
calling for possible decommissioning, transfer, lease or disposal through the state's surplus land process of 27 properties in the state park system. (Click here
for a list of the properties which also includes North Hampton State Beach and White Island, part of the Isles of Shoals and located in Rye. The Selectmen said they needed to know more about White Island costs and potential revenues before expressing interest.
"In my view this (Jenness) is a resource that would be a valuable asset to the town," said Selectman Craig Musselman.
Selectman Joe Mills recalled that the State took over Jenness from Rye after the blizzard of 1978. Mills called for a study of that deed as well as the one for White Island. "I was shocked" about the sudden announcement, said Mills, who along with Rep. David Borden, felt a poor job was done by the State in preparing the public and town officials. (See Concord Reflections column
in this issue by Rep. David Borden who plans public input sessions this summer on Parks' draft plan.). Both Borden and Rep. Will Smith attended the Selectmen's meeting.
Borden asked for a public meeting as soon as possible (the draft report comment period has been extended from July 8 to July 20). Mills said it would be preferable for the board to meet with Parks officials and get more information before having a public hearing. "That would be a gong show," he said.
Musselman said he'd like to know more about the Parks' decision process. "How would they decided decide between a town and an amusement company?"
There are precedents for the Division of Parks putting its property up for grabs. Most notably a lease agreement between the State and a private group occurred in 1998 when the Muellers from Okemo Mountain in Vermont signed a 40-year lease for the Sunapee Resort. N.H. has received lease payments every year, and the Muellers have built new ski lifts and buildings along with expanding the snowmaking plant. Cannon has not paid anything back to the State and the Gunstock Recreation Area, owned by the County of Belknap, increases the local tax to pay for bad years.
The Muellers over the past 10 years have paid the State almost $4 million in lease payments and more than doubled the number of visits to the resort, some 250,000 in the 2005-2006 season.
And you thought selling the Brooklyn Bridge was a joke?
(Meanwhile, on June 24 the N.H. Legislature approved a $14.5 million capital expenditure for a Hampton Beach redevelopment project
Keeping New Hampshire beaches clean is an uphill battle. Beachgoers who pick up when they leave not only contribute to maintaining the precious shore but also avert harm to marine life. According to the Blue Ocean Society
, cigarettes, food wrappers, straws, bottle caps and balloons often are swallowed by birds, fish, sea turtles and even whales.
The Blue Ocean Society organizes volunteers, families and groups to perform beach cleanup monthly, and this month it will be on Wednesday, July 22, at 6:30 p.m. at Jenness Beach (at end of Cable Road). Those interested should check out the non-profit society's Beach Cleanups
How effective are the cleanups? Last year they collected 85,875 cigarette butts, 6,694 plastic bottle caps, 6,522 strands of rope, 4,491 metal beverage cans, 3,629 plastic beverage bottles and 3,035 straws
1st Place: Blossom (Judy Palm photo)
The 9th Annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Competition has been held and the winners announced. The purse, more than $15,000 in awards, was a hard prize to come by. On Saturday afternoon, the day of the award presentations and voting, most of the sculptors were still working on their creations. The previous week had been rainy enough that there was not sufficient time for the sculptors to finish. They had to work right up to the last minute, even while hundreds of people walked by to cast their ballots Saturday afternoon for the People's Choice award.
The winners were:
Captain M...Arrrghk by Marc Lepire of Quebec, Canada
Blossom by Cal Jara of Lyndhurst, Ohio
Dueling Grannies by Karen Fralich of Ontario, Canada
Whispering Oak by Justin Gordon of Groveland, Massachusetts
Garden Delight by Michel Lepire of Quebec, Canada
Peeping Tom by Lucinda Wierenga of South Padre Island, Texas
People's Choice: Captain M...Arrrghk (Judy Palm photo)
- After a year of making its way through the regulatory process and a year of wrestling with financing that was slowed by the economic downturn, The Housing Partnership says it is now ready to turn to construction for the 22 units of housing in Rye's first Retirement Community Development on the site of the old Rye Airfield. Executive Director Marty Chapman says his non-profit agency expects to go out to bid in August and hopes to break ground in September or October at the 10-acre site.Not unexpectedly, the Rye School Board formally decided at its June meeting to postpone building a school and community running track at the Elementary School. "Dut to other pressing needs we were unable to fund the track project this year," the board stated in a letter to the Selectmen, praising "the commendable and generous effort of Bud Jordan (DPW director)," for planning and reducing costs for the eighth-of-a-mile track.
- Volunteer anglers are being sought by the Coastal Conservation Association of New Hampshire (CCA NH) to participate in an oyster restoration project in the Berry's Brook Estuary in Rye. All that's required is feedback from fishing in a designated area of the brook before and after oysters are seeded, according to Jeff Barnum, CCA's president. The project is being carried out in collaboration with Dr. Raymond Grizzle of the UNH Jackson Estuarine Lab. Further information, including a map and forms, are available at www.ccanh.org.
- A not-unusual scene on Friday night on Congress Street in Portsmouth are "lobbyists" for peace whose waves often elicit horn beeps and thumbs-up signs from passing motorists. They represent Seacoast Peace Response, the peace and justice organization in which the late activist Guy Chichester of Rye was long a part of, and have promoted their cause on a regular basis in Seacoast towns since 1997. More information is available at the group's website at seacoastpeaceresponse.org
David Diamond, Sharon Young and Edith Pierson at their usual station in Portsmouth. (Judy Palm photo)
- The State has issued a cautionary advisory regarding the consumption of large bluefish and striped bass that are longer than 25 inches, because they may contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels that would be especially dangerous for pregnant women, women of childbearing age, nursing mothers and children under the age of six. Conversely commonly eaten fish such as winter flounder, Atlantic cod, haddock and fluke are considered low in PCBs and beneficial to your health, according to Tom Burack, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services. Click here for more details.
- The Rye Board of Selectmen extended the existing Comcast cable franchise for the Town on June 25 until midnight on September 27 unless the contract, now under renegotiation, is renewed between now and then.
- Mixed reactions from commercial fishermen are greeting a new system arrived at on June 25 at a meeting of the New England Fishery Management Council in Portland in response to the decreasing number of days each fisherman is allowed to go out to sea. Essentially the new approach is built around cooperatives. See Boston Globe story for details.
The Rye Planning board will hold a special meeting on the subject of workforce housing on Wednesday, July 22, at 7 p.m. in the courtroom of Town Hall.
Glenn Greenwood, assistant director of the Rockingham Planning Commission, will facilitate the session, expected to cover such topics as zoning, the size of the commercial area, small business areas possibly being labeled "Neighborhood Commercial" and a possible multifamily housing ordinance for the commercial area. Rye Town Counsel Michael Donovan is scheduled to review draft zoning amendments.
- Michael J. Magnant, retiring chief of police for the City of Portsmouth, a position he has held the past 7 years, and a member of the department for 30 years, was named Rye Town Administrator by the Board of Selectmen on July 1 and will begin his duties in the part-time position on August 3.
- Kerry Cronin, (photo at right), who has been Rye's Librarian the past three years, is leaving in late July to take the position of director at the Concord Free Public Library in Massachusetts (click here for more details.) A search committee has been formed to choose a successor. In other Rye Public Library personnel news, Sharon Foster of Danbury, Connecticut, was welcomed in June as the new Technology Librarian. Her background is multi-faceted: She received her Bachelor of Sciences degree in applied mathematics from the New York University School of Engineering and Science, her Master of Library Science in May from Southern Connecticut State University, and has a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She was a software engineer, then worked in public libraries in Cheshire, New Canaan, New Haven, Danbury and Westport, Connecticut.
- Maynard L.Young Jr.,84, a lifelong Rye resident, died on Sunday, June 28. He was a member of the New Hampshire Legislature, the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board and the PTA, for which he served as president. A painting contractor for 44 years, he served on the Congregational Church board of wardens. Click here for further details.
- Stephen T. Jeffco, an attorney who lives on Garland Road, contested a $50 fine in district court for walking his four dogs on the beach off Cable Road last September in violation of a Rye ordinance. For the next several months Selectman Joe Mills on several occasions inquired whether the case had come up. It kept getting delayed until mid-June when Jeffco pleaded not guilty and the charge was placed on file for six months. Mills was so unhappy with the outcome that he vowed not to sign payment orders for the Rye prosecutor, Bob Ducharme. See story that appeared in the Portsmouth Herald
The Cavallaros (from left): Don, Parker, Truman, Kathy.
- Parker Cavallaro is now an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, after 10 years of service that culminated in designing and constructing the Children's Garden at the Rye Elementary School with aid from the Rye PTA. He was honored at a Rye Public Library ceremony on May 17 by guests who included Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, by friends and by family, who included his mother, Kathy, and father, Donald, who also is Assistant Scoutmaster.
- Emily Fregeav and Benjamin Mardin of Rye Junior High were among the Scholar Leader winners at the 10th Scholar Leader Awards Banquet on June 4 at the Center of Hampshire. Kudos.
- Recent appointments by the Selectmen included formalizing Jaci Grote as a member of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) committee, making official a position she has been working at since 2004, adding Martin Zivic of the Planning Board to the CIP and naming Tracey Ritzo a member of the Rye Energy Committee. Also, approved as alternates to the Demolition Review Committee were Mae Bradshaw and Alex Herlihy. And Harbormaster Leo Axtin was voted in as an alternate member of the Historic District Commission.
- Second-term Maine state Representative Dawn Hill (photo at left), a Democrat, has announced she will run for Governor in 2010. (Incumbent Governor John Baldacci will not be running for re-election due to term limits.) She is the wife of Jim Nadeau, who is trying to develop the Saunders Restaurant propery. The Rye Zoning Board, after first approving the Nadeau proposal, has voted for a rehearing, but no date has been set. Rep. Hill and Nadeau live in York where she has owned It's a Dog's World, a dog daycare center, for 10 years.
- Lots of folks were happy to see the sun break through on Friday, June 26, after few brief appearances during the month. Especially delighted was Arthur Farnsworth (photo at right) of Greenland. He headed for Abenaqui Country Club for a round of golf. On the 11th hole he and his friends lost sight of his shot. For a time they couldn't find the ball--until they looked in the cup. They were amazed. Farnsworth had realized every golfer's dream with a hole-in-one. Abenaqui pro Jim Sheerin is having a plaque made up to commemorate the event.
Once again the Eel Pond swan couple poses for photographs for motorists who stop along Route 1A. The two (of about a dozen) cygnets are more concerned about eating than preening.(Judy Palm photo)
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Copyright © Rye Reflections 2009. All rights reserved.