Consultant hired for new building...tall ships...frogs in ponds...dogs on York beaches

Jack Driscoll

Photo by Bill Veazey, Rye Reflections             

Well-fortified mail box was found in South Berwick, Maine.

RPSB Update...

Horne Construction Co., the contractor for the Rye Public Safety Building has made claims against the Town of Rye and the architectural firm, HKT Associates Inc.  A consultant has been brought in by the architect to help determine "what claims are legitimate and what claims are illegitimate" in connection with the construction of the building.

Meanwhile, Alan Gould, project manager and acting Town Administrator, said on May 25 that he expected furniture to be moved into the new building "by the end of next week" and fire equipment the following week (week of June 5).  He said the new  building weathered the heavy rains. “There were no leaks,” he said.

So action continues on two fronts.

On the construction front, once the Fire Department is fully moved in, the present fire station will have to have asbestos removed, and then the building will be torn down to be replaced by a parking lot.

On the claims side, the amount Horne is seeking is hard to pin down.  At one point it approached a half million dollars, not including Horne's March 13 claim in a certified letter that it be reimbursed for 180 days of liquidated damages (being assessed at $1000 a day as per contract).  

The claims consultant, Rider Hunter of Levett & Bailey, 99 Summer Street in Boston is "someone I've worked with before," said Seth Goldfine of HKT Associates.  "He'll be working most closely with me" in evaluating the claims. Both sides were said to be "lawyering up" two months ago, but no suit had been been filed as of Memorial Day weekend, according to Goldfine.

Two tall ships coming our way...

Devotees of talls ships have a doubly good summer in store.  Three opportunities will be afforded to see one of the most famous, Bluenose II, which will be in Boston from June 20 to 22, in Portsmouth at State Pier from June 23 to 26 and Portland on June 27 and 28.

Hours when the schooner will be open for tours in Portsmouth are on June 23 from 2 to 8 p.m., on June 24 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on June 25 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Children under 12 may tour for free.  Otherwise tickets cost $6 per person or $20 for a family.

Bluenose II is a replica of the schooner that sailed during the period from 1921-46 and is a symbol of Nova Scotia's sailing ship prominence.  It's 181 feet long and 132 feet tall.  (The Sherman Hines photo at right is copyrighted and reprinted with permission from the Government of Nova Scotia. See http://www.schoonerbluenose2.ca/)

The second tall-ship treat will occur from August 4 to 6 when the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Eagle is returning to Portsmouth for the first time in 20 years.  A three-masted baroque training ship, it's home is New London, Conn.

The Eagle is known for its length, 295 feet, as much as its height, 147 feet. Admission for touring will be free.

Leaping lizards, it's a no...

After a public hearing the Selectmen voted unanimously against holding a frog-jumping contest at the town's Independence Day celebration.  An earlier test of the 30-year-old event came from adults and was overturned by pressure from students.  This year, led by persuasive seventh-grader Lindsey Chase and a youthful entourage of green-clad supporters--one wearing a frog suit, it was the students who objected on cruelty grounds and prevailed.

Dogged issue settled in York...

York, Maine, voters approved an update in town ordinances that would allow leashed dogs on the beach from dawn until 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m. during the period from May 20 to Sept. 20.  A "leashed dog" is defined as one who is either on a leash or the owner is carrying a leash and has voice control.  Fines are imposed on owners who either fail to pick up their dog's waste or fail to carry a waste bag.

Chichester's fine suspended for year...

Rye resident Guy Chichester, 70, was among eight peace activists who received a suspended fine for criminal trespassing late in May.  The defendants staged a sit-in at the office of Senator Judd Gregg and remained after closing hours in an Iraq-related protest.  They had stated they would like a public meeting with Sen. Gregg to discuss exit strategies.  Judge Michael Sullivan fined Chicester and the seven others $500 each, which he then suspended for a year, subject to good behavior.

Fun, Foye's Corner and fireworks ...

Mark your calendar:

June 3, 5 p.m.--It's "Our Town Family Fun Night" sponsored by the Rye Lions Club at Parsons Field.  Families are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner and enjoy a night of games, food, a pie auction and fireworks.

July 7, 7 p.m.--The next step in long-standing attempts to alleviate traffic at Foye's Corner will be a public hearing in the cafeteria of the Rye Elementary School.  According to the N.H. Department of Transportation, the project "is tentatively scheduled for advertising for bid in May of 2007 with any necessary right-of-way acquisitions to be undertaken in the Winter of 2006."

July 4, 6:30 p.m.--The start of Independence Day festivities, with the Jim and Karrie Show at 7 p.m. and the Jack Tobey crew's fireworks display at dusk.

Hospice House a year away...

A Seacoast Hospice home (rendering above) moved a step closer to fruition with a recent groundbreaking at a five-acre site in Dover.   A grand opening is scheduled for Spring, 2007.  A non-profit, the Hyder Family Hospice House--named after the Portsmouth-based family foundation--plans to accommodate from 225 to 250 patients a year.  The $4.7 million facility will include 14 private resident rooms, a dining room, meditation room, kids corner and a community meeting room.

Seacoast Hospice was founded by volunteers in 1978 and provided care for 2000 terminally-ill patients last year.  More information may be obtained at http://www.seacoasthospice.org/index.cfm

'Orderly efficient approaches'...

The Rockingham Planning Commission advises local governments on orderly, efficient approaches to such issues as land use, transportation and environmental matters.  One of nine such NH organizations, it has two commissioners from each of the 27 communities in its region.  Bob Brown is one of the Rye commissioners, as well as Vice Chairman of the RPC.  He also is chairman of the Rye Planning Board, which nominated Victor Azzi for the other position on Feb. 14.

At a Selectmen's meeting on March 20, the Azzi nomination came up for approval on the agenda and was quickly tabled by chairman Joe Mills.  The official minutes say there was a second to the motion to table, and a vote, but, if so, it happened so fast that those at the meeting didn't hear it.

The matter did not re-emerge until the May 4 Selectmen's meeting.  Not on the agenda, it was brought up by Priscilla Jenness.  After discussion the Selectmen voted 2 to 1 in favor.  Mills voted against based on "issues that they had with Azzi on the Public Safety Building", according to the minutes which didn't mention the other reason Mills had raised during the meeting: a dispute he had with Azzi over plowing the Library parking lot after the addition was completed a few years ago.

June, 2006