Bites of Island news

Reporting and photography by Jim Cerny

Election results Preservation Alliance award Return of a store to the village Jann Foster art exhibit Garden Club plant sale Church Guild rummage sale Fort Stark work resumes Lighthouse activity Civil War Re-enactment on Flag Day Pontine Garden Walk Fire Chief Dave Blanding

Foggy sunrise at the New Castle Common, reflected on the ocean and aligned with a sculpture of a painter by Walter Liff.

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The old is new

Plans move forward for the return of a local store  the New Castle center. Local resident Nancy Borden got approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance from the parking regulations and is proceeding with plans at 52 Main Street, directly across the street from the Post Office, Town Hall, and Congregational Church.

Nancy plans for counter service, selling common items such as bread, milk, muffins, sandwiches, newspapers, plus some special Seacoast items such as lobster rolls and fish chowder.  There will be seating for nine people, with small tables that can be rearranged as needed. Initial plans are for hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

52 Main Street today.

52 Main Street store in 1900.

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New Castle elections

New Castle voting and town meeting was May 13th. There were four paper ballots for offices and warrant articles prior to the meeting and 399 residents voted. There was just one contested office, for Selectperson, with a very close result, subject to a recount that confirmed the original winner.

The town meeting began at 7 p.m. and ran until 8:40 p.m., with voice votes on two warrant items and a third on a discussion item. Much of the discussion was about a proposal to expand and renovate the existing Fire Department building, to relocate the Police Department from Town Hall to that building. A voice vote was taken for the Selectmen to bring this to a formal vote at a meeting to be scheduled.

New Castle Recreation Room where voting and the town meeting took place, showing selectman Lorn Buxton (left) and moderator Wayne Semprini during a lull in the day-long voting.

Moderator Wayne Semprini addressing the gathered voters.

Fire Chief Dave Blanding speaking to police and fire building needs.

Russ Cox speaking against broad-based taxes.

Town ClerkPriscilla Hodgkins331
SelectpersonPeter Gamester [recount]201
TreasurerWilliam Marshall III346
Tax CollectorPamela Cullen346
Library TrusteeBrad Greeley332
Cemetery TrusteeJim Cerny [write-in]65
Supervisor, ChecklistMary S. Rauh332
Supervisor, ChecklistSherri Becker331
Fire WardPeter Pierce Rice329
Fire WardJim Murphy300
School Board MemberGary Rumph341

There were four offices for which there was no name on the ballot and for which there were not sufficient write-in votes, which will need to be appointed: School Board Clerk, Trustee of Trust Funds, Budget Committee (2).

The New Castle Historical Society held a bake sale during voting hours and raised $472.

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Award to Historical Society

The New Castle Historical Society (NCHS) received a 2008 Preservation Achievement Award by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. The award recognized "outstanding revival, adaptive use, rehabilitation and restoration of the Old Library Museum."

The ceremony  was held in the Tuck Library of the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord on May 13th, with standing room only, an audience of perhaps 150 participants and supporters. Etoile Holtzaepfel, member of the awards committee and New Castle resident, made the presentation to NCHS President, Rodney Rowland. Also in attendance were: George Lehto of Lehto Designs, who restored major building elements; Leah Caswell of Liberty Design Co., who recreated the original stenciling inside the building; plus NCHS board members Nancy Borden, Jim Cerny, and Bill Drew; and New Castle State Representative David Borden. The Historical Society received a framed award and presentation poster.

George Lehto, Lehto Designs.

Leah Caswell, Liberty Design Co.

Etoile Holtzaepfel, New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

Rodney Rowland, New Castle Historical Society.

Other recipients of 2008 awards from the Seacoast area included the American Independence Museum in Exeter, the Music Hall in Portsmouth, Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, and the Lighthouse Kids of Hampton.

Audience at the Tuck Library for the NHPA awards.

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Fort Stark work resumes

The volunteers working as the Fort Stark Brigade are picking up where things left off last season, cutting and clearing brush on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Peter Rice, leader of the volunteers, praised "the high energy level and tight focus." Peter's ambitious to-do list includes refurbishing the 60-foot flag pole (by July 4th), making the Oil House ready to store equipment for the New Castle Fire Department, and getting the Machine Shop re-roofed a roof that is badly worn and starting to leak.

View from the oceanside at Fort Stark, to the Isles of Shoals, with waves sparkling in the mid-morning sun, showing one reason why Fort Stark is so attractive.

Deb Tillar, with armload of brush.

Brad Greeley, armed with a saw.

David Borden unloading just-cut logs and brush from his dump truck for a future burn pile.

Beverly Winn, pausing in the middle of brush cutting.

Dave McGuckin, giving a thumbs-up.

Sam Page, piling old boards and brush near the shoreline.

Ben Wilson, historian with the Parks Department's Bureau of Historic Sites, DRED.

Ryan Murphy, videographer working with Jennifer Crompton on a piece for NHPTV "Chronicles".

No, not the daughters of a coal miner, but Terri Golter (left) and Jenny Rosenson equipped to clean the interior of the old Oil House.

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Jann Foster art exhibit

New Castle artist Jann Foster has a display of her watercolors at the New Castle Public Library through the end of June. The library is closed Sunday and Monday call for other hours at 431-6773.

Jann Foster's watercolor of what is sometimes called "Tommy Davidson's island," adjacent to Goat Island in New Castle.

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Lighthouse activity

The Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse (FHPL), a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF), are once again holding summer open houses and tours for the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor, located in New Castle adjacent to the U.S. Coast Guard Station and the Fort Constitution historic site.

Gun ports on the Fort Constitution historic site.

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, New Castle, NH.

Spiral staircase inside lighthouse.

Visitors approach for the tour.

Jeremy D'Entremont, guide and an FPHL director.

View to Portsmouth from inside lighthouse.

View to Whaleback Lighthouse with Star Island on the horizon.

Whaleback Lighthouse, which is actually in Maine, though prominently seen from New Castle at the Portsmouth Harbor entrance, is in the process of a transfer of ownership. In 2007, the U.S. Coast Guard offered the lighthouse to a nonprofit able to maintain it. The American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF) was the sole applicant and is negotiating the terms of its proposal.

View to Wood Island and old life-saving station.

Adjacent to Whaleback Lighthouse is Wood Island, site of an old Coast Guard life-saving station owned now by the town of Kittery, Maine. The American Lighthouse Foundation and Kittery are exploring a partnership to preserve this historic resource.

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Garden Club plant sale

On May 17th, the New Castle Garden Club held its annual plant sale at the Recreation Building.

Tulip basket.

Collectors table.

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Church Guild rummage sale

The New Castle Church Guild held a very well attended rummage sale on May 3rd.

Table with rummage sale treasures.

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Dave Blanding becomes New Castle Fire Chief

Dave Blanding taking the oath of office.

Mrs. Blanding with bouquet.

On June 2nd, Dave Blanding took the oath of office as the New Castle Fire Chief, in a ceremony at Town Hall. Dave was interim Fire Chief since former Fire Chief Carl Roediger left. Police Chief and Fire Warden Jim Murphy administered the oath of office. The ceremony was attended by the Fire Department volunteers, a number of town officials, and other well-wishers.

Fire truck cake decoration.

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Coming later in June

The following noteworthy events are scheduled in June:

Fifth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, members of Company D, in Exeter, NH, October 2007.

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Enjoy the summer!

Boats are ready for the summer season at the Wentworth Marina.

Purple phlox, a warm-up act for a summer full of flowers.

June, 2008