Tower takeover unlikely
RCD gets real
Star Island regroups
4 winter Farmers Markets
Donor towns gird for battle
New Library director
Parr in N.E. Hall of Fame
Staff of Rye Reflections
View through new wire grating from Pulpit Rock Tower as Open House drew 200-plus to refurbished structure. (Judy Palm photos)
Law prevents Selectmen from agreeing
to binding Pulpit Rock Tower conditions
The Friends of Pulpit Rock Tower, led by Patty Weathersby, find themselves between a rock and a hard place and that's no joke.
After months of meetings, physical labor, money raising and research, the group learned of a "stumbling block" that apparently would nix a deal to have the Town of Rye take over the 84-foot cement tower just off Route 1-A a short distance north of Wallis Sands Beach.
Told by the Board of Selectmen on Oct. 20 that the Town could not legally prohibit a future board or a vote of the townspeople from using the World War II tower as a cellphone relay point or for some other purpose, Weathersby responded, "I'm frankly frustrated at the Town's position. The stumbling block is the inability to make a commitment on cellphones." She said it was a matter of reciprocity in return for cleaning up the edifice, putting a grid on the windows to keep birds out, replacing the railing and fixing up the grounds, all of which the Friends have done in cooperation with the Fish & Game Commission which in 1978 took over the property and no longer has use for it.
The Friends had just come off a successful Open House on Oct, 18, when in the period of four hours more than 200 persons, mostly from Rye, checked out the tower. "I'm almost 80 and made it to the top," Jane Holway told the board. "I had to stop and rest halfway up, but I was amazed what good shape it was in." Others also raved about the cleanup as well as the view.
Nevertheless, a draft of a letter to the Friends by Town counsel Michael Donovan (made public by the board) listed several legal issues, one of which stated that the Board could not bind future boards or a vote of the townspeople from changing the conditions of the Tower's use. "We need something in return," said Weathersby, who along with neighbors is concerned about the health hazards of living so close to a cell tower system.
Selectman Craig Musselman responded that the board's hands were legally tied, explaining further that a few years from now if three different Selectmen occupied the board chairs and they wanted to add cell repeaters in return for $40,000 or so "it would be their right."
Conservation Commission chairman Jim Raynes was in the audience and said the Commission could be interested in the tower and said he would explore the matter. Meanwhile, Weathersby and Betsey McNaughten, land agent for Fish & Game, said they would probably approach the Department of Resources and Economic Development next.
"You're trying to unload it, right?" Selectman Joe Mills asked McNaughten. "Yes," she responded.
But there is this stumbling block... "We have tried," said Musselman as the fifth meeting on the subject since May of 2008 concluded. Meanwhile, a blank spot for cellphone use remains along Rye's coast.
A second Open House will be held Saturday, Nov. 7, from 10 to 2. All eight floors will be open; only the roof deck will be closed. The rough terrain makes it inadvisable for children under age 6 and persons with mobility disabilities. A $2 contribution is requested.
(Previous "Rye Crisp" items on this issue appeared in April 2009, October 2008, July 2008, October 2006; See pros/cons of Pulpit Rock debate in June, 2008, edition
and a story on the tower itself in January, 2006, edition
. See also a June, 2008 satire entitled "Pulpit Pizza"
The Housing Partnership is poised for a groundbreaking soon after Thanksgiving for Rye's first Retirement Community Development. This layout of the housing complex shows 22 units in light orange with community center in blue at center. Entry road in purple is from Route 1. Property is located behind the Rye Skate Park on the site of the former Rye Airfield. This sketch was provided by the project architect, Khalsa Design of Somerville, Mass. The project civil engineer is Ambit Engineering of Portsmouth.
In the afternoon of a crisp, sunny autumn day Star Island seems to gleam when viewed from onshore, sometimes even appearing to elevate.
Holding on to the "physical beauty, the historic significance, the community it engenders, the religious and educational experiences it offers, the solitude, the renewal
" is the stated goal of a recent business model put together by the Star Island Corporation as it confronts "the stark realities" of Star's financial/operational challenges.
Star Island seen from Wallis Sands with 300mm lens. (Jim Cerny photo)
Difficulties the past two years delayed opening for building repair last year and early-season inclement weather this year have heightened the need for course correction. Translation: a higher rate of occupancy, specifically from a recent average of 19,000 bed-nights a season to 25,000.
How? Under the new leadership of CEO Vicky Hardy, the Corporation has a four-step plan: (1) "Nurture and strengthen the existing core conferences;" (2) Add additional conferences; (3) "Continue to market the island to organizations with kindred purposes;" and (4) "Continue to market personal retreaters."
Hardy emphasizes that this is not just a plan, it's "a commitment". The key elements, she says, are the "traditional conferences" and the individual visits, "a way to introduce new people to our Star community."
The Corporation also seeks "to preserve the value" of Appledore Island where the Shoals Marine Lab is located as a source of income "in a manner consistent with Star Island's historic relationship with it," the report states.
Sunrise over Locke's Neck punctuates the morning on Jenness Beach by seeming to form the letter "i" with its reflections. One might call it a Rye Reflection. (Joe Wilson photo)
- For personal calendars, Blackberrys, etc.: Rye's Deliberative Session is scheduled for Saturday, January 30, 2010 in the Junior High School auditorium. The snow date is Saturday, February 6. And while your calendar is out, the Town Election is March 9, the state Primary is September 14 and the state Election is November 2. And don;t forget Rye's Christmas parade on Sunday, December 6, at 1 p.m.
- Whether they go for fresh food or community camaraderie or a little of both, area residents will by happy to hear that the Rye Farmers Market will continue into November and beyond. Switching to Saturdays, the winter schedule calls for a change in day to Saturdays and a change in time from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the same location between Town Hall and the Rye Congregational Church in the center of Rye. Dates are November 14, January 16, February 10 and March 10.
(Jim Cerny photo)
- "We're staring down the barrel of a gun," said Pat Remick, coordinator of The Coalition Communities, in giving the Rye Selectmen an update on the status of donor towns. The controversial practice that has certain towns being assessed to provide education funds for other towns is on hold until July, 2011. How many towns might be donors then is uncertain, but Rye and New Castle are among the most likely. An estimated payout of $1.4 million by Rye would add $1 to the tax rate, according to Budget Director Cindi Gillespie. See additional information in New Castle Saltines.
- One key to the success of the Rye Public Library is an organization called simply, "The Friends of the Rye Public Library". The Friends have begun a membership drive to help sustain and build on activities the group has supported from the speakers program to computer and photography classes to an array of children's and teen programs. Applications are available at the Library or online at www.ryepubliclibrary.org.
- Restaurant Week in Portsmouth runs from November 8 to 15. Three-course fixed-price meals are $16.95 for lunch and $29.95 for dinner, not counting beverage. In March 30 restaurants served 9000 diners. More information at www.restaurantweekportsmouth.com.
- A brief entry on Rye appears in Alonzo Fogg's book, The Statistics and Gazetteer of New Hampshire", published in 1874: "Rye is becoming widely noted as a summer resort for invalids, lovers of seaside views, and those who are delighted by the music of the ocean wave. The beaches are large and safe for bathing. The roads are good, and the drives delightful. No finer country can be found in New England than in the vicinity of Rye. [...] It was estimated that fifteen hundred tourists stayed in Rye, through the warm weather in 1873. There are five large and commodious hotels, viz., the Farragut, Atlantic, Sea-View, Washington, and Ocean." [p. 322]." Want more? Colleague Jim Cerny, who brought this excerpt to Rye Crisp's attention, points out that you can get the complete 695-page gazetteer from Google books, To read online or to download as a PDF file (40MB) go to http://books.google.com/books?id=hoAUAAAAYAAJ.
Built in Nova Scotia only a few years ago, the Madrigan's riggings give it the flavor of years past as the dragger (or trawler) sits at its mooring in Rye Harbor. Owners are Michael and Pat Anderson. (Jim Cerny photo)
(Rye Library photo)
- Andrew Richmond has been appointed as director of the Rye Public Library and will begin on November 16. Richmond comes from Salem where he was assistant director of the Kelley Library. Previously he was director of the Nichols Memorial Library in Kingston. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Plymouth State College and a master of library science degree from the University of Rhode Island. Richmond lives in Portsmouth with his wife and 3-year-old daughter..
- Danny Parr, a Rye resident, was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame for good reason in October. He has coached for 26 years at St. Thomas of Aquinas High School in Dover and that's only the half of it. At age 70 Parr has been a highly-respected high school coach for five decades. See tribute by Mike Zhe by clicking here.
- Bill Binnie, 51, of Rye, owner and president of the Wentworth by the Sea Country Club and founder of Carlisle Capital Group of Portsmouth, has made it official: He's a candidate for the U.S. Senate, running as a self-described "fiscal conservative" for the seat being vacated by another Rye resident, Senator Judd Gregg.
- Dr. Gail Snow has been reappointed as Rye's Health Officer. "We're lucky to have her," commented Craig Musselman of the Board of Selectmen.
- Kristen Schwaegerle, 21, and her 16-year-old Hanoverian mare, Diwandre. Diwandre were featured in a front-page Portsmouth Herald story by new Rye correspondent Aimee Lockhardt, because Schwaegerle has nurtured the retired horse with behavioral problems into a top competitor in New England dressage competition. Meanwhile, Schwaegerle is setting her sights on her next challenge: Becoming a rider in international competition.
- Steve White, a founding member of the Rye Energy Commission, has resigned, prompting high praise from the Board of Selectmen before whom he made several well-thought-out presentations.
- Gregg Mikolaities, president of Appledore Engineering, has been named one of 38 associates for the Class of 2010 of Leadership New Hampshire, an organization that selects, trains and builds a network of leaders for the state of New Hampshire. It's a 10-month program involving travel around the state for seminars on such subjects as juvenile justice, education, culture and arts, community leadership, government and politics, health care and economic opportunities. More information at www.leadershipnh.org.
A highlight of the Rye Congregational Church's Harvest was the "cookie walk". The "cookie stripers" stand ready to help as customers don white rubber gloves to pick out their favorites. A quilt (bottom left) by Nancy-Starks-Cheney featured the silent auction. Spotted a week earlier by a man at the Cocheco Fair who was unable to buy it then, the quilt triggered a bidding war won by the Cocheco visitor. Lots of attractive gifts were donated by church members. Sharon Guerin (bottom right) greeted shoppers with a smile. (Ellen Hamil photos).
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