NEW CASTLE SALTINES
Illustrated Bites of Island News
Jim Cerny, reporting and photography
Public occurrences … High tea … Looking for spring … Spring blizzards … Quick index to back issues
Alex Mitrushi.Police update. The department now has four full-time officers, though some have not completed state training. The most recent addition is Alex Mitrushi, seen here when he was directing traffic!
- School budget. The annual school meeting to vote on the budget is scheduled for March 16 at 7 p.m. in the Macomber Room of the Library. By the end of the first week in March, all town voters should have received their printed copy of the annual school district report in the mail, which contains full details.
- School board. At the March school board meeting, member Ron King stated that he is not seeking re-election when his three-year term expires this spring. This position is part of the town ballot in May and the filing period is March 24 – April 2.
- School building. The school board has formed a School Expansion Committee to take a fresh look at building needs, influenced by the successful approach of the Safety Building committee. The intent is to spend 2010 developing a plan for presentation to the budget process in 2011. Dave McGuckin is the chair of the six-person committee, which is holding its first organizational meeting on March 4, after which all meetings will be posted and open to the public.
- Donor towns. Donor towns is an issue that won't die, of great importance to New Castle and Rye, as these small towns would make large payments in this Robin Hood scheme. The so-called "collar" that has eliminated these transfers for two years is about to expire and so far the legislature has not approved a bill to extend it and has not come up with an alternative funding mechanism. If donor towns come back, as seems likely, it will be reflected in our 2011 property tax bills. Projections for this additional tax, as of mid-February, but likely to increase, are: $1,178,000 for New Castle and $1,403,000 for Rye.
- The tax rate. The 2010 New Castle tax rate is expected to increase by approximately a dollar over the 2009 rate — the two largest components of increase are fixed costs required in the school budget (salaries, tuition payments) and the start of bond payments for the Safety Building and purchase of the Back Channel (Casso) Islands.
- Other capital expenditures. There are several capital expenditures under serious discussion. Besides the school expansion mentioned above, these are the so-called "Safe Path" project and a proposal to replace the town maintenance building (aka "shack") at the Common. If all these expenditures are approved by voters, plus combined with a return of the donor town tax, then it is quite likely the 2011 tax rate will be double that of 2009 — over $8.00/thousand — something many in New Castle are probably unaware of.
Once I couldn't even spell "H-i-g-h T-e-a"
, but that all changed after observing the Valentine's High Tea at Henrys' Market!
Three generations of Spaulding women on leaving the Tea: Emilie Spaulding, Isabella Stewart, and Susan Spaulding.
Last year's bird nest, at the edge of a marsh, incorporating a piece of plastic. Probably that of a red-winged blackbird.
A female mallard in the Portsmouth South End where the ducks and swans like to gather.
The old wagon at the Wentworth Hotel on the morning after a snowfall on February 16.
The morning after the great February 25 wind storm at New Castle Beach, looking south. Mother Nature is rinsing the beach! Click on image for a larger view.
Late spring blizzards often find a place in lore and legend and the most famous is the blizzard of 11-13, 1888 (Blizzard of '88). This was really a storm of the southern Hudson River Valley and Connecticut River Valley, with extreme cold, wind, and over 40 inches of snow in places, paralyzing New York City with spectacular drifts of heavy snow, leading to dramatic accounts of rescues.
An old-fashioned snow roller, used to pack the roads for travel by sleigh — this one is in the Kittery Historical and Naval Museum.
The most remarkable late season storm that I have experienced in the Seacoast was in early April and is little remembered, perhaps because it has no special name and because snow melts so much more quickly then. We had over a foot of snow, high winds, and temperatures around 20F on April 6-7, 1982. The snow was very dry and after the storm passed and explosively intensified over Nova Scotia, the wind blew it in great clouds the next day, some 15 feet in the air with extreme drifting. The landscape was indistinguishable from mid-January except for the angle of the sun.
Weather map for April 6, 1982 at 7 a.m. EST. (NOAA Central Data Library Imaging Project)
The latest I've ever seen snow fall and stick to the ground was on May 18, 2002, through the Durham-Dover area and northward. Yes, I said May, gasp! It was a Saturday morning with cold rain that gradually shifted to snow and for about an hour it snowed and accumulated on grassy areas and the leaves of trees! Of course it melted almost immediately when the snow stopped. Looking at the radar imagery at the time, it appeared that the rain drew down a pool of cold air from higher levels, centered on the Winnipesaukee area, that then spread out in a large circle, making it cold enough to snow for a while.
Snowing in my back yard in Madbury about 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2002.
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