NEW CASTLE SALTINES
Illustrated Bites of Island News
Jim Cerny, reporting and photography
Public occurrences … Thomas Elison Oliver … Looking for spring … Happy Easter … Piscataqua ship spotting … Quick index to back issues
Kurtis Boissonneault.Police update. The Police Department now has five full-time officers, though some have not completed state training: Chief Don White, Officer Chet Lang, Officer Jared Knox, Officer Alex Mitrushi, Officer Matthew Tyler, and Officer Kurtis Boissonneault.
- School budget passed. The annual school meeting was held on March 16 at 7 p.m. and the school budget of $1,984,784 passed unanimously and without discussion. An additional $15,000 was approved for use by the School Expansion Committee, in additon to $15,000 approved last year, if it is needed.
- School crossing guards.
From left to right: Theresa Frampton (guard), Melanie Baker (coordinator), and Police Chief Don White (trainer).
After off and on discussion for years, volunteer crossing guards are now in front of the school at both the beginning and end of the school day. Resident and school neighbor Dave McGuckin was the spark plug to coordinate efforts and make sure concerns (such as liability) were addressed. Police chief Don White is also very supportive and ultimately provides enforcement!
- School building. The School Expansion Committee is now meeting to look at school space needs and how they may be met. The committee consists of Dave McGuckin (chair), Rod MacDonald (school board), Rodney Rowland, Dick Spaulding, Clint Springer, and Jeff Hughes.
Tofu, the humpback whale skeleton at the Seacoast Science Center.Historical Society speakers. The New Castle Historical Society has now set its speaker schedule for 2010. First up is Wendy Lull, president of the Seacoast Science Center, talking about "Tofu: The Journey of a Humpback Whale," starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13. The remaining speakers are: Molly Bolster, "The Gundalow Project," June 8 (to coincide with a week of Gundalow activities in New Castle); Howard Crosby, "Farming the Salt Marsh, August 10; and Vicky Hardy, "Star Island Past and Present: The Hotel Era to the Conference Center," October 5.
- Property taxes. New Castle taxes are headed up, currently estimated at about $5.90/thousand for 2010. That is the first year payments on the bonds for the Safety Building and the Casso Islands come due, plus the increases in the school budget (tuition and salaries). How much it rises above that in 2011 and beyond, depends on factors that are outside the town's control (donor towns) and capital improvement projects that are adopted. Donor towns will be the really big increase, probably over 40%, bringing us close to $8.00 thousand. There are also capital improvement projects under discussion for which there is discretion as to the size and timing: school expansion and energy improvements (likely $250,000 or more, if done); a new and enlarged town maintenance building at the Common (likely $150,00 or more, if done); and the so-called Safe Path side walk (likely $200,000 before any federal reimbursement).
Thomas Elison Oliver.
Thomas Elison Oliver was a prominent merchant who once lived in New Castle, yet is scarcely remembered today. During his lifetime Oliver owned interests in many ships, stock in railroads and bridges, and at the time of his death in 1868, at age 89, his land included both Shapleigh and Goat Islands. His personal estate (cash, stocks, bonds, notes) was valued at $57,000, plus his real estate was valued at $18,900, a total of $75,900 which would be at least $1 million today. He left bequests to a great many people and his will and associated probate papers run to over 60 pages! Another part of his legacy are his log books and ledgers, which provide a window into the commercial activities of the time.
Of course the name Oliver Street survives today, as does the house he built around 1820 on Oliver Street. And he once owned what is now called the Langley-Boardman mansion on State Street in Portsmouth. The Oliver and Marvin families intermarried and one of the Marvins was named Thomas Elison Oliver Marvin.
Gravestone in the Marvin Cemetery. This is the detail of a large oblelisk stone which cost $800 when it was erected in 1869.
The Portsmouth Custom House records list Oliver's ownership in ships for fishing, freighting, and trading. A partial list of the ships and their size in tons (for comparison, clipper ships were typically 1,000 to 1,600 tons) starts in chronological order as: schooner Three Friends
(65); schooner Rising Sun
(58); schooner Phenix
(57); schooner Flying Fish
(22), brig Dove
(121); schooner Prudence
(33); schooner Clarissa
(66); schooner Favorite
(49); schooner Harriot
(60); schooner Mary Jane
(81); and so on to some 100 in total.
Ad for cargo for the schooner "Hope" in January 1824.
We are in an unprecedented wet cycle that began in 2005, as noted a year ago
. Within three weeks we had two storms with extreme winds and rain, totaling over 13 inches in Durham. The March 13-15 storm was the juicier of the two, producing about 7 inches of rain in the Seacoast, as shown on the Doppler radar.
With yet another storm on March 29-30, raging as we go to press, we seem certain to have had over 18 inches of rain in the last 40 days, which amounts to 40% of the normal annual total of about 47 inches. Where have we heard about 40 days of rain before?
The shore erosion pattern in this storm in mid-March should be different from that in the end-of-February storm, as the wind was northeast rather than east and it came at a relatively low run of high tides.
Waves breaking half-way up on Whaleback Light at high tide on March 15, as seen from New Castle Beach. The green marker on the left is Stillmans Rocks.
There are three good online sources of weather data for the current active month in the Durham area: Morse Hall
on the Durham Campus (UNH operated); Thompson Farm
(NOAA); and Kingman Farm
(NOAA). There is also a good NOAA station at Pease in Portsmouth, but it only shows current 24-hour data. Unfortunately for the serious weather observer, most NOAA data goes into a black hole. NOAA is still in the era of treating data as a "product" for which they charge, though they encourage a volunteer system of State Climatologists for limited release of data. Many government organizations that use taxpayer money to collect and organize data have made the successful transition to the Internet, making the data readily available online to anyone. NOAA is stuck in the pre-Internet model.
The Barkald has been here before
and was probably delivering coal to the Simplex Power Station, using a very sophisticated unloading system.
Barkald approaching the Memorial Bridge – click on image for larger view.
Unloading system on the Barkald – click on image for larger view.
The Jin Qiang
(IMO 9154579) was delivering salt to Granite State Minerals. It was built by Oshima Shipbulding in 1998, has a DTW of 47324, is registered in Panama, and is owned and managed by Cosco Hong Kong Shipping.
Jin Qiang docked.
Jin Qiang unloading salt.
The Easter season is fascinating for the way a major Christian holiday is grafted onto the ancient celebrations of the return of the sun and fertility marked by the vernal equinox. In most years you can calculate the date of Easter by a simple astronomical formula: it is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox! Let's see, the vernal equinox is March 20, followed by a full moon on Monday March 29, which means Easter must be the following Sunday, April 4 — and it is! The complete calculation
is much more complex because of the ecclesiastical definition of a month and a full moon.
Chocolate Easter bunnies in a flower pot.
Sunrise reflections on Wild Rose Lane.
- March, 2010
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Copyright © Rye Reflections 2010. All rights reserved.