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Selectmen agree to meeting about Lord Scholarship

April 25, 2013
OSSIPEE — Frank S. Lord of Ossipee passed away in the 1930s and then in 1951, after his two remaining sisters had also passed away, the bulk of his estate, including several parcels of Ossipee and Tamworth land was donated to University of New Hampshire. Any proceeds from the investment of funds as well as proceeds from land sales was to be put in a scholarship fund for UNH-bound Carroll County students.

Ossipee resident and County Commissioner David Babson attended the April 22 selectmen's meeting with records he's been collecting about the Lord Scholarship for the past six years. Babson has long been an advocate, as was former selectman and commissioner, the late Peter Olkkola.

What are the trustees of the scholarship fund doing to make sure Ossipee and Tamworth students are aware the scholarship exists? Are students from those towns given preference when it comes to scholarship awards and what does preference really mean?

Years ago, Babson pointed out, an agreement was worked out with the university to reduce the administration costs that amounted to thousands of dollars a year being deducted to cover the supposed cost of administering the fund. The fund has seen other questionable charges including nearly $6,000 deducted for the cost of a survey to determine the boundary lines on one of the Ossipee parcels before a timber cut could commence. There was discussion about current logging of UNH land being done and whether or not the revenue from that will be deposited in the scholarship fund as it should be.

Back in 2005, according to an article in the Sun Journal newspaper in Maine, university trustees agreed to pay back thousands of dollars to the scholarship fund. University trustees at the time admitted that the Fund was not being managed according to Lord's wishes and agreed to pay back about $80,000 to the fund. They had withdrawn 1.7 percent from the fund each year for general fund-raising without first notifying the local schools, a violation of the terms of Lord's will.

According to paperwork Babson brought to the Ossipee selectmen this week, students from Tamworth were awarded Lord Scholarship money last year, but none from Ossipee. While he found it hard to believe that no students from Ossipee would qualify for the scholarship, others in the room could not think of any Ossipee students currently enrolled at UNH.

Selectmen voted to meet with the scholarship fund trustees and invite the Tamworth selectmen to have a discussion about the various concerns Babson brought up.

Other meeting news

Selectmen opened and read aloud nearly 50 bids they received for nine items that were on this year's auction list. In addition to two police cruisers and five highway department vehicles, a York rake and a plow were also on the list. The board made no decision as to who will be the winner of the items, holding off until next week's meeting to announce the awards.

The Freight House renovation is nearing completion and the building is expected to be move-in ready in two to three weeks. Selectman Harry Merrow said the plan is to move the planning and zoning boards, Conservation Commission, and the Main Street Program into that building. That last group mentioned raised concern among some in attendance, including Selectman Richard Morgan, who said that non-profit doesn't want to move into the Freight House as they are currently housed in another town-owned building in Center Ossipee Village next to the park. There has been no formal vote of a Board of Selectmen to move the Main Street Program. Merrow said the decision will be made in a future public meeting. The program is not a town department but rather a non-profit separate from town government. Town Meeting voters once again gave the program a $9,500 donation this year, though selectmen have admitted the taxpayers actually fund more of the program including their utility bills and use of the highway department workers to complete projects for them.

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