January 10, 2013TUFTONBORO — Tuftonboro faced tragedy in 2012 in the loss of the life of Deborah Cary, 80, in the fire that destroyed the Tuftonboro Neck home that she and her architect husband Dick Cary built along Barber Pole Road on land held in her family for generations. The memory of that devastating Nov. 16th event will linger in the minds of many in the community for years to come.
At the same time, looking back at Tuftonboro's events and activities in the year gone by, a picture develops of a town in which volunteers step up and give generously of their time and talent throughout the year to work to create a safe, healthy and supportive community.
Tuftonboro voters said yes to building a new fire station at their Town Meeting, thus ending 10 years of contentious debate. Of the 390 votes, 68 percent were in the affirmative, firmly meeting the two-thirds approval required for passage of the $2.1 million dollar bond.
Dick Cary was among those who served on the latest building committee, led by Jim Allan, who joined a long line of interested citizens to serve in that capacity. The final, successful group also included Vice Chairman Gordon Hunt, Fire Chief Adam Thompson, Bob McWhirter, Tyler Phillips and Selectmen's Representative Bill Stockman, who has since retired from office after a 10-year stretch.
The official groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 27 for the new station, located on Route 109A/ Middle Road, was a happy and historic occasion that included town officials, the architect, family members, supporters, children and family dogs.
The project, shaping up in view of travelers along Middle Road/Route 109A, has been proceeding within its budget and is expected to be completed, on schedule, sometime in May.
Members of the town's Conservation Commission led a water testing initiative out of concern for the naturally-occurring but sometimes toxic elements commonly found in private Granite State wells.
It turned out that 34 percent of the 123 samples of well water collected by Tuftonboro residents this summer to be tested by the Department of Environmental Services (DES) exceeded the maximum contaminant level for arsenic.
While some residents chose to just have their water tested for arsenic, a natural chemical toxic to humans at certain concentrations, they had an additional option for more extensive testing.
The overall results indicated a slightly higher than average incidence of contaminants in Tuftonboro wells than the state average.
In light of the findings, the Commission, which distributed testing kits and brought residents' samples to Concord in July, sponsored a presentation by DES scientists in November in the Tuftonboro Central School cafeteria to discuss the results and offer remediation strategies.
The eight-member Milfoil Committee, led by Bill Marcussen, targeted the areas in the Basin where, according to mapping completed by scientist Amy Smygula of DES the invasive milfoil plants have most aggressively taken hold. Engaging trained local volunteers and professional divers, the committee followed up chemical treatments with many organized hours of pulling and harvesting.
The 11-member Parks and Recreation Commission began the year with an Easter Egg Hunt and bushwhacked a nearly two mile trail into the woods adjacent to the new fire station building. This summer the PRC proudly installed a sign indicating the entrance to the "Central Park Trails," the culmination of multiple work parties including scouts and other community youth and members.
In addition to running a competitive swim program and overseeing safety at the town beach, the group also offered numerous classes and workshops within the community and sponsored its first annual 5K run/walk.
The Agricultural Commission, led by Anthony Lyon, oversaw another productive season at the Community Garden located adjacent to the town offices building.
The second annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner took place at Willing Workers Hall in Melvin Village, and the Friends of the Tuftonboro Public Library hosted an open house, including lighting an outdoor tree accompanied by the singing of Christmas carols, to celebrate the holiday season.