January 09, 2014TUFTONBORO — In Tuftonboro, the hot topic of whether to construct a new fire station along Route 109A occupied much of 2012, but a positive vote set the ball rolling, and by late July 2013 the Fire and Rescue Department began responding to calls from the newly-named Central Station.
By Sept. 7, the department was ready to open its doors to the public for an Open House, featuring tours of the building, burgers and hot dogs flipped and grilled to perfection by the firemen for all comers.
Fireman hats were a coveted item by the youngsters who came to climb onto the front seat of the department's gleaming red fire engines and sit behind the wheel.
The Tuftonboro Association donated a flag pole, a finishing touch to the $2 million project, which came in around $56,000 under budget. Tuftonboro builder Carl Hansen and his crew framed the structure, built the roof and won the bid for interior case work as well.
Town Meeting on March 12 was a relatively calm affair. Following Barry Ennis' impassioned speech against the Warrant Article to raise and appropriate $15,000 for paving of the 800-foot section of Sawyer Road traditionally maintained by Ossipee,
a sea of pink voting cards rose in the air to defeat the article.
The vote was unanimous. Moderator Dan Barnard, looking astonished, commented that it's not often that everyone is in agreement at Town Meeting.
A petitioned warrant article submitted by Mary Ann Murray, Parks and Recreation Committee member and long time volunteer director of the summer swim program, for $32,073 to refurbish the playground behind Tuftonboro Central School, located on the town-owned Davis Field, passed despite arguments from Capital Improvements Program Committee members to wait another year.
The old playground was demolished. The new playground was constructed and new equipment was in place by early June.
The Parks and Recreation Commission created a paid summer position to supervise the swim program, and Holly Williams was hired to fill the post. 90 children signed up, a 50 percent increase from 2012.
Work on Davis Field continued with the rebuilding of the bridge in the fall and a two year plan to bring the ball field up to par for Cal Ripken baseball and softball leagues will be on the 2014 Warrant.
Tuftonboro Conservation Commission sponsored a second annual water testing initiative the week of July 8. Participation increased to 175 families as compared to last year's 123.
In the last two years, 258 households have participated in the Commission's well water testing initiative that has involved making testing kits available to the public with easy to understand directions and then collecting the samples and bringing them to the Department of Environmental Services in Concord.
It's been a labor intensive effort, but many Tuftonboro residents now know the levels of arsenic, radon, coliform and E. coli in their household wells and are in a position to deal with any levels that present a detriment to the health of family members.
This year's batch of 163 samples showed that 23 percent exceeded state and federal standards for arsenic. That figure is lower than last year's batch, which was at 34 percent.
Radon, however, which was at 25 percent last year, was at 35 percent this year.
Bacterial counts were similar to last year's results with total coliform averaging 23 percent and E. coli, six percent.
"All of these numbers," said Conservation Commission member Steve Wingate, "indicate a substantial number of people are drinking water that is likely to affect their health in the long term, but all these water issues are correctable."
Lang Pond Road
Decisions on how to most practically reduce erosion along Lang Pond Road as it traverses wetlands, not far from the Wolfeboro boundary and along Mirror Lake have vexed selectmen throughout the year.
Wolfeboro Public Works Department Director Dave Ford oversaw reconstruction of the road from its entrance along Route 109 by the Libby Museum through 800 feet of road over the boundary into Tuftonboro in 2012 in collaboration with Tuftonboro.
In February, the Board hired engineer Josh McAllister of H.E. Bergeron Engineers to design a one lane bridge to slow traffic and a better drainage system, to reduce siltation into Mirror Lake. The stretch of rood is an area of concern mentioned in the Mirror Lake Protective Association's Watershed Management report. Phosphorus, which is known to accelerate algae growth, attaches itself to soil particles, which enter the lake via wind and water.
In an effort to slow particle breakdown and reduce dust in the summer, both Tuftonboro and Wolfeboro agreed to post weight limits that restricted trucks weighing over 14 tons this past spring.
Truckers protested, both towns lifted the weight limits, and a hearing was held on July 29 at the old Town House to discuss the impact of truck traffic on the road. What began as a prickly subject evolved from that point with the formation of an advisory committee chaired by Ted Wright, which offered a different direction.
Members included Dusty Davies of the Mirror Lake Protective Association; Dave Ford, Tuftonboro resident and Public Works Director for Wolfeboro; Ben Ladd; Don McWhirter; trucker Jeff Moody; Guy Pike; and retired forester Steve Wingate.
Meanwhile, with continued complaints of dust from residents and concerns about erosion, exacerbated this year by over 100 acres of clear cut operations by the Hersey Family Trust on both sides of the boundary, prompted a mutual town decision to pave the reconstructed section of road this summer, including Tuftonboro's 800 feet.
The newly formed Mirror Lake Watershed Committee studied the area in question and held a hearing on Oct. 30 to share its findings.
It was apparent in the course of the evening that there are numerous contributing factors involved in protecting what is currently deemed good water quality, each with varying degrees of impact.
Wright addressed what he called "the elephant in the room," that "there are 76 homes in Tuftonboro (along Mirror Lake) and only 31 have legitimate septic designs."
He suggested that low interest loans to homeowners to improve their systems might help. Bill Marcussen raised the idea of building a community septic system and creating a village district as another consideration.
Many members of the committee considered the $500,000 price tag for the proposed engineering project to be too steep and the project itself as too drastic. The selectmen decided not to bring the project forward on the 2014 town warrant.
The board signed another intent to cut from the Hersey Trust to log an additional 85 acres in the meantime.
Boston Post Cane
With the passing at age 102 of Boston Post Cane holder Margaret "Peg" Newton, the board passed the cane to 96-year-old Betty Cellarius of Melvin Village.