JULY CLARION – CLOSING DATE – JUNE 22, 2021

Again another month has almost gone by, and I am back at work on your next issue of The Walpole Clarion. Even with no events scheduled in the near term, still thanks to COVID, I am hoping some articles will arrive for this issue with things to look forward to. The Concerts on the Common will begin, and the schedule published for you in this issue. In addition, I already have some with fun “upbeat” reads for your July reading pleasure.

Giving you a tad over a week notice, your submissions and ads for the July issue are due Tuesday, July 22. Early submissions are always welcome, and having your inputs early make laying out the issue easier. If you have any questions, please contact me. Thank you, RAY BOAS, Publisher.

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DUNKIN’ DECEPTION — TO BE TRUSTED?

Four months ago at the February 9 meeting of the Planning Board, Mr. Jim Clifford of NGP Management, (offices in North Reading, MA, with 120 Dunkin Donut locations in MA, ME, VT and NH) said his company operates the Dunkin’ in the Jiffy Mart on Route 12, stating, “It was doing well enough to move the business out of that building and have a free-standing building of its own.” In looking at the property at the corner of Route 12 and Upper Walpole Road, he further stated “I’d love to hear some feedback on what residents would like to see in that space and how it could be used.” Board member Jason Perron said he should “get in touch with the CLARION and maybe, through the monthly newsletter, he would get some input on what the townspeople wanted.” To this writer’s knowledge, Clifford has not asked the community for input, and I can attest that the CLARION has never been asked to assist.

The CLARION reported the above informational meeting in the March issue. Clifford returned to the Planning Board on April 13 to present a preliminary plan, and request a public hearing. As reported in those minutes, “The initial phase is to build a 5,000 square-foot building with 2,000 square feet being used for the Dunkin’ Donuts site and 3,000 square for another retail site that will be for one or two businesses. In the future, the company may be proposing another retail space of up to a 5,000 square-foot building for retail if the initial phase is a success. … Phase 2 would be solar array that would take up 5 1/2 to 6 acres of the parcel of land … The solar piece of the site plan will stand alone and probably be introduced at the May meeting.”

Clifford was unprepared at the May 11 Planning Board meeting, with changes to the original site plan and unanswered questions. Traffic is becoming a major concern at this intersection. It was decided that Dunkin’s site plan review be continued at the June meeting, possibly along with the company’s proposal for its six acre massive solar array. This meeting concluded with concerns over the solar field and its impact on aesthetics and taxes.  

Along with his experts, Clifford continued discussing his Dunkin proposal at the Planning Board meeting of June 8. Dunkin is still awaiting replies from the NH Department of Transportation (NHDOT) over congestion concerns with the traffic studies.  Supposedly, according to Clifford’s representatives, NHDOT will not release accident data in this area over “privacy concerns”. This was one of many statements not making sense. Clifford then said they would now construct the entire 10,000 square foot building even though the space not utilized by donuts may remain vacant. Addressing one Planning Board request, a center portion of the roof has been recessed to hide the utility equipment to be mounted on the roof. Discussion then shifted to the request for a hearing on the six-acre solar farm to be located between the Dunkin shop and Shaw’s Plaza. Listening to the statements made by the experts from Revision Energy, “Local Solar Professionals”, it appeared the intelligence of the audience was being insulted.

It has become apparent, in this writer’s opinion, that as phase one has been addressed and changed, NGP Management does not care about a new larger donut store. The prize is the six acre solar farm, a cash cow for these out-of-state owners, and an unappealing vista for in-town Walpole residents. A vacant box store could be more pleasing aesthetically and provide tax revenue for the Town.

Requiring almost six acres, the proposed 1 Megawatt Solar Field will cost upwards of $3,000,000 to build. Ten to 15 percent of the power generated will be utilized on site, with the balance fed into the grid, providing NGP Management with a possible revenue stream of from $40,000 to $90,000 per year. Revision Energy’s expert alluded that the excess energy would get to local homes faster with less distribution cost “offsetting power usage for all”. Usually you do not wait for electricity once you flip the switch, and in studying an electrical bill, I do not see distribution charges fluctuating based upon the source of current. There are both State and Federal incentives for the building of this solar field. There is no local advantage, and as resident Bob Anderson pointed out, there is question as to the legality of a commercial solar farm in Walpole.

Addressing aesthetics to screen the solar field, Revision Energy stated they will surround the field with a 7 foot chain link fence with some forsythia to hide the 11 foot high solar panel structures. Really? With the offer of forsythia being challenged by an audience member, the applicants said they may find other plantings. Insulting local intelligence seemed to be of little concern. Clifford last month stated their solar plan works financially now, but are hoping that future State legislation will make the massive solar field “more appealing” for them. Emphasis on “them”.

The June Planning Board meeting was well attended, but more residents must attend and voice their concerns. The next meeting will be July 13, and you should attend. Both Planning Board and Selectboard members should also be contacted. At the conclusion of the meeting, Cathie Davignon spoke. She and her husband, David, have lived at this dangerous intersection for 48 years. Her comments were applauded, and she has given permission for the CLARION to share them. On the front page of the CLARION website – https://thewalpoleclarion.com – you can find a link to PICTURE THIS – A STATEMENT OF CONCERN – a presentation made at the June 8 meeting

RAY BOAS, Publisher, The Walpole Clarion

A SOLAR DUNKIN – soon at a corner near you

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PROTECTING THE CONNECTICUT RIVER – Meeting Monday, June 7

On Monday June 7, 2021 Ms. Kathy Urffer from the Connecticut River Conservancy will be making a presentation to the Walpole Conservation Commission at the Walpole Town Hall at 7:00 pm. Along with many other concerns, she will present the Conservancy’s  recreation recommendations that have been submitted, jointly with the Appalachian Mountain Club  to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as part of the relicensing of 5 dams in our region on the CT River. Topics of particular concern include  Traditional Cultural Properties, wildlife, and recreation.  

Great River Hydro, who owns these dams, has put forth a plan that will be positive for the River.  The term of their license renewal could be 30-50 years, thus it is imperative to get everything right for both New Hampshire and Vermont towns bordering the river. Meeting starts at 7:00 pm. For more information you can read Ms. Urffer’s comments during the Selectboard meeting on May 20 – https://thewalpolean.org/2021/05/28/selectboard-meeting-minutes-5-20-21/

Alicia flammia 

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JUNE 2021 CLARION – NOW ON-LINE

I just delivered the June issue of THE WALPOLE CLARION to the Bellows Falls and Walpole post offices, and it is now also on-line. Moving into a slow summer, still with COVID having shut things down, and cancelled activities, but “things are looking up.”

You may click on this link for the on-line issue – 
https://walpoleclarion.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/clarion-june21-topress.pdf
Or, click on page one of the June issue below.

The July issue closes on Tuesday, June 22, so do plan ahead. Submissions continue to arrive prior to the deadline and that helps a great deal in our laying out each issue. And, I welcome submissions from North Walpole and Drewsville writers. Thank you.

Stay safe, and stay well, yours, RAY BOAS, Publisher

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RETIREMENT PARADE – Thursday 27 May – CHIEF MIKE PAQUETTE

There will be a parade, Thursday 27 May honoring Chief Mike Paquette for his 20 years of dedicated service to Walpole Police Department and the Community.  His last day of Service is May 31, 2021.

The drive-by parade will start at 1:00PM from the Walpole Fire Station on Main Street.  It will continue up Main Street into Walpole Village and past the Walpole Town Library where Mike will be standing on the steps. If anyone would like to be in the parade, we are forming at the Walpole Fire Department at 12:30 PM. We would love to see Walpoleans out on the streets waving and showing recognition to him as well.

For more information regarding the parade, contact Janet Clough at the PD for details at 603-445-2058.

Thank you much, Janet Clough

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TOWN-WIDE BIODIVERSITY PROJECT

Have you ever wondered what that strange bug crawling on the rock wall is called, or what the name of a plant is that you often see while hiking? What about that fluffy-looking moss on the side of that maple, or the energetic songbird singing away in the canopy? You can answer all these questions and more through a new, community-driven field guide of Walpole’s flora, fauna, and fungi. The project, called A Living Field Guide to Walpole, NH , collects observations of living organisms that people submit to the community-science database iNaturalist ( www.inaturalist.org ).

iNaturalist is an easy-to-use, free app that can help identify what you are seeing and hearing. When a photo or sound recording is shared to iNaturalist, expert naturalists help identify what was observed. As of April 2021, beginner and master naturalists alike have used iNaturalist to document over 600 wild species in Walpole. Among these, are one of New Hampshire’s only records of a Rusty Snaketail dragonfly and North America’s largest native moth, the Cecropia Moth, which has a colorful wingspan measuring seven inches.

The town-wide living field guide project arose out of a long-term natural inventory at Walpole’s Distant Hill Gardens and Nature Trail, where iNaturalist continues to deepen our understanding of nature. Most of Walpole’s public lands are poorly documented in iNaturalist, and places like the Hooper Forest, Academy Ravine, and Fanny Mason Forest eagerly await your exploration. Similarly, nature knows no bounds, and observations of wild plants and animals from your own yards are welcomed by the living field guide.

To learn more about this exciting project, get involved, or see a list of all 607 species and counting, visit the project website ( https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/a-living-field-guide-to-walpole-nh ). All are invited to attend an informational Zoom meeting about the project on Thursday, May 20 th at 5:30pm. Please register on the Eventbrite Event page at https://tinyurl.com/ukk7w3u9 . This meeting will be followed by a Walpole-wide bioblitz on May 23 rd , which will kick off a bi-weekly, summer-long bioblitz series. Let’s start exploring!

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WALPOLE SELECTBOARD DECIDES DONATIONS ARE WRONG

Accepting donations “sets a bad precedent,” Selectboard Chair Cheryl Mayberry stated. Board members, Steve Dalessio and Peggy Pschirrer agreed, explaining to accept a gift shows “the rich get their way.” Rejected May 6th was granite curbing to enhance both sides of the Town Common, a showplace enjoyed by residents and visitors alike for almost two centuries. The rejected proposed gift – nine hundred feet of curbing on Elm and Washington Streets – installed costs $18,000. The majority of the Village, called the quintessential New England Village by late author James Michener, is curbed in granite.

This decision is contrary to the intent of the Internal Revenue Code which encourages a “…contribution or gift to or for the use of a State, a possession of the United States, or any political subdivision of any of the foregoing but only if the contribution or gift is made for exclusively public purposes.” A community improvement, one that is out in front of everyone and every day, is not for a few, but certainly for the public benefit.

Recently many Walpole community improvements have been accomplished with donations from those who have had the ability and desire to be charitable. The Walpole Town Library was enlarged and renovated. In September 2016, private donations surpassed the goal of $80,000 to install a new playground at the Walpole Primary School. Contributions to purchase the Walker Road Property has protected 1,000 feet of Connecticut River frontage. The “Save Hooper” campaign raised private contributions to buy the easement on the Hooper property and save it from development. On the Town Common, the gazebo was a single private gift for the benefit of the community. “Dog poop” containers were contributed. The Veterans Memorial was gifted, and is visited by many residents and out of town guests. And trees to be enjoyed by all have been gifted to the Town for the Common, one going back a hundred years. Are we now entering an era where private generosity for community improvement in Walpole is being discouraged?

RAY BOAS

NO DONATIONS – PLEASE

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CIRCUS IN THE WOODS – HOOPER INSTITUTE – MAY 23

On Page 7 of the May issue of the CLARION, two Hooper Institute upcoming programs were profiled. They sound like fun. Today, the Executive Director of the Hooper Institute, Helen Dalbeck, asked me to share the below.

Have you purchased your tickets yet for Circus in the Woods, presented at the Hooper Institute on May 23?  I ask because tickets are selling! There are still tickets available but don’t delay purchasing. Don’t miss out on this fun event. Here is the direct link via the Eventbrite.com page.  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/circus-in-the-woods-at-hooper-institute-tickets-148694953609?aff=ebdssbeac

Email me, Helen Dalbeck,  hooperinstitute@myfairpoint.net or call 756-4382 with any questions and I hope we will see you soon at the Circus in the Woods! Thank you. 

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MAY 2021 CLARION — NOW ON-LINE

Yes, five months into the year, and your May issue of THE WALPOLE CLARION is now on-line. There is a slight delay at the printer, so this issue may not be at the post office until Friday, and hopefully in your hands on May 1.

But, you may click on this link now – https://walpoleclarion.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/clarion-may21-topress.pdf – to read the issue. Or, click on page one of the May issue below.

The June issue closes on Friday, May 21, so do plan ahead. All of my contributors for the May issue had their copy and ads to me by the day before, and that helps a great deal. Thank you.

Stay safe, and stay well, yours, RAY BOAS, Publisher

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APOLOGIES from the PUBLISHER – NO MORE FOOLING, Probably

NO MORE FOOLING — You know your writing is good when you write about something for April Fool’s and people take you seriously. Last week the printer “stopped the presses” and called me saying I had foreign words in my files they thought were a mistake. They laughed when I said the Spanish, Latin, mixed with Greek was April Fools Day fun.

I have learned that other stories, specifically the seven-cents user light fee, were not well received. I have gotten calls with people laughing at the cleverness, but – the phone calls have been mixed, some were not happy with the fun.

My apologies to all — the CLARION is serious endeavor, and I believe I will no longer have any silly stories in future April issues. Thank you for your understanding, and again my apologies, yours, RAY

I have received a few nice Facebook comments. No “negatives” as yet, but in fairness I will share those also. Here they are:

— On March 31 — I laughed! You gave so many clues in the article that it was a joke. LOL. The picture with the article was the topper. LOL. You did fool me at first when I thought I had to look up the April 2015 edition for information. LOL.

— More March 31 — You got me with the Arch bridge tolls! Although it did sound bizarre and I did wonder if you really knew what you were talking about. When I told hubby about it he did not believe it for one minute! Hahahaha!

— Still more March 31 — My favorite was the hotel by the vet and then the Jumbotron on the Common!!!🤣 — thank you, RAY

— Please don’t stop. I’ve lived in Walpole for 3 Aprils and you’ve gotten me every time! But it’s fun!

— No apology necessary!😂

and, this email just in from a dedicated and faithful reader:
Good evening Ray.I set up my account with DOT. The guy asked for 3 credit card numbers but I only have 2 so he made an exception for me so I gave him all the numbers. Don’t want to get in trouble with the government. Great article giving a heads up to all of us uninformed people.


and, a second note from this “true fan,” – Hi Ray, it took me about half way through your masterpiece before I got the message. How many places on earth can share a chuckle during these crazy times. Keep up the good work. … I hope your computer is blowing up from frantic Walpoleans.

March 31 — I have a true fan who just emailed again saying, “Good evening Ray. You have made my day, thank you. I am still laughing inside as I read, again, your masterpiece. This kind of stuff brings me out of my conservative shell and it feels good. You should think about becoming a fiction author. See you around town now that I need not to worry about the Government coming after me. Good evening…”

———–

Comment on the Hubbard Press Release — Is this an April fools joke also? — and my reply — No it is not – a serious reply to those concerned. Will have to address how I may handle in the future the April stories. This press release came in after the April issue was mailed.

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