Wednesday morning

The geese are back in numbers. My pillow is maybe 75 feet from the shore of Clemson Pond.

So I drift  off at night with honking and awake to the same. The geese communicate all night long.

One more month here.

I will miss the geese and frogs, and the constant burbling sounds of Clemson Pond. It is a sewage detention pond and it releases gas that forms bubbles on the surface algae mat. These pop and the  sound is audible, from my living room. Last evening we took a stroll. The Clemson Pond half mile and over to the Swasey.

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The Squamscott River smelled like cod liver oil.

Jon Ring who I spoke with on the walk agreed.

I have the taste and odor of cod liver oil in my brain, it was seared there long ago.

Jon said that he had been by the head of tide pool at dead low tide and had noticed a sheen on the exposed rocks.

The odor dissipated once one was past the Swasey Pavilion.

There is practically no water at all coming over the Great? Dam.

2015-09-22 18.27.02

2015-09-22 17.58.28 The river walk could be so unique.

Last evening the sunset was pretty good!

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2015-09-22 18.49.48Mike

Great? Dam update

drawdown nov 11 2009 (2)

drawdown nov 11 2009

First off an explanation about all these photos of sunsets on the Crier.

I have been busy. I also was considering just closing the Crier down as I am no longer a taxpayer.

Well, I mean no longer a  homeowner, but  neither is Nancy Belanger and it was true of Dan Chartrand for a while too. So until October passes, the blog will continue. Then we are off to Newburyport and new adventures.

I got most of my answers today on the Great ? Dam removal project from Paul Vlasich of DPW.

I had seen the article in the ENL two weeks ago which quoted the new owner of the Loaf & Ladle.

He stated that he would not have a tenant  till the dam was removed and this really troubled me.  I had heard nothing at all about the dam (with one ear to the ground) in months, longer perhaps. It seemed to me there might be some neglect in place by government. Those in favor of river restoration and dam removal did face opposition.  Dan Chartrand and Julie Gilman were not huge supporters and they are still at the Selectmen’s table.

So here is the new Loaf guy  who poured a bundle into that dump and he  might as I did,  have assumed it was coming down this year. Here we are all about economic development and we are not making phone calls to move things along.

“Voters also passed Art. 8 by a vote of 1,440 yes to 753 no. The petitioned warrant article sought $1,786,758 to remove the Great Dam in downtown Exeter in an effort to restore the Exeter River to its natural condition, reduce flooding, and stop environmental damage. The proposal, which needed at least a 60 percent majority vote to pass, received about 65 percent of the vote.”

March 2014 we voted , after a very long ( too long) study which employed all sorts of professionals .

The final package from the Town was submitted just this April for wetlands permits so we might not get any action this year on removal. This is most disappointing to me as I am a impatient fellow, it seems like foot dragging. Which Mr Vlasich stated is not true.


I was also disappointed that the history buffs were successful in preserving the penstock. The concrete structure with the long  frozen mechanisms on the Founders Park bank.

On that penstock. Did you know the Exeter Mill has decided to purchase water now ? Do you remember all the the nonsense and “concerns” about that stupid pipe to the Mill? All the legal mumbo jumbo about old parchment.

I asked Paul when that went away , he said “about a month ago”.

I saw no report, heard no mention by the BOS,.

Again, I have had my head down since February caring for my Aunt and then ramping up for our Open House weekend.One intense focus swinging immediately to another.

There is a slight chance we could get started on removing the Great? Dam this Fall, but you  better figure on next year. The package is now in the hands of the Wetlands Bureau, maybe the dreaded Army Corp of Engineers. I would be calling them once a week for updates, but that probably is not being done.

The Governor lived  in Exeter, Hillary visited a little  bookstore, but we can’t  get anyone to make a phone  call?

There should be a great deal more excitement  about dam removal and a kiosk at the site extolling the Town’s effort on river restoration.

I had hoped to see it breached prior to leaving Town. I think that indeed could have occurred with more focus by government.

I will see you all in the Fall of 2016.

Update 7/2/15   I just got a call from Don Clement regarding the Mill and the  penstock.

This is the skinny.

We had allocated over 500K in the 1.7 million bond to continue, take care of the water being drawn from the river by the Mill for their HVAC system. This water also may have been used in the sprinkler system, I am not sure.

So now I am told we sat down with the new owner of the Mill The Chinburg Group and negotiated a new deal.

The Town will pay for a new HVAC system for the original Mill building at a price under 500K and the Mill will go on Town water. A few weeks ago or so the Town formally put to bed the old agreement regarding the free water from the penstock. The Mill as an entity gave the decrepit Great ? Dam to the Town many years ago, but retained that penstock free water deal.

So we have ended the handshake with a big bear hug.


Hey , one aside before the weekend.

I watched the  Planning Board for 3 minutes the other day. Gwen was speaking about trails and parking on Epping Rd. This long time member should know that parking is indeed allowed on the shoulder of Epping Rd.

I checked with Chief Kane once  within the last 2 years regarding a tow truck using the shoulder for all day parking.

A tow truck.  On a curve, near a  busy pizza place and a busy moving and storage company.

Chief Kane told me  parking is allowed on Epping Rd.

foot dragging

It’s Fathers Day , and it was a beautiful day yesterday for our yard sale, we were so lucky. The new owner of 18 Locust stopped by too! We were happy to move a few things back in that she wanted. Her three children are going to love growing up on Locust.

Too bad for us she did not want the gift of a plastic boat.

Let me know if you do.

I read Friday in the ENL that the fellow that bought and rehabilitated the Loaf stated , “no tenant till the dam is removed”.

I made a few phone calls, and have two more calls to make Monday.

It will be possible for me however to write about my unease over this news this weekend. It seems despite the story about the Loaf, that many like me have been wondering for some time.

When is the Great? Dam coming down?

Why has  there not more discussion and planning for this  momentous event due this Fall?

What exactly is the FOCUS of the BOS and Town Government?




I simply could not locate in my library of pics any photos of the Squamscott River along the Swasey covered with fish shanties. I know I have a few, but from years ago.

Last year I had to hike in to Rocky Point to take a pic of just two shacks to inform a guest piece by Dave OHearn.

I just inquired of Dave as to why I saw no shacks this year or last year and Dave got right back to me.

No fish. Big unknown problem. My guess pollution. F&G (Fish & Game)doesn’t have the money to study. They are broke.

 My buddy Dick wrote about it this past Sunday.

Here is an excerpt from the article .

“What is terribly worrisome is the apparent lack of saltwater smelt. And we mean lack of! And to our knowledge, nobody in the Fish and Game Marine Division saw this coming.

Why? Because a spring study that collected spawning smelt eggs in our smelt spawning freshwater tributaries was abandoned about five years ago.

Great Bay smelt supported an incredible recreational fishery and also a fairly lucrative but limited commercial sector as well. Smelt fishing was part of the basic fabric of this whole community that surrounds the Bay. And it’s gone! And nobody at Fish and Game seems to know why and to my knowledge there are no plans to recharge this smelt population by importing smelt eggs or other means. What a black eye for what once was a very alert and dynamic department.

Right now, Fish and Game are fighting to keep its department from being sucked into the Department of Safety, which more or less looks like F&G’s divisions that are devoted to conservation and public relations will be the very poor sisters to F&G’s Law Enforcement Division if this happens.”


TIF Talk




I read the executive summary in the above report. I also searched this am and a bit tonight  on both success and failure stories regarding TIF. One must remember that each Community or City employing a TIF is unique.

Across the Country you can find great debates raging on many aspects of the program with some States trying to reign in the practice.  In some cases has been overreach by TIF proponents. This scheme and  it  is a scheme surfaced in the 50’s.

It’s original intent was to revive blighted areas. There are arguments put forward that such and such development would not occur without a TIF. That is used alot and disputed by opponents.

Then there are school districts that have sued for loss of tax revenue. The standard comeback across the land seems to be “Well it was just woods there with a bunch of wet areas , whadda ya call em, vernal pools” “You got no revenue from that but just wait till the TIF expires and you will share in the bounty!”

You can’t “lose ” what you were not receiving prior. It’s really something the back and forth. In Vermont several Communities had to give back some significant monies.

While nosing around a couple of months ago I also read the three links below with interest.


Can you imagine what a linked bike trail would bring in revenue over shipping odd chunks of granite ?

The project that the granite was destined for in Florida is a vital dike system containing Lake Okeechobee, which has and could again fail, causing a devastating flood. It’s quite a story.

I read that granite train story as one where proponents got all juiced over what they construed as a “big deal”

It was a bust. It only served to get RR folks all jazzed up and screwed a major bike trail in planning.

The music man’s magic touch gone woefully awry.

I have not seen wholesale changes in the  Town Board players over the last twenty five years or so. It’s the same folks really, the same opinion makers. In fact the major ones  can recite their Community accomplishment’s and often do preface their weighing in with long recitations. I have received some of those emails but deleted them as frankly I found them embarrassing, for the sender.

Puffery. Some wield it with no shame at all. I hope you did all those things for the Community and yourself. The work in my view is sullied when one tries to “use it”

The Great Bay Kids groundbreaking is tomorrow morning at 10am at their new home on Epping Rd.

What the heck was everyone doing? What was Sylvia doing as it seems to me I sense wagons circling around the Planning Department. It can’t be that those that put up signs and blustered over Great Bay Kids at the Rec  are now all worked up about the woods.

So we hired a gun  and now he and this TIF scheme will probably go down in flames. That is what I am feeling and am quite surprised that anyone any insider( excluding Nancy Belanger) thinks otherwise. Yes there were meetings, there is one tonight downtown. I can’t go I am exhausted and am not sharing the cause of that, but believe me it’s off to bed soon. This is a complicated issue and many potential voters still don’t know who Harry or Kathy is or why that should matter.  I test people all the time and here are the facts.

No one is listening or reading.

My current bed book-  Chronicles of the Frigate  Macedonian 1809-1922

If you vote for the woods the TIF will not work, so vote against that too, no splitting. It’s all or nothing really.

Supposedly the numbers don’t work unless the buffer zones in some areas are shrunk. It just seems such a major step back, for what again?

That interchange at Epping Rd and 101 is terrible. This strapped State won’t be making any improvements. I cannot imagine a luxury hotel on Epping Rd, or even a Mr Tux.  A friend of mine once thought Mr Tux was a front for something as you find them at every major highway interchange. Portsmouth Ave is a strong interchange , RT 125 in Epping, but Epping road? It has no traffic volume at all.  It’s a granite train.









time to engage in some tif talk

I think it’s time Epping got their own newspaper. We can chat about all that later, but later and ongoing till the vote we should work harder as a Community. We must discuss this TIF and a  letter to the paper does not cut it.

Even if it contains salty words like “pernicious”

C’mon that was funny!

In between time with Auntie I have located some informative papers to share and I hope we can get  our arms around this TIF issue. So let’s do it here , you must use your name when commenting and provide a legitimate email address.

You will have to read some of the documents I provide though I will pull excerpts to tease that click.

I will get this up and ready tomorrow sometime, out straight with Auntie right now.




Olive R Tardiff

Born Exeter , NH January 1 1916

Departed January 15 2015

I had the great pleasure of visiting Mrs Tardiff when I screened the Squamscott River Film at the Rockingham Nursing Home for her and a full room of residents.

Kyle and I both read her book  “Exeter-Squamscott, A River of Many Uses” prior to filming the Squamscott River movie. I remember her being a hot ticket that day but of course she was only 94 that year.


trouble in river city

I was just reading some  meeting minutes from Hampton NH, their Conservation Commission. There were some good reads. One about a guy that was digging up his yard to build a new garage and a place to park all his trucks. He is one of those guys that runs his business from his home I guess. He bought the house without any clue as to how little his  lot really was, the guy was surrounded by wetlands.

The tale was replete with the “I asked the building inspector” “he told me to talk to the highway dept” sort of stuff.

I also stumbled across another hearing and Jones and Beach were mentioned. One of those quoted was piqued that the plans J&B were presenting were “different”

“There were more wetlands delineated on the last map we saw” or something like that.

We are not alone in our confusion.

In my minds eye I see a Planning Board or Conservation meeting and everyone is in a kerfuffle. This occurred some time ago in Exeter it was about a homeowner and his lawn debris. The fellow was dumping this material in the wetlands at the back of his yard. A development probably that was at one time before a board and all sorts of protections were discussed for the sensitive areas getting a waiver. I think they decided that each home should have granite posts  or signs to stop this practice of dumping.

Who checks that anyway?

Maybe the meeting went very long and everyone went home tired.

All that work, all that talk.

There is a push on now to reduce the buffer zones around wetlands on lands off Epping Rd. There is also the adder of a Economic Director new to his position trying hard to make his mark. It seems that if this is put off on him it might give those with a fading conservation stripe some cover by signing on to the change.

F the wetlands and they will come. Promises of deals in the offing.

Lower taxes, that’s funny.

Some will tell me “they are keeping their cards close” till the Planning Board meeting this week.

Another would send me a long email with the history and pros and cons of such action , but close his arguments with lingering pessimism.

Here is a niblet from todays mail

“Our Boards do not have a good history of consistency in their rulings. It seems like it depends more like whims of the night or public opposition from abutters, not scientific or legal reasoning.
For example, stating a wetland that is on “poorly drained soil” is less important than a “very poorly drained soil” has no scientific basis. In fact, a “very poorly drained soil” can have a lessor importance to environmental function specifically because it cannot recharge the water table, as an example.
In fact, basing wetlands on soils is kind of stupid. Their are many wetlands that exist in sand and gravel soils due to high water tables or adjacent to river systems. Our regs don’t even address that.”

I am not really interested in the details.  I just always want to be doing the right thing as a Community regarding our local environment of which we are the stewards.

Changing the regulations will not do anything to enrich this Community and its natural beauty and  it will not lower your tax bill .

I had a major DES guy once tell me “I am just tired , tired of fighting the same battle”

Another local major player tells me “Maybe we have preserved enough”

Oh the doubts creep in , exposure, public ridicule, the scorn of peers.It’s fun to be a player, in the loop, those shiny shovels , the hard hat, a ribbon to cut. Much more difficult to be an outlier, someone concerned about the true future. Let’s see if a few harboring doubts can find their sea legs at this weeks Planning Board meeting.









Just over there- Epping Rd version

2015-01-18 14.22.17

 2015-01-18 14.21.59If you were to stroll across the ice and enter the woods left of center in about 200 yards you could purchase one of Clydes delicious cupcakes.

Epping Road lies in a straight line in front of me through the woods.

You would not believe what is buried in them thar woods.

You might enjoy visiting the Facebook page of a Colcord Pond resident. Here you will find wondrous photos of this special spot.

In Summer and Fall.

Just over there.


Changes to wetland buffers put on fast track


I have watched the Conservation Commission meeting, made some phone calls, received some emails and stood silently yesterday on the edge of Colcord Pond.

2015-01-18 14.22.17

I can report that many players are quite nervous about this change, maybe they are not so ready to board the development train, the Exeter Express.


Feeling the pressure.

“Hey , this is what you hired me for right?”

“But Charlie has been with the firm since my Dad owned it!”

More later, after a day of interior painting and thinking.