Monday, May 30, 2016

May 18 meeting minutes

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Minutes of Meeting
May 18, 2016
First Congregational Church, Wilmot

Board Attendees: Alex Bernhard, Steve Darling, George Heaton, Lindy Heim, Craig Heim, Charles Martin, Myra Mayman, Jack Shields
Guests: Marion Allen, Charles Cautley, Linda Howes, Ralph Jesseman, Tom Schamberg, Prescott Towle

Co-President Lindy Heim called meeting to order at 7:03 PM; adjourned at 8:40 PM.
The meeting covered: 1) business matters and reports; 2) discussion and resolution of the issue of vegetation control on a small section of the trail in Franklin; 3) authority and plans to proceed with other action items.
Business Matters and Reports:
  1. The Draft Minutes of the April 20, 2016 meeting were approved without alteration.
  2. The Treasurer’s report brought the good news of significant donations in April and May, as a result of the fundraising campaign. These ran at a higher rate than last year, and included a number of employer-matching grants, which are appreciated and encouraged for the future. Total donations for the two months amounted to $5661.90. 

    While funds from the Thursday’s Child event on April 14 have not yet been received, the large turnout that evening bodes well.

    The current balance shows $41,471.63 in unrestricted funds, to be used for the benefit of the Trail.
  3. As presented in Alex Bernhard’s report, preparation of the Recreational Trails Program Grant Application continues, in order to meet the June 3 deadline. Nita Tomaszewski is assembling the application materials, including letters of support that have been gained from the towns along the Trail as well as merchants. The exact specification of projects and requested amounts is being finalized.
  4. Ralph Jesseman presented a report on the Bench Project. We happily anticipate the installation of two benches along the Trail in Andover (near Valley Road in E. Andover, and near the Continental Machine facility) by early June.
  5. The Safety Repairs on the Depot Street Bridge in Franklin have been completed quickly and well -- by Steve Rayno, Chris Norris and Rodney Judkins -- with photos submitted for the record.
  6. FNRT-MC’s presence at Community Events occurred at the bike tune-up/swap in Andover, with Prescott Towle and Lindy Heim staffing a tent. It is hoped that this presence can be annual.
  7. Grant Application for permanent repairs to the Depot St. Bridge has been made to the Brown Foundation by Craig Heim.

Vegetation Control
Over the past several months, the issue of vegetation control on a section of the Trail in Franklin has been researched and discussed in detail. This 6-mile section of the Trail is in danger of serious encroachment from invasive species and other growth, and the Board has therefore been considering the merits of an experimental application of the herbicide Rodeo, in contract with Prescott Towle, a licensed professional applicator.
In preparation for a decision by the Board, various members have contacted scientific experts and public officials in New Hampshire, reviewed the scientific literature, and solicited and listened to advice from concerned citizens.
Jack Shields presented a report on his discussion with the invasive species expert for the State of New Hampshire, in which alternative vegetation control methods were assessed. This research resulted in the recommendation that there were “no feasible alternative effective methods” to a limited herbicide application.
Prescott Towle again presented a detailed application plan, to take place on one day, via liquid application in accordance with all applicable regulations and best practices.
Linda Howes provided citizen input about the potential risks of glyphosate (a principal ingredient in the herbicide), as well as the need for signing to alert residents to the application process.
It should be – and was -- noted that all pesticide applications are subject to approval by the State of New Hampshire, not the Board alone. At this meeting, formal approval from the Department of Agriculture was received as incoming correspondence. It was also reported that the Trails Bureau has been apprised of this action and is likely to issue its opinion soon.
As a result of the above, the Board voted unanimously to take the following actions: 1) authorize Prescott Towle to undertake the vegetation control project in the limited 6-mile section in Franklin, if and when approval from the Trails Bureau is received; 2) post signs – at the beginning and end of the 6-mile stretch -- informing Trail users of the operation on the day it occurs.

Other Action Items
  1. The expenditure of $100 was authorized to allow Steve Rayno to sandblast graffiti from the granite foundation of a bridge on the Trail in Franklin. Given that the bridge is an original railroad structure, the sandblasting expenditure is preferred to painting.
  2. The decision was taken not to pay $50 for an advertisement in the Andover 4th of July celebration program.
  3. Approval was given for Jack Shields to pursue actions to acquire two original historic mileposts, now in the possession of Mr. Sanborn in Boscawen.

The FNRT-MC board of directors would like to invite the FNRT-MC membership and all who love the Northern Rail Trail to venture out on the trail June 6th to celebrate National Trails Day.  It is a lovely time of year to enjoy the beauty and diverse scenery the rail trail has to offer.  And, in the spirit of maintaining all those wonderful views, we invite you to grab a bag to take with you for trail clean-up.
Our season opener Spring Clean-up effort was fabulous, so many people pitched in. Thank you!
Note next meeting: June 15, Boscawen – located to be determined

Respectfully submitted by George Heaton

Sunday, May 8, 2016

April 20 meeting minutes

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Minutes of Meeting
April 20, 2016
Andover Fire House
Board Attendees: Steve Darling, Tom Frantz, George Heaton, Lindy Heim, Craig Heim, Nita Tomaszewski
Guests: Janice Boudreau, Linda Howes, Ralph Jesseman, and Prescott Towle

Co-President Lindy Heim called meeting to order at 7:03 PM; adjourned at 8:26 PM.
The meeting’s discussion had two major foci: 1) various business matters and reports; 2) discussion of ongoing action items, to be addressed and/or undertaken in the immediate future and/or at the next meeting.
Business Matters and Reports:
  1. The minutes of the March 16, 2016 meeting were approved without alteration.
  2. The Treasurer’s report shows a current balance of $38,416.44 in unrestricted funds, to be used for the benefit of the Trail.
    Recent sources of income include $1336 in donations since the last meeting, as well as funds anticipated from the successful Thursday’s Child benefit dinner on April 14 at the New London Inn.
    Since last meeting, a Federal tax report has been filed (4/8/16), as well as the Annual Report to the State of New Hampshire, and the certification fee for charitable organizations. (3/29/16).
  3. The Recreational Trails Program Grant Application has recently been officially published by the State of New Hampshire. Applications are due June 3, with the anticipation of award decisions by late August.
    An orientation meeting for prospective applicants is being held in Concord during the week of April 25. Nita Tomaszewski will attend, and has been in contact with Alexis Rudko of the Trails Bureau, coordinator for the application process.
  4. Community events will occur in Andover and Franklin on May 14: a bike tune-up/swap in Andover; and Franklin Community Day. Prescott Towle will staff a FNRT-MC tent at the Andover event. Although no one is available for the Franklin event, it was noted for possible participation next year.

Ongoing Action Agenda
  1. Vegetation Control. The issue of vegetation control on the Trail, with particular focus on areas in Franklin, has been the subject of considerable discussion in prior meetings. At this meeting, Prescott Towle was again present to answer questions about the possibility of spraying. And it was noted that the Trails Bureau would need to approve any action in this regard.
    After a wide airing of views, it was decided to postpone further consideration of vegetation control until the next meeting, when more information will be available. At that point, a report will be available from the meeting with the New Hampshire Invasive Species Coordinator, Douglas Cygan, who will assess the Trail and give recommendations.
    [N.B.: A meeting of Doug Cygan with Jack Shields, FNRT-MC Director, had actually taken place before the meeting. However, Jack was unable to report to the Board due to unforeseen circumstances.]
  2. Bench Project. Ralph Jesseman and Janice Boudreau attended the meeting to report on progress to date on the installation of benches along the trail, and what will be the next steps.
    Two Andover sites have been selected as appropriate for benches, and their GPS coordinates forwarded to Alex Bernhard for further action and contact with the Trails Bureau: 1) about 300’ from Valley Road Bridge; 2) about 220’ past the Continental Machine facility.
    Ralph Jesseman will pay for and install these two benches. It is hoped that the documentation of 501(c)(3) status of the FNRT-MC will result in materials discounts at suppliers such as Lowe’s.
  3. Safety Repair of Depot Street Bridge, Franklin
    Having been alerted to the deterioration of railings on the Depot St. Bridge in Franklin, various Board members inspected the site. Their assessment, coupled with a proposal by Chris Norris and Steve Rayno for repair, led the Board to conclude that action should be taken as soon as possible.
    A motion was then made and unanimously approved to authorize the expenditure of up to $300 by Chris Norris to implement repairs.
    The authorization of this expenditure prompted discussion about the need for a process by which small expenditures could be made expeditiously without full Board discussion and approval, and their consequent delay. Such a process will be considered at the next meeting.
    It is understood that the repairs now to be made will not meet Federal design standards or be permanent, but that future maintenance grants, if awarded, should be used to upgrade this site.
  4. Spring Clean-Up of Trail
    Given that snow-cover has left the Trail, the moment to clean debris is at hand, before spring vegetation obscures it. Various Board members volunteered to undertake Trail cleanup, and enlist any others who would like to help.
    Responsibilities are as follows. Anyone should feel free to contact any of those listed:
    Steve Darling – Andover, from Wilmot line to Lawrence St. tunnel –
    Tom Frantz – Andover, from Plains Road to Blackwater Park –
    George Heaton – Danbury –
    Lindy and Craig Heim – Wilmot –
    Chris and Tim Norris – Chance Pond Rd to E. Andover
    Steve Rayno – Franklin

Note next meeting: May 18, Wilmot, 1st Congregational Church, 19 N. Wilmot Rd. in Wilmot Center
Respectfully submitted by George Heaton