Category Archives: OPINIONS

Clarification

The published goal of The Walpolean is “Keeping the community up to date on community topics”.  In view of that, it has come to my attention that a number of people thought that School Board members were elected as representatives of their town to the regional school board.  As someone who (while not born here) has been around for many years, I would like to take the opportunity to clarify “the topic”.

When the School District was conceived this was, indeed the case. Langdon and Acworth each had one representative, Alstead had two, Charlestown and Walpole had three.  Each was elected by the people in their respective town.  

In 1987, the following amendment was made to the Articles of Agreement:

The main reason for the change was to create a more manageable number of Board members. (Considering the difficulty we experience in getting people to run for office, I would say the change was a good thing!)  The reason for “at large voting” was to assure that each town had a resident at the table and that the change met the principle of “one man, one vote”.

I hope that helps. – Lil

Meet the Candidate

It seems like we seldom have a race for a local election. This year we have one for school board. Meet Tom Ronning. – Lil

 

Name:              Thomas H. Ronning

Position:          Fall Mountain Regional School District School Board

Walpole Representative

 

I have placed my name on the ballot to represent the Town of Walpole as their representative on the Fall Mountain Regional School District’s Board of Education because I am passionate about the ever-changing educational needs of the youth in our community. I believe I have the knowledge and experience to continuing moving our school district forward in order to meet the needs of all students.  A few points of interest about myself:

  • Three decades of experience as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal.
  • When requested, I have acted in the capacity of Superintendent of School’s.
  • I have been a member of the Alternative 3, Alternative 4 Certification Boards and the Principal’s Task Force to develop an effective evaluation template for the NH Department of Education.
  • I served as the School Board Chair for The Granite Hill School in Newport, NH for 16 years.
  • I have been involved with the New England Association of School’s and Colleges during the accreditation process for 4 schools.
  • I have served as the North Walpole Village moderator, Zoning Board Chair and been active in my church.

Having been involved with the creation of the “Vision of the Graduate” in our school district, I believe it is right in line with New Hampshire’s Community College System’s goal to attract, grow, and retain businesses in NH.  In order to do this, we must first train our youth and have the expectations for them to remain in the State of NH.  The belief of the Community College System is to ensure that our state has sixty-five (65) percent of adults twenty-five (25) and older “well equipped to success in the community, the nation and world” by the year 2025.  Fall Mountain has the ability to achieve this goal with so many supportive businesses and organizations.

I also believe that in addition to focusing on local government, we need to be cognizant of what is happening at the State level.  For example: 1) The new Governor could help our school district by funding kindergarten at 100% vs. the 50% level, thus, bringing revenue to our five towns and helping offset the educational portion of property taxes.  2) The new Commissioner of Education could take a look at what it means for a child to demonstrate competence beyond taking a test.  At the high school level extended learning opportunities, outside the school setting, may present valuable work experience for our youth, allowing them to earn certificates and increase their chances of long term employment.

I would appreciate your vote.

Thank you,

Thomas H. Ronning

 

 

Candidate’s Statement

The Grange was forced to cancel “Meet the Candidates Night” but encouraged candidates to share their position statement in The Walpolean.  I would be pleased to post others that might be sent my way – ltdecoste@comcast.net. – Lil

 

Greetings fellow Walpoleans and residents of the Fall Mountain Regional School District,
My name is William K. Stahl, although most people know me as Billy. I am honored to be running for the position of Walpole School Board Representative for the Fall Mountain Regional School District.
After more than twenty years of involvement with this school district, I still feel like a cheerleader for our town and for our schools. In fact when I encounter families who are considering relocating, I often encourage them to consider Walpole — not only because it’s a great town, but also because it boasts great schools. Yes, taxes are high, but look at all we get.
My own sons have thrived in the Walpole schools. During the time they’ve been there I’ve had numerous interactions with our schools’ principal, teachers, guidance counselors, nurses, secretaries, special education personnel and everyone else who works here. I’ve continued to be impressed with their collective talent and professionalism, as well as with the genuine empathy they demonstrate for all students. Since my retirement from Fall Mountain Regional High School, I’ve had ample opportunity to get a real feel for our Walpole schools through working with them during lunch-time reading and book fair sales, as well as my wife and I working various special events. As a former teacher, I can spot a poseur from a long hallway away, but they seem scarce among the professionals who work with our children. So, I continue to value the benefits of a quality public school education for students and as an indication of our community’s health.

However, I do recognize that the taxes levied to support our schools have become nearly unbearable for some community members.
It is painful to hear how burdensome current taxation is for many district residents. Perhaps it is time to explore new and innovative approaches to our current educational programs, as well as the methods we use to fund them. While there are no quick fixes to the long-standing dilemma regarding how to fund New Hampshire schools, there will be opportunities for exploring new approaches — though only if we actively search for them.
This, then, is what I look to initiate during the coming year, the search I hope to begin.
We must continue to meet the needs of children, parents and educators. We must also meet the needs of our entire community, as well attracting and keeping residents. Of course we will economize in every possible way. Still, we need to be searching for new answers or school funding will continue to seem like a rock grinds us.

I hope you will grant me the opportunity to work for our community in the March 14 vote.

Attention Walpole Voters

Steve Dallesio asked me to alert my readers to this issue regarding school funding.  I must confess to being unsure of the issue since I have been out of town since February 1, but if it affects taxes it is certainly something that needs to be made available if The Walpolean is to fulfill its mission of keeping the community up-to-date. – Lil

By now you may have received a copy of the Fall Mountain School District Ballot in the mail or picked up a copy of the 2016 Annual Report at the town hall.  Please carefully read and understand the impact that the passing of Article 9 will have on our town (Back cover of Ballot mailing and Page 53 in report).

The Article proposes to change the way the school district allocates the budget between the towns in the district.  The passing of this article will have a significant impact on our town’s school tax rate.

Please consider voting NO to this article and note that the Fall Mountain School District School Board voted  Not To Recommend This Article.

 

A Feel Good Story – Beneficial to all

A big thank you to everyone who was involved in this!  We can all reap the benefits for years to come. – Lil

LundField_PhotoCredit_Stacy_Gambrel

Farmland, fresh produce and local inspiration

A man’s love of the land helps keep young farmers in business

It could have ended up as a parking lot or a big box store – but instead, this rich farmland along the Cold River in Walpole will remain part of the area’s long agricultural history. Owner Perley Lund’s 9-acre field is a key parcel for John and Teresa Janiszyn, who rely entirely on a network of leased land to grow vegetables for their well-known farm stand, Pete’s Stand, on Route 12 in Walpole.

“So much farmland is being developed and paved over,” John said. “If we don’t all work together to do something about it, it’ll all be gone.”

JaniszynFamily_PhotoCredit_Bill_Sumner EasementClosing_PhotoCredit_JenniferZaso

The Monadnock Conservancy worked with Perley Lund to conserve his land with a conservation easement, which guarantees that the land will never be developed and can continue to be used for farming.

Perley’s love of the land and of farming is a big part of his motivation to protect his land. “People need to know where their food comes from, and to be able to enjoy fresh, local vegetables,” he said.  Perley expressed relief and gratitude about being able to protect his land, which has been in the Lund family since the 1940s. “It’s just the right thing to do — for the land and for the community,” he remarked.

Many generous supporters helped to make Perley’s vision a reality, including the State of New Hampshire’s Moose Plate grant program, the 1772 Foundation, the Thomas W. Haas Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and the Russell Farm and Forest Conservation Foundation.

 

Please Attend the Planning Board Meeting

Eric Merklein wants to share his opinion as well as urge everyone to attend the Planning Board Meeting tomorrow night.  Even if Mr. Ruggiero may not be there, it would seem that concerned citizens should attend – Lil

 

The Ruggiero Trash situation is going to be a big item at tomorrow’s Planning Board meeting – Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7:00 pm.

The Planning Board has received yet another request to postpone tomorrows hearing until next month.

This is the second time that this has happened, and many of us believe that the request for continuance should be denied. It is quite possible that Ruggiero’s attorney Tom Hanna will use this additional time to bring this matter to the NH Superior court before a decision is made.

It is my understanding that the Planning Board has the following options:

1- The Board can accept the request for a continuance and kick the can down the road until January.

2- The Board can reject the request and have an open hearing tomorrow.

If the Board does have the hearing as scheduled, they can accept the site plan as submitted and let them go to Zoning, OR they can deny the application.

By State regulation there is a time limit on this matter, and that time is now.

PLEASE NOTE:  It is public record that the plans as submitted to the Board are NOT COMPLETE, and the denial can be based solely on that fact.

Even if new plans have been submitted in the last week or two, there is NO time to review the new plans with any inelegant understanding of the new plans, and there is NO time to submit the new plans to another state agency for a third party review.

I believe that this is a bad project for Walpole and will have an enormous impact on the abutters to the location (chemical sprays at the very least).

This company has blatantly violated our ordinances, and will be more than happy to pay their attorney to take your town to court in order to force this project on to our backs – so they can haul trash from Mass. into Walpole for processing.

Please stand up for our town and attend tomorrow’s planning Board meeting.

 

 

 

Ruggiero – Are they being totally transparent?

The following letter came to me from DES via Tabatha Anderson.  Therefore, you might refer to it as gossip but please know that neither she nor I have altered the content so you can come to your own conclusion about the transparency on this issue. – Lil

 

CERTIFIED MAIL #7002 3150 0004 7244 4380

RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

February 4, 2015

Joseph Ruggiero, Owner Letter of Deficiency

Ruggiero Processing Facility LLC WMD 15-004

P.O. Box 434

Saxtons River, VT 05154

Dear Mr. Ruggiero,

On February 22, 2012, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Waste Management Division (“DES”) granted Standard Permit #DES-SW-SP-12-001 to Ruggiero Processing Facility LLC (“Ruggiero”) for a collection, storage and transfer facility in Walpole, New Hampshire.

The permit Terms and Conditions specified that “The permittee shall file a ‘Notice of Intent to Operate’ pursuant to Env-Sw 1105.02, and receive written confirmation of receipt from the Department prior to beginning operation” (item 9) and that “prior to obtaining authorization to operate this facility the permittee shall comply with the financial assurance requirements for closure identified in Env-Sw 1403” (item 14).

Because Ruggiero did not file a Notice of Intent to Operate or comply with financial assurance requirements prior to operating as specified under Terms and Conditions (items 9 and 14) of the permit, DES had not been made aware the facility was, in fact, operating until DES staff visited the facility on August 28, 2014. The results of the subsequent inspection to determine Ruggiero’s compliance with other requirements under RSA 149-M and NH Administrative Rules Env-Sw 100 et seq. (Solid Waste Rules) are attached.

Despite having initiated operations a number of months prior, Ruggiero had not received approval to operate the facility, or any phase or portion thereof because Ruggiero had not filed a “Notice of Intent to Operate” with DES or assured financial responsibility for facility closure prior to commencing operation of the facility.

  1. RSA 149-M and Env-Sw 1105.01(a)(2) require the permittee of facilities with a standard permit to assure financial responsibility for facility closure prior to commencing operation.
  1. RSA 149-M and Env-Sw 1105.01(a) (5) require the permittee of a solid waste facility to file a “Notice of Intent to Operate” with the department and receive approval prior to commencing operation of a facility, or any phase or portion thereof.

In addition, the inspection revealed five violations pertaining to Signs and Postings, and requirements for recordkeeping and reporting.

  1. Env-Sw 1105.05(a) and (b) require the facility entrance sign to include: facility name and hours, permittee name and number, waste types accepted and the unlawful dumping statement.
  1. Env-Sw 1105.05(c) requires that there be a copy of the Operating Plan and the Closure Plan on site.
  1. Env-Sw 1105.05(d) requires the posting of the permit’s cover page.
  1. Env-Sw 1105.05(e) requires the posting of operator certificates.
  1. Env-Sw 1105.07(b) requires the submittal of an annual facility report by March 31 for operations during the previous year.
  1. Env-Sw 1105.06(a) requires the permittee to maintain records on the quantity, type, source and destination of all wastes accepted, with out-of-state waste listed separately.

On October 16, 2014 DES received a submittal that included a Notice of Intent to Operate, a Letter of Credit, and a Standby Trust Agreement from Ruggiero. After an additional submittal, which included a revised Standby Trust Agreement, DES approved the Notice of Intent to Operate on December 10, 2014. DES’s Notice of Intent to Operate constitutes approval for Ruggiero to commence operation of the facility and corrects violations 1 and 2 listed above.

DES requests that Ruggiero address violations 4 – 8 by March 6, 2015. If compliance is not achieved within this period, DES may take further action against including issuing an order requiring that the deficiencies be corrected and/or referring the matter to the New Hampshire Department of Justice for injunctive relief. DES personnel may re-inspect your facility at a later date to determine whether the facility has come into, and is maintaining, full compliance with the applicable rules. DES reserves the right to pursue monetary penalties for the deficiencies noted in this letter as well as any deficiencies noted in subsequent inspections of your facility.

If you believe that DES has cited these violations in error, or have questions regarding this matter, please contact Sharon Yergeau, Solid Waste Compliance Assurance Supervisor, at NHDES, P.O. Box 95, Concord, NH 03302.

The Solid Waste Rules are available from the DES Public Information Center ((603) 271-2975) or at http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/legal/rules/index.htm.

 

Sincerely,

Michael E. Guilfoy, Administrator, Solid Waste Management Bureau

cc: DES Legal Unit

ec: Melanie Doiron, Inspector, Solid Waste Compliance Assurance Section

to everyone in Walpole NH:

In case you have forgotten or haven’t seen the Planning Board Agenda, this letter may refresh your memory. – Lil

Because of the potential business plans of Mr. Ruggiero, there have been a number of letters published with information supporting the negative impact to the ecosystem of Walpole and its waterways, as well as to the surrounding communities.
I write of personal concerns I imagine important to each of us.
Noise: we live here, in this bucolic town, for its peace.
Fresh air: aside from an occasional whiff carried on the summer breeze, produced by our 4-legged neighbors, we enjoy a sweetness of air.
Restfullness and peace: Our homes provide places, both indoors and out, where we enjoy family life uninterrupted by industrial noise, repellant smells, and stress about their attendant reduction to our property values.
I live on Blackjack Crossing directly north of Mr. Ruggiero’s property. Not only do I hear his trucks and peripheral machinery all day long, but I hear them from the front of my house, which faces Blackjack Crossing.
You might dismiss this letter as pertinent only to those of us within hearing, and then the potential smelling, of his operation. I urge you to also consider the precedent here, which could set the stage for inappropriate development in other places in town.
I do not argue against Mr. Ruggiero’s business aspirations. My contention is that Mr. Ruggiero’s Walpole property is inappropriate for the business venture he wants to pursue. Yes, it is an “industrial park.” It is , however, in the midst of a residential area. Perhaps the establishment of this “industrial park,” was made without expectation of a business that would have such far reaching geographic parameters.
I urge you all to consider our future with your most careful thought.
Thank you.
Respectfully,
France Menk

Salem Fire

In view of the discussions at the Zoning Board and Planning Board level, Sheila Lannon asked that I bring this article to your attention.  

http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/search?crit=salem+fire&SearchCategory=NewHampshire%25%3BNEWS%25%3BOPINION%25%3BLOCALVOICES%25%3BSPORTS%25%3BANNOUNCEMENTS%25&daterange=20140916%2C20150916&INDA=0&noblankcheck=0&BuildNavigators=1

Lil

“Could you post on The Walpolean a link to the article about the 5 Alarm Fire that happened last Wed., 9/9/15 in Salem, NH at the Construction Demolition Debris Processing Facility there.
Seeing as our local Boards, (Zoning and Planning), will be discussing the Ruggiero Processing Facility, LLC application to modify and expand the Commercial Business there on Industrial Park Drive, it might be helpful for the local residents to be made aware of the hazards and unnecessary risks the Town of Walpole, and more importantly, the residential neighbors and existing businesses in close proximity of the facility could be burdened
with.”

Share Your Opinion

Sheila Lannon asked me to:

“Please let the residents of Walpole know that there is still time to submit Comments to DES Waste Management Division re: any concerns or comments they have about the Ruggiero Trash Collectors request to modify their current permit to Operate a Commercial Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling Facility, adding Municipal Solid Waste processing, (Household Trash/Garbage), on Industrial Drive in Walpole.

The deadline is this Friday, 8/28/15 at 4PM.

Comments should be emailed to: PAUL.GILDERSLEEVE@DES.NH.GOV and to: SOLIDWASTEINFO@DES.NH.GOV

(Please refer to the 8/19/15 and the 8/21/15 Walpolean posts for more information about this matter.)”