Fast News for June 14

Another game in town

AMHERST – Bocce, an ancient game played in the Roman Empire and now a favorite of sun-loving retirees, is coming to Amherst.

This summer the town recreation department will build a bocce court in Buchanan Park on Middle Street, where the town ice-skating pond used to be. Bocce will give “residents another avenue for recreation,” Craig Fraley, town recreation director, told the planning board last week. It was requested by “folks who live in Florida in the winter and are here in the summer,” he said. The department also polled other people who “think it’s a neat idea … young folks too.” Construction should start in July, and the board agreed it will be a good use of the property.

Bocce is the third recreation facility Fraley’s department has introduced in the past couple years. There is now a pump track and disc golf course in the new Birch Park, off Baboosic Lake Road.

New subdivision eyed

AMHERST – Preliminary plans for a 10-house subdivision on Brookwood Drive drew concerns from the planning board and neighbors last week. Board member Marilyn Peterman told representatives of Meridian Land Services that the design doesn’t fit a neighborhood of older, smaller houses. Neighbors are concerned about the location of the exit and entrance.

Board Chairman Michael Dell Orfano suggested Meridian vary the design, so the subdivision “doesn’t look like it all came out of the same machine,” perhaps including a one-story house.The proposal, from land owners John W. & William R. Day and Virginia Barbera, is expected to go before the board as a formal plan on July 18.

LaBelle moving


AMHERST – There will be a final public hearing on LaBelle Winery’s planned distillery on July 8. Ken Clinton, of Meridian Land Services, was before the planning board on June 6 to show grading and drainage plans. LaBelle’s plan involves a lot line adjustment with abutting Camp Young Judea that makes the 11.2 acre property a new 26-acre property behind their current facility. LaBelle and Arboleda Reality had planned to expand on property across Route 101, an “artisan village,” they called it, with an inn, distillery, restaurant and office space. Abutter Richard Fredette appealed the Amherst Zoning Board’s approval of the plan, saying it was too dense for this semi-rural part of town.

Free concerts

MONT VERNON – Friends of the Daland Library are offering free summer concerts this summer, on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 on the village green, starting with Pete, Morgan and Friends on July 11 and Amy Conley & the Kukuleles on July 18. The concerts are funded by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

New appointment

AMHERST – The SAU board has approved the recommendation of Associate Superintendent Adam Steel to make Christine Landwehrle the assistant superintendent of schools effective July 1.

Landwehrle is the Amherst-Mont Vernon district’s director of curriculum and professional development,

“Everyone who works with Christine knows how competent and passionate she is about students. She is world class and a key part of our future! – at Souhegan High School,” Steel tweeted on the school district web site.

Landwehrle has been with the district since 2012 when she was hired as assistant director of curriculum and professional development

Porter Dodge


AMHERST — The gymnasium of Amherst Middle School was formally dedication to Principal Porter Dodge during an assembly in his honor last week.

Dodge is leaving his principal post but is not going far – he will be the district’s new part-time director of operations, overseeing facilities, transportation, school nutrition services and life safety issues for all of the Amherst and Mont Vernon schools.

Dodge has had a 40 year career in education and has worked as a social studies teacher and a curriculum coordinator and on June 6 students celebrated his leadership with a student dance-off and basketball challenge.

Dean of instruction Bethany Bernasconi will be replacing Dodge as the new principal.

Paid firefighters

MILFORD – Two full-time paid firefighters were scheduled to start work at the Milford Fire Department on June 11.

Fire Chief Jack Kelly explained the hiring process to selectmen recently. Five candidates applied to an in-house job posting, and volunteers Ryan Hooper and Michael Goldstein were chosen and both accepted the job offers. Until now, Milford was the largest community in New Hampshire to still have an on-call department, with only the chief and two captains paid.

Money for the paid positions was included in the town operating budget after Kelly told the board last year that only about four men typically show up for daytime calls and it is becoming harder and harder to attract them.

New firehouse

MILFORD – In March voters approved the addition-renovation plan for the Milford Fire Station, and Fire Chief Jack Kelly recently gave selectmen a project update. Groundbreaking is scheduled to start at the end of July or beginning of August, and the department’s offices will be in the old schoolhouse, formerly The Cabinet’s offices, across School Street. There are a “host of hurdles” being addressed, including “nailing down” the school house, the chief said.

Town hall rental

MILFORD – Non-profit organizations from other communities will be charged rental and custodial fees under a new fee structure for the town hall auditorium and banquet hall proved by selectmen recently.

Non-profits from Milford would not be charged a hall rental fee, as long as they are not charging a fee for the event. A new simplified fee structure includes setup and take down fees, based on the number of hours worked by custodians, instead of the number of people attending. Custodial fees will now be $30 per hour for weekdays and $50 for weekends to cover overtime rates and the additional cost for having staff at a weekend event. An unwritten rule that the town hall is not available for private events, like weddings and baby showers, is now formalized.

Selectmen agreed that they don’t want rentals to become a revenue stream, but they also don’t want them to cost taxpayers money.

Free seed program

AMHERST – The 2017-2018 Amherst Garden Club awarded a $400 grant to the New Hampshire Master Gardener Free Seed Program. The program started in the fall of 2017 with Master Gardeners collecting expired seeds from local garden centers, big box stores and individuals. Master Gardeners of New Hampshire volunteer to package sixteen free seed packets/ mailing and ship them to nonprofit organizations. Starting in January, Gary Sheehan, Master Gardener, oversaw the mailing of 230-plus packets to schools, youth groups and non-profit organizations. Postage expenses were covered by donations.

Strawbery Banke donated Heritage and Heirloom seeds this past spring. In promoting gardening and habitat enhancement (butterfly loving flower seeds) there will be an expected postage expense of $860 for the 2018-2019 year. The Amherst Garden Club along with the Portsmouth Garden Club have donated funds for the 2018-2019 Free Seed Program. To learn more about this program open to our local schools and other nonprofit organizations go to

Recycling Rule$

EPSOM – The Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA), New Hampshire the Beautiful and NRRA’s School Recycling CLUB presented eleven awards to teachers, students and groups who have started, expanded and/or sustained their school recycling programs. The awards were presented at the 9th Annual School Recycling Conference on May 22, 2018 at the Manchester Downtown Hotel in Manchester.

“We are committed to supporting and recognizing the recycling efforts of schools,” said Michael Durfor, NRRA Executive Director. “NRRA knows students are tomorrow’s recyclers, consumers and environmental leaders. Sustainable school recycling programs depend on students, teachers and facility staff all working in concert. Through its innovative “Town and Gown” recycling program, NRRA helps bring schools and the town transfer facilities together to increase recycling and reduce costs. The NRRA School CLUB also recognized Queen Elizabeth II and 12-year-old Nadia Sparkes of the United Kingdom for their recent recycling initiatives. Both of their programs epitomize the Recycling Rule$ Conference theme.”

For nomination details on each recipient, visit The School Recycling CLUB’s Conference website page at

Local 2017/2018 School Recycling Award recipients were:

Team Earth Best of the Best Gold Award: Milford Middle School.

Best Earth Day Event: Milford Middle School.

Outstanding Work Study Student Recycler: Gabriel Clark, Hollis Brookline High School.