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The Colebrook Area Garden Club members and guests gathered for a plant swap and potluck dinner on Saturday, June 27 at the Machos home on Monadnock Street. Channeling some Gatsby flair with their summer hats while waiting for appetizers are, from the left, Joy Brooks, Terry Hurlbert, Ginny Freudenberger, Jane Palmer, Brenda Brooks-Gadwah and Sylvia Collins. (Alan Farnsworth photo)

Manning Fund to Be Used for C.A. Chromebooks Purchase This Year

By Rob Maxwell

The Colebrook school board voted last Tuesday, June 23 to spend up to $13,680 from the Edna Greer Manning Fund to purchase 40 Chromebook computers for use by Colebrook Academy students. The board’s decision followed a required public hearing, held during a regular meeting at the elementary school library and attended by four of the seven board members.

The board’s consideration stemmed from discussion of a warrant article during the annual district meeting in March, proposing $30,000 for the purchase of computers. These machines were to be issued to students in both the elementary and high schools on a class-wide basis for the students to keep and use throughout their elementary or secondary academic careers.

Board member John Falconer explained at the March meeting that the board was proposing the $30,000 expenditure as a warrant article to gauge public opinion, in expectation of including the Chromebook purchases as budget line items in future years.

The article was amended from the floor, instructing the board to withdraw funds from the Edna Greer Manning Fund and stating that if those funds could not be used, then no computers would be purchased. Falconer stated that the board would investigate the legality of using the Manning Fund for this purpose.

During the hearing last Tuesday, Colebrook Academy business teacher Ginette White voiced her opposition to the use of Manning Fund money for the Chrome-books purchase. She read the entire contents of a letter to the board, elucidating why she and fellow teacher Alicia Boire felt using Manning money in this instance was improper. The letter explained the teachers’ belief that a reduction of the fund could jeopardize the maintenance of its principal amount. (SAU 7 business administrator Cheryl Covill said the following day that the current principal balance in the fund stands at $224,358.)

Board member Brian LaPerle said he felt that some of Ms. White’s concerns were valid. “We (the board) don’t want to use the fund money for this purpose, but we also think our students should have these devices as soon as possible,” he said. Board chairman Greg Placy added, “The message we received in March was to use this money if possible, but we do not intend to go to this fund again for this purpose.” Mr. Falconer explained that the board would likely make future purchases part of the line-item budget, “which cannot be amended at school meeting.”

When questioned about the process the board had pursued to ascertain the legality of using the Manning Fund, Mrs. Covill said that approval for the money’s use had been obtained from, “The Assistant Director of the Charitable Trust Unit of the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office.”

When asked about the existence or development of written policies concerning student use of the computers and liability for machine damage or loss, Mr. Falconer said the board’s policy committee had not fashioned a policy; however, “The New Hampshire School Board Association has template policies available,” said Mr. Falconer, “so we’ll be looking into that.”

CES principal Dan Gorham noted that the difference between the board’s request for $30,000 in March and the proposed $13,680 in June was the result of the requirement to use the Manning Fund, which limited the machines for use at the Academy only.

(Issue of July 1, 2015)


It didn’t take long for five-year-old Bryson Belanger to find this very large cup at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church’s yard sale, held at the rectory in North Stratford on Saturday, June 27. (Rob Maxwell photo)

Full Weekend of Festivities Heralds July 4th around the North Country

Independence Day celebrations are taking place all over the region this weekend, with events planned from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5.

The Kiwanis Club of Colebrook advises that viewers of this year’s fireworks display should plan to watch from close by, as they’ve gone from Class B to Class C fireworks. The result will be a longer show--about double the time of the usual 10 to 15 minutes—that fires off at a faster clip and offers a big finale. However, the explosions will occur at a lower elevation, so they may not be visible from some of the traditional outlying vantage points.


The 4th of July pool party and fireworks hosted by Groveton Recreation will take place on Thursday, July 2. The party is from 6 to 8:45 p.m. and includes swimming, music and ice cream sundaes, followed by fireworks at dark, around 9 p.m. The cost to attend is $5 per person, and free for children under age three. Pool passes are not valid during special events; more information is available at 636-1552.


This year’s July 4th events in Stratford will include the North Country ATV Club’s 16th Annual New England ATV Rodeo. Parade lineup and an ATV blessing begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Burns Truck Stop, and the parade will start at 10 o’clock. The ATV Rodeo will follow at Burns’ field, with a mud run, radar run and other activities, food and beverage concessions, all sponsored by Absolute Powersports and Riverside Market & Deli. More information is available at www. northcountryatv.com.


The 4th of July Celebration in Errol starts at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 4 with Fishing Fun Day in honor of Miranda Sweatt. Youngsters may try their luck at the kid’s pond, with prizes provided by the Sweatt family for the first girl and boy to catch a fish and the girl and boy who catch the biggest fish.

Kids’ games will take place at the school starting at 11:30, with prizes donated by the Umbagog Area Chamber of Com-merce. Line-up for the 1 p.m. parade starts at 12:30 at the state shed on Route 16, and this year’s theme is “Favorite Fairy Tales.” The popular Log Rolling contest starts at 2:30 at the kid’s pond, with prizes provided by the Chamber of Commerce.

Paddlers and boaters are invited to meet at 3 p.m. for a guided trip on the Androscoggin, leaving from the Steamer Diamond Boat Launch on Route 16. Participants will need their own boat and equipment for the trip, which is guided by two volunteers from the Androscoggin River Watershed Council.

ELC Outdoors and Mahoosuc Outdoors will offer free whitewater rafting trips down the Errol rapids, starting at 4 p.m. Starting at 5 p.m. they will also present a whitewater kayaking demonstration at the Errol rapids, and a free pontoon boat tour starting at 6 p.m.

The fireworks go off at dusk from the bridge on Route 26. Complete information can be found on-line at www.umbagogchamber.com.


Independence Day events all take place on Saturday in Colebrook, starting with the American Legion Pancake Breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. at the Monadnock Congregational Church. All-you-can-eat pancakes, bacon and sausage are available for $7 per adult and $4 for kids under 10.

Children ages 12 and under are invited to cast their lines in the annual Kiwanis Fishing Derby, starting at 8 a.m. at Roger DeBlois’ pond on Trask Road, just off of Route 3 in Columbia.

The Colebrook Recreation Depart-ment’s 4K On The 4th fun run/walk starts at 9 a.m. from the elementary school, and registration forms are available at the town hall or www.colebrookrecreation. weebly.com.

The theme for this year’s parade is “Redneck Olympics,” and participants should start lining up at 10:30 a.m. on Colby Street for the 11 a.m. step-off. The Colebrook Academy Chem-Free Duck Race takes place on the Mohawk River immediately after the parade, starting from the Pleasant Street bridge and ending under the Main Street bridge next to Howard’s. C.A. seniors are selling ducks for $5 each.

The Kiwanis Chicken Barbeque, live music and kids’ activities start at noon on the Colebrook Academy lawn, with parade prizes awarded at 1 p.m. The fireworks go off at dusk from the athletic fields, with a rain date of Sunday, July 5.


The July 4th festivities in Pittsburg take place on Saturday, with most events held at Murphy Dam. The flea market is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ($20 per table), and food concessions will be open from 11 a.m. until dark. The fishing derby takes place for children ages 10 and under, at the Kids’ Pond in the lower village from 1 to 2 p.m.

Back at the dam, cars and antique tractors will be on display from 1 to 5 p.m., along with a petting zoo for the kids and pony rides from 1 to 3 p.m. The day concludes with a chicken barbeque at 6 p.m. and fireworks at dusk. Questions may be directed to 603-538-6540, or to 538-6678.

(Issue of July 1, 2015)


Emile and Rita Croteau received the 2015 Trail Workers Award from American Trails in recognition of their countless hours working for the Millsfield ATV Club. They were nominated for the award by Chris Gamache of the N.H. Trails Bureau. (Jake Mardin photo)

American Trails Recognizes Couple for Work with Millsfield ATV Club
By Jake Mardin

Millsfield ATV Club trailmaster Emile Croteau and his wife Rita of Berlin received the 2015 Trail Worker Award from American Trails, which announced the winners at the 22nd International Trails Symposium last month. The award is given in recognition of contributions in trail planning, maintenance or development.

The Croteaus are founding members of the Millsfield ATV Club, which formed in the mid-1990s, and Mr. Croteau has been trailmaster for over ten years. The couple spends most of their time from May to December at their camp on Millsfield Pond.

Mr. Croteau recalled when ATVs were becoming popular and camp owners started cutting their own trails. He said they were approached by Clint Savage of the N.H. Bureau of Trails, who suggested they start a club and seek out grant funds for trails. The new club applied for grants on a yearly basis, which allowed them to purchase equipment. The state furnished the club with a John Deere tractor, which Mr. Croteau said was a big help, and the club also bought a dump truck, a trail rake and trailers to haul everything.

The club asked permission from the timber companies who owned the land if they could build a trail. Mr. Croteau said in the first five years they had 30-50 miles of trails, and now they have about 140 miles, including roads approved for ATV traffic. Mr. Croteau said the club has advocated for the opening of public roads for ATV use. “We’ve been at that for quite a few years now and it’s proved to be very successful,” he said.

The machines have also evolved, and ATV riding has become more of a family activity, he observed. “Now we’re up to the size of a regular Jeep,” he said. “The side-by-sides, I’d say, have taken over.” Mrs. Croteau agreed, noting, “Now it’s a family thing--you can bring your kids, your dog, whoever.”

The Croteaus have worked with several different agencies over the years. “The reason for our success is definitely the Trails Bureau,” Mr. Croteau said. “Chris Gamache, Clint and his staff are the backbone of what we do.” They also have a good relationship with N.H. Fish and Game, the N.H. Department of Environmental Services, and local landowners. “All the landowners in our area have been just terrific.”

The Millsfield club frequently works with other clubs, including the neighboring Umbagog ATV Club and Milan Trail Huggers, and the Silver Riders ATV Club. “If all the clubs work together we can do so much,” he said. He also talked about the importance of club volunteers, especially when it comes to grants. “We need to pay our portion, and that’s how club members help us.”

Mr. Croteau said the process of building a new trail starts when he contacts Mr. Savage, who then talks with the landowner; if the landowner gives permission, the club obtains a right of way for a certain length of time, and works with DES if there are any wetlands involved. He said it costs $10,000 to $15,000 to build an ATV trail, and along with accepting donations, the club also applies for grants. The club has to pay a portion of the grant, and he said this is where membership dues and fund-raising events are vital.

Once the funds are secured, Mr. Croteau says he is usually the one who decides whom to employ for the project, but if a landowner prefers a specific company then Mr. Croteau goes with the landowner’s wishes. Before the trail is built, Mr. Croteau walks the area with someone from the state and the landowner, and after trail construction the signs can go up. The amount of time it takes to make a new trail depends on the length and the terrain.

The Croteaus are both retired, which means they have plenty of free time to go out on the trails, and Mr. Croteau says he listens to what riders want. “I’m not concerned about a rough trail, I’m concerned about a safe trail,” he said.

His first duty in May is checking all the trails to make sure they are safe. Last year there were several washouts, but this year there were only a few. The day before trails open, the Trails Bureau will put signs up on its trails, and the club is responsible for the side trails. “Not a year goes by without projects,” Mr. Croteau said, and this year work will be done on Deer Mountain, Five Bridges Trail, Hovel Trail, Cow Mountain Trail, Baxter Trail and Metallak Trail.

Rita also does plenty of work during the season, overseeing the annual poker run, gathering donations, selling tickets, and posting signs on trails and in businesses.

Most of the club’s trails are located around the pond, but they spread out over a large distance and riders can reach Pittsburg, Colebrook and other locations. “You can do a lot of riding,” Emile said.

(Issue of July 1, 2015)


Colebrook’s Lexi Lawson and Groveton’s Alicia Lesperance participated in the Granite State Senior Games at Plymouth State University last Wednesday, representing Division IV, and are seen here with coaches Mike Brosseau and Jon Rooney. Division IV lost to Division II, 10-4, but defeated Division III, 7-2. (Courtesy photo)



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