THE THORNDIKE POND CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION, INC.
Box 595, Jaffrey, New Hampshire 03452
Minutes of the 2011Annual Meeting
August 6, 2011 at Meeting House in Jaffrey Center
The meeting was called to order by President Sam Hackler at 10:00. There were 51 members present representing 35 member families on the pond. Those in attendance are listed at the end of these minutes.
Sam first acknowledged board members present: Jim Banghart, Paul Santos, Patty Scholl, Bob Melzer, and Roberta Schnoor. He then recognized Don and Elise Strickland for Don’s lengthy recovery from last year’s bicycle accident incurred during the TPCA triathlon. Sam announced the untimely death of Kevin Marshall, the Camp Wanocksett host for last year’s dinner party. Elise Strickland later stated that Kucky Horton has passed away during the year. Next, Sam announced new members in the last year, Jim and Pattie Potter who were present, Gary and Heather Blazewjewski, and John Bruder and Carol Greenwald who were not present. Houses for sale on the pond at the time of the meeting were those of Jane Walling, Bob Cervenka and Jim Horton.
Jim Banghart gave the Treasurer’s report, a copy of which is attached. Starting balance in the checking count was $5,228.90. The 50th Anniversary costs of last year totaled $4,200 and were self funded, Most of the expenses show up in the just completed year which shows a slightly positive cash flow in the year. Beaver clean up of $900 was about twice what we normally spend due to the high level of beaver activity and a new more expensive beaver control company. Legal fees of $900 were also extraordinary and attributable to work being done to get the TPCA into correct legal status, something that we recently found to be lacking for decades. Our two major programs are Dam work (totaling $832) and Lake Host (totaling $580) are in line with other years, although engineering work on the dam to address a letter of deficiency from the state did result in an additional $2,080 being spent out of the Fund for Thorndike Pond. Other expenses were small and administrative. With favorable dues payments from the membership, the checking account finished the year up $550 with an ending balance on August 1st of $5788.45. The operating savings account and CD were untouched but earned interest during the year leaving a operating fund balance of $16,417.06. The Fund for Thorndike Pond, received $1,790 in donations, almost sufficient to pay for the aforementioned engineering expenses on the dam. With some interest income, the fund balance stood at $13,198.02 on August 1st , down just a few hundred dollars in the past year. Total cash held by the TPCA at month’s end was just short of $30,000.
Jim then gave the water testing results. Water testing on the pond occurs three times per year, once each in the months of June, July and August. The state participates in one of the testings and runs additional tests with equipment we do not have. Water testing results are in line with other years, with slight improvements in pH. Relevant to TPCA is that the state’s VLAP water testing program received reduced funding but only to the extent that state sampling is reduced from once per year to once every two years. Elimination of the program was a possibility earlier in the year. Also relevant to the TPCA was the passing of Jody Connor, the Director of the state’s Limnology Center, a long time advocate for lakes in the state and the catalyst for many of the programs that benefit Thorndike Pond. Bob Radin questioned the recent outbreaks of e-coli at the town beach. The town closed the town beach for three days. The presence of e-coli is the result of animal and human excretions and has been observed every few years on the town beach. It is not necessarily indicative of a problem on the entire lake. The testing is performed by the town and by the state and when it reaches unsafe levels; alerts are posted on the state’s DES and town websites and can result in closing of the town beach. The TPCA will consult with the town if this becomes more frequent. Testing for e-coli is not part of our water testing program but will be considered to be added next year.
Jo Benedek then gave the weed report. Potamogeton (Pondweed), the non evasive variety, is becoming more prevalent in the pond and though usually limited to the shoreline, was observed 400 feet from shore at a depth of 6 feet (correction to the 7 feet stated at the meeting) at the north end of the pond off the boat ramp. Water Shield, noticeable by its small lily pad has been prevalent to the pond, but is down slightly this year. Pickerelweed, with its purple flower common around the pond inlets, is much more plentiful this year, especially at the SW inlet as is Burr Reed. No invasive plants have been observed on the pond but native milfoil is common.
Evie Hammerman gave the report for the Lake Host™ program, explaining the program, its objective and success in reducing the spread of invasive plants. Our program includes paid lake hosts on weekends and some camp coverage during the week but is heavily depended on volunteer time, especially after the camps shut down in a week. She listed the people who have already participated in ramp volunteer time and encouraged the entire membership to take a more active part in the program. A report of a milfoil spotting near the boat ramp was quickly and aggressively inspected by Evie with Paul Santos and Anne Stewart, later by Jo Benedek and a week later by Amy Smagula from the state and all confirmed that there was no invasive species present.
Beaver activity of last fall was discussed next. Sam stated that nine beaver had been removed. Marc Winiecki reported on the removal of the beaver dam from the pond and the extensiveness of the associated beaver activity. Sam expressed gratitude for Marc’s work on behalf of the TPCA.
The minutes from last year’s annual meeting were approved as written on a unanimous vote of the membership. Likewise the membership unanimously approved all actions taken by the board in the last year and accepted the board’s recommendation to increase annual dues from $60 to $75.
Roberta Schnoor described the actions being taken by the board to make the TPCA a legal entity in the State of NH and the resulting by-law and letter of agreement changes. In one vote the membership approved the following items:
- A change to Article 7 of the by-laws to make the fiscal year July 1st through June 30th.
- The adoption of the conflict of interest policy recently approved by the board to become Article 10 of the by-laws.
- An acknowledgement of the rewording of the Forth Article of the Articles of Agreement to describe the of distribution of TPCA assets upon dissolution of the TPCA.
Paul Santos then gave the results of the nominating committee with the following nominations:
- President: Sam Hackler
- VP: Peter Russell
- Secretary/Treasurer: Jim Banghart
- Board members for two years: Patti Scholl and Bob Melzer
Those nominations were moved and unanimously approved by the membership. These board members will join Roberta Schnoor and Ginger Mauer who will complete the second year of their two year terms.
Sam Hackler then described the situation with the dam. We received a letter of deficiency (LOD) from the state. Sam contacted the Dam Bureau and found them cooperative and was able to get agreement on allowing us to raise the lake for the summer to its normal level. A formal written response to the LOD was submitted in writing in early June as required. The TPCA then hired an engineer to look into the problem, do a hydrology study, and then work with the state on remedy for their concern. He introduced the engineer, Jeff Byrd, to the membership and asked him to describe the situation. The state’s requirement is to have twelve inches of freeboard above the water level during a fifty year flood event. Our dam has about twelve inches of freeboard when the water level is at its normal height so our dam is inherently non-compliant. The state had observed the discrepancy during a prior inspection but waved action because we lowered the water level during the most troublesome months. Because of major storm incidents and dam failures around the state, they are becoming more stringent on enforcing existing regulations. Jeff completed a hydrology study and concluded that the water level during a fifty year flood event will overtop the dam by about one inch. A remedy to this would be to add thirteen inches to the embankments beyond the spillway. The state has asked for a plan by the spring of 2012 and a fix by the spring of 2013 but could allow extensions to those deadlines. With actions taken by the board and the work done by Jeff, we are well ahead of that schedule. The next steps are to get the state to approve Jeff’s study results and to have a structural engineer look at the dam’s structure to determine the feasibility of adding to the height of the embankments. Sam then opened the meeting to discussion on the dam:
- Bob Carr questioned if we had consulted a lawyer on the legality of the state’s requirements and if there were legal remedies versus physical ones. Retired NH Superior Court Judge, Bernie Hampsey, stated it was his opinion that the state’s legal position was well established.
- Tim Goodwin questioned if we had considered grants or other types of state funding. Sam responded that other means of financing were being investigated with the aid of legal counsel, but though the investigation continues, nothing satisfactory has been found to date.
- Joe Benedek pointed out that the existing dam was built in the late 60s rather than the 1905 date shown on the state records. An earthen dam was replaced by the current concrete dam at that time. Review of the 50 Years on the Pond book confirmed that major work was completed in 68-69 at a cost of $19,000. It was suggested that a better understanding of the history of the dam might help the investigation and remedy. With a show of hands it was observed that Jo and George Benedek, Peter Russell, and Bernie Hampsey were all candidates to help construct that history.
- Peter McGowan pointed out that the dam was capped in 1990 because of water overtopping the dam and a leak was repaired in 2001. Pictures were provided by Peter and Don Strickland for the two events and they will be reviewed again.
- Chris Lukska questioned if we might want to consider adding a little extra to the enlarged embankments to accommodate future requirements. Jeff pointed out that a 100 year event would increase the required height by about 3 more inches. This suggestion was thought to have good merit and will be considered.
- Eddie Ginsburg asked the membership to “hold the wind and call it a day”. Bernie Hampsey added that he thought the board and engineer seem to be “doing the right thing’s and that discussion on what might happen going forward was only speculation and we should discontinue the discussion and let the board handle the situation until more definitive information is available.
Under other new business:
- Elise Strickland and later others mentioned safety, noise and erosion concerns with the heavy use of motor boats especially on the north end of the pond.
- Emily Carr asked members to watch speeds along the Thorndike Pond Road and Gilson Road, in keeping with the new posted limits on the roads..
- Jim Banghart said the association has additional TPCA T-shirts in size XL, L, and M selling for $5 each, additional 50 Years on the Pond books at $3. And a nice blue sweater left at the party last year.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 12:00. Lunch for those who prepaid was available at the perish house of the church thanks to the services of Patty Scholl, Janet Grant and Leigh Webb.
Handouts available at the meeting included the Member Directory, Lake Shorefront Owners Map, the Treasurer’s Report (included herein), an explanation of the legal changes, and restriction uses along the shoreline. Members unable to attend the meeting can contact Jim Banghart for copies of any of this material. He can be reached:
- By phone at 603-532-4929
- By email at email@example.com
- Or by regular mail at the TPCA PO box (Box 595 Jaffrey, NH 03452)
Members present for the TPCA Annual Meeting, August 6th, 2011
Bob and Emily Carr
Sam and Eileen Hackler
Bernie and Jean Hampsey
Bill and Janet Jackson
Tom, Richard, and Fred Mansfield
Bob and Judith Melzer
Tim Goodwin and Chris Luksha from the Bible Conference
Catherine Pearson with son Eric
Jim and Patti Potter with son Jeremy
Bob Radin and Amy McGregor-Radin
Ann Raleigh Schulte
Paul Santos and Anne Stewart
Bill and Roberta Schnoor
Earl and Pat Silbert
Don and Elise Strickland
Guest John Harris from neighboring Stonewall Farm