Hudson-Litchfield News

Weed Watchers Trained

by Lynne Ober

Have you ever wondered how a state with over 800 lakes and only eight trained biologists on state payroll can evaluate and watch so many bodies of water?  It’s primarily thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who care about their communities and the bodies of water within those communities.

Members of the various Hudson conservation groups, including Friends of Ottarnic Pond, were recently trained as Weed Watchers by New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) Biologist Amy Smagula.

"Weed Watchers", begun in 1988 by DES, is a volunteer association dedicated to monitoring the lakes and ponds for the presence of exotic weeds.  Volunteers are given a special "Weed Watchers Kit" which contains the following:

  • Photographs of exotic plants.
  • Detailed drawings of the plants.
  • An information bulletin on exotics.
  • A list of lakes known to have exotic plants, including a map.
  • Recommendations on how to conduct a plant survey.
  • A complete set of fact sheets and pamphlets on exotics in New Hampshire.


From Left to right:  Curt Laffin shows Ed Mercer and Mike Cunningham how a beetle is attacking the Purple Loosestrife.

Weed Watchers are trained in weed and plant detection and are supported by DES staff throughout the summer season.  “Usually we tell people to section their body of water into grids,” said Smagula.  “Then each person takes a grid and once a month examines it for weeds.”

The watchers are carefully trained to recognize Milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum, Myriophyllum spicatum) and fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana), two exotic aquatic plants that have become economic and recreational nuisances in some of New Hampshire's lakes and ponds.  Early detection is important because exotic plants can create the following problems:

  • Displacement of beneficial wildlife.
  • Reduction of aesthetic quality of lakes.
  • Devaluation of waterfront property.
  • Littering of beaches with plant fragments.
  • Makes swimming difficult and dangerous.
  • Snags fish lines and stunts fish life.
  • Becomes tangled in outboard motor propellers.
  • Chokes boat traffic lanes.
  • Requires substantial funds for managing.

If accidentally introduced into a lake, they grow at explosive rates.  Volunteers play an ever expanding and increasingly important role in determining if a body of water has been infested because once fully established, these exotic weeds are virtually impossible to eradicate.

Thanks to the efforts of the Conservation Committee, Friends of Ottarnic Pond and Friends of Hudson Natural Resources, Ottarnic Pond was treated for milfoil early this summer.  Now it is the goal of the weed watchers to keep it free from further infestation.

An aquatic plant survey has been completed for Ottarnic Pond.  In addition to Milfoil, the shoreline of the pond has been infested with Purple Loosestrife, although Curt Laffin found one of the beetles released in 2003 around Robinson Pond happily munching on a Purple Loosestrife at Ottarnic.  “The beetles seem to have migrated and they are helping reduce the infestation that we’ve experience,” said Laffin.

Smagula taught weed watchers how to retrieve samples and then how to identify what they had retrieved.  During the season, if a weed is suspicious or new to the area, the weed watchers are instructed how to package it for shipping to DES for further investigation.

We’ve been sampling the water every month since the treatment and we just got another $1,000 so that we can extend our Lake Host program,” smiled Ed Mercer.  “This pond looks so much better than it did last year and we are all committed to keeping it that way.  The native species are making a comeback and look good now that the pond has been treated.”

The weed watchers will also be tracking what’s growing in and around the pond and what’s spreading.  “Obviously the goal is rapid detection and rapid response,” said Smagula, “but it’s good to know what is growing in your pond.  Weed Watchers are very quick to spy a new plant or an invasive growth starting to spread. These volunteers are dedicated to stopping the spread of exotic aquatic plants and we count on them.”


Curt Laffin and DES Biologist Amy Smagula examine the aquatic plants that Amy has raked from the bottom of Ottarnic Pond as part of the Weed Watchers training.


USMC Corporal Carl-JD Poole Comes Home

by Maureen Gillum

United States Marine Corps Corporal Carl-JD Poole was welcomed home in style from his tour of duty in Iraq and service at Camp Pendleton.  About 50 of Carl-JD’s family and friends gathered on July 23 at his parents Hudson home to salute his 2 1/2 years of military service and safe return complete with a pig roast.  “I served six months in the ‘original (Iraq) war’ as a USMC combat engineer.  I specialized in construction and demolition, with an emphasis on demolition,” explains the handsome and amiable 22 year-old.  “My squad headed up assaults, so our job was to keep pushing the front,” nonchalantly recounts ‘Combat Carl’, “I was one of the first of nine to hit a Baghdad Palace in that spring of 2003.”  

Despite his easy smile, Carl-JD gives you an immediate appreciation that war is serious business, at the front and at home.  He explains, “you stay on auto-pilot to stay alive and you really don’t think or feel too much in the field.”  Carl-JD solemnly adds, “it’s when you get back that it kind of all hits you.”  He readily admits his wife of three years, Joanna, was his “very best support” and what kept him going through the worst.  Like being cramped up in 120 degree tank and wearing a non-breathable chemical suit for three solid days.  Keeping his weapons clean amidst the sand, sleeping in full gear, and going a month without showering were tough too. 


Carl-JD Poole, and his wife, Joanna, home together at last.

An important support life-line to our troops is care packages.  “While they don’t always make it in tact, care packages of any kind were really great to get,” advises Carl-JD, “the best things to send are socks, snacks, and playing cards.”  For more information on how and what to send our troops, visit:  www.anysoldier.com, www.USOCARES.org (or phone 1-866-USO-GIVE), www.state.nh.us/nhsupport/, or contact the local chapter of the American Red Cross in Nashua (www.nashua.redcross.org, 889-6664, 28 Concord St).

Living life on-the-edge and in constant worry at home is no easier.  As ‘communications hub’ for his family and squad buddies, Joanna lived for Carl-JD’s calls home from Iraq -- all three of them in six months.  “It’s just so awesome to have him home,” smiles Joanna, his relieved wife.  “It was pretty stressful having him away for so long,” she confesses, “but you just keep going and keep busy.”  Joanna also admits she lived in Carl-JD’s clothes and sweatshirts, “as a comfort thing.”  And, she thankfully adds, “there’s always family.”

Joanna and Carl-JD’s Mom, Anna-Maria Poole, along with grandparents, Joanne and Leo McClure, helped keep each other busy by making a handmade red and black quilt for Carl-JD.  The quilt became a three-generation family affair, which collectively took these serious crafters about 120 hours to complete.  “We quilted a lot of love into it for him,” says Anna-Maria, “and we just kept hoping and praying that he would come home safely to see it.” 

Thankfully, the 2001 Alvirne High School graduate, returned home safely, but many did not. Tragically, Poole lost his squad leader to an Iraqi sniper in their very first fire fight -- just one of the nearly 2,000 U.S. and coalition casualties in Iraq, between “the original (Iraq) war” and “OIF2” (post-ceasefire Operation Iraqi Freedom 2), to date.  Carl-JD’s last two years of service was spent stateside at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, where he was involved in range operations and training as well as building and constructing.

Now, Carl-JD faces the challenges of getting readjusted to home life -- his new wife (they married in St. John’s in Hudson just weeks before he shipped out), finding their first home (they’re bidding on a abandon house just outside Manchester), and landing a decent job.  He is redefining himself as a civilian.  “Short-term, I’m interested in working with my hands and getting into construction,” says Carl-JD, “long-term, I want to go back to school for civil engineering, using my GI Bill.”  He’ll also serve in the in-active reserves for another four years.  Roland Poole, his Dad, beams as he reassures his son on his civilian re-entry, “You’ll do great -- I’ve been proud of you since the first day you were born!”

Of course, Carl-JD comes by his craft of building and wood working naturally.  His grandfather, Leo McClure, 71, has been a wood worker his whole life, tackling everything from modeling and cabinetry to the delicate scroll saw intricacies of a craft called intarsia.  Most recently, Leo spends his time building and touring with his fantastic miniature carousels.  “Locally, we’ve done carousel shows at nursing homes and they really love it,” shares Leo McClure.  “We were also invited to show our carousels at the National Carousel Convention in Pittsburg on August 20th,” adds his wife, Joanne McClure, proudly.  Leo even set up one of his fully operational grand miniature carousels, which took him seven months to build, at Carl-JD’s welcome home party to the delight of all.  Like a good home coming, carousels just seem to make everyone smile.

Welcome home, Carl-JD Poole, and good luck with everything in your New Hampshire re-entry!  Your home town of Hudson, and your country, sincerely thank and honor you for your service and bravery in the United States Marine Corps. 


Car a Total Loss From Fire

The Hudson Fire Department received several calls for a motor vehicle fire on July 20, 2005.  Engine 2 with a crew of Captain Steve Gannon, Firefighter Steve Benton and Firefighter Dean Sulin responded with Engine 2 from Central Station to the area of Greeley Street and Central Street.  On arrival crews found the engine compartment fully involved.  A single line was stretched from the engine to extinguish the fire using approximately 250 gallons of water.  The fire, listed as accidental, appears to have started in the fuel filter area.  The 1994 Ford Mustang, owned by John Fournier of Hudson, was a total loss.


Hudson Pre-School Expands

by Lynne Ober

There’s an on-going and expanding growth in the breadth of needed and mandated special education services.  Hudson School Board learned how that will affect the special education (SPED) pre-school that the district has run for many years.

Special Education Director, Dr. Irene Sousa, told that Board that SPED staff had been working with “the parents of three-year old twin girls who are both diagnosed with Autism.  Both youngsters require a program with Applied Behavior Analysis instruction as well as an integrated component so that they can learn through the modeling of typically developing peers.”

It is the integration component that posed the issue.  Up to this point only pre-school children who were diagnosed with a federally mandated learning disability could attend the pre-school offered and paid for by Hudson taxpayers.  Children who are not identified as having a special education need and who attend pre-school, do so at their parents’ expense in privately run pre-schools.

However, the law has changed to mandate that some children in these programs be integrated with children who do not have special education needs.

Sousa told Board members that if the Hudson pre-school was not changed to incorporate this integration component, then “it may very well be necessary to place the twins in an out-of-district placement such as Sunrise Early Intervention for at least half a day.  The tuition cost at Sunrise ranges from a daily three hour rate of $83.95 to $154.94 for a six hour day, not including transportation and other related services.  That means that Sunrise could cost the district close to $30,000 per child for a full-day program.”  For the two children in question, the yearly amount would be well over $75,000 by the time tuition, transportation and other services were calculated.

According to Sousa the parents would prefer to keep the twins within the school district, but were insisting integrated services be offered to their children.  However, they were willing to wait until the fall school year before requiring the district to comply with the integrated component.

Sousa also told the Board that there were a number of other children “requiring an integrated component.”  Of the thirty-one children enrolled in the pre-school program, which begins at age three, seven of them are diagnosed with “an Autism spectrum disorder,” stated Sousa, who also said that four additional students would be entering the program within the next year.

To add an integrated component, a new teaching position needed to be added.  Although Sousa originally proposed using IDEA Grant funds to fund another pre-school teacher, the Board asked for other options to be developed, including the investigation of incorporating the Little Bronco program currently offered as part of the Vocational Center at Alvirne.

Superintendent Randy Bell wrote a memo, passed out at the Board meeting to the three present Board members [Nolan absent with a medical issue and Bouchard absent due to a death in his family].  He suggested a number of options, including moving a vacant full-time para-professional position to the pre-school, charging tuition to the non-sped students and using the tuition monies to offset the rest of the cost of a full-time teacher’s salary.

Bell told Board members that including the Little Bronco program as part of the pre-school was not possible due to lack of additional space at the high school.

Board members discussed the options and then agreed to wait until the next meeting to make a decision.

At the next Board meeting, School Board member, Dave Bouchard, noted that the Superintendent’s memo had not been delivered to either himself or, he believed, Board Member Nolan and asked if the Board had to vote on the position that evening, noting that he wasn’t prepared since he hadn’t had the memo.

In response to his question, Assistant Superintendent, Maryellen Ormond, indicated that there was a need to finalize the option that evening.

School Board Chairman, David Alukonis, spoke in favor of not using federal funds to create a new position and urged the Board to convert the para-professional position and use tuition monies to fund the other portion of the new teacher’s salary.

Bourchard asked if a new position didn’t need to go to the Warrant for voter approval, but Ormond indicated no because it was a special education position.

Ormond also told the Board that other school districts were charging $10 per day tuition with parents of non-SPED student providing transportation.  SPED pre-school students get transportation at district expense because it is mandated by the federal law governing special education.

The Board ultimately voted 3 – 0 – 1 with Bouchard abstaining and Nolan absent to use the vacant para-professional position, and charge $10 per day tuition with those funds going to fund the rest of the teacher’s salary and benefits.


Annual Car Show to be Held at Hudson Old Home Days

On August 20 the Carbonscrapers Car Club of Hudson will hold its Annual Car Show during the Old Home Days celebration at the Hill House on Route 102 in Hudson beginning at 12:00 p.m. (rain or shine).  Participant ribbons will be given to all drivers.  There is no charge.  We will have a DJ again this year and there will be a shaded seating area for car show participants.

We will be raffling off a pedal car as well as donated items from members.  Last year we were able to donate $500 to the New Hampshire Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in memory of Jack Sears.

We hope to see you this year.  Come by and enjoy the Old Home Days festivities as well as the car show.  If you have any questions, you may call 889-4697 for more information.

17 Executive Drive, Suite One, Hudson, NH 03051 Phone: (603)880-1516 Fax: (603)879-9707
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