Friends' LogoThe Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes of Meetings in 1996


January February March
April MayJune
July: No MeetingAugust: No Meeting September
October November December

The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for: December 5, 1995 and January 9, 1996.

Next Meeting: February 6,at 7:15, Emerson Center


In the absence of your secretary, some anonymous person took the following notes:

Present on Dec.5 were Brian Yates, Ken Newcomb, Vaunita Schnell, Nina Koch, Don Cusack, John Mordes and MDC Site Supervisor Kevin Hollenbeck

A mailing was prepared to send to all people on our current mailing list. It included a cover letter prepared by John Mordes, a request for dues, an updated brochure prepared by Kevin Hollenbeck, and a return envelope for dues payment.

John Mordes reported on Kay Khan's visit to Quinobequin Rd. land downstream of the Gorge. After touring the site with John, she promised to tell MDC Commissioner Balfour of John's concerns. As a result, Mr. Balfour visited the site and promised to have debris removed.

John also updated his work on getting F.H.G. on the World Wide Web via the Newton page. When it is implemented, John could use students to put material on the Web. This is an exciting prospect even for the computer illiterates in F.H.G.

Discussion of possible change in the dates of meeting resulted in a decision to retain the present schedule.

Kevin said the traditional date for MDC Clean-Up of the Gorge is the 2nd Saturday in May. He suggested that the same day would be a good time to dedicate the Ellis St. Parking Lot.

May 13 was chosen as the date for this event (though my calendar says May 13 is a Monday). More on this later. The Stone Building Committee will meet on Jan.16 at Emerson Center.

Planning the events for May 13 is on the agenda for Jan. 9,1996. This is all the information your secretary has about that meeting which was postponed due to snow.

Your secretary was unable to attend on Jan.9 but hopes to be on hand on Feb.6. Come and find out what goes on!!!

Respectfully Submitted,

Hannah Sherman, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes: February 6, 1996.

Next Meeting: March 5,at 7:15, Emerson Center


Present were: Brian Yates, Ken Newcomb, Don Cusack, Kevin Hollenbeck, Vaunita Schnell, and Nina Koch, Hank Lysaght of the Wellesley Historical Society, and Hannah Sherman.

Don Cusack brought 2 dues checks for John Mordes. Since John was not here, we have no news of Quinobequin Rd. or the Internet.

Kevin Hollenbeck and Vaunita Schnell both spoke about the January meeting of the Stone Building Committee. This was attended by 3 members of the Wellesley Historical Society, including Hank Lysaght. Hank invited us to attend the Historical Society's Feb.18 meeting at which Kevin will try to recruit new members for us. Interest in the Stone Building has increased after a newspaper article about highway beautification. It does stand on Wellesley land.

CLEAN-UP DAY will be MAY 11. Kevin suggests including other projects that day. We could repair the wooden fence on Ellis St., as well as cleaning up rubbish. He proposes this schedule: 9 A.M.---1 P.M.: work; 1 P.M.--eat; After lunch--tour the property. He hopes MDC officials will attend. We can show them the Stone Building.

Ken Newcomb brings his Tour-of-the-Gorge book. Don Cusack says copies should be available at the Stone Building for people to take and use as they walk through the property.

The Open Space Bond Bill: We hope the MDC can use these funds to work on the problem of encroachment on our property by Needham householders.

Vaunita reports that once again a light at the Stone Building is out. She also said that there are 4 cars parked in our Ellis St. lot most of the time. She says Brian Yates should speak to the neighbors about this! (Brian left this meeting early to attend a Newton Land Use Committee meeting.)

We were shown an old postcard from Nina Koch's collection which shows the old zigzag bridge over the stream opposite the Devil's Den. We hope to build the Friends' Bridge here. Discussion of materials followed Wood? Steel beams? Kevin says we'd have to hire help to build with steel but could probably build wood by ourselves.

Ken and Hank Lysaght report new graffiti atop Echo Bridge. A never-ending problem, it seems.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40,

Respectfully Submitted,

Hannah Sherman, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes: March 5, 1996.

Next Meeting: April 2, at 7:15 Emerson Center


Present were Brian Yates, Ken Newcomb, Kevin Hollenbeck, Hank Lysaght of the Wellesley Historical Society, Henry Hicks of the Needham Historical Society, Vaunita Schnell, Nina Koch, Hannah Sherman, and John Mordes.

We were shown old photos of Rte. 9 beside the Stone Building. Some of these were photos of paintings, and all were from the collection of the Jackson Homestead, courtesy of Susan Abele.

Henry Hicks told about the Needham involvement with the Gorge. Annual school-sponsored trips for children to see the Gorge include the caves and Echo Bridge and tie in with exhibits about Indians. Would some Friend of Hemlock Gorge speak to the Needham Historical Society about the history and future of the Gorge? The Needham group also plans to sponsor Scout (Eagle and Girl) projects of planning bike tours to the Gorge. With Continental Cable they are considering 5-minute vignettes about the Gorge and other Charles River locations. They would like to sell these video tapes.

With the arrival of John Mordes we discuss Quinobequin Rd. The "orphan" land just downstream of the Gorge should be controlled by some group who would clean it and police it. The former MDC sewer there now belongs to the MWRA. Mention of the MWRA prompts Brian to suggest asking Tom Gowrys of the MWRA to report on the plans and dates of repairing the Echo Bridge railings and echo platform.

Should we appear at SPRINGFEST in Newton? YES, we'll plan to have a table at that event on MAY 12.

CLEAN-UP DAY May 11 and landscaping of the Ellis St. parking lot were discussed. Problems of parking there also were discussed.

Lida Harkin, Kay Khan and other officials should be invited to Clean-up Day to see the problems at first hand. We discussed routes of walks through the property, these to happen after lunch that day. Henry Hicks says other organizations consult the Needham Historical Society only when something impacts on their own towns. Hank Lysaght points out that the health of the river should outweigh concerns of the separate towns. We should all work together for the good of the river.

This meeting adjourned at 8:40 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Hannah Sherman, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes: April 2, 1996

Next Meeting: May 7,at 7:15 Emerson Center


Present were Brian Yates, Ken Newcomb, Kevin Hollenbeck, Don Cusack, Vaunita Schnell, Nina Koch, John Mordes, and Hannah Sherman.

Ken showed us the original map and several old photos (some pre-dating Echo Bridge) of the property. The map shows the original bounds. To retake the "encroached" land, we must have the land surveyed to find the original bounds and mark the property corners.

Don Cusack reports that our bank balance is $1,057.96. Jim Purdy will be asked to find the level of opulence we must reach before changes in our tax status. John Mordes reports that there are 70 people on the mailing list, of whom 60 are individual members. 22 have paid dues!!!

We plan our appearance at Newton's SPRINGFEST on May 12. We will have a table and sell buttons, pass out brochures, show the presentation boards for the Stone Building (Vaunita will get these from the Wellesley Historical Society) and recruit members. Vaunita Schnell and Hannah Sherman have volunteered to sit at the table. Are there other VOLUNTEERS? One hour per candidate is enough.Te1:332-4149.

We plan CLEAN-UP DAY, May 12. Cleaning starts at 9 a.m. Kevin will bring supplies, plan the assigning of teams, provide some refreshments for lunch. Meet at Hamilton Place parking lot. Planting grass seed (to cover the space left when the homeless man cut down trees for fire-wood) will be done as well as planning the new Ellis St. Parking Lot. We plan to clean from Hamilton Place toward the Ellis St. lot and picnic in the meadow opposite the lot. The Walk will probably start at 1 p.m.

Nina Koch says the Upper Falls CDC may contribute funds for landscaping the Ellis St.,. Lot but we must match them. Vaunita will ask Home Depot to contribute.

The Newton Conservators have asked for a guided tour on a Sunday in June. Will somebody volunteer to lead this?

Vaunita suggests we send Rob McArthur a note of thanks for his past work with us.

This meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Hannah Sherman, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes: June 4, 1996.

Next Meeting: Sept,10,1996 7:15 Emerson Center

NOTE: September Meeting to be held on Sept. 10 and we will have a GUEST SPEAKER:TOM GOWRYS of the MWRA. DO COME!!!


Present on June 4 were: Ken Newcomb, Kevin Hollenbeck, Brian Yates, John Mordes, Vaunita Schnell, Nina Koch, and Hannah Sherman.

We congratulate ourselves on the successful planting at new Ellis St. Parking Lot. We sent $400.and the CDC reimbursed us for the plants. Roy Lamotte was consulted about striping the lot for parking spaces. Our plans for appearing at Springfest were canceled; Springfest was held on the day after our CLEAN-UP DAY, at which we all worked hard.

At 2 p.m. on June 9,the Newton Conservators Sponsored a walk led by Vaunita Schnell. The presentation boards of the restoration of the Stone Building were displayed.

We are told that Tom Gowrys says the MWRA has no money for the work on the railings of Echo Bridge. Also, Kevin Hollenbeck says the MDC will have no money for us for the next 2 fiscal years. Dan Driscoll could help us in acquiring the "new" encroaching land on the Needham side of the Gorge. Brian Yates says there will be no Friends' Picnic this year. He thinks we should be on the Conservators' list of walks in the fall.

Kevin. Hollenbeck considers using a team of prisoners to erase graffiti from Echo Bridge. He also plans to move our bulletin board closer to the path to make it more visible to the public. We should then post our notices there.

WHEN SHALL WE ELECT NEW OFFICERS?

SHOULD WE CHANGE OUR MEETING NIGHT?

COME HELP US WITH THESE DECISIONS!!

The meeting adjourned at 8:31.

Respectfully Submitted,

Hannah Sherman, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for September 10, 1996

Next Meeting: Tues. Oct. 7, 1996, Emerson Center at 7:15


Present on Sept. 1O were: Brian Yates, Ken Newcomb, Hank Lysaght, Don Cusack, Vaunita Schnell, John Mordes, Nina Koch, and our guests Tom Gowrys and Jim Powers of the MWRA.

Tom Gowrys gave explanations of why the railings on Echo Bridge, the Echo Platform and the stairs leading to the platform are not to be fixed in the near future: NO MONEY. He cited the expense of the various operations: for example, the project as originally planned was too expensive to do at one time so it was divided into two parts. $361,000 was spent to repoint the bridge, fix its surface, and waterproof it. Graffiti-proofing was explored but it would change the color of the bridge. Since the bridge is listed in the National Historical Registry, all work must conform to their specifications. Remaining work (echo platform, railings, access to the echo platform, etc.)is estimated to cost $500,000. Brian Yates asked questions about, other sources of money. The MNRA does take the advice of special legislators so we should contact our state delegates (water and sewer representatives of the various cities and towns) to stimulate their interest in the project. Brian says we should ask about the I.C.T. projects. Could we find money there?

Brian will ask DAN DRISCOLL of the M.D.C. to address our October 8 meeting, and speak especially about the downstream Quinobequin Road land problems.

The FALL CLEAN-UP date chosen By the MDC is OCT.26.

We decide to have a table at the STEAM EXPO in Waltham on October 6 in the afternoon. Hank Lysaght will ask for a place for us.

Estimates of monthly expenditures (for Xerox, postage, etc.) are to be sent to Jim Purdy, treasurer. John Mordes will calculate his expense for printing mailing labels.

This meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Hannah M. Sherman, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for October 9, 1996

Next Meeting: Emerson Community Center, Tues. Nov. 12, 1997 at 7:15


Present on October 9 were: Kevin Hollenbeck, Ken Newcomb, Brian Yates, Vaunita Schnell, Nina Koch, John Mordes, Hank Lysaght, Hannah Sherman, and our guest speaker: Dan Driscoll of the MDC.

In his presentation, Mr. Driscoll first told us about the MDC's work on the parkways along the Charles. Having worked on the lower river, they now and to complete the connection from Cutler Park to the Esplanade. (In Newton alone there are 92 illegal encroachments on MDC land.) The path from Highland Avenue, Needham to Cutler Park has already been finished. $35,000 was raised to restore the path and place picnic tables.

As Mr. Driscoll explained, money can be found from the ICT fund, a Federal Government Program, but it must be matched by funds from other sources. The State may contribute 20% of the money. If the Friends of Hemlock Gorge could get an ICT grant, the MDC would have to implement it. The MDC itself had not money to buy land. Land acquisition forms could be sent to us (these help with the proposed expansion of our property on the Needham side.) The Mass. Highway Dept. oversees ICT projects and recommends them to the EOTC. A Nov. 20 meeting at the Transportation Building will discuss standards of review for future projects. Dan Driscoll is willing to help Kevin Hollenbeck make application for grant money on our behalf.

To present the Stone Building for an ICT grant, we should have a cost estimate and a design of the plans. Doug Okum, the architect, should be able to do this for a fee. Hank Lysaght will visit Mr. Okum to ask for more information about the Stone Building plans. We are told that the deadline for ICT applications is after Jan. 1, 1997. Dan Driscoll suggests that the Mass. Historical Society join us in requesting funds for the Stone Building.

CLEAN UP DAY on October 26 from 10-12. Meet at Hamilton Place. (Too few people actually came, but the work was done anyway. We thank ROCHE BROS. Store for the delicious lunch AND we especially send THANKS to MATTHEW PURDY for his help.)

John Mordes will investigate a web site for the Friends. He brought us material on the dreaded Woolly Adelgid.

Hank Lysaght presented material about the CWRA's water samples and Newton's sewer problems.

This meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Hannah M. Sherman, Secretary

P.S. Since Oct. 9, Hank Lysaght has spoken with Lawrence Wolozin who invites us to hold our December meeting at his restaurant. So the Dec. 3 meeting will be at MILLS FALLS RESTAURANT.


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for November 12, 1996

Next Meeting: Mills Falls Restaurant, Tues. Dec. 3, 1996 at 7:15


Present on Nov.12 were Brian Yates, Ken Newcomb, John Mordes, Hank Lysaght, "Bobbie" Demers (guest of Hank Lysaght) and Hannah Sherman. Kevin Hollenbeck sent a message that he cannot work on the Stone Building- project until after Jan.1,1997.

With Kevin's unavailability, the Echo Bridge restoration work becomes more nearly attainable than that on the Stone Building. Brian Yates says the MWRA has to come out to assess storm damage anyway.

John Mordes reported in depth on our position on the World Wide Web. The City of Newton Page is not directly managed by the city, and there is no provision for non-governmental organizations at this time. John offers us three alternatives:

  1. Ask the City to ask the Library to add us to their space.
  2. Let John add us to the Web where he works
  3. Buy our own space (this costs $19 or $20 per month)
  4. As suggested by Brian Yates, ask the Newton Conservators if we nay join their space.

Brian Yates says the Newton Conservators are sponsoring an Open Forum on Nov.14 at the Newton Public Library. Brian is one of the speakers.

John Mordes brought the first draft of a letter about annual dues, including mention of our activities in 1996. Brian Yates made some additions and we'll he sending this out soon. The report mentions lack of progress on the "Friends' Bridge". Nothing can be done until the planned span is measured. Hank Lysaght and John Mordes plan to do this soon.

Hank Lysaght encourages us to take part in the CRWA project to clean the Charles River. Shall we be a "Stream Team" and adopt a section of the river'? Brian may write the Mass. Highway Dept. about our taking charge of the edge of the Gorge. Could we invite the abutters on the Needham side of the property to join us, or at least to cooperate by not throwing their trash onto our land'?

This meeting adjourned at 8:50 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Hannah M. Sherman, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for December 3, 1996

Next Meeting: Emerson Community Center, Tues. Jan. 7, 1997 at 7:15


Present were: Brian Yates, Kevin Hollenbeck, Ken Newcomb, Hank Lysaght, Bobbie DeMers, Vaunita Schnell, John Mordes, and Hannah Sherman.

We met at Mills Falls Restaurant thanks to Larry Wolozin, its proprietor and FHG member. Discussing the "Adopt a Stream" project mentioned in our last notes, we think of inviting representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection and Charles River Watershed Association (CWRA) to speak at our January meeting. Shall we adopt "Turtle Island?" Brian Yates tells us the National Lumber Co. is adopting part of Route 9, so maybe we could ask them for lumber for the "Friends' Bridge."

Most of the evening vas devoted to John Mordes' explanation of our position on the World Wide Web! We ARE on it!!! Congratulations to John for all his work in this matter. He signed a contract with Channel 1, in Cambridge, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) cheaper than some others. We pay only $18.50 per month and get twice the disk space as offered by some competitors. Our new stationery gives our Web address: http//www.channel.com/users/hemlock. We also have e-mail: hemlock@user1.channel.com.

John showed us a hardcopy of our first page and read it to us. The annual letter is already on line as are the minutes of the November meeting, John's e-mail address, and the names of the officers. Ken Newcomb's "Walking Tour of Hemlock Gorge" will be on line shortly, especially if it can be accompanied by pictures. We need a definitive image of the property to add to our "Home Page." Kevin will send John a current image to add. Also on our page should be mention of our benefactors, such as Mills Falls Restaurant, National Lumber Company, etc.

Money: Brian Yates asks Kay Khan to help find funds for the new "Friends' Bridge." Dan Driscoll is quoted as saying I.C.T. funds may not be appropriate because the Bridge is not relevant to transportation. Could we ask Tom Gowrys of the MDC to tell us of their plans for repairing Echo Bridge?

Adding other organizations to our mailing list will b a topic of discussion on Jan. 7. Bring addresses!

Our host, Larry Wolozin, served coffee and. delicious hot muffins. We hear of his plan for a new cafe menu. We thank him for a most comfortable meeting site and hope that he will let us come again in the spring.

This meeting adjourned at about, 9:20.

Respectfully Submitted,

Hannah M. Sherman, Secretary


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