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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes of Meetings in 2019


January February March
April May June
July: No Meeting August: Picnic Meeting September
October November December

The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for January 8, 2019

Next Meeting: Tuesday February 5, 2019  at 7:15

Present were Ellen Katz, Vaunita Schnell, Sheila Purdy, Robin Dexter, Evan Westrate, John Mordes, Lee Fisher, and Jean Fisher.

Brian did not attend. (It later turned out that he was unable to attend due to another commitment to an ill friend.) Perhaps because of this, discussion turned initially to the issue of the dues that had been mailed to Brian but not yet deposited because Robin has not yet received them. We also discussed keeping better records of who is supporting our work. This was done by Dr. John for about a decade, but he stopped in 2010 becuase there was no interest at the time in the reports. Sheila Purdy was also concerned about keeping track of the small number of core members who regularly or semi-regularly attend our meetings, and she has started to make the compilation. Dr. John explained that there is an Access database of active and former members that is the basis for the mailing lists and was in the past used to record dues. This is separate from the Outlook distribution list that is used for our regular email notices, now that the minutes of meetings (recorded by Hannah Sherman until her death) are no longer mailed out. Dr. John promised to provide Robin with an Excel spreadsheet with all the membership data, and she and Sheila will use this for dues recording and maintaining the core membership list. Ellen pointed out that she is on the email list but not a recipient of the annual mailing. Dr. John explained that that was likely due to not having her membership paperwork passed along. (That has now been rectified.) We all expressed concern about not getting members' checks cashed in a timely way. In addition, Robin pointed out that Brian needs to go to the bank with her to update the signature cards so that she can process expenses and reimbursements. We will have a stricter accounting of expenses going forward.

It was mentioned that concern in the past over our lack of official 501 c(3) status as a tax-exempt organization has impeded efforts to implement an online dues paying option. Jean Fisher mentioned that the Upper Falls Council has renewed its own status recently, and she, who is a member, will find out if we can normalize or 501 c(3) status using the 'umbrella' of the Council as in the past we used C.A.N.E.P.I. (the Coordinating Association of New England Parks, Inc., no longer an option for us).

As a result of this discussion, it was agreed that the Friends' would now rent a post office box for all future mail and dues receipts. We will also start discussions about having a more robust panel of officers and chain of responisbilities. Dr. John expressed again a hope that he might get some skilled help to redesign and modernize the website.

Betsy Hewitt had notified us 10 days ago that the stairway from Ellis Street up to Echo Bridge was closed. It turned out that a plank had given way, but not it has been repaired and and the stairway is open. The Upper Falls Area Council was on top of this story and sent along these pictures.

Echo Bridge Stair Repair

Councilor Andreae Down was also looking into the stairway issue after learning of it from Dr. John. She sent regrets that she could not attend our meeting due to illness.

We set the date for the Spring Cleanupup as Saturday, April 27. As usual, this is the day before the Run of the Charles.

Lee Fisher gave us an update on his initiative to replace the Echo Bridge railings with an historically appropriate replacement. (The saga of the railings can be found in the Archives on this website. You can visit the project website at www.echobridgerailings.com) Lee reported that we lost our bid to get Community Preservation funds from either Newton or Needham. That and the delay it cause led the MWRA to install the new, completed internal (to the original) railing that you see today. That project used up $250,000 that had previously been appropriated for railings and that we hoped would be used for restoration of the originals. As a result of all of this, the perceived urgency to fix the railings has diminished. The Echo Bridge committee has met to deal with this and plans to seek federal funding seed money for the restoration and then go back to the Newton and Needham for Community Preservation funding. The key to doing this is the "Save America’s Treasures Program". The the program requires that a candidate historical property  has to be deemed to be "nationally" significant. The Registry of Historic Places has local, state, and national designations. Echo Bridge at this time has "state" significance. Upping the level may be difficult, as Echo Bridge is neither the oldest nor longest bridge of its type in the US. However, Lee will be working with the MWRA to find the original plans and the central role of the bridge in creation of a stable water supply for Boston.

The last issue we discussed was a followup to a meeting that was held on the need to improve the safety and environmental quality of the section of Quinobequin Road just downstream from Hemlock Gorge. The participants in that meeting included FoHG member Bob Ellertsen who forward to us the letter that is below. Ellen Katz, who is now a member of the Newton Conservation Commission, reported that the Commission is aware of the issues described below and is actively seeking to implement the stated recommendations.

We agreed that all future meetings would start at 7:15 (as in the past) rather than 7:30.

The meeting adjourned at 21:00

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Interim Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for February 5, 2019

Next Meeting: Tuesday March 5, 2019 at 7:15.

Present were

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Interim Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for March 5, 2019

Next Meeting: Tuesday April 2, 2019 at 7:15

To be continued.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Pearson, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for April 2, 2019

Next Meeting: Tuesday May 7, 2019 at 7:15

To be continued.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Pearson, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for May 7, 2019

Next Meeting: Tuesday June 4, 2019 at 7:39

To be continued

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Pearson, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for June 4 and August 6, 2019

Next Meeting: Tuesday September 20, 2019at 7:15

To be continued

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Pearson, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for September 10, 2019

Next Meeting: Tuesday October 1, 2019at 7:15

To be continued.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Pearson, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for October 1, 2019

Next Meeting: Tuesday November 3, 2019at 7:15

To be continued.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Secretary pro tempore


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for November 3, 2019

Next Meeting: Tuesday December 3, 2019at 7:15

To be continued.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Pearson, Secretary


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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for December 3, 2019

Next Meeting: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 7:15

To be continued.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Pearson, Secretary


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