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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes of Meetings in 2012

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

The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for January 3, 2012

Next Meeting: Tuesday February 7, 2012 at 7:30

Present were Brian Yates, John Mordes, Bill Tedoldi, Bob Burke, Robin Dexter, Susna Huffman and Jerry Reilly.

Brian announced that we had around 20 responses so far to our December mailing. He estimates that this has added another $400 to the treasury, which now stands at around $9,400. A number of bad addresses were weeded out. Brian opened each envelope with a flourish and shared the sender's votes on what our 2012 priorities should be. He will tally the votes later.

Jerry Reilly gave Brian another $90 from additional sales of Makers of the Mold.

Brian shared with us an article he found in the Journal of the American Chestnut Foundation, Vol 25 (6), Nov/Dec 2011. It is a comprehensive article and relatively optimistic, stating that "Hemlock woolly adelgid will probably never be completely eradicated, buit ti may be controlled enough to salvage some part of the hemlock's range. In the meantime, seeds from across the species' range are being banked just in case.

We again discussed the pros and cons of importing western or Asian hemlocks and again recognized that the DCR has in the past opposed introduction of non-native species. Bob Burke will check in with the Arnold Arboretum on the status of their hemlocks.

There will be a guided Hemlock Gorge walk on Feb. 4 sponsored by the Brookline Adult Education group. Contact them for details.

We've tentatively set the spring cleanup for April 21 to coincide with the day of the Charles River Cleanup.

Brian suggested we attend some community spring fairs and distribute brochures. He will also distribute some at city hall and various local libraries.

We had another discussion of the Quinobequin trail closure issue. There was general agreement that common sense is being trumped by distant bureaucrats, but since such bureaucrats now control us, there is little to be done.

Susan suggested we try for electronic dues payment, and yours truly promised to look into it again when he has time.

Dr. John and Brian also voiced concluding appreciation for the attendance of Robin and Susan at our meeting for the first time.

We adjourned at 8:53 p.m.

Eschatologically Submitted,

John Mordes, Surreal Interim Secretary

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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for February 7, 2012

Next Meeting: Tuesday March 6, 2012 at 7:30.

Present Brian Erica Jerry Riley, Bob Burke Bill Tedoldi, Susan Huffman; Maureen Byrne

1. Lights on street near Stone Building are on. Not sure about interior.
2. Work is progressing on the windows. Our share will be $2162. Eyebrow windows will be Lexan-ed.
    2a. Treasury balance: $9800.00
3. On Needham side one of the stone steps for getting on the footbridge as vandalized. Someone took the trouble to put it in the river. Mr. Kruger's dog couldn't get up becaouse of this. Erica will rescue the stone in the spring. Temporary wooden step is in place
4. Raceway dam replacement still scheduled to start in April. Expect to see construction.
5. Trees are going to be planted along Ellis street north of Echo Bridge
6. There will be changes at the rte 9 intersection. Traffic lights are planned to speed things during rush hour.
7. Another $60 from the Makers of the Mold publishing house; total $2686 so far. Amazing.
8. President BY would like to have representatives at varous fairs like those in the Hoghlands..Needham
9. A dead body was found in the Charles River near Moody Street
10. CRWA is seeking volunteers to help with the Run of the Charles
11. Jerry Riley says there will be an Upper Falls newsletter. contact him with articles. We will send a link.
12. Jerry asks if we can generate power via the silk mill. Not easy legally, as prvious owner ceded water rights to state. Getting back water rights would be hard. Haynes management runs the Silk Mill. They are the people who generously allowed us to have to party in one of their halls to celebrate the publication of Makers of the Mold last year. Jerry has had no recen tmeetings. Mayor Warren has expresssed interest. Federal funds available. Meeting of the principals may happen.
13. Survvey work going on regarding alleged encroachments on the Needham side..
14. No news on the trees for the Needham side..
15. Cleanup will be on 4/21

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Orchidaceous Interim Secretary

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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for March 6, 200x

Next Meeting: Tuesday April 3, 2012 at 7:30

Present: Brian, Erica, Jerry Riley, Maureen Byrne, Vaunita Schnell, and John Mordes

1. Lights on street near Stone Building are on, and so, apparently are the interioro lights.

2. Work or the windows for the Stone Building is proceeding and installation may actually take place. the Friends have approved a contribution in the amoutn of $2600 or so to the cost of installation.

3. Spring Cleanup date remains 4/21; details to be sorted out at the next meeting.

4. Fixing of raceway dam is apparently on schedule. The dam builders apparently got some hassle from one of the oversight commissions, but that was settled after voluminous email exchanges. Start date is April 1. Bidding inspections will take place March 7. About 30 trees will be revomed hear the Route 9 exit ramp for the construction. New trees will be planted as part of the project.

5. Interlude of idle chatter.

6. Jerry announced that he has abandoned plans for a Hemlock Gorge "Chalk Festival" (chalk drawings on the Echo Bridge walkway) after strenuous and insurmountable objections were raised in opposition. The Newton Arts Center was supportive, however.

7. For the first time since it went to press, there have been no Makers of the Mold book sales for a month. We suspect, however, that the Jackson Homestead has sold its conisgnment supply and may owe us some money.

8. No news on plantings on the Needham side.

9. Brian and Erica expressed concern about increasing numbers of bittersweet vines in the park. What to do is not clear.

10. Erica revealed that a local Girl Scout has formulated a really wonderful project to put instructional signage along the Quinobequin trails. The signs will feature QR barcodes that can be scanned with a smartphone and will bring up detailed information about the tree or bush or view for the hiking public. Erica has developed a non-invasive stragegy for placing the signage and we all applauded this brilliant effort to improve the experience of riverbank visitors.

11. Jerry Reilly volunteered to work with JPM to make it possible to pay dues on our website via PayPal. They are also planning to start work on modernization of the website overall.

12. The Friends approved $200-$200 to pay an Access programmer to update and modernize our members' database.

Enthusiastically Submitted,

JPM, Reluctant Interim Secretary

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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for April 3, 2012

Next Meeting: Tuesday, Mayday, May 1, 2012 at 7:30

Attendees: John Mordes, Brian Yates, Jerry Reilly, Bob Burke, and Robin Dexter

  1. Cleanup will be 4/21 starting at 9 a.m.
  2. There was unanimous agreement that this year we would like to reward Seana for all the lunches she has provided over the years with a financial gift and, if possible, a round of applause at the end of the cleanup. Seana is planning to run the marathon and we hope to support her in this effort too.
  3. Pearsons are back in town and will help, but could not be with us tonight. Maria Rose is helping coordinate.
  4. Brian has provided some copies of Makers of the Mold to the Jackson Homestead.
  5. Jerry Reilly reported that 5 more Makes of the Mold copies have sold
  6. Work on the spillway repair has started (see below)
  7. Brian announced that the City of Newton is teaching tree planting and pruning. Contact City Hall
  8. Bill Tedoldi said there is a Needham Sidewalk Sale in June. Would like to see copies of Makers of the Mold for sale.
  9. May 20 will be Waban Village Day; Brian will try to arrange FHG representation
  10. Newton Highlands Village Day = June 9. Bob Burke will try to sell copies of Makers of the Mold.
  11. Drought and lack of snow have lowered the river level.
  12. Erica is encouraging work on the Needham side plantings (see below). JPM reported that there are Western Hemlocks at the Arnold Arboretum and Bob Burke will will check on these and on the state of the adelgid-threatend Eastern Hemlocks there.
  13. Site Superviser Erica Aubin submittted the following reports by email copied here verbatim:

"Hey, sorry I can't attend tonight, but here's some updates from my end...

 CRWA Clean-Up

 I talked to Maria Rose.  We're up to date with each other.  She needs some info from Brian about picking up/dropping off supplies and on the numbers of volunteers that you guys want.  Please follow up with her.  If you can't do the supply pick-up from her, let me know and I'll arrange it with her.  Also, I will bring some loppers and saws, etc with me that morning and will be there for the beginning and will pick up everything at the end.  Remember that the Ellis Street/Rt 9 corner will be fenced off for construction.

Spillway Construction

We had a pre-construction meeting today.  The tentative schedule is to put up the safety fencing early next week (Mon/Tues) and begin construction shortly after.  The Ellis Street/Route 9 corner will be fenced off through early July when the project is expected to be finished.  We may get a better timeline as things go along.  There are stakes out right now to show where the safety fence will be going.

Mitigation plantings will be going in as soon as possible (planting season).  They will be in the second field along Ellis Street and on the Newton side of Elliot Bridge (I think that's what it's called....across from Hamilton Place, down from the parking lot at the office park)  There are some stakes up marking the planting sites now.  The mitigation plantings around the new spillway will be put in at the end of the project.  The construction crew will be using Ellis street as little as possible (driving heavy trucks, etc) and won't be using Ellis Street or the Route 9 off ramp for parking.  There shouldn't be much disturbance to the residents outside of the park.

If people have questions they should be directed to DCR public outreach.  Bill Gode is securing that information for me and I will pass it along to the friends when I get it. 

(Brian, Bill also said he is getting the historic photos of the spillway around for you.  He hasn't forgotten!)

Window Installation

As far as I know the {FHG public-private consortium] check is through and I am proceeding with getting the money around for the contractor.  We are officially onto the next step!!!!  Once I hear from my business manager that the money is all set I will get the contractor started.  I'm anticipating things to move along this week or next.  Maybe we can get them going before the clean-up.  No promises, but we'll try.  I am also working on getting the official o.k. for press announcements, but I don't know that date yet.

Needham Property Boundary

I am aware that there has been more clearing along the Needham border.  I don't think they are onto DCR property.  Kevin and I are going to go out and take a look at the stakes again and see what the next step is.  If you guys want to get some spring plantings together we could set up a volunteer day and get some plantings in.  We could do seedlings or pots.  I would suggest white pines or cedars in for now, just to get something going and add variety at a later date.  I'll talk to the DCR archaeologist and make sure it's ok to dig up there if this is something you guys want to do.  It would have to be FoHG funded.  I don't have any extra money for plantings.  Let me know. 

Non-Hemlock Gorge Info 

I followed up on the request for speed limit signs on Quinobequin.  They are submitted.  Don't have an installation date.  Signs usually just appear magically.

The pruning at Quinobequin/Route 9 went well, I think.  No plans right now for gate installation or trail construction.

Plantings at Newton Lower Falls Bridge/Concord Street are submitted.  They will be done through a contractor.  I don't have information beyond the fact that it has been ordered.  I will email DCR engineering staff to follow up.  Brian, I would suggest contacting Dan Driscoll about a timeline (I assume you have his info, contact me if you need it)"

Respectfully Submitted,

JPM, Refulgent Interim Secretary 

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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for Mayday, May 1, 2012

Next Meeting: Tuesday June 5, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.

Present were Brian Yates, Erica Aubin, John Mordes, Bob Tedoldi; Susan Hoffman, Robin Dexter, Bob Panella, and Vaunita Schnell  

Cleanup went well; Chi tsu earth day volunteers.

Bob Panella gave us some lovely photos of the reservation that will be posted on the web site after scanning.

Bob Burke has not found out about the eastern and western hemlock at the arboretum yet

Jerry: No book sales this month

Jerry: Friends of hemlock gorge Facebook page is up and running!

Jerry: There are various notices about FHG on the "Village 14" blog

Jerry: wrote report on cleanup on Facebook; featured Greg Reibman, former publisher of the Tab.

MWRA got rid of a lot of graffiti on the bridge with a new cleaning solution

Newton Parks and Recreation is having an open house this week; call them for information.

Bank of America is imposing fees on our checking accoung: Village Bank is cheaper. With the necouragement of several memebers, we may try to file a 501c3 application this summer.

Cutler Park is no longer Erica Aubin’s responsibility

FHG will participate in the Newton Highlands Village Dan and the Needham Fair

Dam work progressing. Some enlargement of worksite necessary

Windows in stone building: there have been administrative issues. Moving along. Slow progress.

Karen could not be here but will further plantings and will support band for the summer picnic

Brian wants to trim some vines and trees along Eliot street

Discovery Channel going to film in Hemlock Gorge as part of a story about distilling alcohol.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Interim Secretary

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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for June and August, 2012 (No July Meeting)

Next Meeting: Tuesday September 11, 2012 at 7:30

It seems that no on took minutes in June.

The picnic is on.


Respectfully Submitted,

John P. Mordes, MD, Cloud Computing Secretary

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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for September 11, 2012

Next Meeting: Tuesday October 2, 200x at 7:30

Present were Brian Yates, John Mordes, Susan Huffman, Bell Tedoldi, Bobin Dexter, Evan Westrate, Vaunita Schnell, Bob Burke, and Site Supervisor Erica Aubin.

Brian did a reprise of the summer picnic and everyone concurred that it had gone very well and drawn both a large crowd and a good reviews.

As noted on the website, the much delayed windows are installed and are awaiting the installation of screens to protect them from vandalism. Measurements have been taken and Erica hopes they will be in soon. It was agreed that we would have a celebration of the event including a speech by Brian.

Erica also reported that the spillway dam is very near completion. After the equipment is removed, landscaping will begin. She will be seeing the construction manager tomorrow. It was agreed that we would have a celebration of the event including a speech by Brian.

Brian reported that the Friends were invited to the DCR's "Partnership Matching Funds Program: Grant Announcement Ceremeny" at the State House earlier this month. Along with perhaps a dozen other organizations, the Friends'  were recognized for our efforts on the Stone Building Windows project.

There were some preliminary discussions of the celebrations we hope to have for the completion of the spillway and windows projects. It was agreed they should be separate.

In consultation with Erica, the date for the fall cleanup was set for October 27.

Bob Burke reported that he was unable to get the Arnold Arboretum experts to consult with us this summer. He did tell us that there may be new control methods in the offing, and he will report back when he has the information.

Several more copies of the Ken Newcomb book have been sold and the proceeds given to the treasury.

Erica reported that signposts for the Girl Scout QR signage project are now in place along the footpath by Quinobequin Road. She will keep us advised and JPM will bring it forward to the Boy Scouts who may expand it to the Reservation.

Seana Gaherin's proposal for a "Pops by the Charles" was brought up and favorably received. However, we will need to hear more detail from her before anything can be planned.

Erica reported that the issue of encroachment on the Reservarion by Needham property owners has been resolved to her satisfaction. It is hope that fencing and/or planting can go forward.

Finally, the issue of what to do with the $8000 in our treasury was raised. We will be asking for more dues money in December, but have no plans as to what to do with the money, now that the windows project is nearing completion. Suggestions were made to start planning a project to push forward. Suggestions included getting new landscaping at the Stone Building, with removal of the concrete blocks and new fencing by the river. Also suggested were the plantings on the Needham side and the Friends' Bridge. Attendees were asked to think over these suggestions and we might try to take a vote in October.

Adjourned at 18:42.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Interim Secretary

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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for October 2, 2012

Next Meeting: Tuesday November 13, 2012 at 7:30

Present were Brian Yates, JPM, Bill Tedoldi, Jerry Riley, Bob Burke, Vauntia, Evan Weststrate, Karen Shanley, and Maureen

Kudos were extended to Erica for enabling the removal of the ugly concrete blocks in front of the stone building.

It looks like chain link fence may be used for the new sidewalk along the Route 9 exit. This is to prevent the large number of deaths that don't occur there.

Various possibilities  for funding the Stone Building landscaping were discussed. We could be independent (fast) or try to go with a public private partnership matching (slow, needs an application soon). Need to use DCR approved contractor; Nothing doable until sprin if awarded. Karen will try to get an estimate on landscaping, coming to our rescue as is her wont.

Barn windows are in but it is still not clear when the screens will be installed. Erica is confident that it will happen.

Spillway dam is done. Cofferdam to be removed and landscaping remains.

Bob Burke gave us an update on the adelgids. There is a new treatment that need to have a 60% healthy tree; it has 5 year duration. He reported that there has been a significant loss of hemlocks in the Arnold Arboretum. Here is his thoughtful written report:

We discussed Seana Gaherin’s proposal for a fest and will try to facilitate it.

Everyone should use Brian’s Newton email, not his gmail account that he never reads.

Adjourned at 18:47.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Interim Secretary

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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for November 13, 2012

Next Meeting: Tuesday December 4, 2012 at 7:30

Present were Brian Yates, Bill Tedoldi, Paul Roberts of the Boy Scouts, Jerry Reilly, Eric Aubin, Melissa Moody and her parents and two brothers.

Erica announced that there will be an official dedication and opening of the new spillway dam in late November. A formal announcement has not yet been made. Everyone seems pleased with the appearance of the dam, the fencing, and the landscape restoration.

The group also expressed pleasure with the success of the cleanup and the participation of the Buddhist temple volunteers.

Everyone was pleased that the windows in the Stone Building have been installed and do much to brighten up the interior. There was some discussion of possible ways to get more use out of the space. We will hold a dedication in the spring. The Sangiolo family, who paid for the windows, have been notified and hopefully will attend. We also discussed possiblities for landscaping the parking area. We will consult with Karen, who could not attend, about getting some formal drawings made.

Several potential Eagle Scout projects were discussed with Paul Robers, who is commiteed to getting the Scounts more involved with the park. One project would be to re-stain and clean up the Echo Platform. Another would be trail work along the lines of that pioneered by Melissa Moody.

Melissa Moody, a Girl Scout who worked with Site Supervisor Erica Aubin, then described for all of us her remarkable signage project running along the Quinobequin Road trail, downstream of Hemlock Gorge. Instead of static signposts, she has installed interactive signage with QR barcodes that point to a website that she and her family set up to inform visitors with smartphones about the sights and plants along the trail. It was a lot of work, requiring the digging of 16 holes in which to set the signposts. Everyone was encouraged to have a look and bring your smartphone and QR barcode reader. Dr. John suggested that this is the future of nature trails, and we should plan something similar for Hemlock Gorge, perhaps with the Troop 242 Boy Scouts. Melissa's website is She was given a rousing hand for her very impressive work!

We also expressed our support for Seana Gaherin's proposed Tuscan Feast in Hemlock Gorge next spring. There was general enthusiasm, but several technical issues were raised. The MWRA's permission would be needed to use the bridge. And alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the park. it was suggested that Erica and Brian meet with Seana to sort these out.

Finally Dr. John reported that there has not yet been movement on updating the website, getting a PayPal account for dues paying, or setting up the online databases. Mrs. Moody suggested at one of the Girl Scouts in her troop might be able to help out. Paul Roberts mentioned that unless we get set up as a charity, we might not be able to do the PayPal part.

The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Interim Secretary

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The Friends of Hemlock Gorge

Minutes for December 4, 2012

Next Meeting: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 7:30

Present were Karen Osborne-Shanley, Jerry Reilly, Brian Yates, Bill Tedoldi, Bob Burke, Nina Koch, Lee and Jean Fisher, Robin Dexter, Site Supervisor Erica Aubin, Joeng Soon Cho, and Vaunita Schnell.

The meeting was held at Empress Karen's childhood home, and she provided the Friends with a festive abundance of food and beverages, and everyone had a wonderful time.

The main order of business was the end of year mailing, and many hands made for light work. About a hundred letters and dues reports were sent. Click here (soon)  to see the end-of-year letter.

Brian, Erica, and Vaunita described the ceremony that had been held by the MWRA to dedicate the new spillway dyke. Brian was one of the invited speakers.

We also discussed the use of our dues monies to landscape the area by the Stone Building and install new fencing. Karen has offered to spearhead that project. Erica gave us several ideas for the fencing.

We also congratulated Jerry Reilly on his receipt of an Historic Newton award for publication of Ken Newcomb's Makers of the Mold.

Bob Burke reported that there was little news forthcoming on the progress of the adelgids or the response to them at the Arnold Arboretum.

We also discussed and voted to support Seana Gaherin's plans for an Upper Falls "Tuscan Feast" in Hemlock Gorge next spring.

Finally, Erica announced that she will be having a baby in April!

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Interim Secretary

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