s


CELEBRATING THE WORLD CUP WIN

Marc Ounis and Verlaine Daeron of Le Rendez Vous Bakery in Colebrook were in good spirits on Tuesday morning after their home country France defeated Croatia 4-2 in Sunday's World Cup final. The French flag was displayed in their storefront along with a sign proclaiming the championship. (Jake Mardin photo)



Arts Committee Purchases Shrine Property, Plans New Arts Center
By Karen Harrigan

The Great North Woods Committee for the Arts received a $100,000 donation from a couple with local ties to purchase historic property in Columbia that for decades was part of the Our Lady of Grace Shrine. The organization closed on the property last Monday and plans to transform the three structures and 8.5 acres, situated on the west side of Route 3, into a regional multi-arts center.

The GNWCA was formed during the Upper Connecticut Valley Community Coalition Summit in May of 2003, with its mission to bring arts opportunities to the North Country and find a permanent home for the arts community. Formed as the Great North Woods Center for the Arts, the group in recent years adopted the name the Great North Woods Committee for the Arts, and worked to bring performers from around the globe to the region. The original scope of the organization was multi-disciplined, covering not only the performing arts, but the visual and theatrical arts as well.

"With the development of the Connecticut River Artisans Group and the Carriage Lane Players as two independent arts organizations, we refocused our efforts in the performing arts and supported the newer visual and theatrical arts group that emerged," said GNWCA president Charlie Jordan. He explained that each of the three groups still lacked its own space, and "This purchase gives all three organizations a place to hang our hat."

Last September the GNWCA signed a purchase agreement with the property's owner, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate based in Lowell, Mass. News of the agreement prompted "almost immediate" support, Mr. Jordan said, among them Joseph and Sis Wallace Dugas of Barnstable Harbor, Mass. Mrs. Dugas is a member of the Wallace family, which is deeply rooted in Columbia. The couple donated the entire $100,000 cost of the purchase, which was completed last Monday, July 9.

Other donors include David Brunault of Colebrook, who grew up next door to the Shine when his parents ran the Northern Comfort Motel. Mr. Brunault donated $5,000 last fall, and earlier this month James "Russ" Fitch of Clarksville gave $10,000 toward the project in honor of his late wife, Fredda Cole. "Russ and Fredda attended many GNWCA shows together and Russ remains a devoted supporter of the arts in our region," Mr. Jordan said.

In recent months, the Carriage Lane Players and the Connecticut River Artisans Group joined the project, and they will also make the new center their permanent homes. CRAG hopes to transform the former print shop in the St. Joseph's Building into an artists' workshop. The second floor offers a large common space to be shared by all three groups, along with an office and conference room.

The Carriage Lane Players have been in need of space for storage, to construct sets, and to set up for plays without having to remove the set between shows. All this is possible at the Shrine property, Mr. Jordan said. Plans are still undeveloped for the roadside residence building where the Oblates lived, which houses 14 bedrooms and a large kitchen and dining area.

The showpiece of the property, Mr. Jordan said, is the former chapel that seats over 300, and was part of the original Parsons Farm. The 1890 scrollwork pews and stained-glass windows remain, and this section will become a theater for use by the arts committee and the Players. A small space just outside the main chapel will lend itself to use a smaller performance venue and art gallery.

The grounds have been well kept through the efforts of Sheila Parkhurst over recent years and may be expected to host any number of outdoor events, including concerts, art shows and community gatherings. "We will have some of the best parking available in the region, thanks to the planning of the Oblate Fathers in the past," Mr. Jordan said.

The GNWCA has already reached out to people who have expressed an interest in helping. "This is all about our region and we'd love to hear from you with your thoughts and suggestions and, of course, your financial support," Mr. Jordan said. The mailing address for the GNWCA is PO Box 302, Colebrook, NH 03576, and questions may be addressed by calling 603-237-9302 or 246-8998.

A capital campaign fund is being set up, and all funds will go directly into the capital improvements at the property and project. The buildings and property remained in surprisingly good condition, Mr. Jordan said, but work will be required to upgrade the infrastructure. Mr. Jordan said the GNWCA remains dedicated to preserving the character and beauty of the former Shrine property as it moves forward.

When asked whether the existing Tillotson Center is inadequate to the GNWCA's needs, if he believes the region can support two arts centers, and whether a feasibility study has been completed, Mr. Jordan provided the answer below:

"The Tillotson Center and GNWCA are evolving in different directions, but our missions are the same: to provide something truly worthy for our area. The GNWCA played an important role in the Tillotson Center's early stages, presenting over 200 shows there for some five years. But once the Tillotson Center decided to begin doing its own shows it came time for the GNWCA to focus on its stated mission to find a permanent home for the arts community.

"The Tillotson Center was a facility we all rented, just as others use it for school plays and civic and business meetings, the Colebrook Recreation Department, weddings, etc. It serves as an important available space as a community center. The GNWCA wishes them all the best as we all move forward."

He reiterated the expressed space needs of the artisan group, the Carriage Lane Players and the GNWCA, along with the outdoor venue possibilities and ample parking at the Shrine property that "the Tillotson Center's limited exterior grounds do not allow for." In the process, he noted, the groups' plans "give us a chance to help maintain and preserve this historic setting on the doorstep to Colebrook for the future."

(Issue of July 18, 2018)




THE FINAL TOUCH

Aaron Schomburg finishes attaching the sign dedicating the Lyman Falls Recreation Area in Columbia in memory of his father, William "Bill" Schomburg, following a brief ceremony on Sunday, July 15. The late Mr. Schomburg taught English for three decades at Colebrook Academy and loved to be on the river along with many other outdoor pursuits. (Alan Farnsworth photo)




William Schomburg Honored Sunday at Dedication of Lyman Falls Rec Area
By Alan Farnsworth

Friends, family and members of the Vermont River Conservancy gathered at Lyman Falls on the Connecticut River in Columbia on Sunday, July 15 to spruce up and dedicate the recreational site in honor of the late William "Bill" Schomburg.

Mr. Schomburg, who died last March, was a longtime North Country resident and taught English at Colebrook Academy for 30 years. He was a strong advocate for the Connecticut River and enjoyed a long association with both the river and the Lyman Falls area in particular.

He spent much of his time on the North Country's rivers, stewarding two campsites on the Upper Ammonoosuc in West Milan and Stark, and volunteering for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail. For the latter, a series of riverside campsites running from the headwaters to Long Island Sound, Bill was instrumental in mapping the route by identifying northern access points on the Connecticut and worked with local land trusts to acquire and maintain them.

While working with the Vermont River Conservancy, Bill identified the Lyman Falls site as a special area to be preserved, as people had been using it for generations to access the river and as a great area for fishing and swimming. Initially the con-servancy was unsure about purchasing the site due to the need for a right of way; however, a search of the county deeds register revealed an existing right of way from Route 3 to the river.

Bill was instrumental in securing $20,000 in grants to purchase the property, which was then donated to the Town of Columbia in 2014. This past March, annual town meeting voters approved renaming the site as the William "Bill" Schomburg Recreational Area.

Prior to the dedication on Sunday, volunteers undertook the rehabilitation of the area, clearing brush and installing a picnic table, fire pit, privy and registration box, and putting up signs.

(Issue July 18, 2018)




SIDEWALK ARTISTS

One of the attractions at Sunday's CCNH Family Day Picnic was a chance for youngsters to have fun with some sidewalk chalk artistry, and Brysen and Bensen Hodge tried their hand along with Chloe Marquis. (Rob Maxwell photo)




Arts Committee Purchases Shrine Property, Plans New Arts Center
by Karen Harrigan

The Great North Woods Committee for the Arts received a $100,000 donation from a couple with local ties to purchase historic property in Columbia that for decades was part of the Our Lady of Grace Shrine. The organization closed on the property last Monday and plans to transform the three structures and 8.5 acres, situated on the west side of Route 3, into a regional multi-arts center.

The GNWCA was formed during the Upper Connecticut Valley Community Coalition Summit in May of 2003, with its mission to bring arts opportunities to the North Country and find a permanent home for the arts community. Formed as the Great North Woods Center for the Arts, the group in recent years adopted the name the Great North Woods Committee for the Arts, and worked to bring performers from around the globe to the region. The original scope of the organization was multi-disciplined, covering not only the performing arts, but the visual and theatrical arts as well.

"With the development of the Connecticut River Artisans Group and the Carriage Lane Players as two independent arts organizations, we refocused our efforts in the performing arts and supported the newer visual and theatrical arts group that emerged," said GNWCA president Charlie Jordan. He explained that each of the three groups still lacked its own space, and "This purchase gives all three organizations a place to hang our hat."

Last September the GNWCA signed a purchase agreement with the property's owner, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate based in Lowell, Mass. News of the agreement prompted "almost immediate" support, Mr. Jordan said, among them Joseph and Sis Wallace Dugas of Barnstable Harbor, Mass. Mrs. Dugas is a member of the Wallace family, which is deeply rooted in Columbia. The couple donated the entire $100,000 cost of the purchase, which was completed last Monday, July 9.

Other donors include David Brunault of Colebrook, who grew up next door to the Shine when his parents ran the Northern Comfort Motel. Mr. Brunault donated $5,000 last fall, and earlier this month James "Russ" Fitch of Clarksville gave $10,000 toward the project in honor of his late wife, Fredda Cole. "Russ and Fredda attended many GNWCA shows together and Russ remains a devoted supporter of the arts in our region," Mr. Jordan said.

In recent months, the Carriage Lane Players and the Connecticut River Artisans Group joined the project, and they will also make the new center their permanent homes. CRAG hopes to transform the former print shop in the St. Joseph's Building into an artists' workshop. The second floor offers a large common space to be shared by all three groups, along with an office and conference room.

The Carriage Lane Players have been in need of space for storage, to construct sets, and to set up for plays without having to remove the set between shows. All this is possible at the Shrine property, Mr. Jordan said. Plans are still undeveloped for the roadside residence building where the Oblates lived, which houses 14 bedrooms and a large kitchen and dining area.

The showpiece of the property, Mr. Jordan said, is the former chapel that seats over 300, and was part of the original Parsons Farm. The 1890 scrollwork pews and stained-glass windows remain, and this section will become a theater for use by the arts committee and the Players. A small space just outside the main chapel will lend itself to use a smaller performance venue and art gallery.

The grounds have been well kept through the efforts of Sheila Parkhurst over recent years and may be expected to host any number of outdoor events, including concerts, art shows and community gatherings. "We will have some of the best parking available in the region, thanks to the planning of the Oblate Fathers in the past," Mr. Jordan said.

The GNWCA has already reached out to people who have expressed an interest in helping. "This is all about our region and we'd love to hear from you with your thoughts and suggestions and, of course, your financial support," Mr. Jordan said. The mailing address for the GNWCA is PO Box 302, Colebrook, NH 03576, and questions may be addressed by calling 603-237-9302 or 246-8998.

A capital campaign fund is being set up, and all funds will go directly into the capital improvements at the property and project. The buildings and property remained in surprisingly good condition, Mr. Jordan said, but work will be required to upgrade the infrastructure. Mr. Jordan said the GNWCA remains dedicated to preserving the character and beauty of the former Shrine property as it moves forward.

When asked whether the existing Tillotson Center is inadequate to the GNWCA's needs, if he believes the region can support two arts centers, and whether a feasibility study has been completed, Mr. Jordan provided the answer below:

"The Tillotson Center and GNWCA are evolving in different directions, but our missions are the same: to provide something truly worthy for our area. The GNWCA played an important role in the Tillotson Center's early stages, presenting over 200 shows there for some five years. But once the Tillotson Center decided to begin doing its own shows it came time for the GNWCA to focus on its stated mission to find a permanent home for the arts community.

"The Tillotson Center was a facility we all rented, just as others use it for school plays and civic and business meetings, the Colebrook Recreation Department, weddings, etc. It serves as an important available space as a community center. The GNWCA wishes them all the best as we all move forward."

He reiterated the expressed space needs of the artisan group, the Carriage Lane Players and the GNWCA, along with the outdoor venue possibilities and ample parking at the Shrine property that "the Tillotson Center's limited exterior grounds do not allow for." In the process, he noted, the groups' plans "give us a chance to help maintain and preserve this historic setting on the doorstep to Colebrook for the future."

(Issue of July 18, 2018)








 

 

The News & Sentinel
6 Bridge Street, PO Box 39
Colebrook, NH 03576