Hudson opens landfill to aid residents in cleanup

HUDSON – Bill and Ruth Lajoie had it down to a science.

When they pulled their red pickup into the Hudson landfill Tuesday afternoon, they backed it up, snapped down the tailgate and yanked out gigantic pile of branches and twigs – all in one fell swoop.

Of course, it was the couple’s fifth trip to the landfill in two days. By then, they were experts.

The ice storm last week churned up all the trees, leaving their Timothy Lane property “a disaster,” Ruth Lajoie said.

“It looked like a tornado went through the yard,” her husband added.

The Lajoies were taking advantage of the town’s decision to open the landfill each day this week for brush disposal. Normally, it’s open once a month for that purpose, said Tom Ricker, a 21-year veteran of the highway department who was helping haul loads of brush from minivans, trailers and truck beds.

“I know for a fact for some people this has been really tough,” Ricker said, adding that he also hasn’t had power in his Deerfield home since Friday. “We’re hoping everyone in Hudson takes advantage of this . . . If it comes from a tree, you can bring it.”

On Tuesday, some haulers came from houses with power, some without. An estimated 3,600 Public Service of New Hampshire customers in Hudson were still without power Tuesday. But those who pulled into the landfill all wanted to do one thing: start the clean-up process.

“It’s horrible,” said Greeley Street resident John Kather, shoveling armfuls of brush onto the growing pile. “This is my second load this big. I could come back here five more times if I wanted to.”

Kather also didn’t have power, but his gas fireplace was operating and he had hot water.
Still, the whole ordeal is getting old.

“I hate not having power and not having my computer,” he said.

George and Jean Anne Bowersox considered themselves fortunate. They lost power for just 24 hours. It came back online Friday night.

But then, they looked outside. No big trees had crashed, but wind thrashed the back section of their 1-acre property on Circle Drive, littering it with branches. They were on their second drop off at the landfill Tuesday morning.

“I feel like I’m one of the lucky ones,” Jean Anne Bowersox said. “But that this time of year, it’s hectic, with all the Christmas stuff to do and cards to write.”

Cliff Bathalon of 6 Falcon Drive took Monday off to drag scattered tree debris from his yard into a 5-foot pile next to the road.

In a moment of good humor, he tagged the pile with a sign: “Free wood!!!”

“I’m taking it in stride, you know?” said Bathalon in a phone interview. “I mean, you live in New England. You’re going to have these types of things happening.”

But in truth, Bathalon said he and his neighbors are hoping the town would pick up their brush piles. He doesn’t have a truck with which to bring the stuff to the landfill this week.

He said he’d welcome anyone to swing by and help him out.

“I’d be OK with that,” he said with a laugh.