Party faithful gather in Wilton

WILTON – Joan Melcher was knitting a pair of socks with the words “Kerry 2004” along the side. “Madame DeFarge,” she said of her efforts, which she defined as her exercise for arthritis.

Others were enjoying the good food, talking with friends, quietly campaigning, or commenting on various speakers at the Democratic Convention in Boston, which was playing quietly on a television.

Thursday was Democratic Convention Party Night, with a special telephone conference message from Sen. John Edwards arranged for all registered parties at 7 p.m. About 30 people met at the home of Jared Cram to hear that message, meet local candidates and have a good time. Since Sen. John Kerry was not scheduled to speak until 10 p.m., many people went home to hear the speech there.

Since this was the only local party listed on the official Web site, one person came from as far away as Litchfield.

Three of the four Democratic candidates for House District 4 were present: Gerry Wroe of Wilton, David Woodbury of New Boston and Andrew Roeper of Lyndeborough. Linda Foster of Mont Vernon was said to be on vacation. They were all introduced, but none made speeches.

The state Senate District 11 candidate has not yet been announced.

Edwards’ five-minute talk was one of encouragement, telling party faithful of the hard work needed between now and November, and one of optimism and hope. He spoke of the need for volunteers at the grass-roots level, and for gatherings such as those he was addressing. It was well received.

Melcher said her socks would be available for sale at the Democratic Party booth at Old Home Days parade Aug. 28.

A candidates’ night is scheduled for Oct. 7. For information, go to

Land buy moving ahead

HOLLIS – Selectmen decided this week that they didn’t really need to get another appraisal on a parcel of land the town is buying to expand East Cemetery. The purchase of the parcel on Pine Hill Road is made possible by a $610,000 bond approved by voters at the last Town Meeting.

Cath Hallsworth, the town’s administrative assistant, said selectmen voted Monday night to reverse their earlier decision to have appraisers consider the recent environmental studies done on the land by Stone Hill Environmental.

Selectmen initially voted to have another appraisal done because the environmental study indicated slightly higher-than-recommended levels of contaminants in the soil. But after hearing from Tim Stone of Stone Hill, selectmen changed their minds.

Hallsworth said Stone told selectmen, “a (cemetery) employee would have to eat half a teaspoon of dirt for 146 days a year for the next 30 years to be at risk,” she said. “And even then, the risk of getting cancer (from leftover pesticide residues and other chemicals) would be 1 in 100,000.”

Hallsworth said that only 14 burials were performed at East Cemetery in 2003.

The town is set to close on the purchase Aug. 18.

In other cemetery news, Hallsworth said cemetery trustees will soon begin work in the church yard behind the Congregational Church.

Hallsworth said the trustees were concerned that tree saplings were becoming invasive and pushing into existing headstones. Trustees will begin clearing out some of the saplings, and will also install two gates.