To the Valley News:
In response to what I find are false unjust accusations made in letters to the editor by Noel Merrihew and his brother-in-law, Ken Fennimore, I offer a more factual take on their issues.
Many people in this town do not realize that the 10 foot wide road known as Otis Lane running from Route 9 to Otis Bridge was never deeded to the Town of Elizabethtown. I defy Noel Merrihew to show us one. Otis Lane is just 15 feet from the front of a house owned by Harry Gough. I do not believe anyone in their right mind would want logging trucks and other heavy equipment traveling that close to a house they own. Who can blame Harry Gough and his wife, Supervisor Margaret Bartley for defending their property rights and their right to privacy.
It was only because of Noel Merrihew’s actions that forced Harry Gough to take the Otis Bridge issue to court. Harry and Margaret expended a great deal of effort in trying to reach a compromise. However during this process, former Supervisor Noel Merrihew went back on his word, and the along with former Councilman Phil Hutchins proceeded with an attitude of “it’s my way or the highway.” Personally, I applaud Harry for not allowing the government to trample on his rights.
In my opinion, everything was fine until about 8 years ago, John Deming, owner of 100 (plus or minus) land locked acres and Theresa Denton, owner of 700 (plus or minus) acres decided that they needed Essex County to build them a new bridge that would allow them to have an easy access to bring their logs out to the main highway. Bear in mind, Theresa Denton’s large tract has road frontage on the Simonds Hill Road in New Russia, so she had access. So frontage on the Simonds Hill Road in New Russia, so she had access. So when Noel says that people were held hostage, I find that is totally false. Everyone had the same access as they have had for many years.
Noel alleges that Harry and Margaret gave the town and the county a good fleecing when the county had to build a new section of dirt road that supposedly cost $70,000. I suggest that Noel find someone to go on the computer for him and Google how many people pay taxes to Essex County. Then he can ask someone to divide that number into $70,000. I think he will then find that his so-called fleecing amounted to only a few cents per taxpayer. The county attorney who handled the lawsuit receives an annual salary, regardless of the work he does for the county.
Noel and Ken complain about Margaret’s donation of sod and topsoil to the golf course, yet they have contributed nothing. It took Noel over two and a half years to complete the APA permit application and in the end he had to hire someone to finish it. Noel used to be an avid golfer at the Cobble Hill Golf course, yet in recent years he has done nothing to support it. How hypocritical of him to diminish the contribution of another.
Malcomb Martin, Elizabethtown