Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Getting Ready

War Memorial Pool

The renovations have begun on Amherst's centrally located outdoor pool. The War Memorial Pool was built in 1955 and has served generations of Amherst families ever since...well, except for the past four years when it was closed due to deterioration from a lack of upkeep, and the town's misplaced priorities. 

Although town meeting voted to spend almost $300,000 last fall to fund the project, the state came through with a grant that will cover most of the costs.  My sources tell me the project is on schedule to be completed in time for a late June opening.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't attendance declining in the years before it closed?

LarryK said...

Yes, probably because the town does a lousy job of marketing, it seemed to open later and later in the season each summer (back when I was a kid it opened on Memorial Day) and of course the icky conditions.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the pools open so late and close so early. Summer starts on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day. But our pool(s) don't open until late June and then close up in mid-August. I don't understand that at all.

Anonymous said...

Go Town Meeting Member Julia Rueschemeyer for leading the move to re-open this pool! The Town For The People!

Anonymous said...

The town's done its level best to make sure they don't have to open the pools. There are more people here, more children, yet they say the demand isn't there? Really???

Anonymous said...

in my opinion you don't really need to market a public pool... it's sitting there where everyone can see it, it's a hot day, there's a million kids in there, come jump in the pee- i mean pool.

Anonymous said...

The whole save the pool movement is a complete boondoggle. Public pools are on the way out. The demand just isn't there. Look Park, which is a private enterprise that has to balance it's own budget, eliminated its pool years ago. They built a splash park, which gets the younger kids, who are the primary users anyway, and saves a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

pools are very, very expensive. what we need is another ambulance. public pools are typically open for 90 days out of 365, and of course are only usable if the weather is permitting, so maybe 60 days? They serve a VERY small portion of our population (compared to an ambulance which serves everyone, and which mr. kelley has clearly demonstrated we need.)

way to prioritize, julia!

LarryK said...

Or we could privatize the golf course, and the money saved would soon buy us a new ambulance.

The current money going into the renovations for the pools are from a state grant.

Anonymous said...

That would be cool, if all you had to do was renovate your pool and then there were no more expenses related to it.

Yes, money for the renovation is from the state. But when Ms. Rauschmeyer proposed reopening the pool, she requested that we just "figure out a way to do it, get it done, let's just open it!" without any real idea of how we were going to pay for it and what was going to be required.

is she one of the "ACE" parents?

I specifically remember watching the meeting where she said "let's just open it", and in sort of a smarmy way, too, and remember thinking, she's one of those people from the neck of the woods who have never had to actually budget and prioritize in their lives. I'll bet growing up for her was just, like, "Daddy, I want it, get it done for me!" Doesn't get all the nuts and bolts of HOW you get things done. Those folks are easy to read

Does anyone know if there are numbers around how much we will spend AFTER the renovations on staffing, maintenance, and so on?

Anonymous said...

There was also an SC meeting where she (Ms. Rauschmeyer) read a letter she wrote about... math curriculum, i think? She kept making critical comments about specific people in the room. When the chair of the SC interrupted to ask for a more civil approach--he had to interrupt twice, because she refused to adhere to the chair's request the first time--she made very disingenuous, exaggeratedly confused faces, as if her response was "What? What in the world could you possibly be interrupting me for? I'm very confused!"

Fits the m.o. of more than one of the ACE parents.

Anonymous said...

A day without a chance to beat on ACE parents is like a day without sunshine.

How long can you keep this going?

Anonymous said...

portraying the victim is part of what has worked for you in the past, why would you want the bashing to stop now?

a prominent ace parent made some HUGE mistakes, (she probably still doesn't consider them mistakes because her ego is so huge,) in regard to how you treat other parents and their children in this town, so for me at least, it's a thousand year "war". (a term borrowed from two ace parents; "you tell maria this is war! YOU MAKE SURE YOU TELL HER THAT!)

Anonymous said...

The bulletin reported today that the town will pay 30% of the $239,000 bill to renovate the pool. (Could someone else please do the math? My calculator broke after the SC election.)

How much will it cost us per year, after the renovations, to open the pool each year for a maximum of 90 days a year?

Anonymous said...

anon 9:16:

i think it has to do with the fact that the lifeguards are high school and college students, and they often aren't available until mid june, and then they go back to college or sports practice mid august.

how many weeks a year ARE the pool(s) open, anyway?

Anonymous said...

I love how these people love to take personal credit when it comes to things that happen in their town. "YAY Town Meeting member Julia Rauschmeyer for leading the re-open the pool movement!" Not YAY Mr. Mooring, or the people who actually sat down and worked the numbers, or the guys working the machines, not the state level folks who did work to get us funding, nor any of the other people who are making this happen (for better or worse.)

Sort of like a former SC member who likes to say "I closed Marks Meadow." Never mind that more than one of our current administrators had been proposing it for more than two years before that SC member was even on the committee, never mind that it was decided by a vote among all the SC members at the time, never mind that it was the kids, parents, teachers, principals, central office administrators who did all the WORK around making the it happen...

It's just more of "here's what "I" did, let me list "MY" accomplishments, 'Daddy, see what a good girl I am!'"

You're not a good girl, you're a very, very bad girl.

Anonymous said...

There are many, many selfless residents/town employees, on many committees, in many capacities in this town, volunteer and not, working tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all of Amherst's residents. Most don't do a lot of "tooting their own horn". I could name two hundred people who have helped to accomplish very positive things in this town that we all enjoy the benefit of, and we don't hear them bragging about it.

The things we accomplish positively, we do together, no question.

It's a very, very small minority who constantly seek to take individual credit.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:25:

please show ONE example, not on this thread, of someone "beating" on an ace parent. you imply it is a regular, ongoing occurrence. so, please, show us the data!

Anonymous said...

To those commenters here who think that the outside pools in Amherst are open 90 days during the summer, I wish this was true(!).

I grew up in NY outside of NYC and there the pools were open Memorial Day to Labor Day, but in Amherst, the pools open later and shut earlier. The Mill River pool typically opens in late June and closes in early-Mid August, and the wading pools are open even less.

Last year, the Mill River pool was open June 25th-Aug 28th, just 9+ weeks or 65 days, which is no close to 90 days.

Last year, the wading pools were open July 2nd-Aug 21st, 7+ weeks or 51 days.

And these figures don't factor in bad weather, water pH problems and other issues that mean the pools are closed even more.

Anonymous said...

So that begs the question... is all the WORK and MONEY worth it?

YAY Julia!

Julia? Julia??

Julia R. said...

Anon 1:32, and 4/19 5:44:
Julia Rueschemeyer writing:

I won't apologize for advocating for excellent public institutions, whether public recreation, math curriculum in the public schools etc. I make no claims to opening the pool: I brought the issue before TM and TM voted overwhelmingly to supply funds for the pool. Then John Musante, Linda Chalfant et al did magic to make the project happen happen.

I would encourage you, anon, to bring what you care about to TM or before the school committee. The only drawback for you would be that you wouldn't be able to be anonymous anymore. You'd have to have the "balls" to sign your name.

In the meantime, you've taught me a really important lesson about anonymity. We live in a small town. Frankly, with your threats of a "1000 year war" and your insults about myself and my family, I wonder what's next? Are you going to burn a cross on my front lawn with your mask on? Call me, introduce yourself to me. Let's discuss the issues. There's nothing wrong with healthy debate, but to be attacked by you personally is neither productive nor civil.

LarryK said...

The Cherry Hill Golf Course costs a lot more money than War Memorial Pool, and does not serve nearly as many patrons--especially children.

Anonymous said...

so ballsy.

Anonymous said...

Those aren't the things I think Julia should apologize for, either.

Another non-denial denial from another ACE member.

Frickin' "Lawyer Talk".

And what makes her think she doesn't see me at Town Meeting?

And where are the threats against her and her family? Was she one who declared WAR? ("Tell her THIS IS WAR!") I didn't threaten war, I am protecting the homeland against the insane ACE invaders who declared WAR. ("YOU MAKE SURE YOU TELL HER THAT!") especially the entitled ones. Whose side did Julia take after CS and SR declared WAR?

I did not find any threats on here. I found Julia calling me names, trying to call me out.

By the way... does ACE even exist anymore?

Where did anyone ask Julia to apologize for advocating for anything? More of the same from these people, they just don't get it. It's not what they advocate for; it's how they approach the necessity of working with other people, and how they treat others; their air of entitlement, and superiority above those who are experts at what they do. Julia's behavior at that meeting, where she refused to stop being uncivil, and refused to stop making critical comments about people in the room, as if they weren't there, was abhorrent. Right on par with the childish attacks and face-making of another entitled ACE member. That doesn't take "balls", only incredible arrogance and immaturity. (Goodness, I've always found that term "balls" so juvenile.)

Where else, prior to just now, can one find Julia praising the work of others in getting the work for the pool done? Certainly not three days ago when one of her pals wrote "YAY Julia, leading the move to reopen the pool!" THAT was her opportunity.

It took a hooded eunuch like me to point out that everyone else did the work, not Julia. She sort of had to admit that at this point, didn't she!

If Mr. Kelley will allow me the opportunity: I would never take my "campaign" outside of words on a blog, and to be clear in case there are truly feelings that there is a threat, I would never ever "attack" other than in ways that "they" dish it out...

such as with mean words and insults on a blog, like what used to happen on the "MY School Committee" blog on a daily basis for three years. You won't, however, ever see me making the eighth-grade mean-girl faces or the exaggeratedly confused faces that seem to say "everyone here is an idiot but me and my friends." That takes it out of this civil, controlled setting.

Did they expect us to just lay back and take it?

LarryK said...

It's kind of hard to verify whether you were making "eighth-grade mean-girl faces" or not, since you are ever-so-safely cloaked in the veil of anonymity.

Anonymous said...


I take it you are an ARPS employee?

Why wouldn't a community member get to speak in front of the SC and ask for accountability by specific individuals or ask questions (and given the structure of the mtg, not expect answers).

Anonymous said...

anon makes a valid point, there seems to be two sets of standards...

Julia Rueschemeyer didn't seem to have a problem taking part in that "civil" discussion that went on for three years on the "My School Committe Blog".

She didn't yelp when other parents and CHILDREN and teachers and administrators were ganged up on and called ugly names, questioned about their parenting decisions, et cetera, every day for three years.

It seems that the discussion becomes "uncivil" to them when they are forced to eat a slice of their own black pie.

Anonymous said...

It's sort of hard to tell who is posting with their name, and sometimes without their name, as well.

anon. 9:57...

Again, it- geez, why don't you guys get this? It's not about what you do, what you have the right to do or not do, it's how you approach it. It was the uncivil tone, the unfriendly, entitled way it was done, that the SC objected to and asked her to restrain from. There are ways to make individuals accountable that do not involve a public stoning. In fact, the person Julia went to the meeting to criticize that night, HAS been held accountable, and she is in fact no longer with the Amherst/Pelham school system. It was done in a civil way, the public was informed, but it did not involve a nasty procedure like Julia and her buddy's sought.

Please respond and let me know whether or not you understand this, I will try again if I have failed to convey what most people in this town felt/feel about this small, entitled group.

Anonymous said...

re my "ever-so-safe" veil of anonymity...

I know I am at risk of being outed eventually, you are not setting me up for any big surprises.

I simply choose for now, because you (Mr. Kelley) have made it an option, to play the game "they" played for three long and painful years.

LarryK said...

Don't worry about me outing you. I don't waste my time chasing cowards (unless they threaten my family).

Anonymous said...

anon@ 201 (etc):
There was civil discourse on CS' blog. Surely not all, but some. You seem determined to rewrite history (only some posts named names etc). Was Julia supposed to be the moderator of all that was 'civil' on that blog? I think you have a distorted memory of that blog, perhaps you should reexamine it.

For all you know Julia spent much time behind the scenes talking to administrators, etc, and finally went before the SC. You would have her (and others similarly concerned) just be patient and hope that some day the short-comings of the admin's approach to reforming our ES math might be recognized. Really?? Now after having lost about 2 years of potential reform, we still have the math plan still on the books (a math plan given the stamp of approval by Ms Geryk).

You say that Ms Graham has been held accountable. Really, I have no idea why she lost her job. Do you?

I really don't understand how you confuse 'entitled' for pointing out what were obvious problems with the math plan (presumably now recognized by the admin, but really who knows).

What do you think is the purpose of having school committees (and community input) into our schools? If you think going to visit individual administrators is effective, please share. Although, my belief is that voicing in SC mtgs is equally ineffective. At least your opinion is heard and recorded (if anyone bothers to listen). Some would prefer to snipe anonymously.

Anonymous said...

one more time... it's how you behave toward other people when you are asking for answers. I'll keep saying it if you need clarification.

Believe me, I am aware of the content of the "MY School Committee" blog, and am aware of the innacurate statements (that is the kindest way of putting it) made by many who included their name.

It was really sick the way Catherine and her cronies hounded the principal of the high school and his wife about personal decisions they made in regards to the education of their child.

The blog is still up, anyone can see for themselves what is on their, I'm not rewriting anything.

When a national search was conducted for our new superintendent, the consultants interviewed tons of people from all walks of life in town here: students, parents, teachers, administartors, town employees, folks who have no relation to the schools (except as taxpayers.) What they received overwhelmingly from the people, and what they made a priority to report, was that people were sick and tired of the tone of the "MY School Committee" blog. It was virtually unanimous that the existence of the blog was a detriment to our schools and our community. That's not a rewrite, that's a fact. The consultants asked Catherine to remove the blog for the sake of the search; she refused.

You can also look back at editorial columns and letters to the editor in the Gazette and especially the Bulletin, see whather the people of this town agree with you about the tone of the blog.

Don't tell me what the tone of that blog was about, I watched many people suffer.

And Larry... yes, I have seen that you never really concern yourself with cowardly anons, you always stay right on topic.

Anonymous said...

Who here believes they have a right to know why Beth Graham was fired?

LarryK said...

If memory serves the day after the firing Maria told me the schools would have a public statement ready by the end of the week.

Here we are a month later, and no statement.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. anon 2:55 says "some would like to snipe anonymously." after giving me hell anonymously.

Anonymous said...

So Mr. Kelley, is that a "yes", you believe you have a right to know why Beth Graham was fired?

Furthermore, I do not intend to defend any of the actions of ANY of the employees of the schools or the town. If you think I believe everything is hunky dory over there, you are mistaken. I have my own issues with the schools and even particular teachers and administrators. I address my concerns in that regard mano y mano or mano y womano as the case may be, and I don't feel the need at all to blast them publicly. Don't make assumptions.

A statement was I believe published in the Bulletin? I may very well be wrong about that. I thought I read something that resembled a statement about her dismissal.

Do you require more info about the reasons for her dismissal?

LarryK said...

Yes I do.

And I'm still waiting for the severance agreements with 13 employees who left over the past five years that cost taxpayers around $200,000.

You know, the documents the state Public Records Division told them they had to give me, but they still refuse upon advice of a $225/hour lawyer who was fired from doing Special Ed cases.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't help ya with that, no idea.

But is that a "'Yes, I do' believe I have a RIGHT to know why she was fired"?

Anonymous said...


What did you expect?

LarryK said...

You know as well as I that employee evaluations are immune from public document requests.

Larry Shaffer and A-Rod both quit and left town on the very day their evaluations were about to go public. But since they did so before the School Committee or Select Board entered public session all the resulting written materials became sealed in darkness.

I don't really care why she was fired (although a few people question why she was HIRED).

I just want to know all the financial details of her sudden departure. Can she collect unemployment for instance?

Has she filed a lawsuit against the schools?

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't know the answers to those questions.

We of course should know about how our money is spent, we are not in disagreeement about that!

I'm not sure how much detail I need to know, if you say that there have $200,000 in severances pckages, and that's not too far different than ony other place or situation...

LarryK said...

Hard to say actually, since every other school district in the state is as niggardly as Amherst when it comes to releasing that kind of information.

Last month the schools tried to convince the general public their "administration" costs were not out of line with neighboring districts because they were at 3.5% of total budget, but forgot to mention their cost per pupil which makes up the total budget was 40% over those of neighboring districts.

And when you looked at the state's analysis of admin costs per student in a dollar amount, then the high cost was glaringly apparent.

Kind of like comparing a high end luxury car to an entry level one by saying their entertainment sound systems cost the same percentage of total price, so therefor the vehicles are comparable.

The town grudgingly complied with my Public Doc request (exposing the former town manager's secretary getting a $25K hush up payoff) and the town attorney is certainly comparable to the schools attorney.

And why did the schools instantly give me former Superintendent Alberto Rodriguez's settlement agreement, but not the other 13 employees?

Anonymous said...

I am just going to enjoy swimming at the pool. My thanks to Julia R. and the town meeting members who voted to re-open the pool.

Shopping For A Swimsuit

Anonymous said...

Perfect. You go take a dip, I'll stand sentry.