President Nancy began our meeting with words of Rotarians uniting to help others as a sign that there is much good out there despite the awful news of the Boston Marathon bombings this week. Rev. Allen gave a moment of silence and then most appropriately asked: "if God be for us, who can be against us"?


As a very nice surprise, a cake come out and we all sang happy Birthday to our President Nancy (who also announced that is is Marie Brownell's birthday too!

Peter Somssich, along with several other dedicated Seacoast residents, have made it their mission to make the new Memorial Bridge something more than just a means of transportation across a river; they want it to be a piece of art. How are they going to do that? With lighting. On the Old Memorial Bridge, there are sodium vapor street lights that cast a wide cone of light on the bridge itself, and illuminate much of Badgers Island. The lighting on the new bridge will use light emitting diodes. These LEDs will be much more efficient in terms of electric consumption, will last ten years or more, and will be highly directional. They will shine where they should (the road and walkways), and be less visible elsewhere. We might even be able to see the sky at night.

 How will lighting be paid for? Not with public funds! The Illumination Committee has now met its first milestone in fund raising for the Memorial Bridge project. With commitments of more than $132,000 they have entered the second phase of the fund raising. In this phase, they will begin collecting the funds already committed from existing pledges while continuing to gather pledges to meet the goal of $200,000. PSNH has nonated $40,000 and the Memorial Bridge Illumination Subcommittee received some positive news when Rockingham Electric donated $10,000 towards its $200,000 capital campaign.“Thanks to this generous contribution from Rockingham Electric, we have now reached the $125,000 mark and we’re continuing to collected donations from our supporters. We’re having great success in this fund raising effort and we look forward to reaching our goal and bringing the illumination to fruition,” said Illumination Committee Chair Peter Somssich in a prepared statement.


On Friday, February 15, 2013, the Illumination Committee tested out one of the lighting fixtures on the south span of the new bridge, just to see how things looked. And the answer is D-light-ful!

The test took place from 6PM till 7PM, and illuminated the upstream side of the truss span. The plans are to illuminate the towers and piers, but since they are not yet in place, the test was done horizontally on the truss portion of the flanking span. We wanted to see how the illumination would compare to the ambient light from the Navy Yard and Portsmouth. The pictures on the Bridge website speak for themselves. The test included a variety of colors, and the bridge and the lighting fixture performed well.

City Manager John Bohinko announced that the Portsmouth city council is in full support of the lighting efforts and has directed him to meet with Kittery town officials to negotiate an agreement for lighting maintenance.

Very enlightening program. If you would like to contribute, go on the Save Our Bridges website. Walter's table finally won the raffle!!!