May 21, 2019

Nowland Road history

The author of the piece regarding the citizen of Ashland’s petition to “discontinue” the Nowland Road is confused (BDN, Feb. 22). The Nowland Road in question not merely intersects my farm, it bisects the cropped fields my father and uncle cleared from forestland beginning in May 1934.

The town first acquired the property for taxes by a sheriff’s deed in 1931. Prior to that the town had no claim on the property, whatsoever.

I am a fool if I should continue in my pursuit were the case as clear cut as the author of the article makes it out to be. It is correct that I failed to win a favorable decision in a summary judgement in January 1999, though I cannot understand why I could not have spoken to the judge, offering important testimony, supporting documents, affidavits, etc. on my own behalf.

Many townspeople knew my father and uncle and their controversy regarding the road since 1952 or earlier when, with the payment of $758.07, the town issued a quitclaim deed “by virtue of unpaid taxes for all years previous to 1952,” and retained an easement for a public right of way. Town records, however, indicate they have paid their taxes. The town, without listing the specific years taxes were in arrears, as is appropriate and customary, may have thought the explanation sufficient, knowing the Rushinal brothers were illiterate and could not have known the significance of this vague wording without investigating, at some expense, the alleged “facts.”

I am a selectman, but I recuse myself of issue regarding the Nowland Road when votes are taken or in discussions among council members in executive session. I am honored to be a selectman; I wish to serve my community fairly and honestly.

Ronald R. Rushinal


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