Pelham-Windham News

Peter Pan a Hit in Pelham

by Lynne Ober

The Penguin Players presented Peter Pan to an enthusiastic audience.  The cast had worked hard all summer learning their roles, learning how to project their voices and learning how and when to move about the stage and the result was magnificent.

The audiences were thrilled at all three performances as they watched Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle come to life.  “Who wants to grow up?” asked Peter Pan and the audience could relate.  Who hasn’t wanted to fly away to Neverland at some time or the other?

Directed by Joe Smith and Janet Daigle, the production shone brightly. 

The enthusiastic cast threw themselves into their roles.  All of them enjoyed themselves and learned a lot about putting on a stage play.  The cast consisted of Rachel Alexander, Brianna Barbaro, Amanda Barnhill, Breanna Bradley, Meghan Bradley, Amanda Lynn Braman, Joe Cabral, Kerry Cabral, Mitchell Cabra, Nina Cabral, Brittanie Camirand, Alexandra Craven, Olivia Daigle, Tori Daigle, Rebecca Dennard, Samuel Dennard, Ashlee Duttweiler, Austin Fontanella, Clint Fontanella, Trent Fontanella, Monique Fournier, Katie Halpin, Zachary Johnson, Alexandra Kyzer, Sara Kyzer, Brittany Ladd, Rachel Lareau, Robert Long, Katie Mastropiero, Katie Parks, April Reidy, Bethany Ricciardi, Ashley Scalia, Meghan Scalia, Dana Slattery, Katie Smolko, Mathew Smolko, Nicole Smolko, and Kayla Whelan.

Kudos on a job well done.  Can’t wait to catch your next production.

Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle urge the children to fly away to Neverland.

Free Movie Sees Moderate Turnout

by Karen Plumley

The Annual Free Movie event sponsored by the Outback Steakhouse of Methuen and the Pelham Police Relief Association was held on Thursday, August 11 at the Dennis Lyons Memorial Park in Pelham.  A moderate crowd was in attendance for a fun evening of festivities which started at 7:00 p.m. and included the ever-popular bouncy house, free ice cream, cotton candy, and popcorn, balloon sculpting, live entertainment, and of course the feature movie which this year was Disney’s “The Incredibles”.  Families brought their lounge chairs and blankets and at dusk the movie began amidst anxious youngsters and a hungry swarm of mosquitoes.  Fortunately, anyone who neglected to bring bug spray was able to obtain free bottles of the precious liquid from the police volunteers who hosted the event.  Amid the nostalgic feeling of an old-time drive-in movie without the carbon monoxide, everyone in attendance had a great time.

Hot Time at Deliberative Session

by Lynne Ober

If you ever wondered why the election cycle is set with the Deliberative Session typically held in January or February, you got an answer at the recently held Special Deliberative Session held in Pelham.  It was blazing hot.

The school gymnasium at Pelham Elementary School was set with fans, podium, seats for Selectmen, and other Town dignitaries and about 100 seats for attendees.  Ballot Clerks sat at a long table, ready to check in voters.  With the temperature outside in the high eighties and the temperature inside well above 100, attendees sought seats where breezes from fans sweep over them.

Although it was hot for everyone, the approximately sixty people in the audience didn’t have to come dressed in dress shirts and ties as did the people on the podium.

Town Moderator Phil Currier opened the Deliberative Session and quickly urged attendees to seek water if they felt too hot or faint.  As the evening progressed Currier again cautioned the audience about the heat.  Apparently Jim Nagel at Chunky’s Cinema Pub was watching on TV because shortly after Currier’s second caution, cold bottles of water arrived from Chunky’s and were passed out to everyone.  Thank you, Jim!

Selectmen had prepared two in-depth packets of information.  One had the warrant article and detailed backup and one had the breakdown of costs for the special meeting and a listing of Town Assets by Department.

After Currier read Warrant Article I, he turned the floor over to Selectman Ed Gleason who talked about the revaluation process. 

Gleason explained that since the March vote, vendor bid packets had been analyzed and Selectmen now felt that the revaluation could be completed for $450,000.  He also told about the investigative process that Selectmen had gone through and why the revaluation couldn’t be put off.  “If we don’t do it, the State will and they will just charge us.  We won’t have control of costs.  The State will charge us for things that we would do [such as manage the project] if we ran it.  Costs will be much higher.”

How much higher is not determined, but officials from Department of Revenue Administration had previously told Selectmen that it could be twenty percent higher.

If the Town does the revaluation, the costs would be $450,000. 

If the state does it, the costs will soar.  Twenty percent of $450,000 is $90,000 or almost the cost of the new truck that is also on the warrant.

Gleason also talked about the truck for $94,000 and the $47,500 requested because of the increase in the cost of fuel.

The highway truck’s replacement was not voted on last March and has not been voted down by the voters.  Rather, it was in the CIP to be replaced in 2006 and Selectmen expected to have a warrant article for its replacement in March 2006.  Nobody told the truck, because it blew its engine and is now inoperable. 

The truck is a 1991 with 175,000 miles.  If Selectmen weren’t on a default budget, they could find money to repair the engine at an estimated cost of more than $12,108.  They did, in fact, get quotes for this.  These quotes also included an additional $7,900 needed to replace worn parts for a total of $20,008 or slightly more than 20 percent of the cost of a new truck, completely outfitted.  With the quotes also came warnings from repairmen that no one could guarantee that if the engine was fixed that something else catastrophic wouldn’t break.

Selectmen have examined options for getting through the winter without a truck.  Unfortunately these options are not attractive and include no longer paving any of the private roads in town and paving secondary roads at a slower rate than normal during and after a storm.

Bob Turnquist questioned Selectmen about the paving of private roads and asked if a truck was purchased if Selectmen would be able to continue to pave private roads as they had in the past.

Town Administrator Tom Gaydos assured him that this was possible.  “We have the revenue budgeted so if we get the truck, we can bill the residents and continue paving.”

Selectmen expect to have a shortfall in the heating oil budget of $16,345 and Gaydos explained that would be higher except that all tanks were completely filled at the end of the heating season and are currently full. 

There’s an expected propane shortfall of $2,074 and a diesel fuel shortfall of $12,701 and a projected unleaded gasoline shortfall of $16,400 for a total fuel request of $47,520.

Paul Bergeron told Selectmen that he didn’t get a raise when fuel prices went up and that he had to find ways to cover the costs and he thought that the Town should too.  “You are asking too much,” he concluded.

There was discussion about the truck.  One resident was still angry because Selectmen bought a backhoe a year ago after voters had said no and didn’t want to see the highway truck included.

Selectman Tom Domenico explained that the truck failed after the March vote.  Residents had not voted on this truck but would have seen it in March 2006, and will see it in March, 2006 if it is not approved at the polls in September.

Armond Berard told the audience that he would be concerned about school buses if the Town didn’t get the truck.  “I don’t want to see the kids at risk,” he stated.  He talked about a number of safety issues that could occur if roads went unplowed or if plowing took a long time, pointing out that emergency vehicles such as Police and Fire vehicles could be blocked from making a timely response to an emergency situation.

When resident Linda Costa asked if the old plow could be used on the new truck, Highway Agent Don Foss explained that while the old plow would be used, new arms were needed to fit the new truck as well as other items that were necessary for plowing, salting and sanding.

Several residents asked about the revaluation process and how the Town could get out of the cycle of needing a big chunk of money every five or so years.   Board of Selectmen Chairman Victor Danevich as well as Selectman Gleason explained that Selectmen planned to propose that 25 percent of Pelham be revaluated every year after this revaluation is complete.

The proposed revaluation will continue through 2006.  Then in 2007, Selectmen will ask for funds to do a quarter of the Town.  “But that’s up to the voters,” said Danevich.  “If voters vote that down, then we’ll be in the same situation as we are now.”

Dave Hennessy said that doing the revaluation was an issue of fairness.  Some people are paying too little in property taxes and some are paying too much.  “Everyone should pay their fair share.”

He also reminded residents about the painful process two or three years ago when people on private roads had no access to their homes in the winter and fire trucks couldn’t use those roads.  Telling people that it was a hard fought, but correct process for the Town to reimburse for plowing those roads, he urged that people support the equipment needed for plowing.

Glennie Edwards said that she hadn’t intended to speak.  “I’m on a fixed income.  I don’t use my car anymore for trips because of the price of gas, but we need to support the Town.”  Edwards said that she knew through the town grapevine that the truck was a “sore spot,” but we have to remember we would see it in a few months anyway because it was going to be on the ballot in March.”

Talking about the safety issues involved if fire and police can’t reach homes because roads aren’t plowed, she urged people to remember that and the fact that the truck would be voted on soon anyway and support the warrant article.  “The weather dictates a lot of things – such as plowing.”  Edwards also told the audience that not to vote for the revaluation is “stupid.”

At the conclusion of the meeting Danevich asked people to let him know if the information packets given out were helpful.

Voting will be September 13 between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. in Pelham Memorial School.

Pelham Seniors Learn About Medicare Program

by Lynne Ober

Beginning January 1, 2006 a new program will provide prescription drug coverage under Medicare.  This program is of interest to seniors.  As part of an on-going awareness program, the Pelham Senior Center sponsored a talk on this new program. 

The talk was given by Thomas Abbott, District Manager of the Lowell District Office for the Social Security Administration.  He covered all of the aspects of the program, explained how to enroll and how to check your eligibility for the program.

“We want to be sure that all of our members have as much information about assistance programs as possible,” said Senior Center Director, Sue Hovling.

The program will provide help for people with limited income.  Eligible participants may be eligible for payment of monthly premiums, deductibles and co-payments under the new program.

Interested people need to fill out an Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (Form SSA-1020).  To get an application, call 1-800-772-1213 or (TTY) 1-800-325-0778 or apply online at

Thomas Abbot uses a PowerPoint presentation to answer a question during the presentation.

Vandals Desecrate Old Gravestones at Atwood Cemetery

by Karen Plumley

There is just something unsettling about walking into an old graveyard and seeing broken or missing gravestones in a place that is so meticulously cared for and peaceful.  Unfortunately, the quiet sanctity of five historical gravesites has been broken recently at the Atwood Cemetery in Pelham. 

At this point there are no clues to indicate who may have severed the gravestones.  They were discovered knocked over and lying on the grass with their flags still flying on Monday morning, August 8 by Pelham cemetery employee Brian Bonnell.  He was just about to mow the lawn when he noticed the broken stones.  William (Red) Gibson, cemetery sexton, claims that there is “never anyone in the graveyard” although there is a new development nearby and people could be tempted to wander through the cemetery from the wooded area. 

“We will have to make up the repair costs from the cemetery budget”, said Gibson, who estimates that it could be as much as $2,000 to repair the fragile, dated markers.

The historically significant cemetery is one of Pelham’s oldest, with many of the gravestones having been erected as early as the 1800s for men and women who were among the earliest settlers of the town.  Of the five toppled stones, three belonged to members of the Gage family, while one was for the wife of Nathaniel Marsh, and one marked the grave of Moses Whiting.

Police Officer Brian McCarthy took the statement, but has been unavailable for comment.  If you have any information, contact the Pelham Police Department at 635-2411.

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