Pelham-Windham News

Zucchini Festival Caps Summer Activities

As summer draws to a close, the annual Zucchini Festival was held at Nesmith Library in Windham.  This was the fifth year for this week-long event that treats zucchini growers in a light-hearted manner.  Arriving just at the time that the zucchini harvest reaches it peak, this gave you a chance to dress one up or cook it in your favorite dish. 

The festival kicked off on Monday, August 22 when contestants brought in their dressed and named zucchinis.  These were on display for a week and everyone had a chance to vote for their favorite zucchini.  As usual, the array was entertaining and creative.

Throughout the week residents brought in their largest zucchinis and had them weighed.  On Friday, a prize was given to the person who grew the largest zucchini.

If you found yourself with too many zucchinis, you could bring them in for others to enjoy.  Residents brought zucchinis and other vegetables and left them on the “over flow produce” table where any library patron could help themselves. 

One of the favorite events of the week was the Zucchini Cook-off Potluck lunch held in the community room at noon.  Dishes were entered in the sweet and savory categories.  Participants voted for their favorites, chatted, and enjoyed lunch.

Well-dressed zucchinis waited for patrons to vote for them. ***Images are in no particular order***


Windham Selectmen Hear About Land Woes

by Lynne Ober

Fast on the heels of Windham School District’s closure on the land for the new high school came whispers of problems.  These whispers are gaining strength throughout the community and more than one resident is concerned about the secretive cloak that the School Board and Administration have draped around their plans for this land.

It’s no surprise that the land that voters approved for purchase is land-locked.  Information surrounding this land was well publicized in newspapers and at meetings prior to the election.  The school district had Team Design, Inc. perform an extensive nine week study of the proposed site on London Bridge Road and results from this study were the basis for the School Board asking voters for authority to purchase the land.

At that time Team Design President Daniel A. Bisson wrote in a letter that was made public, “Entrance from Route 111 onto London Bridge Road was reviewed by Appledore Engineering, Inc. (AEI) with Al Turner, Town Planner.  Alignment of London Bridge Road to Route 111 is on-going.  AEI reviewed upgrading of London Bridge Road to proposed high school site and determined that a six percent slope can be maintained with moderate cuts and fills.”

The report did not mention that additional private property would have to be purchased or taken by eminent domain to make that happen.  Many people, reading about the report, thought that Windham had access to the property on an undeveloped road, London Bridge Road, but that may not be the case.

Now that the land has been purchased, School Administration seems to be scrambling to gain access to Route 111.

Monday night Superintendent Elaine Cutler, Business Administrator Brian Gallagher and members from Team Design, the architectural firm chosen by the School District met with Selectmen in non-public session.

Boards may enter into non-public session under a small, strict set of topics.  RSA 91-A:3 states, “I. (a) Bodies or agencies shall not meet in nonpublic session, except for one of the purposes set out in paragraph II.  No session at which evidence, information or testimony in any form is received shall be closed to the public, except as provided in paragraph II.  No body or agency may enter nonpublic session, except pursuant to a motion properly made and seconded.  (b) Any motion to enter nonpublic session shall state on its face the specific exemption under paragraph II which is relied upon as foundation for the nonpublic session.  The vote on any such motion shall be by roll call, and shall require the affirmative vote of the majority of members present.”  The specific set of topics that can be covered may be found at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/VI/91-A/91-A-3.htm.

To begin the “non-public” meeting, an announcement was made that Selectmen would enter non-public and people not involved should immediately leave the room.  The door to the hall was closed as soon as non-participants had left the room

No motion was made prior to the door closing, but on Tuesday Town Administrator David Sullivan consulted notes from the meeting and confirmed that a motion had been made at some point, but according to Sullivan no roll call vote was recorded in those notes and he would follow up with the Chairman.

The purpose of this process [i.e. motion and roll-call] is to let the public know the legal reason for a non-public meeting by making a motion that states the reason, as required by law, and recording the required roll-call vote.

Although the meeting was listed as “Land Acquisition” much of the discussion surrounded the design of the road leading up to the high school.  There is nothing in RSA 91 that would lend itself to legally allowing a non-public meeting for design issues or to allow Selectmen to discuss design issues in anything other than a public meeting.

Sullivan also noted that Selectmen had their Counsel present and could meet to discuss topics with them.

Planning Board member Nancy Prendergast confirmed that the Planning Board had not been included in this meeting.

According to Conservation Commission member Lisa Linowes, who cautioned voters about purchasing a piece of land-locked land prior to the vote, “the School Board approached the Board of Selectmen [BOS] about reopening London Bridge Road.  London Bridge Road was closed by town vote around 1935, if memory serves.  And it was not closed subject to gates and bars -- thus the town no longer owns the right-of-way.  In order to open the road, the BOS or School Board would have to invoke eminent domain.”

While it might seem unusual for School Administration to request a non-public meeting for the design of a road, a quick look at a variety of requirements will quickly discover that if a road is built to New Hampshire Department of Transportation [DOT] standards, rather than Windham town standards, less land would have to be claimed under eminent domain.  Allowing overhead utilities will take less land than requiring underground utilities.  If eminent domain is a possibility, then limiting the amount of land would be an important consideration.

“The land is located 3,000 linear feet from Route 111 -- 1/2 a mile into the woods and marsh.  The access road will cost a minimum of $250 per linear foot, but that's just for a single-in/single-out,” stated Linowes.  “So we have school that will house 1,100 people including students, teachers, staff and one access road 3,000-feet long?  That's illegal under Windham subdivision regs.  If London Bridge is built all the way out to Castle Hill, that's 7,100 linear feet.  At $250 a foot, we're looking at $1.8 million.” 

Linowes worries that single access will not be adequate and asks, “Have you ever visited Middle School after a Friday dance or sporting event?  One access doesn't work -- unless it's very wide.” 

A single access could pose problems to both Fire and Police Departments who would be concerned about life safety issues during a crisis.

“Jim Logan owns the land right off Route 111 and London Bridge Road.  Although he doesn't have frontage on Route 111, it's his land that the school will be taking in order to achieve the access at the right approach from Route 111.  Logan's land has a large wetland on the property that is certain to be destroyed or seriously impacted by the location and size of the road, stated Linowes.

A look at a Windham map shows that there are also other possible pieces of property that could be seized under eminent domain.  Dr. Cutler would not confirm nor deny that the School District is looking at using eminent domain to resolve the road issue, but the angle at which London Bridge Road intersects Route 111 on town maps shows that it is a sharp 45 degree angle that would be difficult for school buses approaching it.

The land purchased by the School District is reported to contain significantly large areas of wetlands that would make construction of fields, school, and parking more difficult.  Linowes, however, stated, “I would gladly support a land swap where they took our Cyr property on Route 28 for the London Bridge land.”

While RSA 674 gives Planning Boards and not Selectmen the right to approve or disapprove roads, plot plans and other details surrounding construction, School Districts may, according to state statue, choose to build without a formal Planning Board review.

However if the School District decides to pursue building a road to NH DOT standards rather than to Town standards, perhaps they will need to have a full hearing in front of the Planning Board.  This hearing will need to be in public session.


Sunday School to Begin

Sunday School will be blasting off again at Windham Presbyterian Church on Sunday, September 11 at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m.  The Windham Presbyterian Church is looking forward to beginning again September 11 using their exciting teaching format – the Bible Learning Adventure Stations.  Students rotate through four stations thus learning about the same story four weeks in a row, but from a different perspective each week.  There is the Desert Drama Theater, the Thou Art! Studio, the Bible Discovery Zone, and the Marketplace. 

This rotation method began in Presbyterian churches over ten years ago, and has spread to more than 4,000 churches of all denominations around the globe.  The approach appeals to the multiple intelligences of students so it suits a variety of learning styles.  The year will begin with the Call of Abraham, the Call of Samuel and Hannah, and the Call of David.  The K through 6th grade children will be encouraged to hear God speak personally to them, as they are guided by scripture.  Younger and older age groups will also attend classes, with their own curriculum. 

Sunday School begins September 11 and will be offered during the contemporary service at 9:00 a.m. and the more traditional service at 10:45 a.m.  Junior and Senior High classes will be held only during the 10:45a.m. service to allow these young adults to attend the 9:00 a.m. Contemporary Service A professionally staffed nursery is available during both services

Registration can be done at the church office or on Sundays before each service.

Everyone is invited to join in the fun at the Annual Church picnic at the home of Rich and Caroline Lewis at 105 Kendall Pond Road Windham.  Activities for the children will be planned and don’t forget your bathing suits for fun in the pool!  Hamburgers and Hot dogs will be provided.

For more details on the Sunday School program and picnic call Larry Nice at the church @ 432-2150.


Eric Estevez, Pelham, Kicks off his Bid for 2006 House of Representatives by Introducing his Special Business Card

by Doug Robinson

Eric Estevez is not a State Representative for Pelham.  In fact, he lost in the primaries of 2004.  So why is Eric Estevez handing out business cards stating that he is a State Representative, and why does his card have the State Seal on it.

Estevez’ behavior came to light during the recent meeting of the Tri-Town Representatives Organization.  During this meeting, he was elected the new chairman.  And as any new chairman would do, Estevez handed out his personal business cards.  Unfortunately for Estevez, he had these cards emblazed with the New Hampshire State Seal and “Estevez State Representative” boldly printed on the card.

On 9/1/04, Estevez sent a letter to the Hudson Litchfield News/Pelham Windham News “announcing my candidacy for the office of New Hampshire State Representative….On September 14, I need your help…”  As he was four days late with the filing of his $1 price tag to be on the primary ballot, Estevez had no choice but to ask for write in votes.

In speaking with the Town Clerk’s Office of Pelham, Estevez received only 325 write-in votes, in his bid to have his name placed on the ballot for State Representative.  In Pelham, 13 names were to be placed on the State election ballot, and Estevez ended up dead last, with the fewest votes.  He placed 14th.Some might call this “odd man out.”

On September 21, 2004, Estevez wrote to the Hudson-Litchfield News/Pelham-Windham News to “congratulate all of the candidates who were successful in this year’s primary.”  He continues to say that “Life was unfair in many regards during the campaign.”  He further quotes Earnest Hemingway by saying:  “Courage is grace under pressure” and that “for those of you who feel as though the struggle has been lost, it was not.”

Eric Estevez letter of September 1, 2004 also states that …”I will not let you down.  I will continue the fight to be your State Representative.”

In speaking directly with Eric Estevez he explains that his business card is being taken “out of context.”  Remember Clinton asking for the definition of the word “is.?”  Well,  according to my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, the word definition for the word “for”:  (…for is…)  used as a function word to indicate purpose, used as a function word to indicate an intended goal, used as a function word to indicate the object.   Estevez State Representative “Real Leadership for New Hampshire State Representative” is how Estevez’s card is written.  Evidently he is using these cards to identify himself as a candidate “for” the office vs. the business cards as a “voted” official of the office.

He also states that he was unaware that it was against the law to have the State Seal on his business card and that he would remove it immediately.  “I am going to change it (the seal); I did not know it was against the law.”

Someone needs to remind Estevez that he needs to win the election, before he can become or mistakenly insinuate that he is a State Representative.  Please give him a call and voice your opinion.  His website states: “He stands on a platform of common sense.”  His email, as indicated on his business card is:  ericestevezusa@aol.com.

Editor’s note:  Prior to publication, Mr. Estevez assured the Pelham-Windham News that he had destroyed all the business cards in questions and would happy to speak to anyone about the issue.

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