Pelham-Windham News

Successful Pelham Old Home Day

by Lynne Ober

The weather couldn’t have been better for Pelham’s 99th Old Home Day celebration.  It was warm, but not humid with light breezes that kept everyone cool.

Sponsored by the First Congregational Church, dedicated December 28, 1842, this year’s event honored Pelham’s Historical Society and Pelham’s interesting people, places and traditions.  As always it was a community event with opportunities to meet new friends, chat with old friends, enjoy the entertainment, buy a gift or be the lucky winner of one of the hourly raffle prizes that ranged from a DVD Player or Apple iPod to gift certificates, movie certificated and even a certificate for an hour’s massage..

Even before the official opening at 9:00 a.m. the area was filled with people – many of them runners who would participate in the Hojlo-Pace Scholarship 5K Walk and Run.  This was the biggest turnout for the race/walk yet.  Several sports teams ran together as a unit.  Sponsored by the Pelham Track Club, this is a good race with lots of logistical support and camaraderie.  The finish line was well staffed and everyone was cheered into the finish.  Pelham resident Eric Estevez was the fastest finisher in 17:07.  After the race one of the teams was complaining good-naturedly because Pelham High School Cheerleaders, who ran in their uniforms, had beaten them.

Natasha Martin with her decorated doll carriage.

The Food Tent began serving breakfast at 9:00 – coffee and bagels were scooped up by hungry workers who had been on-site setting up long before the event.  This was the place to go for lunch – hot sausages, hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, French fries and more.  Service was friendly and fast.

The Emporium sold raffle tickets, homemade goodies and Old Home Day souvenirs.  They also had program books and cheerfully answered hundreds of questions.

While the rules for the auction were read at 9:00, the auction didn’t start until 9:30.  As always, it drew a good crowd who may have come to buy, but perhaps only came to hear the auctioneer’s lively patter and entertaining item descriptions.  As the day went on the audience at the auction continued to chat and bid enthusiastically.

Erica Pantalero, 10, made a sand art for her mother.

The White Elephant Table was set up near the auction grounds and had a lot of business.  People just love to poke through boxes looking for a bargain and many found exactly what they wanted.

Pelham Fire Department held an open house.  It was a chance for kids of all ages to climb into the driver’s seat of a fire engine and pretend that they were on their way to a fire.

Kids’ Games opened at 9:00 a.m. and before long giggles and squeals of laughter could be heard from that area as kids threw bean bags, raced balls through an obstacle course, bounced in the bounce house and chose their prizes from the prize ladies.

Nyria Combs painted a plaster sculpture.

Throughout the day, people strolled through the booths set up under the shady trees.  They stopped to shop or talk to friends or just ask questions of a vendor. 

The Doll Carriage and Bike Parade began shortly after 10:00 a.m.  Each contestant walked his or her decorated doll carriage or bike across the stage to pose before four judges.  Aili Greenwood, 3 and a half years old, decorated her doll carriage with Care Bears.  “She wanted to do it, and we decided to use her bears.  She did most of the work herself,” smiled her mother.

There was a lot of creativity in the decorations and a chance for some of the participants to show off their hobbies.  Natasha Martin, 4, decorated in a cheerleading theme and Derek Winsel, five and a half, dressed as a Power Ranger and decorated his bike to match his costume.

Every participant was awarded a certificate.

When the Bektash Shrine Clowns arrived at 10:00 a.m. to entertain, everyone knew that the Penny Sale was also opening.

Lieutenant Jack Tirrell drives the antique fire truck in the parade.

At 10:30 Snow White held a Ragg Mopps Dog Fashion Show.  Where else can you see beautiful Snow White and a gorgeous large white poodle dressed in a pink sequined fairy gown?  The audience clapped and cheered the dogs on.

Throughout the day Jim Greenwood and his PTV crew worked hard to televise the events.  Big thumbs up to the job that they did.

Karate International, located in Windham, brought two demo teams for their 11:00 a.m. presentation.  The Kick Boxing team showed off their high kicks and fast punches before the karate demo teams took off.  First came the little karate students who were enthusiastic if not as skilled as the older students.  All the seats in the audience were filled for this fast-paced entertainment.

At noon students at Dance Concepts performed.  Every group was elegantly costumed and exquisitely skilled in executing their dance steps.  As always they performed to a standing room only crowd.

New this year was a concert by the Rhythm of New Hampshire Show Chorus based in Derry, New Hampshire.  They were started by a group of women who wanted to be part of an innovative and exciting performing show chorus that is committed to musical excellence while promoting barbershop harmony, friendship, and a joy of music.  Their first a cappella offering was immediately familiar and the audience sang along with them when they sang, “it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing.”

At 2:00 the demonstration team from Family Martial Arts showed off their tricks and skills to the rousing beat of music.

At 2:30 even the auction took a break for the Grand Parade.  This year’s Grand Marshals were members of the Pelham Historical Society.  The parade was as big a hit as ever.  Fire Departments from Hampton, Londonderry and Pelham blared their sirens and waved to the crowd as they slowly drove by.  The American Legion Band and color guard marched.  The Shriners drove their mini-cars and entertained the kids with high fives and mobile antics.  Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, cheerleaders of all sizes and lots of antique cars streamed by the audience lining the street.  Pelham Theater Group made a Mardi Gras float and threw candy to the kids.  The Red Hats had a float.  The Pelham-Windham News antique show truck was decorated  beautifully for fall by the crew from Beaver Valley Farm and members of the Pulpit Rock Lodge marched in the parade.

Pelham Windham News antique show truck in the parade.

After the parade ended, the Penny Sale had its drawing and since you had to be present to win, people crowded into that area.

Winners of the pretty pie contest were announced

Magician Bob Riordan took over the stage and thrilled everyone with his magic tricks.

At 4:15 Tom Dixon, who plays country music, took over the stage.  His songs were filled with homilies for country living.

By the time that Dixon finished, it was time to get some Chicken Bar-b-que at the church supper.  Chicken, corn on the cob, salad, rolls and all those homemade pies made a perfect ending to a brilliant day.

Mark your calendar – next year will be the hundredth Old Home Day and it’s sure to be fantastic.

Project Backpack in Pelham

by Lynne Ober

Project Backpack was started in Bethesda, Maryland by three sisters aged 8, 11, and 14.  Their idea was to give to kids who were victims of Katrina what they left behind.  They called it a “kid to kid effort” with nothing fancy.

The idea is to take a backpack, used is okay, or a bag that zips and fill it with things that a kid would need.  No food or drink, sharp objects or stuff animals because of allergy concerns.  

What they recommended was that you take gently used items that you have in your home and fill the backpacks.  They suggested items such as school supplies, note or card to child, small toys, travel size games, playing cards, magazines, sports bottles, blow up balls/toys, a change of clothes, travel size personal hygiene products (in sealed bag if something could leak), books (not heavy text books), no need to purchase fancy items.

When Pelham Elementary School Student Randy Cookinham, 8, heard about the project, he knew that he wanted to help.  So he asked his mother to get a booth at Old Home Day.  He and his mother spent the day talking to people about filling gently used backpacks with items.

The backpacks will be donated to shelters for Katrina victims.  If you didn’t donate, you still can.  Call Danielle at 635-2492.

Randy holds some of the backpacks that have been gathered for survivors of Katrina.

Voters Approve Warrant Article

by Lynne Ober

Only slightly less than seventeen percent of Pelham’s registered voters voted in Tuesday’s Special Election.  A total of 1,339 ballots were cast, and of those, four ballots were kicked out by the machine; 982 people voted yes and 352 people voted no.  With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Town Moderator Phil Currier mischievously asked, “Does anyone want a recount?”

Warrant Article 1 added a total of $591,500 to the operating budget.  $450,000 is for the revaluation that is state mandated; $47,500 will go towards fuel and $94,000 will be used to purchase a heavy duty truck that can be used to plow and complete road projects.

When Selectmen were first faced with the default budget, there was immediate talk about holding a special election as well as talk about waiting.

“Waiting was the right thing to do,” said Selectman Tom Domenico.  “We needed to live with that budget.  I thought we needed to live within our means and see what that meant to the town before deciding to hold a special election.  We really studied the impact on the town and made a thoughtful decision about holding this election.”

An elated Board of Selectmen Chairman, Victor Danevich, said, “This is great news.  It’s just awesome.”

Asked what factors impacted the vote, Danevich thought that the people who lived in the 459 homes on the roads that wouldn’t be plowed without the truck played a big part.  “Many are living in new subdivisions and paying taxes.  They expect to have plowed roads in the winter.  Now that will happen.” 

Danevich and Domenico both thought that an additional negative impact on Parks and Recreation programs brought many families out to vote.  “If this had failed we probably would have seen more cuts in parks and rec,” Danevich commented.

Selectmen had developed comprehensive, but easy to read, handouts that were given at the Special Deliberative Session.  At the end of that session when Danevich asked the audience if the handouts were helpful, heads nodded yes.  Selectmen subsequently mailed those materials to every home in Pelham.

“I feel great about the vote,” said Selectman Hal Lynde.  “It shows that people care about the town.  They showed that with their vote.  I think it also shows that they know that we [Selectmen] looked at options and took the least cost approach.  We will all be much better off with the revaluation under our control.”

New Assistant Principal at Windham Middle School

by Lynne Ober

Windham Middle School has a new, energetic Assistant Principal, but she’s not new to the school.  Kori Becht has been teaching sixth grade Math and Science at Windham Middle School since September, 2000.

“We are really excited that she’s our new Assistant Principal,” said Superintendent Elaine Cutler.  “She has great communication skills, loves the students and has already proven to be an asset to our school district.”

Becht, an Auburn, New Hampshire resident, attended Hofstra University in New York for two years before transferring to Suffolk University in Boston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a Minor in Education in 2000.

Kori Becht brings her smile to her new position as Assistant Principal.

In 1999 she student taught in a fourth grade Gifted and Talented program at Josiah Quincy School in Boston where she helped students prepare for the MCAS. 

Between January and April, 2000, she student taught in a second grade at Shawsheen Elementary School in Andover, Massachusetts where she facilitated reading instruction through a literature based program incorporating group and individual work.  She provided daily instruction using a responsive classroom model.

After graduation she took a position at Windham Middle School.  It wasn’t long before she earned the designation of Highly Qualified in Mathematics, Science and Social Studies from the New Hampshire Department of Education Standards.

In 2001 she returned to school and earned a Masters in Education Administration at Rivier College in 2003. 

Today she holds both New Hampshire and Massachusetts certifications as both a teacher and a principal.

Her leadership skills were recognized in the Windham School District and she became the Mathematics Department Head in September, 2003.  As department head she had an opportunity to prepare subject related budgets and take a leadership role in the development of the school’s assessments for the department.  She presented district assessment data at district staff meetings.

In 2004 she added Grade Six Team Leader responsibilities to her department head job.  As a team leader she facilitated team meetings, and coordinated scheduling for the team and students.  It is the responsibility of Team Leaders to address discipline issues as an intermediary step before a student is sent to the administration and to facilitate communication between the parents and staff. 

Becht helped implement the John Collins writing program which stresses writing across the curriculum.  She also mentored new teachers in the school and worked on transition programming for students.

But life isn’t all work for Becht.  She’s an avid scuba diver who has made a number of trips to the Caribbean to dive.  “It’s a great hobby,” she smiled.

Although she’s new to her position, she hopes to continue to expand good communication between staff, students, parents and administration.  “All of us working together is what makes a school work.”

“Everything that she did for us let her grow.  She was definitely ready to take on the challenge of Assistant Principal,” said Cutler.  “We expect that she’ll do a great job.”

Concert on Village Green in Pelham

by Lynne Ober

Although Mother Nature rained the first time the concert was scheduled, the weather for the re-scheduled date was crisp and clear.  Pelham residents brought chairs and blankets to the Village Green and enjoyed a dynamic, entertaining concert.

The Sound-Abouts, led by Pelham residents Bob and Irene Jaracz, play polka music, obereks [Polish dances] and Polish waltzes.  They also play arrangements for big bands, figure and line dancing and music from the 50s.  Vocals are sung in both English and Polish by Irene and Bob.

“Bob and Irene contacted me about a concert,” said Sherburne Hall Committee Chairman Charlene Takesian.  “They had never played in Pelham and wanted to do so.”

The Sound-Abouts have played together since 1971 and have garnered a number of awards over their years together.  They’ve played across New England, New York, New Jersey and Florida. 

Comprised of six musicians, each of whom plays a number of instruments, their sound is varied and happy.  The audience tapped their toes and clapped their hands to the music.

Takesian kicked off the concert by thanking the sponsors who made the concert possible – Chunky’s Cinema Pub, Broyden Landscapting, JR Gauthier, Inc, Rick Hammar for the signs and Bill McDevitt for putting up the signs, taking them down, changing the date and putting them back up.  She also thanked the Pelham Police Explorer Post who manned the refreshment stand and who were donating all the proceeds to Sherburne Hall Renovation.

The Sound-Abouts opened with a rousing rendition of God Bless America before switching to a Polish dance number. 

During intermission the audience sipped drinks, chatted and donated money to the renovation fund.  When the concert was over no one could believe that the time had passed.  Everyone wanted the Sound-Abouts to keep playing.  It was a terrific event, and, hopefully is the first of many concerts on Village Green.

Girls Just Want to have Fun.  Members in the audience brought pom-poms and waved them to the beat of the happy music.

The Sound-Abouts

How Do You Choose a Pretty Pie?

by Lynne Ober

At Pelham Old Home Day one of the events is a pretty pie contest, but how do you choose the prettiest pie or the second prettiest pie?  They all looked terrific.

Even after the judges narrowed the group to the top four pies (grand prize, first place, second place, and third place), it was nearly impossible to pick a winner.  They all looked like first place winners to me, but tough choices had to be made and they were.

Each winner got a cookbook with their name, year and their place lettered on the inside front cover.

Jane Coleman’s Criss-cross pie won the grand prize; Polly Bennet’s cherry pie won first place; Lucille Gendron’s apple pie won second place and Jackie Karf’s apple butter pumpkin pie won third place.

Congratulations to all the winners.

Polly Bennet’s Cherry Pie

Jackie Karf’s Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

Lucille Gendron’s Apple Pie

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