Pelham-Windham News

Ahoy, Mateys

by Lynne Ober

It was Talk Like a Pirate’s Day at Windham’s Nesmith Library and all the pirates and their ladies showed up in costume.

With movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean enchanting young and old alike, it’s not surprising that there is a National Talk Like a Pirates Day, celebrated on a Monday in September.

Pirates of all ages began joining together to celebrate.  Costumes were colorful as were the parrots – some of them talking – who joined their pirates.  Swords circled through the air and giggles were heard every where.  Their instructions were to “come to the library dressed like a pirate and be ready to swab the decks.”

“It took us about half an hour to get dressed as pirates,” said sister and brother, Sydney, 3, and Michael 6.  “This is better than Halloween.”

Pirates decorated Booty Bags for their pirate treasure or played games of chance.  They could also wear a blindfold and try to pin the cracker on Polly the Parrot who really wanted a cracker.  “Polly wants a cracker,” cries drew little pirates to try their luck at giving her a cracker.

At another station pirates got tattoos.  After all what’s a pirate if he or she doesn’t have a number of tattoos?

Even pirates have a sweet tooth – which, according to the sign, is why they have rotten teeth.  At this area pirates decorated cookies to put into their booty bags – but most of them were eaten as soon as they were decorated by pirates wearing grinning faces and bits of cookie frosting.

The Children’s Room had a large selection of pirate literature that little pirates could check out and take home with them.

Jeff Warner, New Hampshire Council for the Arts, performed an enchanting concert that taught American history and culture through traditional songs, stories, children's games, step dancing (clogging) and the exploration of local history and family folklore.  The kids were enchanted with his music.

Warner brings all of his instruments and uses them to familiarize children of all ages with a variety of traditional folk instruments, including banjo, concertina, guitar and accessible “pocket” instruments, such as spoons, bones, and Jew's harp.

Warner has a magical way with children who were enthralled with his stories and sea shanty songs.  He brought the past alive with his energetic music.

Because there were so many wonderful costumes, staff decided that it was impossible to choose the Best Costume.  Instead, everyone wearing a costume was given a number and a chance to win in the costume raffle.

“Let’s do it again,” said one little cherub going out the door with his mother.

Sydney, 3, and her brother, Michael, 6, came dressed as pirates.

These three pirates showed off their pirate lore and threatened to make the photographer walk the plank.

Ashley, 7, and Jason, 5, wore matching costumes and had matching pet bird mascots.

Four and a half year old twins Olivia and Jessica decorated their Pirate Booty Bags before gathering their treasure.

Parks and Recreation Master Plan

by Lynne Ober

Pelham Parks and Recreation Director Darren McCarthy has been working on a master plan for Pelham parks and recreation programs.

The latest work was a focus group led by members of Nashua Regional Planning Commission [NRPC] led by NRPC Assistant Director Kerrie Diers.  The goal was to gather community input for an updated Pelham Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

McCarthy opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and stating that the goal was to go over the seven year master plan, suggest opportunities for improvements and develop a guide for the long term future of recreation in Pelham.

Diers chimed onto the future theme and urged participants to think how they wanted to customize programming to suit Pelham needs and to enhance the quality of life for Pelham residents.

NRPC Regional Planner Danielle Fillis reviewed Pelham demographics.  The largest population group by age is the 35 – 39 year-old group.  The second largest is the under 18 group and the smallest is the under 20 group.  “We think people in that age group move away for jobs or additional schooling,” Fillis said.

NRPC inventories Pelham parks and natural resources.  Listed were the four major parks, Town forests, schools and the Pelham Fish and Game Club as well as conservation areas that have been preserved.

They had a list of current recreational programming and invited participants to contribute to the list of programming needed in Pelham.

Participants were split into two smaller breakout groups and asked to work on strengths, weaknesses and ideas for improvements.  Output from these two groups would be combined with the recreational survey done in town and used to produce a draft report due out in early October.

Ideas given by the participants were for more adult programming, the addition of more winter programming, suggestions for kayaking programs, and making better use of the water frontage and trails.

One participant thought that a pavilion should be built along the water at Veteran’s Memorial Park.  This pavilion could be used for musical concerts for residents and could house Pelham summer campers on rainy summer days. 

“This plan is an important piece of the pie,” said Bill Scanzani.  “We need to have this plan for impact fees.”

Scanzani among others had hoped for more community input.  “I think we needed more adults with ideas for adult recreation as well as for more people with kids.  Adults could be interested in line dancing, kayaking and other recreational activities.  We just needed more input.”

It’s never too late to give input as Recreation Director Darren McCarthy is always available to talk about programming needs.  If you didn’t have an opportunity to give your input, call him or drop him at e-mail at

Kickin’ for Katrina at Karate International

by Karen Plumley

Karate International’s annual kick-a-thon and open house was held on Saturday, September 17 at the Windham location and there was an impressive turnout.  This year, the money raised at the kick-a-thon, as well as money raised in sales and class sign-ups, will be donated to the Red Cross for the Katrina Fund.  Sensei (Instructor) Joe Costa led the kick-a-thon in which over 30 children participated.  “Last year we raised about $1,000 for the Salem Boys and Girls Club, and the kick count was approximately 22,000.  This year, the amount of funds raised has not been calculated yet, but the kick count has almost doubled so we are hopeful,” said Costa.  The kick count this year was an astounding 37,775.  The top kicker was Cameron Guimond, 11, of Windham, with 1,999 kicks in various drills throughout the duration of the kick-a-thon.  In addition to the donations, over $400 was raised by the school from new student sign-ups and equipment sales. 

Parents donated hot dogs, drinks, and baked goods to the event, which lasted from noon until 4:00 p.m.  One adult student, Mr. Eric Gingras of Dunbarton, donated his time and music equipment and performed as a DJ.  In addition to the kick-a-thon, a complimentary martial arts class was held and throughout the day there were student demonstrations, and an awards ceremony.  Proud moms and dads looked on, helped count kicks, and snapped pictures as their children performed and accepted their prizes.  “Ages of the children range from three to 16, and they are at all martial arts levels,” said Sensei Joe. 

“Karate International opened in August of 2002 and has held an open house every year to raise funds for various organizations,” said Andrea Zalewski, kick boxing instructor from Pelham.  “They are really generous like that,” she added.  Anyone who signed up for a class on Saturday received a free uniform, and got a break on pricing.  And, of course, they got to enjoy the festivities.  For more information and class schedules, call Karate International in Windham at 898-5367 or visit their website at

Hannah, 5, and Briannah, 4, donate their kicks to Katrina.  Hannah’s kick count: 960.  Briannah: 703.

PTA Changing Lives…One Family at a Time

by Jennifer McPhee

Approximately 75 parents and educators attended a lecture hosted by the Pelham Elementary School (PES) Parent-Teacher Association this past Tuesday, September 13.  Despite stifling humidity, the lively 90 minute presentation by Jack Agati on “Raising Responsible Children” was full of practical techniques for managing children’s everyday misbehaviors.  Mr. Agati answered questions from the audience on everything from allowances to household chores and included many personal anecdotes on applying a proven method to teach our children how to make better decisions.

So how do you raise a responsible child?  According to Mr. Agati, you need to give children choices and hold them accountable for their decisions.  This approach helps parents and educators avoid raising a generation of “house guests” in homes and in schools as well as helping them to become responsible citizens.  “We all struggle with the best way to raise and discipline our children,” said Shawn Duggan, father of two young boys.  “As a parent, I could use all the help I can get… but you always wonder if you are doing the right thing and sometimes you are not sure what the best approach is… the topic was poignant and hit home.”  Another participant said she would now ask her children more often, “Have you decided?” to help them work together to become a better family unit.

During coffee, cookies, and conversation after the lecture, plenty of parents expressed similar feelings and thought the time and money for babysitters was well spent.  Many attendees requested the PTA provide more programs like this one and suggested several other topics of interest for the parenting community.  When PTA Co-President Mary Collins was asked if the PTA would consider providing more informational sessions such as this, she advised that plans are already in the works for additional presenters to come to school and speak to parents.  “Our goals are to attract more members and increase participation with the PTA.  We were very excited to see both new and familiar faces at the meeting and so many interested in participating in PES volunteer programs this year,” said Collins.  “I believe the 90 minutes Mr. Agati spent in Pelham will change a few homes and lives along the way,” she added.

Jack Agati holds a Master’s Degree in Child and Family Counseling and is a well known professional speaker with local ties.  Many years ago he worked in the Pelham/Windham school district as a special education teacher.  His unique style and engaging presentations have made him a popular and frequent guest lecturer in the area.  For those who were unable to attend his recent appearance at Pelham Elementary, there is good news.  The PTA purchased a copy of his tape series and thoughtfully donated it to the Pelham Elementary School library.  The tape collection is available on loan to Pelham parents by contacting the PES school librarian.

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