Pelham-Windham News

Successful Coat Drive Benefits Others

by Lynne Ober

Once again Windham Woman’s Club held a successful coat drive.  They’ve been holding the drive for 12 years and have collected thousands of coats that help keep others warm.

From left to right members of Windham Woman’s Club display some of the coats that have been collected.  Co-chairwoman Maureen Homsey, Ruth Bellizzi, Maureen Souma, Lynne Oloughlin, Ro Finizco and Co-chairwoman Margaret Crisler.

This year Maureen Homsey and Margaret Crisler were co-chairwomen of the event.  Both women have a long history working on this event.

We check and wash the coats and sweaters,” said Homsey.  “We have five local shelters that we work with and we also have a voucher system where people get a voucher and can come in and choose a coat.

Extra large is the favorite size,” said Crisler, who noted that they had already collected more than 500 sweaters this year.

Platinum Touchless Car Wash Concludes Fundraiser for Hurricane Victims

More than $7,600 was raised to support Hurricane Katrina victims through the efforts of Platinum Touchless Car Wash, as well as contributions from Getman, Stacey, Schulthess & Steere, P.A.  The fundraiser included all car wash profits from September 3 through September 25 with proceeds going to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.  In response to the fundraiser, Nonstop, Inc., the equipment supplier to Platinum, pledged to match the donation dollar for dollar.

   Platinum Touchless Car Wash presents a check in the amount of $7,618 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.  In the photo from left to right are Roger Edwards, Account Executive, Nonstop Inc.; Jeff Arimento, General Manager, Nonstop, Inc.; Ken Marcks, Principal, Platinum Touchless Car Wash; and Adra Darling, Director of Development, Manchester Chapter of the American Red Cross.

“I want to thank all of our new customers, friends and our suppliers/ professionals that embraced our disaster relief fundraiser,” said Ken Marcks of Platinum Touchless Car Wash.  “We have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback and encouragement from our clients.  I am very appreciative of their business that has enabled this worthy effort.  Thank you to everyone who has visited our new touchless car wash over the past three weeks.  We look forward to supporting other fundraising efforts in the future.”  

Adra Darling, director of development, Manchester Chapter of the American Red Cross, shared “We are so grateful for the fine efforts of Platinum Touchless Car Wash for its contribution to the Hurricane Relief fund.  Overall, the Manchester chapter of the American Red Cross has raised over $1,400,000 for Hurricane relief.  It is so wonderful seeing the entire community pull together in times of need.”

Platinum Touchless Car Wash, a new touchless car wash facility located off Rt. 102 in Londonderry, combines state-of-the-art car wash technology with a 24-hour operating schedule.  The locally owned and operated company is committed to providing customers with a clean, convenient, and high-quality car wash that exceeds expectations.  For more information visit the website at

Water Testing Methods Challenged in Windham

by Lynne Ober

Clean water is a goal of all environmentalists. 

Yet, keeping water clean and unpolluted with a growing population is difficult.  A variety of testing methods have been developed and approved by environmental agencies.  These tests are used to determine the quality of the water, and if used responsibly, yield a wealth of information.

Windham residents who live near ponds continue to question whether Windham Planning Director Al Turner used responsible testing before sending out a letter announcing that water at Seavey Pond was contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

Turner tested Seavey Pond with a Millipore Corp. test strip that he frequently uses to test for failed septic systems.  He incubated the test in an incubator that he said kept the sample at 35 degrees centigrade.

The Friday that the Senior Picnic was held most of the town offices were closed while people served town seniors and enjoyed this annual event.  After the picnic Turner returned to his office, checked the test results, and found them to be high.

Turner remarked that it was late on a summer Friday afternoon and he couldn’t reach anyone in the state offices so, as Windham’s health officer, he typed up a letter for residents telling them to avoid swimming in their pond because it was contaminated with E. coli.

When Turner learned on Monday that the state preferred a different test to determine E. coli, a second letter was sent out with a different message.  This one was an advisory that the water might be contaminated and to be aware before swimming.  “That letter was considerably toned down,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Roger Hohenberger.

But as far as residents are concerned, the damage was done.  Newspapers picked up the E. coli contamination story and ran with it even though subsequent testing did not show E. coli testing.  Property values have been impacted and Seavey Pond residents are not happy.

The test equipment used by Turner is used to test for coli count and does not specifically test for E. coli.  This is a very fine point that would take a microbiologist to understand and differentiate. 

Residents want to know why Turner issued his first letter without testing specifically for E. coli.  Additionally, the testing done by Turner is not recognized by EPA standards as being a valid water testing procedure.

Residents discussed this issue with selectmen in September.  They wanted Turner to adopt EPS-approved testing methods before issuing letters about contamination.

Selectmen have agreed that the procedure required changing and have taken steps to do so.  Although they stopped short of telling Turner that he could not continue to use the Millipore test kits that he had been using, they did tell him to follow any suspicious tests results from that method with an EPA-approved test and to send those tests to New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services for processing and analysis.

At the first October meeting, Turner took the floor and described what he did and why he sent out the first letter.  Selectman Margaret Crisler was very supportive of his actions.

Although residents filled the audience they quietly listened to the changed protocol described by Hohenberger. 

Responding to questions from the selectmen, Turner told them that he wanted to do dye tests of the septic systems on Seavey Pond to determine if a septic system had failed and was causing the pollution.  He also characterized the water testing that residents had been doing at the pond as “lackadaisical” and said that they didn’t follow icing protocols needed to get accurate tests.  Therefore, he didn’t want to work with them.

Michele Repetto asked to speak.  Trained by NH DES she has been testing the water at Seavey Pond for a number of years.  Repetto disputed Turner’s statements.  She told selectmen that they do ice samples, and the correct incubation, which she said should be done at 45.5 degrees centigrade.  She contended that Turner’s incubator could not accurately provide test results because it did not use the correct temperatures.

Maureen Richard also spoke and was angry that selectmen had not responded to her August 29 letter.  Her concern was erosion runoff into Seavey Pond from the Lamplighter Village development.

She also felt that Turner had threatened her with court action.  She said that while he had first asked her to voluntarily let him perform a dye test on her septic system, he also threatened legal action against her if she didn’t volunteer.

Selectman Bruce Breton suggested that Turner use money already in the budget to set up appropriate testing at all Windham ponds and lakes and that he work with the homeowners’ associations to make this happen.

Repetto said, “That letter did a lot of damage.  We have a neighbor trying to sell his house and now everyone believes that E. coli was found because of this false test.”

Although selectmen didn’t take a vote, there seemed to be consensus to do more testing.  Hohenberger stated that the procedure had definitely been changed, and no letters would be sent until appropriate test results were back.  They also asked Turner to review the erosion runoff situation at Murphy’s Cove on the pond.

Stearns Appointed to Pelham Conservation Commission

by Lynne Ober

Pelham resident Jay Stearns has been appointed to a three-year term, expiring April 1, 2008, on the Conservation Commission.

Stearns, who is a director of Enterprise Supply Management at Nortel Networks, said that he should have been in game management or wildlife management.  Noting that his employer gives employees credit at review time for promoting community involvement, Stearns said that the real catalyst had been the debate concerning the Stonepost Road cul-de-sac.

Stearns said that his hobbies include bird-watching and hunting, and that he has a lot of general interest in managing wildlife and open space.  “We own woodland property in Vermont and I have been practicing good wildlife management.  Our property is enrolled in Current Use.”

Stearns believes that he can contribute to Pelham and help provide a balance between growth and development goals and the objectives of the Conservation Commission.  He told selectmen that he initially attended Conservation Commission meetings with the idea of volunteering to help them, but that members had encouraged him to apply for a regular seat on the commission.

Acknowledging that he would have to excuse himself from any vote concerning Stonepost Road, he said that he had no other areas where there would be a potential conflict.

Selectmen unanimously appointed him and thanked him for volunteering to help Pelham.

Pelham Projects Reinstated

by Lynne Ober

Once Pelham Selectmen held the public hearing to accept the Federal Emergency Management Agency grants for the bad snowstorms that had occurred, they moved quickly to re-establish and fund some of the life safety projects that had been postponed after town voters rejected the budget last March.

They asked Town Administrator Tom Gaydos to work with Highway Agent Don Foss in establishing cost estimates for three postponed projects – striping middle and side lines on roads, roadside mowing, and brush cutting and dead tree removal.

Foss estimated that it would cost $17,000 to paint double yellow lines and white edge lines on 16 crosswalks and 31 Pelham roads.  Roads that will be painted are Old Bridge Street North, Woodbury Avenue, Nashua Road, Tenny Road, Brookview Drive, Simpson Road, Tallant Road, Hayden Road, Hobbs Road, Simpson Mill Road, Ledge Road, Poplar Hill Road, Young’s Crossing, Old Gage Hill Road South, Atwood Road, Atwood Road Extension, Dutton Road, LeBlanc Road, Island Pond Road, Currier Road, Jericho Road, Livingston Road, Highland Avenue, Pulpit Rock Road, Old Bridge Street South, Greeley Road, Willow Street, Burns Road, Jeremy Hill Road, Bowman Lane, and Bush Hill Road.

Mowing and brush cutting along 163 Pelham roads and at the incinerator will cost $6,500.  The third project, dead tree removal, is estimated at $6,100.  Trees on Currier Road, Ledge Road, Koper Lane, Simpson Mill Road, Meadow Lane and Armand Drive will be removed.

Selectmen approved these projects and asked Gaydos to direct Foss to begin the work immediately so that it could be complete before the onset of winter.

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