Pelham-Windham News

Young Audience is All Smiles at Library’s Puppet-making Workshop

by Lynne Ober

“Who wants to learn how to make a puppet friend?” asked Diane Kordas’ puppet mouse.

When a chorus of ‘me, me, me’ was heard around the room, Kordas’ grin got even wider.  “Okay.  Let’s get started.”

Will, 5, and his dad, Al, admire the beautiful whiskers on his mouse.

Using music, laughter, and fun, Kordas thrilled her young audience at Windham’s Nesmith Library.  Teaching her puppet-making workshop is one of her favorite tasks.  “Participants learn to make simple puppets according to age and ability.  This morning we are making a simple mouse puppet, but this afternoon the older children will make “The Selfish Giant” and then learn to put on a show.”  Kordas likes her workshops to include the puppet basics such as movement, expression, and creative drama.  She teaches workshops for toddlers through adults, and every age group gives her rave reviews.

Kordas is a puppeteer, puppet builder, story teller, musician, singer, songwriter and musical instrument builder.  She has been performing music for children and families since 1992, and doing puppet shows since 1998.

As a registered nurse and later as a mom she started using music and puppets to entertain and educate her patients, friends, and family.  Through trial and error she learned how to design and sew her own dolls and puppets with instruction from her mother, and enjoys making her own puppet characters for her shows.

Juliette, 3, wants to think of a name for her new mouse friend.

Today, her classic and original stories with puppets, music, humor and audience participation are enjoyed by children and families throughout New England.

Using her mouse puppet, she gave the young children careful instructions for folding the mouse’s head (made out of paper), adding eyes, and whiskers.  Parents and children alike carefully followed the instructions.

Once the head was made, each child had to choose paper (pieces of wrapping paper) that would be used to make the mouse’s body.

When the mouse was finally made, she taught the children how to talk with their puppets and how to interact with them in a brief show.

In the afternoon, the older children arrived filled with a sense of adventure.  They worked on puppets for the Selfish Giant.  Once the puppets were made, Kordas taught them the basics of putting on a puppet show and watched while they used their puppets to act out their roles.  Everyone had a wonderful time.

Kordas has been a selected artist for the New Hampshire Summer Reading Program five years in a row.  She performs special programs for children with disabilities for the Visiting Nurses Partners in Health Program in Manchester, New Hampshire and teaches K - 5 music at St. John's Regional School in Concord and at Country Kids Daycare in Weare, New Hampshire.

She’s a member of Puppeteers of America, Children's Music Network, and the Boston Area Puppet Guild.  Thanks to the success of her children's music recording entitled Hello, How Are You?!, she has finished recording a second CD entitled Dinosaur Stomp that has been chosen Winner of the Children's Music Web Award 2005 for Best Recording for Younger Children ages five to eight, and Best Educational Seasonal or Religious Recording for Younger Children ages five to eight.

She was also recently selected as a member of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Touring roster and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

When she’s not busy helping people make puppets, she also teaches workshops on songwriting and on making recycled instruments.

Sarah Howard, 4, is picking out paper for the body of her mouse.

Petition Warrant Article Asks for Elimination of the Pelham Budget Committee

by Lynne Ober

Pelham’s ballot will have a petitioned warrant article that states, “Pursuant to RSA Chapter 32:14 V, are you in favor of rescinding adoption of the Municipal Budget Act and eliminating the Budget Committee in order to simplify town government and provide better control of the budgetary process and property taxes by the voters of Pelham as the legislative body?  (submitted by petition).”

In layman’s terms, this warrant article asks for the elimination of the Pelham Budget Committee. 

This year there has been significant grumbling about the budgetary process and, as a result, 38 Pelham residents signed petitions to have the Budget Committee disbanded. 

Some of the petitioners have a concern that members of the Budget Committee are not voting what is best for Pelham, but are, instead, voting their own agendas.

Bob Turnquist said that he has asked people if they felt well enough informed to vote on the issues without looking at the Budget Committee’s recommendation.  “Even if you are generous, only 20 percent said yes, so that means that when the Budget Committee votes, the vote is already set.”  According to Turnquist one can look at recent town votes and see that rarely do the voters vote against a Budget Committee recommendation.  “So basically the night the Budget Committee takes a vote, the vote is set.  That should irritate every thinking voter in town.”

RSA 32 of the warrant article deals with Municipal Budget Law.  Section 14 relates to the Budget Committee and states,

  1. This subdivision may be adopted:
    1. By any town with a town meeting form of government, including those with a budgetary town meeting or representative town meeting pursuant to RSA 49-D:3, II and III;
    1. By a cooperative school district, in accordance with RSA 195:12-a;
    1. By any village district, or district created under RSA 53-A or 53-B, which adopts its budget at an annual meeting of its voters, and which is located in more than one municipality; or
    1. By any school district or village district which adopts its budget at an annual meeting of its voters, but which lies wholly within a municipality that lacks authority to adopt this subdivision.
  2. This subdivision may be adopted by a majority vote of those present and voting, under an article in the warrant for the annual meeting, inserted by the governing body or by petition.
  3. Voting shall be by ballot, but the question shall not be placed on the official ballot used to elect officers. Polls shall remain open and ballots shall be accepted by the moderator for a period of not less than one hour following the completion of discussion on the question.
  4. If the vote is favorable, the town or district shall at that same meeting vote, by ballot or other means, determine the number of members-at-large, as provided in RSA 32:15, I, and whether they shall be elected or appointed by the moderator.
  5. A town or district which has adopted this subdivision may rescind its adoption in the manner described in paragraphs II and III.”

Another complaint of petitioners is that the Budget Committee totally overlooks the work done by the CIP Committee who spend hours looking at long-term, big-ticket issues.  It’s well known that Bill Scanzani, CIP Chairman, requires a great deal of backup detail.  The CIP Plan is a budgetary document that should be used to ensure that a community’s services and needs are met.  It examines each project in financial detail and the plan recommends a priority ordering of projects.

“I don’t think the Budget Committee ever looks past the next March vote,” said Turnquist, who did note that at a recent meeting Budget Committee member Dennis Viger commented that capital improvement projects had been stacking up in Pelham and he was concerned that this was not good.

There’s also concern among some petitioners that the Budget Committee is not held accountable.  People complain that minutes are hard to find.  Unlike the Pelham School Board and Board of Selectmen, minutes are not posted on the web. 

In addition, selectmen keep copies of minutes in the library.  These minutes are detailed, allowing people to follow the discussion.

Budget Committee minutes are bare bones.  “I’ve heard that there are times when they don’t even record the votes in the minutes,” said Turnquist.

Windham is Transformed into the Wonderful World of Disney

by Lynne Ober

“Ladies and gentlemen, moms and dads, children of all ages.  Welcome to the wonderful world of Disney,” chorus member Jake Klaasens announced at the beginning of the show.  “A magical kingdom where elephants fly, chimney sweeps dance, and every wish you make comes true.  Welcome, one and all, to the happiest place on earth.”

It was the perfect way to open the show put on by Windham Center School’s fifth-grade show chorus.  The chorus presented a lively, upbeat, entertaining show of 21 Disney songs – songs that made your toes tap and your eyes sparkle.  The 89-member chorus, directed by Nancy Fothergill, treated their audience to “A Disney Spectacular.” 

“I have a talented group this year and we were so luck to have dance instructor Sandi Duncan, whose daughter, Kim, sings in the chorus, work with us on the choreography,” said Fothergill.  “I’m absolutely amazed what these fifth graders can do vocally.  They love to sing and they’re having loads of fun.”

After Klaasens opened the show with his magical words, the chorus sang Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah and then quickly moved into How D’Ye Do and Shake Hands with solos by Meegan Eccelson and Maria Bessette.

From there it was one fun-filled song after another.  Soloists Matthew Benabid, Chris Ulbrich, and Colby Cameron were the three chimney sweeps in Chim Chim Cher-ee.

The audience began tapping their toes and singing along as the chorus moved into Step in Time and A Spoonful of Sugar.

Adam Benabid was the soloist for the popular Supercalifragilisticexpialidoeious.  Mallory Loomis was the narrator for I’ve Got No Strings.

After running through two popular Disney work songs (Heigh-Ho and Whistle While You Work), the chorus sang a moving rendition of A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes with Kim Duncan and Alina Donnelly as soloists.

Jackie Graham and Christine Carpenter were the narrators for Candle on the Water.

The ever popular Ballad of Davy Crockett brought laughs as the chorus sang with great energy.  The Siamese Cat song followed with It’s A Small World. 

Morgan Scott was the soloist for the audience-pleaser When you Wish Upon a Star, and then soloists Kaitlyn Peabody and Alex Deluca donned Mickey Mouse hats to sing the Mickey Mouse March.

“This was such a wonderful show,” said Fothergill.  “The music was great and the kids were even better than great.”  Fothergill thanked all the parents and teachers who assisted with the production.

Windham’s fifth-grade show chorus wear black and white with white gloves.  Their dances were choreographed by Sandi Duncan.

London Bridge Is Not Falling Down

submitted by Carol Pynn

What is London Bridge?

It is actually a “causeway” built of stone.  Its purpose was to bridge a ravine.  Two others are still know to be in existence in New Hampshire, most having been destroyed to build modern roads in their place.

Close-up of London Bridge.

Where is London Bridge?

It is located approximately one-half mile in from the northerly entrance of London Bridge Road at Route 111.

When was it built?

London Bridge Road was accepted by the town in1799 so it would have been constructed around that time.  It is also knows from town records that it was rebuilt in1812 “at no cost to the town.”  The road was closed in 1934 by town vote.  Town records also show that an article to close it was defeated in 1921.

What is its significance?

  1. Very few causeways were built of stone.
  2. Many were buried or destroyed by road construction
  3. Windham is fortunate in that the structure may not have been altered and remains as a museum piece of early transportation history.
  4. The road area has been evaluated by a state-certified archeological historian and the report states:  “The old bridge is a potentially significant resource.  We propose additional documentation of the late 18th century London Bridge.”

An architectural study is being done by a state-certified architectural historian.  This study will be evaluated by the New Hampshire Department of Historical Resources.  At that time, a determination of eligibility for the state or National Register will be made.

Side view of the bridge.

What are causeways?

They were built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to elevate highways above steep gullies.  This imposing structure was built by Windham’s earliest residents using their teams of animals and brute strength.  Loose stones at the bottom allowed water to percolate through them so that hydrostatic pressure would not threaten the structural integrity.  The bridge/causeway has the potential to teach people about their history and forgotten technologies.

Where is London Bridge?

The northerly entrance to London Bridge Road is located diagonally across from the transfer station on Route 111.  A driveway is to the right.  Go straight down the hill.  Be prepared to cross a very active brook (4-wheel drive is advised).  The bridge is up a hill about one-half mile from Route111.  Be sure to take a camera and wear waterproof shoes.  The bridge itself is very safe to drive across.

The bridge is large as shown by the two adults standing next to it.

Electrical Outages an Ongoing Problem in Pelham

by Lynne Ober

“Completely unacceptable” is how Pelham Board of Selectmen Chairman Victor Danevich characterized the service that Pelham is getting from National Grid Communications

Electrical Inspector Tim Zelonis has asked selectmen to work with him in seeking better communication between the town and National Grid Communications.

Zelonis said that he used to have a cell phone number of a line supervisor when Granite Electric was responsible for Pelham’s electricity, but now he can’t even find one contact person at National Grid.

Zelonis told about a Pelham family who was waiting three weeks for response to an electrical outage.  Fortunately, the family had an electrical generator, but three weeks in the winter is just too long to wait for a response.

Selectmen agreed that storm-related outages couldn’t be prevented, but Pelham is experiencing more than storm-related outages.

Selectman Tom Domenico said that he bought an Uninterrupted Power Supply for his computer and has been tracking the outages at his own home.  He reports two or more outages a week – some last a few minutes and some last up to four hours.  He compiled all of the data and wrote to National Grid Communications and asked them to help him understand what was causing the outages.  “I’ve heard nothing.  They didn’t reply at all.”

Selectmen Hal Lynde thought that at a minimum National Grid Communications owed the town some explanation for the frequent power outages.

Town Administrator Tom Gaydos agreed to coordinate a meeting with National Grid Communications, Tim Zelonis, and selectmen.

“At the very least, I need a contact who can respond when we have a critical situation,” concluded Zelonis.

Students at Pelham High School Argue Their Case

by Diane Chubb

May it please the court ... For the past two years, students at Pelham High School have been participating in mock trial competitions as part of their oral communications class with Cynthia Evans. 

Prior to the introduction of this course, the only public speaking class at Pelham High School was more of a drama class.  Over time, more classes have been introduced to emphasize reading, writing, speaking, and analytical skills.  The oral communications class is also eligible for “Running Start,” meaning that students receive credit at New Hampshire Technical College as well as high school credit.  Up to 16 students are able to participate in the class. 

In November, the New Hampshire Bar Association provides the classes with a fact pattern, a story on which the mock trial is based.  The teams are given statements of three witnesses for the prosecution and three for the defense.  Students must design and prepare both the prosecution and defense sides of the case.  Preparations are rigorous - students speak over and over again, learning rules of evidence, making and responding to objections, and answering the judge’s questions. 

Students are judged from the moment they arrive at the court, from the way they conduct themselves in the hallways, to their dress and demeanor.  Because of this, supporters (even parents) are generally not allowed to attend the mock trial sessions. 

The local competition is held in Manchester Superior Court.  Winners of the state competition get to compete on the federal level.  This year, the national competition will be held in Texas and judged by one of the state Supreme Court justices.

Last year, Pelham High students defeated Pinkerton High School and Nashua North, earning their best record yet.  Thirteen students are in the class this year.

This past year, the students were given a First Amendment free speech case in which students wore t-shirts with political messages to school.  The trial pitted a student’s rights to express his or her political views against a school’s duty to provide a safe learning environment.  Two years ago, students made arguments about whether an open container of alcohol under the seat of the passenger, placed there without the knowledge of the driver, was admissible evidence against the driver in a drunk driving case. 

On Wednesday, January 25, two students from Ms. Evans’ class made a presentation to the Pelham School Board as Friends of Pelham High School.  Amanda Bronson discussed her experience last year as an “expert witness” with respect to student dress codes.  Logan Zemetres presented his stirring opening remarks of two years ago, when he acted as an attorney for the defense in the search and seizure case.  Both students admitted that they learned a lot about the depth of law and were eager to continue in the program this year.

Nashaway Chapter Meeting Turns its ‘Eyes to Owls’

Anyone who gives a hoot should come to the next meeting of the Nashaway Chapter Audubon Society of New Hampshire will be held on Tuesday, February 14 at 7:00 p.m. at the Nashua Public Library, Theater Room (downstairs).  That’s because the topic will be “Eyes on Owls.” 

Nearly everybody loves owls, so come learn about these birds of the night with expert Marcia Wilson.  It has been nearly eight years since Marcia Wilson and her live owls entertained the group.  She has even more owls now.  Every seat in the library’s Theater Room was filled that night, so come early.

For more information, contact Ralph Andrews at 889-3222.

The monthly field trip will be held on Saturday, February 11 from 8:00 a.m.  – 4:00 p.m. at Cape Ann and Gloucester, Massachusetts.  Come join us as we explore the other Cape of Massachusetts.  We will be looking for wintering and migrating sea birds from Halibut Point and other areas on Cape Anne.  Bring binoculars and scope if you have one.  Pack a lunch and dress warmly!

For those who wish to carpool or caravan, meet at Exit 7 Park and Ride on the hill behind Comfort Inn.  Contact Field Trip Coordinator Richard Bielawski for any questions or to meet at the destination at 429-2537 or e-mail

There will be no February Bake Sale this year!  Thanks for all for the past support. 

All events of the Nashaway Chapter are free and open to the public.

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