Pelham Elementary School Teacher Wins Award for Graduate Studies

by Diane Chubb

The University of Massachusetts at Lowell has chosen Pelham Elementary School teacher Stuart Robertson to receive an award for Outstanding Graduate Student this year.

Pelham Elementary School teacher Stuart Robertson

Robertson graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in history and elementary education.  He went on to receive a Master’s of Education in curriculum and instruction in 1987.  In 2000, Robertson received a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Rivier College in leadership and learning.  

Each of the colleges at UMass that offers a graduate degree is asked to select an outstanding graduate student each year.  Nominees are required to assemble a portfolio of materials demonstrating their skills in teaching, research, grant writing, leadership, and community service.  Robertson was nominated by the chair of the dissertation committee at UMass-Lowell.  

The faculty committee of the Graduate School of Education reviewed the applications and selected Robertson as this year's award recipient.  An award ceremony will be held in May where Robertson will be formally presented with his award. 

Born and raised in Pelham, Robertson is a product of the Pelham school system.  “I was blessed with a number of great teachers at every level,” he said.  “They encouraged me to be the best I could be.”  Robertson also stated that because the schools were small enough, teachers got to know him as a person.  “They were able to find my strengths and encourage them.”

Robertson has been teaching in Pelham schools for the past 22 years.  He began as a long-term substitute at Pelham Memorial School in 1984.  Later, there was an opening for a fourth grade math teacher at Sherburne.  Robertson was offered a contract the following year and has been teaching ever since.  He currently teaches the fourth and fifth grade multi-age class. 

He currently works on the math curriculum on the district level as one of two representatives from PES.  He serves as chair of the PES Math Committee and co-chair of the Mentoring Committee.  He is also co-chair of the First Grade Screening Committee that, among its tasks, is working to share curriculum and grade level expectations with the area's private kindergartens.  He also wrote the Pelham Compensation Model grant for a training program for teachers for a new investigative math curriculum.

“I have a passion for what I do,” said Robertson.  His passion is clearly evident, and Pelham is lucky to have him. 

Will House Ethics Committee Expel Jordon Ulery?

by Doug Robinson

District 27 State Representative Jordan Ulery, who is a private investigator, has been called before the New Hampshire House Ethics because of actions which occurred with the Nashua Police Department last September 2005.

On April 17, Jordan Ulery will meet with the Office of Legislative Services in Concord for his hearing with the Ethics Commission.  The hearing is open to the public and begins promptly at 10:00 a.m.  For more information, call 594-3600.

According to Nashua Police reports, Ulery was pulled over twice within a five-day period back in September.  The Nashua Telegraph reported that according to Nashua Police Chief Timothy Hefferan, Ulery tried to intimidate the Nashua Police.

Police documents state that Jordan’s explanation of his activities was due to “being on official House business.”  In speaking with Ulery, he was “doing a fellow state representative friend a favor” by checking the amount of truck traffic on that specific stretch of road in Nashua.  Police documents also suggest that Ulery stated that he was being “detained” and that the officer would be “in trouble.”  The House was not in session and the committee to which Ulery was supposed to be going to is an ad-hoc committee, called the House Republican Alliance Committee, which holds no legislative credence.

The following excerpts are taken directly from the Nashua Police Department’s nine pages of testimony from the responding police officers.  Ulery has forwarded to the Hudson~Litchfield News, his six-page reply to the House Ethics Committee.

On January 4, Nashua Police Chief Timothy F. Hefferan, petitioned the House Ethics Committee with regard to an “incident … that stems from contact that several of our officers had with Representative Jordan Ulery, R-Hudson on September 25, 2005.  Representative Ulery was being investigated for suspicious activity in Nashua and when detained by officers, he identified himself as a state legislator and asserted that he was engaged in official business of that office.  The investigation by the officers revealed that Representative Ulery was apparently engaged in private investigative work, not relating to his position in the State Legislature.”

Chief Hefferan continued to state in his petition that Representative Ulery “attempted to use his position in State Legislature to discourage the officers from investigating his suspicious activity and found it necessary to lie to the officers about what he was doing.  Even more disturbing is that Representative Ulery apparently attempted to intimidate one of the officers from performing his duties by claiming that the officer’s detention was causing him delay in attending a Caucus Meeting at the State House and that the officer would be ‘in trouble’ for that delay.”

On Tuesday, September 20, 2005, Nashua Police was dispatched to King Street, Nashua for a report of a suspicious person in an early model gray and blue Ford Bronco.  The responding police officer had also been informed while on route to the scene that this “same party” was in the “same area” on September 17.  On this date in question, he had been observed walking in the backyard of another house on Notre Dame Street, and the officers at that time recorded his activities in the police log as “stalking.”

Upon approaching Ulery’s vehicle, the police report states that Ulery “immediately told me that he was conducting surveillance for official House of Representative business.”  When asked by the police officer what his business involved, Ulery responded “that he was not at liberty to tell … because it was private House of Representative business.”  Upon being asked as to why he was walking around the property of the Notre Dame home, Ulery stated “he was here on that day on a separate issue.”  When asked who Ulery was working for, “he (Ulery) would not give me any names due to the securities of the House of Representatives.”

Local neighbors told the Nashua Police that Ulery was seen walking on private property with “a camera around his neck.”  When approached by neighbors and asked why he was on the property, Ulery stated he was “looking for Scott Smith.”

While the Nashua Police were interviewing the witness, the police noticed that Ulery was leaving the scene.  As the police were investigating a “stalking” complaint, the Nashua Police Department pursued Ulery and stopped his vehicle.

The police reports states, at this point in time, “that I was now in trouble for violating his constitutional rights of going to the State House.”  When asked if the “House of Representative was in session at this time (the House meets on Wednesday morning), “Jordan immediately stated to me that he was going to a Caucus meeting and that I was going to be in trouble for stopping him.”

While Ulery’s license was being verified, Sgt Masella of the Nashua Police Department arrived to assist Officer Kevin Girouard.  When Sgt. Masella asked Ulery why he “was in the area, Ulery said he was doing work for another member of the representatives monitoring traffic on Haines Street.  When questioned as to why he was on King Street instead of Haines Street, Ulery indicated that he thought that he was on Haines Street and that he “must have just been on the wrong street.”  Upon being questioned as to whom in the House he was working for by Sgt. Masella, Ulery commented that “he was not going to give a name of another representative.”

Ulery went further to state that he “worked for a company that hired him to talk to Scott Smith about why all the letters they had sent him came back return to sender.”  When asked “what company he worked for and where they were located … Jordan stated that he works for a company by the name of Covert Consulting, and the he was not sure where they were located.”  Jordan later told the Nashua Police that he does work for this company about once a month.  The purpose of his camera, as explained by Ulery, was to take the picture of the person with whom he speaks.

In speaking with Bob Carrie of Covert Consulting, Whitman Massachusetts, Carrie stated that “Jordan did work for him, and that he should have been more forth coming with information … because Ulery told him he had some responsibility in the issuance of investigators licenses in New Hampshire.“

According to the New Hampshire Licensing from the New Hampshire State Police, “that Sgt Porrier was the only one that had a say in the licenses, and that there was not a board of directors that oversees the licensing office.”  In speaking with Carrie again at Covert Consulting, Nashua Police were informed by Carrie, that “there was not too much he could tell me, except that Jordan had told him that he was in the House of Representatives, and that he did work on the directors for the license’s bureau in New Hampshire.”

Later that morning, Ulery contacted the Nashua Police Department and questioned as to why they were calling his employer.  “We were attempting to determine whether or not he had a legitimate purpose on King Street and if he had violated any laws, as he was not truthful with our officers at the scene.”  Ulery told police that “he could not speak of the case he was involved in because it would violate some law in Massachusetts.”  Police informed Ulery that the “safety of Nashua citizens was our primary concern and that Massachusetts law was not.”  Ulery stated that the motives of the Nashua Police were “political in nature” to which he was told that “we were called based on his activity and that if any political overtones took place that they were at his doing.”

Jordan Ulery’s response to Chairman Russell Hilliard, Legislative Ethics Committee, was that the “allegations presented by the chief are specious and without merit.”  He goes on to state that “the reports of his officers have grossly misstated the events of that day and, for whatever reason(s), do not reflect factual activities.

Ulery stated that before “becoming a member, the Nashua Police Department and I had several encounters.”  He also goes on to state that the events of the two days in question are “separate and unrelated.”  Citing responsibilities of his Massachusetts Private Investigator license, (MGL 147:28), “any person…who divulges to anyone other than to his employer … any information … shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.”  Ulery states that “I eventually surrendered to the threatening, assaultive posturing of the Nashua Police and provided the name of a company for which I had done work...”

“The second incident involved doing a favor for a fellow member who shall remain unnamed.  This involved attempting to determine the validity of certain allegations that had been received from citizens to that member.  I agreed to provide that service gratis.  There is a manufacturing plant at the end of King Street and that there is occasional truck traffic upon that and neighboring streets.  Just watching for early morning truck traffic, that was all.”

Ulery goes on to state that he had an “NHHRA (New Hampshire House Republican Association) meeting at or about 8:30 a.m. on the date of the “confrontation.”  Ulery states in his letter to the chairman, when asked by the “young officer” if he worked for Speaker Scamman, “I told him that I ... work for you.”

Upon “departing the area heading for Concord, … I was stopped shortly thereafter by a speeding, siren blaring, cruiser … and upon asking why I was stopped … the young officer, immediately called me a liar and threatened me with arrest for stalking … I suggested he call a supervisor for I was late for my meeting and he had no right to detain me.  The officer then, incorrectly according to those with much more experience than I, stated that the House was not in session and the Constitution did not apply to what he was doing.  This from a man who moments earlier had stated that he didn’t know what we did up here.  Indignantly, I told him the Constitution applied to everything he and I did.  Perhaps angrily, I then expressed my intention to drive away.  The young officer moved his right hand to the butt of his weapon and said that would not be a wise action.  I stayed put, remembering that officers of the Nashua Police Department had shot a person under similar circumstances.  I made no attempt after that initial demand that my office be respected to leave the area, cooperating as best I could with the four officers involved.”

Ulery continued by stating that “when the supervisor arrived I was asked for whom I worked … (and) I told the officer I was an independent contractor and worked for many people.”

“There was an apparent confusion in the names of the streets,” said Ulery.  “I am not familiar with the section of Nashua … being in a tense situation, threatened with arrest by a young aggressive officer who kept his hand on his weapon may have contributed to the disorientation.”

Ulery continued in his statement to the Ethics Committee by stating, “Before allowing me to depart the area, the supervisor told his junior officer to leave.  The sergeant then came to my vehicle window as I was confirming my appointment with the Secretary of State’s office by cell phone.  The supervisor told me that I was lying to his officer for some reason.  I asked, ‘what lie?’  The sergeant told me that I was in the area on private investigation work, not legislative work and that I was despicable for attempting to hide behind my office.”  The supervisor then told Ulery, according to his letter to the Ethics Committee that “he was still considering arresting me for stalking and that one of us would have been extremely embarrassed.”

According to Jordan Ulery’s letter, “No laws were violated, no guidelines or rules of the House … were violated, no abuse of office for personal or pecuniary gain was undertaken, and not sexual offenses were made by this member.”

In a letter to the Hudson~Litchfiled News, Ulery states, “Thank you for the call.  I reiterate no crime was allege or committed.  No financial gain was alleged or committed.  No sexual favors were requested.  Those are the three elements, in essence, of unethical conduct as found on page seven, of the ethics handbook.  As a public trust the office of legislator can not be used to pursue a private interest and no private interest was pursued.”

However, in reviewing the “Prohibited Activities” section of the Ethics Booklet, dated November 2004, it appears that there are several rules which may be of interest to the Ethics Committee: 

  • Rule II C:  Threaten reprisals or promise inducements of any kind to influence another so as to obtain special personal benefits for the legislator, the legislator’s family or for certain constituents which would not be available to others under similar conditions.
  • Rule IV:  Legislators shall not use state-provided services or facilities for private gain.  

The Conflict of Interest Procedures for State Legislators state: 

  • Page 13, II:  When a legislator becomes aware that a conflict of interest exists or may exist … will provide a description of the conflict of interest including:  names of all entities, both public and private, the nature of the benefit, the nature of any relationship, and additional information as may be required to permit clear public awareness and understand of the nature and extent of the conflict.

The Legislative Code of Conduct states: 

  • I.A:  A legislative employee or officer should view his ... work for the General Court as a public service and should strive to promote the common good of the citizens of the State of New Hampshire…
  • I.B:  A legislative employee … should act in a way that makes him … worthy of the trust the General Court places in staff members

Under Prohibited Activities: 

  • IIIB: A legislative employee … shall not use or attempt to use the employee’s officer’s official position to (a) personally obtain any privilege, exemption, special treatment or any other thing of value…
  • III.B:   A legislative employee or officer shall not use state-provided services or facilities for private gain.  

Ethics rules state that with “respect to any recommendations concerning disciplinary actions to be imposed, the committee may recommend one or more of the following: reprimand, censure, (or) expulsion from the Senate or the House of Representatives.

Again, Jordan Ulery will meet with the Office of Legislative Services in Concord for his hearing with the Ethics Commission.  The hearing is open to the public and begins promptly at 10:00 a.m.  

Pelham High School Students Working for the Community

by Diane Chubb

Reading, writing, math, science, history, and community service.  Students at Pelham High School are required to do more than attend class, do homework, and take tests.  All students must also complete 40 hours of community service in order to graduate. 

Students from the Community Service Learning Committee from PHS gave a presentation at the Pelham School Board Meeting on April 5. 

Amy Fuller, a senior at PHS, gave an overview of the community service program and the duties of the committee. 

Amy Fuller, Katrina Greenhalgh and Rachel Pereira are members of the PHS Community Service Learning Committee.

The committee is composed of six to eight students who work with Marcy Keller, a guidance counselor at PHS who serves as their adviser.  The students decide what activities should qualify for community service hours, track students' hours and review the completion forms and final essays submitted by students.  Community service projects must benefit the community, be a learning experience, and be approved by the committee.  Students may not work for family members or for-profit organizations. 

The group meets every other week, reviewing the paperwork submitted by students and determining whether all requirements have been met.  As part of the paperwork, students must prepare an essay that details their community service project and what they gained from the experience. 

This past year, the committee worked to revise the handbook that details the community service program.  Initially one large book, members revised the manual into shorter booklets that were distributed to all students which detail the requirements for the community service project, include copies of required forms, and provide sample essays to assist students in preparing their own paperwork. 

This year, seniors had to complete their hours and turn in their paperwork by March 15.  If a student turns in materials late, then the hours are discounted, and additional hours are needed to meet the 40-hour requirement.  Any senior who does not meet the requirements by that date must meet with the Dean of Guidance and Principal Mohr to set out a plan to complete the community service hours.  Such students are not eligible to attend senior functions until all requirements are met. 

Katrina Greenhalgh, a junior at PHS, emphasized the importance of students getting their activities pre-approved by the committee.  Otherwise, students risk that their hours will not be accepted. 

“It is easy to find opportunities for community service,” said Rachel Pereira, a senior at PHS.  The PHS Guidance Department posts different opportunities around town, and the local schools always welcome volunteers.  Many students volunteer as junior leaders with the Pelham Parks and Recreation Department over the summer. 

Other students use their community service as an opportunity to explore career options.  Amy Keller noted that one student spent 25 hours at a local hospital over a short period of time.  '”I love seeing that,” she said.  Keller also noted that community service is also helpful for students applying to colleges and for scholarships. 

Whatever project the students at PHS choose, the goal is to make their community a better place. 

Plans for Pelham Town Center Take Next Step

by Lynne Ober

After $2 million was awarded in federal aid for Pelham’s Town Center, one might think that work on this project had not progressed, but that is not true.

Town Administrator Tom Gaydos, at the direction of Pelham Selectmen, continued to work with the House of Representatives Transportation Committee to get the project listed in the state’s ten-year report.  Now that this has been accomplished, there’s still much more work to be done and the next step was taken last week when officials met with representatives from New Hampshire Department of Transportation and a variety of specialists.

The goal of the meeting was to provide information to town officials, take a walk through Town Center, and identify problem areas and to discuss possible next steps.

Alex Vogt, P.E., NH DOT Project Manager, gave an overview of possible steps, noting that NH DOT no longer liked to come into communities with completed plans and preferred to work with communities to define the best plan for the community.  “We call them Context Sensitive Solution,” Vogt explained.  He introduced Tom Warne.

Warne used to be the Executive Director (i.e. Commissioner) of Utah’s Department of Transportation and has a plethora of experience planning changes within communities.  Today he puts that experience to work by helping communities design the best possible changes.  Warne gained national recognition in the early ‘90s as a pioneer in advancing the partnering process on highway construction projects. 

Warne talked about a more collaborative approach that worked directly with community stakeholders in determining changes that affect the whole community.  He offers a Context Sensitive workshop to teach others how to use this approach and NH DOT has identified Pelham as a potential site for such a workshop.

“Obviously there is no easy solution or you would have implemented it by now,” said Warne.  “It’s important to right-size the solution and to balance the needs of the whole community.”

Also speaking at the meeting was Phil Myrick, Vice President of Protect Public Spaces, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and sustaining public places that build communities.  “Placemaking is what we call working with communities to make them a better place to live,” said Myrick.  “Our work is to help you focus on all your needs and without a doubt a road is a vitally important part of a community.”

The group walked around town center, identifying all the areas that are causing problems.  Photos were taken and a potential workshop date was set in August.

Tom Warne questions Police Chief Evan Haglund about a traffic issue.

Strong Feedback on First Article about Parks and Rec Master Plan

Pelham resident Linda Mahoney contacted Pelham~Windham News Editor Lynne Ober about her article on the draft master plan for Parks and Recreation.

Mahoney wrote, “I read your article in the Pelham~Windham News regarding the seven-year Parks and Rec plan.  I especially found the (Table: 7) Town-wide Public Survey Results of Satisfaction with existing Facilities/Program Facility/Program interesting.  As an interested Pelham resident, I was curious as to how many surveys they actually derived these percentages from.  Did you, as a reporter, ask about this?  It would be good for residents to know how many opinions this survey actually reflects.”

That question was then posed by Ober, and she discovered that not only was it more than simply filling out a survey, but that Parks and Recreation Director Darren McCarthy is still seeking and accumulating feedback.

“I've been e-mailing Linda quite a bit about this,” wrote McCarthy is response to a follow-up question.  “The real fact is that the survey she is referring to was done at a posted public meeting.  This meeting was advertised on the message board, Pelham~Windham News, Salem Observer, posted at the Town Hall, posted on our website and posted on P-TV.  Anyone in Pelham could have attended.

“This plan is a work in progress,” stated McCarthy.  “Even if approved, I expect to revisit it at least once a year and I am always available for feedback – good or bad.  I believe communication is the key to a successful program.”

“I consider this a town-wide survey and consider the results meaningful,” McCarthy added.

Mahoney disagrees and wrote, “The data in this survey has been collected from such a miniscule portion of residents, the results are meaningless.”

The survey was filled out during a televised focus group.  Then the survey was available for another week at the Parks and Recreation Department before the surveys were shipped to Nashua Regional Planning Commission for tabulation for the draft version of the report.

Mahoney wrote, “This survey, as presented in your article, is misleading the readers to believe the results are from a ‘Town-wide’ survey which gives the impression that the results were collected from a much larger number of residents than it truly was.  You could have helped present this information more accurately to the readers had you mentioned in your article that the results in this ‘survey’ were collected from less than 20 residents.”

McCarthy disagrees with that characterization and believes that everyone in the town had ample opportunity to apply.  “I advertised town wide.  I sought input town wide and I think it is town wide.”

During the focus group meeting led by NRPC that group not only had an opportunity to fill out the survey, but also to add additional comments and this data was represented in the table in question.. 

“It is clearly pointed out in the seven-year plan that some of the information contained is just reference and recommendations and the document is a living document that should be updated regularly,” concluded McCarthy.

The article in question was the first in a series of three reporting on the contents of Park and Rec’s seven-year Master Plan. 

The editors of the Pelham~Windham News thank Linda Mahoney for the opportunity to clarify the data collection and hope all Pelham residents will take an opportunity to review the plan and provide feedback to Director McCarthy.

Members Appointed to the Pelham Council on Aging

by Lynne Ober

Pelham’s Council on Aging acts as a liaison between Pelham’s Senior Center and the Board of Selectmen and other town boards.  The council is responsible for all income and expenditures of any funds coming into the council and is also responsible for monitoring the nutrition program.  Appointment to the council is for a one-year term.

Newly appointed members are: 

Danny Atwood, who was elected Chairman.  He’s a former Budget Committee member as well as a member of the Fire Department.

Don Brunelle was elected Vice Chairman.  He’s a longtime Pelham resident and Little League coach, who was very active in both school and recreational activities.

Dot Carter will continue as Secretary.  Dot’s cheerful smile can be seen around town.  She’s helped organize the fall festival, Senior Christmas party and almost any activity that takes place at the center.

Treasurer Barbara Tracy, a former Customer Service Representative at Pelham Bank and Trust agreed to continue for at least another year as Treasurer for the Council.

Georgia Atwood, a retired registered nurse and longtime Pelham resident, will serve another term.

Diane Brunelle, elected for the first time to the council, is active in a number of town and community organizations, including CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).

Gene Carter, former Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars, will also serve another term.  Gene, like his wife Dot, is very active in the Senior Center and can be counted on to help in any event.

Teresa Desell is a former cook at the Senior Center and is serving her first term on the council.

Blanche Forest has served several years on the council.

Former Chairman Shirley Janocha will serve another term on the council.

Former Vice Chairman Marcy Jennings is looking forward to another term.

Harriet Mansfield who is active in both the Senior Center and with the Fire Department Auxiliary will serve another term on the council.

New member Joyce Mason is active in many town activities.  She’s part of the Pelham Community Spirit Committee, is a member of the Fire Department Auxiliary, is a Ballot Clerk and can be seen at almost any town event.

Past Chairman Otis Titcomb and his wife, Virginia, fill the last two seats on the council.  Both have been active in town events.

Watch the April Edition of the Salem - Windham Report on WCTV21

Don’t miss the newest edition of the Salem - Windham Report with host Larry Seaman.  This month SWR focuses on many events and issues in the towns of Salem and Windham.  

From Windham, you can see highlights from the annual Easter Egg Hunt, check out the Windham Middle School Curriculum Fair, get a look at the local real estate market, and find out what’s going on with the new Windham High School from the Windham School Board.  

For Salem, you can get an update from the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce, see highlights from the Ganley Awards Dinner, and get caught up on local sports, plus much, much more.  The Salem - Windham Report is cablecast every Monday and Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. and re-cablecast on Tuesday and Thursday at 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.  Stay informed on what’s going on in Windham and Salem.  Watch the Salem - Windham Report on WCTV21.

If you have a story idea for The Salem - Windham Report or would like to find out about volunteering at WCTV call 434-0300 … Don’t Just View It, Do It!

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