Debates at Windham Deliberative Session
by Lynne Ober
Although fewer than 100 people attended the Special Windham Town Deliberative Session held at Golden Brook School Tuesday night, there were some entertaining debates on the questions on the ballot.
The first warrant article is on the ballot at the request of the School District, who have discovered that the new high school is currently designed to sit on part of the Gage Conservation Land. That warrant article reads, in part, “ARTICLE 1. To see if the Town will vote to approve conveying portions of Town-owned land located near but not adjacent to the Easterly line of the former London Bridge Road totaling 7.558 acres in size to the Windham School District, for nominal consideration, for the purpose of accommodating the construction of Windham High School, and to grant the Selectmen the authority to convey said portions of Town-owned land under such other terms and conditions as the Selectmen deem reasonable and appropriate (which may include the commitment of the Windham School District to propose the possible conveyance to the Town of land adjacent to the Windham Middle School at a future School District meeting). The Town land to be conveyed consists of two (2) parcels, identified as Parcel A (consisting of 7.010 acres of Lots 20-D-1600 and 20-D-1800), and Parcel B (.548 acres of Lot 20-D-1800) as shown on the plan of land entitled “Plan of Land, London Bridge Road, Windham, N.H.; Scale 1” = 100’; Dated June 8, 2006; Prepared by: Benchmark Survey” to which reference is made for a more particular description. Copies of this plan are available in the Windham Town office, the Windham Planning Department and the Windham School District offices, and may be examined by any interested person during regular hours.
School Board Chairman Bruce Anderson said that it was necessary for the school board to get the 7.558 acres of land if the high school building project is to stay on schedule. He also said that he would answer no questions about the first and incorrect survey because that was “between the school board and their legal counsel.” “There are some topography issues that make it difficult to move the building and we currently have all the building permits,” said Anderson.
Windham resident Tom Case said that the warrant article wasn’t clear. “When I vote I want to know what I am voting on.” Case pointed out several sections that he felt could be improved and proposed to amend the article. His wife, Margaret, seconded his motion to amend.
After debate and clarification from the attorney, the amendment was defeated.
Gail Webster got a laugh from the crowd when she said, “It’s all our land. We need cemetery land.”
Ted Mariabiliao opposed the land swap and proposed an amendment to sent the question to a committee. Although his amendment was seconded, he was twice interrupted by the Moderator as he was trying to speak to his amendment. His concern was that the School Board / District had made a massive mistake and he felt that just swapping the land was rubber stamping that large mistake, “The taxpayers are getting abused,” he stated. “It upsets me as a taxpayer that they are allowed to rubber stamp huge mistakes.” His motion was defeated.
Kevin Waterhouse said, “We’ve got to get this high school built,” and apparently the majority present agreed with him as Article 1 was moved to the ballot.
Warrant Article 2 “To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into certain agreements as are necessary and appropriate to permit the creation of a water system to be developed on Town-owned property Lot 16-L-100 (Fellows Road) to serve parcels of land currently situated within the Village Center District as set forth in the Windham Zoning Ordinance. Said agreements could include, but would not be limited to (i) well agreements to permit the installation of water wells, (ii) water supply agreements governing the sale of groundwater on Town-owned land, and (iii) easements to allow the placement of pumps, pipes, tanks and other ancillary structures needed to support a distribution system,” also received a great deal of debate and survived attempts to amend it.
Ralph Valentine wanted to amend it so that the water could be used beyond the Village Center District. Selectman Alan Carpenter cautioned against doing that at this time and pointed out that Selectmen had decided to put this on the warrant so that they could get a feeling from voters about whether this was a viable project or not.
After discussion Valentine amended, with Selectman Alan Carpenter’s help, the warrant article. Selectman Margaret Crisler said that the warrant article was just to support the Village Center District and not aimed at supporting other developments.
Several people spoke against the amendment and finally it, too, was defeated.
There was then a discussion about whether Selectmen should be allowed to enter into contracts concerning water usage without bringing those to a town meeting for approval, but finally there was a consensus that if Selectmen would post and hold a hearing on those contracts prior to signing them.
Warrant Article 3 proposed to discontinue a portion of Bissell Camp Road. According to Mike Salvo this road starts off Route 28 and “ends in someone’s back yard.” It has been a junk magnet for a number of years and residents have worked to clean the area of tires and dumped vehicles. Now they want the land to revert to the abutters and no longer be a town road.
That article also moved to the ballot without changes. Voters will get a chance to vote on all three of these articles on August 10 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Patriotism Doesn’t Go Out of Style
by Lynne Ober
Pelham’s Spirit Group once again showed that Pelham has plenty of spirit. They organized a day long celebration held on the grounds of Pelham Elementary School.
The Bicycle and Doll Carriage Parade kicked off the afternoon events at 4:15 p.m.
Food vendors, face painting and community groups had already set up booths before the parade started.
Live music started at 4:30 and continued until just before the fireworks display. The seats in front of the stage were constantly filled with participants enjoying the music. Two of the choirs from Crossroads Baptist Church performed – the Triple C and the adult choir.
Detective Anne Perriello offered a Child Safety Program that had the children both listening intently and giggling. “Do you know where your parents are?” she asked. “You should. Just like they watch you, you need to keep track of them.” Parents were also listening and learning along with their kids.
CERTS had glow necklaces for sale – a hot item with the youngsters. The Spirit Group was out in force. Everywhere you looked, one of them was doing something to make the event a success.
The crowd built as the sun began to dim. Music played; toes tapped; people talked with one another. It was an old-fashioned community party.
Just before the fireworks began the adult choir from Crossroads Baptist Church sang God Bless USA. The song was dedicated to Daniel Gionet, who was recently killed in Iraq and to his family.
“It’s all about freedom,” said senior pastor Matt Kyzer. “We are here because of freedom. We wanted to dedicate this to Dan’s family and to honor his memory as an American hero.”
Pastor Kyzer presented flowers and plaques to the family in a moving ceremony that made everyone realize how important it is to live in America and believe in American freedom.
Then it was onto the fireworks – a fitting end to a patriotic night and a great party.
Windham Town Day
by Lynne Ober
What’s a better way to spend a summer day than chatting with neighbors and enjoying the outdoors?
Windham’s Recreation Department sponsored Windham Town Day. Events kicked off with a tennis tournament on Griffin Park courts and continued throughout the afternoon. Sarah Tyrrell sang the Star Spangled Banner to open the event.
Hot dogs and hamburgers sizzled on the grill. Families sat at picnic tables and enjoyed their lunches.
There were races on the grass for kids of all ages. Each race was divided by class and watchers could tell that the participants just wanted to run and didn’t care if they won or lost.
The Windham Band Flute Ensemble played a concert filled with patriotic music. It was a chance for weary participants to sit down, listen to some great music, and enjoy the refreshing breezes.
Kids strutted their stuff in the bike, wagon, and stroller parade. There were many decorated vehicles in this enchanting parade and Windham Police Officer Scott Rogers provided a police escort for the parade.
At 4:00 p.m. Denise Dolloff announced the winners of the 50 / 50 raffle to support Windham’s Helping Hands. Ten thousand dollars was given away. The winners were: 1st Prize of $5,000 went to James Morrow of Windham, 2nd Prize of $3,000 went to Dr. Elaine Cutler, it was her birthday, and the 3rd Prize of $2,000 also went to James Morrow.
“James bought two tickets to double his chances, it worked,” grinned Dolloff, who thanked everyone who participated. “The generosity of the participants really supports our work in the community.”
Winners from Town Day
Bike Parade – Congratulations to: Brad Dubay, Syian Ferrone, Marshal Pesaturo, Alexandra Darcy, Julia Darcy, Avery Provancal, and Halle McGrail for their creative bikes/wagons/strollers.
Sac Races – Congratulations to: 2 and under: Lauren Brooks, Avery Provancal, Alex Ryan; 3 and 4 years: Olivia Manchester, Julie Darcey, Jack Flanagan; 5 and 6 years: Amanda Miller, Alexandria Connelly, Renee Boudreau, Dara May, Justin Lamb, John Bucciero, Jacob H., Riley Buchanan; 8 years: Owen Hamel, Steven T., Max Hastings; 9 and 10: Talia Lombardo, Taia Tieland, Tucker Lippold, David Musto
Dash – Congratulations to: Zoe McQuillan, Lauren Brooks, Avery Provancal, Jack Flanagan, Wes Lippold, Trey Gonzalez, Sabrina Lippold, Olivia Manchester, Sarah Howard, Halle McGrail, Amanda Miller, Nicole Bucciero, India May, Isabella Pellegrini, Max Hastings, Steven Tieland, Jacob Howard, Tucker Lippold, Jacie Greenberg, Troy Miller.
3 – Legged Race – Congratulations to: Connor Leuteritz and Eric, Emily Flanagan, Jack Flanagan, Justin, Alexandra Connelly, Madison Connelly, Amanda Miller, Christian Musto, Max Hastings, Talia Lombardo, Jacie Greenberg, Emily O’Connor, Kaylee Greenberg, Jess McSweeney, David Musto, Michael, Piessens.
Television Theme for Second Annual Boat Parade
Windham’s Cobbett’s Pond Improvement Association [CIPA] hosted the second annual boat parade on July 9 on Cobbett’s Pond. Boats were decorated in television themes. The Gilligan’s Island boat floated again; other boats favored family shows or reality shows.
Students at Pelham High School Have Less Choice Due to Space Issues
by Diane Chubb
Getting into a good college is hard enough for many high school students. A student has to choose the right activities to round out a complete academic curriculum. But this coming fall, students at Pelham High School might not be able to take the courses they want or need to fulfill their academic goals.
Dr. Dorothy Mohr, principal at PHS, recently provided the Pelham School Board with a list of the courses that are full or overenrolled. As a result, no other students may sign up for these classes, and no additional sections of these classes will be offered.
Class size is a standard that is part of the collective bargaining agreement between the PEA and the School Board. In some cases, the class size has been exceeded by one or two students. However, in computer applications courses, the limit may have been exceeded by 10 students.
The following courses are full or over-enrolled:
Computer Applications I
Integrated Science I Level 2
Principles of Marketing
Probability and Statistics L1
World Literature and Law
World Literature and the Classics
No additional sections of these courses are available.
The following courses have four or fewer seats available:
American Literature Level 1
Anatomy & Physiology L1
College Preparatory Biology
Computers II Running Start
Intro to Art
Psychology Running Start
Western Civilization L1
World Literature & Communication
In addition, 13 of the 23 new enrollees for the 2006-07 school year have not yet been assigned a schedule.
“The physical size of the classroom also prohibits adding more students to the classroom. It would not be a sound safety or educational situation,” says Dr. Mohr.
Because of the space issues in the classes, if a student fails a required course, it will be difficult for that student to make up the course, according to Dr. Mohr.
Overcrowding and lack of classroom space is an immediate issue at PHS. The capacity of PHS, based on current minimum state guidelines for various types of classrooms, is 563 students. Opening day enrollment in 2005-2006 was 653 students, 93 students over capacity. Classes are currently being held in the library, the cafeteria, the in-school suspension room, and some offices.
School Board Chair Mike Conrad stated, “The space issue shouldn't be a surprise to anyone in Pelham. The School Board has requested modular classrooms for the past three years telling people we are out of room at the high school. This not only puts a restraint on the curriculum, but it will also be a major factor in the accreditation process. The school board needs to continue to move forward with the four school model to get the space needed in all our schools, and somehow get the people who support education out to the voting booth.”
This past March, voters had the opportunity to provide temporary relief to the space issues at PHS. The School Board had recommended spending $200,000 for the purchase of two double re-locatable classroom building units. Each unit would have contained two classrooms, for a total of four additional classrooms at the high school.
However, the Budget Committee did not recommend the warrant article. At the February Deliberative Session, Dennis Viger, who was Chair of the Budget Committee, had explained that the committee had concerns about where the units would be placed at PHS and that they believed that PHS had enough space.
Voters also rejected the request for the re-locatable classrooms by a vote of 1007 for versus 1758 against.