Kids Crafts in the Park
by Lynne Ober
The second summer session of Kids Crafts in the Park was a rousing hit prompting Windham Recreation Director Cheryl Haas to say that she might consider adding sessions to next summer’s offerings.
Haas had a number of crafts available – depending upon the age of the child. The younger children decorated fish hats, and laced glow in the dark lacing cards, which is good for motor control.
The older crafters worked on a sand craft and modeled in clay.
All of them enjoyed a warm summer day with cool breezes blowing through the picnic pavilion at Griffin Park. Snacks and juice were part of the morning’s treats.
It was a great way to celebrate a warm, sunny August day.
Sammy, Gary, and Teddy with their mom who laughs that she is mastering modeling clay.
Windham Performing Arts Youth Performers Turn Stage Into a Jungle
by Karen Plumley
It was a jungle out there this weekend at the Adams Memorial Opera House in Derry, where a cast of 35 talented young people gave it their all in a presentation of Disney’s “The Jungle Book.” In their very first musical performance, the Windham Performing Arts Youth Company put on a very impressive show and the audience was delighted with the mix of familiar songs, costumes, and high energy that graced the stage. There was a full house during the Sunday matinee performance that began promptly at 1:00 p.m. According to Jungle Book Director Lori Georgy, it was their biggest showing of the weekend. “The bigger the audience, the more pumped the actors get. It really gave them a lot of energy today,” she noted. Georgy made the introduction before the show, along with Bobo the Gorilla (played by Costume Designer Angela Sanscrainte). Together they demonstrated how annoying a ringing cell phone would be, and this got the audience in the mood for the many laughs that were to follow.
Musical Director Alice Johnson Hannon played the keyboards, performing the “Jungle Prologue” which was a medley of all the songs that would be presented in their entirety during the show. Songs during the play included “Trust in Me,” sung by Kaa the Snake (seventh grader Kat Sanscrainte), “The Bare Necessities,” sung by Baloo (Becca Sanscrainte) and Mowgli (11 year old Paul Giandomenico), “That’s What Friends Are For” sung by Shere Khan (10 year old Nathaniel Georgy), and many others.
Several enjoyable moments during the play gave the audience reason to chuckle, including a hilarious scene in which two vultures (played by Alex Giandomenico and Sarah Vivinetto) try to decide what to do with a sleeping Mowgli, whom they believe to be dead. The elephant troop, including baby elephant Jane Hannon and the monkeys also added some fun to the overall performance.
“They really performed wonderfully out there,” commented one audience member. Lori Georgy described an incident in which one young actress lost a piece of her costume during a performance on Saturday, but did not miss a beat. The performer was 11-year old Kate Farrell, who played a bird in the show. “She is a consummate professional,” enthused Georgy.
Windham Performing Arts was founded in 1998, and is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing community theatre to residents of Windham and surrounding towns and cities. Over the years, they have put on such productions as “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Guys and Dolls,” and this year’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.” To find out more about upcoming performances and auditions, log on to their website at www.windhamperformingarts.org or call them at 603-425-0130.
Windham Police Chief Requests Assistance
by Lynne Ober
Although no criminal charges in the apparent abuse case of a six-month old baby boy have been filed yet, police continue to work the case and have asked the public for assistance.
Windham Police Chief Gerald Lewis stated, “On August 2, 2006 Windham Fire and Police Departments responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting an unconscious six-month old child at 20 Squire Armour Road in Windham. While emergency personnel were in route the child was reported to be unresponsive with CPR being conducted. The child was immediately transported to Parkland Medical Center and was subsequently transported to another medical facility where it remains hospitalized.”
The case has drawn strong statements from people associated with it. Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams, in a WMUR-TV interview, emphatically characterized this case as “the most outrageous case that my office has handled since I’ve been here in eight years.”
Lewis agrees with that characterization.
Reams further stated that the injuries were those “typically associated with a beating – in this case multiple beatings.”
The baby sustained multiple fractures. Reports have ranged from more than two dozen to more than 20 fractures. These happened over a period of time and physicians have found no physical cause for these fractures and have concluded that they are the result of child abuse.
Lewis issued a confirming statement of the baby’s condition, “During the evaluation and care of the child medical professionals identified in excess of two-dozen fractures all of which were either fresh or in various stages of healing. Physicians have ruled-out any medical condition(s) as causing the injuries and have determined that the fractures are a direct result of ongoing severe physical abuse at the hands of one or more adults.”
Windham Police are investigating a child abuse case, but are stymied by the lack of parental cooperation. The parents, Gurrie and Tammie Fandozzi, have each hired an attorney and have changed their phone number from listed to unlisted. They refuse to speak to the press.
Reams appealed to the public for information because the parents were refusing to cooperate with the investigation.
According to neighbors, Tammie Fandozzi leaves home early in the morning for her job in Boston and Gurrie stays home and takes care of the home and children.
Although early reports identified both of them as lawyers, subsequent searches cannot find their names listed on the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers’ database of attorneys.
Apparently Gurrie Fandozzi did practice law in Connecticut before moving to New Hampshire and becoming a stay-at-home parent.
The Fandozzis have a three year old daughter as well as the baby. The daughter has no reported signs of abuse.
“The New Hampshire Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) is assisting in the investigation and has been given legal supervision of both the victim in this case as well as a three-year old female child,” reported Lewis.
“Due to the lack of parental cooperation police are requesting that anyone who may have information concerning the Fandozzi family to please contact Detective Wendy Foley of the Windham Police Department at 603-434-5577,” concluded Lewis.
Improvements to Tokanel Field Approved
by Barbara Jester
By a vote of 3 to1, Windham Selectmen agreed to go ahead with proposed improvements to Tokanel Field. The vote was taken during the board's Monday, August 21 meeting.
Although all selectmen present agreed that the renovations should be undertaken as soon as possible, they had difficulty concurring on the best way to pay for the work. Selectmen Alan Carpenter, Margaret Crisler, and Dennis Senibaldi voted in favor of accepting the lowest bid for the project. Chairman Galen Stearns was the only dissenting vote. Selectman Roger Hohenberger did not attend the meeting.
After nearly an hour and a half of discussion, selectmen decided to divide funding for the project into two segments: renovations to the field itself and the installation of a backstop for baseball and softball. The money for the field renovations will come from a warrant article approved last March, as well as the recreation department's general budget for 2006. The backstop fencing will be paid for through proposed donations from the baseball and soccer associations.
Two bids were received for the field work. They came from Fisette Excavation of Pelham ($24,500) and Earth Tones of Pelham ($37,500). Selectmen voted to accept the bid from Fisette Excavation. This portion of the project will involve removing the old field and creating a new field in a drier area.
Four bids were received for the backstop fencing: B-Line Fence of Epsom ($9,800); Fences Unlimited of Windham ($10,821); Reliable Fence Company of Woburn, Massachusetts ($11,125) and Vermont Tennis Courts of St. Johnsbury, Vermont ($11,495). No bid was received from Monadnock Fence Company of West Swanzey. A vote on accepting the lowest bid for the fencing has been delayed until a public hearing on the proposed donations from the baseball and soccer associations can be held.
Recreation Committee Chairman Ralph Valentine told selectmen that committee members unanimously support completing both aspects of the project at Tokanel Field, based on sufficient funding. Tokanel Field is completely shut down now, Valentine said, adding that the girls' softball team had to play in Salem this year, because of the poor condition of Tokanel Field.
Valentine had suggested that a portion of the project's cost ($4,700) be covered through "in kind" services owed by an area landscaping firm. Town Administrator David Sullivan said he didn't feel town officials should "go down this path,” as it might cause problems in accountability down the road. Sullivan said he felt selectmen should stick with one of the firms which bid on the project. Selectman Dennis Senibaldi agreed with Sullivan, saying, "I would rather have only one person doing the whole project."
Senibaldi insisted that the entire project needs to be finished this year, rather than waiting to install the fencing next spring. "If we do it now, it will be ready for opening day next spring," Senibaldi said. Selectman Alan Carpenter said he had concerns about using town money to install the fence, because residents voted down a special warrant article this past March, which asked specifically for money for that purpose. "There are holes out there that could swallow a small child," Senibaldi said of the field's current condition.
After extensive discussion, selectmen decided to recommend that recreation committee members spend the $23,794 remaining in a 2006 special warrant article intended for sports and field improvement, plus $706 out of the general recreation budget for this year (total of $24,500). That money is to be used for field renovation only. The money to install the fence is to come from the $10,000 donation expected to be made by the soccer and baseball associations.
"This gets the whole job done," Senibaldi said. "We'll wind up with a thousand times better field than we have now.” The new field will be good for many years to come, he said.
SunLite Realty’s Challenge to Pelham for Old Home Day
by Lynne Ober
Every year Cindy Ronning, Broker/Owner of SunLite Realty, devises something interesting to do at Pelham Old Home Day and this year is no exception.
This year she’s issued a challenge to Pelham residents to try to fill the SunLite Realty’s 12 foot box truck with supplies needed by the men and women who are serving in our armed forces and are stationed overseas.
You can also send a check, made out to Military Supply Fund, c/o SunLite Realty, 70 Bridge Street, #10, Pelham, NH 03076.
SunLite is in need of money for the shipping costs. “We will be packing the supplies in 25 to 30 pound boxes. We think it will cost between $3,000 and $5,000 to ship the boxes, if the truck is filled.” Ronning is quick to point out that it would have cost much more to ship if packing materials had to be purchased, but the Pelham Post Office is partnering with SunLite on this event and will supply all boxes and packing materials
SunLite Realty is asking to bring your supplies or a check to the SunLite Realty Booth.
Ronning divided the list of needed supplies into three groups: toiletries, snacks, and miscellaneous Items. Suggestions include:
Ronning is hoping that everyone will pitch in. If more cash donations are received than will be needed for shipping, additional supplies will be purchased and shipped.
For more information, contact SunLite Realty at 635-9617 or Office@SunLiteRealty.com
Information Emerging from Revaluation Project
by Lynne Ober
As Pelham’s revaluation project creeps toward an end (expected in October, 2006) some very interesting data is emerging from the work.
Data on the Median Sale Price by Category has been complied and released. The median sale price by style is:
Raised Ranch $307,000
Cape Cod $326,000
Modern Contemporary $459,000
But style isn’t the only contributor to the evaluation of your home. There’s also a slice of data that looks at the size of a dwelling.
Under 1,000 sf $228,000
1,000 – 1,500 sf$260,000
1,500 – 2,000 sf$291,000
2,000 – 2,500 sf$355,000
2,500 – 3,000 sf$421,000
3,000 – 4,000 sf$481,000
4,000 – 5,000 sf$570,000
5,000 sf + $577,000
So what does that mean to the average Pelham resident? The evaluators found that the median single family house size is 2,383 square feet with a median appraised value of $362,000.
The important piece to remember is that you will not know your tax rate until the evaluation is done and a new tax rate is set by Department of Revenue Administration [DRA]. You cannot take your current tax rate per thousand and multiply that rate by your new evaluation.
With that caveat clearly in mind, let’s take a look at old assessments to new assessments. The median 2005 assessed value in Pelham for a single family home was $144,400.
The median 2006 assessed value in Pelham for a single family home is now $362,000.
The change in assessments from old to new represents a 250 percent increase in the median assessed value.
But this does not mean a 250 percent increase in your property tax. Remember a new tax rate must be set by DRA. With the assessed value of property in Pelham going up, the tax rate will show a corresponding overall decrease. Older homes that have not been revaluated for years, will probably pay more taxes, but that amount will not be known until the new tax rate is set.
The next steps are easily outlined. First will be a written notice to all property owners and from there, an appeal process is clearly defined. Pelham residents can expect to follow this schedule:
The notice sent the week of September 6 will have a toll free number to call if you want to discuss your property evaluation. The Pelham Assessor’s Office will not be able to make a review appointment for you. All calls must go to the toll free number provided on your notice. If you do not wish to discuss your evaluation with an estimator, you need do nothing.
The Assessor’s Office will not have new property record cards until the end of the project in October. However, once new assessment notices are issued in September, property owners can view the new values on the Web at www.visionappraisal.com or reviewing counter books that will be available at the Town Offices and at the Library.
Windham Assessing Update – August 2006
submitted by Rex Norman, Windham Town Assessor
The assessment revaluation contract with Commerford Nieder and Perkins is progressing on schedule with over 2,000 homes inspected. They anticipate completing the final site visits over the next few days and appreciate the positive response and cooperation from residents. An accurate physical description of real estate is the foundation for a fair and proportionate revaluation. To date, CNP reports less than 40 refusals for interior inspections. When unable to inspect, CNP was directed to estimate the finished areas, quality of the interior and room count. Under New Hampshire law, any person who refuses to grant consent to the selectmen or assessing officials to enter property for the purposes of revaluation shall lose the right to appeal any matter pertaining to the property tax.
The valuation analysis is almost completed. The December property tax bills will reflect the new values. Through my annual inspections and this year’s contracted help, all 5,510 taxable parcels have current data. The 2006 revaluation will be derived through analysis of 2004 - 2006 sales and based on the property’s condition as of April 1, 2006.
This is not a one year straight line increase. New valuations are not based on your 2005 assessment times a percent increase as all property types have not experienced the same appreciation or value change. If you know what your property is worth, you should not be surprised by the new assessment. The primary goal in a revaluation is to update records, fix errors, and resolve disproportionate assessments. New assessments will be available the end of August for your review.
When completed, the assessments will be on the Town of Windham Web site: www.windhamnewhampshire.com.
Once the 2006 assessments are posted, and prior to the December tax bill, residents are welcome to schedule an informal hearing to review the data collected and their new assessment. We invite concerned residents to contact our office 434-7530 with questions, concerns or to review the data collected. Assessing office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.