Water Carnival Turns into Sand Carnival at Windham Town Beach

by Karen Plumley

Devin, 3, pins the fin on Nemo at the Water Carnival on Wednesday morning.

Kristin Moser, 20, of Windham had a particularly challenging job at this year’s Water Carnival in Windham on Wednesday, August 16.  As head lifeguard, she was responsible for organizing the games and keeping the kids out of the water throughout the celebration.  Wait a second.  Wasn’t this supposed to be a Water Carnival?  It was.  That is, up until the day before, when water testing revealed higher than normal levels of e coli.  According to Moser, the levels were measured to be 111 on Tuesday, August 15.  The acceptable level is 88.  “This is the second time the levels were high this year,” Moser noted.  Recreation Coordinator Cheryl Haas believes that the recent rain skewed the numbers.  New measurements have already been taken, but unfortunately, the results of the second measurements were not going to be ready until after the Carnival.

It was hot, too.  And beach regulations prohibited the possibility of water balloons, which might have offered some relief.  Nevertheless, children of all ages were there to participate in the many activities that were planned, such as relay and obstacle races, musical kick board, and of course the popular Pin the Fin on Nemo game.  Tasty snacks such as animal crackers and pretzels were also available.  During the course of the event, picnic table umbrellas were set up and many parents headed straight for the shade. 

This was the second Water Carnival run by the Parks and Recreation Department, according to Recreation Coordinator Cheryl Haas.  Last year, the festivities were held on July 4.  They decided to move it to the end of the season this year, in hopes that there would be more in attendance. 

Jeffrey, 3, along with twins Sebastian and Emanuel, 3, make the most of the day by playing with their beach toys in the sand.

Marine Patrolman John Jandro allows children to check out his boat during the Windham Water Carnival.

Pelham High School Policy Raises Concerns

by Hannah Tello

Over one year later, the first reading of a Pelham High School policy regarding the distribution of materials by non-school sponsored clubs resulted in more questions than answers.  The policy was read at the August 9 School Board meeting, and many are wary of outlined requirements.

The new policy is an offshoot of another policy that was passed on September 7, 2005, regarding the formation of both school sponsored and non-school sponsored clubs.  The first policy passed outlined guidelines for formations of school and non-school sponsored clubs.  “To be honest, once we passed [the first] policy, I thought that we were done with the situation,” said Superintendent Elaine Cutler.  Neither policy includes notable language included in an original proposed policy presented by board member Linda Mahoney.  The policy had included guidelines for a “Waiver of Participation,” which stated that students who do not wish to participate in non-school sponsored activities could request a waiver which would make them immune to disciplinary action if approved.  Also, the policy included a specific section concerning student protests, demonstrations, and strikes, stating that any violation of school policy would automatically result in appropriate disciplinary action.  School board minutes note that Mahoney “does not want protests and demonstrations allowed on school property.”

“It was a combination of both board decisions and legal decisions that removed those specific parts,” said Superintendent Cutler.  School board minutes state that Mahoney’s policy “did not meet constitutional requirements.”  Ms. Mahoney declined to answer specific questions.

Each of these policies has a controversial past.  On June 8, 2005, the Pelham School Board was addressed by town citizens who were concerned about the Day of Silence being held at the high school.  Organized by students, the Day of Silence is a nationally recognized event during which students opt to take a vow of silence for the day in order to bring attention to the silencing of members of the gay, lesbian, and transgender community.  The Day of Silence has been held at the high school since 1999.  School board members agreed to develop a policy that specifically addressed the presence and activities of non-school sponsored clubs.

The new guidelines affect groups ranging from the chess club to the prom committee to the gay-straight alliance.  The new policy, as written, restricts the distribution of material that is copyrighted, “obscene,” or “inconsistent with the community values of the Pelham School District,” none of which are defined in the policy.

Pelham High School Principal Dr. Dorothy Mohr brought her specific concerns to the school board at the first reading of the policy.  Dr. Mohr’s concerns range from questions about undefined language to confusion as to the policy’s references to disciplinary action but no definition of what those actions are.  Dr. Mohr also clearly described the range of clubs that will be restricted, particularly in regards to fundraising.  As written, the policy restricts fundraising for non-school sponsored clubs to thirty minutes before and after school in the cafeteria only.  Dr. Mohr notes, “The student government will not be allowed to hold a dinner to raise funds to give to the Wilkins’ fund, the Athletic Boosters will not be allowed concessions of food and clothing or raffles, the four classes will not be allowed to fundraise during the Homecoming activities, and the list goes on.”

The board questioned why Dr. Mohr had waited to bring her concerns forward.  “This is the first reading of the policy,” Dr. Mohr stated.  “It was the first time it was available.”

Dr. Mohr was never asked to be involved in developing the policy.

Board Chairman Mike Conrad is concerned with the new policy on many levels.  “There has not been a single incident that would warrant this policy.  I believe it will negatively impact some long standing non-school sponsored clubs.”  Dr. Mohr echoes this analysis, stating, “I cannot think of a single incident that would warrant this policy.”

Board member Bruce Couture admits that the policy has done little to clear up issues.  “As it’s written now, it’s becoming confusing in a way.  It hasn’t made anything clearer.  It’s muddied the waters more.”

             Despite the slow process, there is too much at stake to simply pass a policy without care.  “I will not just rubber stamp any policy,” said Chairman Conrad.  Dr. Mohr agrees, “The school board needs to be sure that this policy protects all of our students.”

Etienne Wows Children at Nesmith Library

by Karen Plumley

Volunteer Marshall tosses rings to Etienne as he adeptly balances on the latter.

“This trick is what I call ‘Two years of no social life’,” joked Etienne as he attempted to juggle machetes while atop a unicycle.  Etienne, a consummate performer who has graced the stage of many major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, and has performed at Walt Disney World, The Improv, and Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, was somehow recruited by children’s librarian Jane McCue for the grand finale of the summer reading program at Nesmith Library in Windham.  According to McCue, she struck up a conversation with Etienne over the phone that quickly led to securing his appearance on Thursday.  “We just seemed to hit it off, and we were able to come up with a reasonably affordable price for him to come and perform,” she explained.

With his unending supply of pins, rings, bottles, and cups, Etienne rattled off jokes faster than the mind could keep up with, while he juggled, bounced, balanced, and even played the tuba.  He had fun with audience members, who never seemed to be satisfied until he performed the near impossible while sweat visibly trickled down his brow and stained his bright blue shirt.  The hour-long show kept everyone’s heart pounding.  The young performer who was born in Maryland and raised in Paris, France, balanced himself on such items as a wooden board atop a bowling ball while juggling pins, a ladder while playing the tuba, and a unicycle while juggling three very large, very sharp machetes.

When it was all over, children ran to the far side of the parking lot to get some ice cream, while parents were left wondering how this finale could possibly be surpassed, and hoping that perhaps this special entertainer might again honor their town with a performance next summer.

Etienne wows the crowd, as he seems to defy gravity at Nesmith Library on Thursday evening.

Unsuspecting volunteer, Nick, lies down on a bloody towel, allowing Etienne to juggle machetes above him at Thursday evening’s performance in the parking lot of Nesmith Library.

New Conservation Land

by Lynne Ober

When the owners of what is now called The Merriam Conservation Area wanted to sell, they looked at both development and conservation.  This 110 acre parcel located on the southwestern part of the town of Pelham included 20 acres of wetland and abuts town-owned property.  There are approximately 2,000 feet (or one-third mile) of frontage on Sherburne Road.  The real estate appraisal came in at $1,430,000.

Before making the property purchase members of the Board of Selectmen and Conservation Commission did a site walk.  Working with the owners for more than a year, everyone was delighted when this property was added to Pelham’s Conservation land.

Before the purchase the owners of the property had a conceptual sub-division plan drawn up that supported 29 house lots.  The conceptual plan for this parcel was completed by Granger Engineering who found that it would support 29 house lots under Pelham’s zoning regulations in force at that time.

Ian Dube and Deb Waters marking a tree on the Merriam Property.

Conservation Commission member Paul Dadak reviewed the checklist used by Conservation Commission before deciding whether to purchase a property.  Criteria on the checklist includes:  Protection of water resources, land connectivity, outdoor recreation, educational value, scenic views, wildlife habitat, working lands, reduces housing units. 

Because the owner wished to keep the land as conservation land and protected for future generations, they worked diligently on making this purchase happen.  This parcel has great value in regard to conservation because the prime wetland on it is vital to restoring the aquifer for Pelham’s drinking water and it flows into Long Pond, a natural resource for swimming and using the pond. 

This parcel also abuts other conservation lands.  One parcel that the town owns is 24 acres.  Two other abutting town properties include the New England Forestry parcel and are about 200 acres.  At the time, Conservation Commission Chairman Paul Yarmo also stated that the recent purchase of the Fernette property and another smaller parcel next to the New England Forestry parcel is beneficial for the Merriam property.  According to Yarmo, this created a large conservation area and a wildlife corridor.  He said the purpose of the bond (money) was to reduce house lots that make demands on town services and this purchase was very significant in reduction of house lots.  Mr. Yarmo said that from a conservation standpoint this is the most exciting piece of property that the commission has had the opportunity to purchase and has been over a year in process.  Mr. Yarmo said that it takes a lot of effort not only of conservation members but also by the selectmen and the sellers and they very much appreciate it.  

Fred and Ellen Merriam had owned the parcel for quite some time and through their generosity the Town was able to purchase it well below the appraised value.  The selling price was $1 million dollars which amounted to $437,000 less than the appraised value.  Conservation Commission members thanked the Merriams for essentially making a cash gift of $437,000 to the town.

Since the purchase was finalized, the Land Stewardship Committee, in cooperation with the Conservation Commission planned on use of the property and improvements needed to ease the use of the property for Pelham residents.

It has been characterized as a beautiful property with trails weaving in and out of it.  Unlike the work done by the Land Stewardship Committee on the Hinds Lane (Gumpus Pond Property), there was not much trash to be removed.  “We only need a handful of cleanups for this parcel unlike what we did on the Hinds Lane property,” grinned Land Stewardship Committee member Andrea Dube.

The property will officially open on September 23.  Look for information at Old Home Day on the grand opening and on the other properties.

On Saturday, August 12 a small group of Land Stewardship members got together to mark the trails in preparation for the grand opening.  According to Dube, the main trail has been marked in both directions with yellow arrows.  “If you walk far enough you can get to a pond,” said Dube.

“We always need helping hands to clean and mark trails on the Conservation Commission Land,” said Dube.  “We (the Land Stewardship Committee) meet once a month thorough the winter and every third Saturday of the month from Spring to Fall to physically work on the properties.”

After the Merriam property opening, the next big opening will be the Gumpus Pond Property, “but we are still working on cleaning out the heavy metal scrap and rubbish,” said Dube.

For more info people can email AndreaDube@gmail.com or check the Pelham Message Board for scheduled cleanups.  Anyone interested in joining the Land Stewardship committee can email Dube. 

Community Emergency Response Team Trains Residents For Emergency Responses

submitted by Diane Brunelle

The second First Aid training class of the year was recently held for individuals who wanted to be part of the Pelham CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).  The first classes in CPR, AED, and First Aid started back on April 29 with only seven new students and now there are over 20 signed up and currently in different phases of training.  Participants are tested throughout the program to gauge their knowledge.

AHA Instructor Bill Brown demonstrating to Martha Flood how to control bleeding with Janne Oriole on her right and Jody Stewart on her left.

Among this new group are energetic and ambitious individuals who will complement the existing CERT team.  Students are now in the process of completing all of the courses needed to graduate and become CERT members.  The courses needed are CPR, AED, First Aid, Incident Command, and WMDs.  They will have knowledge of how to deal with hazardous materials and have hands-on experience in fire suppression and the proper use of fire extinguishers.

Upon graduation, CERT members will be better prepared to respond to emergencies and disasters in their communities, give critical support to first responders when needed, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site and help with non-emergencies that help improve the safety of the community. 

Some have already proven to be a valuable asset to the team by being involved with the recent flooding that occurred in May by going door-to-door giving out free cleaning supplies, food, and water.  CERT members were also activated for traffic control at the closed bridges.  Still some assisted at the large brush fire recently on Old Lawrence Road by supplying food and refreshments to the many firefighters fighting the blaze.

During the recent hot spell, water and Powerade Sports drinks were delivered to seniors at the Pelham Senior Center and to the staff and children attending camp at the Pelham Veterans Memorial Park.  A First Aid station was also set up at the park at the request of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Shown how to control bleeding:  First row, from left, Janne Oriole, Martha Flood and Jody Stewart.  Second row, from left, Barbara Smith, Priscilla Pike-Church, Nina Bisson and Krista Clement.  Third row, from left, John White, George Desmarais and Dave Cansler, both CERT I members present for recertification.  Picture in the last row is Diane Brunelle the CERT Liaison and CERT Treasurer.

New Youth Director for Windham Bible Chapel

Windham Bible Chapel, the church that brings you Journey to Bethlehem, has just hired a new Youth Director.  Jared Young will be training, organizing, and teaching the Middle and Senior High School students for the Church and community.

Jared's desire is to continue to create a safe and caring atmosphere for the youth of Windham and the surrounding towns in order to help them in their relationship to their Creator and to lead them in their walk with Jesus Christ.

Both Youth Groups meet on Wednesdays from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.  Besides their regularly scheduled meeting the Youth Groups also have a once a month fun outing and a community service event.  Check out the Windham Bible Chapel website for more information or contact the Youth Director at YouthGuy@windhambible.com.

Jared Young, Windham Bible Chapel's new Youth Director, instructs the youth on strategy for a game they are about to play. 

Friends Asking Patrons to Pledge to Support Library at Old Home Day

by Diane Chubb

Friends of the Library in Pelham (FLIP) will be launching their membership drive at Pelham Old Home Day on September 9.  Their goal is to let people in town know who they are, what they do and how they can help. 

Friends of the Library are groups of citizens who join together to support, improve, and promote libraries.

“Our library would be much poorer without the Friends of the Library,” says Library Director Sue Hoadley.  “I think most patrons would be surprised to learn how many of the services and programs they enjoy are supported by the Friends.”

FLIP will be sharing a table with the Pelham Library Trustees.  Representatives of the Trustees and FLIP will be at the table during the day to answer questions about the library and the services offered. 

There will be something for everyone at the Library table.  Children will be able to color pictures at a coloring station.  Each child that colors a page will be awarded a medal and their artwork displayed in the Pelham Library.  Visitors will be able to guess the number of items in a jar and be eligible to win a prize. 

FLIP volunteers will also be taking pledges for membership.  Because the Friends group has recently undergone a reorganization, it is still waiting for its paperwork to be approved before it can accept donations.  However, anyone wishing to support the library and FLIP will be able to make a pledge for a later donation. 

"The Friends (of the Library) have been working really hard the last two months to get ready for Old Home Day in September and to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of our inception in October,” says FLIP President Debbie Kruzel. 

“I hope all Pelham residents will come to our booth at Old Home Day and let us know how we can help each one of them with respect to programs or resources at the Library.  We will also be collecting pledges for membership that day and looking for more people who'd like to be active with our Friends group."

Look for the volunteers with the red t-shirts that say “We support our Library.”  They can answer all your questions.  You might even want to join them and get a t-shirt yourself!

The Official Kick-off and Membership Drive begins in October as the group celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Friends of the Library in Pelham.

FLIP has a meeting scheduled for August 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pelham Library to finalize plans for Old Home Day.  Additional meetings are scheduled for September 11 and September 25.

Girl Scout Leaders are Needed

by Lynne Ober

With Girl Scout registration just around the corner, Pelham’s Rose Ann Puddister and Cindy Mastropiero are again searching for more adult leaders.

“We are especially in need of volunteers for our younger girls,” smiled Rose Ann Puddister, “but it's that time of year again when Pelham Community Girl Scouts is on the look out for dedicated adults to volunteer as troop leaders and co-leaders.”

Daisy leaders and co-leaders are needed to work with our youngest girls who are five year olds and Kindergarten students.  Brownie leaders and co-leaders work with girls ages six through eight or in first through third grade, and Junior leaders and co-leaders advise girls nine through eleven or in fourth through sixth grade.

“No special training is needed,” promised Puddister.  “In fact, we will provide any training needed.  All that is required is a desire to work with young girls helping them to make new friends, discover new things, and realize new abilities ... oh, and a little patience helps also,” she laughed.

If you are interested or would like more information contact Cindy Mastropiero at cindy.mastropiero@verizon.net or Rose Ann Puddister at RoseAnnPud@aol.com.

“Pelham Community Girl Scouts is proud to say we have some of the most dedicated volunteers in the area, offering the very best in Girl Scout programming to more than 250 girls in Pelham.  Without these wonderful adults, Girl Scouts would not be possible.  Please consider joining our team,” Puddister concluded.

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