Altered Books

by Lynne Ober


Artist Michele Dyson and the participants

Windham’s library recently held a hands-on workshop for adults on the new art form, altered books.

An altered book is an art form in which artists recycle or transform existing books into works of art.  Using an existing book as a blank canvas, participants at the workshop learned to transform it into a unique art form – one that can be tailored to a theme or for a friend.

In the eleventh century monks recycled manuscripts because paper was so rare and expensive.  They stripped off the old text and added new text and new illustrations to the blank pages.  This technique, called Palimpest, often left old parts of the text and illustration still visible on the page.  Manuscripts were created over these pieces.  Today artists are doing the same thing, but the finished results often add more color and tactile interests.

Artist Michelle Dyson talked about the process used to transform old books into personalized works of art.  She showed a number of her books that were in progress, including a beautiful one that she was making for a friend who was getting married.

Participants each brought an old book as well as photos and any items they wanted to incorporate into their work, such as tickets, postcards, scrapbooking materials, etc.  Additional materials, paints and other supplies were available during the workshop.

Dyson showed many specialized techniques, such as adding pockets, adding windows with treasures tucked behind them and embellishments to the transformed books.  She talked about the use of color and about letting your imagination roam freely.

Participants dug into their books with great enthusiasm.  Although none of the books were finished by the end of the workshop, everyone agreed that they knew exactly what to do when they got home to finish their individual works of art.


Boo Hoo Breakfast Cheers Up Parents of First Graders

by Karen Plumley

On the morning of August 30, parents of first graders watched, misty-eyed, as their children boarded big yellow buses and drove away to school.  For many, this was the first such experience, and the first time that their little ones will be away from home for what seems like such a long day.  Luckily, parents didn’t have to pine away all morning thinking about.  The Pelham Elementary PTA arranged a breakfast at 9:15, and many parents came to share in their misery (or joy, as the case may be) on the first day of school. 

Folks got to know each other, while enjoying pastries, muffins, and teacakes and a warm cup of coffee.  Principal Alicia LaFrance welcomed new parents and recited a poem about the wonders of school.  Mary Collins, co-president of the PTA, also shared some words with attendees.  This was the second annual Boo Hoo breakfast, and those in attendance were grateful for the distraction.

Veteran moms Debbi Leuteritz and Angele Diack ham it up at the second annual Boo Hoo breakfast at Pelham Elementary on the morning of August 30.


Moms and dads share stories and enjoy the Boo Hoo breakfast on Wednesday morning while their first graders experience the first day of school.  In the background, Pelham Elementary School Principal Alicia LaFrance and PTA Co-President Mary Collins address the audience.


Four Pelham Police Officers Honored for Distinguished Service

by Karen Plumley

Four members of the Pelham Police Department were honored with the VFW’s annual Law Enforcement Gold Medal Award.  The VFW annually recognizes the achievements of "heroes" in the community.  The Law Enforcement Gold Medal Award specifically recognizes an outstanding law enforcement officer for his or her unsurpassed abilities, knowledge and performance on the job, integrity and compassion for fellow human beings, and the service to the public, the state and the nation. 

According to VFW Post Commander Charlie Mooskian, the award in Pelham has been slightly altered so as not to single out one police officer from any other, and is referred to as the “Distinguished Service Award.”  “There is no limit to the number of officers that can be awarded the honor,” described Mooskian.  This year, Police Chief Evan E. J. Haglund recommended four individuals for the honor, and all four have been chosen to receive it.  “In a small town like this we rely on the chief for recommendations.  Who would know better than him?” stated Mooskian. 

Officers Matthew Keenliside, and Eugene Stahl, and Master Patrolmen Dennis Mannion and Glenn Chase were the recipients for their service in 2005, which went above and beyond the call of duty.  For Officer Eugene Stahl, it was his second Distinguished Service Award in two years.

In an incident dated September 27, 2005, Master Patrolman Glenn Chase and Officer Matthew Keenliside responded to a disturbance call at a residence on Route 38 and found themselves on the other side of a door to a room in which gunshots were heard.  They were able to secure the residence, which was surrounded by heavy commuter traffic, and then successfully took control of the situation, convincing the subject to give up his weapon.  The subject then jumped out the second story window and was quickly apprehended.  In his commendation letter, Police Chief Haglund stated, “Through their actions Master Patrolman Chase and Officer Keenliside contained and resolved a very dangerous situation with no loss of life while protecting the community of Pelham.”

In another dangerous incident dated November 11, 2005, Officer Eugene Stahl and Master Patrolman Dennis Mannion responded to a call from a residence on Hillcrest Lane in Pelham for a domestic violence protection order violation.  Very quickly the situation took a turn for the worse, and the officers were caught up in a chase in the woods.  K-9 Officer Zahn was employed to track the subject, who pulled a knife on the dog and the officers, eventually injuring the dog in two places on its body.  The officers were able to subdue the subject with a Taser device, at which point the subject asked repeatedly for the officers to kill him.  According to Police Chief Haglund, the situation warranted the use of deadly force, but the officers were able to handle the situation with professionalism and restraint, using the less lethal options available to them.  “Officer Eugene Stahl and Master Patrolman Dennis Mannion are to be commended for the performance of their duties in the arrest of this individual,” stated Chief Haglund.


Officer Dennis Mannion


Officer Glenn Chase,


Officer Eugene Stahl


Officer Matthew Keenliside


Deputy Fire Chief Sworn In

by Barbara Jester

Windham Deputy Fire Chief Robert Leuci, Jr., has been officially sworn into office.

The ceremony was held during the selectmen's meeting on Monday, August 21.

According to Windham Fire Chief Tom McPherson, the search for a deputy fire chief took approximately two months to complete.  Leuci assumed those duties on August 1.

"He started out on the right foot," McPherson said of Leuci, explaining that the new deputy chief's first shift involved about 16 hours on site on Route 28 in Salem, handling a damaged propane tank, following a motor vehicle accident.

Leuci has been a firefighter for the past 22 1/2 years, the majority of which time he worked in Nashua.  Leuci is also on staff at the New Hampshire Fire Academy in Concord.

Leuci lives in Nashua with his wife, Gina, a daughter and two sons.

After Leuci's wife pinned on his new badge, Leuci's young son, Connor drew a laugh from the audience when he shouted, "Nice job, Dad!"


Police Caution Pelham Residents to be Vigilant

Pelham Police Chief Evan Haglund asks that all residents keep their cars locked and their eyes open after a rash of vehicle thefts has occurred in Pelham.

“We’ve been having a rash of thefts and we want residents to take appropriate actions to help prevent those thefts as well as being vigilant about what’s going on in their neighborhoods,” stated Haglund.

The Pelham Police Department is requesting that if any residents see anything out of the ordinary in their neighborhoods that they immediately call Pelham Police at 635-2411 or call 911.

It is advised that residents do not confront individuals themselves, but do contact the police and ask for immediate assistance.


Town Audit Finds No Errors

by Barbara Jester

Town auditor Robert Vachon told selectmen that he found "no difficulties during the audit" of Windham's 2005 financial records.  Vachon detailed the audit during the Monday, August 28 selectmen's meeting.

Vachon is one of the partners in the auditing firm of Vachon Clukay and Co. of Manchester.  He has been auditing Windham's financial records for the past two years.

Vachon said that the general fund balance for 2005 totals $422,104.  This is the amount of the town's operating budget which was not spent last year.  This amount is down by $212,206 from the general fund balance for 2004.

"This speaks to how closely we budget," Town Administrator David Sullivan told selectmen.  "During our audit, we found no issues to be reported," Vachon added.

The audit included financial transactions involving two major funds: general budget and land purchases, as well as 16 non-major funds, including: special revenues, capital projects, private purpose and permanent funds.  Vachon said the audit did not include any financial transactions for the school district.

Vachon also reported that Windham's net assets experienced a $1.7 million increase during 2005, rising to a total of $29.1 million dollars by the end of 2005.

According to Vachon, the total amount of money remaining in undesignated funds for 2005 is $589,688.  This money can be used to off-set the town's 2006 tax rate.  Vachon said the town portion of the 2005 tax rate increased by about $1.15 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.  The assessed value of the town totals $1.2 billion.

Financial Director Dana Call said the contract with Vachon and Clukay is due to be renegotiated and town officials will be interviewing several firms as part of the process.  Call also said that they have been very pleased with the job the auditing firm has done for Windham the past couple of years.

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