Cinderella Charms Young and Old at Pelham High School
by Karen Plumley
The Pelham High School Drama Club performed Cinderella, its first play of the season, to a packed audience at the school on Wednesday evening, November 8.
The cost of the event was free, but donations were accepted. The play, which had a running time of only 45 minutes, delighted the crowd with its humor and light-hearted spirit. As a first run, the play was also performed a few days earlier to first graders at the elementary school. “The club performs a play for the elementary school every fall,” noted drama club adviser Wendy Dorval.
According to Dorval, the play was specifically chosen in its shortened and comedic presentation in order to appeal to a younger crowd. And the younger crowd at PES did enjoy it tremendously. “The play was written as ‘interactive’ with the audience and this appealed to the drama club as the little ones at PES would be more engaged,” explained Dorval.
The younger crowd at the high school on Wednesday was not the only group laughing and smiling however. Older members of the audience also got a lot of enjoyment out of the performance. Great moments included many funny lines from the evil stepmother, played flawlessly by senior Bethany Murphy, interactions between the spoiled stepsisters played by Brandee Peglow, Nicole Overy and Breanne Brown, and a hilarious palace ball dance scene to which actors danced to a version of the bouncy “Cotton Eyed Joe.” Cinderella, played by junior Maryna Demetri, was clearly a talent, and plans to major in drama when she goes to college.
Behind the scenes there were many talented students busy working as well. Drama club members handled all costumes, sets, program, and tickets. “Director Michelle Burke brought a lot of community theater experience to this play and did an outstanding job directing the performers in their scenes. Michelle also acts and plans on acting in the spring play,” commented Dorval. The crew and actors put in approximately 40 hours of their own time on the production.
From the costumes, to the enthusiastic acting, the modest play amounted to big entertainment for all. Upcoming performances by the drama club include a variety show on January 31 and a spring play on April 12. For more information, contact the high school at 635-2115.
Cinderella (by Ruth Newton, Samuel French, Inc.)
Director: Michelle Burke
Assistant Director: Scott Cloutier
Costume Director: Olivia Shaw, Jahaira Negron
Set: Katy Byron, Elizabeth Cahill, Nicole Fox
Program, Tickets: Alex Delgreco
Cinderella: Maryna Demetri
Stepmother: Bethany Murphy
Fairy Godmother: Olivia Maal
Prince: Nik Kfoury
Matilda (Step-sister): Brandee Peglow
Griselda (Step-sister): Nicole Overy
Frump (Step-sister): Breanne Brown
Prime Minister: Colin Barry
Duke: Leanne Cann
Lord: Stephanie Burke
Lady 1: Ashley Scalia
Lady 2: Lauren Lloyd
Lady 3: Seabrina Blais
Explorers Win Top Awards
by Lynne Ober
Two local teenagers – one from Windham and the other from Pelham -- recently garnered statewide recognition. Both, members of Pelham’s Police Explorer Troop, are high school students who dream of a future in law enforcement.
Derek Gioia, 18, Captain in the Explorer Post and a senior at Pelham High School, won the 2006 Council Leadership Award and Derick Jones, 15, Sergeant in the Explorer Post, and a sophomore at Salem High School won the Explorer of the Year award.
“We knew that we’d been nominated,” said Gioia, “but we didn’t know who had won until we went to the awards dinner. It was an honor to be nominated and an honor to win the award.”
Pelham Police Officer Brian McCarthy, who is the Explorers’ adviser, beams with pride when he talks about all the young men and women in the Explorer Post. “They don’t just learn what you see on TV. They have to learn what it takes to run a police department, including writing reports, knowing motor vehicle and criminal laws, and learning police procedure. Yes, they also learn about criminal investigations and how to run one, but they have to also know everything that a police officer does.”
The Explorers have an opportunity, with parental consent, to ride in police cruisers with the officers. Gioia can frequently be found in a cruiser on the 4:00 p.m. to midnight shift or on the midnight to 8:00 a.m. shift.
“Last February, Derek was riding with me when I was dispatched to an underage drinking party at a residence in town,” said McCarthy. “On this particular night, my officers were tied up on another situation and additional officers were not readily available so Derek and I were the first to arrive. When we arrived, we discovered 45 juveniles consuming alcohol in this residence. This was a big party with lots of impaired/intoxicated individuals who were not happy to the see the police. I asked Derek if he wanted to remain in the cruiser while I investigated the situation, considering the potential for him to be injured dealing with intoxicated youth, but Derek wanted to go with me and back me up on this call. With Derek’s help I was able to maintain control of the situation until other officers arrived. Derek assisted with the transportation of the juveniles to the station where they were processed and released to their parents. He earned our respect for his efforts. I was truly impressed with Derek’s professionalism and his demeanor throughout the event.”
According to McCarthy, Derek Gioia also has a number of responsibilities associated with running the post and that he handles all of them in an exemplary fashion.
Gioia plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice in college and to become a full-time police officer. He is hoping to work as a part-time officer while attending college. “The Hampton Beach Police Department uses a lot of part-time officers,” he grinned.
Derick Jones was part of the Windham Police Explorers until that post closed. Jones was recently promoted to Sergeant because of his efforts with the post. He is the Quarter Master of the post. Both McCarthy and Gioia laughed at some of the issues that face Jones as Quarter Master, but admit that he handles them in an excellent manner.
Like Gioia, Jones often rides in a police cruiser and prefers the midnight to 8:00 a.m. shift on weekend and other non-school nights because that’s the most active shift. “It’s when you have an opportunity to learn the most about police work on the street,” Jones smiled.
McCarthy noted that the Explorers direct traffic during Old Home Day, help at the concerts on the Village Green, and look for opportunities to serve the community. “All of the Explorers made a big commitment to the community,” said McCarthy, also a shift supervisor for the Pelham Police Department. “I’m proud of them all and I’m glad to see that both of them got statewide notice and awards.”
Initially, Exploring began as a senior program in Boy Scout Troops. These older boys carried out high adventure activities and service projects. The first program started in 1912 was Sea Scouting and it flourished as a program based on traditions of the sea.
In 1935 Senior Scouts were called Explorers for the first time, and many were organized in separate Explorer crews in troops, using a Senior Scout program.
In 1954, the National BSA Executive Board and the University of Michigan conducted a national study that revealed the needs, desires, and concerns of boys 14 to 16. As a result a completely new Explorer program was developed and put into effect January 1, 1959. This new program included activities, methods, and recognitions that were similar to, but separate from, the Boy Scout program. This was a big step because it paved the way for Explorers to develop not from typical Scouting efforts, but from needs of teens.
A career survey was completed at the high school level and data from that was used to develop early programming. In 1971 young women were allowed to join the Explorer troop and by 1981, the rapid growth of Exploring led to the development of national specialty programs in aviation, business, science and engineering, law and government, law enforcement, health careers, outdoor, sea exploring, sports career education, arts, skilled trades, social service, fire, and rescue and communications.
The career branch provides practical experience in a career field. Pelham Explorer Post 635, one of 36 Explorer Posts in New Hampshire, provides career information as well as many hands-on opportunities for the members of the post. Many members of the post were never Boy Scouts.
“We educate youth in law enforcement,” explained McCarthy. “The program stresses community service, leadership, team skills and provides real-life hands-on experience.”
It’s a Dog’s Life at Griffin Park
by Barbara Jester
The support for continuing to allow dogs to spend time at Griffin Park appears to be overwhelming.
Windham Selectmen conducted a public hearing on the issue on November 20 at Golden Brook Elementary School. Approximately 60 residents attended the nearly four-hour session. Only two of those who spoke at the microphone expressed support for banning dogs from the town park. Those who spoke in favor of continuing to welcome canines to the park did, however, want leash laws enforced and dog owners responsible for cleaning up after their animals.
In addition to those who attended the meeting, a group of residents also submitted a signed petition showing support for keeping “dogs in the park.”
Prior to public input, Town Administrator David Sullivan outlined complaints being lodged against dog owners, including allowing their pets to run-at-large and not cleaning up feces. Some people have also reported being threatened by dogs not restrained on leashes. “It’s the people who are defying the rules,” Sullivan said. Current regulations require that dogs be kept on a leash no longer than eight feet in length. Dog owners are also required to “scoop up poop” deposited in the park by their dogs.
Sullivan said there are about 2,000 dog owners who live in Windham.
“The only reason I go to the park is to let my dogs take me for a walk,” said resident Joe Collins. “Everyone should police themselves.” In regard to people not cleaning up dog feces, Collins said, “I guess you’d have to prove it’s canine waste out there.” Another resident jokingly suggested doing DNA testing of dogs when they’re registered at town hall.
Resident Tom Case said he doesn’t have a dog of his own, but is still in favor of dogs being allowed at the park. “The park is for people,” he said, “and people like to walk their dogs. They just need to use a little common sense.”
One woman who spoke said she feels the park is a very safe place to walk dogs, preferable to walking along area roads, where people have to dodge traffic. “My dog is a member of my family,” she said, “and, as a taxpayer, I have a right to bring him along.”
Resident Lisa Piessens took exception with most others who spoke at the hearing. “Dogs don’t have the same rights as humans,” she said. “I’m sick and tired of dodging dogs and what they leave behind. I’m afraid to sit on the benches or sit on the grass.”
Piessens presented selectmen with a series of photos she had taken at Griffin Park in recent weeks. She said the photos demonstrated the “poop problem at the park.” “This is a health issue,” Piessens said. “Keep your dogs at home in your own backyards.” Piessens said she worries about E-coli contamination due to dogs defecating in the park.
Brenda Sinclair, who operates a doggie daycare facility in Windham, said, “We aren’t all going to die because a few dogs pooped in the park.” She said there is more of a problem with Canadian Geese defecating in the park, than there is an issue with dogs.
Resident Steve Picard said he views the park as a social place. “I don’t want to just live in a fenced-in yard,” Picard said. “There’s more trash strewn about the park than there is dog mess.” Picard said what is needed are “more eyes” paying attention to what is happening at Griffin Park. “What’s safer,” he asked. “a dachshund on a leash or razor scooters zooming down the sidewalks?”
Ed Gallagher of Windham said he regularly walks his two dogs at the park. “There’s a certain joy to taking dogs to the park,” he said. “It’s a social occasion. This problem isn’t about controlling dogs, it’s about ignorant people.”
Phil Powers said he has lived in Windham for the past 30 years. “I was a resident before there was a leash law,” he said, “and I’ve always been an advocate of having a place for people to walk their dogs.” Powers said he doesn’t like walking in dog feces anywhere. “I have dogs pooping in my front yard,” he said. “But, let’s face it, some people are just slobs. The answer is not to ban dogs from the park,” he continued. “If there’s a problem, there’s a process to remedy it.”
“Let the dog officer do his job,” resident Jessica Powers said. Town officials said Windham does not have a full-time animal control officer (ACO), but rather someone who responds to problems on an on-call basis.
“We don’t need more ordinances, we need more common courtesy,” resident Donna Morgan said. Morgan trains dogs at the park early in the morning for national and Canadian competition. “Why can’t we all, as human beings, pick up after ourselves?” Morgan said she believes lack of courtesy is a national problem today. Disposal bags are available at the park at no cost. “There is no excuse not to have one,” Morgan said. The plastic “poop bags” are donated by a local business at no cost to taxpayers.
Ralph Valentine, chairman of the recreation commission, said that organization supports “dogs in the park” and does not want more restrictive rules than currently exist.
At the conclusion of the public input portion of the hearing, selectmen’s Vice-Chairman Alan Carpenter said town officials “need to strike a balance between dog owners and non-dog owners.” He suggested a scaled fine system for violators, which escalates as the number of violations increases. Carpenter also said he’d like to see dogs kept away from athletic fields.
Selectman Dennis Sinabaldi said he doesn’t believe it’s fair “to penalize the 95 percent of people who follow the rules.” “There’s more need for enforcement,” he said. “We need more (unpaid) ACO deputies. It’s the only way to catch the offenders.”
Selectmen’s Chairman Galen Stearns said he would “have no problem with considering extra (ACO) deputies” patrolling the park. Town Administrator Sullivan said that unpaid deputies could cause liability issues for the town, however, due to not being covered under Workers’ Compensation Laws.
Selectman Roger Hohenberger said he’d be glad to nominate Senibaldi as an official “dog poop deputy.” “He’ll do it for free,” Hohenberger said. Senibaldi said that, yes, indeed, he would do the job at no cost to the town. “I’m at the park everyday, anyway,” Senibaldi said.
Hohenberger agreed with residents that there is a problem at the park regarding dog issues, one that needs to be resolved. “Something needs to be done,” he said. “We just have to figure out how to subsidize the cost of enforcement.”
Selectman Margaret Crisler said she felt there had been “very compelling testimony” during the hearing that night, especially in regard to the need for animal “socialization.” “I’m not just ready to let dogs stay in the park,” Crisler joked, “I’m ready to let them vote!”
Stearns said town officials will now go back to existing rules and regulations and look further into addressing any weaknesses. “At this point, we’re not looking at banning dogs,” Stearns said. Prior to any action being taken, another public hearing will be held on proposed park ordinances. The hearing will be held in advance of the annual town meeting deliberative session scheduled for February 10.
New Technology Plan Adopted
by Lynne Ober
The Town of Pelham began a three-year technology refresh plan in 2002. They wanted to move “from an uncoordinated approach of piece-meal systems to one of standardization, interoperability, security, and trusted system backups,” and that has been achieved. According to the plan, “the Return on Investment (ROI) for residents has allowed us to achieve lower operating cost, higher employee productivity and more efficient access to electronic records and systems.
The goals of developing this plan include:
Now it’s time to refresh the plan and to look at upcoming goals. By adopting a new three-year plan, the town can proceed in an organized way with planning and implementation.
Pelham firefighter Greg Atwood echoed the many happy comments of other town employees, “Overall the system you guys built is working fantastic; in fact, it is one of the best systems I have seen. I don’t think there has been any down time that wasn’t scheduled.”
The plan identified both short- and long-term goals. An overview of the short-term goals is below:
The purpose of establishing long-term goals was to provide a framework for identifying areas of technology that will be explored in-depth. The list is not inclusive, but rather a look at what selectmen are currently considering and have identified with the help of department heads and staff. These goals are as follows:
In addition, they looked at the various areas and identified a body of work that should be undertaken during the plan’s life cycle. These include the following:
Since the adoption of standards included in the 2002 technology plan, Pelham has been able to accomplish the following:
Selectmen wish to ensure that the standards are carried forward so that benefits of using technology can be achieved at the lowest possible cost.
The plan not only looks at systems in use and plans what systems will work best with them, but it identifies the hidden infrastructure that is very important to sustaining system uptime. It looks at racks, wiring, switches, routers and all the other technological pieces that no one wants to think about when they try to use their E-mail or save a file. It is this in-depth look that provides selectmen with the plan for upgrading only when necessary and to identify weak points in the town’s network.
A complete inventory of all equipment has been completed. Minimum standards have been set for all equipment including servers and user personal computers.
According to the plan, “Within the Technology Assessment Report, 73 workstation PCs were identified as in continual daily use by an employee and/or provided by the town as a Public Access PC. With the cost of a standard business PC around $1,000 per unit, the town should again consider adopting a three-year technology refresh policy to proactively manage the installed base of PCs. Keeping the PCs within a three-year technology window will dramatically reduce support costs, increase end-user productivity, and permit the town to take advantage of cost-effective technology.”
This plan, adopted by selectmen, allows planning for yearly expenses, for support needs and for a reasonable replacement cycle. The complete plan, including configuration information, can be found on the selectmen’s page on www.pelhamweb.com.