Local Dietician Cooks Food That the Whole Family Can Appreciate

by Karen Plumley

Volunteers Jake, 6, and Gia, 7 of Windham helped Schader prepare healthy snacks such as pita chips and pizza fondue at Nesmith Library on Saturday.

Certified Dietician Kathy Schader demonstrated her delicious and healthy recipes during an hour-long presentation held at the Nesmith Library on the morning of Saturday, January 27.  Encouraging parents to get their kids involved, Schader had several youngsters come up to help her prepare her specialties. 

The aroma of sizzling onions and pizza herbs escaped the conference room, and lured curious, hungry souls over to have a peek.  Even Library Director Carl Heidenblad, with a look of envy, poked his head into the room to check it out.  One would never believe that those scents were emanating from recipes chock full of vitamins and virtually no fat or preservatives.

Healthy alternatives to the modern-day processed foods such as chips, dips, and cookies were offered.  Schader demonstrated how easy and fast it could be to prepare spicy pita chips, pizza fondue, and a delectable cookie pizza with guilt-free ingredients that would go a long way to help squelch those blameworthy feelings about bringing the kids to McDonald’s for last night’s dinner.

Creativity is key when preparing low-fat, high-vitamin foods.  A macaroni and cheese recipe, which Schader came up with after being inspired by a favorite Food Network chef, incorporates butternut squash into the recipe to add a creamy texture and a vegetable that may not be popular with the kids if standing alone.

The audience was periodically treated with tastes of the wonderful concoctions throughout the hour and left with a little bit of inspiration and some new recipes in hand.

Ally, 7, of Windham stirs a roux, the base of any macaroni and cheese recipe, while Schader monitors the consistency at the Nesmith Library on Saturday morning during a Family Cooking hour.

Route 111 Relocation

by Barbara Jester

In response to a request from Windham Selectmen, Bill Cass, Assistant Director of Project Development for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT), met with residents during a public meeting on Monday, January 22.

Late last year, several local residents had raised questions regarding the relocation of a section of Route111.  As a result, Windham Town Administrator David Sullivan asked Cass to provide information regarding those issues of concern.

The new section of Route 111, known as the Route 111 By-Pass, will be a limited access highway, Cass said, and will have no need for street addresses.  There will be no homes or businesses on that section, he said.  Some residents wanted to know what the new road configuration will be called.  Currently, portions of that stretch of roadway are known as Indian Rock Road and Haverhill Road.  As for the future, Cass said it is totally the town's prerogative to choose a name.  The only qualification, he said, would be in working with New Hampshire 9-1-1 to make sure that whatever name is selected won't be confused with any similarly named roads in the area.

Cass said the existing Route 111 will dead-end at Castleton once the by-pass is completed and open to traffic.

In regard to Route 111 in Salem, Cass said the roadway will continue to be known as Shadow Lake Road and will dead-end at Gordon Road.  That portion of Route 111 will be reclassified as a Class V town-owned road, after which Salem will be responsible for all maintenance.

Referring to Windham's Range Road, which the DOT has labeled "Canobie Lake Road," Cass said state officials feel Windham should agree to accept that section of roadway as a town-owned (Class V) road.  Range Road runs through a residential neighborhood, Cass said, and if it were town-owned, local officials would then be able to post the road with signs limiting truck traffic in that area.  He said state officials do not have that authority.

Cass also said that he believes traffic on Range Road will be greatly diminished in volume once the Route 111 By-Pass is open.  He said most of the Route 111 reconstruction project should be finished by the end of the 2007 construction season next fall.

Selectmen attending the January 22 meeting said town officials are not in favor of Windham accepting the ownership of Range Road at this point in time.

Carol Pynn, of the Windham Heritage Commission, said she hopes that Range Road will continue to be known by that same name when all is said and done, because of its historic significance, dating back to the 1700s.  The naming or renaming of Range Road is a decision also left to the preference of local residents, Cass said.  In the meantime, Range Road/Canobie Lake Road will continue to be owned and maintained by the state DOT.

Police Chief Evan Haglund to Retire

by Lynne Ober

After 29 years on the Pelham Police force, Police Chief Evan Haglund will retire.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but I had to think of my family,” said Haglund, referring to this year’s opportunity to buy additional years of retirement service.  “That opportunity was going to end, so I either had to take it now or lose it.  I couldn’t wait a year or two and still take it.”

After much agonizing, Haglund decided to take the opportunity.  Telling selectmen that he’s been chief for seven years, he outlined the current status of the department.  He characterized them as “very professional,” and said he was proud of what had been accomplished. 

“I am leaving the department on solid footing.  We have established a strong partnership with schools, parents and students,” he smiled.  “Over the years, we have produced well-documented budgets and have never failed to return a surplus to the taxpayers.”

As Haglund outlined his interactions with other boards and residents, it was obvious that it had been a difficult decision to leave.  He thanked the Board of Selectmen for their support over the years and talked about how he had enjoyed working with town administrators, other department heads, and the men on the force.

“Public service is not just a job.  It’s a (way of) life,” he smiled.

Selectmen accepted his retirement with deep regret.  Board of Selectmen Chairman Victor Danevich gave Haglund “many words of thanks” and complimented him on his exemplary job.

Selectman Ed Gleason said, “I consider the chief not only competent and capable, but a friend.  He’s a man of integrity and quality.  Thank you for all you’ve done for the town.”

Perhaps Selectman Tom Domenico summed it up best by saying, “The thing you should be most proud of is the legacy you leave behind,” referring to the professional level of the police department.

To ‘D’ or Not to ‘D’

by Karen Plumley

Pelham High School will maintain its no D policy, at least for now.  In a vote of 3 - 2, the Pelham School Board voted down a proposal to bring back the D for students who are earning 65 – 69 percent.  School Board Chairman Michael Conrad, Vice Chair Cindy Kyzer, and veteran school board member Eleanor Burton voted against the proposed measure.  Conrad, the last to vote on the proposal, stated that he believed that the no D policy raises the standard of excellence at the high school and encourages students to work harder.

Currently, in a somewhat unconventional grading scale, the school awards the mark of F at the end of the grading period in a subject to any student who does not achieve an average of 70 percent or higher.  According to school board member Bruce Couture, this policy came into effect in the mid-1990s after the high school began to suffer from credibility problems.  In an attempt to raise the standard and the collective Grade Point Average (GPA) of the school, the elected school board at the time passed the no D policy.  In statements at the January 24 school board meeting, Couture implied that now the school is better than it was a decade ago, and it could conceivably bring back the D.  In the 1990s, Couture was a coach at PHS, and also had children of his own who were students at the school.  He claims that during that period his family thought “long and hard” about sending his children elsewhere. 

Faculty, parents, and students concerned with the no D policy argue that it penalizes the struggling students who are working hard but earn an F when they might otherwise narrowly pass a subject.  Additionally, the argument was made at the school board meeting that it is hard to compare PHS to other schools in the area because most other schools have a grading scale that includes the D mark.

Finally, concerns brought forth by members of the school board in favor of reinstating the D indicate that there is the possibility that grades are being inflated and/or the curriculum is being lowered for all students in order to pass those few that are in the “at risk” category.  “If you raise the curriculum, the D would mean more,” noted Couture.  At the meeting, there was no evidence supporting or contradicting these claims.

In a presentation that lasted over an hour, representatives of the high school student council argued in favor of the no D policy.  The student council unanimously agreed that the no D policy provides an incentive for students to work harder, and presented a teachers’ survey which supported their beliefs.  Of the 59 teachers surveyed, 46 voted to keep the no D policy.

Other statistics provided by the council showed that there has been an increased number of honor graduates, increased number of students earning a C or better, and that GPAs have been on the rise.  Students Jahaira Negron and Tim Mallard both offered compelling arguments to the board.  Negron stated that she believed that students just barely getting by wouldn’t try as hard if the D were reinstated.  Mallard, who once argued in favor of bringing the D back, had a change of heart.  At the board meeting, he quoted, “Lowering the bar doesn’t make people jump higher; it makes them jump lower.”

According to the presentation, Pelham High School Principal Dorothy Mohr did a survey of area schools and found that there is really no grading scale standard.  In the survey, grading scales varied widely, with some schools having adopted a similar no D policy (Pembroke), to others awarding Ds to students who earn a 74 percent or 75 percent (Merrimack Valley High School, Kingswood Regional).  Still other high schools hand out the D grade to students earning a more conventional 65 - 69 percent (Manchester West, Pinkerton Academy).

The question of what the school is doing for “at risk” students remains.  The council attempted to address this question at the meeting by listing a number of programs that they claim are supporting the struggling students.  Included in the list is an advisory program to help mentor the “at risk” student:  frequent monitoring of students by teachers and guidance councilors; the creation of individual student support teams made up of parents, teachers, and fellow students; and the National Honor Society tutoring program. 

Present at the meeting were Assistant Principal James Wilhelm and English teacher Cynthia Evans who both emphatically pointed out that the high school academic staff is always there to help the students who are having a hard time with their schoolwork.  Wilhelm pointed out that he is “very impressed” with the teachers’ willingness to give their time and energy to help students succeed.  Evans noted that coordination between the regular staff and members of the special education team is “tremendous.”

Additionally, communication tools such as the parent portal are at the disposal of parents who want to closely monitor their child’s progress.  Students will be able to monitor their own progress as well, with the student portal that became available to them on February 1.

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