Hearts Abound at Pelham Library

by Diane Chubb

Glue, glitter, markers, lace doilies and tons of red and pink paper – everything needed to make beautiful valentines.  Children who attended the February 1 evening story time at Pelham Library enjoyed cutting out heart shapes as the base of their artwork. 

Marie Yanish, working mom of twin boys, volunteers every Thursday evening to read stories to children at the Library.  On this particular evening, a good sized crowd of children gathered at her feet to listen to stories about Valentine's Day. 

After the story, Miss Marie helped each child make a special valentine of their own.  Most of the children decorated hearts for their parents.  The finished products were certainly on the same level as any valentine sold in local card stores, and made with love.

Evening story time is held every Thursday evening from 6 - 7 p.m. at the Pelham Library.  The schedule of themes and planned activities is posted on the stairway.  Call 635-7581 for more information. 

Abigail J. displays her special valentine.

International Day Gets Girl Scouts Thinking

by Karen Plumley

Young brownies from Troop 886 are festively dressed, representing the country of China as part of the Girl Scout International Thinking Day celebration at Pelham Elementary School on Sunday.

Pelham Girl Scouts, Brownies, and Daisies got together on Sunday, February 11 in celebration of Girl Scout International Thinking Day.  The two-hour event was held in the cafeteria at Pelham Elementary School, and was attended by approximately 200 girls and their leaders.  Eighteen out of the 19 Pelham troops were represented.  Each troop took on the task of researching a country, and designing table displays providing many interesting cultural facts, items, and even ethnic edibles.  Troop presentations were also given throughout the afternoon.

Everyone was festively dressed, which made the “International Parade” a pure delight to behold.  Girls representing China were in colorful silk Kimonos, and had their hair done up with chopsticks.  Island grass skirts were donned by the troop representing The Cook Islands; and startling Gilles (clown) masks were worn by the girls representing Belgium, in honor of the country’s annual Mardi Gras celebration that takes place during the three days prior to Ash Wednesday.  Other countries represented included:  Ireland, the United States, Germany, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Thailand, Poland, Mexico, and more.

“It is great for the girls to see all the other troops in town, try new foods, and learn about other countries,” noted Girl Scout Troop Leader Rose Ann Puddister.  “It gets them thinking about the fact that they are part of a world wide organization of scouts.”  The organization Puddister referred to is called World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS).  International Thinking Day is usually celebrated on February 22, but Sunday was the only time the girls could obtain the facilities for an event of this size.  This was the third such gathering for the Pelham Girl Scouts in 15 years and was spearheaded by three troops, Junior Girl Scout Troop 319, and Daisy Troops 2955 and 954.  As a group, they put together the event timeline, flyers and other materials, and obtained the meeting place.  Troop Leader Cindy Mastropiero of Troop 319 provided the announcements, and kept things rolling along at the crowded venue.

Scouts got to sample exotic treats such as:  olie bollen, a fried dough delight with raisins from the Netherlands; Mexican nachos; Polish sausage; Belgian spice cookies known as “speculoos”; and good old-fashioned American apple pie.  They learned that in Thailand, all children in grades 1-9, are required to be members of a scouting troop, whose troop leaders are none other than the country’s king and queen.  Overall the event was a fun, educational, and team-building experience for all.

Junior Scouts from Troop 277 represented the United States.  Each girl picked a state and dressed appropriately.  Pictured here is Madison, 9 (New England Summer), Valerie, 10 (Hawaii), Sarah 9 (New York), and Kate 9 (Maine).

Giggles were plentiful when girl scouts representing Holland strolled in during the International Parade at Pelham Elementary on Sunday afternoon.

Make a Card Workshop:  Notes from the Heart

by Doug Robinson

Be My Valentine, Deepest Sympathy, Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Get Well, Congratulations on Your Engagement, Happy New Year, It’s a Boy, and It’s a Girl. 

“Americans spend nearly $7.5 billion on greeting cards each year, with the average household buying 30 cards in a year” states the Greeting Card Association.  While many cards are purchased for those “special” dates, anniversaries, or occasions,” seasonal cards, such as Christmas, accounts for 30 percent of all sales,” continued the Greeting Card Association. 

With cards costing nearly $5.50, sales tax and postage, the total spending on greeting cards could cost the average family or card sender $150 per year.  In today’s world of junk mail barrage, and email barrage, nothing makes the soul feel any better than a note from the heart saying “I love you,” “thank you,” or “I care.”

The Nesmith Library in Windham, recently hosted an evening tutorial workshop designed to teach those who attended, the art of making four different Valentine’s Day and Spring Cards.  The sold out class of 20 participants paid the entry fee of $10 to learn how create, design, and develop those special “notes from the heart.”  Personalized vs. purchased was the central theme for the attendees.

Cards of love, and cards of concern, were created under the expert direction of Liz Lagos of Windham.  She, along with Lorraine McNulty and Melanie Meier, of Stampin’Up products, donated their time and talents, working one on one with the participants, to create their cards of love, and their cards of personal concern. 

“Since 1988, our wide assortment of stamp images, techniques, and design has been helping crafters discover and express their creativity. 

“The first organization to partner with Stampin’ Up, for the Making a Difference program, was the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC); an organization committed to improving the lives of children and families throughout the world, by providing child abuse prevention programs, access to health care, scholarships, and other services” stated Stampin’ Up.

“Stampin’ Up’s commitment to RMHC is fourfold.  Each year, the company donates $100,000 to the organization, in addition to a portion of the proceeds from the sale of an exclusive stamp set, designed to promote the partnership with RMHC.  The company’s demonstrators are also encouraged through the Making a Difference campaign, to volunteer their time teaching Ronald McDonald House guests in their area, the creative art of rubber stamping.

The card tutorial conducted at the Nesmith Library, taught the participants how to use the glitter, decorative punches, ink pads, ribbon, glue sticks, paper cutters, and embellishments to create that perfect card.  Eight cards of four designs were created by the participants. 

Liz Lagos (left) and Melanie Meier plan the evening’s activities before the participants arrive.  Liz shows Melanie one of her “special” boxes of wrapped chocolate.

Accord on Most Warrants

by Lynne Ober

Watercolor rendition of the new central fire station situated on Village Green.

Pelham Selectmen and Budget Committee have reached accord on many of this year’s warrant articles.  Selectmen submitted 17 warrant articles that required Budget Committee recommendations.  Of those, Budget Committee members recommended 15.  In addition, selectmen and budget committee members were in accord on petitioned warrant articles that had been submitted by residents.

In fact, Budget Committee Chairman Greg Farris told attendees at the Deliberative Session that the Budget Committee appreciated the “zero-based budgeting” approach used by selectmen.  Speaking at length, Farris explained why this approach produced a better budget.

Warrant Article 12 asks voters to vote for a general operating budget of $9,916,234.  If not accepted, the default budget would be $9,567,713. 

Farris said the operating budget was unanimously approved by the Budget Committee.

Another warrant article praised by Farris was Warrant Article 18, which would appropriate over three years, $185,055 for the contract for the firefighters of Pelham.  “There was total cooperation on this contract,” noted Farris.  The firefighters agreed to accept an HMO for their medical plan, and to pay for any coverage above and beyond that coverage.  As a result of this concession, the overall savings of rising medical coverage will offset some of the salary increases. 

The reasons the Budget Committee recommended this contract while not recommending the teacher contract, revolve around medical coverage and overall costs of the contracts.  It was noted that the $185,055 spent over three years looked very small compared to the $2.1 million spent over three years that the teachers’ contract called for.

The Budget Committee also voted to recommend the bond for the new fire station.  At the deliberative session, Planning Board Chairman Bill Scanzani said that approximately 60 percent of the total budget for the central fire station, would actually come from impact fees, and not from taxpayer dollars.  “This will be paid over the life of the bond.  We should support this project now.”

Selectmen addressed the cost issue and commented that “other” towns build fire stations cheaper than what is proposed in Pelham.

The fire station proposed for Pelham will be the central fire station, and the only fire station in town.  Londonderry, Dracut, and a number of other towns who are building smaller sub-stations, already have multiple fire stations in town. 

The proposed Pelham central fire station will still support the town at full build out.  “We have looked into Pelham’s future and this is what we need, even when Pelham is completely built up,” said Lieutenant Ray Cashman, speaking for Fire Chief Mike Walker who was in the hospital.

Farris agreed, and said that the budget committee had had a lengthy discussion on the central fire station before voting to recommend this project.

Two other fire department related warrant articles, numbers 14 and 15, were also approved by the Budget Committee. 

Warrant Article 14 would authorize the lease/purchase of a fire pumper truck.  Currently Pelham has only one such truck.  Cashman said that they had one pumper truck on loan.  “If this warrant article fails, that pumper truck will go back and we will have only one pumper truck.”

Cashman said that 53 percent of the fire calls required a fire engine.  “The whole town is at risk.  What happens if we have two incidents at one time?”

Warrant Article 15 supports the hiring and equipping of four new firefighter/EMT positions.  This was supported by both selectmen and Budget Committee.

Selectman Tom Domenico, who had previously served on the Budget Committee said, “When I was on the Budget Committee two years ago, I voted against this request.  I was dead wrong.  We need these positions.”

Cashman told the audience that the chief had been keeping statistics on multiple calls.  “We have over 51 percent of the calls as multiple calls, which means that there are multiple requests for services.  We don’t have enough staff on duty to respond to more than one call at a time.  That means that the other calls must wait until mutual aid arrives from a surrounding town.”

However, the Budget Committee did not vote to support $45,071 to fund and equip a full time Deputy Fire Chief.  As Farris explained, it was not that they felt it wasn’t a worthy position, but more a case of how much the town can afford in one year.  Since the central fire station, pumper truck and four new firefighters/EMT positions were so critical, the Budget Committee supported them, but felt this one should wait a year.

Selectmen, however, spoke to the current need and pointed out that when Walker had been transported to the hospital that morning, there was no one to step in and take over.  “We need to groom a successor and to allow for a clear chain of command.”

Although Cashman and firefighter Greg Atwood also spoke to the need for this position, it was also very clear that the men and women of Pelham’s Fire Department stepped up to the plate in support of their ailing chief, and would continue to do so to the best of their abilities.

Town Moderator Phil Currier, Budget Committee members, and selectmen listen to the audience.

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