Groundbreaking for New Co-op Kindergarten

by Lynne Ober

Will every day be this much fun, playing in the dirt?

When the plans for widening I-93 to six lanes were revealed, Windham Co-op Kindergarten knew they had to move.  Since that time, a group has worked diligently to make a new location with a new building, a dream come true.

Finally after months of hard work, papers were finalized for the new kindergarten last week.  On Sunday, under sunny skies with a hint of spring in the air, moms, dads, kids, and assorted interested adults, gathered on the new site on Industrial Drive to hold a ground breaking.

Christie Davis welcomed everyone and said that finally their seven-year long process was coming to closure with the groundbreaking.  She thanked engineer Carl Dubois for working with them the entire time.  Davis also thanked their architect Joe Silverwatch, as well as a number of Windham residents.  She credited Diane Carpenter and Patty Michael with energy and enthusiasm that made the project work.

“This is a new chapter in the school’s history, and I’m glad to be here to see it.”

Sovereign Realty and Development brought kid-sized hard hats and shovels for the groundbreaking.  Every munchkin got a hard hat and a shovel.  When it was time for the actual ground breaking, there was a lot of digging, some dirt and sand in the hair, and great enjoyment.

Snacks and goody bags filled with Bob the Builder coloring books, crayons, cookies, water bottle, and goldfish were handed to each child as they completed their efforts.

Davis praised the work of Diane Carpenter and Patty Michael.  “We wouldn’t be where we are today without all of their efforts.”

Much of the site work has been done on the two acre site that is close to Windham’s bike path.  Monday, the builder will begin construction and they hope that the school will be open in August, 2007.

Daddy/Daughter Dance Delighted Dozens

by Doug Robinson

Daddies and daughters filled the Windham Center School Cafetorium to dance the night away, during the Windham Recreation’s Second Annual Daddy/Daughter Dance.

“Over 300 people attended the event” commented Cheryl S. Haas, Windham’s Recreation Coordinator.  “The people love it” continued Haas, “last year the event was attended by approximately 200 people and this year we had over 300 people.”

Dads were all decked out in fancy dress dudes of suits and ties, while the daughters were dressed to the nines.  Many dads sported beautiful boutonnières, while precious daughters wore wrist corsages.  Several of the young damsels had had their hair made up and those special extras done for that special date with their dad.

The dance floor came alive as dads and daughters partnered up to do various line dances, the chicken dance, and the hokey-pokey.  As the DJ mixed up the music, dads swept their daughters off their feet, as they danced cheek to cheek during the slow dances.  The hearts of everyone who attended the event were filled with joy and excitement.  Daughters became mesmerized as their dads hugged them close during the slow songs and swung their arms during the fast songs. 

Dads and daughters together, it was their special night.

The daddy/daughter dance was open to the entire Windham community, and was hosted by the Windham Recreation Department.  Most of the daughters who attended the dance, ranged between three and 11 years of age.  One mom, with tears of joy in her eyes, was seen sneaking a peek of her daughter and husband dancing.  “There are many events of sons and fathers throughout the town, but this is the only daddy/daughter event, and it is always a huge success” stated Haas.

The per-person fee, covered the light refreshments, beverages as well as the disc jockey.  The fee also covered the cost of the special memory photograph which was taken of each dad and daughter as they entered the Cafetorium.

“Next year we will be seeking a larger place to host this event as it continues to grow” stated Haas.  “We are very thankful for the partnership with Dunkin Donuts, for their gracious donations to the Daddy/Daughter Dance.”

Tragic Accident Kills Teen

by Lynne Ober

Michelle Lemieux

It was a dark, rainy winter night.  Michelle Lemieux had been out with friends.  After dropping her friend off, she pulled from Mount Vernon onto Mammoth Road and straight into the path of a Ford F350 one-ton pickup truck.  Michelle was driving a 1987 Pontiac Grand Am and was not wearing her seatbelt.

That intersection is one with a limited line of sight.  There’s a curve and a slight hill.  Plus on Saturday night, there was a bit of ground fog hovering around the area.

The Ford pick-up truck hit Michelle’s car on the driver’s side at approximately 9:50 p.m., and according to Pelham Police Captain Joe Roark, it T-boned Michelle’s car.

Michelle, unconscious, was trapped in her car.  Pelham Firefighters worked diligently for 45 minutes before they could free her from the car.  The Jaws of Life are designed to extract people from terrible car accidents.  “The men worked steadily and carefully,” said Fire Chief Mike Walker.  “The car was in terrible condition.  The men’s efforts can only be described as heroic.  This was a rough one.”

Pelham High School Principal, Dorothy Mohr, who lives in Pelham, said that she heard the sirens Saturday night.  “Then I heard the helicopter so I knew something had happened.”

The helicopter was the Med Life Flight that had been called.  “By the time that we got Michelle out of the car, it had been decided to ground transport her to Lowell General Hospital,” said Walker. 

Michelle, who would have turned 17 on St. Patrick’s Day, succumbed to her injuries at the hospital.

“I had gone to bed, but when my phone rang at 2 a.m., I knew it wasn’t going to be a good thing,” said Mohr.

Word spread like wildfire among Michelle’s many friends.  “She was one of those happy, friendly students,” said Mohr.

Pelham High School was open all day on Sunday.  Students came to the cafeteria to make posters remembering Michelle, and to talk quietly with one another about their loss.

“She loved green,” said Mohr.  “The students cut up green ribbons for everyone to wear on Monday.”

Mohr said that Michelle had just been shopping for her prom dress.  “She wanted a green one because that was her favorite color, but she found a blue one that she loved.”

Michelle was Mohr’s office aid.  “She was here every morning with a big smile.  We will really miss her, her smile and her friendly manner.  She was just a great kid, and her death will leave a big hole to be filled.”

Kathleen Sheridan, Head of Guidance, also came into the school on Sunday to work with the kids.  “Michelle just had a great smile and was a tremendous young lady.  We will miss her so much.”

Sunday afternoon Father Bob held a grief counseling session at St. Patrick Church.  When people entered the chapel, soft meditative music was playing.  Father Bob urged everyone to listen to the music and to feel a deeper presence sitting next to them.

He talked to the audience about what a loss means and how hard it is to lose someone like Michelle, whom he called Michy.  “Each of you carries a piece of Michy.  You remember how you laughed together, what you did with each other, and what you meant to each other.”  He urged everyone to go home and write in their journals about their memories of Michelle.  “She will live on in your memories.”

Father Bob led the group in singing Amazing Grace

Pelham Police are still investigating the accident and no cause has, as yet, been determined.  Speed and alcohol have been ruled out as factors.  Captain Roark said that the measurements had been taken, and that they were waiting for the search warrants that would allow them to complete what he called, “auto autopsies.”  “That will help us determine if there was a mechanical failure.”

Candles were lit in remembrance of Michelle.

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