Pelham Recreation Joins with Crossroads for ‘Egg’stra Special Hunt

by Tom Tollefson

Jake Desousa and Claudia Desousa didn't even notice the snow.

More than 450 tiny pairs of feet raced forward at the start of Saturday’s Easter egg hunt on the Village Green Saturday afternoon.

“It took an hour for 20 people to hide them (the eggs) and ten minutes to pick them up,” said Darren McCarthy, Pelham Parks and Recreation Director.

Once again, patches of snow scattered over the Pelham Library’s lawn during a time of year that normally sees budding flowers, but it did not stop the wide-eyed youngsters from scampering across the field in search of Easter eggs.

“It’s wonderful to have the whole community out here,” Sandra Desousa, a mother in attendance, said about the egg hunt.

This year’s Easter Egg hunt was a united effort by Crossroads Baptist Church and Pelham Parks and Recreation, after having several years of two separate egg hunts.

“In the past we’ve done our own, but this year we decided to partner with Parks and Recreation to make it a bigger and better event that the community will remember,” said Maria Eby, Crossroads Baptist Church Administrative Assistant.

Bright orange tape marked the borders of the two sections in front of the library where the children collected a total of 7,500 eggs (2,500 from Crossroads and 5,000 from Pelham Recreation). A smaller section was taped off for three year olds with the main one reserved for ages four – eight.

According to Eby, the three year olds were separated to “keep them from getting trampled by the bigger kids.”

The majority of the plastic eggs were filled with candy and stickers. However, 36 eggs had small certificates that could be redeemed for puzzles and toys, donated by Fuzzy Cow gift shop in Hudson.

Music also filled the air on the chilly, but tolerable, Saturday afternoon. Crossroads Baptist Church supplied the speakers and stereo to play music from their Vacation Bible School sessions.

Craft-making, and raffles were also held under the tents for the older crowd. Yarn, colorful beads, and pipe cleaners were supplied for children and adults to create a variety of wristbands and other homemade jewelry; while bikes, gift baskets filled with jump ropes and balls, donated by Crossroads, were raffled off.

Counting the parents and older siblings, there was about 1,000 in attendance for the egg hunt and surrounding activities.

The Easter Bunny made an appearance to visit with the children and pose for pictures. He also made sure each child had a bottle of bubble mix before the egg hunt began. “PARKA donated 500 bottles of bubble mix for the Easter Bunny to give out,” grinned McCarthy, “and the Easter Bunny gave out 450 of them. What a great turnout.”

McCarthy thanked Crossroads Baptist Church for their donation of 2,500 eggs. “They also set up an arts and crafts table and did a raffle of two children’s bikes and two large candy filled baskets,” explained McCarthy. “(In addition) the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion helped us put out the 5,000 eggs from Pelham Parks and Recreation.” Grand Rental of Pelham donated a bounce house and generator. FLIP did a book and bake sale. Tony Cianca of CERT helped supervise the event. St. Patrick Church donated the bunny costume worn by Matt Libman, one of our summer camp counselors. The Fuzzy Cow in Hudson donated 36 children’s toys and redemption certificates were hidden in select eggs. This has turned into a great tradition for Pelham with all of the different community groups helping out and it’s been a blast to organize and see the happy looks on all of the kids’ faces.”

Kelsey Vinciguerra, 3, Haley Vinciguerra, 6, and Grace Vaillancourt, 4.

Police Hope to Fill School Resource Officer Position

by Barbara Jester

Currently, there is no school resource officer assigned to duties at any of the three Windham public schools. Police Chief Gerald Lewis and selectmen hope that vacancy will be filled as soon as possible.

Lewis said he is in the process of hiring a new patrolman for the department, and by doing so, will be able to assign an officer the job of working with local students and school staff. Currently, Lewis said, it is a lack of sufficient law enforcement staff that is prohibiting an officer from being assigned to the job. One officer retired this past fall, while another is on long-term medical leave.

“Right now, I can’t put an officer in the schools,” Lewis said. “But we do respond whenever there is a need.” According to Lewis, he is in frequent contact with school staff regarding any relevant issues. “I would love to have an officer in every school,” he told selectmen, during their Monday, April 2 board meeting; “And we’ll definitely need an officer at the high school when it opens.” Windham High School is scheduled to open in time for the 2009 - 2010 school year.

Lewis said if he were to have an officer in the schools right now, it would have to be on an overtime basis; a cost which could run about $8,000 for the remaining 10 weeks of the current school year. That amount was not included in the 2007 police department budget.

As for the hiring process, Lewis said he has recently made a conditional offer of employment to one of the applicants; a person he identified as already being certified in New Hampshire as a police officer. Therefore, that person, if hired, would not need to attend the New Hampshire State Police Academy program in Concord. Lewis said the applicant still has to pass an extensive background check, as well as a polygraph test.

Once a new officer is on board, Lewis said, he will solicit possible interest from all members of the police department regarding the job of school resource officer. Those interested in the position will then undergo testing for the job. Lewis said he wouldn’t just assign the school resource duties to someone. “We don’t want someone there who really doesn’t want to be there,” he said. The person who eventually takes on the school resource job needs to be someone who interacts well with children and teenagers, Lewis said.

If all goes well, Lewis said he hopes to have a new police officer on duty by early to mid-May. Once implemented, most likely this coming September, the position of school resource officer will be full-time, “This is the best way for an officer to ‘bond with students’,” Lewis said.

Book Sale A Huge Success

by Diane Chubb

Visitors were able to select from many boxes of books and videos.

The Friends of the Library in Pelham (FLIP) held a book sale on Saturday, April 7 on the library steps. There were numerous books and videos available for sale at rock-bottom prices, as well as yummy baked goods made by volunteers. The event was a tremendous success, raising over $1,300 to fund library programs not covered by the regular budget.

The event was coordinated with the Pelham Parks and Recreation Easter Egg Hunt on the Village Green. The children got to mingle with the Easter Bunny and scoop up eggs, while their parents went over to the book sale to grab some additional prizes!

People were also able to sign up to become members of the FLIP organization. Carolyn Thompson, the membership coordinator, said that nine new members signed up at the event.

The book sale was advertised in local papers as well as at

“We had book lovers travel from as far as an hour away,” said MaryJo Palermo-Kirsch.

None of this would have been possible but for the excellent cooperation by various community members and organizations. Crossroads Baptist Church allowed FLIP to use their tables to set up the sale. Chunky’s donated two large movie gift baskets for a raffle. Volunteers baked items for the bake sale and sorted the books. Students from Pelham High School assisted in setting up and running the sale.

Town officials volunteered their time as well. Library Director Sue Hoadley and her staff helped collect baked goods and assisted in planning the event. Tom Gaydos, the Town Administrator, and Darren McCarthy, the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, were an integral part of the event.

“Tom did the ultimate coordination with Parks and Rec and the Highway Department to help us out. Darren helped us move the books from Town Hall with his truck and trailer, including hands-on unloading into our meeting room,” said Hoadley.

On Monday morning, Frank, Craig, and Jay from the Highway Department hauled the leftovers to the Transfer Station. Paperbacks were recycled as paper, hard covers, and videos went to “Got Books,” and the cardboard will all be recycled, too.

“Thanks to Bruce Mason, Transfer Station Superintendent, for accepting all of these leftovers. And, since it went to the Transfer Station, the Town makes money on the weight! A win-win-win-win situation all around!” smiled Hoadley.

FLIP is a group of citizens who join together to support, improve, and promote libraries. Through fundraising and other activities, FLIP is able to provide services beyond those in the library’s budget.

For more information about joining the FLIP group, brochures are available at the Circulation Desk at the Pelham Public Library.

Meet Police Chief Joe Roark

by Lynne Ober

It was obviously a pleasure for Pelham Board of Selectmen Ed Gleason to announce that Police Captain Joe Roark would become Pelham’s next police chief on April 20.

With Police Chief Evan Haglund retiring from the Pelham force, selectmen had opened a formal search for a new chief.

Haglund had taken an opportunity to retire early and had told selectmen that while he loved working in Pelham, the offer was too financially rewarding for his family for him to say no, but Haglund knew that he wasn’t ready to stop working.

When he accepted the police chief’s job in Topsfield, Massachusetts, and told selectmen that his last day would be April 20, the search kicked into high gear.

Fortunately, the closing date had just arrived and Town Administrator Tom Gaydos was able to provide resumes of all candidates to selectmen.

Gleason said there were 10 applicants in all. “That number may have been low because it was widely known that we had a very strong candidate within the Pelham Police Department.”

Selectmen reviewed and ranked resumes. “An initial selection committee consisting of all five selectmen and the town administrator was tasked with screening all applications against the posted job description and performing a preliminary evaluation of the applicants,” said Gleason. A standardized rating system was employed to rank the applicants from A through D with points assigned to each letter. Once that rating was done, each reviewer ranked all applicants and selected their top three candidates.

According to Gleason, that review identified three highly qualified candidates. “A final review committee consisting of the Board of Selectmen, the town administrator, the fire chief, and the planning director was then convened on last Saturday morning to interview two local candidates. One out-of-state candidate had previously been eliminated via a telephone screening call.”

Based upon that work, it was determined that Captain Joe Roark was the best candidate and “the best choice to lead the Pelham Police Department in the coming years,” said Gleason.

Roark shook hands with selectmen and thanked them for the opportunity. Haglund also thanked selectmen for all of their support during the time he has been on the force.

Roark will take over as Chief on April 20.

A number of Pelham Police officers attended the announcement of Captain Roark’s promotion to Chief. Captain Roark is the third uniformed officer from the left.

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