Chief Evan Haglund gives his officiers a farewell salute.
After 28 years of service to the Town of Pelham, Pelham’s Police Chief Evan Haglund retired. Haglund, after deliberation, decided to accept the New Hampshire Retirement System buyout that was available this year. He wasn’t ready to leave or to stop working, but said that he couldn’t turn down the financial benefits to his family. So with reluctance he submitted his retirement papers.
However, with someone of Haglund’s skill level, it wasn’t long until he was offered the job of Police Chief in Topsfield, Massachusetts. When he accepted, he had to tell selectmen that he would leave earlier than he originally planned.
Friday, April 20 was his last day as Chief in Pelham. The Police Department arranged for morning refreshments and then when it was time for Haglund to take that last walk out the back door, men and women from Pelham’s police and fire departments lined up to honor him. A bagpipe piped him out to his car.
Although Haglund’s gone, his legacy will live on. Under his leadership the department grew and became known for its professionalism. Incoming Chief Joe Roark intends to keep that professionalism in place.
Chief Joe Roark is sworn in by Town Clerk, Dorothy Marsden.
Hugs, handshakes, and hellos do not begin to tell the story representing the expressions of love, warmth, and affection shown for Windham Police Department’s Captain Patrick Yatsevich, during the recent spaghetti supper thrown in his honor. All those who attended the dinner approached the man of the hour stating, “Good to see you, welcome back, and we’ve missed you.”
More than 200 meals were served as “they just kept coming,” stated Debbie Mackenzie, volunteer and owner of Debbie Mackenzie Realty, Windham. The 16 decorated tables were set up in Fellowship Hall of the Windham Presbyterian Church and were decorated with checkered table clothes, bowls of salad, and bread sticks. At 4:01 p.m. the hall began to fill to overflow capacity as the 10 chairs at each table became occupied with a Yatsevich well-wisher. “We cooked over 50 pounds of spaghetti, 30 pounds of tortellini, and heated up many gallons of sauce for the dinner. All the food was donated,” commented Mackenzie.
It all started more than a year ago, when Yatsevich fell, as the story goes, into a “bucket of mud.” Actually, the bucket was a wheelbarrow full of mud, and that fall of less than one foot, “caused a compression fracture of my lower spine,” explained Yatsevich.
Months ago, Yatsevich learned that his series of “mishaps,” “accidents” and events which had systematically started to break his ribs, shoulder bone, backbone, and give him blood clots in his lungs and legs, create allergies to poison ivy, as well as create balance and mobility issues, was due to a condition called multiple myeloma.
This type of cancer increases the white blood cells in the blood to lethal levels. When the white blood cells get to be too high, they start attacking bones, ribs, spine, and eventually the vital organs. “That is why I broke a rib by just rolling over. I tore my right rotator cuff by simply twisting a wrench while putting together a swing set for my kids. By having a check up after I fell into the wheelbarrow, the doctors found a lesion in my hips as well as my legs” stated Yatsevich.
Those who suffer from multiple myeloma cancer realize the cancer does not have a cure. This disease is defined as “a cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow … and is characterized by the excessive growth and malfunction of plasma cells in the bone marrow. The growth of these extra plasma cells interferes with the production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This causes anemia, susceptibility to infection, and increased tendencies toward bleeding. As the cancer cells grow and expand in the bone marrow, they also cause pain and destruction of the bones. If the bones in the spine are affected, compression of the nerves may result causing numbness or paralysis.”
Most individuals who contract this type of cancer are the elderly and are of Afro-American descent. Doctors advised Yatsevich that his only hope of improved survival was to undergo a stem cell transplant. Without the transplant, his life expectancy would be only one year.
“Falling into that wheel barrel of mud was a blessing in disguise, I guess,” commented Yatsevich. “Doctors were finally able to get to the bottom of my health issues as a result of that injury.
Father of three children, Jordan (12), Jared (10) and Kimberley (4) and married to Kerri for 20 years, this 19 year veteran of the police department entered the spaghetti dinner at the Windham Presbyterian Church with a thirst to once again visit and share the evening with not only his closest friends who he has known for years, but he also entered the hall looking forward to meeting and greeting his new friends who came out for the evening, just to show him support. Members of the Hudson Police Department attended the event showing solidarity and support for one of their fellow police officers.
Over three dozen “Silent Auction Items” were donated in efforts to raise more monies for the Yatsevich family. Red Sox tickets, a hand embroidered quilt, a gourmet basket, gift certificates, Sunday brunch for two, and a full season membership to the Heavy Hitter Driving range were only a few of the many wonderful gifts donated by generous caregivers.
Today, Yatsevich appears to be winning the battle with multiple myeloma. Doctors are scheduled to re-examine Yatsevich sometime in May. The effects of the stem cell transplant continue to provide his body with the necessary tools to combat the deadly disease.
Event organizer, Laura Cryts, stated, “The community support and friendships will never be forgotten. Every day as I prepared and planned for this event, I was reminded how incredibly wonderful people truly are. People who have never even met the Yatsevich family donated items or their time to make this event such a success. I am overwhelmed with the support from my co-workers.”
When Debbie Mackenzie was asked why she slaved over a hot, four-burner stove of boiling water for close to 10 hours, giving up her entire Saturday for a person she did not know nor has ever met, spent her day thawing out bag after bag of frozen spaghetti sauce, and making sure there was enough food prepared for those going through the service line, while continually cooking and preparing over 50 pounds of spaghetti, 30 pounds of tortellini, emptied and prepared box after box of uncooked spaghetti, and then discarded the empty boxes on the kitchen floor signifying another personal triumph of having emptied just one more box to feed all those who attended the supper, stated quite simply and humbly, “It was very moving to see the support. He will be floating all the way home. I just care.”
Yatsevich hopes to return to work soon. He has been out of work, on disability since June 2006 due to his health issues. “I really appreciate all the support from my family and my friends. I am humbled and honored that the community would host the spaghetti supper for me,” commented Yatsevich.
Lucky, from the Middlesex County Sheriff’s office, alerts officers to a questionable locker.
On Friday, April 20, a police K-9 drug search of the Pelham High School and Pelham Memorial School was conducted at the request of school officials and administration. Members of the following agencies participated in the search: Pelham, Hudson, Bow, Milford, Rochester, Gilford, Hooksett, Chelmsford (Massachusetts), Lowell (Massachusetts), and Londonderry Police Departments, New Hampshire State Police, Massachusetts Department of Veteran Affairs Police Department, Essex County Sheriff’s Department, and Middlesex Sheriff’s Department.
Students in both schools were isolated during the thorough searches of the schools, while participating agencies utilized drug detection K-9s that were systematically deployed throughout all areas of the school and the adjacent parking lot. During the search, numerous K-9s detected the presence of narcotics in various areas of the building, and also keyed on several vehicles within the parking lot of the school.
Sergeant Anne Periello explained, “Unfortunately we had too many searches. The smell from marijuana will last for days in clothing and cloth.”
As a result of the search, a 17 year old male student was found to be in possession of alcohol. A large bottle of alcohol was located within his vehicle. A second 16 year old male student was found to be in possession of marijuana, also located within the interior compartment of his vehicle. School administrators will be handling both students administratively and no formal charges will be issued at this time.
Akim, K-9 of Hudson, identifies a suspicious bag.
Dr. Mohr and Sergeant Periello check a suspicious bag.
A new addition to Pelham High School would actually cost the town of Pelham $7 million more than building a new high school, according the proposal put forth by Marinace Architects at the Pelham School Board meeting on Wednesday, April 18.
Currently, the Pelham Schools are approaching crisis. Pelham High School is at 98 percent space capacity. Students are attending classes in a trailer. A middle school built for 500 has a current enrollment of nearly 550. Space issues require curriculum to be scaled down to the bare minimum requirements. There is a lack of adequate fields for sports. Life safety and fire safety issues cannot be solved without major renovations.
Pelham Elementary, built for 1,000 - the largest one in the state - is already seeing an enrollment of over 900. PHS is gearing up to escort accreditation teams around the high school in March 2008. Further, there is talk of a state mandate requiring public kindergarten.
In times of crisis, waiting isn’t an option. With all of these space issues facing the school district of Pelham, school board members had no choice but to aggressively initiate a research project, hiring reputable architects to look at solving the district’s space needs.
On April 18, Marinace Architects presented two options. If the school board and architects can tweak these plans to everyone’s satisfaction and get them passed in 2008, space issues may only be a faded memory by 2011. If plans do not pass in 2008, construction prices will rise by a mind boggling 6 percent, or up to $3 million, per year while PHS faces the possibility of losing its accreditation.
Architects presented what they stressed as the two most viable (and comparable) options that would solve the space concerns of the Pelham School District for the next 20 to 30 years. Both options are comparable, and would create the same size high school. Both options also include a total renovation of the existing high school interior, including moving walls, installing a new mechanical and electrical system to bring the systems more up to date.
Option 1 was for a new high school on a new site. The pros of this plan are that it would allow for all of the schools to be expanded in the long term. Also, it would require less work to renovate the existing high school. “The building is ideal for a senior middle school,” said Frank. This option also increases the total number of athletic fields available to students and the town.
All of the cost estimates were projected for 2009, which is the earliest date that construction could begin. The costs were based on the new high school in Bedford that Marinace was in the process of working on.
There were other options. “There is always a band-aid,” said Frank Marinace. He told the board about another town where they had done two additions, only to have the town boxed in. Further, the cost of the additions exceeded the original cost estimates to build a new school.
“You don’t want to create a situation where in 20 years, you are boxed in, with no options,” warned Frank.
Option 2 is for renovation and an addition to the existing high school, plus construction of a new middle school for seventh - eighth grades. The pros are that the playing fields, such as Harris Field, are close to the high school. However, 140 parking spaces, as well as the remaining athletic fields, would be located approximately 2,000 yards from the school. Further, Option 2 could limit potential expansion in 30 plus years.
Ultimately, Marinace said that the town would need a fourth school in order to meet growing enrollment – either the new school on a new site or a new middle school.
Cindy Kyzer clarified that Option 2 absolutely required the building of a new middle school. “It is not something we can phase in 10 years from now. We have to build it now.”
One member challenged the build out numbers used for the projections. “We work with the numbers we are given from NESDEC (New England School Development Council)” said Frank.
A member from the audience also added that if a new high school were built in Pelham, more students would choose to attend school in town, rather than pursue the many private school alternatives. Enrollment would likely increase.
There was also discussion about a potential auditorium. One board member stated that there was no need for a large auditorium. But two people from the audience disagreed. One said that a large, comfortable auditorium could be used by the public. As Pelham does not have a public auditorium, it is conceivable that a new one at the PHS could be used for town meetings.
To create their report, the architects made use of all the available studies that have been done on the high school site in the past to come up with their analysis. According to the introduction of the Marinace report, these sources included “ … prior facility reports, old building plans, land surveys, site and utility research done by members of the community on behalf of the school district, population projections by NESDEC, the town master plan, FEMA flood plain maps, input from septic engineers, Pennichuck Water Works engineers and wetland scientists, and valuable input from school district administration and staff.”
During the two-hour presentation, the architects also fielded questions from board members, members of the Pelham Budget Committee, selectmen, and the many townspeople in attendance.
Given the tight timetable in which things must occur to make the project happen as soon as possible, the board will meet on Wednesday, May 2 to discuss the options in more detail.
On May 16, the board must make a decision. School district personnel must begin assembling educational specifications for the selected option. In addition, the process of obtaining survey, geotechnical study, and wetlands mapping of any site impacted by construction must begin, and be completed by July 1.
To review all planning documents, which include the complete timeline, details on septic system options, athletic fields, water, and parking, log on to the Pelham School Board website at www.pelhamsd.org or contact the SAU office at 890-3760.