It’s Time to Play Ball

by Lynne Ober

The 2006 10 – 11 Year Old All Star Team poses with the Governor.

“In the 20 years I’ve been with Pelham Little League, we’ve never had rain on opening day,” grinned Pelham Little League President Bob Blinn. His luck held again this year. With Saturday predicted to be cold and rainy, everyone was delighted to be outside on a warming, sunny day. Unneeded jackets were quickly discarded and sun glasses donned.

After Blinn opened the program, he introduced the Board of Directors who are responsible for guiding the program. Then it was time for one of the special events – the Vice Presidents introduction of the teams.

While the teams in each division are named after major league baseball teams, there are no dreaded Yankees to take the field in Pelham. Division by division, the teams were called onto the field. Led by their coaches, the teams took a run around the bases. There were high fives all around when a team reached its place on the far side of the field.

This year some players were retained within their division because of age changes made by the Little League International organization. To accommodate those changes, Pelham instituted two separate but parallel organizations, Little League and the Softball League. Both groups are thriving one year after the change.

This year there are two teams in the Challenger Division. This is the second year the Pelham has hosted this division. The teams are for handicapped youngsters, each of whom plays and bats with a buddy.

Governor Lynch chatted with many of the players.

This year Governor Lynch was on hand to throw out one of the first balls. He spoke briefly to the crowd and told the players to, “do your best; have fun and always catch the ball with two hands.”

There was a trophy presentation for the 2006 10 – 11 Year Old All Star Team who won the State Championship. Ken Kaiser, who coached the team, presented the trophy to Bob Blinn. Then player by player each player was called to the field to accept their individual trophies.

“This is the first time that a team from Pelham has ever won a state championship,” said Blinn. “This team worked hard, played hard, had a great time, and brought back a championship.”

Blinn presented a plaque to Governor Lynch. The plaque was attached to a piece of polished, gray granite shaped like New Hampshire.

Then it was time for the first pitch ceremony. In Pelham one representative from each division is called to catch “the first pitch” for that division. Blinn had asked selectmen to sign the balls, which are then kept by the players who catch them.

This year Taylor Larson, Connie Grasso, Mike Notini, Page Fournier, and Paul Nogl caught the first pitches.

Team photos were taken, the concession stand was already doing a brisk business, and it was definitely time to play ball.

Gerwick Puppets Presents Cinderella

by Diane Chubb

Cinderella with her evil stepmother entertains the crowd.

When you think of puppet shows you saw as a child, you might recall cloth figures bouncing around in a cardboard box.

However, when you see a Gerwick puppet show, you see a class act. Although the stage and puppets are all handmade from paper mache, you would swear that the puppets have human expressions on their molded faces. Perhaps that is due to the skill of their puppeteer.

Deborah Costine is the co-founder of Gerwick Puppets. Although they company usually does a larger show for events such as First Night Boston, Costine also tours with a smaller scale show which she performs by herself.

On Tuesday, April 24, Deborah performed Cinderella for a group of children at Nesmith Library in Windham. The show was a sell-out. The children sat on the floor mesmerized by the show, occasionally helping the story along.

With an evil step-sister named Stony Lola, complete with a whiny, nasal voice, the show had plenty of humor to keep adults and children engaged in the presentation.

Gerwick Puppets have toured throughout New England for over thirty years, creating more than 12 productions and building 200 puppets. “Our goal is to create a quality puppet production that thoroughly engages the audience. A good story, told with energy, enthusiasm, music, lighting, scenery, and puppets transports the audience into the life within the stage,” says Costine.

The event was sponsored by the Friends of the Library of Windham (FLOW), which is a non-profit corporation made up of volunteers dedicated to encouraging greater use of the Nesmith Library and its many services. Since 1966, the Friends have provided programs and services, as well as books and equipment that would not otherwise be covered by the regular budget.

FLOW President Annie Murphy said that the goal this year was to increase the number of children’s programs at the Library. For more information about FLOW, visit the library or see their Website at

For more information about Gerwick Puppets, see their Website at

Kids enjoyed the Gerwick Puppets at Nesmith Library.

Puppeteer Deborah Costine with her hand-made puppets.

Should Building Department Divvy up Responsibilities?

by Barbara Jester

Windham Planning Director Al Turner says he spends the majority of his time on the job handling zoning code enforcement issues; a situation which leaves less and less time to deal with health and building code issues.

During the selectmen’s workshop on Monday, April 23, Turner told board members that he spends about 60 percent of his workday dealing with zoning enforcement. A lot of that time is spent getting ready for court cases, Turner said, emphasizing how important it is to be prepared. “You have to document everything you’ve done,” he said.

According to Turner, Windham has been winning about 99 percent of the court cases in which the town has been involved.

Turner raised the workload issue with selectmen in order to discuss the possibility of hiring an additional employee; thereby making it possible to divide the responsibilities related to health, zoning and building issues.

The suggestion to divide the planning and building department into three functions was made by Selectman Margaret Crisler.

Responding to a question from Selectman Roger Hohenberger regarding why Turner feels an additional employee is needed, Turner said issues are becoming more complicated with time, there are more violations these days than in previous years and Windham is significantly less rural than it was 25 years ago.

Hohenberger said he had “no problem” with splitting the department into three divisions in order to allow more efficient operations.

Currently, there are two other employees working in the building and planning department; a deputy health officer and a code enforcement officer-in-training.

Turner said he plans to work up facts and figures and will present his findings on departmental needs when selectmen start the 2008 budget process next fall.

E-911 Project Back on the Front Burner

by Lynne Ober

E-911 was placed aside until Pelham’s revaluation was complete. Working with their assessing vendor, selectmen decided that changing street names or numbers during the revaluation would place too much strain on getting the data correct.

However, with the revaluation over, the Highway Safety Committee has been working on plans to implement E-911. A number of items are still unsettled, but everyone is committed to completing the project in a manner that is fair, thorough and touches affected residents and businesses no more than once throughout the life of the project.

Fire Chief Mickey Walker told selectmen the Highway Safety Committee recommended reviewing and signing the data capture and non-standardized addressing forms presented to Pelham by the state E-911 staff. “This document represents their work in identifying the current map and street addressing of Pelham which was reviewed and verified by the Highway Safety Committee.”

The Highway Safety Committee also recommended Phase I and a review of “remaining items on pages 3 of 4 and 4 of 4.” That sounded simple, but when selectmen began digging through the documentation they found a number of items numbered 1 through 4.

Selectman Victor Danevich pointed out how confusing it was and asked several questions. After discussion Danevich and the Chief agreed that much more organizational work needed to be done before any changes were made.

However, Selectman Hal Lynde stated that the town would be liable once selectmen signed the acknowledgement of non-standardized addressing that was present in Pelham and was concerned about a possible suit.

Walker related the woes that his men had recently encountered when they tried to respond to a call. The home’s front door was on one street, but the driveway and mailbox was on another street. The home had an address that matched the way the front door faced. According to Walker, his men made several passes up and down the street before realizing that they needed to turn onto another street.

One of E-911’s recommendations is that homes have an address that matches their entrance to the home. For this family, the address will change street name and house number.

Other identified deficiencies were:

  • Several streets are divided and have two distinct sections. “Since a street can only go in one direction, the separate sections of these streets should have unique names,” stated the documentation.
  • “Pelham has several unnamed common accesses which provide access to three or more homes/structures. The Bureau recommends that these accesses, whether publicly or privately maintained and which may be traversed by an emergency service vehicle, be named.”
  • “Pelham has several residential and commercial structures that are accessed from a named road but are not address from this road.”
  • “Most roads in Pelham are addressed with even numbers on the right side and odd numbers on the left side, depending on the line direction of the road. Several streets are numbered opposite of this standard, with evens on the left side.” The documentation identified Blackstone Circle, Colonial Drive, Iris Ave, Little Island Park, Misty Lane, Springdale Lane, sections of West Shore Drive and sections of Wood Road.
  • “Some structures have duplicate addresses. The Bureau recommends that each addressable structure have a unique address.”
  • Many duplexes have addresses for both sides. E-911 recommends one address with A and B used to distinguish the two sides.

In addition the town has several duplicate and “confusingly similar” street names. Selectmen had previously worked on re-naming these streets, but had not implemented their recommendations prior to the revaluation.

Danevich was concerned about the 50 foot grid that E-911 recommended for numbering. He wanted to be sure that if a street name was changed that any numbering change would take place at the same time. “People should not have to undergo two changes.”

Danevich was also concerned about the impact of the 50 foot grid and felt that in many sections of Pelham, renumbering just to meet the 50 foot grid was not appropriate. He also urged that roads with known numbering issues be taken care of as soon as possible. We know we have a problem with Sherburne Road that we know we need to fix, but we also have problems with out roads, such as Mammoth.”

Selectmen agreed to sign the paperwork and return to E-911. Danevich was appointed to work with the Highway Safety Committee on the possible phases of the E-911 project. The committee will return to selectmen when their have identified the work to be done in each phase.

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