Child Identification Program at Bike Rodeo

by Diane Chubb

Emily Sullivan demonstrated bicycle safety by wearing her helmet.

What could be better than spending a lazy Sunday afternoon riding your bike in the warm summer sun? 

Everyone who attended the Bike Rodeo at Pelham Elementary School was clearly enjoying the fun, music, games, and food. 

A lot of important lessons were being taught with the fun.  Children were learning about bicycle safety and the importance of wearing a helmet.  The Pelham Police Department was on hand, giving away helmets to youngsters. 

Inside Pelham Elementary, the local Freemasons were administering the Child Identification Program (CHIP).  This important service allows parents to create a record of their children in case the child should become lost or kidnapped

MaryLyn Colburn, one of the many volunteers, summed it up.  “We hope that you never need to use the materials we have given to you today for their intended purpose,” she said.  Then she added, smiling, “Maybe you can pull out the video tape when your child gets married.” 

First, children were registered with the service, and given a plastic bag containing various identification items.  Then volunteers took fingerprints of each child. 

Collins Dentistry, Pelham’s pediatric dental service, was on hand to take bite prints and collect saliva samples.  “The saliva contains DNA,” explained Dr. Nilfa Collins. 

Finally, each child was interviewed on camera, answering questions about where they lived, their hair and eye color.  Older children were asked more in-depth questions, such as their daily habits and where they would be most likely to hide if they wanted to be alone.  The video recorded the child’s height as they stood against a backdrop and their various facial expressions. 

When the process was completed, each parent took home their child’s record for safe-keeping. 

Although fingerprints do not change, Collins Dentistry still recommended that parents complete new bitemarks and video of their children each year, especially for younger children.  Dr. Collins explained as well that the saliva/DNA samples only last a few years. 

Donna Butler, mother of four year old Andrew and two year old Lindsey, was in line to have her children's identification completed. 

“As a concerned parent, I’m grateful for the opportunity to safeguard my children.  This comprehensive program is fun, easy, and free of charge.  The peace of mind of having the completed CHIP kit at home is enormous,” she said.

Overall, the program was a success.  Over 100 children went home with their CHIP kits.  Hopefully, none of them will ever be needed.

Jason Chubb had his bitemarks taken as part of the Child Identification Program. 

Traveling Pants Make Their Way to Nesmith Library

by Lynette Cornell

Dispelling library stereotypes, Nesmith Library was far from boring during their latest fun-filled event, the arrival of the New Hampshire Traveling Pants.  Five giggling girls gathered last Tuesday night in the multipurpose room to put their creativity toward decorating two pairs of jeans, one that is traveling New Hampshire, and one that will hang in the Nesmith Library.

The event is based on the four-book series beginning with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  The story revolves around the lives of four best friends who must spend the summer apart.  The first of the bestsellers was made into a movie in 2005.

Maggie Cochrane, Natalya Tausanovitch, Kaylyn Queen, Rachel Brissette, and Laura Viel show off the New Hampshire Traveling Pants.

Janene Hill, a librarian at the Manhattan Public Library in Kansas, took the concepts of the book and made it into a library party where girls could share memories and thoughts.  She came up with the idea of having a party where girls could decorate a pair of jeans and then send them on to other libraries.  Once she posted the thought on a librarian listserv, the Traveling Pants became a hit.

“I never thought my little idea to send a pair of jeans to a few other libraries would turn into such a huge thing,” Hill said.  “After a couple of weeks, there were literally dozens of librarians from around the country, and a few from other countries, that were interested.”

Tim Sheehan, a librarian at the Derry Public Library, adapted the program for New Hampshire libraries.  With a few edits, three pairs of jeans toured the state, stopping at libraries along the way.  They made their debut on February 4 at the Barrington Public Library, the Colebrook Public Library, and Newport’s Richards Free Library.  The journey for each pair of pants is traceable on the program’s blog using Yahoo maps.  The pants will make their last stops in August before revisiting all the libraries for the participants to see the end results.  So far, the pants have been a hit.

“I think the best thing to come out of the New Hampshire Traveling Pants program is that teens had fun making their mark on the Pants.  It's a unique way for them to record their history on a unique document,” Sheehan said.

The girls attending the event in Windham were Kaylyn Queen, Maggie Cochrane, Natalya Tausanovitch, Laura Viel, and Rachel Brissette.  All five are residents of Windham.  For them, decorating their library’s own pair of pants was a chance to show off their individual creativity while working as a team.

With buttons, ribbon, iron-ons, and gems, the girls added a piece of their own personality.  Natalya, also known as “The Red Snafu,” added the skull and crossbones emblem to display her love of all things pirate.  She also added the Union Jack for her self-professed identity as an Anglophile.  One girl added a pretty pink pig with glued-on dangle gems for earrings.  Laura and Rachel added their names in rhinestones and paint with decorative butterfly beads.  The jeans were made complete with dangly ribbon frills on the back pockets and a ribbon strung through the belt loops.  The final design prompted Natalya to call them “feel good” pants.

They also added their names and favorite place to visit, to the pants that are traveling the state.  The rules are simple:  They must write in ballpoint pen, limiting their embellishment to a one- by two-inch block per leg.  They must respect each other and “The Pants.”  Additionally, they were to decorate a two-by two-inch patch to represent their library.  The Windham patch was decorated with a butterfly button, purple paint edges, and gems at each corner.

The girls socialized while munching on pizza, pretzels, potato chips, and snack-sized candy bars.  Taking a break from their work, they enjoyed a special treat, a New Hampshire Traveling Pants cake with a pair of pants airbrushed on top.  They had ice cream for the cake, too.  At the end of the night, drawings were held for the four-book Traveling Pants series and a jar of candy. 

“The library staff and the public have all been giving positive feedback about the results of that creativity,” said Lori Morse, a librarian at Nesmith Library who oversaw the event.

“It was fun,” Rachel Brissette said.  The other girls agreed.

“I think we should do it again,” added Natalya Tausanovitch.

New High School Still Tops Board’s CIP List

by Diane Chubb

At the most recent Pelham School Board meeting, members of the board updated the capital improvements plan list from last year.  Again this year, the top of the list is land and construction costs for a new high school in Pelham. 

The board has been negotiating a Purchase and Sale agreement for a specific piece of land in Pelham for the school for some time.  At one point, negotiations stopped.  The board recently resumed negotiations, but nothing has been completed, and therefore, details are not available.  For budgeting purposes, the cost of the land has been estimated at $3.5 million.

After a presentation by Marinace Architects, the board had decided to proceed with a new high school on a new site.  Last year, the CIP list budgeted $40 million for construction of a new school.  The actual estimates given by Marinace were for $42 million.  The state will still contribute 30 percent to the costs of a new school. 

The four-school model also includes renovations to the existing high school for use as a senior middle school, to house seventh and eight grades.  According the estimates in the Marinace report, this was budgeted for $9 million. 

In addition, the preschool shared by Windham and Pelham is currently overcrowded.  Federal law requires that school districts provide special services to those in need.  Currently, the preschool is located in Windham.  However, to accommodate all the students, Pelham must find a place for its own students in the next two years. 

Marked “necessary” on the board’s CIP list is modular classrooms for Pelham Memorial School (PMS).  At first, Bruce Couture, the board chair, questioned whether this was justified.

As explained by Superintendent Elaine Cutler, PMS is already over its capacity.  Due to increasing enrollment at Pelham High School, the board believes that the modulars are necessary to maintain class sizes at the middle school while the town works toward a district-wide solution to the overcrowding issue. 

Agreeing that it was necessary, Couture remarked, “If the voters do not pass (the funding for a new school) next March, we need to have something else in place.”

This past March, voters passed the second year of the three-year technology plan put together by Adam Steel to upgrade and improve the networks and computer systems for the schools.  The third and final year of the plan was put in the CIP list for $183,000.

Marked as “necessary” on the CIP list are repaving the driveway and parking lot at PMS.  These areas have not been repaved in several years.  Because of rising costs, this was listed at $125,000, but as Couture noted, it could cost even more.  

Full-day kindergarten and office space for an SAU require further research before the total cost can be understood. 

Town Vending Policy Approved

by Barbara O'Brien

Following a public hearing on Monday, June 4, selectmen unanimously approved a policy for vendors wanting to ply their wares at town-owned recreational locations in Windham.  The hearing was held following several discussions at earlier board meetings, during each of which public input had been encouraged.

The purpose of the newly enacted document is to provide for regulations pertaining to the sale of consumable goods on town property, including allowed locations and required permits.  These regulations pertain to not only motorized vehicles, but portable wagons, pushcarts, or similar conveyances, as well.

The only town recreational facility where vendors are not going to be allowed is Griffin Park, due to safety and congestion issues.

Vendors will be allowed at other town parks, as well as the town beach on Cobbett’s Pond.

Although the new regulations don’t officially take effect until January 1, 2008, anyone wanting to sell consumable products at Windham’s recreational facilities in the meantime is being asked to consult with recreation coordinator Cheryl Haas and Police Chief Gerald Lewis.

In reference to anyone planning to sell food or beverage items at one of the allowed athletic fields or parks this summer season, prior to the formal policy taking effect next January, Selectman Bruce Breton said, “Take a ride and stop by Fellows Road (the police department), first.”  Lewis said he would issue a letter of confirmation to anyone approved to work as a vendor on town property this summer.

As for next year, no vendor shall offer goods for sale at a town-owned facility unless he or she possesses a current hawker’s and peddler’s license from the State of New Hampshire, and unless he or she obtains an annual town permit issued by the Windham Board of Health (selectmen) or its designee.

Background checks on all applicants, as well as anyone else operating a vehicle offering items for sale, will be conducted prior to a town permit being issued.

The health and police departments will jointly be responsible for assuring that all vendors and their equipment meet state and town inspection criteria.  All regulations will be enforced by the Windham Police Department.

Windham resident Margaret Case, who worked at the town beach for many years, said she's glad to see a policy being enacted.  Her only concern about vendors at the beach is the need to limit the number of trips they make on a daily basis.  “It’s a small, dense area,” she said.  Case also said town officials need to be aware of the products being sold by vendors, especially bubble or chewing gum, glass bottles and products with lids or bottle caps that are sharp.  “It’s really important,” Case said.  Vendors are usually very cooperative when spoken with about potential problems, she added.

Haas said that glass bottles are already banned on the town beach, because of safety issues.

Resident Bob Coole reminded selectmen that a special license is required by the State of New Hampshire in order to do business on Sundays.  As for a town permit fee, selectmen said they will establish the cost at a later date, prior to the new policy becoming effective next January 1.  Currently, an annual permit fee of $125 is being considered.

Selectman Dennis Senibaldi said he feels town officials are “offering a convenience to residents” by allowing vendors to sell certain products at most of Windham’s recreational facilities.  Beverage vending machines are no longer located at the town beach.

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