For bus schedules please go to the school district website.

Ringing in the New School Year

Kylie sets foot on North Salem Elementary grounds for her first day.

Kylie Ryan, age 6, started off her morning on Wednesday with butterflies in her tummy.  Mom and Dad got up early to make sure everybody was prepared and well fed.  Backpack packed, lunch made, school supplies in tow, and a brand new start to big kid life.  Kylie was very patient this morning while Mom Kerri and Dad Jay made sure their little angel was all set to for her first day of first grade at the North Salem Elementary School.  The big yellow school bus made its way, stopping at all the stops to pick up all the kids who were geared and ready.  Kylie waited patiently outside her home, nervously wondering, “When does the bus stop here?  How will I know what to do?  Where do I go?”  When the bus finally made its way down the road and around the bend, she had a look of “Oh boy, no turning back now!”  Mom and Dad did a great job of walking her to the bus, introducing her to her new bus driver Tammy, and giving this little first grader a big boost of encouragement.

She bravely got on the bus, looking at all the kids but not knowing any of them.  Mom reassured her that her little friend Tyler, who lives right down the road, was just a few stops away — a big relief to little Kylie.  Her bus was the first school bus to arrive, ringing in the new school year at the North Salem Elementary School.  A few children got off the bus: some knew what to do; some, like Kylie, had bewildered looks on their faces as if wanting to say “Well, what now?”

Kylie Ryan hard at work at her desk.

Principal Janice Wilkins greeted the children at the school.  Several teachers helped the children find where they needed to be.  Kylie was relieved to know the staff would make her first day as a first grader as comfortable and organized as possible.  When Kylie realized how many other kids were there for the first time, she was still a little nervous but feeling much more confident about her first day.

Second Annual Rhoades Race a Scorcher

by Tommy Gates

Matt Rhoades, in black, waits to make his move in the middle of the pack.

It was already well over 90 degrees last Saturday morning, but a huge throng of people still turned out to participate or help out with the running of the Second Annual Rhoades run, which was held at the cross-country course behind Salem High School.  Ex-Salem athletes and former teachers came down to join in on the fun along with a host of family members and friends in honoring Bob Rhoades.  Rhoades was a Salem High teacher and coach from September of 1972 until his untimely death on March 18, 2006, and it was obvious from the huge turnout that all these people were not just there to run three miles on a 96 degree August day.

The first person that welcomed me down to the field was Rhoades’ former wife Susan Desmond, as she walked me over towards the starting line of the cross-country course where there was a new tree planted that was accompanied by a plaque honoring Rhoades, which was donated and made by one of Rhoades former athletes Jay Pacheco.  The fun was just starting as the entrants all signed up at the sign-in table with Mary Donovan-Traficante, Brett Whittaker, and event coordinators Joey Donovan, Mike O’Shaughnessy, Kathleen Rhoades, and Matt Rhoades, accepting donations that will go to Dollars for Scholars scholarships in Bob Rhoades name next June.

Former Woodbury cross-country coach Mickey Natoli was down on the field, with his wife and their daughter, capturing the moment with his camera.  We also ran into former Salem greats from years back such as Steve Routhier, Sean Coyle, the Carter brothers Fred and Doug, Chris Hatfield, Mike Murray and his wife, and present coaches Jason Thibodeau and Craig Robinson, and many, many, more.  Selectman Everett McBride also came down to take part in the run with long time runner Dick O’Shaughnessy, but one of the funniest lines came from Freddie Carter, Sr., as the runners are all coming towards the finish line, when he yells out to a couple of friends, “Hey, why does everybody have stop watches out there?

 You guys should have brought calendars!”

There was an impressive list of seven different winners in this race too, as senior Hilary Barlow was the first female student across the finish line, and the first male student was senior captain Matt McCune.  The first male alumni to cross the wire was Peter Duvay, and the first female alumni to break the tape was former Blue Devil great Cat Laveriere.  Salem girls’ cross-country coach Craig Robinson was the top educator to cross the finish line, while the Male Open Class and Female Open Class trophies went to Andy Colon and Lisa Piessens.

The funny old-time stories about Rhoades and his athletes seemed to take the sting out of the massive heat wave that swept across the region on that day.

Joe Donovan talked about how this event came along in the last month and said, “Mike O’Shaughnessy did most of the work putting this thing together and the rest of us just helped out any way we could.  We think we’re over $2,000 raised so far with checks still coming in, but it was a great tribute to a coach, teacher, and friend that we all miss dearly.  Next year we’re going to do a few things different and maybe even move back the date a little bit, but it’s pretty clear to see that everybody enjoyed themselves meeting old classmates and friends during the day.  The Rhoades family and friends who put this event together would like to extend their thanks to the 200-plus crowd who came down to Salem High last Saturday and made this worthy event possible.

Chris White, center left, former cross-country runner for Salem under Coach Rhoades.

Dick O’Shaughnessy is off to a quick start at the second annual Rhoades Race. 

Happy 75th Palmer Gas/Ermer Oil

Bill Ermer family and friends.

This year, 2007, marks 75 years that Palmer Gas/Ermer Oil has been in business.  It all started in 1932 with Charles A. Ermer (Bill’s father) and a 1932 Ford truck.  Although oil was slowly replacing wood and coal for heating because it was “more convenient,” delivering the fuel meant carrying cans of oil into the customer’s home and pouring them, one by one, into small drums.  There were no hoses or pumps like in the present day trucks.  Fortunately, Charles was a very ambitious man, undeterred by the cumbersome process, and more interested in serving his customers.  He was able to grow his business over the years while also working his family’s farm, delivering mail in North Salem, and working as a volunteer firefighter and a special police officer.  The history of Charles A. Ermer is indicative of how his business was run as well as how he lived his life.  Charles was well-known and well-liked because he always thought of others first.  In business, this meant the customers.

In 1944, Charles married Carolyn Palmer, whose parents owned a general store in North Salem.  This store was a true model of convenience because customers could buy everything from gasoline to groceries to hardware (such as nails and paint), to appliances (televisions, refrigerators, and propane cook stoves).  This was the start of Palmer Gas Company.

Like Charles, Bill’s grandfather, William Palmer, ran his business with his customers’ interests as first priority.  Soon propane was being sold to go with the cook stoves, and then progressed to delivering the propane tanks to area residents.  Bill got his first start by delivering oil for his father on weekends and during school vacations.  In the summer, he worked for his grandfather stocking shelves, pricing gas, and painting propane tanks.  Bill was soon promoted to delivering propane bottles and servicing the propane appliances.  As done in his father’s oil delivery business, Bill had to carry the filled propane tanks into customers’ yards without the convenience of hoses and pumps.

Bill Ermer and wife, Lorraine.

In 1969, Bill had the opportunity to take over his grandfather’s propane business and the general store.  At this time, there were about 275 customers.  Bill’s father and grandfather were great mentors and instilled an importance of being dedicated, providing value, and satisfying customers’ needs.  In 1971, Bill got married to Lorraine Weston.  She soon became an important part of the company, running the general store, managing the bookkeeping, and serving propane customers.  In the mid 70s, Lorraine and Bill had two children, Joanne and Charlie.  Hopefully these two additions will ensure another generation to continue the family business.  At this time, it was also realized that the propane business was growing quickly so the general store was converted into a showroom for propane appliances.  Then in 1981, Bill took over his father’s oil business to form what is now known a The Palmer Gas/Ermer Oil Companies.

Today, Bill, Lorraine, Joanne, and Charlie, along with the full-time service staff of employees, continue providing the highest level possible of value and customer service, just as Bill’s grandfather and father did.  There have been many changes over the past 75 years – different trucks and equipment, new buildings, new appliances, and services offered, but one part of the business has not changed – the commitment to customers who always come first.

For this simple reason, in recognition of 75 years, Bill and his family want to say “Thank you” to their customers and employees.  The company is what it is today by the team work and dedication of all.  Bill planned this celebration to recognize the 75th anniversary and to give thanks to all for a job well done.  What a humble man and family!

Today, Palmer Gas/Ermer Oil has over 70 employees.  The office and showroom is full of conversation and appliances such as heaters, fireplaces, kitchen ranges, and outdoor grills.  The most knowledgeable sales and service employees will gladly talk with you about installation plans and help with any service issues.  William and Charles would be proud!  Take a few minutes to pay them a visit at 13 Hall Farm Road, Atkinson,, 898-7986.

17 Executive Drive, Suite One, Hudson, NH 03051 Phone: (603)880-1516 Fax: (603)879-9707
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