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Pelham Celebrates 101st Old Home Day

by Diane Chubb


Left to right: Alex (9), Ethan (3), Andrew (6), and Sarah (5) enjoy the ride with their grandparents Phil and MaryLyn Colburn in a 1930’s antique car.

Another successful Old Home Day Celebration in Pelham Town Center has come and gone.  And, of course, there was no rain, as expected.  Mother Nature graciously held off until after the last raffle.

The First Congregational Church of Pelham has been sponsoring this event for 101 years.  It’s a community event that takes place every year on the first Saturday following Labor Day, and it takes a lot of planning and volunteers to make a success.   

On this hot Saturday, visitors could participate in the auction; browse rows and rows of booths by local crafters and businesses; eat delicious fried dough, sausages, and other treats; play games; buy raffle tickets; and watch the entertainment provided throughout the day. 

The day began with the 5K-road race that weaved a path through town.  At 9:30 a.m., the Memorial Auction began, and crowds gathered to bid on various items. 

The penny raffle tried something new this year; winners did not need to be present to win their prizes.  Various gift baskets and prizes were offered, and there was a continuous line of people waiting to try their luck.  Children bounced on the inflatable slide, played games, and created sand art, completely mindless of the temperature.  For donations, the Pelham High cheerleaders painted visitors’ faces. 

Root beer floats were the order of the day as temperatures soared above 90 degrees.  With ingredients donated by Chunky’s Theater and Notini’s, the cold ice cream and soda was a refreshing treat.  The proceeds benefited the Pelham High School Cross Country Team, whose members worked hard to advertise their business.

Various town organizations were also on hand to provide information.  Deb Kruzel, President of the Friends of the Library of Pelham, shared her own booth with the Friends.  CERT had a booth, and the Pelham Medical Reserve Corp was selling bottles of ice-cold water by the fire station.  

Jeff Gowan, Pelham’s planning director, had information about the upcoming meeting regarding proposed changes in the traffic pattern in Pelham’s town center. 

The highlight of the afternoon was the Grand Parade.  Led this year by the Congregational Church’s new pastor, Reverend Bill Ferguson, the parade began at Pelham High School at 2:30 p.m. 

The police cars and fire engines came down Marsh Road, with sirens screaming.  Several antique cars full of members of the Red Hat Society passed by, one car driven by Father Bob from St. Patrick’s Church.  The Pelham High School cheerleaders led a cheer and the cub scouts meandered down the road tossing candy to the onlookers. 

Judging by the smiles on everyone’s sunburned faces, a good time was had by all who attended this year’s celebration.


A root beer float, by the name of Ethan, 13, walked around advertising the sale of the cool treats.


Pelham Moms Club make their appearance on the Area News Group 1950’s Dodge truck.


Her Smile Will Be Remembered Forever

by Lauren Danzi

A granite bench with the smiling image of Michelle E. Lemieux sits atop a cobblestone patio; the surrounding grass is a lush green, and two trees sit on either side with mulch freshly placed around their trunks.  A green awning protects it from the occasional raindrop as friends, family, parents, and community members pause beside the bench to remember Michelle.

At the start of the ceremony, Dr. Dorothy Mohr, the principal of Pelham High School, welcomed everyone.  “She was everyone’s best friend!” said Mohr. Then she introduced Tim Monette, a parent who worked hard to lay the cobblestone patio.  Monette spoke, saying how this was more than a bench dedication.  “This bench here has power; has the power to calm, has the power to heal, and has the power to love.” said Monette.  He also spoke of the hard work and dedication shown by the friends of Michelle and their parents, and how they helped come up with the design and place for each cobblestone.  He invited them up on the patio; each of them wore a green shirt that read “My Michelle,” and on the back there were images and descriptions of what Michelle meant to them.  “I’m very proud of these kids, every one of them,” said Monette.  He was also proud of the parents for helping their kids through this difficult time. 

Michelle’s parents and sister then unveiled the bench, revealing her smile for all to see.

A quote from Michelle’s MySpace page was carved into the pink granite: “You’re born an original, don’t die a copy.”  These words were chosen by her friends, who hope that they encourage other students to live life to the fullest and appreciate each day the way Michelle did.  Don Lemieux said a few words, thanking everyone who helped to create the bench and helped him and his family through this difficult time.  He was appreciative of Michelle’s friends and their parents, many of whom he met only after this tragedy.

Hannaford, Quiznos, and the Peabody Marriott provided refreshments inside Pelham High’s cafeteria.  A Power Point presentation played, showing the different phases of construction of the space for the bench.  On a table, sat a coffee can for the Michelle E. Lemieux scholarship fund, started by Michelle’s parents.  The first scholarship will be given to a member of Michelle’s graduating class.

A group of Michelle’s friends gathered around a table eating sandwiches.  They had this to say about their friend:  “Amazing,” said Jen Stanton.  “She always smiled,” said Kaytee Pinette.  “She was always there for you.  You didn’t have to ask she’d just be there,” said Craig Moreau.  “She made everyone feel like her friend,” said Melissa Foxworth, who went on to describe Michelle as bubbly and happy, and that she lived every day to the fullest.  As Foxworth remembered Michelle, she joked and talked with her friends, and like Michelle wore welcoming smile on her face.  “She’ll never be forgotten,” said Foxworth, and there were nods and murmurs of agreement from around the table. 


Friends gather to touch Michelle’s picture and remember her. 


Will Athletic Facilities be Adequate?

by Barbara O'Brien

Windham School Board Chairman Al Letizio, representing members of the high school athletic committee, said he and other members "don't believe current plans for fields and athletic facilities are adequate at the future high school.”  Although none of the committee's recommendations are on the agenda now, board members did vote unanimously (5 – 0) to accept them as "a long term vision."

Windham High School is anticipated to open to students two years from now, in September of 2009.  The current plans were approved by voters at town meeting this past March.

Under the current plan, two grass fields for football and soccer, one baseball field, one softball field, one physical education field, and one gymnasium, are included.

To deal with what committee members see as a deficit in sports facilities, they have made three recommendations to the school board to consider, as follows:

The first recommendation is to build four diamonds at the future high school.  Two diamonds are budgeted for in the current plans; one for baseball, the other for softball.  Were four diamonds to be constructed, two would be for girls' softball (play and practice), while two would be for boys' baseball (play and practice).  Letizio said this would allow for junior varsity, as well as varsity teams, at Windham High School.  The additional diamonds would also provide extra space for town recreational teams to play and practice, he said.

"Four diamonds at a high school is standard," committee member Mike Hamm said.  "We're not asking for anything that is gold-plated."

The second recommendation being made by committee members is for a stadium, with a track and artificial turf playing field, plus seating and lighting for nighttime games.

According to committee member Chris O'Neill, without the installation of an artificial turf playing field, there would be great difficulty in supporting the number of programs that are currently planned.  "We would have to cut something," O'Neill said.  "Football would probably be the first to go."  According to O'Neill, football play and practice on a natural grass field would totally destroy it in just a couple of weeks.  Other high schools play on grass fields, but most have a separate practice field and do not practice on the field used for games.

Programs which would be expected to use a stadium, should it be built, include soccer, football, field hockey, and lacrosse.

The town would also be able to use the stadium for community events, O'Neill said.  "You can never have enough practice fields," he added.

The stadium could also be used by the Pop Warner Football program if Windham decides to split from the Pelham League, he also noted.  Currently 52 percent of the players on the Pelham League are actually residents of Windham, according to O'Neill.

In Pelham, both the Pop Warner and Little League programs use upgraded fields with night lights at Pelham’s Muldoon Park.  Much of the improvements at this park have been paid for over the years by sales at the concession stand.

The final recommendation by the athletic committee is for a second gymnasium at the future high school.  The proposed 60’ by 100’ gym would "give a home to many other sports," committee members said, including volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling, etc.

Following the committee's presentation, school board members also voted unanimously (5 – 0) to find out what these three additional facilities would cost and whether or not the construction budget for the high school could possibly accommodate the added expenses.

No timetable for construction or cost estimates were included in the athletic committee's "vision" for Windham High School.


Should Windham Let Police Chief Return?

by Barbara O'Brien

Only three weeks after he told selectmen he was resigning as Windham's police chief and heading back down south to Connecticut, Gerald Lewis expressed interest in returning to his former job as the town's top cop.

Lewis had lived and worked in law enforcement in Connecticut, prior to relocating to New Hampshire.

Following a lengthy non-public session during the selectmen's August 10 board meeting, Chairman Alan Carpenter announced that Lewis has said he wants to return to Windham as the Police Department Head Administrator.  Carpenter said Lewis is asking to rescind the resignation he submitted to selectmen and be reinstated as Windham's Police Chief — a job he held for just over two years.  After an approximate six month search, Lewis became Windham Police Chief in May of 2005.

Lewis' resignation as police chief was effective on Friday, August 31, a little more than a week before he asked to come back again.  Lewis had only given a two-week notice that he was leaving Windham to take the position as Director of Campus Security at the University of Connecticut.

According to Windham Town Administrator, David Sullivan, Lewis did actually begin his job in Connecticut, but the position was not what he had envisioned it to be when he accepted it.

According to Carpenter, there was much deliberation on the issue during the non-public session on August 10, a good deal of which he described as somewhat contentious.  While still in the non-public meeting, selectmen voted 3 – 2 to continue discussions with Lewis regarding his return as Windham Police Chief.  If those negotiations are favorable, Lewis could be back on the job in Windham by early October, Carpenter said.

Voting in favor of continuing discussions with Lewis were Chairman Carpenter, Selectman Margaret Crisler, and Selectman Roger Hohenberger.  Voting against the discussions continuing were Selectman Bruce Breton and Selectman Dennis Senibaldi.

Carpenter said his vote to support continued discussions between town officials and Lewis was "not an easy decision."  Carpenter said he weighed all the factors and ultimately decided that it is in the best interest of Windham residents to continue the discussions with Lewis.

Breton described the scenario, which has resulted in the potential rehiring of Lewis, as "a crazy chain of events."  He said he felt the situation was "highly unusual."  Breton said he voted against continuing discussions with Lewis because he feels it would be a grave policy error to take back someone who left on such short notice.

Senibaldi said he voted against the motion to continue rehiring discussions with Lewis because, on a personal level, he believes that when someone leaves a job, that's it.

Crisler said she is "delighted" that Lewis wants to come back to Windham and said she feels he has been an "outstanding chief."

Hohenberger said he was happy to hear that Lewis wants to come back to Windham.  If the town had to hire someone else as police chief, Hohenberger said he would look for someone who emulates the same traits as Lewis.  Hohenberger said Lewis' request to be reinstated as police chief indicates what a strong sense of character he has, in that he was able to rethink his earlier decision and to pursue a remedy for that decision.  Hohenberger said Lewis is aware that he will face strong scrutiny should he come back as Windham's Police Chief after the brief hiatus.

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