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Rain Dampens Salem Fest

by Judy Wakefield

Janet Moro figured she got appoximately 70 used children’s books for her day care center.  It was raining as she stashed her buck-a-bag stash of books into her car and she didn’t care.  She could only think of this Saturday morning deal, which only set her back just $3 and was sure to bring lots of smiles.  The rain simply didn’t matter.

“I can’t wait for work on Monday.  The kids will love these,” said Moro who works at a Little Sprout Day Care Center in Lowell, Massachusetts.

It was the very popular used book sale at Kelley Library on Main Street that is part of Salem’s annual SalemFest.  Held last weekend, Saturday, September15 and Sunday, September 16, the used book sale is clearly a well-attended event.

“This is the best event the town runs.  I’m here every year,” said Stephen Campbell of Salem.  He had some 20 books in one bag and was getting another bag from Eleanor Strang, Director of the Kelley Library.

“It’s like the wedding gown sale at Filenes Basement,” Strang giggled.  “And, it gets bigger every year.”

Book buffs were already in line when the library doors opened at 9 a.m., Strang said.  There were tables stocked with bestsellers, children’s books, mysteries, and videos, to name a few.  Library staffers restocked the tables throughout the day while the book shoppers paid $1 for every Market Basket plastic bag they filled.

The book sale is not a huge fundraiser for the town’s library.  Rather, it’s a social event and a good way for the library to unload the scores of books donated by readers in town.

“Books are priced to move here.  We get so many book donations and this is a good way to let readers enjoy a book.  We like to do that,” Strang said.

She guessed that “thousands” of books would move as she viewed the packed first floor room at the library.

This event was fortunately indoors while some of the other organizations taking part in SalemFest were outdoors when the rain came down on Saturday morning.

The Greater Salem Caregivers held their walkathon in spite of the rain.  Walkers and at least two leashed dogs stepped off right at 10 a.m. on Saturday on Geremonty Drive armed with raincoats and umbrellas.  Organizers said the Caregivers help 175 shut-ins-mostly elderly - every day.  Money raised from the walkathon will be used to support Caregivers programs.

“Caregivers volunteers do shopping, visit lonely folks, and provide rides for folks who would otherwise never leave their homes,” said Betty Gay of Salem who has been heading this annual event since 2003.

At nearby St. David’s Church, crafters were set up in tent-covered booths on the grass while Greystone Farm at Salem welcomed visitors indoors to enjoy the apple treats.

There were numerous participants in this year’s SalemFest including the Salem Historical Society, Salem Women’s Club, Salemhaven, the Boys and Girls Club and Little Scholars Learning Center.  It’s an even to showcase the town’s numerous resources and it succeeded once again.

Chamber holds I-93 and Route 111 Information Meeting

by Len Lathrop

Peter Stamus

Recently elected Greater Salem Chamber of Commence Chairman Jaime Santos open the early morning Informational meeting at the Brookstone Event Center on Tuesday, by talking about the importance of keeping  members informed and the community involved and making a statement on the important of these projects to the government official overseeing this work.

Mr. Santos then introduced William Case, Assistant Director of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, who briefly reviewed the recent changes in the state’s 10-year highway plan and it effects on these projects.  Case then spoke about the Conservation Foundation lawsuit where a decision was recently handed down.  The judge has ordered more traffic impact studies by the state, most related to the induced growth rate of the area.  Mr. Case was quick to point out that he did not know if these would cause delays to the project.  The complete power point display with current photos of the would and the changes that are upcoming can be found at and open the PDF file named Salem Chamber of Commerce Presentation. 

After the overview Case introduced Peter Stamus, who oversees the project related to I-93 and Route 111, Mr. Stamus highlighted the greater project status relative to the work at Exits 1, 2 3, and 5 and the rebuilding of Route 111.  Mr. Stamus reviewed the status of each phase of the project with photographs and diagrams.  He spoke about the red listed bridges at each exit that would need to be replaced; quick addition would bring the already funded potions of this project to approximately $800 million.

During the question and answer portion of the morning, there were questions from some in the audience in regards to technical and function issues of when works would be dead-ended and when the work would be done.  Senator Bob Letourneau of Windham asked about the excluding of work at Exit 4, to which Mr. Cass explained that that interchange was rebuilt in the 1990 and was not as high a priority as the other 4 interchanges that had major concerns ranging from the red list bridges to the traffic trying to exit backing up onto the highways.  During this interchange it was pointed out that this project doesn’t widen I-93 they make traffic management on and off more functional.  State Representative James Raush of Derry (former owner of Salem Animal Hospital) spoke to the group to get involved with these plans, write to the paper, write or talk to your state officials about what you see as being great about these project and how they will help the area and help businesses to develop.

If you are interested in these project for more information go to

‘House of Horrors’ – Over 40 Dogs Rescued from Deplorable Conditions

by Andrea Ganley - Dannewitz

A Brown and white Boston terrier rescued just minutes before sits in the ACO truck.  She was fondly named “mommy” by one of her rescuers.

The morning of Friday, September 14 was a morning that some may not soon forget.  Kelly Demers, Animal Control Officer (ACO) of the Town of Salem had on his agenda Friday a stop at a trailer home in the park located at 75 South Policy Street.  He had in hand an inspectional warrant signed by a judge to inspect any dogs living with Christine Harris, 54, of lot 61 at said address.

When ACO Demers arrived at the residence of Harris, she would not answer the door.  Kelly could hear dogs barking and started to wonder how many were really inside.  He really was not sure how many there could be.  Simultaneous to Demers’ attempt to reach Harris at her home, two tow truck drivers arrived with orders from park owner Marty Taylor to remove unregistered vehicle from the side of the road outside her residence.

As the tow truck operators exited their vehicles outside her home, out she came, yelling and threatening one of the tow truck drivers.  She allegedly attacked that man as well.  She was arrested by Sergeant Jim Chase of Salem police and was charged with simple assault and refusal to permit authorized inspection.  Both charges are misdemeanors.

After police removed Harris from the property she was brought to Salem Police Department for processing and  transported to Salem District Court for arraignment.  According to Deputy Chief Bill Ganley and Captain Shawn Patten, Harris was arraigned in court that morning and was ordered held on $10,000 personal recognizance.  Someone bailed her out just hours later.

When ACO Demers entered her home for the purpose of counting unregistered dogs, he encounteed a ‘house of horrors’.  Walking into the trailer home, he was nearly blown away by the horrendous odor inside. He discovered what appeared to be at least 30 small dogs running around, dogs left in filthy kennels without food and water, three rottweilers, and two parrots.  Feces and urine was everywhere inside and outside, old garbage and just awful completely unlivable conditions for any creature.  The dogs and pups all were suffering from skin conditions possibly caused by fleas or mange.  The parrots had obvious feather loss and were not as healthy as they could have been.  There were even bags of garbage stacked on top of the parrot cages.

This old English bulldog is clearly happy to be freed of the tiny cage he was locked in moments before.

Salem Health Officer Brian Lockhart condemned the residence after receiving the information from Sergeant Jim Chase and ACO Kelly Demers.  The disgust and filth inside this horrid place was not suitable for animals or livestock let alone humans.  Another major concern is a lack of running water at the trailer in lot 61.

After evaluating the work involved in rescuing these unfortunate and obviously neglected animals Kelly Demers contacted Salem Animal Rescue League and NHSPCA.  Volunteers of SARL including this writer arrived quickly to assist ACO Kelly Demers in the containment, assessment, and immediate care of the rescued dogs and puppies handing them off to volunteers who quickly aided the pups.  The dogs, which were pugs, miniature pincers, Boston terriers, various small mixed breeds, an old English bulldog, and rottweilers, were all in fairly good shape considering how they have been living.  All the dogs had obvious skin conditions and one dog, and old English bulldog locked in a tiny cage was definitely at least 20 pounds underweight and was carried out of the squalor mess in that tiny cage.

During the course of the operation there was a strong police presence.  Deputy Chief Ganley, Captain Patten, Sergeant Chase, Officer Bernard and Officer Benoit were all on the scene looking in awe as one after another nearly 50 dogs were pulled from the home.  Deputy Chief Ganley even fondly offered some water to the poor bulldog that was locked in a tiny cage.  The bulldog was clearly grateful for his kindness and so happy and excited to be out and about with people who cared.

Neighbors and residents of the park watched, horrified and heartbroken as one by one the dogs came out.  Harris’ next-door neighbor Tina Fairfield said “I hope it is finally over with her once and for all.”  When asked about the larger dogs on the property Fairfield replied, “If anything those poor dogs are scared.  They are very skittish.  One even came after my daughter and me when it became loose.  It’s not their fault they are like that; it’s how Chris raised them.” 

Another neighbor, Nancy Fitzgerald-Mahon said “Day and night you can hear her screaming and yelling, throwing things.  I just hope she has not hurt any of those dogs.  She lives alone, it’s not like there is anyone else in there besides dogs.”  Larry Turner who lives near the Harris residence said “A lot of people have had problems with her around here in the past.  She is not a good neighbor and not a nice person.”

The final count at the end of the rescue operation yielded nearly 50 dogs and also two birds.  New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NHSPCA) and other area rescues arrived later in the day to take some of the dogs into protective custody with them because the Salem Shelter cannot hold all the dogs rescued.

The dogs were photographed and documented by authorities as Demers brought them out of the squalor.  It is anticipated by Salem police that animal cruelty charges may be brought against Harris for housing these animals in this manner. 

Complaints against Harris date back to 1998.  In 2002 she was charged with keeping more than five dogs in an area not zoned for a kennel and also for building an addition to her residence without the proper permits.  A judge ordered the addition to be demolished but the case against her was dropped once she began to comply with town ordinance.

Most recently Harris was charged on August 18, 2007 with her dogs being a public nuisance and for not complying with town ordinance of registering all dogs over four months of age with the town.  There is no exception to the town rule to license all dogs living in town that are over the age of four months.

The cost to care for, feed and obtain medical care for all these poor dogs while they are in protective custody will cause sky – rocketing bills for the Town of Salem and for Salem Animal Rescue League.  Financial donations are desperately needed to help these unfortunate dogs that all hope to see better days ahead of them.  If you are interested in helping out, monetary donations can be mailed to Salem Animal Rescue League 4 SARL Drive Salem NH 03079.  You can also call the shelter at 890-2166 or visit on the Web to sign up as a volunteer at

The blue vinyl sided trailer the dogs were housed in owned by Christine Harris.

Christine Harris booking photo

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