Students Enjoy Cocoa with Santa

by Robyn Hatch

The Soule School PTA sponsored Cocoa with Santa on Saturday, a fun-filled afternoon with cocoa, crafts, desserts, face painting and photos with Santa.  Stuffed bears, each created and dressed by the Soule teachers and staff members, were raffled.  Gingerbread houses made by the children were a huge success. 

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VFW Remembers Pearl Harbor

by Robyn Hatch

Pearl Harbor Day was remembered at exactly 11 a.m. at the Salem Veterans of Foreign Wars. In case you are not old enough, this was when the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 66 years ago took place on December 7.  Al Sabatini led the firing squad (Chanel Samar, George MacLean, George Reason and Al Reynolds) through a beautiful, but somber memorial ceremony.  After the firing squad did its rounds of shooting, there was a moment of silence followed by Taps played by two Salem High School musicians.

The ceremony, led by Al Sabatini, State Representative Mary Giffin is in background.

Firing squad tribute

Taps from a Member of the Salem High School Band.

Final salute

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Dancing with the Golden Stars Winners

by Robyn Hatch

Dancing with the Golden Stars, December 5 and 7, was much fun and a huge success at the Ingram Senior Center.  This event was sponsored by Salem Co-Operative Bank and was an Intergenerational Program of The Boys and Girls Club of Salem, Eclipse Teen Center Key Club and the Salem Senior Services.  Nine teams participated learning from choreographers Ralph and Joan Collipi.  December 5 was for dress rehearsal and open to the friends and families of the dancers.  The Peoples Choice Award was given to Barbara Jacques and Zack Martin.  December 7 was the official competition with professional judges and the awarding of trophies.  Jacques and Martin again stole the show becoming the Champions for 2007.

Barbara Jacques and Zack Martin

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Wreath Stroll Kicks Off Holidays

by Judy Wakefield

Tracey Hamlin-Landry & Paula Faist pose in front of some of the wreaths.

The 120 plain wreaths were delivered to volunteer decorators around Salem about a week before the towns premier holiday kickoff event was held on Thursday, December 6, raising about $5,000.

More than 100 decorators from local businesses took part in the event where decorating themes were wide ranging.  Two martini-themed wreaths, a seashore wreath and wreaths saluting the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, and even Elvis, hung alongside the more traditional gingerbread and poinsettia-themed wreaths.  Eye-catching themes got the most interest as the bidding began.

It gets very wild when the bids are closing but residents love it, said Tracey Hamlin-Landry, a key organizer for the annual Holiday Wreath Stroll and Silent Auction. 

Held at Greystone on Main Street, it marked the fourth year for the very event that attracted about 200 bidders.  Bidding for each wreath started at $10 with bidders going as high as they want.  Hamlin-Landry said a wreath once went for $305.

Armed with a pen and number, bidders wrote their offers on a sheet next to each wreath.  Its cash (or check) and carry as whoever makes the largest bid pays for the wreath and takes it home.

Money raised is donated to a nonprofit group in town.  About $13,000 has been raised during the past three years.  This year, Silverthorne Adult Day Center benefited.

Its the biggest event of the year and everyone gets a present — just walking through the door is a present.  Its festive and fun, Hamlin-Landry said.

The holiday scene setting began as visitors — many dressed in holiday style — entered Greystone, a senior living community.  Two wine fountains were in the foyer, while wait staffers served complimentary hors doeuvres.  Wreaths were hung on every wall in every room on the first floor as the crowd got down to the bidding business.

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Donors Sought for Christmas Fund

by Jay Hobson

The Salem Christmas Fund was started 30 years ago by the selectmen to facilitate the coordination of area donations and reduce duplication.

“It started 30 years ago as a way to help with the distribution of gifts so that low income families weren’t missing out on gifts and to make sure others weren’t receiving duplications.  We were formed as a sort of funneling effort,” said Alan Phair, an “unofficial” chairman of the fund.

The fund, according to Phair, accepts donations from civic groups, citizens and faith-based organizations and tries to disperse the donations fairly to low-income households.

“We coordinate everything through the town according to qualifications such as residency and income.  One of the problems we’ve had in the past is that when we get donations from say, Toys for Tots, we don’t get anything for teens.  An organization has stepped up and decided to help in that regard,” Phair said.

That organization is Adorn. Others also trying to make Christmas positive for older teens.

Phair got involved when as grand knight of the Knights of Columbus he decided to help with the distribution.

Qualifying individuals get $70 vouchers for clothing through an arrangement with Target.

The toys are collected and stored at the Garabedian building on Main Street.

“We have several ‘shopping nights’ for parents to come in and get toys for their kids, within set limits.  A lot of tears fly — it’s very rewarding,” Phair said.

The fund also puts together 35-gallon drums of food for needy families that include essentials such as toiletries.

“The police department picks up the toys from Toys For Tots and the fire department makes all the deliveries all on their own time,” Phair said.  “Even Police Chief Paul Donavan and School Superintendent Delahanty are involved.”

The fund is always in need of donations and even solicits at the town landfill, collecting donations.  “I put on a Santa suit and people donate as they come and go,” Phair said.

“No one knows who the recipients are and we don’t care.  It’s all about helping each other at what should be a joyous time of year,” Phair said.

Donations and inquiries should be made at Salem Christmas Fund, P.O. Box 1234, Salem, NH 03079. Families in need should contact the above address or Bob Loranger at Health and Human Resources at the Mary Foss School on Lawrence Road.

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