Getting Ready for the Super Bowl

by Karen Plumley

It was a patriotic kind of day Tuesday at the Merrimack Valley Montessori School in Salem for local preschoolers and kindergarten pupilss when former Patriots cheerleader Ronda Daly of Windham visited and did some cheerss.

The teachers are all such huge fans of the Patriots, said mom and friend of Daly, Sandi OConnell, who added that the decision was unanimous to invite the celebrity to the school for a little pep rally in anticipation of the big game on Sunday. 

Daly was a cheerleader for the Patriots during the 1996 - 1997 season when they faced the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans, and now she lives in Windham with her two children, Max and Amanda.  At the school, she performed two cheers that she learned during her stint with the Pats, Go Red, Go Blue and P-A-T-S, and the children cheered loudly while following her moves.  According to OConnell, You could really feel the excitement of the little ones as they cheered along with Ronda!

Daly was decked out in her Patriots outfit, and allowed the children to take turns shaking her authentic red and blue pompoms.  She also brought along some pictures in her Super Bowl scrapbook for a unique show and tell, as she explained to the children that she started cheerleading at the tender age of six, the age of many in her audience.

I have to admit, Ronda looked awesome up there.  She still looks like she is 20!  It was fun and the kids loved it, OConnell said.  Go Pats!


Carla Bouchrouche, 6, cheers with Ms. Daly.


Ronda Daly of Windham with pupils and teachers at the Merrimack Valley Montessori School in Salem after completing a cheering session in anticipation of the big game on Sunday.


Aria O’Connell, 5, of Pelham with former Patriots cheerleader Ronda Daly of Windham at school after a pep rally.

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Windham Brothers Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

by Barbara O'Brien

To reach the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America is a rare occurrence, indeed.  For brothers to do the same is even less common.  When those brothers are twins, it is almost unheard of.  But, that is precisely what two young men from Windham have recently achieved.

Tim and Chris Swierad, fraternal twins, age 17, both recently completed their Eagle Scout community service projects.  On Tuesday, January 22, they met with members of the Windham School Board to talk about those projects.

Tim and Chris are members of Windham Boy Scout Troop #266, which is part of the Nutfield Council.  Both boys completed projects that involved Windham schools.  Between the two of them, they have earned 45 merit badges.

Chris, who was born a few minutes earlier than his "younger" brother, took to the podium first.  Chris' project was to replace the steps leading up to Golden Brook Elementary School and to add safety treads and a hand-railing.  He spent a total of 212 hours working on the project. 

Tim, who said he wanted his project to benefit many other kids in Windham, built roofs over the two dugouts located at Windham Middle School.  The biggest challenge, he said, was to raise enough money to complete the job.  When all was said and done, Tim had raised $2,307 to pay for the needed materials.  Taking into consideration all the labor involved in completing the project, it was estimated at a value of approximately $13,000.

Both Tim and Chris thanked their family, friends and fellow scouts for all the time and support they provided, both during the recent projects, as well as throughout their scouting careers. 

School Board Chairman Al Letizio thanked both young men for being "outstanding role models for younger kids in the community."

Less than two percent of boys who enter the Boy Scout program achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.  A scout must complete all requirements for this highest rank before his 18th birthday.


Chris Swierad


Tim Swierad

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Superintendent Applies to Manchester

by Lynne Ober

Frank Bass, who took over the reins of Superintendent for Windham and Pelham last July 1 has applied to the Manchester School District to become their next superintendent starting July 1, 2008.

Although it is too early to say whether he will be offered the job, the two school boards are having to think about the future without him.  According to Windham School Board Chairman Al Letizio, Bass has told the chairmen that he is applying.

“We will certainly miss him and it will be devastating to the Windham School District for two reasons,” said Letizio.  “We are in the middle of a building project for one and we have put a warrant on the ballot to study splitting the SAU.  I’m not sure who would want to apply for a job with a SAU that is in the middle of splitting.”  Letizio said that he had had conversations with Pelham School Board Chairman Bruce Couture about the application and potential vacancy to fill.  “We needed to talk and discuss options even though I am not running for re-election,” said Letizio who had been appointed to fill a vacancy when a previous board member resigned.

The interview process will begin after the application deadline of January 31.  According to the Manchester office, they are seeking a candidate who has Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent or District level administrative experience.  

Efforts to contact Bass for his comments on his application and his reasons for wanting to leave SAU 28 so soon after being hired were unsuccessful.

Letizio believes that Bass will meet all the criteria that Manchester is seeking.  “It is hard to find the person that fits your job so we’ll have to wait and see what happens, but if Windham does split away from SAU 28, Windham could be in a position of having four superintendents in four years.  Time will tell.”

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Budget Cuts May Cost Pelham Homeowners

by Diane Chubb

As set forth by NH RSA 32, the role of the Budget Committee is to assist its voters in the prudent appropriation of public funds.  Part of this duty requires the committee to review all requests for budgets and all revenue estimates to establish uniformity in the manner of appropriating and spending public funds. 

This past fall, while reviewing the budgets for the various town departments, the Budget Committee decided that the fire department did not need all the funds it had requested, especially for training.  Therefore, $12,000 was removed.

However, some training money was earmarked for training for the ISO 6 fire protection rating.  The Insurance Services Office (ISO) for many years has done evaluations and ratings of the fire protection provided in communities.  The system is called the ISO Public Protection Classifications program, which grades a communitys fire protection on a scale of 1-10.  

Many insurance companies use ISOs rating as a factor in setting the premiums they charge for property insurance.  The higher the communitys grade, the lower the premiums charged.  ISOs data indicates that communities with better fire protection tend to have lower losses from fire damage. 

Water supply, equipment and personnel are considered in assigning the rating.  The initial and continuing training that firefighters receive are part of this rating.  New equipment and a new fire station also can affect the rating.  

If the Pelham Fire Department reached the ISO 6 classification, Pelham homeowners and businesses might see a reduction of up to 30 percent in homeowners insurance costs.  

The following are figures from various insurance companies, such as the Hartford and MetLife.  They show the difference in insurance rates for a home where the fire department has the ISO 6 protection, versus without.  

Value of home Unprotected (no ISO) Protected (with ISO) percent difference
$348,000 $1,105 $715 35 percent
$174,000 $511 $367 28 percent
$227,000 $727 $576 20 percent
$500,000 $921 $761 17 percent

As this chart shows, some homeowners could see up to a 30 percent reduction in their insurance premium if the fire department receives the additional training requested by Walker.

I have no other stake in this other than the protection of my personnel and the protection of the citizens, Fire Chief Michael Walker said.  

We are a high risk, low incident organization, said Walker.  We have a lot of water in town.  So we have to have the resources to handle those kinds of emergencies when they arise.  We dont have tall buildings, so we dont need that kind of training.  

Pelham is in the lower one-third in property taxes of communities across New Hampshire.  In fire departments for communities of similar size (10,000 – 13,000 people), the average budget is $592,000 more than the Walkers budget.  

For more information about ISO: www.isogov.com.

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