The 19th Annual John P. Ganley Award to Annette Cooke

by Len Lathrop

Seated, Woodrow and Helen Chmieleski; Standing, last year’s Ganley Award recipient Chanel Simard and lovely wife Josie

In a room filled with all the who’s-who of Salem, Annette Cooke told her story of almost not arriving as she accepted the Chief John P. Ganley Award for her years of work with many local community groups, her service to the Town of Salem as a three-term school board member, and three terms at the State House as a representative.  She smilingly stated, “It was the first year since the award ceremony started that I wasn’t going to go.  I had never missed the Ganley Luncheon, but I was going to Florida.”  Deputy Ganley called me and said “I have to tell you something.”  Hence, her reason for attending.

With the announcement in the press last Friday, it gave Republican Senator John Sununu and Democratic Governor John Lynch a chance to salute Cooke for her work and dedication to the community.  They praised her accomplishments during their talk to the attendees prior to the meal which, by the way, included 305 pounds of corned beef.

Lynch spoke of Cooke saying, “She certainly reflects, I think, all that is good in Salem.”

Cooke told the 310 people, “This is really not for me.  It’s about the people and families that have helped me through the years.  Cooke’s list of helpers include March of Dimes, Salem Lions Club, Special Olympics, Salem Junior Women’s Club, and Salem Women’s Club, just to name a few.

The award luncheon is held every St. Patrick’s Day to honor John P. Ganley who served as Salem’s Police Chief and Town Manager during the 1980’s.  Chief Ganley died during the week of St. Patrick’s Day in 1989.

Chuck Morse, 2004 Ganley Award recipient; former State Senator and Salem Moderator, Jamie Santo, Santo Insurance and Financial Services, Inc.; Mark McGinn, Principal of McGinn Realty

U. S. Senator John Sununu; Ann Lally, President, Salem Co-operative Bank; John Ganley, Jr.

Annette Cooke with Donna Sytek, former speaker of the New Hampshire House

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Salem Will See 7.47 Percent Tax Increase

by Andrea Ganley - Dannewitz

Salem voters and town officials deliberated warrant articles 21 - 44 for more than nine hours last Saturday, resulting in a final estimated property tax increase of 7.47 percent also estimated to be $4.81 per every $1,000, according to Salem Financial Director Jane Savastano.

With the most expensive warrant articles failing at the polls on Town Meeting Day it was somewhat surprising to see some expensive articles pass during the deliberative sessions.  Article 26, which proposed spending $2.1 million to reconstruct and repair Shore Drive, Hoyt Street, Wheeler Dam Road, a portion of Cove Road, and to authorize that these funds be put into the Roadway Improvement Capital Reserve Fund for this purpose was approved.  This dollar amount reflects only the first phase of the long-term project, which should reconstruct existing paved roads and bring gravel roads to a paved condition.

Article 27 proposed $113,400 for the replacement of two existing, aging gates at the Wheeler Dam.  Previous work done to reconstruct the dam revealed the gates were much more deteriorated than anticipated.  Voters present at the deliberative sessions passed this proposal as well.

Article 28 originally proposed $400,000 for winter weather maintenance.  This article was moved to be amended by Selectmen Everett McBride for an increase to $800,000.  Salem already has spent more than $600,000 on winter maintenance this snow season.  The amendment and article were approved.

A sum of $424,000 was proposed for the Haverhill Road bridge reconstruction in North Salem, listed as article 29, also was approved.

The development of the first phase of a town-wide drainage master plan that will provide information on town-owned drainage such as culverts and catch basins, known as article 30 was passed.  The idea is to assess and create a list of necessary improvements to be included in future capital plans.  The amount of $200,000 was proposed for this, and remained unchanged.

It seemed as though Salem voters who turned out for the deliberative sessions were in a debating mindset on Saturday, with several residents prepared to make sure they had their say before calling the votes.  Salem Senior Services proposal for a paid staff member to staff the front desk with a yearly salary of just $14,153 was debated for nearly an hour, causing some stress and tension among voters who supported the article.  Ultimately, the supporters prevailed and article 37 was passed.

The towns operating budget, proposed at $32,249,993 and listed as article 21, was passed.  However, several other costly proposals did not fair as well.  The proposal for $100,000 for the Information Technology Trust Fund, intended to buy 120 new personal computers for town officials failed miserably, especially after Budget Committee member Stephen Campbell strongly debated this article and urged the voters to vote against it.  They did.

Two citizens petitions were voted down.  Pelham Road resident Diane Paquette had put much time and effort into the creation of article 42, which proposed the repair of the defective culvert at Pelham Road and Commercial Drive.  The dollar amount of the article was $430,000.  At the deliberative sessions Paquette proposed dropping it to $75,000, with the remaining funds to be used in an effort to clean up Spicket River beginning at Lowell Street in Methuen, Massachusetts, working back towards Salem.  After much debate between voters and the Board of Selectmen, Paquette withdrew her request to amend the article.  Article 42 was, however, defeated.  Article 41, also a citizens petition proposing the reconstruction and repaving of Ball Avenue, including installation of drainage for $167,900 to be placed in the Roadway Improvement Capital Reserve Fund for this project also failed.

It was a long day for everyone involved.  The morning portion of the meeting had a turnout of more than 250 people, but by 6 p.m. only 84 or so remained.  Not a big turnout considering there are about 18,900 registered voters in Salem.  Last Tuesday, 5,136 voters went to the polls.  Complete results of the 2008 Second Session Warrant at Town Meeting are as follows:

  • Article 21:  Town Operating Budget $32,249,993 – Passed
  • Article 22:  Fund Unaffiliated Employees Compensation Changes $30,950 – Failed
  • Article 23:  Fund Kelley Library Employees Economic Benefits $20,158 – Passed
  • Article 24:  Expendable Trust Fund – Employee Separation $350,000 – Passed
  • Article 25:  Expendable Trust Fund – Kelley Library Employment Separation $47,483 – Passed
  • Article 26:  Roadway Improvements Plan – Shore Drive Area $2,145,000 – Passed
  • Article 27:  Wheeler Dam Gate Replacement $113,400 – Passed
  • Article 28:  Winter Weather Operations $800,000 – Passed
  • Article 29:  Haverhill Road Bridge Reconstruction $424,000 – Passed
  • Article 30:  Drainage Capital Program Inventory and Assessment $200,000 – Passed
  • Article 31:  Fund Expendable Trust Fund for Information Technology $100,000 – Failed
  • Article 32:  Four Firefighters – Staffing for Adequate Fire/Emergency Response – Phase II $104,912 – Passed
  • Article 33:  Catch Basin Asset Cleaning Program $100,000 – Failed
  • Article 34:  Sewer Master Plan $60,000 – Failed
  • Article 35:  DPW Salt Mitigation Design $60,100 – Passed
  • Article 36:  5 – Year Lease Option DPW Sidewalk Tractor $21,892
  • Article 37:  Senior Services Salary and Benefits Additional Staffing $14,153 – Passed
  • Article 38:  Manor Parkway Booster Station $150,000 – Failed
  • Article 39:  CART Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation $44,700 – Passed
  • Article 40:  Sale of Town Land – Passed
  • Article 41:  Reconstruct and Pave Ball Avenue $167,900 – Failed
  • Article 42:  Repair Bridge on Commercial Drive and Pelham Road $430,000 – Failed
  • Article 43:  Discontinue Ewins Lane – Passed
  • Article 44:  Resolution to State of New Hampshire on Property Tax – Tabled Indefinitely
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Elks Enjoy Easter Party

Lauren Ryder and Bunny

Once again, the Salem-Derry Elks Lodge outdid themselves with an Easter party for members’ kids of all ages, complete with a life-sized Easter Bunny.  Amid bag tossing, decorating yoyo’s, bunny bingo, egg and face painting, there were also baskets, cupcakes, healthy treats, and more  prizes that were awarded to the children.  The day ended with an Easter Egg Hunt with over 500 eggs hidden – all filled with candies and tiny prizes.  No one left empty-handed as the Easter Bunny waved good-bye to all.

Shaianne Laycock - Face painting

Carolynn Bennett, Amiee Kneeland and Patricia Beaudry

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