Easter Celebration on Pelham Village Green

by Lynne Ober

Big Easter hugs

Last weeks decision to postpone the Easter celebration for a week turned out golden.  This past Saturday the sun was brightly shining on the thousands of eggs hidden in three sections on Village Green.

As the morning warmed, families gathered and happy music filled the air.  The bounce house was a hit with youngsters who lined up to take turns working off some winter energy.

Pelham Parks and Recreation Department and Crossroads Baptist Church partnered to host a fun-filled event for Pelham youth. 

This is a wonderful event, said Parks and Recreation Director Brian Johnson.  Its just great that Crossroads Baptist Church wanted to participate with us.  It makes it even better for everyone.

  This wouldnt have been nearly as much fun last Saturday with the snow and then rain.  Today everyone can enjoy the outdoors and all the events, he said.

As time approached for the egg hunt, Pastor Matt Kyzer told families about the three areas.  For the first time toddlers were separated from all the other children and three- to five-year-olds also had an area.  Older children had a large area to search for eggs.

Some of the eggs held special prizes.  If you found a piece of paper inside you were directed to go to the prize tent to pick up your special prize.

Teens painted young faces and there was a coloring tent with tables and chairs.

After the hunt was over, everyone was urged to sign up for the free raffle.  The prizes?  Four bicycles donated by the church.

The Easter bunny was on the grounds giving out hugs and high-fives.

This has turned into such a fun community event, said School Board member Cindy Kyzer.  Its just nice to get outside with other community members.

Look at what I found, grinned Jason, who proudly held up his basket filled with the eggs that he had gathered.  Then it was off to the bounce house while mom and dad guarded the basket.

Easter egg hunting

Easter egg hunting

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Pelham’s Baseball Coach Will Build on Last Year’s 12 - 6 Record

by Tommy Gates

Grant Hebert and PHS Coach Matt Stone preparing for the start of a new season.

Last year was the first one at the helm of Pelham baseball for coach Matt Stone and it had a very good 12 - 6 regular season at the Class I level, but this year it’s time to move up and go deeper into the Class I tournament.  The Pythons were eliminated in the first round of the 2007 tournament 12 - 7 by Souhegan, but Stone hopes that very good pitching and tight defense can bring his Pythons closer to a Class I title.  Stone called an impromptu meeting Tuesday morning at Alicia’s Restaurant for a Red Sox opener session and 12 of his players showed up before they headed off for school at 7:30 a.m.  Stone said, “It was an optional meeting for the guys and we talked about what we have to do go get better and everyone had fun watching the Red Sox and Athletics opener in Japan.”

Pelham’s top two hitters returning this year are Jimmy Mostone, who hit .475 last spring, and shortstop Jamie Vaiknoras, who batted around .388.   Stone said, “Jimmy Mostone is coming off shoulder surgery from football and has been looking very good lately and he’ll be one of our pitchers and then play third base.  Vaiknoras is another very good hitter who will be our shortstop and he’s very sure-handed.”  Two other valuable seniors who are returning are Mike Vigaent who played right field and hit sixth last year, and Steve Rogers who will be battling for a starting position in the infield.

Three juniors that have opened coach Stone’s eyes again are Dave Wesson, who plays infield and pitches and hits the ball very hard; pitcher and infielder Jim Bourk, who got brought up at the end of the last season, and Joe Morin, who will be playing outfield.  Stone also has been impressed so far from what he’s seen from four sophomores.  Brian Toupin is making a push at the starting catching slot and is a very good contact hitter, and up-and-coming Josh Luciano knows what winning is all about after starring for the Pythons championship football team last fall.  Luciano pitches and plays outfield as does another lefty, Corey Couilliard, who also is pushing the others for a starting job.  James Moran is a big kid who pitches and plays the infield and hits the tar out of the ball.

Stone doesn’t have any scrimmages planned right now, and he’s more interested on who the 12 - 13 players he can count on to handle the varsity action from game to game.  Stone said, “The kids returning from last year still have their starting jobs until somebody else comes and takes it from them, but everything else is wide open, and the kids who work, and show me that they belong out there, and are to get the starting nod.  Our team is focusing on terrific pitching and tough defense and that’s what we’re striving for this season.  I also have a lot of young kids out here who are looking pretty good, and I guess I can say, that whoever wants it bad enough, are going to be the kids that will be playing.”  The Pythons will open their regular season Monday, April 7, when they travel to Portsmouth, before hosting John Stark Regional in Pelham on Wednesday, April 9, at 4 p.m. in their home opener. 

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Windham Joins Other Communities Studying Economic Development

by Barbara O’Brien

Many communities in New Hampshire are struggling with sky-rocketing expenses, most of which are falling on the shoulders of residential property owners.  Most of these communities also are looking for ways in which to relieve this burden by developing a stronger commercial base.

The Windham Economic Development Committee, which functions as a faction of the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce, has garnered the support of selectmen to move forward in assessing what needs to be done to improve the outlook for Windhams economic development.

During a recent joint meeting, members of the committee, as well as George Fredette, immediate past chairman of the Greater Salem Chamber, presented town officials with information on achieving this goal.  The chamber includes five communities: Atkiinson, Hampstead, Pelham, Salem and Windham.

The overall goal of the committee is to encourage commercial growth consistent with the towns master plan, which promotes the spirit of the town motto, Old Values - New Horizons.

As a result of that meeting, Windham Selectmen voted 4 to 0 to apply for a grant that will allow town officials to partner with the Center for Urban and Regional Policy, a program offered by Northeastern University.  The partnership with CURP is designed to create a practical set of tools for local governments to better position themselves to attract real economic development opportunities to their individual communities. 

The cost of joining with CURP involves a $5,000 fee, available through a grant program offered by the regional Community Technical Assistance Program.  Windham officials will be applying for this grant, as well as looking into the possibility of gaining funding through the Department of Resources and Economic Development.  Selectmen who voted in favor of applying for grants to fund a CURP partnership are Margaret Crisler, Dennis Senibaldi, Roger Hohenberger and Bruce Breton.  The chairman of the board was not present at the meeting.

Other New Hampshire communities that are partners with CURP include Pelham, Hooksett and Bow.

CURPs initiatives include:

  • Helping communities surmount certain deal breakers that might discourage economic growth;
  • Enchancing the power of local officials to effect positive change in policies and procedures;
  • Better enabling these communities to compete for critically needed private sector job-generating investments.

According to information provided by the Greater Salem Chamber, the seven most important considerations in economic growth include: labor availability, timeliness of approvals, transportation access, real estate costs, nearby amenities and service, on-site parking and a business friendly environment.  The five least important aspects to business owners are: minimum wage laws, access to rail, strong labor unions, local taxes and business incentives.

There are a number of factors that really matter to businesses that local jurisdictions can do something about, Fredette said.  Windham needs tax-positive development to reduce the tax burden on residents, he said.  This development should provide appropriate jobs for residents, needed goods and services, yet does not adversely affect the quality of life.  The chances for success increase significantly when partners are added who can provide strategies, processes, tools and information to help us compete successfully,

Karl Dubay, member of the committee said, We need to know what we have and dont have.   We also need to find out what we want and what we dont want, as well as what the town can support, Dubay said.  Dubay also said the committee looks forward to working with other town officials to sort out issues in a humble manner that respects the town motto.

Crisler said she believes it is mutually beneficial for Windham to partner with other area communities.  The purpose is to find out what kind of economic development we do want, she said; to find out what suits Windham.  If we dont do something, well stay with a residential tax base, when we desperately need commercial development, Crisler said.  The question, she added, is how do we make this marriage happen?  Selectman Roger Hohenberger said, Winham is unique. Maybe we really dont want big buiness to come to town.  I really dont want a big box store coming to Windham, he said.

Committee member Ruth-Ellen Post said the purpose of the committee is to generate community wealth. Big box stores dont do that, Post said.  They only generate wealth for the corporation.  Post said the committee is not headed in the direction of big box stores.

Senibaldi asked how Windham might overcome the NIMBY complex; an anagram for Not In My Back Yard.  There are a lot of people suffering from high taxes in Windham, Senibaldi said.

Members of the committee include: Crisler, Sally DAngelo, Kathleen Sullivan DiFruscia, Beverly Donovan,  Dubay, Fredette, Al Getler, Peter Griffin, Shaun Logue, Gail Migliozzi, Donna Morris, Hugo Overdeput, Post and Sy Wrenn.

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Pelham Police Three-Year Plan

by Lynne Ober

Pelham Selectmen have tasked their department heads with the development of three-year plans.  The goals are to align the plans with town objectives, the CIP planning process and budgeting process.  Town Administrator Tom Gaydos noted that these are still in draft format and are a work in progress.

When the police department plans were recently reviewed. Gaydos said the plan outlined plans and objectives and had detailed backup for those objectives.  

Police Chief Joseph Roark would like to change the scheduling for his department.  Employees work eight-hour shifts, but per their contract they work four days and have two days off before working another four days.  The chief would like to change that to a 10-hour shift.  Employees would work four days and have three days off.  Then they would work three days and have another three days off.  According to Roark this new plan would provide for an additional 336 staff-hours of work per year over the current schedule of four days on and two days off.

Selectman Hal Lynde said he would like to see how the changes in shift would create savings.  He also questioned how selectmen would move to implement this feature.

Roark also wants to continue buying two cruisers per year and asked selectmen to buy the motorcycle instead of leasing it.   Roark wants to have GPS systems for the frontline vehicles and the OHRV.

In addition to the GPS systems, Roark proposed working with the Planning, Fire and Assessing departments to explore acquisition of a GIS mapping system.  He thought it would be best for the town for this to be a joint effort as other departments besides the Police Department would benefit from such a system.

Roarks final objective was to review and rewrite all operating procedures to keep them current with police standards and changing laws.

Looking at a longer time span, Roark wanted to perform a detailed workload analysis to determine the level of staffing to reduce overtime.  He also wants selectmen to consider hiring a communication supervisor to manage dispatch and fill shifts.

Selectman Victor Danevich reiterated the original purpose of these plans, which was for the board to understand the direction of each department and to align selectmens priorities with what town residents were requesting.  This allows us to plan for funding and to ensure that selectmen, town administrator and department heads are moving in the same direction with the same objectives and priorities.

Selectman Bob Haverty questioned the number of objectives and noted that selectmen had hoped to get the top five objectives, but noted that he was not singling the police department out.  Haverty wanted to be sure that all plans met the same criteria so it would be easier to set the overall direction.

Gaydos agreed and noted that these were drafts and selectmen could frame the objectives to align with overall town objectives.

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