Knights and Ladies Reign

by Lynne Ober

Once again Windham Middle School was the scene of a festive medieval castle.  The king and queen led the courtly procession.

Dancing was on the agenda as were games and music – all done according to the period.  During these times, the Church was very much in control of the gamut of medieval life.  Civilization progressed slowly; science was looked upon with distrust and often, as heresy.  Communication between and within countries was tedious and primarily sent word-of-mouth.  Books were a rarity, and writing was the province of the powerful.  Art and literature were on the decline, as the former marvels of Rome were swept away by time.  But for a day, the sun shone on the kingdom of Midwin Manor.

Yes, there was a dungeon and miscreants were sentenced to time in the dungeon, but for the most part there was music, and laughter and good food.

After the procession into the grand hall, the knights and ladies were introduced.  After that there was dancing with flutes providing the music. 

Then it was time for the banquet and the royal party accompanied by monks, peasants and serfs entered the dining hall.  The queen gave the orders and reminded all of their manners.  Everyone lined up to show deference to the king and queen.  The queen reminded them to make a good bow and a deep curtsy.  

The queen told her subjects that they might be thrown in the royal dungeon if they failed to show proper manners.  “The royal architect will design a new dungeon next year and many peasants will be working hard to build it, but for now, the old dungeon is still usable,” declared the queen.

Stained glass windows decorated the hall and artisans had decorated the walls with beautiful posters about life in medieval times.  

Models of castles and chapels decorated one wall.  Each model was labeled with the important pieces from the moat and drawbridge to the inner sanctum of the castle.

Throughout the banquet, entertainment was provided to the lord and ladies.  Games from London Bridge to chess were enjoyed by all.  Food, served by serving wenches, had to be consumed without the benefits of knives and forks – implements that had yet to be created.

The event celebrates the end of a multi-discipline study of the Middle Ages and was thoroughly enjoyed by the seventh grade and their teachers.

The royal orchestra

The royal flute choir played for dancing

The procession

Ladies and Jesters

A chapel model

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Pelham Girls Tennis Itching to Get Back to Playoffs

by Tommy Gates

Dawn Eli

Pelham’s girls tennis team finished with a 2 – 12 record in a very tough Class I division last year, and coach Meredith Cate also lost her number two, three, and four singles players to graduation.  Last year’s team only had 10 girls on the roster, but this year Cate has 17 girls that are very serious about this sport.  Cate gave her thoughts about the first two weeks outside in practice saying, “The girls that I have returning have been playing during the off season, and most of them look like they’re really in pretty good shape.  I have some new girls to the program this spring, but they are pretty good athletes who play other sports at Pelham High and they’re psyched to get going.”

Returning this year and probably starting off at number one singles is senior Leslie McCabe, and Cate says she’s much improved and has been warming up for the tennis season by playing soccer and basketball for the Pythons this year.  Junior Meghan Szmyt has been looking to lock up the number two singles position to start the season and, as of right now, Szmyt and McCabe should be looking at the number one doubles position to start the season.  Right now the number three singles slot belongs to junior Shannon Krauss, and sophomore Taylor Lapointe has the inside position on the number four singles position, but after that coach Cate has a cluster of girls that will be battling it out in challenge matches all this week to see who is going to step up to gain the number five and number six singles spots for the Pythons season opener which will be Monday, April 7, 4:15 p.m., when the Monadnock Huskies roll into town.  Cate presently has four girls that are going after the last two starting spots as junior Dawn Eli, and sophomores Jacqueline Ta, Nicole Mastacouris, and Erika Mogauro are all very bunched together in their abilities, and Cate’s waiting to see which two will step up and want it bad enough!

Looking at the talent on this team, coach Cate says that if she had to name her two other doubles teams she would probably pair Shannon Krauss and Nicole Mastacouris right now, with her other team probably being Taylor Lapointe and Jacqueline Ta.  Cate finished up by saying, “Ultimately, I would think one of our main goals would be to hopefully get to .500 and qualify for the Class I tournament for the first time in many years and, by the way the girls have been working so far, I think we can reach that goal.”

Jacqueline Ta

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Greenwood Case Dismissed by Court

by Lynne Ober

From the beginning in February to the end on Thursday, March 27, Pelham’s Jim Greenwood planned to plead not guilty to the charges.  When Greenwood and his attorney appeared in court in Lowell, Massachusetts last Thursday for his pre-trial hearing, the charges were dismissed.  

“I’m just relieved that it is over and done with,” said Greenwood.  When asked if he would sue to have his attorney’s fees and court costs paid by the city of Lowell, Greenwood smiled and asked, “Who would I sue the Commonwealth?”  He paused and then said, “I’m ready to move forward into the future with this firmly in the past.”

Pelham’s Superintendent Frank Bass had issued two letters to Greenwood.  [see previous PWN articles].  Greenwood said that he had called and spoken to the superintendent about the case being dismissed.  

During this period [February to March] there’s been a job posting for a computer technician on Pelham’s website with an application closing date of March 19.

When Human Resources Director Fran DeCinto was asked if the position would be filled and if interviews were currently being conducted, she responded, “We will not be filling this position.”

When School Board Chairman Bruce Couture and Superintendent Frank Bass were asked if Greenwood would be allowed back on school grounds and if he would resume his work as the district’s computer consultant, Couture replied.  “I, for one, am relieved that the charges against Jim Greenwood were dropped.  As far as we know he will be allowed on school grounds and will proceed with his job in the School District.”  Superintendent Bass did not respond to the questions.

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Pay Increases Set for Non-Union Employees

by Barbara O'Brien

The topic of pay raises was debated during several board meetings during the past several weeks, but the increase for non-union town employees wasn’t decided by selectmen until their meeting on Monday, March 24.  This was the first meeting for the new board, following the town election on Tuesday, March 11.

Pay increases for fire, police, and municipal union employees were set through recent union contracts; all of which were approved by voters on March 11.  Only the non-union employee pay rate remained undecided by the time town meeting day 2008 was over.

As detailed in separate union contracts, firefighters and municipal employees are receiving a two percent pay increase this year, while police are getting a 3 percent pay hike during 2008.  The three union contracts approved by voters last month called for a minimum three-percent increase for police and a minimum two-percent increase for municipal and fire department employees.  These minimum pay increases are based on the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) calculated for the Greater Boston area, which includes southern New Hampshire. According to Windham Town Administrator David Sullivan, the COLA for 2007 averaged out at a 1.9 percent increase for the 12-month period. 

Financial Director Dana Call said that three-percent raises had been budgeted across the board for all town employees during 2008, prior to the completion of union negotiations and prior to the COLA announcement being made.

During the meeting on March 24, Selectman Bruce Breton recommended a two-percent 2008 pay increase for non-union town employees.  Selectman Roger Hohenberger suggested the pay hike for non-union town employees be “mid-way” between the already approved minimum increase for fire/municipal union employees (two percent) and police (three percent).  Selectman Galen Stearns agreed with Hohenberger, stating that he, too, would support a 2.5 percent pay hike for non-union employees.

On a motion by Selectman Charlie McMahon, selectmen voted 5 – 0 to approve a 2.5 percent 2008 pay increase for non-union town employees.  “There has to be ‘basic fairness’ in support of all town employees,” McMahon said.  All voting in the affirmative on McMahon’s motion were Selectmen Bruce Breton, Charlie McMahon, Galen Stearns, Roger Hohenberger, and Chairman Dennis Senibaldi.

According to Call, the 2.5 percent pay increase for non-union employees will total about $56,000 during 2008. If the pay increase had been two-percent, that increase would have been about $45,000.  If the pay increase had stayed at the originally proposed three-percent, the total increase for this year would have amounted to about $67,000 for non-union town employees.

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