Pelham Destination ImagiNation a Success at State Tournament

Le Petit Inspectaur de Mystere:  Pictured with team mascot Gilbert.  Front row from the left, Heather Snide, Sarah Wilson, Linda Dart-Kathios.
Back row from the left, Amy Chartrain, Jacob Chartrain, Nick Kathios, Hilary Faust, Niki Kruzel, Brianna Patterson, and Julie Faust

Pelham Elementary School sent three teams to this year’s Destination ImagiNation State Tournament held at Timberlane Regional High School on March 29.  Destination ImagiNation, or DI® as many kids call it, is the ultimate “kids hands-on; adults hands-off” program, as the team manager may help facilitate the team, but cannot give direction to solving the complex Challenges that the team will use in competition.  The Pelham teams started their journey in the fall working on Team Challenges that pair core school subjects with teamwork, creativity, and a focus that is technical, mechanical, based in science, math, the arts, or international studies — or a combination.  Each year, some 2,300 New Hampshire students from nearly 200 schools and community organizations take part in Destination ImagiNation.  There are over 300,000 DI participants in more than 40 countries, and all 50 states.

Pelham DI coordinators, Lanita English, Caroline Letendre, and Amy Chartrain were hopeful that this year’s teams would do well and their expectations were met!  They are proud to announce the results of this year’s tournament:

Placing fifth was the team “Brighter by the 1/2 Dozen.”  Members are Charlotte Laffey, Erika Rutherford, Nicholas Aboujaoude, Holly Kathios, Emma Howard, and Logan Ashely, with team managers Karen Rutherford and Nicole Ashley.  Their team was challenged to build a structure out of wood that weighed no more than 22 grams yet would hold as much weight as possible.  The team also won the Spirit of Discovery and ImagiNation Award.  This award is given in recognition of those who act as superior role models in the areas of spirit, sportsmanship, and volunteerism.

Placing third was the team “Le Petit Inspectaur de Mystere.”  Members are Jacob Chartrain, Brianna Patterson, Niki Kruzel, Heather Snide, Nick Kathios, Hilary Faust, and Sarah Wilson.  Team managers are Amy Chartrain, Linda Dart-Kathios, and Julie Faust.  This team busted the team chosen myth of the Greek Goddess Medusa using the scientific method.

The most exciting announcement comes from the team “Mystery Toys” which placed second and earned a trip to this year’s Global Tournament.  Members are Andrew Letendre, Kaitlyn and Madisyn Fullerton, Angelee Ganno, and Michael Anderson.  Team managers are Al Letendre and Kara Fullerton.  This team incorporated an optical illusion that helped reveal a secret.  According to Coach Al, “I am proud of the team.  Not only did they have fun but, they worked really hard.  They faced some challenges along the way and overcame them.  What an awesome bunch of kids.  Way to go.”  The team also won a Renaissance Award for their technical innovation at the Regional Tournament held in Kingston on March 15.  This award is given for outstanding skill in the areas of engineering, design, or performance.

In less than two months, Mystery Toys will represent Pelham Elementary School along with 32 other New Hampshire DI teams to compete at Destination ImagiNation Global Finals at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  “New Hampshire has such a strong program, that Destination ImagiNation has invited us to bring our first and second place teams,” according to New Hampshire Destination ImagiNation Executive Director Jill Schoonmaker. “The team results this year are just outstanding — the team members understand how to build on each other’s skills, stay on budget, manage project results to the points, and innovate without interference from others.”

The “Mystery Toys” team from Pelham Elementary will be busy fundraising and promoting the program over the next two months as they plan for their trip to Tennessee on May 21 - 24.  The team will need to raise over $10,000 to attend this once in a lifetime event.  They are looking to local business and the community for support in their quest to represent the best of Pelham DI.  If interested in supporting the team, please leave a message for one of the coordinators at Pelham Elementary School at 635-8875.

Brighter by the 1/2 Dozen:  Seated from the left, Charlotte Laffey, Nicholas Aboujaoude, Holly Kathios Standing from the left, Erika Rutherford, Emma Howard, Logan Ashley

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Blue and Gold Scouting Banquet

Harry Burnham explains how the spirits enhance life to the Cub Scouts.

Pelham Cub Scout Pack 610 held their Blue and Gold Banquet at Pelham Fish and Game Club.  This annual event celebrates the end of a great scouting year and opens the next scouting year.  It was also time to say a final good-bye to six Webelos who were bridging into Boy Scouts.

After the Wolves Den presented the colors and the Cub Master warmly welcomed all, dinner was served.

State Representatives Russ and Lynne Ober, special guests of Den 7, Webelos 2, talked about the meaning of scouting and the value that parent volunteers bring to the organization.  They noted that these efforts were beginning to shape the future leaders of America.  The Obers had worked with Den 7 on their Citizenship badge and were present to see the boys bridge into Boy Scouts.

Awards were given out, den by den.  Finally it was time for Harry Burnham, dressed as a Native American Indian, to talk about the meaning of the Arrow of Light and to present the Webelos their arrows.  The Arrow of Light is the only Cub Scout award that can be worn on the Boy Scout Uniform.

After that presentation, it was time for each Webelo Scout to cross over to Boy Scout Troop 610 where Scoutmaster Roger Patenaude and his senior patrol leaders waited to greet the boys.  As each crossed over the bridge, they paused and gave the Cub Scout salute to the pack members they were leaving behind as they moved forward on their scouting journey.

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Local Business Asks to Use Cobbett’s Pond

by Barbara O’Brien

The management of Nault’s Dealership, located on Range Road in Windham, is asking town officials for permission to test watercraft on Cobbett’s Pond.  Members of the Cobbett’s Pond Improvement Association (CPIA) are taking exception with that request, however.

Selectmen have already discussed the issue twice in recent weeks and are scheduled to take the request up for discussion again on Monday, April 14.  The request from Nault’s includes town officials providing the local motorsport company with a key to access Cobbett’s Pond.  Nault’s has been in business in Windham for exactly 100 years, having opened its doors in 1908.

During the selectmen’s meeting on Monday, March 24, Sean Welch, president of the improvement association, expressed several concerns regarding Nault’s proposed use of Cobbett’s Pond for testing its watercraft.  Welch listed possible contamination, public safety, and deviation from current policy, as the association’s concerns.  According to existing policy, unless a resident is a property owner on Cobbett’s Pond, access is restricted from using the pond except for fishing and is limited to a motorized craft of 15 horsepower or less.

Welch spoke about the association’s five year plan to eliminate milfoil, a noxious aquatic plant which is not native to this region.  “We don’t know where these boats are from,” Welch said of the watercraft Nault’s might be testing on Cobbett’s Pond. 

Milfoil chokes out native plants and spreads rapidly in new areas.  It was first discovered in this country in the mid-1970s and has become an increasingly aggressive problem since that time.  It can be transferred from one place to another when it becomes attached to the bottom of boats or boat trailers.  Milfoil spreads by a process known as “fragmentation.”  Small pieces of the plant break off and rapidly form roots of their own.  One small fragment of milfoil can generate 250 million new plants in a single season.  The plants rapidly form a mat and, as a result, choke out native vegetation and have even been listed as the cause of several drownings in the United States.

Selectman Roger Hohenberger said he’s opposed to providing Nault’s access to Cobbett’s Pond because the watercraft would have to be tested prior to the town beach opening in the morning or after it closes for the evening.  Hohenberger said he doesn’t think these hours would be agreeable to residents living in the area.  Selectman Charlie McMahon said he feels a policy is needed for all boats launched into Cobbett’s Pond and that policy must be enforced.  Selectman Galen Stearns says he’s opposed to the watercraft testing because of the possibility of milfoil contamination.  According to the State Fish and Game Department, just one piece of milfoil can rapidly multiply to infect an entire lake or pond.

During the upcoming selectmen’s meeting on April 14, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the planning and development building next to Town Hall, it is expected that a representative of Nault’s will be in attendance to answer questions.

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Future High School Site Acceptable for Wind Turbine

by Barbara O'Brien

A plan for alternative energy, currently being developed by a 13-year-old Windham boy, has taken another step forward.

David Hutchings, a seventh grader at Windham Middle School, met with school board members on Tuesday, April 1, to provide an update on his proposed wind turbine at the future Windham High School.

David first met with school board members on January 22, detailing the importance of replacing existing fossil fuels with renewable forms of energy.  The plans David is developing include energy powered by wind turbines, as well as the installation of solar panels to collect heat from the sun.  Due to the fact that Windham High School is being constructed at the top of a hill, David feels these are “viable options” for sources of energy.

Windham High School, which is being built off London Bridge Road, is scheduled to open in September of 2009.

On April 1, David was accompanied by Mark Weissflog, president of KW Management, Inc. of Nashua.  KW Management is affiliated with Clean Energy Technology, which offers a full spectrum of energy services, from energy auditing and thermal/energy modeling to weatherization and energy efficiency measures.  The firm offers energy delivery technology ranging from ultra-efficient ground-source heat pumps to renewable energy systems such as wind turbines, solar photovoltaic, and solar thermal.

During his presentation to the school board, Weissflog said the Windham High School site “is acceptable for a wind turbine.”  Weissflog explained that wind turbine systems ranging in capability of producing from 10 kilowatts to 250 kilowatts could be erected at the site of the new high school.  These systems could produce between two and 10 percent of the overall energy required to operate Windham High School, he said.  Examples provided by Weissflog included a 20 kilowatt system which would cost about $175,000 to install and would save about $4,000 in annual energy costs and could be expected to function for about 50 years, as well as the maximum 250 kilowatt system which would cost about $1.1 million dollars to install and could produce about 10 percent of the annual energy requirements for operating the high school.

School Superintendent Frank Bass said that a meeting had also been held with representatives of Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) in regard to alternative energy sources.  Dr. Bass said PSNH was very supportive of David’s concept.  “This could provide great opportunities for students,” Bass said, adding that the opportunities for hands-on student learning would even outweigh the amount of money saved in energy costs.  Bass also spoke of the possibility of incorporating a weather station into the project, a move which would provide additional scientific activities for high school students.

School Board member Beverly Donovan also suggested the possibility of including a cellular communications tower as part of the project.  This could be a great benefit for emergency communications for police and fire in Windham, she said.

Bass said he feels that, over a period of time, it might be possible to generate grant funding to support such alternative energy projects;  money which might be available at no cost to local taxpayers.  David said that his proposed alternative energy project for Windham High School is the first of its kind in New Hampshire.

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