Economic Development Expo

Governor John Lynch presents check recognizing Windham economic development. From left: Donna Morris, executive director of Salem Chamber; Dave Sullivan, Windham town administrator; Karl Dubay, cochairman Windham Economic Develeopment Committee; George Fredette, cochairman; Jamie Santo, Chamber Board of Directors chairman; Lynch; and Michael Vlacich, director of New Hampshire Division of Economic Development

“Success Preparedness” was the theme of the Economic Development Expo held at the Castleton Banquet and Conference Center in Windham on Tuesday, April 22.  Organized by the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce as a first Annual Expo, the program was designed to connect business owners and professionals in the Greater Salem service area with business resources available in New Hampshire.

Following a breakfast buffet, Donna Morris, executive director of the Chamber, thanked those in attendance and introduced Scott Cote, president/chief operating officer of Pentucket Bank, the signature sponsor of the event.  Cote introduced Governor John Lynch, who gave the welcoming address and spoke about revenue and expense economics and his experience with many business and academic institutions and government agencies.

Dennis C. Delay, deputy director at the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, who spoke on the regional economic outlook.  Michael A. Vlacich, director of the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development at the Department of Resources and Economic Development, spoke on the successful use of resources.  Vlacich formerly served as deputy chief of staff and policy director to Lynch.  He also had been the governors lead economic development policy adviser and played a similar role for former Governor Jeanne Shaheen.

Exhibitors included Business NH Magazine, International Trade Resource Center, Manchester Community College Workforce Development Center, Merrimack Valley Venture Forum, National Grid, New Hampshire business Resource Center, New Hampshire Employment Security/NH Works, New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, Northern Community Investment Corporation, Procurement Technical Assistance Program, Rockingham Economic Development Corp., SCORE, and Workforce Opportunity Council Inc.

Scott Cote, president/chief operating officer of Pentucket Bank

Governor John Lynch addresses Economic Development Expo.

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School Board Considering Removing Word "Accent" From High School Colors

by Barbara O'Brien

School Board members are planning to have the final say on the choice of the official colors which will represent the new Windham High School when it opens next year.

It is anticipated that "a statement," regarding this decision, will be read at the next school board meeting on Tuesday, May 6.  No public input or discussion will be permitted at that time.

The color dilemma was discussed most recently during a school board workshop on Tuesday, April 15.  Only three board members, Chairman Barbara Coish, Beverly Donovan and Mike Hatem, attended that session.  School board members Bruce Anderson and Mark Brockmeier were out of state at the time of the workshop.

There are those in Windham who want the high school colors to remain the traditional green and white, as represents Windham Middle School, while there are those who want a new look and hope to see blue and gold become the official colors of Windham High School.  The selection issue has been going on for nearly three years, but escalated this past summer when a group of students presented a petition to school board members asking that they reconsider the blue and gold choice and revert to green and white, instead.  Subsequently, school board members, after studying the issue in more depth, decided to make the high school colors navy blue and metallic gold, with an accent of green.  While this satisfied some residents, it didn't make the issue disappear.  This past March, a citizens' petition to make the colors green and white and the mascot the wildcat (rather than the board approved jaguar) was passed by a majority of voters casting ballots on Election Day.  Although the petition was approved by more than 1,400 voters, it was only advisory in nature.  The school board listened to representatives who had signed the petition when they asked that the decision by voters be honored, but board members did not change their minds.

During the April 15 meeting, Hatem told the other two school board members that he was hesitant to raise the color choice issue again, especially with two board members and Superintendent Frank Bass not in attendance.  "The segment pushing for green and white isn't going to go away," Hatem said, adding that he believes the easiest way to resolve the conflict is to take out the word "accent" from the high school color description, thereby leaving the choice of which configuration blue, gold and green would be used up to school administrators on a team-by-team or uniform-by-uniform basis.  "We need to put this to bed once and for all and move on with other issues," Hatem said.  "This is an executive decision to be made by the school board and not by the legislative arm (town meeting vote).

Beverly Donovan said her fear is that only green will wind up being used on uniforms and blue will completely disappear from the color scheme, if the word "accent" is eliminated.  "Personally," Donovan said, "I feel that no matter what we do, next week it will be something else."

Barbara Coish recommended that a short statement be read at the upcoming meeting on May 6, stating that the colors of Windham High School are to be blue, gold and green.  She suggested that no mention of the word "accent" be made in that statement. 

Although Brockmeier and Anderson were not at the April 15 meeting, Hatem said he had spoken with them about the color issue and been told that Anderson doesn't care whether the word "accent" is eliminated or not and that Brockmeier said he wants the word "accent" left in the description, in reference to the color green.

Coish said the school board does not plan to officially vote on the color choices again, but will simply go with a board consensus when writing the statement to be read on May 6.  That meeting will be held, beginning at 7 p.m., in the Planning and Development Building next to Town Hall.  The public will not be permitted to provide input at that time.

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Successful Yard Sale

by Lynne Ober

Have you ever attended a yard sale where there was a waiting line to enter the sales area?  If your answer is no, then you've not been to Windham's Womans Club yearly and hugely successful yard sale.

Every year the club collects donations and prices them to sell quickly.  "We price to clear the tables.  We don't want anything leftover and we know everything can find a home with someone who will love it," said Windham's Womans Club member Lynne O'Loughlin.  The women gather donations from everyone in town and then work to ensure that every item will find its new home.

Most of the proceeds from this very successful event funds scholarships that the Woman's Club presents every spring.

"It's always extremely crowded," stated O'Loughlin, who had this year's door duty.  After the upstairs of Windham's town hall gets filled to capacity, other shoppers carefully line up outside the door.  O'Loughlin gestured for people to enter as other shopper exited.

This annual event has been held for over fifteen years and has become a right of spring for many shoppers.  "I always look forward to this event," laughed Windham resident and shopper Judy.  "Look at these neat baskets that I got for just pennies.  This is always the beginning of spring for me."

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Windham Endowment Seeking Additional Committee Members

by Barbara O'Brien

The Windham Endowment for Community Advancement is currently seeking additional members to serve on its recently created steering committee.  The steering committee, the goal of which is to enhance both the curriculum and facilities at the new Windham High School, held its inaugural meeting this past February.  Ten members attended the initial steering committee meeting.

On Tuesday, April 15, several members of the non-profit organization met with school board members to discuss potential goals regarding the high school and to assure that school administrators and endowment members are on the same page.  Windham High School is scheduled to open its doors to students in September of 2009.

Diane Carpenter, spokesperson for the endowment organization, told school board members that the organization should be considered as "just a vehicle to offer options."  Donations to the organization don't have to be in a monetary form, Carpenter said, items and equipment are welcome as well.  Also, monetary donations can be either "directed" for a specific purpose or "non-directed" for no specifically designated purpose.  For example, a recent $50,000 "directed" donation ($5,000 over a period of 10 years) is specifically intended to be used in the areas of music and/or art.  Another recent donation was a baby grand piano for Windham High School.

Regarding those who might be interested in becoming a member of the Windham Endowment Steering Committee, Carpenter said a commitment of two years would be expected, during which approximately six meetings per year would be held (approximately one meeting every other month).  What is termed "The Quiet Phase" of the committee, during which information will be gathered and detailed plans made, is expected to last throughout 2008 and, possibly, into early 2009.  The "Public Phase" of committee work would commence after the "Quiet Phase" is completed.  During the "Public Phase" committee members would be soliciting and accepting what was described as "smaller gifts."

As for working with major potential donors, the committee would work cooperatively to review and evaluate these possible donations and assign them to the committee member deemed most appropriate to that specific situation.  Carpenter said these individual committee members will be "the face of the public campaign," with sub-committee members working to support the overall effort.

Steering committee members will also be asked to attend "boutique" socials at individual's homes to share information concerning the organization and its efforts.  Comprehensive solicitor training will be provided, with examples of various funding sources identified and explained.

According to information provided by the endowment organization, the entire executive board will be on-board to provide support to steering committee members, including financial, accounting, and sophisticated software to track donations.

Windham Endowment for Community Advancement initially got underway in the fall of 2004, when a group of Windham residents realized they shared a mutual concern regarding a potential cut in state education funding, combined with rapid town growth, a situation which could put additional strain on local property taxes.  To address this concern in a concrete way, several residents worked to establish this new non-profit foundation.  Subsequently, the Windham Endowment for Community Advancement was created as a vehicle to seek funding opportunities through all available sources, public and private, from both inside and outside the community. 

The primary purpose of the endowment organization is the enrichment of educational facilities and program, with the first goal to support Windham High School.  Additionally, the foundation will serve to enhance other community projects and services through a grant process or directed tax-deductible donations.

Windham Endowment is governed by a 20-member board, led by an internally elected five-member executive board.  The board is made up of Windham citizens-at-large, including a school board member, a selectman and a library trustee.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a member of the endowment steering committee or learning more about the organization is encouraged to visit the foundation's website at

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