Windham Library Presents Clifford the Big Red Dog

by Lynne Ober

Clifford with four-year-old Samantha

Clifford the Big Red Dog is an enduring American childrens book series written by Norman Bridwell and first published in 1962.   

Clifford was the runt of the litter, and was chosen by a city child named Emily Elizabeth Howard as her birthday present.  No one expected Clifford to grow, but Emily Elizabeths love for her tiny red puppy changed Clifford dramatically.  Before long, he was more than 25 feet tall, forcing the Howard family to leave the city and move to the open spaces of Birdwell Island.  Emily was Cliffords human friend then and now.

As the years passed Clifford became a TV star, but still remained a bedtime story favorite.  Today Emily Elizabeth shares her life with Clifford.  It was her father who wrote the books and for four years she has been charming audiences with the history of Clifford and stories about life with Clifford.

A tent set up on the lawn of Windhams Nesmith Library.  Excited kids giggled as they got to meet Clifford and the real-life Emily Elizabeth.  

Emily Elizabeth talked about her dad and his stories and then read a story.  Because it was a very hot day and Clifford, with his bright red coat, needed to be in the shade, everyone moved inside the library where Emily Elizabeth signed books and Clifford shared high fives and posed for photos with his adoring fans.

The Friends of the Library of Windham, Lowell Spinners baseball team and Collins Dentistry sponsored the special appearance. 

The first 100 children at the event will receive a free Clifford and the Big Storm childrens book. 

Emily Elizabeth shows a photo of her father, author of Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Return to Golden Brook

Every year on the day of graduation, Windham seniors at Salem High School return to Golden Brook School to visit with teachers and reminisce on the last 12 years.  This year the students returned on July 13 when breakfast was served by the school and the excitement of the now graduates picking themselves out of their first grade picture was elating.  Among those offering congratulations were Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Frank Bass and Roxanne Wilson respectively.  While this is Golden Brook School principal Beth McGuire’s last year, she promised to return every year to visit with her friends and former students. 

Tatum and Taylor Dyer

Pelham Graduation

by Lynne Ober

Jennifer Gray, Valedictorian

Friends and family gathered beneath bright blue, sunny skies as they waited for graduation to begin.  The stage was set; the chairs ready and the band played softly.  As the graduates began their walk from the gym to the field, two lines of greeters gathered along their pathway.  Family and friends stood to greet the graduates as they walked onto the field.  

After the processional, Pelham High School Principal, Dr. Dorothy Mohr, welcomed one and all to the graduation ceremonies.  Mohr has a warm flair for making the audience feel the joy and caring that she has for each of the students.  She brought the accomplishments of all the students in all areas to life for the audience as she talked about what they had been doing at school and throughout the community.

She recognized the students for all of their endeavors from community service to academics to internships to athletics, arts and fun.  She urged them to continue with their goals and activities. 

“I ask you to continue to pursue your passion; continue to shape your potential, and to remember the words of Yoda:  “there is no try; there is only do or not do,” she said.

Superintendent Dr. Frank Bass gave a moving speech to the class.  He, like Mohr, recognized students and asked them to stand and be recognized by the audience.  He spoke of their senior year while weaving a look at their future into his words.  Introducing those going into the armed services, public services and allied health fields, he told them they were crossing a threshold and entering a new phase in their lives – a phase with twists and turns. 

“Buckle your seat belts; you are in for the ride of your lives,” he said.  “Never say never – you just have to believe.”

Mohr, diverting from the scripted graduation ceremonies, spoke very briefly about the opening of Pelham High School in the fall of 1974.  “There were two people who opened those doors in 1974, who have been with us throughout all the years that Pelham High School has been open and who will be retiring at the end of this academic year.”  With that introduction, she asked John Costa, Math Dean, and science teacher Anthony Savaris to stand.  They were affectionately recognized with a standing ovation.

The ubiquitous beach ball was thrown into the air and batted around.  Audience and graduates enjoyed the speeches and the ceremony associated with graduation, but also enjoyed the glimpse into the future.

Salutatorian David Irwin spoke next and set the tone for the student speeches when he began, “Tonight is the culmination of our efforts over the past four years at Pelham High School.  We will reflect upon our accomplishments, while we anticipate our futures.”

David Pereira, Class Essayist, said, “Looking back on our four years, we have dedicated 5,040 hours in classrooms of Pelham High School to get to this special moment.  …So soak in the experience and be proud of yourself for all you have done, but don’t forget about those who helped you along the way.”  Pereira ended his speech by quipping, “The tassel was worth the hassle.”

Jahira Negron, Class President, recounted the history of the class from 8th grade to graduation.  “The past has built us for the future,” she told her fellow classmates.  Calling the other class officers to the stage, Negron presented gifts to the class advisors and thanked them for their assistance over the years.

Guidance Director, Kathryn Sheridan, took the podium and began the announcement of the many awards earned by the graduating class.

Valedictorian Jennifer Gray talked about their four years at Pelham High School as going in the blink of an eye.  “We came to Pelham High School not knowing what to expect and we leave with that same idea about the future.”  She urged her classmates not to be afraid to fail, because “the more we fail, the closer we get to success.”

And then it was time for each graduate to march across the stage and receive a diploma.  When the last name was called and the last diploma handed out, it was time for the recessional and the beginning of the march into the future.  May all your days be bright.

Selectmen to Ask for Special Town Meeting

by Barbara O’Brien

Windham Selectmen have voted unanimously to petition the New Hampshire Superior Court for permission to conduct a Special Town Meeting, pertaining to building a second access road to the new Windham High School. Selectmen made their 5 to 0 decision during the board’s meeting on Monday, June 9.

“Time is of the essence,” Town Administrator David Sullivan said.  Windham High School is set to open its doors to students in September of 2009.  Fire Chief Tom McPherson has said school will not convene unless a second access road has been completed.  Safety for students and staff members is the reason cited by McPherson for requiring the second access to the high school.

A warrant article to fund the second access road was defeated by voters at a school district meeting this past March.  That warrant article was proposed in hopes that the school district would be able to get 30 percent building aid from the state.  It was learned, after the fact, however, that it was unlikely any state funding would be forthcoming if the road would also serve as a public roadway. 

Town and school officials don’t want to wait until next March to put the question to voters again.  David Sullivan looked into two options for holding a Special Town Meeting: either combining it with the State Primary Election this coming September or the General (Presidential) Election in November.  Sullivan said he learned that proposing a special warrant article to be decided during the General Election is prohibited by law, but it can be combined with the Primary Election.  “However, we need to plan immediately to accomplish this,” he added. 

The State Superior Court must be petitioned for permission to have the special warrant article included during the Primary Election, because it involves the raising and appropriation of money. Sullivan said, once the petition is submitted, the Court has 30 days in which to respond. If permission is granted, a notice of the special warrant article must be posted a minimum of two weeks prior to the voting date. “It can be done,” Sullivan said, but it needs to be planned for and completed in a timely manner.  This year’s Primary Election is scheduled for Tuesday, September 9.

The proposed warrant article to be sent to Superior Court is similar to the one defeated by school district voters this past March. It is expected to ask voters to raise and appropriate up to $1.25 million for engineering and construction costs through the procurement of bonds and/or notes. It is undecided, at this time, whether the second access road will be gravel or fully paved. It is anticipated that the second access will traverse the area of the old London Bridge Road, a section which was discontinued in the 1960s, up to its intersection with Castle Hill Road.

Sullivan said that the proposed $1.25 million price tag is “the worst case scenario.”  Following a non-public meeting, selectmen also proposed a second warrant article to be decided this coming September during the Primary Election.  That second warrant article pertains to land acquisition regarding the second access road. No other details were given concerning the land to be acquired.

Selectmen voted 4 to 1 to move forward with proposing the second warrant article (land acquisition). Selectmen Dennis Senibaldi (chairman), Roger Hohenberger, Charles McMahon and Bruce Breton (vice-chairman) voted in favor of the proposal. Only Selectman Galen Stearns voted in opposition.

A public hearing on the layout of the second access road is scheduled for the selectmen’s meeting on Monday, July 21, following a 6 p.m. site walk of the area by town officials.

Testing for Septic Contamination Okayed

by Barbara O’Brien

Windham town officials will soon be using two methods to test for possible septic system contamination of certain lakes and ponds.

Planning and Development Director Al Turner, who also serves as Windham’s health inspector, said State Department of Environmental Service (DES) officials are now recommending that a conductivity meter be used to test bodies of water for possible septic contamination.  The meters use a system of electrical impulses to determine the bacteria level.  Windham has traditionally used a more simplistic test that determines the level of certain bacteria in the water. 

As a result of the discussion held during the board’s Monday, June 9 meeting, selectmen decided by consensus to use both types of tests, at least for the time being.  Turner agreed that conducting both types of test was a good idea, so that the results of the two tests could be compared.

Turner said that a conductivity meter can currently be borrowed from the State DES. If they prove to work well, then town officials can look into purchasing a couple of meters for Windham, he said. Conductivity meters were said to cost less then $100 each.

The main areas of concern for possible septic system pollution in Windham include Cobbett’s Pond, Canobie Lake, and Seavey Pond.  Area lakes and ponds are routinely tested annually, at specific spots along the shoreline, Turner said.  Tests are also done as the result of any complaints of possible septic system failure. 

Turner explained that the bacteria tests which have traditionally been done are very limited in scope. If a problem is detected, town officials then pursue the source of that contamination, through such methods as the use of dye being put into toilets and observing where the dye filters to, once the toilet is flushed.

Advice from town officials is available to those who have smaller ponds and bodies of water on their own property, although no monetary assistance to conduct testing is provided through town coffers.

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