Windham’s Knight Ride a Success Again

Kelsi Record, Courtney Record, Officer Jessica Flynn and Jackie Knight

The Knight Ride, a legacy to Officer Mark W. Knight, left the Furniture World on Rockingham Road in Windham, and headed to the Seacoast and 210 riders were police-escorted along New Hampshire’s back roads on the somewhat rainy day, returning to the Salem-Derry Elks for a barbecue.

Knight was a local business owner as well as a respected member of the Windham Police Department, who died of cancer last July.  This was the second Knight Ride with the goal to recognize him and to help support him and his family.  Hundreds of fellow police officers, firefighters, family, friends, motorcycle enthusiasts and people touched by Knight came to show their overwhelming  support.

“We awarded the first scholarship in Mark’s name this year,” said Officer Jessica Flynn, his former partner.  “We hope to continue the Knight Ride for years to come and to fund more scholarships in Mark’s name.  It’s a great way to honor and remember Mark.  We got a lot of compliments about how organized we were.  We were very moved by the amount of people that came out to honor and remember Mark.” 

The date for next years ride has not yet been determined.  If you are interested in next year’s event visit

Flynn and the organizers would like to “thank everyone involved who made the Knight Ride a great success.  We very much appreciate all the hard work and any and all donations we received for the barbecue, silent auction, and T-shirts.  It is this support that will continue to make the Knight Ride a great success for years to come.”

The ride comes out of the morning haze on Route 111 in Salem; lights of the 210 riders can be seen on the highway.

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Lost Girl Leads Police to Children Living in Squalor Conditions

by Andrea Ganley-Dannewitz

Juvenile Detective June Frechette, Health Officer Brian Lockard, and several other officers are pictured here outside the Twinbrook Avenue home, preparing to go inside for the Health Department’s inspection.  The home was condemned temporarily citing numerous health code violations.

A good Samaritan living in the area of Oakridge Avenue called police on Friday, July 4, around 8 p.m. after finding a naked two-year-old girl wandering around on Oakridge Avenue.  When the woman made the call to police she told them the baby had been with her for over twenty minutes already.  This apparently was not the first time this same woman has found this same little girl wandering the neighborhood.

According to Captain Shawn Patten of Salem Police, an officer took custody of the girl and determined her address to be Twinbrook Avenue.  The distance between her home and where she was found was over an eighth of a mile.  Several other officers responded to the home on Twinbrook Avenue, discovering the child’s mother preparing to leave to look for her daughter.  The child’s father also exited the residence when he noticed police outside.

Officers questioned the child’s parents while noticing the outside of the home was littered with garbage, broken toys, a mattress, and broken household appliances.  During this time of questioning, the adults were having trouble determining exactly how many children were supposed to be at the residence.  They had three children, which belonged to relatives in their care at the time in addition to three of their own children.  Two of the family’s children were not home at the time. 

When officers decided to enter the residence for the purpose of making sure that all children were accounted for, what they discovered was horrendous and extremely sad.  The smell of rotten food and trash was pungent.  There was human fecal matter and used diapers on the floors and also littered throughout the house.  There was rotten food and ants covering countertops and also in several other rooms throughout the residence.  The floors throughout the entire home were littered with rotten food, cigarette butts, beer bottles, and numerous other trash items.  Officers also stated it appeared that raw sewage had backed up into the sinks and toilets.  The home had several broken windows, food and filth smeared on the windows, ripped shades, and garbage in the potted plants.  The bedrooms of the home revealed trash everywhere, mattresses with no sheets, a baby crib with no mattress, filth and broken items everywhere.  The rear of the home revealed a pool filled with black water and swim toys floating in it.  The deck attached to the pool was also littered with trash and broken toys. 

When the officers entered the home, the father actually stated to one of the responding officers that they had not had time to clean lately and was attempting to try to pick up things off of the floor.  Officers noted that there was literally little to no food found in the home, only a bag of frozen French fries in the freezer.  Yet, there were pizza boxes, sodas, and rotted old take out food throughout the residence.

The final count of children was five indoors and the baby outside, leaving a total of six children discovered in the heinous mess.  Police cordoned off the entire 1600 square foot raised ranch split-level home with police tape, forbidding anyone from entering the home and instructing the parents to make other living arrangements for the time being.  The State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) was notified and are conducting their own investigation.  Several of the children were released at the scene to relatives who live nearby.  The remaining children went with their parents to stay at a hotel.

Salem Health Officer Brian Lockard conducted an inspection of the property on Monday, July 7.  Officer Lockard deemed the home uninhabitable, citing the squalor conditions and numerous health code violations inside.  The home has since been condemned.  Information in Lockard’s report was passed on to the Salem detectives working the case as well as DCYF.  It is not available to the public at this time due to the active and ongoing investigation amongst police and DCYF officials.

According to public town record, Kim Forzese of Peterborough owns the home.  Captain Patten said the homeowner had been on vacation but was in New Hampshire yesterday and saw the story on local television news.  She arrived at the Salem Police Department on Tuesday morning in tears.  The family residing at the home has been renting the property from Forzese for about two and a half years.

Captain Patten has said it is sad to discover children in our community living in such a traumatic and disgraceful situation.  Immediate sadness was the reaction of the responding officers upon entering the home.  Captain Patten said the mother stays home, and the father of this family is employed and according to the landlord they always paid rent on time.  All of the utilities were paid for and turned on.

Salem police have received complaints from neighbors in the past regarding this family due to the children wandering around unsupervised in the neighborhood.  However, no one had any idea the interior of the residence was that bad.  The family’s five children range in age from 2 – 9.  The mother did state she was expecting her sixth child.  The children of school age attend Salem public schools.

There was no immediate indication of physical abuse, or any drug or alcohol abuse amongst the parents, so at this point in the investigation any potential substance abuse is not known.  However, the investigation is still very much open, active, and ongoing.  Captain Patten said the family will be permitted to retrieve personal belongings but will not be able to return to the property.  Charges against the parents are forthcoming.

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Eleanor and Jean

Eleanor Strang and Jean Williams greet guests.

The Kelley Library put on an incredible going away party for Eleanor Strang and Jean Williams.  In reality, it was classified as an Open House, but it was more like an elegant party put on for these two ladies who were leaving their positions with over 60 years total of dedicated service.

After an opening by Rosemarie Hartnett, introductions were made with Beth Roth (Chair, Salem Board of Selectmen), and Michael York (NH State Librarian) presiding. Sweet words about Eleanor and Jean were stated by Rosemarie Hartnett and Sally Gilman, followed by Recognition of Service by Martha Breen.  Commendations from Governor Lynch for each of the ladies, then Certificates of Appreciation were given from the Library Board of Trustees.  The Windham Flute Ensemble performed at 7 p.m., gifts followed.

Eleanor and Jean will never be forgotten and their library work will live on. Good luck!

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