BMX All-Star Andrew Russell Sweeps First Place at Grand National Championship

by Andrea Ganley-Dannewitz

Andrew Russell and trophy

Salem has a national champion in town, and, sorry, we’re not talking a Blue Devils team — it’s 15-year-old Andrew Russell who took an amazing win at the National Bicycle League’s BMX Grand National Championship, which was held in Louisville, Kentucky on August 29, 30, and 31.

This was a nationally-televised event that had more meaning to it than in years past.  BMX bicycle racing made its Olympic debut in Beijing this year, an exciting moment for all who love this sport.  It had special meaning to Andrew as well.  This was his year to really shine and he knew it.  This was his first time participating in the Grand National Championship.  Who knew he would just take the cake?  He did, of course.

Andrew trained and practiced for this race just as hard as he does for every race.  He has the will to succeed at this, and nothing will stand in his way.  He proved that when he took home a trophy nearly as tall as he is.  Andrew placed first in the 15-year-old rookie class at the Grand Nationals.  His point standings hold him as 6th in the nation, 1st in the state of New Hampshire, and 1st in the Northeast Region.

With his win at the Grand Nationals comes another big step.  Andrew is moving up to the novice class and leaving his rookie days behind.  He will start out at 19th in the region for the novice class, but, as many saw last season, he won’t be staying in 19th for very long.  Andrew is truly passionate about this sport.  His training and exercise routines are strenuous and take strong dedication on his part.  He eats healthy, drinks quality beverages to stay hydrated, and also started cross-training for bicycle road racing.  There is much more peddling involved with road race biking than there is in motocross, so Andrew took up both to better his BMX career.  He will be the best, so a lifelong champion has got to start somewhere!

After the Grand Nationals, Andrew returned to school at Salem High School.  His large trophy brought many “oooohs and aaaahhhs” from admirers, and he received a personal congratulations from Salem High Principal Bill Hagen.  The two spoke for a while about Andrew’s achievement and also his hopes for the future, which is to go to the Olympics.  His awesome trophy was displayed at the school on September 3 – 5.  It now is displayed at Tri-City Bicycles in Rochester.

Andrew’s mother, Marie Russell, is owner and manager of the Crossfire Racing Team, which Andrew belongs to.  Tri-City Bicycles has been their main sponsor since the start, but they are looking for more corporate sponsorships.  The team started up a fundraising campaign during the summer months, which went well.  Marie was offered a deal through the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission to do a tagging form of fundraising outside selected liquor store locations, including Salem.  They offered insight to the public on what BMX is all about and how it brings families together.  They had promotional information as well as bringing buddy passes for kids, so they could try it out at no expense and see what the fun is all about.  Those who are interested in extending an offer of corporate sponsorship to Crossfire Racing should contact Marie Russell at 603-275-6891.

BMX bicycle motocross is a fun family event to watch, and it is a fantastic sport that can bring families together.  For more information, visit the National Bicycle League’s Website at

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Soule Back-to-School Picnic

Annalee and Jennifer LaDuke (sisters)

One beautiful day after school, Soule School held a Back-to-School Picnic complete with many tasty foods donated by the PTA.  Teachers blended in with the students, while meeting parents.  Parents had a chance to meet teachers and old friends.  Students could be seen just having a good time on jungle-gym equipment or running around or eating.  This was a fun time just to enjoy being a kid!  Good job, as usual, Soule!

Principal Anna with her friends:  Christina (gr. 5), Alexandra (gr. 5), Dylan (gr. 1), Drew (gr. 4), and Daria (gr. 5)

Friends Katie Nippert and Maddie Pitcher (both gr. 4)

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Selectmen’s Notes

by Jay Hobson

At the Board of Selectmen meeting held at the Salem High School media center, Director of Engineering Bob Puff outlined the capital improvement plans for future projects.  Each project was given a rating by the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Committee as to its relative importance.  A rating of 1 being low and 4 being high.

Among the projects covered were the three bridges mandated by the state for repair.  The Cluff Crossing bridge had an estimated repair cost of $548,000 and a rating of 4.  The Pelham Road bridge came in at $420,000 and a rating of 4 and the Lawrence Road bridge came in with an estimated price tag of $1.2 million and a rating of 3.92.

Also at the meeting former Town Manager Henry LaBranch represented the Salem Depot Train Station Renovation Committee.  He said the renovation committee’s application to the state would allow business contributors to take a tax credit of 75 cents for every dollar they donate.

Fees will rise for electrical, building and plumbing permits effective September 15 and zoning board fees will rise as of September 22.  The fee structure will continue to be reviewed every three years.

Dave Topham, representing the rail trail project committee, outlined to the board the reclamation of the corridor of the abandoned Boston and Maine railway that runs from Salem to Windham as a pedestrian and bicycle path.  He said it would bring users from the Massachusetts border to Windham and possibly make use of the train station that is being renovated.

The meeting ended with selectman Mike Lyons suggesting board members go to the transfer station to highlight the town’s recycling efforts. 

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Voting Day

From left:  Anita Low, Patricia Podbielski, John Dalrymple, and Peter Rielly.
All are supporters of various candidates on the ballot this year.

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