Salemhaven Celebrates 28 Years with Rededication Ceremony

by Andrea Ganley-Dannewitz


Salem High School Junior ROTC cadets raise the flag at the rededication.

Salemhaven had a great start to its weeklong celebration of the newly remodeled, state-of-the-art nursing home with a grand rededication ceremony that drew a crowd of more than 100 people.  The ceremony was complete with a flag raising by Salem High Schools ROTC cadets and the national anthem, guest speakers, WCCM broadcasting live, and a ribbon cutting.

This was a special event for all involved, celebrating the hard work the not-for-profit nursing home has done for its residents over the past 28 years.  Reverend Dan Weaver was the keynote speaker.  In 1969 he was the clergyman at the Pleasant Street United Methodist Church.  He told the story of how two little Methodist churches pulled an entire community together over 10 years to make the idea a reality.  Weavers wife, Ella May, said, I think this was a truly blessed event.  The turnout was fantastic and it was just beautiful to see so many come together for this.  What Salemhaven has done for this community is priceless.

Ninety-two-year old Reverend Walter Martin, chaplain at Salemhaven for more than nine years, read the closing prayer.  The ceremony was concluded with a ribbon cutting but not without the help of Salemhavens longest residing resident, Helen Stott, who has lived at Salemhaven for 20 years.

Representatives were present from every service organization: Donna Morris of the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce, state Representative Mary Griffin, and many community business leaders.

Stephanie Micklon, community liaison for Salemhaven, worked hard with her colleagues in coordinating the events held all week, such as Sugar and Spice Night recognizing and celebrating their volunteers, Spa Day for employees, and an elegant invitation-only dinner celebrating the residents and their families.  She and all Salemhaven staff were thrilled to see such a large turnout for their special day, and seeing so many old friends who worked so hard to create Salemhaven, back together to celebrate.

The newly remodeled Salemhaven features a grand entryway, remodeled bedrooms, a state-of-the-art nursing center, and a new hospice to be completed soon. 


Long-term resident Helen Stott cuts the ribbon for the rededication 28 years after it was opened. Assisting her are The Rev. Dan Weaver and Administrator Raymond Milliard.

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Finding the Kindergarten Solution

by Andrea Ganley-Dannewitz

The Salem School Board discussed possible options for long- and short-term solutions for providing public kindergarten.  The state is requiring all districts to provide public kindergarten by the 2009-2010 school year after the state extended the original deadline for districts such as Salem that were not ready by the 2008-2009 academic year.

Superintendent Michael Delahanty discussed with the board three possible long-term options.  The first is to build one new elementary school designed for grades kindergarten-five.  This would require the town to redistrict all schools resulting in all elementary schools operating kindergarten-five curriculum.  The second option is to build a stand-alone kindergarten.  The third is to construct an elementary school for grades five and six, which would free up space at all elementary schools to provide kindergarten classrooms, and free up space at Woodbury Middle School by moving the sixth graders out.

Though the long-term outlook was discussed the board is simply under the gun for a solution to the issue, which needs to be presented to the state by December 1, 2008.  The good news is that for a temporary solution the state will pay 100 percent of the cost to lease, install and set up portable.   Delahanty emphasized that the portable classrooms will not be used for kindergarten, but for older pupils.  It is a temporary solution and the term will be no longer than three years.  By 2012 a permanent solution must be in place.

Another option, being investigated by Delahanty,  for temporary kindergarten while the long-term solution is put in place is to contract private kindergartens.  The issue with this is that private kindergartens are only required to meet the states daycare facility requirements and not the state minimum requirements for public education.  With so many private facilities calling themselves kindergartens, how can the town ensure these facilities will suddenly meet the states minimum requirements such as having all personnel certified as early childhood educators?  It cant.  This appears that it will be unlikely that the school board will use this option.  If this option is chosen, the private kindergartens used will be required to meet the states minimum public education requirements.

The long-term solution will be presented in the late fall of 2009.  The school board and Delahanty are moving forward with cost estimates of temporary classrooms and contracting private kindergarten services.  Delahanty said at the latest a temporary solution will be proposed by November 4 when the school districts operating budget is due.

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United Way Volunteers Clean Up For Opening of Success by 6


Salem Family Resources/Success By 6 received a visit from the “germinators” – volunteers organized by Heritage United Way on its recent Day of Caring.  Pictured are Bill Sherry of National Grid,  Jill Fitzpatrick of National Grid, Cindy Jury of Salem Family Resources-Success By 6 and Kurt Demmer of National Grid. 

Salem Family Resources/Success by 6 prepared for the start of its fall Parenting and Play Group session with help from a crew of United Way germinators, a team of volunteers organized by Heritage United Way on its recent Day of Caring. 

Volunteers from local companies such as National Grid cleaned and prepared toys, equipment and rooms used by families who will begin parenting and play group this week.  Salem Family Resources operates the program at Triumphant Cross Lutheran Church in Salem, which provides space.

These volunteers provided at least 50 man-hours of essential help we needed to get our rooms ready for more than 50 families who will participate in parenting and play group this fall, said Cindy Jury, executive director of Salem Family Resources/Success By 6.

Salem Family Resources provides support and programs to families in the greater Salem area to help them meet the physical, social, emotional and educational needs of their young children.  Through quality continuing programming such as its popular parenting and play groups and support groups for Grandparents as Parents, the organization provides a wide range of information, resources and supportive peer networks that parents and caretakers need to ensure their childs and familys success.

A limited number of openings remains for the fall parenting and play group session.  For more information, contact Cindy Jury at 898-5493 or cljury@comcast.net.

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Cell Phones Ring in SHS Hallways

by Anum Hussain

Salem High School has changed its rule on student use of cell phones and iPods during school hours.

The phones and iPods now can be used during non-instructional time or at teachers’ discretion.

The Student Council had proposed rational reasons on why students should be allowed to use their electronic devices.  In their proposal, the students also presented surveys from parents, students and staff for their opinions.  The opinions varied with individual responses, including the benefit and harm in cell phone and iPod use within the school day.

Student Council member Jill Kukblbeck, who was on the cell phone committee, said the survey was uploaded to the school Website and after three weeks the committee analyzed the results and presented its arguments at a school staff meeting.

Although the idea was sparked at the end of the summer of 2007, the topic was tossed back and forth for a long time, until Principal William Hagen, along with the student committee, persuaded Superintendent Michael Delahanty that the students had valid reasons and added the new rule to the 2008-2009 student handbook.

As a school organization we try to be responsive to what the students needs are, Hagen said, and we recognize that times are changing.

With the new rule, it has a become normal for students to pull out their phones and check messages between classes and in the cafeteria.  Senior Claire Di Lorenzo said she felt free to read texts from friends and respond during lunch without feeling pressured to hide the cell phone under lunch tables.  She said it’s become less stressful to make a phone call when she needs to.

Sometimes I just need to call my mom about being picked up because I feel ill or dropping off a project I left on the kitchen counter, and now I can call her without having to run to the bathrooms, Di Lorenzo said.

The new rule has proved to be beneficial for students and staff.  While students are allowed to use their phones and iPods out of class, teachers remain in charge of the rule within their classrooms.  As our modern society grows more dependent upon technology, Salem High School is adapting to the advancing needs of students.

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Girl Scouts Organize Self-Defense Classes for Silver Award

by Andrea Ganley-Dannewitz


Kaylee Calder, center, gives a forceful kick as Tonya Merten instructs how to do it properly while maintaining balance.  Katelyn Murray, far back, and Shaila DiGiovanni, front, watch Kaylee demonstrate her kick.

Shaila DiGiovanni and Kaylee Calder, both 15, members of Troop 12294, have been pursuing their Silver Awards in Girl Scouts for the past two years.  The award is the highest given for their age group and is equal to an Eagle Scout award for Boy Scouts.  After two years of projects to obtain the award the last step was to be completed is to perform a community service that benefits their female peers.

I attended a two-hour self defense class with police officers.  I mentioned to Kaylee that it may be a good idea to put together a free class for girls our age for our Silver Award project, and she agreed, said Shaila.  For two months the girls planned, organized and coordinated three free self-defense classes for high school girls.  They made flyers, permission slips, obtained mats, a space and instructor Tonya Merten.  They learned coordination and people skills, and persistence.   When asked why they both chose self-defense classes as a community service for the Silver Award, Shaila replied, Because most girls dont know what to do.  This is going to be a big boost in confidence for any girl.

The instructor is a police officer who is the coordinator for Merrimack Colleges Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) program.  She is also a karate black belt.  She taught the girls basic self-defense techniques.  The goal is to teach the girls how to break away, get away and run away.  I hope to teach the girls enough so they are confident and have the knowledge that if something happened they have skills they know they can use to get away, Merten said.

The program continues on September 24 at the Mary A. Fisk Elementary School on Main Street from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

On September 10 the first class was held.  Merten taught the girls how to end unwanted touching, use their voice as a distraction and tool, how to make a proper fist, how to get out of strangleholds, what to do and not to do if attacked from the back or side and if you fall to the ground during an attack.  She also emphasized the need to be assertive and aware of surroundings.  Tonya also explained to the girls how and why to maintain eye contact with their attacker while defending themselves.

The program is still open for more girls looking to attend.  The class is free and permission slips will be available at the door, but need to be signed by a parent before participating.

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