Windham Recreation Hosts Daddy-Daughter Dance

by Doug Robinson

Kevin Butler and daughter Paige enjoy a dance together.

Tiny princesses and tall princes fulfilled a magical dream as daughters and dads danced the night away during the recent Daddy/Daughter Dance hosted by the Windham Recreation Department.

Daughters decked out in beautiful prom dresses and dads decked out in suits, ties, and shiny shoes spent the evening hugging, dancing, and enjoying their time together away from the distractions of life.  Together, they just spent their time loving one another.

‘Promises to Keep’ from Windham provided the proper venue for the daughters and dads who spent their precious time together.  Offering a buffet of drinks, cheeses, snacks, and linen-draped tables, the young daughters were dazzled and dazed as this was their night — a night with dad, alone.

Music was provided by Party, with DJ Todd, and professional photography was provided by Clix Portrait Studio from Salem, offering the couples a memorable evening.  Daughter and dad guests will be offered a 5x7 photo of their special evening.  (The photos can be picked up at the Recreation Center.)

“This is my third one,” commented Scott Baetz.  “I love this time with my daughter.”

John Oudeusdan, owner of Promises to Keep, stated that this is a “great event” and “We are happy to offer the facilities to the Windham Recreation Department.”

As the magic hour of 8 p.m. approached, and before the tiny princesses turned into pumpkins, each girl was offered a beautiful flower provided by Debbie Mackenzie Realty.

“Community involvement is very important to Debbie Mackenzie Reality, and we are not only very happy to be able to help out the Windham Recreation Department, but it gives us joy to be able to bring a smile to the faces of every little girl who was able to attend the Windham Recreation Department’s Daddy/Daughter Dance.  This is a very precious night for these little angels.”

Scott Baetz and his beautiful daughter Olivia take time from their fun evening to pose for the camera.

The dance floor is flooded with daughters and dads enjoying their special time together.

Seniors Dance the Night Away

by Lynne Ober

Ed Bishop and Zel Kosiavelon on the dance floor

Lift a mug of green beer, put on a green hat, put your dancing shoes on, and attend the St. Patrick’s Dance at Hudson’s VFW Hall.  That’s exactly what many did.  The dance was a fundraising event for Pelham’s Council on Aging.

The St. Patrick’s Dance was attended by over 100 people — all of whom had a wonderful evening.  Music was provided by DJ Ray Tremblay.  The Hudson VFW donated the use of the hall to the seniors.  Members baked and brought goodies for everyone.  When guests arrived, tables were covered in bright green tablecloths along with snacks atop them, just waiting for everyone.

Now that the voting is over, and the warrant article to repair the bathrooms in the Senior Center didn’t pass, the Council on Aging is right back at work raising funds for their Senior Center by selling raffle tickets at the Dance.  Diane Brunelle, who said her husband Don was home with a nasty bug, manned the raffle ticket table for the Council.  Father Ed and Terry Desell sold tickets at the door.

It didn’t take long for the room to be filled with happy conversations and lots of dancing.  Hoveling was pleased with the turnout.

“The Council is really working at fundraising for the group.  Everyone has pitched in to help.  It’s just a fun evening.”

And, of course, Hoveling planned lots of fun.  She brought prizes for the best Irish jig, the most Irish-looking participant, the best Irish twist, and others.  She laughed when questioned about whether the twist was really Irish or not.

“Who knows?  It’s just all about having a good time.”

The dance floor was filled all night long.

School Board Discusses Impact of Failed Warrant Articles

by Barbara O’Brien

School Board Chairman Bruce Anderson, who was appointed to that position following the March 10 election, said he is “very disappointed” about the three major warrant articles that failed to pass voter scrutiny.  “These are issues that won’t go away,” Anderson said.  “They are still priorities.”

The three warrant articles that didn’t get enough voter support were:

  • The construction of an additional athletic field and surrounding track at Windham High School
  • Money to pay for architectural fees for renovations to existing school facilities, as well as the possibility of a new middle school
  • The proposed operating budget for the 2009-2010 school year

As for the athletic field and track, the proposed warrant article did get over 50 percent of the vote, Anderson said, but did not get the required 60 percent majority needed to pass a bond issue.

Referring to the failed warrant article pertaining to school facility renovations, Anderson said, “Golden Brook is in serious trouble.”  Golden Brook houses students in grades one and two and will also become home to the new kindergarten program slated for implementation this coming September.  Golden Brook is considered as the top priority in needing renovations.

As for the operating budget for next year, which will now revert to the default budget, Anderson said the administration is now going over priorities and trying to determine where the cuts should be made.  The default budget is approximately $620,000 less than the original proposed budget for the 2009-2010 school year.  “This issue won’t be solved overnight,” Superintendent Frank Bass said.  “It will be an exhaustive process.”  Anderson said it is hoped that no staff reductions will be required to balance the smaller default budget.

“Even in a bad economy we have to find a way to address these needs,” Anderson said.  “We’re working to boil down ideas, then we’ll bring them to the public.”

Resident Cathy McClendon was the only resident who addressed school board members during their March 17 meeting.  McClendon said she wanted them to know why she and some others had voted down the proposed warrant articles.  “I want to give you some perspective on this issue,” McClendon said.  According to McClendon, many people voted against the proposed warrant articles because they felt the school board wasn’t listening to the public’s input.  As examples, McClendon cited the “debacle” over the selection of high school colors, an issue which went on for more than a year; the decision board members made in opening the new high school with only two grades, as opposed to the original intent of all four grade levels; and the decision to go ahead with building an access road at the high school, one which meets town standards for a Class V roadway.  “Twice the voters said ‘no’ to the proposed road,” she said.  “Yet selectmen and school board members are going ahead with it, anyway.”  “It’s our town, our money, our schools,” continued McClendon.  “Yet, time and time again, we’re told that you’re smarter than the rest of us.  A lot of people are annoyed.  You can’t just say you know better than the rest of us.”

Mike Hatem, school board vice chairman, pointed out that the current school board is not the same board which made those decisions.  Furthermore, he added, “I never heard any board member say they thought they were smarter than other residents of Windham.  The school board only presented the ideas we thought were in the best interest of the schools.  A lot of reasoning went into those decisions.”

Edward Gallagher, newly elected board member, said, “We’re united as a board to encourage communication and transparency.  We need input from residents to make valid decisions.  We are accountable to the residents.”

The school board will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, March 31 at 7 p.m. at the SAU 28 building on Route 111.  This meeting is open to the public.

Town Suggests Three Projects for County Grant

by Barbara O’Brien

Windham Town Administrator David Sullivan has said that three local projects are being recommended for a Rockingham County Planning Commission grant.  Those projects include:

  1. The laying of conduits for future sewer expansion during the current reconstruction work being done along Route 93 in Windham;
  2. The construction of a new salt shed facility on town-owned land off Ledge Road adjacent to the transfer station (a proposal which failed to garner sufficient voter support during the recent town election, but one which has been mandated to be in place by 2011);
  3. The construction of the second portion of London Bridge Road intended to  provide a second point of access to the new Windham High School scheduled to open to students this coming August.

During the board meeting on Monday, March 16, Sullivan told selectmen that Rockingham County Planning Commission members have concerns over what was described as “the under-utilization of commercial properties” within the Town of Windham.

Sullivan said plans are to meet with commission members some time after a new Windham Community Development Director is hired.  That position is currently in the interview process.

Modular Classrooms Approved for Windham Kindergarten

by Barbara O’Brien

Public kindergarten will become a reality in the Town of Windham for the first time in history this coming September.

Windham was one of only about a half dozen communities in the entire country that did not provide public kindergarten for its five year olds.  All that changed when the State of New Hampshire Department of Education mandated the implementation and told the few remaining towns to have public kindergarten in place by the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.

For the past year, school administrators in Windham have been working diligently to work out the issues surrounding the implementation of public kindergarten.  One of the major issues was remedied during the Tuesday, March 17 school board meeting, when board members voted 4 to 0 to lease a single 10-classroom portable to house incoming kindergarteners.

According to Windham School District Business Administrator Donna Clairmont, the modular building will be placed on the grounds of Golden Brook Elementary School.

“Logistically, this makes the most sense,” Clairmont said.

Two bids were received on the proposal, the most economical of which included the three-year lease as well as installation.  Board members voted unanimously to award the contract to Schiavi Homebuilders, of Oxford and Bethel, Maine, for a total cost of $632,430.  The entire cost of leasing will be paid by the State of New Hampshire Department of Education for a three-year period.  After that, Windham must either come up with a permanent facility for kindergarten classes or pay for leasing the modular classrooms on its own.

Voting in favor of awarding the contract to Schiavi Homebuilders were chairman Bruce Anderson, vice chairman Mike Hatem, Edward Gallagher and Mark Brockmeier.  Newly elected school board member Jeff Bostic did not attend the March 17 board meeting.

Windham’s kindergarten program includes a traditional half-day, two-session format.

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