Fun at Windham Swing Band’s Concert

by Doug Robinson

Jay Conant, John Farley, Mike Kulik, and Rob Casey toot their tones through the tubes of their trumpets to tempest the tunes of the opening song Groovin Hard

Toes tapped, fingers snapped, children danced, smiling faces moved their heads up and down, and the spectators rocked back and forth in their aluminum chairs in appreciation as they listened to the melodic Big Band tunes played by the Windham Swing Band during their recent concert on the Windham Common.

Today, the 18-piece Windham Swing Band plays concerts, dances, and functions throughout the area.  The Swing Band has full big band instrumentation, including vocalists Jenna Bee and Amy Santorelli and their repertoire of songs, such as Ain’t Mis-Behavin, Groovin Hard, Flintstones, Zoot, Georgia, and Sing Sing.  Under director Rob Daisy, the musicians “swing from the 30s, 40s, and 50s up to the present day.”  The Swing Band’s repertoire pays tribute to the music and leaders of the Big Band Era, including Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and others.  They perform such favorites as Moonlight Serenade, Swing, Swing, Swing, Take the A Train, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Georgia on My Mind, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, as well as more modern tunes such as Zoot Suit Riot and Jump, Jive and Wail.

The Windham Swing Band participates with the Windham Community Band.

The Windham Community Band, since 1997, has shared a love of music and performance, entertaining and providing quality Big Band music to not only the Windham community but to the communities of York Beach, ME, Big E in Springfield, MA, and Nashua and Sandown, NH.  “Co-founded by Roanne Copley, Frank Rydstrom, and Bruce Lee (music director from 1997 through October 2004), the membership quickly increased from the original eight musicians and now consists of about 60 total members and includes three performing groups:  the Windham Concert Band, the Windham Swing Band, and the Windham Flute Ensemble.  The Windham Community Band is a volunteer non-profit organization based in Windham.  Its parent organization is the Friends of Windham Arts and Recreation.  Members range in age from teens to seniors and come from many walks of life:  music teachers, doctors, business people, technical professionals, students, and retirees.  They all share a love of music and performance.”

For more information about the Windham Swing Band, the Windham Concert Band or the Windham Flute Band, visit their Website:

Fish and Game Hosts State Trapshoot Championship

by Lynne Ober

While five competitors can shoot in each round, only one shoots at a time. 

Once again Pelham Fish and Game Club was the center of activity as the three day 109th Annual New Hampshire State Trapshoot Championship was held.

By Friday morning 127 avid trapshooting contestants had already signed up and were starting their preliminary rounds.  Before the championship ended, open 200 contestants, from several states, did their best to take home the trophies and the prize money.  The prize table was filled with goodies that were awarded each day, culminating in the grand prize winners in each category.

Trap shooting is one of the three major forms of competitive clay pigeon shooting (shotgun shooting at clay targets).  The others are Skeet shooting and sporting clays.  American Trap is popular throughout the United States and may well be the most popular form of clay target shooting in North America.  The ATA is the primary governing body of American trapshooting and is one of the largest shooting sports organizations in the world and the New Hampshire Trapshooting Association, who certified this weekend’s event, is a branch of the ATA.

“It’s a sport that can be enjoyed by all,” said Hudson resident Sue Wright, who has been shooting since she was very young.  Although she was volunteering and not shooting at this event, she was enjoying the camaraderie and watching the competitors concentrate and score.  “It’s something that my husband and I do.  We travel around and enter various events.”

Jason Green, who was the Clays Chairman for the event, and Steve Szczechura helped organize the weekend long shoot.  “There hasn’t been an event like this in New Hampshire for several years and we are very excited.”  Green and Szczechura brought the three-day championship back to New Hampshire from Massachusetts where it had been held.

Under bright sunny skies, it was obvious that shooters were enjoying not only the competition, but also the facilities.  “This is a great club,” said one shooter as he hurried off to post his score.  “The weather is even terrific and it’s just good to be outdoors after all that rain.”

American trap is broken down into three categories: singles, doubles, and handicap.  The targets, also called clay pigeons, are thrown by a machine located at approximately ground level and covered by a “trap house.”  For singles and doubles, there are five “stations,” each 16 yards behind the trap house. 

In singles, each competitor shoots at five targets from each station.  The trap machine oscillates left to right within a 35-degree arc, and the competitor does not know where in that arc the target will emerge.  Keen eyesight and quick, but steady reflexes allow a shooter to track the small, red clay pigeon and shoot it.  “It really takes a lot of concentration,” said Wright.

In doubles, the machine does not oscillate, but throws two targets simultaneously.  Shooters know where the targets will go.  Each competitor shoots at ten targets from each station. 

In the handicap event, the machine operates the same as in singles, but the shooters stand further away from the trap house.  Adult male shooters start from 20 yards (18.3 m) away; women and sub-juniors start at the 19-yard (17.3 m) line.  Each time a competitor wins an event or shoots a score of 96 or higher, the competitor earns yardage, and must thereafter shoot from further away from the traphouse.  The maximum distance at which the handicap event is shot is 27 yards.  Obviously bragging rights are earned as a shooter moves backwards.  Since the longer distance must be earned with high shooting scores, those shooting from the maximum are considered the masters of shooting.  Safety regulations prohibit members of a handicap squad from shooting at distances more than three yards apart.  In all American trap events, each shooter is allowed only one shot per target.

When shooting American trap for practice or fun a squad of five will shoot 25 targets each for a total of 125.  Registered ATA shoots require shooters to shoot 50, 100, or 200 targets per event (depending on the scheduled event). 

When not shooting competitors chatted and rested on chairs in the shade.  The Fish and Game Club provided camping space.  “You always see some folks you haven’t seen for a while at a meet,” said Green.  “We all go to the same events so we become friendly.  It’s just a fun sport.”

After each competitor finishes, one of the tasks is clearing away the empty shells.

Fire Chief Briefs Selectman

by Lynne Ober

Pelham’s Fire Chief Jim Midgley briefed selectmen on the status of a number of projects.  Two of them, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and the ladder truck had no immediate resolution. 

Selectman Ed Gleason said it was encouraging to hear what was going on and thanked the Chief for his presentation.  He then questioned the status of CERT and stated that he’d been told that they were inactive.  Gleason asked for plans or next steps.

Midgley said that he had been working with the National Regional Planning Committee Public Health, who was trying to establish a CERT team and a medical reserve team (MRC).  He reported that he’d had a meeting with the Pelham Citizen’s Core Council, which essentially oversees CERT and MRC and any volunteer organizations covered by FEMA.  Midgley said there were two plans.  As part of that he had interviewed a person who was willing to pick up and move forward with the medical reserve and, at the same time, repeated requests were put out to have someone step up and possibly take over CERT, but no one had.  His next steps were to have discussions with Nashua, who was in the planning process for CERT and MRC.  He said that it might be possible to merge the remnants of Pelham’s CERT with Nashua’s newly forming CERT.  However, this would be at least three months into the future.  If the two CERT groups merged, the overall goal would be to develop a regional team which would provide a larger organization and more resources to draw from.  There had also been some discussion about merging the Town’s MRC with Nashua, but Midgley was reluctant to do so at this point until further evaluation was done. 

When Gleason asked if the Town had the resources and personnel to take over in the event of a catastrophe that would require the services of a CERT group, Midgley stated that the organization had essentially fallen into decay because no one wanted to lead it and there had been in-fighting that occurred.  He said during the ice storm when Pelham needed the CERT team they were unable to help. 

Selectman Bill McDevitt next asked if there was a future for the ladder truck.  Midgley stated that they were trying to track the money to find out who assisted in purchasing the truck.  He said he had been working with Town Administrator Tom Gaydos to review possible alternatives to sell the ladder truck because he didn’t want it to go to a junkyard. 

According to Midgley, the ladder truck passed ladder testing last year, but there was no money to equip it or do body work on it.  He said his goal was to get rid of equipment that was hanging around out back. 

Gaydos said he had been contacted by some people who are interested in purchasing the truck.  Gaydos said the reason that they were researching the truck’s funding was to understand if there were ‘strings or hooks’ that had been lost sight of, such as with donations. 

Selectmen thanked Midgley for his updates and asked that he keep them apprised of future developments with the ladder truck and CERT.

WIRE Given Go-Ahead with High School Alpha Project

by Barbara O’Brien

WIRE — the anagram for Windham Initiative for Renewable Energy — has been given the go-ahead to proceed with what is described as the non-profit organization’s ‘Alpha Project’.

WIRE Chairman Alan Carpenter met with Windham School Board members during their June 30 meeting to provide an update on the group’s progress.  WIRE was chartered in May of 2008, and a volunteer committee established shortly thereafter.  The organization’s mission is to install renewable energy sources at Windham High School, incorporate related topics into the high school curriculum, and to develop educational tie-ins with other outside organizations.

Carpenter reminded school officials that the idea of bringing renewable energy to Windham High School was the vision of former middle school student David Hutchings, “who felt the wind upon his face.”  About two years ago, Hutchings presented a program to school board members involving possible wind turbines to be erected at the new high school site off London Bridge Road.

The Alpha Project being developed by WIRE involves the organization raising approximately $60,000 in donations (not taxpayer dollars) to install a medium-sized wind turbine at the high school, plus a solar array and a weather monitoring station.  Carpenter said the wind turbine would be about 45 feet high with a 12-foot diameter rotor, and would cost about $25,000.  The solar array, which can be used to convert the sun’s energy into electrical energy, would cost about $22,000, while the weather monitoring station carries a price tag of about $1,200.  A monitoring system would cost an additional $10,000, he said.

At this point, the purpose of this equipment is not to produce alternative energy to offset traditional energy use at the high school, Carpenter explained.  “It is for educational purposes.  To give students a head-start,” he said.  “We’re just trying to do something great for the students, something great for the high school, something great for the town,” Carpenter said, also noting that “WIRE is asking for the school board’s blessing to proceed.”

Board members agreed unanimously by a vote of 4 to 0.  Voting in favor were Chairman Bruce Anderson, Jeff Bostic, Mark Brockmeier, and Edward Gallagher.  Vice-Chairman Mike Hatem did not attend the June 30 board meeting.

Thus far, WIRE has raised about $2,500 in donations, all of which are tax-deductible.  For additional information about WIRE, or to make a donation to the project, log onto

Go Green Windham Making Progress with Energy Audit

by Barbara O’Brien

Go Green Windham is a grassroots movement dedicated to promoting green initiatives in the community as well as advocating changes intended to protect the environment from global warming caused by carbon pollution.  Go Green Windham’s goal is to raise awareness and, thereby, have an effect on community actions, resulting in long-term environmental changes on a local basis.

A total of 164 New Hampshire communities, including the Town of Windham, voted to support the New Hampshire Climate Change Resolution, asking that the federal government prioritize climate change policy and lobby local boards of selectmen to appoint an environmental committee to recommend appropriate energy conservation and pollution reduction measures at the local level.

To promote energy efficiency awareness in Windham, two local women decided to take on the task of performing an energy audit of all town buildings.  Neelima Gogumalla, a member of the Windham Conservation Commission, and Dianna Fallon, an alternate member of the Windham Planning Board, began their task several weeks ago.  Late last month they told selectmen that they are about 60 percent finished conducting that audit and hope to have the entire job done before summer’s end.  The volunteer energy audit was previously approved by town officials.

“Our mission is to create a green buzz in the community and move Windham toward environmental awareness,” Gogumalla said.  Goals to be met include establishing a local action plan working toward renewable energy, making green building initiatives, enhancing recycling, implementing organic lawn care, and establishing farmers’ markets within the community.

Gogumalla said they had collected a great deal of raw data and now needed feedback from town officials in order to analyze the data.  They had hoped to get some assistance from area public utility companies but learned, after the fact, that these companies no longer provide such services.

As a portion of the study, Gogumalla and Fallon have been analyzing three years worth of electric, propane, and heating oil bills (2006-2009), scanning floor plans for each town-owned building, doing an inventory of town vehicles, and mapping street lights, of which there are 102 in the Town of Windham.  As the result of the study, the volunteers hope to develop plans for reducing energy use, energy costs, and carbon dioxide emissions within the town.

Recommendations that are expected to be formulated include weatherization options and alternative energy solutions.  The ongoing study includes checking out windows, doors, insulation, types of heating systems, outside lighting, and refrigeration units, some of which are more than ten years old.

Fallon said that state legislation took effect on July 11, which allows local communities to establish energy commissions and advisory committees.  Fallon and Gogumalla are encouraging selectmen to establish an advisory committee at this point, rather than a full-fledged commission.  Suggested membership for such a committee includes town staff, residents who work in relevant trades, members of land use boards, and at-large members of the community.  A total membership of seven individuals is what is being recommended.  The purpose of the committee would be to promote conservation, collect data, perform physical plant audits, develop a master plan for conservation, and create incentives for conserving.  To apply for available grant money, Gogumalla said an energy advisory committee must be in place.

Selectmen said they wanted time to study the results of the energy audit thus far and then plan to hold a workshop on the topic later this summer.  For more information about Go Green Windham, log on to

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