Cub Scouts Having Fun

Scouts Brad Dubay, Cole Childers, Christopher Burke

Windham Pack 263 Den 8, led by their akela Chris Burke, attended a New Hampshire Fisher Cats sleepover event at Stadium in Manchester.  It was a beautiful summer evening for baseball and camping.  The home team lost 7-2, but the scouts enjoyed the game and were treated to the movie Bolt on the big screen during the sleepover portion of the event.  Fun was had by many troops and their akela in the greater Manchester area.

Red Hatters at Rockingham

Bev Johnson, Queen Mother - doing introductions

Once again, the Rockingham Rubies celebrated an ‘Afternoon at the Races’.  Red Hatters came from all over New Hampshire to laugh, share crazy hats and clothing, and just sit down with each other and have a good time.  There was plenty of great food, and then came the chance to try their luck at horse racing.  Everyone left with fond memories of a nice time together.

When I am an Old Woman

I shall wear purple...

With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired

And gobble up smaples in shoops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils

And beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked

And surprised when suddenly I am old,

And start to wear purple.

Jeremy Joseph

Birthday ladies - Ida Ballard, Claire Honohan, Camille Lorusso

Dorothy Eagles - too young to be a Red Hatter

Horse betting on the side

Conservation Commission Requests Funding for Open Space Analysis

by Barbara O’Brien

Wayne Morris, representing the Windham Conservation Commission, has approached selectmen with the idea of tapping Community Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) funds for the purpose of an open space analysis.  Town officials were not overly-warm in their response to the request, however.

CTAP money was set aside to help communities being affected by the reconstruction and widening of I-93 along the corridor from Salem to Manchester.

Town Administrator David Sullivan said Windham currently has a total of three CTAP studies underway, totaling $15,000 in funding.  There is an additional $15,000 still available to Windham through CTAP, Sullivan said.

Morris said he anticipates that an open space analysis, which would look at the cost to the community of leaving land undeveloped versus commercial or residential development of that same land, would cost approximately $5,000 to $6,000 to conduct.  Morris said he feels “open space pays for itself and is not a burden to taxpayers.”  Having an analysis done, prior to Election Day next March, would allow Windham voters to make a more informed decision, Morris said.

This past March, a proposed warrant article regarding $500,000 to purchase various parcels of conservation land was defeated by voters.  Many feel that the proposal was shot down due to the poor economy.  Others said they feel voters cast negative ballots because they didn’t understand how the cost of the land would actually be funded.

Selectmen Roger Hohenberger and Ross McLeod both said there are already many regional communities which have conducted similar studies.

“You would merely need to change the name of the town and apply the information to Windham,” McLeod said.  Neither of the selectmen felt that a new study was needed at the present time.

Selectman Bruce Breton said he’d like to put the proposal on hold until after the new Economic Development Director has a chance to acclimate to the job.  Laura Scott, Windham’s previous town planner, took over the job of Economic Development Director earlier this month.  She had been serving as Town Planner for about three months, following the departure of Alfred Turner.

Selectmen agreed with Breton to take a wait-and-see approach to making an application to CTAP for the money to have an open space analysis conducted.

‘Safe Routes to School’ Program Proposed

by Barbara O’Brien

Both selectmen and school board members are putting their support behind the federally-sponsored, state-administered ‘Safe Routes to School’ program.

Wayne Morris, representing the Windham Rail Trail Alliance, met separately with the board of selectmen and school board members earlier this month to discuss potential support for the program.

The program, which is currently making $2.7 million available nationwide, generally provides communities with about $100,000 for approved projects.  Morris said there is the possibility that project funding could be increased up to $250,000 for an approved municipality.  Any municipality participating in the program would need to pay for the project up-front and then be reimbursed 100 percent.

Morris told town and school officials that the preliminary proposal involves tying the Safe Routes to School program in with the existing bike path, which was begun in Windham in 1997.  Originally, he said, the bike path was designed to extend from the Pelham Town Line to the Derry Town Line.  Unfortunately, due to a lack of money, the bike trail was only completed between Center School, Windham Middle School, and Golden Brook Elementary, running along Lowell Road.  Now, Morris said, preliminary plans are to finish the bike path from Golden Brook School to the Pelham Town Line, a distance of approximately 6/10 of a mile.  Estimates for engineering and construction run up to about $200,000, he said.

Morris told both town and school officials that, at this point, he is looking to develop a task force to develop travel plans for the project.

“I’m asking for support for the program now, as well as a warm body, eventually to help develop a travel plan (in conjunction with a task force),” he said.

Selectman Roger Hohenberger said he feels the grant money is worth looking into.  The other selectmen agreed and urged Morris to move forward.  The application for the money is due this coming November.

School board member Ed Gallagher suggested that local scouting groups or high school students be asked to work on the project as a community service endeavor.

Superintendent Frank Bass said he feels there will be a great deal of interest by students.

“We’re glad to help in any way we can,” Bass told Morris.

Morris will return with an update for town and school officials when additional information becomes available.

Laptop Insurance Deductibles Added at Windham High School

by Barbara O’Brien

As the commencement of Windham High School’s initial year of operation draws closer, school administrators are continuing to fine-tune curricula and policies, including details regarding the one-to-one laptop program for students.

During the school board’s workshop on August 13, Windham High School Principal Richard Manley recommended implementing deductibles for a tier of damages.  Previously, board members had decided that the insurance coverage for laptops would be paid out of the 2009-2010 school district budget and no charges would be made to students, at least not for the first school year.  Board members agreed that the first year of the laptop program would be a learning experience for administrators, and they decided to take a cautious approach to insurance.  The cost to the school district of insuring the laptops for this first year is approximately $18,000.

It was Manley’s recommendation at the follow-up meeting, however, that there be three tiers of deductibles assessed to students for “malicious or careless” damages to their laptop computers.  The purpose of the deductible payments is to instill a sense of responsibility and ownership in students using school-issued laptops.  The three levels of damages recommended by Manley are: minor ($50 deductible to be paid by student); moderate ($100 deductible to be paid by student); severe ($150 deductible paid by student).  Deductibles would be assessed per incident.

Manley also explained that the factory warranty on each computer would cover malfunction and other such inherent problems occurring with each laptop.  The insurance policy would, therefore, apply to damages or losses above-and-beyond issues covered by the warranty.

“This provides some student accountability,” Manley said, adding that the deductible program being proposed for Windham is based on a similar and successful one in a high school in Arizona.

“We really don’t expect that many claims.  Not at all,” said Terry Bullard, school district information technology director.

In other areas where one-to-one laptop programs have been used, reports indicate that damages and loss are minimal and that students tend to take very good care of the equipment.

The one-to-one laptop program involves issuing an Apple computer to each student for the entire time he or she is a student at Windham High School.  The value of each computer is approximately $800.  The laptops are being purchased by the school district and will be on loan to each student, just as a textbook would be.  School board members unanimously approved the one-to-one laptop program late last year.

For this school year, only freshmen and sophomores will be attending Windham High School, so less laptops are necessary than will be in the future.  (For the 2009-2010 school year, juniors and seniors will continue attending classes at Salem High School through an extended tuition agreement.)

Bullard told school board members that she will be tracking all damage data on a regular basis and providing routine reports to administrators.

School board members voted 3 to 1 to implement the tier of deductibles for damages to laptops.  Voting in favor of the motion were Vice Chairman Mike Hatem, Mark Brockmeier, and Edward Gallagher.  Chairman Bruce Anderson voted against the motion.  School board member Jeff Bostic did not attend the August 13 board meeting.

Bullard also informed board members that plans are to have an Apple computer-certified technician on staff during the 2010-2011 school year.  This will be much less expensive than sending the laptops out for repairs, she said.

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