“Getting Down to Business” with the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce

by Denise Dolloff

Cindy Hansberry and Denise Dolloff of Area News Group, publishers of the Pelham-Windham News, Salem Community Patriot and Hudson-Litchfield News

“Getting Down to Business” was the theme of the first Windham Economic Development program presented by the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce and the Windham  Economic Develop Committee this past Thursday night at the new Windham High School.

The main purpose of the event was for the WEDC to share with the town the information gathered and published  in the CURP (Center for Regional and Urban Planning) Study . The study is a self-assessment tool  used by town leaders which provides an analysis of the town’s strengths  and the areas that need improvement. Event planners felt that there was a greater opportunity to expand the program to include additional speakers and create a mini expo for local businesses to market their goods and services on a more personal basis.

Established in 2007, the Windham Economic Development Committees purpose is to identify suitable economic development for Windham and determine how to foster it’s growth.  It’s members are active in local business, schools, town leadership and the chamber.  It’s mission statement: The WEDC encourages commercial growth consistent with the Windham Master Plan, promoting the spirit of the town motto “Old Values-New Horizons”. With their goals in mind, the committee set forth with an agenda to share Windham’s economic development with the community.

The event began with over 65 Windham businesses set up in the foyer of the high school. All types of businesses were on display including local restaurants, caterers, doctors, retailers, builders, salons, bakeries, martial arts studios and publishers.  Exhibitors had an opportunity to network with other business as well as the public.  The actual program included introductory remarks by  Attorney Ruth-Ellen Post, a committee member, who gave an overview of the event as well as introducing the speakers. Dr. Franklin Bass, Superintendent of Schools spoke about the growth of town of Windham and the quality of it’s education and how that attracts businesses to our town. The keynote speaker was Alex Ray, the founder of the Common Man Restaurants and Inns. He spoke about the appeal of Windham and his choice to develop here. He presented a slide show of the hi-lights of his renovations including some of his larger state-wide endeavors.  Laura Scott, Windham’s Community Development Director, presented the Top Ten  reasons for businesses to locate and stay in Windham. The reasons range from location, location, location to aesthetics to our residents level of education.  “The event was a great success with over 65 businesses represented and over 200 community residents in attendance. It was a great kick off event for the Windham Economic Development Committee!” said Laura Scott was asked to reflect on the event.

For more information about the event, visit the town website at www.windhamnewhamphire.com. To view Laura Scott’s PowerPoint presentation click on “What’s new in Windham”.  You may also download the community opinion survey regarding Windham’s economic developing from the website.  Printed copies of the survey are also available at the town offices, building department and at the Nesmith Library. Completed surveys are due no later than October 1st.

Event planners expect to hold additional forums similar to this one. There is a tentative plan for a spring 2010 WEDC event.

George Fredette of SFC Engineering is draped with a scarf created by Ana Krstanovic & Deborah LeBlanc of Katerpillar Scarf Company

Laura Scott, Windham’s Community Development Director, presents a gift from the town of Windham to Alex Ray, founder of the Common Man Restaurants

Car Crashes into Pelham Fire Station

Pelham Fire Station after the crash

On September 20, at 8:17 a.m., the Pelham Police Department reported a motor vehicle accident in which a vehicle crashed through the front of the Pelham Fire Station.

Upon arrival, officers confirmed a two-car motor vehicle accident, in which one vehicle, driven by Leon Moreau, 78, of Somerville, MA, struck the building of the Pelham Fire Station.  Preliminary investigation reveals that both vehicles were traveling northbound and collided at the intersection of Old Bridge Street and Marsh Road.  The second vehicle, driven by Frederick Pepe, 40, of Pelham, forced Moreau’s vehicle into the center bay of the fire station, causing significant structural damage to the building.  Both operators were transported to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.  The building inspector was contacted, as well as a rigging company to build a temporary support system for the façade of the station, so as to allow the removal of the vehicle.

The accident is still under investigation by officers, and alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor at this time.

Police Officer Recuperating

by Barbara O’Brien

A Windham police officer, who suffered serious injuries following a recent bank robbery, is recuperating.

Police Chief Gerald Lewis said that Officer Jason Dzierlatke is “in good spirits” and hoping for a full recovery from injuries sustained when he was struck by the get-away vehicle.  Dzierlatke has worked for the Windham Police Department for the past two years.

Lewis said Dzierlatke was in the process of putting down a spiked strip in the roadway when he was hit.  Spiked strips are used to stop a vehicle by puncturing the tires when the driver is suspected of being involved in a crime and refuses to pull that vehicle over to the side of the road.

The robbery took place on Friday, September 18, at approximately 4:30 p.m. at New England Bank, a branch located on Range Road.  Lewis said a small amount of cash was taken during the incident.  A note was passed to a teller demanding money, but no weapon was displayed, Lewis said.

Following the robbery, the suspect, driven by a male accomplice, left the scene and headed down Range Road in the direction of Griffin Park.  It was a short time later that the vehicle was spotted by Windham Police Officer Scott Rogers.  It was during the ensuing pursuit that Dzierlatke was struck on Route 93 just north of Exit 3 near the Weigh Station in Windham.

Dzierlatke suffered serious injuries to his lower leg and foot, resulting in multiple fractures.  After being taken to an area hospital, he was transported by helicopter to a Boston hospital.

“Officer Dzierlatke put his life on the line,” Lewis said.  “There’s absolutely no doubt about that.”  Although it is anticipated that Dzierlatke will recover fully, it will take a significant amount of time for that healing to take place, Lewis said, adding that he anticipates the officer being off the job for approximately six months.

The two men, Clint Pickering, 23, of Epsom, and Patrick McKeen, 24, of Laconia, were later taken into custody in Dracut, MA.  The following day, the two suspects waived extradition from MA and were arraigned in Salem District Court.  They are currently being held at the Rockingham County Jail in Brentwood on $250,000 bail each.  Pickering, the driver of the vehicle, was charged with Second Degree Attempted Murder.  McKeen is facing charges relating to the bank robbery.  A probable cause hearing will be held in early October.

“The two bad guys are in jail,” Lewis said.  “And I don’t expect them to be out any time soon.”

Lewis said both suspects have extensive criminal backgrounds.

Chief Lewis extended his gratitude to the following individuals and agencies for their assistance in apprehending the two suspects: Sergeant Carl Wagoner, Sergeant Mike Caron, Detective Dan Clark and Officers Brian Bliss and Scott Rogers, all members of the Windham Police Department.  Lewis also thanked the two police dispatchers who were on duty at the time of the incident.  Also assisting in the case were Windham Prosecutor Heather Newell, who Lewis said “worked late into the night” to get the job done, the Salem Police Department, New Hampshire State Police, the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, and the Massachusetts State Police.

“My sincere thanks to each and every one of them,” Lewis said.  “Their assistance was invaluable.”

Lewis also expressed his appreciation to New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, who phoned the police chief the following day to inquire as to Dizierlatke’s condition.  “Thanks to Governor Lynch for his kind consideration in reaching out,” Lewis said.  “For a governor to make such an effort is very rare,” he said, “and deeply appreciated by the entire Windham Police Department.”

Senior Citizens Hit the Stage

by Gloria Sullivan

O’Finn tries to make sense of all the evidence.

The Pelham Senior Center Council on Aging and Pelham Community Theatre and Arts presented their adaptation of C.B. Gilford’s play Any Body for Tea? at Sherburne Hall last weekend.

Janet Daigle, founder of Pelham’s Community Theatre, directed this hilarious comedy featuring six crazy old ladies all swooning over one handsome homicide detective.  She got the idea for the senior production to assist them in raising funds for their building needs.  Daigle has worked with performers of all ages but this was her first experience with a cast consisting of only seniors.

Daigle laughed as she explained that the only glitch in Friday night’s performance was “The dead body walked onstage and then laid down and died.”  Daigle was not sure the audience was aware of the mistake but admitted “That’s why we picked a comedy!”  She also did all the set design and costuming for this production.

The curtains opened to reveal six unmarried ladies struggling to get a glimpse of their handsome bachelor neighbor, Homicide Detective Dennis O’Finn.  In what he thinks is the privacy of his own home, O’Finn is exercising across the street in plain view of his binocular-wielding secret admirers.  The ladies, desperate for O’Finn’s attention, devise a plan to receive a house call from their heartthrob; they plan a homicide and poison the tea of one of their roommates.  The ladies take turns acting giddy in the presence of their neighbor as he investigates the scene of the crime in the ladies’ Victorian living room.  While collecting evidence, O’Finn notices the clear view of his own apartment, and he and his partner, Kramer, played by Bob Batcheller, come to the conclusion that the ladies are simply love struck.  O’Finn deems the death one by natural causes and goes into hiding, much to the chagrin of the old maids who are desperate to get the third degree by their favorite detective.  To get their gentleman caller to return, the ladies plan another poisoning, which leads O’Finn to request an immediate transfer to the Arson Unit of the police force and tells the ladies that his partner, Kramer, will be responding in the future.  The sound of sirens filled the theater, and Kramer exclaimed, “Big fire!  Old house!  Right across the street from your home!”

Family members of the performers filled the front rows.  Darren Brown, son of Carrellen “Blondie” Brown, and his wife, Elaine, were very proud and supportive.

“I think it’s great!  It’s funny.  Her personality is definitely right out there.  She’s always been very theatrical.  This is the right place for her,” said Darren Brown.  “She’s been calling us every day, all excited.  It’s been really good for her,” said Elaine Brown.  “She’s a sweetie.  We love her a lot,” Elaine added.

“I think we nailed it today,” said Don Brunelle, who played Detective O’Finn, adding “I’m so proud of these people.  They all tried hard.  We’re older people and we like to go to bed early and here we were until 9 p.m., and I can’t give enough credit to everyone, especially to Janet Daigle.  She did a fantastic job!”  Brunelle took a moment to autograph a program, and added, “That was pretty awesome.”

The play is the first annual benefit performance for the senior actors.  Daigle sounded happy to direct her elder townspeople, saying, “They did a really great job.”  She giggled when she mentioned that the after-party would be held the following week because the actors were tired.

The play will be televised on Pelham television, and DVDs will be available through Pelham Community Theatre and Arts.

Pelham’s seniors are busy planning their next big night, as they are hosting a Halloween Dance at VFW in Hudson on October 31.

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