Windham Company Organizes Pumpkin Run to Benefit Sofie McPherson

submitted by Linda Parke

Hadley Media is excited to announce The Great Pumpkin Run, a 5K race and relay that will be held on October 18, beginning at 2 p.m.  Participants can run the 5K course or pull together a team of four to tackle the relay course while carrying a pumpkin!

The start and finish line for the 5K course will be the Stoneywyke Road cul-de-sac.  You can register online at or on-site beginning at 12:30 p.m.  Parking is available on-site.  Everyone who enters will receive bags with gifts from some of Hadley Media’s entertainment clients, including Food Network, Fox Reality, Fox Cable Networks, NBC Universal, Cirque du Soleil, and more.

The entire community is invited to participate in this event.  Families, businesses, and community leaders are encouraged to join in the fun.  All levels of runners and walkers are welcome.  All money raised will be given directly to the McPherson family to assist with expenses they incur while helping to care for Sofie during the treatment of her illness.

Sofie has an Astrocytoma-type tumor.  It is a low-grade tumor and therefore slow-growing.  Initially she had a golf-ball-size tumor removed surgically, but some tumor still remains on her brain stem and the top of her spinal cord.  Currently she is receiving chemo treatments for what remains, but these treatments generally don’t shrink the tumor to nonexistent, but put it into a dormant state.  The tumor most likely will remain dormant for the next two to four years.  When and if the tumor starts to grow again, she will have to go for more treatments.  Most often, this pattern will continue until Sofie reaches the age when she can receive radiation treatments that effectively will remove the tumor completely.  Unfortunately, this is something that the family will be dealing with for a long time.

Sofie loves Taylor Swift and the Freshbeat Band.  She loves to dance, sing, swim, and play with her Barbie’s and baby dolls.  She has a six-year-old brother who is in first grade this year.  He loves his little sister and sports, especially baseball, soccer, and basketball.  Sofie’s mom, Kelly, is an instructor at Dance Impressions in Windham and her dad works for Silvertech Inc. in Manchester.

For more information on the run or to find out how you can help, please visit or call 603-682-3084.

Charles Trevor McMahon Appreciation Award

Francine Corbin

The 2009 Charles Trevor McMahon Appreciation Award was presented to Francine Corbin at Windham Middle School.  Charlie and Kim McMahon of Windham established this annual award in 1998 with the help and cooperation of the Windham school system.  The McMahon’s were motivated to institute this award, in their son’s name, to help recognize and encourage outstanding service by educational assistants in the Windham school district.  The McMahon’s son, Charlie, who is now 22 years old, is a special-needs young man with significant challenges, who was given the opportunity to prosper in an inclusive school environment.  This award was inspired by all the wonderful instructional assistants that Charlie has had throughout his classroom experiences in the Windham schools.  Charlie is presently a volunteer at Salem High School, along with his aide, Jennifer McKenzie.

This year’s recipient, Francine Corbin, is an educational assistant to a student at Windham Middle School.  Francine received a plaque for her accomplishment, as well as a $300 check from the Charles Trevor McMahon Appreciation Award Fund established by the McMahon Family.  A plaque is also displayed at Windham Middle School this year with a list of the annual recipients.

This award recognition will continue to be awarded annually to commend such instructional assistants that have truly made a difference in the life of a student, and have continued to demonstrate such high standards in the school system.

Selectmen Seeking Grant for Emergency Generator

by Barbara O’Brien

Windham Police Chief Gerald Lewis gave selectmen some good news during their board meeting on September 28.  There is Emergency Management grant money available and Windham will most likely be eligible for a portion of those funds.  That money couldn’t come at a better time.

This past July, the police department’s emergency generator was being put through a routine test when problems developed.  The unit began smoking and emitting a noxious odor and became exceedingly hot, melting the conduit as a result.  Lewis said the generator lost its coolant and the oil inside of it turned to sludge.  The coolant hose may have been laying against the generator’s engine block and, therefore, gradually deteriorated due to the heat, causing the hose to split and the coolant to pour out.  The machine eventually seized and shut down.  The technician, who services the generator, was able to get it up and running, but there is no guarantee how long it will continue to function under emergency conditions.  The existing emergency generator is about 10 years old and originally cost the town approximately $80,000.  Since that time, the question facing town officials has been whether or not to have the old generator repaired, to buy a rebuilt engine for the old generator, or to purchase a completely new generator.

At the time of the meltdown, Chief Lewis recommended a two-pronged approach to solving the dilemma.  First, the town should rent a standby generator on a temporary basis, which was done, and, second, town administrators should go out to bid on repairs to the existing generator engine and/or on the cost of purchasing a rebuilt generator engine, a procedure which was also completed.

In the meantime, however, Chief Lewis became aware of the strong possibility of Windham being eligible for a 50 percent grant through Emergency Management.  Based on an estimated cost of approximately $48,000 for a new generator, federal funds would pay $24,000, with the remainder of the cost ($24,000) being picked up by local taxpayers.

If the Town of Windham receives the grant money, the new generator could be purchased this year rather than waiting for the 2010 budget to be approved next March, Town Administrator David Sullivan said.

As the result of Sullivan’s recommendation, selectmen voted 5 to 0 to pursue the Emergency Management grant.  Voting in favor of the grant application were Chairman Galen Stearns, Vice Chairman Bruce Breton, and Selectmen Ross McLeod, Roger Hohenberger and Charles McMahon.

Sullivan said he expects the application review process to be a quick one.  Selectmen were in agreement that the issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible, especially with winter weather and the increased likelihood of power outages on the way.

Stimulus Funding for Depot Project

by Barbara O’Brien

Town officials are still hopeful that Windham might procure funding for ongoing renovations to the town’s historic Depot through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Town Administrator David Sullivan told selectmen that Windham taxpayers could save about $30,000 if the town is able to garner a portion of the federal stimulus package (ARRA).  The amount being sought for the Depot restoration is $210,000.

“We’re working hard to see this come to fruition by the deadline,” Sullivan said.

To be eligible, the bid process must be completed by the end of October.

“We have a lot of hurdles to get over first though,” Sullivan explained.

To qualify for the federal money, there must be an engineer on site close to 100 percent of the time that any significant work is being done, Sullivan said.  The cost of an engineer is being built into the grant application, however, he added.  The cost of having a professional engineer on site, more frequently than is currently required, would be approximately $26,000.  There would be offsetting savings elsewhere in the grant, though, Sullivan said.

A couple of years ago Windham was awarded an 80 percent state/20 percent locally funded Transportation Enhancement Grant (TE) in the amount of $210,000.  The specific purpose of this TE Grant is to complete repairs and renovations to the Depot building.  The TE grant requires that the town pay all expenses up front and then seek reimbursement from state coffers for 80 percent of the total cost.  The ARRA grant does not require matching funds from the town.

During a visit to Concord this past summer, Depot Advisory Committee members learned that ARRA money might be available for the Depot project.  This opportunity would reduce the financial outlay currently being required of the town through the TE Grant.  If the ARRA grant is approved, the town would not also be getting the Transportation Enhancement money.  Another stipulation is that no volunteer labor would be allowed on the project if ARRA federal money is accepted, since one of the reasons the stimulus money is being provided nationwide is to provide jobs.  Volunteers could, however, still be used for such tasks as site clean-up and such.

Selectmen and members of the Depot Advisory Committee unanimously support accepting ARRA money to complete the Depot restoration project.  If all goes as town officials hope, construction bids would be awarded next month and all work would be completed within 18 months of the starting date.

Maintenance Projects Completed and Planned

by Barbara O’Brien

A total of $67,253.74 is available this year to address issues included in the Property Maintenance Trust Account for the Town of Windham.  Some of those items have already been done and paid for, while others remain on the to-do list.

Town Administrator David Sullivan updated selectmen on the status of the Property Maintenance Trust during their board meeting on September 28.  Traditionally, voters have approved adding $30,000 to the account on an annual basis.

Projects which have already been addressed during 2009 include the installation of new windows in the first floor of the Bartley House (cost of $1,670), clearing weeds out of the pond at Griffin Park (cost of $975), and the installation of a new booster system for the well and pump in the building at Griffin Park (cost of $1,150).

Items which are in the works and are expected to be finished during 2009, and have received the unanimous approval of selectmen, include renovations to the town clerk’s office (estimate of $9,700), Town Hall alarm system and wiring upgrade, plus upgrades to five automatic external defibrillators (bid award price of $7,681), as well as roof repairs to the Armstrong Building Cable Studio ($1,500 for materials; labor done in-house).

Other projects already approved unanimously by selectmen include nine windows in the Planning Department Building (estimated cost for windows and installation total $2,070), Griffin Park handicapped-accessible ramp (approximately $9,800, although the project might receive alternate funding), as well as Maintenance Department labor ($8,500, which will be funded through donations, plus $1,300 from the Recreation Department Budget).

Items planned for future years include playground surface replacement at the Tot Lot in Griffin Park (high priority, estimate of $19,500), replacement of carpeting and counter in town assessor’s office (high priority as it was last done in 1991, estimate of $3,000), Senior Center walkway railing (low priority, estimate of $4,420), replacement of carpeting in the police department (low priority, estimate of $2,500), external painting of the police and fire departments (low priority, estimate of $8,000), and phase two of water repairs at the police department (low priority, cost undetermined).

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