Petitioned Warrant Article Amended at Pelham Deliberative Session
by Lynne Ober
A petitioned warrant article [Warrant Article 38] to "see if the Town will vote to withdraw the sum of $11,000 in income…generated by the Elmer G. Raymond Memorial Park Trust, Fund, which was created by a vote of the 1982 annual Town Meeting…and to appropriate and expend the same for the following four categories of Park and Lodge maintenance and repair work" was successfully amended to allow the sum of $11,500 to be used.
William Hayes, speaking to his motion, explained that the work had been reviewed by the Fire Department for both life and safety code issues and would be completed by June 15, 2005.
The requested amount, which will not be raised by local taxes, will be spent for materials, labor and equipment rental. It is the intent of the petitioners to have the majority of the work completed by Boy Scouts and fully licensed volunteers.
Painting and building repairs are expected to cost $4,800. Included in this is the establishment of a handicapped accessible emergency wash shower stall.
New locks at the Lodge will cost $200 to purchase. A key for each new lock shall be loaned directly to the leader of each duly registered Pelham Boy and Girl Scout Unit with additional keys kept by the Pelham Police Department for sign out use.
Two thousand dollars will be expended to replace a twenty year old underground one thousand gallon oil tank with a 275 to 330 gallon above ground inside oil tank.
It is expected that $4,500 will be expended to rebuild and repair emergency access trails/roads located within Raymond Park to be used by police, fire and ambulance vehicles. This sum of $4,500 can be matched by additional funds to be provided by a Trail Grant that has already been awarded to the Town of Pelham to upgrade the emergency access trails and roads.
Both boards have recommended this warrant article and voters will be able to vote on it at the March 8 election.
Pelham Teacher Honored As State Teacher of the Year
by Marie Yanish
Pelham has reason to be proud. Mr. Joseph Silva, eighth grade science teacher at the Pelham Memorial School, has been honored with the distinction of 2004 Middle School Teacher of the year for the State of New Hampshire. Mr. Silva, a Pelham resident, has been teaching science in the Pelham school district for 27 years.
The VFW presented the award as part of a statewide community service recognition program. This program honors not only outstanding teachers, but also police officers, firefighters, and other public service heroes. All awards were presented last month at a dinner held at the Sheraton Tara in Nashua.
The nomination process for this award began last fall when the Memorial School Principal, Cathy Pinsonneault, composed a 300-word letter to nominate Joseph Silva for Middle School Teacher of the Year at a district level. He and 49 other New Hampshire teachers were selected for this honor, one from each district. Ms. Pinsonneault interrupted Mr. Silva’s science class to notify him of this honor; of course, his students were proud and happy.
Joe had then earned the right to compete for the state level middle school teacher of the year title. Ms. Pinnsonneault assembled a nomination package to convey what a wonderful teacher Joe is. She wrote another nomination letter (this time she had 500 words to work with), asked two of Mr. Silva’s teacher peers and one of his students to submit nomination letters, and even included a photo. This time, when Joe won at the State level, Ms. Pinnsonneault interrupted not just his class, but also the whole school with the happy announcement!
According to Principal Cathy Pinsonneault, Joseph Silva "challenges his students to see and feel the world around them. He opens their eyes through experimentation. Joe teaches respect for the environment and all living things. He encourages his young scientists to take educational risks, use technology, and to embrace the unknown. The underlying theme to everything he does is respect for each other and respect for the world around you."
Ms. Pinsonneault stated that Joe is an exemplary teacher and role model whose classroom is filled with hands-on wonder and excitement. He is a pure teacher. He always seeks new ideas and experiences for his students. He looks for challenges in each day."
Even outside the science classroom, Mr. Silva serves the school community. He manages to purchase cutting edge technology for our district through grant writing. He works with students in the before-school homework club, is a mentor for new teachers, is the Science Department Chairperson, and is a member of Principal Pinsonneault’s Administrative Instructional Leadership Team.
While she is undeniably proud to have Mr. Silva on her staff, Ms. Pinsonneault notes that there are many excellent teachers at Pelham Memorial School and, in fact, this is the third year in a row in which the VFW has recognized a teacher from the Memorial School Teacher of the Year.
Keep up the good work Mr. Silva!
Windham Conservation Commission Concludes Successful Year
The Windham Conservation Commission concluded another active and successful year. During 2004, they added 30 acres to Windham’s conservation land holdings including the 20-acre Bayberry parcel located in Windham’s southeast and abutting other conservation lands and the 10-acre Wilson land immediately adjacent to the Windham Depot between the railroad beds.
According to Conservation Commission member Lisa Linowes, "In the late 1990's the Conservation Commission had studied the different areas in town and identified the Southeast lands (bounded by Marblehead and Range Roads) as the area to focus our attention. One 17 acre property was acquired in 1998, and the commission had always envisioned adding a sister parcel (19.9 acres) to complete the picture. During 2003, we acquired much of the land along Marblehead, but that one 19.9 acre piece eluded us. Finally, in 2004, we signed the agreement with the land owner. Since we purchased much of the other lands in the southeast, the desire to acquire the Bayberry property became more a matter of historical significance (we wanted it for so long and now we've brought closure to that goal)."
"The lands in our southeast are notable given the huge wetland complex that has largely been undisturbed. The Nature Conservancy was most interested in the Southern New England Basin Swamp (SNE Swamp) and the seasonally saturated red maple swamp. I am far from an expert in this area, but I do know that the degree to which these swamps have been left intact is what's important. With all the development, most of the swamps have been compromised," continued Linowes
Throughout 2004, the Commission also worked closely with the State of New Hampshire Department of Transportation in an effort to complete the acquisition of 274 acres in Windham’s southeast as mitigation for wetlands lost to the expansion of I-93. The Commission reported that the State’s purchase of the mitigation has been completed and that land will now be permanently preserved. With this important purchase by the State, Windham successfully finalized implementation of its 2003 - 04 plan to preserve a large, contiguous tract leading from Range Road to the Pelham-Salem line, a total of 575 acres.
The Conservation Commission continues to identify land parcels that meet several important criteria, the most important being proximity to existing town-owned conservation land. Cost per acre is always an important factor. The Commission acquired the 30 acres for a total of $194,000, an average price of around $6,500 per acre.
While the benefits of preserving our open space are multifold, the Conservation Commission seeks to promote the use and enjoyment of these public lands. To this end, in 2004 the Commission pledged to supply matching funds in the amount of $4,000 over a two-year period in support of the Trails Program Grant submitted by the Trails Committee.
The Conservation Commission has also been active in completing its other duties including:
Review and comment on applications before the Planning Board including the Shaw’s Supermarket, Bear Hill and Castle Reach subdivisions, and Windham Meadows. Investigation and review of several Dredge and Fill Applications and the associated environmental impacts pertaining to these applications. Comment on ZBA cases where impacts to the environment were noted.
Assistance in organizing community out-reach sessions including a discussion by EPA before the Board of Selectman on salt contamination in our brooks, streams, and ponds.
Debate and advocacy of specific positions on a number of important cases before the town, including a proposed to upgrade Pine Hill Road to a Class V subdivision road, restoration of Hopkins Road trail and other road construction projects that impacted our most sensitive wetlands and wildlife corridors.
Annual monitoring walks of Deer Leap and the Landry Family Conservation easements.
Linowes noted that the Commission has a number of important land acquisitions under consideration throughout the Town of Windham. "The Commission will also be working on a possible Prime Wetlands ordinance for the town," she commented.
The Conservation Commission welcomed back a prior member, Mr. James Finn, but also accepted the resignation of Ms. Terri Lucas.
"We are looking forward to another successful and active year," said Linowes.