Successful Community Night in Pelham
by Lynne Ober
One of the great things about living in a small town is the way that the town pulls together to support its residents and community. Every year in Pelham, Community Night is a prime example of how a community can enjoy itself and celebrate its community.
Community Night is normally held in February – just as the winter doldrums set in and people are looking for something interesting to do. As always, there was something for everyone. Activities are spread across all three Pelham schools. You can park your car at one school and ride the shuttle bus back and forth to enjoy the activities.
Want to learn about what Pelham has to offer? Then check out the community organization displays that filled the halls at Pelham Elementary School (PES). You could talk to members of various organizations, pick up literature, or sign up for an activity. As always the Pelham Razorbacks had a busy sign up table, but they weren’t the only organization that attracted participants’ interest. Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts as well as children’s activities at Pelham Rec Department and Pelham library drew interested questions.
Police and Fire Department members talked to participants about a variety of issues. Children could check out the fire trucks parked outside the front door.
In the Pelham Elementary School gym, music started playing promptly at 6:00 p.m. The Kangaroo Jumpers gave an energetic demonstration of their jump rope skills. The standing room only audience in the gym tapped their toes and clapped their hands as they watched the tricks and skills of the Kangaroo Jumpers.
Immediately following the jumpers was a martial arts demonstration. The demo team performed team and individual demonstrations of the skills that they have learned.
Throughout the school classrooms were open, art was displayed and students proudly showed their parents what they had been accomplishing. As always the dinosaur displays drew great interest.
If musical programs interest you, Pelham Memorial School (PMS) was the venue to visit. Grades 1 – 12 performed throughout the evening. The PMS Grade 7 and 8 band kicked off the evening with the National Anthem. They were followed by the PES musical groups. First the chorus sang and then the band played.
Members of the PMS Chorus entertained the audience with their musical renditions before high school musical groups took the stage. Again musically entertaining segments were provided by the band and chorus, who demonstrated their musical skills.
The PMS Band took the stage again as the final musical act of the evening.
At the high school, students decorated for Spirit Week and a special fine arts exhibit was set up for viewing. A wide variety of artwork was on display and some students demonstrated their skills and talked to viewers about their art.
Two quilting students worked on their next quilting project in front of the quilts that were displayed along the wall. The quilting class is a one semester class. "Quilting teaches independence, patience and perseverance," said their teacher Janet Gary. "In one of their projects, they have to find nine different fabrics with matching and complementary designs and colors. That’s quite a challenge."
Three students from Introduction to Art were demonstrating how to make masks. "The project assigned was from them to write an essay about whom they are in private and who they are in public. Then they could make a mask that was a reflection of the private, the public or their combined selves. They had to incorporate at least one found object," said Pelham High School Art Teacher Kathleen Sweeney.
The Pelham High School Color Guard team performed in the gym at 7:00 p.m. According to principal, Dr. Mohr, the art work exhibit would be viewed by students the next day and the Color Guard would perform again as part of Spirit Week Activities. "We want to the students to have a chance to view the art work," said Mohr.
By the time the evening was over everyone agreed that it had been a rousing success.
Book Bingo Kicked off Week-long Fun in Pelham
by Lynne Ober
Pelham Public Library has again planned a vacation week that’s filled with fun and adventure for Pelham children.
Book Bingo kicked off the week’s activities with several children intently listening and trying to fill their bingo cards. The prizes were books on a variety of topics.
Children’s Coordinator Susie Molloy said, "The prizes were all donated. It’s a great community effort and the kids love getting a book to take home."
Pelham Elementary School PTA as well as library patrons donated the books that were given away as prizes.
Pelham Voters’ Support of $3 Million Bond Pays Off
by Karen Plumley
In December the Pelham Conservation Commission spent $350,000 to purchase the Calitri property, a 36-acre parcel of land that was originally the site of a proposed 17-home subdivision. It was the latest in a string of purchases that happened last year after the town voters awarded the Commission a $3 million bond so that it could try to preserve the town’s precious open spaces. The town has a "Conservation Fund" as well. "The Conservation Fund money has accrued over a period of eight years from current use assessment penalties", said Bob Yarmo, Chairman of the Conservation Commission. This penalty is a tax assessed on property once the owner decides to change its use type. "Since the $3 million bond passed, we have had several land owners calling us to sell their land", Yarmo said. However, Yarmo stressed that parcels of land attractive for conservation purposes are sites that have connectivity with other land already owned by the town. Land that is connected can provide wildlife corridors and outdoor recreation for residents of the town, such as cross-country skiing and hiking.
In addition to the Calitri property, the Conservation Commission also purchased the Gumpus property in June, their largest purchase last year at 155 acres. This land was part of a proposed development of 39 homes, and the town purchased it for $780,000. "It was originally appraised at $940,000", said Paul Dadak, member of the Commission. According to Dadak, this was their most exciting purchase of the year because the land is connected with land owned by the Town of Hudson as well as land owned by the New England Forestry Foundation. The combined conservation area is over 655 acres. "It is a beautiful piece of property and a great area for cross-country skiing", claimed Dadak.
The third purchase, a piece of property on Dutton Road, occurred in October. The Costa property, a 36-acre parcel, was purchased for $335,000 but was appraised at $440,000. This property has 207 feet of frontage on Dutton Road, and abuts other town properties that together provide a wildlife corridor. "As for wildlife, there are deer, turkeys, hawks, owls, and all the common birds and ground animals", said Paul Gagnon, member of the Commission. According to Gagnon, this land is well suited for wildlife because there are wetlands and a seasonal stream.
This leaves the Conservation Commission with well over $2 Million for more land purchases. When questioned about any possible future prospects, Gagnon responded that the plan is to simply continue to "buy more land. Our focus is on large tracts (100 acres or more) or smaller pieces that abut land that is already protected".
The 2004 Buildout Analysis, which was compiled by the Pelham Conservation Commission in conjunction with the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, "was instrumental in convincing voters that the bond was necessary", said Gagnon. It consisted of an in depth analysis of the growth and fiscal impact of new development. Perhaps the most eye-opening information presented in the report is that of the fiscal impact analysis. It was found that residential use of town land is costing the town more per dollar ($1.04) than any other use, including conservation use, which only cost the town $0.40 per dollar. According to Yarmo, this fiscal analysis planted the seed that the Commission needed to garner votes for their cause. In addition to saving money, "having more conservation land makes the town more attractive", asserted Dadak. To see the full Buildout Analysis, you can log on to the Pelham website at www.pelhamweb.com.