Hurricane Katrina Refugees Reach Pelham
by Lynne Ober
Four-footed refugees happily arrived late Friday night at Pelham Police Department’s Animal Shelter after a long and arduous journey that began with the hurricane that flattened their homes and separated them from their families.
Pelham resident Melanie Holden has worked with the Animal Rescue League of New England for a number of years. She credits the caring of Pelham Police Department, especially Police Chief Evan Haglund and Animal Control Officer Tim Vincent, a 13-year Pelham Police veteran, with making so many rescues possible. “Thanks to them we’ve rescued over 1,000 dogs and this time we will make a difference for 19 dogs from Katrina.”
Dale Green, a member of the Animal Rescue League of New England, had been working at the St. Francis Sanctuary, an animal rescue facility in Tyler Town, Mississippi, for two weeks. “We had lots of animals. There were two air-conditioned buildings – one held dogs and one held cats,” she smiled. “The people down there have lost their homes. Those homes just don’t exist anymore.”
The first goal for all of these pets is to reunite them with their families, if at all possible. Photos of all the pets have been taken and posted on petfinder.com. The location of the pets that are being transported away from the ravaged area is being tracked.
“One of the dogs that we have has the owner’s name and address on the collar,” said Holden. “Unfortunately there’s no longer a home standing at the address, but we are searching for them on the internet and hoping that we can reunite the dog with its family.”
The dogs will be given to “foster families” and held for 90 days in hopes that they can be reunited with their families. After that they will be adopted by families.
On Saturday after they had arrived, Pelham’s Animal Control Facility was a scene of bustling activity as members fed and bathed each dog. The vet was on his way and would treat each dog for heart worm and check out the dog’s general health.
“We have one dog who is limping a bit,” said Holden.
Dogs were being taken for walks on leashes by members and were obviously enjoying the crisp fall air.
Green, who arranged for the dogs’ transport to New Hampshire, talked about some of the animals that had already been reunited with their families, but knows that many will never be reunited. “The devastation down there is terrible. We’ll all do the best that we can for these animals. They’ll have a good life.”
Patriots Win in Pittsburgh … and in Pelham, too
by Karen Plumley
Fall arrived in Pelham last Sunday, September 25. On the heels of this seasonably chilly, cloudy weather, the Patriots Legends arrived in Pelham to play a softball game. This team of former Patriot football players had formidable opponents, the Pelham Firefighters, and awaited their fate that early afternoon at Dennis Lyons Memorial Field.
In the end, predictably, it was the Patriots who won big. Perhaps it was a precursor of things to come later on that day in Pittsburgh. Although the final score was more reminiscent of a football game, 22 - 13, the crowd enjoyed the antics and relaxed atmosphere. Children of all ages rallied around the retired Patriots players for autographs. Retired Patriots in attendance included former Patriot running back John Williams, Mosi Tutupu who played on the Patriots team for 13 seasons, and all-time leading rusher for Boston University Paul Lewis.
“I love doing this, and I just love seeing the kids,” said Lewis, who with his teammates travel all over New England on weekends to play softball, football, and basketball and ultimately raise funds for various causes.
The Patriots started off the first inning with three runs, and led the game throughout. The closest the Pelham Firefighters got to overtaking the game was in the sixth, when they were able to come to within three runs of the Pats. During a short break at the seventh inning stretch, Dave Avery of the Fire Department took the “first pitch hit challenge” but foul-tipped the “ball” which actually turned out to be a grapefruit, and the gag did not come to fruition. But Avery happily remained dry, as did the relieved crowd.
The seventh and final inning saw a barrage of hits by the Pats and they never looked back. But the game was all in fun. A woman from the sidelines playfully yelled out “butterfingers” at Williams in the outfield when he dropped a ball. Giving her a dirty but equally playful look, Williams quickly threw the ball at her. And she caught it. Later on, player Don Leach tried to call a time out when he was trapped between third and home. All through the afternoon, everyone delighted in the silly sound effects, musical choices, and sometimes-hilarious comments of John McGowan, announcer for the game.
“We organize a celebrity game every other year and are currently raising funds for scholarships and fire awareness programs,” said Jenny Larson of the Pelham Fire Department. The department arranges their celebrity games with Lifeline Promotions, a company that hires the players and announcers for the games.
“I had a great time playing,” Mrs. Larson added enthusiastically. No doubt, the crowd had a great time watching. And when the softball game was over, they went home and turned on the heat, and had a great time watching those other Patriots win too.
Pelham Residents Respond to Road Request
by Lynne Ober
At a recent Pelham Selectmen’s meeting, discussion took place about a new development that George W. Harris Jr., owner of Harris’ Pelham Inn, wants to build. As part of that discussion, there was a request for a road that would connect Poplar Hill and Stonepost roads. To do this, the road must cut through a wooded area of town-owned land that is behind the cul-de-sac that ends Stonepost Road.
Maps were presented to Selectmen showing the proposed road. If approved, Harris will proceed with plans to build a development along the road. According to information presented to Selectmen, Harris and not the town would pay for the road.
The Board listened to the presentation, reviewed the maps and asked questions, but decided not to make a decision. Board of Selectmen Chairman Victor Danevich said that he had seen the maps at the Planning Board, but that the Planning Board would not approve plans until Selectmen had made a determination on the road.
Residents who live on Stonepost Road do not want to lose their cul-de-sac and decided to take their request public by discussing the issue during Public Forum at a recently held Selectmen’s meeting and have also sent letters to the Planning Board, Town Administrator and Selectmen.
Residents like their cul-de-sac and don’t want it to change. They cited the fact that 41 children live on Stonepost and the average age of the children is six. Keeping the road a quiet, little traveled road makes it safer for the young children who live along it and who play along it.
Referring to a comment made by Selectmen Ed Gleason about quid pro quo, residents told Selectmen to negotiate for land for a park or open space and not to open up the road.
Emily Lamport, one of the older children on the road, spoke. “I’ve been told to speak up and I want to speak for all the children of Stonepost Village. Taking away our cul-de-sac would be bad for kids and wildlife.”
Chairman Danevich said that Selectmen would not make a decision that would force the Planning Board’s directly. “In fact, no plans for this development have even come to the Planning Board at this time.”
Residents urged Selectmen to cancel their planned site walk because they felt it sent the wrong message, but Danevich explained that now was the time to walk the site and learn about the property. “I know nothing about this piece and I would need to know something before any decision was made.”
Selectmen plan to post a site walk for 8:00 a.m. Saturday, October 1. Residents are welcome to walk with Selectmen.
Ambulance to be Refurbished
by Lynne Ober
Several years ago Pelham Fire Chief David Fisher asked Selectmen and voters to approve buying “box” ambulances. Reminding Selectmen of this request, and the fact that both Selectmen and voters had gone along with it, Fisher told Selectmen that it was time to refurbish rather than purchase a new ambulance.
“To purchase a new ambulance, we’d be spending approximately $130,000. Refurbishing costs about half of that and we get essentially a brand new vehicle,” Fisher beamed.
The “ambulance box” is lifted off the chassis. A new chassis and cab are purchased. The “ambulance box” is reattached to the new chassis. New electrical wiring and new tubing are put into the box and you are ready to go with an essentially new vehicle.
Fisher credited Lieutenant Robert Chatel, Pelham’s EMS coordinator, for the work done on this project. “We have three bids and we chose the lowest bidder,” Fisher said. “We can save another $1,000 by paying for the chassis piece when we cut the purchase order.”
When Selectman Tom Domenico wondered how long Pelham would be without an ambulance, Fisher smiled and told him that Pelham would get a loaner for the approximately 90 to 120 days that it would take to refurbish Pelham’s ambulance.
Selectmen unanimously approved the $70,436 needed for the project and authorized Fisher to pay for the chassis at a cost of $32,453.
Successful Kindergarten Fair
by Lynne Ober
Windham resident Heather Petro has a dream about public kindergarten. She wants to be available to every five year old in Windham. Petro, who leads Supporting Early childhood Education and Kindergarten in Windham, knows that her organization faces an uphill battle.
“Nevertheless, we want to be a positive force in the community and to be a positive resource for others,” Petro smiled.
S.E.E.K. organized a kindergarten fair that was held Tuesday night at town hall. Twenty-one qualified pre-school and kindergarten programs came and set up booths. Teachers and administrators at these programs were available to answer parental questions and to discuss programming.
“While we continue to push for public kindergarten, we thought that hosting this annual kindergarten fair would be a positive step,” explained Petro. “I’m delighted to see so many parents here talking with the various schools.”
Boy Scout Spaghetti Supper
by Lynne Ober
The fifth annual Spaghetti Supper fundraiser was held at St. Matthew’s Parish Center on Saturday. Boy Scout Troop 263, established six years ago, sponsors this event to raise money for camping, activities, and equipment. This year all the money went to a fund to purchase new troop tents for overnight camping.
“We were given some old tents when we started,” said Scoutmaster Dale Stancik. “We’ve patched those tents as much as we can, and now it’s time to purchase some new tents for the troop. We really appreciate the way that the community supports this event.”
Adult leaders and Scouts thanked all the businesses that contributed to the event. “They did everything from helping pay for the place mats to donating food. We wouldn’t have as much success without them,” said Stancik.
On the Border restaurant donated 80 pounds of pasta, 30 pounds of meatballs, and lots of salad and garlic bread. Klemm’s Bakery donated bread and desserts; Gourmet Grille and Caterers donated five gallons of sauce and the Village Bean donated coffee.
The Scouts set the table, served food and cleared tables as well as greeted customers with big smiles at the front door.
First Graders Celebrate Reading
by Lynne Ober
Educators worldwide know that if students read during the summer months they come back to school better prepared in the fall.
Teachers at Windham’s Golden Brook School have developed a reading program for their first graders. According to Mrs. McGuire, each first grader was given a booklet before the end of their school year. Each student sets individual reading goals. Then over the summer, with help from their parents, grandparents and siblings, they read and recorded what they’ve read.
When they returned to school, they brought in their booklets. Teachers tabulated how many books were read in each second grade classroom and a celebration is planned.
Second graders gathered in the center of the gym while music teacher Mr. Graff played his keyboard. Once the 10 classes of second graders were seated, the first graders and transition students were brought in. They sat in a large ring around the edges of the gym.
“We want to build some excitement in our transition and first grade students for this program so that they will want to participate when it’s their turn,” said Ms. Renda, one of three team leaders.
Each second grade class had a large balloon on the wall. The balloon had the teacher’s name and the number of books read by students in that classroom.
Ms. Renda opened the program and explained why it is important for students to be good readers. She introduced Mrs. Root, who came back from retirement to see how her students from the previous year had done. She then told the students to give a round of applause to their first grade teachers who had taught them to read.
Mr. Graff introduced four of his students from Music Enrichment who had written a song that everyone sang. “We read a lot of books. Clap your hands.” By the last chorus when students were clapping their hands, stomping their feet and shooting hoorays, the gym was filled with happy sounds celebrating reading.
Students read a grand total of 3,383 books over the summer.