Sammy Snail Finds the Princess at Nesmith Library
by Lynne Ober
Princess Olivia went missing. No matter where they looked, her friends couldn’t find her. Fortunately, Windham Police had the help of Sammy Snail, who coordinated her return to the Nesmith Library much to the delight of the large audience who giggled, laughed and clapped throughout the entertaining puppet show.
Windham residents enjoyed the famed Theater of Life Puppets. Lesley Smith, a New Hampshire State Arts touring artist, is a renowned ventriloquist, puppeteer and singer/songwriter. She uses the vehicles of humor, dynamic vocals and puppetry to entertain corporations, organizations, festivals, schools and children and their families across the country. She began her performing arts career in the Seacoast region and has appeared along with her sidekick Sammy Snail on Nickelodeon and the Family Channel. Today, Lesley, her puppets and her amazing musicians travel across the country delighting audiences of all ages at music halls, national parks, resorts, corporate outings, libraries and festivals. They fill the stage with the sounds of celebratory music and beautiful vocals and invite children from the audience on stage to perform.
As the audience gathered on a rainy Thursday, Curtis Hanes played an electric keyboard. Bouncy tunes filled the air as youngsters and parents found their seats in front of the puppet theater.
Leslie opened the show by singing a folk song about a yellow cat. She soon had the audience clapping along with her and helping her sing the refrain about feeling furry and purry.
Before she could sing her second song, she taught the audience how to make a puppet out of their hands. Lesley used her ventriloquist skills to help the audience name her hand puppet. With the help of several audience members, she taught the audience about putting your finger in a lion’s cage, brushing an alligator’s teeth and other useful household skills. The audience laughed at her antics.
Then it was time for the puppet show. Sir Simon was looking for Princess Olivia, who was nowhere to be found. He was quite upset and turned to Mrs. Roberts who had a charming English accent to help it. It was soon clear that Mrs. Roberts was up to her pretty neck in a no-good plot. She kept muttering about being in “such a pickle.”
Enter Sammy Snail, who with the help of a number of puppet friends, including a giant fish, was able to track down the missing princess and return her to Sir Simon so that she could become Queen Olivia, but not before the audience rolled with giggles at the puppets’ silly antics. Sammy had to solve several hilarious plot twists in order to return the princess, but he was successful and Sir Simon and his queen lived happily ever after.
Town of Pelham Stays within Default Budget for 2005
by Lynne Ober
It’s been a year-long struggle and it will be close, but Pelham will live within the default budget. According to Town Administrator Tom Gaydos, the town will have $30,000 to $50,000 remaining in its coffers at the end of the year.
Gaydos told selectmen that several areas will have overspent the default budget amount.
Earlier in the year selectmen authorized an over-expenditure in the Assessing Department in order to hire Corcoran Associates to handle the overflow work. They approved an additional expenditure of $10,000, and Gaydos reported that expenses remained within that approval level.
However, the legal department is approximately $12,000 over budget because there have been a number of additional enforcement issues.
The town building line item is approximately $25,000 over spent. One expenditure that should have been included in the default budget but was overlooked when that budget was prepared was approximately $12,000 for Pennichuck Water. Additionally, there has been more than $12,000 of unexpected repairs to town buildings during the fiscal year.
The highway department is approximately $10,000 over budget which Gaydos noted wasn’t bad considering the storms that had occurred during the year. “We spent between $800 and $900 per hour during a storm,” Gaydos told selectmen. The last storm cost Pelham approximately $20,000. Gaydos said that a purchase order for $5,000 had just been cut for more salt.
The welfare area is growing. Per state statute towns and cities must provide welfare assistance to their residents in time of need. Pelham was $15,000 over budget at the time that Gaydos reviewed the budget, and there were an additional six open cases that would probably require more monetary resources.
Gaydos said that having a person to work on these open cases would save the town money, but the Budget Committee did not support adding a part-time person for this area.
“With the rising costs – especially fuel costs – a lot of family budgets are getting a double whammy,” noted Gaydos. He explained that as residents needed to buy expensive fuel oil, applications for welfare rose significantly. Without the additional help there isn’t enough time to process, research and resolve each application.
Selectman Tom Domenico told selectmen that he thought the Budget Committee should be asked to reconsider their position. “Should we ask for additional funds? I don’t want to be moving dollars from some other budget to cover this area.”
When Selectman Hal Lynde inquired as to how they maintained the budget, Gaydos pointed out that the recreation and parks department had cut between $6,000 and $8,000 of programming, the police department had delayed hired, thus saving salary and benefit costs, the town had delayed purchasing a number of items and included those items in this coming year’s budget and that there had been savings with the Transfer Station closings.
Selectman Ed Gleason pointed out that the Budget Committee had been given a report at the end of November indicating that only 82 percent of the operational budget had been spent and asked about the difference that Gaydos was now presenting.
According to Gaydos some purchases that had been held were authorized. Also, there were winter storms since the Budget Committee report. He noted again that the last storm cost approximately $20,000 plus additional supplies had to be re-stocked for the next storm. He also mentioned that a number of welfare cases came in after that report and were still coming in.
Gleason asked that the Budget Committee be given an update and Gaydos agreed to submit it.
Town Water Down Marsh Road is Questioned
by Lynne Ober
With wells on Marsh Road contaminated with a chemical compound found in gasoline, Pelham Selectmen developed a priority of providing town water for residents and schools on Marsh Road, but in the ensuing year nothing has been done on that priority.
As a result, Selectman Tom Dominico questioned whether that project should remain a high priority or be moved down the selectmen’s priority list. His question generated a lively discussion with both Selectman Ed Gleason and Domenico, elected last March, in favor of lowering the priority of that project and more senior selectmen in favor of retaining the project.
In addition to the contaminated water wells on Marsh Road, the schools have also had water issues. At one point water bubblers in schools were covered with trash bags and bottled water was brought in. If the water main was installed both schools could also be connected to Pennichuck water supply.
Town Administrator Tom Gaydos told Selectmen that residents on Sherburne Road have what he characterized as “bad water. It’s not contaminated. Just bad.” As a result of this situation New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services suggested that connecting these homes to the water main would benefit residents.
Gleason said that he preferred looking at enhancing water where it would benefit the tax base and exploring the expansion of town water on Route 38 so that it would be open for industrial expansion. “Marsh Road is not beneficial to the town. It may be beneficial to some residents.”
Gaydos pointed out that if a water main was installed, fire hydrants could also be installed which would enhance fire safety resolution and could result in lower fire insurance costs for affected residents and the school district. “We need to work with the insurance services office on this and get accurate measurements,” he said.
Selectman Hal Lynde thought it would be wise to work with Pennichuck, state agencies and the insurance services office to get updated construction costs. He pointed out that Pennichuck had offered to cover some of the construction costs and there was grant money to cover part of the costs. “We should know the costs so that we could talk to the people and see if they are interested in paying the betterment tax for this project.”
Board of Selectmen Chairman Victor Danevich pointed out that selectmen had previously agreed to revisit this project in Spring 2006 and that he thought that they owed residents a follow up on this project.
Domenico wondered if a public hearing could be held to see if there was interest among the residents, but Gaydos cautioned that selectmen should so some background research and be able to answer some questions about costs and benefits before a hearing was held.
Selectmen did not agree to keep or demote this project, but did agree to revisit it in January. Both Domenico and Gleason said that no one had contacted them about the need for the project.
Pleasing Winter Concert Warms Parents’ Hearts
by Karen Plumley
The Pelham Elementary School chorus and fifth grade band performed their annual winter concert on Wednesday, December 21, amid a very eager crowd of parents and grandparents, teachers and friends.
A chorus of more than 80 elementary students was full of holiday cheer. Meanwhile, the fifth grade band prepared themselves for several songs, including “Good King Wenceslas,” that were selected specifically to highlight each section of instruments.
According to Mike Seckla, band instructor for both Pelham Elementary and Pelham Memorial Schools who conducted the elementary band for the winter concert, most of the students had only begun learning how to play an instrument in October. When describing how far they have come, Seckla stated only half-jokingly, “Some of the students weren’t sure which end of a trumpet to blow on just a couple of months ago, but now you will see how they have improved!” Seckla also mentioned that the sixth grade band is currently the largest in the history of the middle school. “I hope to see many of these talented fifth graders at Memorial next year,” he said.
When the chorus was ready to perform, several band members who are also members of the chorus, quickly shifted gears and ran across to their spot on the stage. Elementary music teacher Erin Palmer conducted the chorus. “I want all of you to imagine that you are in a nice warm place,” she instructed the audience, as the students began to sing a lovely version of The Little Mermaid’s “Under the Sea.” The student singers performed many other Disney tunes, including a supercharged version of “Supercali-fragilisticexpialidocious” from the film Mary Poppins that ended the enjoyable evening.