Old-Fashioned Shoot Out at Pelham Fish and Game

by Lynne Ober

Whiskey Coyote, Miss Delaney Bell, One Eyed Jack and their friends and enemies gathered at Pelham Fish and Game Corral for a four-day shoot-out in the best tradition of the wild, wild West.

Shooting according to SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) rules, these sidewinders and pretty belles fought to be the best of the best.  The Single Action Shooting Society is an international organization created to preserve and promote the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting™.  


Three desperados pause on their way to the next competitive shooting station.

For the very first time a New England Regional Shoot was held.  It was jointly sponsored by the Merrimack Valley Marauders and the Pelham Fish and Game Club.

One of the unique aspects of SASS approved Cowboy Action Shooting™ is the requirement placed on costuming.  Each participant is required to adopt a shooting alias appropriate to a character or profession of the late 19th century, a Hollywood western star, or an appropriate character from fiction.  Costumes are then developed accordingly and each participant must be dressed in his or her chosen costume.  Participants register using only their shooting alias. 

The event kicked off on Tuesday with Half Henri’s Finishing School, which provided an opportunity to shoot, tips on competing and a chuck wagon full of laughs and ideas.

The Match Staff came on-site on Wednesday, ran through safety information, inspected the shooting ranges and got acquainted with the planned happenings.

Thursday shooters began to arrive.  Many of them participated in the fun side events, which included "The Squall" (a three-stage warm-up shoot), Speed Shotgun, Speed Rifle, Speed Pistol, Single Shot Rifle, Lever Action Rifle Caliber, Lever Action Pistol Caliber, Long Range Pistol, Pocket Pistol, and a chance at the World Record Derringer event.

The main event consisted of 10 separate and unique shooting stages.  Each participant had to compete in all the stages, and had to be responsible for safe transfer of their equipment from stage to stage, which meant that the grounds were filled with roaming cowboys and cow girls, dragging their equipment on handmade carts.


Dangerous Lil shooting at the targets.

At every stage contestants learned about a new ghost legend.  Stage one was about Thomas “Black Jack” Ketchum, the only person every hanged in Clayton, New Mexico.  Black Jack was hanged for robbing a train and the law that allowed his hanging was later found to be unconstitutional, but too late for Black Jack Ketchum’s Revenge grew out of this happening.

So the first stage was set based on Ketchum’s Revenge.  With the town folks gone plum crazy and wanting to hang the shooter, the shooter needs to fight his way out.  Using 10 rifle shots, 10 pistol shots and four shotgun shots, each contestant moved through a choreographed shoot.  Scores were tallied after every shooter.

Contestants had to solve Trouble at Lambert Inn, become a sheriff who has to “handle” some unruly varmints at The Bullock Hotel, take on some angry cowpokes at 101 Ranch, join ranks with Buffalo Bill and revenge General Custer’s loss, tame the Haunted Bridge and take on Quantril’s Raiders plus more throughout the shooting events.

In addition to shooting for individual prizes, contestants were awarded prizes based on their costumes.  Their “working costumers” are the ones that they wear when competing and then on Saturday night there’s a Big Hoedown with good grub and lots of dancing.  Here they dressed up in their “party fancy dress.”  Awards were given for best dressed for working and for dress up.

On Sunday the contestants formed posses and had posse shoots with from two to 20 shooters participating at one time.

The Fatal Boot Posse shoot was based on a legend about a fatal boot.  The posse stumbles across a rattlesnake nest while on a cattle drive and has to get rid of the snakes and their eggs.

There was also the Fastest Gun in the West competition with shooters going head to head in a round robin.

But even though weekend is over, you can be sure that Coyote Whiskey and Stormy Shooter won’t fade into the past – oh no, they will continue practicing their craft.


The best hat worn during the contest belonged to this fast shooter.


New Liberty Jazz Band Performs on the Green

by Karen Plumley


It was a family affair for Cyran, 8, with little sister Cashie, 9 months, who enjoyed the concert on the green in Pelham on Sunday with their mom, aunt, and Grammy.

The Sherburne Hall Committee hosted its third concert on the green on Sunday, July 30 at 5:00 p.m.  The series is sponsored in part by the Pelham Police Relief Association, along with many other local businesses who have taken a keen interest in promoting the arts. 

Musical guests were none other than Pelham’s own New Liberty Jazz Band, who came together in 1980 in a garage turned practice hall in Pelham.  The group’s novelty is in its performance atop an antique fire truck.  Band members include Bob MacInnis, Bruce Burrell, Samuel Jay Keyser, Group Historian Jack Phelan, Co-founder Roland Paquette, Dan MacInnis, and Al Brogdon.  Together, this talented team performed a terrific set of jazz tunes on Sunday.  The group also maintains a hefty schedule, playing in many local parades and shows, including an opening day performance in front of Fenway Park and at Faneuil Hall at Harbor Fest.

The audience enjoyed the beautiful weather and lively music.  “I love the idea of these concerts on the common.  I grew up in a small town and these events always bring the community together,” said Lois Landry of Pelham, who accompanied her daughters and grandchildren on the green Sunday evening.

Cindy Chamberlin brought her family to the concert as well.  “I plan on coming to every one of these events unless it rains,” she stated enthusiastically.  Present also, was newly appointed Pelham Fire Chief Michael Walker.  He was at the event to enjoy the music and mingle with the crowd.  “This is the first one I’ve been to.  This series is great,” enthused Chief Walker.  He also added how much he has been enjoying his new role at the fire department.  “The town needs to know how hard people are working and how great the fire department is here in Pelham,” he cheerfully stated.

On the green, members of the audience were scattered all about, but the acoustics were just fine to reach the furthest of listeners.  Most of the guests, however, were tightly packed beneath a white tent to stay cool.  Volunteer and expectant mother Susan Monette was under the only other tent selling nachos and snacks, while members of the Police Explorers were on hand selling refreshments.  All proceeds will benefit efforts to renovate Sherburne Hall.  To see a full list of sponsors and for information on the next concert, log on to www.sherburnehall.org.  To learn more about the New Liberty Jazz Band, log on to their website at www.thenewlibertyjazzband.com.


Casey, 3, bounces with her grandfather as they watch the New Liberty Jazz Band on Sunday evening in Pelham.


The New Liberty Jazz Band performs atop an antique fire truck to an enthusiastic crowd on Sunday as part of the Concert on the Green Series hosted by the Sherburne Hall Committee.


Repairs to Engine 3 would be a ‘Gross Waste’ of Taxpayer Dollars

by Lynne Ober


Engine 3 – leaking tank.

Too little and too little.  That’s the message that Pelham’s new Fire Chief, Michael Walker, delivered to selectmen about the proposed repairs on Engine 3.

This past March, Pelham voters approved Warrant Article 20 by a vote of 1,844 to 894.  This warrant article said, “This warrant article proposes to refurbish Engine 3.  Engine 3 is a 1985 Ford 9000 with a 1500 gpm pump that holds 1500 gallons of water and has a leaky steel water tank, body rust, and an aging pump as noted in the photos below.  A steel water tank is no longer used but instead polyurethane tanks which have a 20-year lifespan.”

Since that time Chief Fisher has retired and Chief Walker has been hired to replace him.  Lieutenant Cashman has been working on obtaining bids for the repairs.  Cashman told selectmen that he had difficulty finding anyone who would bid on the work because National Fire Protection Association standards have changed.  “We’d have to bring the truck up to NFPA standards to get it certified,” said Cashman.

Walker told selectmen, “Investing $70,000 into Engine 3 would be a gross waste of taxpayer money.  The engine will still be 2,500 pounds over its required vehicle weight, will still have an open rear seating area which is a safety hazard to riders, is too long for rural use, and has a poor turning radius.”  In addition, Walker explained that the braking system is inadequate.  “Any time I spend taxpayer money, I want to do it wisely,” he concluded.

Cashman told selectmen that Engine 3, purchased before Fisher was chief, had always been overweight.  Apparently at the time a stock truck was chosen and then modified with a larger tank and additional equipment resulting in a truck that was over its rated weight.  “It’s always been that way – ever since the first day.”

The problem with repairing Engine 3 is that it will still have the same engine, drive train and body.  All of these are at the end of their life.  Walker told selectmen that with the ambulance refurbishment, that the box had been lifted and a new cab, new engine, new drive train and new chassis had been put under it.  “We are still having some issues with that [ambulance] repair that we are working with,” Walker stated.

With the lengthy budget cycle, Engine 3, which was rusting at the time the warrant article was put together, continued to rust and the rust has spread.  The steel water tank continued to leak, causing additional damage on the truck.

New England Fire Equipment and Apparatus Corporation did attempt to bid the work, but failed.  There wasn’t enough money to complete the job.  Service Manager Larry Finnegan wrote, “The $70,000 budget just won’t cover all the needed repairs on your truck.  I just wouldn’t feel right about doing this job for this amount.  Your Engine 3 is past the easily refurbished state.  In other words, you need a new truck.”  A new truck will cost around $325,000.  Finnegan estimated that repairs would run in the $195,000 area and the engine, chassis and drive train would still be past their expected life cycle.

Walker concurs that a new truck is the way to go.

Explaining the role of this truck in fighting fires, Walker said it was the apparatus that made it possible to have water at a site since Pelham has no system of fire hydrants.  “Imagine that you are inside a burning building, fighting a fire and the water stops … It’s a memorable experience.”

Engine 3 cannot be certified.  It is the apparatus used to provide water and it does not pass the pump test.  The pump could fail at any time.  If the pump fails during a fire, there will be no water.

Selectmen discussed possible alternatives.  Selectman Hal Lynde suggested that Chief Walker look at a lease purchase options.  “I think we should replace it now.  It is a safety issue.”

When Selectman Ed Gleason asked if this fire apparatus was in the CIP book for replacement, he was told that it was in the book for replacement last year.  He then urged the chief to define the specs for a new engine and to look at the lease purchase option and return to discuss options and costs with selectmen.

Walker agreed that he would do this.


Engine 3 rust under steel tank. This photo shows the rust caused by the leaking tank.


This photo shows other problems with engine 3.


Tallant Bridge Will Cost More and Open Later

by Lynne Ober

Pelham Selectmen got the bad news that the work on Tallant Bridge had been negatively impacted by the rainy weather and by a sub-contractor issue.

According to Town Administrator Tom Gaydos, test pits were dug prior to the development of the warrant article.  He noted that this was done in order to develop an accurate cost estimate.  Findings from one of the borings were wrong.  It said that ledge would be deeper than what the bridge contractor has found.  Gaydos pointed out that the bill for this work had long ago been paid and that the majority of the work done by the sub-contractor was quality work.  He did tell selectmen that he was going to revisit this one test pit with them, but that a change order needed to be executed so that work could proceed.

That change order also changed the potential end date from October 29, 2006, to November 18, 2006.  According to the change order presented by the contractor, the time extension “is based on the following unanticipated conditions thus far:

  • Uncharacteristically high seasonal flows (caused delay in Brook Floater Mussel Survey and cofferdam placement).”  This survey was required for environmental permitting;
  • Edge removal (Abutment A); and
  • Sub-footing placement (Abutment A).  Abutment A was the location of the higher than expected ledge and this led to quit a bit of additional work.

However, the news was not all bad.  Two items, the common bridge excavation and Concrete Class A Above Footings, had cost reductions. 

As a result the net overall cost change is an additional $18,800. 

Since this is an 80/20 match with the state, the Town of Pelham will pay $3,760 and the state will pay the remainder or 80 percent of the cost.

Selectmen unanimously accepted the change order.


The old bridge has been removed and work is progressing on the first set of footings for the new bridge.


The Lynches Visit Pelham Seniors

by Lynne Ober

The Pelham Senior Center was visited by Governor John Lynch and his wife, Dr. Susan Lynch.  Both of the Lynches chatted with seniors as they moved around the room before they served lunch.

Theresa Sawyer lost everything in the Mother’s Day flood.  She brought her paperwork with her and asked the governor for help.  She said that she can’t get help from FEMA and has been living with both her daughter and son.  “I go in-between the two, but I want my own home again.”

Governor Lynch said that he didn’t really have a speech prepared.  But the last time he had been there his wife could not attend with him and they had promised to come back and serve lunch.  “That’s what we are here to do today.”

“And you don’t have to worry – we are both experienced at this.  How do you think we paid for college?” asked Dr. Lynch with a twinkle in her eye.

It was Helen Harris’s 80th birthday.  The governor and his wife led the group in singing a hearty “Happy Birthday” to her.


Dr. Susan Lynch serves lunch to Pelham Seniors.


Governor John Lynch talks to Theresa Sawyer about her flood damage.


Do You Know How your Property was Appraised?

by Lynne Ober

In general all appraisal companies use the same methodology.  A town-wide revaluation begins with a careful assessment of existing property and requires a lot of detailed research and digging for facts to accumulate for a good appraisal.

The property tax is part of a well-balanced revenue system.  It is a more stable source of money than other sources because it doesn’t fluctuate during recessions.

In theory when the town spends tax dollars on better schools, parks, and so on, property values rise.  With so much of New Hampshire towns’ budgets dependent upon property taxes, the state requires that property evaluations be kept current.

To find the value of any piece of property the assessor must know what similar properties are selling for, what their replacement value would be, what it takes to maintain and, if rented, what value it would bring.

Properties are then evaluated using one of three methods:  the sales approach, the income approach or the cost approach.  In theory each method will yield approximately the same answer.

Assessors evaluate each individual piece of property.  They measure the outside of the structure, look at items such as central air conditioning, age of building, type of heat, and type of construction.  They are not supposed to evaluate a building on how well the interior is painted or carpeted, but the reality is that any building that is well maintained makes a much better impression and has a much higher value.

Sometimes a “view” tax is applied.  If a building is in an especially desired location, it is taxed more than if it was next to a busy road.  This is known as the view tax.

Once an appraisal is done, there is a period of adjustments and questions.  If you want to know the specifics about how your property was appraised, contact the appraisal company and ask for an appointment to discuss how they arrived at that figure.

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