Owl Presentation is a Hoot

by Karen Plumley


Teacher/Naturalist Marcia Wilson holds the flapping Bard owl for children to observe at Pelham Elementary School on Monday morning.

A live owl program was presented to second graders at Pelham Elementary School on November 5, and there were many hoots and howls from the audience as well as from their feathery guests. 

The program lasted approximately an hour and a quarter and was co-sponsored by the school council and the PES Parent Teacher Association (PTA).  Teacher, naturalist and bird lover Marcia J. Wilson presented the program that was organized into three parts:  a slideshow including some amazing photographs of owls taken by her partner and husband Mark Wilson, an interactive demonstration with six live owls, and finally a hooting lesson for the children.

Children were gathered together in the west wing common area of the school, which was kept fairly chilly for the birds.  “Owls have on their down underwear and can get pretty hot,” explained Wilson when the students first arrived.  They were instructed to be as quiet as they could be, and to flap their arms instead of clapping, so as not to startle the birds.  Masterful photographs of some of the more common, as well as a few rare varieties of owls were shown during the slide presentation, and children in the audience were audibly impressed.  A resounding “yuck” was quickly heard, however, when the discussion turned to “owl pellets.”  Photos of fresh pellets were shown, as well as a tray full of dried ones collected throughout the morning from the owls’ boxes.  The children and teachers were amused by what Wilson called a “three-second lesson on hawking up an owl pellet,” which was accompanied by another series of incredible photos of an owl spitting out the bones and fur of an unfortunate animal he devoured about 12 hours earlier.

Children were called up from the audience during the live owl presentation, and were given a microphone and a chance to perform their best hoots for the owls.  The Bard owl was a feisty creature from the start.  Although the children promised not to scream as they were warned ahead of time that he might flap his wings a bit, a few couldn’t help but do so as the owl flapped, showing off his almost four-foot wingspan.  The tiny screech owl wouldn’t be outdone, however.  She was allowed to go into an owl house and like a true performer, popped her head out of the window, looking very cute indeed.  The children giggled and applauded skillfully by flapping their own sets of wings.

The interactive program proved to be fun and educational for the students, as Marcia Wilson shared her incredible passion of owls.  The Wilsons take in injured owls at their home in rural northern Massachusetts, currently providing refuge for 15 owls of almost every common variety.  Both have been fascinated with birds since childhood and have biology degrees.  The charismatic team offers the “Eyes on Owls” program, tailoring it to the age of the intended audience, all the way from kindergarten children to adults.  They also provide “Wildshot” photography programs.  For more information, contact them at (978) 649-3779, or check out their website at www.eyesonowls.com.


Children are taught to talk to the owls on Monday morning during the Eyes on Owls presentation at Pelham Elementary School.


Unusual Camping Trip for Pack 610 Scouts

by Lynne Ober

Cub Scouts from Pelham Pack 610 greatly enjoyed their overnight stay on board the USS Salem CA-139 the only preserved heavy cruiser in the world.  The USS Salem is located at the United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum in historic Quincy, Massachusetts.  The Overnight Adventure program lets the Cub Scouts experience life on board what was once one of the Navy’s most powerful class of cruisers in the world.

The activities included simulated combat situations such as radar tracking, damage control and simulated firefighting.  Other activities included scavenger hunts, cold water survival, hoisting, and first aid lessons. 

The Cubs enjoyed the hands-on aspect of this unique program.  They had access to areas of the ship off-limits to regular guests.  They even slept in the same bunks used by naval personnel and ate in the same mess decks.


Connor Roche uses a gun sight on the USS Salem.


The USS Salem


Police to Go from Analog to Digital Communications

by Barbara Jester

Windham Police will move from analog to digital communications due to selectmen’s approval.

Police Chief Gerald Lewis told selectmen that the one-time cost of digital installation through Verizon has recently decreased to $1,300.  The digital service will be used to increase the reliability and clarity of the department’s portable radio system.  Due to a state-funded program, Windham recently received 10 additional portable radios to be used by local officers in communicating with one another and central dispatch.  Those radios were received at no cost to local taxpayers.

“This is the final piece we need to get everyone up and operating,” Lewis told selectmen during their October 30 board meeting.

In addition to the one-time cost of $1,300, the cost of the monthly digital service through Verizon will be $460.  Lewis said there is no long-term commitment to continuing with the plan.  “We can back out at anytime,” he said.

Selectmen voted to proceed with the digital installation 4 to 0.  Selectman Alan Carpenter abstained from voting.

Lewis said he will also be looking into the possibility of using microwave transmissions at some time in the future, should it prove to be less expensive and more reliable.


Important Health Alert Released by Pelham High School

Residents should be aware that an individual at Pelham High School has been diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough).  It is possible that other cases of pertussis may occur over the next few weeks since pertussis is highly contagious.  Pertussis is spread by direct contact with discharges from the nose and throat (sharing eating utensils and drink containers) of an infected person or by breathing in droplets in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Pertussis symptoms usually begin 10 - 14 days after exposure.  It begins like a cold, with runny nose, low-grade fever, and a cough that becomes worse over 1 - 2 weeks.  After 1 - 2 weeks the severe coughing spells begin.  Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs, followed by a whooping sound.  This sound may not be present in infants, adolescents, or adults.  The cough is often followed by gagging, vomiting, and/or difficulty catching breath and is often worse at night.  Cough preparations usually do not ease the cough.  This stage of the disease lasts one to six weeks or longer.

Pertussis is contagious from about one week after exposure to three weeks after the severe coughing begins.  Erythromycin treatment early in the disease reduces the infectiousness of the ill person and may decrease the severity of symptoms.  Erythromycin is also recommended for household members and close contacts.

Please consider the following recommendations from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control (BCDC):

  1. If your child has any of the above symptoms or a cough lasting more than 1 to 2 weeks, contact your child’s doctor to have your child evaluated for pertussis.
  2. Children or staff with confirmed or suspected pertussis should be excluded from school until they have completed five days of the antibiotic treatment for pertussis.  If antibiotic treatment is not taken, exclusion is in effect until 21 days after the start of severe cough.
  3. Infants under one year, especially those under six months, are most likely to develop severe illness and complications if they develop pertussis.  When possible, young infants should be kept away from people with a cough.  Babies with any coughing illness or choking episodes should be promptly evaluated by their doctor.
  4. Usual classroom contact of school-aged children is not considered close contact unless additional activities, such as participation on the same sports team, have occurred.

If anyone in your household is diagnosed with pertussis or suspects pertussis please notify your school nurse at 635-2115 or the New Hampshire Bureau of Communicable Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345, ext. 4496 or 271-4496.  If you have any questions, please call the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345, ext. 4496 or) 271-4496.


Fact Sheet - Pertussis

What is pertussis?

Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is a very contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory tract.  Usually it causes a persistent cough that follows a normal cold.  The cough occurs in explosive bursts ending with the typical high-pitched whoop! and occasionally vomiting.  Between bursts of coughing the patient appears well.  Coughing attacks may continue to occur for 10 - 12 weeks. 

Who gets pertussis?

Pertussis is most common among babies, but anyone can get it.  Pertussis can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms often look like a cold with a nagging cough, asthma, or bronchitis.  Cases often occur in adolescents and adults because immunity can decrease with age.  These older children/adults, who may have very mild symptoms, can spread the infection to susceptible groups.

Is there a vaccine for pertussis?

There is a vaccine that is recommended for all children and is given along with the vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus to infants beginning as early as six weeks of age.  Immunization of infants and young children is very important because the most serious effects of pertussis occur among young children.  This vaccine given during infancy does not provide life-long protection.  There is now a booster vaccine called Tdap that is available for older children (11 to 17 years) and for adults to increase immunity as the infant vaccine wears off. 

How does pertussis spread?

The bacterium is spread by direct contact with discharge from the nose or throat of an infected person, or by breathing in infected droplets in the air when an infected person coughs.  The period of greatest risk of spread is during the early “cold” stage. 

What are the symptoms of pertussis?

The first symptoms are like those of a cold:  runny nose, sneezing, cough, and a low-grade fever.  The cough becomes persistent for one to two weeks.  Then the cough becomes worse, occurring in episodes of numerous rapid coughs followed by a whooping sound.  The whoop may be absent in older children and adult cases though.  These episodes may occur for one to two months and are more frequent at night.

Are there complications associated with pertussis?

Pertussis is frequently complicated by pneumonia, loss of appetite, and ear infections, particularly in infants.  In severe cases, dehydration, seizures, encephalopathy (disorders of the brain), and apneic episodes (brief cessation of breathing).  Death from pertussis is rare, and 80 percent of deaths occur in children under the age of one year. 

How soon after infection do symptoms appear?

The incubation period is usually five to ten days but may be as long as 21 days. 

When does a person become contagious?

A person can transmit pertussis to others from the beginning of the cold-like symptoms until about three weeks after the coughing starts.  The amount of time a person can give it to others is reduced when antibiotics are given.

Does a person become immune after having pertussis?

Having pertussis usually provides immunity for many years, but it is generally not life-long. 

How is pertussis treated?

Antibiotics are used to treat the infected person and their close contacts.  In addition, it is helpful to get plenty of rest and fluids. Sometimes patients need to be hospitalized and receive special treatment for the coughing or for complications. 

What can be done to prevent getting pertussis?

Antibiotics can be given to the household members and close contacts of people with pertussis to prevent them from getting sick.  Children should be vaccinated as infants.  The vaccine cannot be given to people older than age 64.  When possible, babies should be kept away from people who are coughing, because they are most likely to become seriously ill.  Babies with any coughing illness should see a health care provider.

For specific concerns about pertussis, call the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Communicable Disease Control Section at 271-4496 or 800-852-3345 x4496.  For further information, refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov or the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.


Election Results

Governor:

John Lynch – D (i) 298,206

Jim Coburn – R  105,370

U.S. House:

District 1

Carol Shea-Porter – D      100,899

Jeb Bradley – R (i)  94,869

District 2

Paul Hodes – D 108,525

Charles Bass – R (i)           93,905

Ken Blevens – L          3,777

Executive Councilor:

District 3

Beverly Hollingworth – D46,539

Chuck Morse – R   35,327

District 4

Ray Wieczorek – R (i)     36,894

Paul Martineau – D 28,921

State Senate:

District 19

Bob Letourneau – R/D (i) 12,556

District 22

Beth Roth – D    7,005

Mike Downing – R  7,829

State Representatives

District Hillsborough 27

Lynne Ober – R (i) 5,834

Jean-Guy Bergeron – R (i)5,646

Russell Ober – R    5,217

Shawn Jasper – R (i) 5,106

Peter Goyette – R (i) 5,062

Lars Christiansen – R (i)  4,919

Rudy Lessard – R (i) 4,856

Bob Haefner – R    4,590

Mary Ann Knowles – D4,549

John Knowles – D 4,527

James Lawrence – R (i)     4,515

Andrew Renzullo – R (i)  4,498

Jordan Ulery – R (i) 4,440

District Rockingham 4 

Mary Griffin – R (i) 6,113

D. J. Bettencourt – R (i)     5,797

Charles McMahon – R (i)  5,694

Anne Priestley – R (i) 5,596

Anthony DiFruscia – R (i)5,542

Ronald Belanger – R (i)     5,469

Russell Ingram – R (i) 5,322

Kevin Waterhouse – R (i)  5,275

Mark Pearson – R (i) 5,165

David Dalrymple – R       5,039

Marilinda Garcia – R       4,943

Robert Elliott – R    4,789

Jason Bedrick – R  4,464

Constitutional Amendments:

Question 1 – Eminent Domain

Yes                        315,770

No                           51,434

Question 2 – Representative Districts

Yes                        241,663

No                           99,591

(i) - incumbent

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