Principal Alicia LaFrance gets ready to kiss a pig after the successful completion of the Dollars for Diabetes program, which earned over $10,000.
During the week of May 7 elementary students from Pelham did extra chores at home to earn money for diabetes research. In a program called Dollars for Diabetes, children brought donations to their teachers every morning and the classes with the highest daily total earned extra recesses. Every time a child brought in donations, he or she also received a color-coded paper sneaker. The hallways at the school are a humbling sight - they have been wallpapered with the blue, white, orange, green, and red sneakers, and are a heartwarming reminder of how even small children can make a difference.
The Dollars for Diabetes program culminated with students and teachers participating in a 10-minute rigorous walk on Friday, May 11. Each grade from one through five walked during their scheduled recess time, and at the conclusion of the period, Principal Alicia LaFrance kissed a pig provided by Owens Farm of Pelham. Principal LaFrance promised to perform the task if students raised at least $5,000, and that goal was easily attained. She explained that kissing a pig is symbolic, since it is this animal that provides insulin to diabetic patients.
During the first grade recess, Principal LaFrance glanced at the pig with a slight look of panic, stating fearfully that it had grown “a whole lot” since the last time she saw it. However, she was a trooper and trudged ahead with her promise. Luckily, she did not have to face the task alone. Physical Education teacher Anthony Buldoc and Music teacher Erin Palmer joined her and kissed the pig also. The pig seemed slightly befuddled, and during the first round of kissing the animal relieved itself on the gymnasium floor among much commotion and giggles from the first graders. After the initial shock, however, the pig seemed to calm down and enjoy its time in the spotlight.
In a touching moment, first grade teacher Jen Pendergast, who suffers from diabetes also, was approached by one of her female students who declared, “I sure hope they find a cure.” Pendergast looked down and with a smile and a hug said that she hopes so too, then stated that it’s the kids’ words that sum it up so nicely.
The children of Pelham Elementary School earned a staggering $10,408.59 in funds for diabetes research. All proceeds will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and The American Diabetes Association.
Two hundred first graders walk in the gymnasium on a rainy Friday morning, May 11 as part of the Dollars for Diabetes program.
1 Timberland Road, in Windham, fully engulfed following a suspected lightning strike.
“On Thursday May 10, 2007 at approximately 5:30 p.m., Windham experienced a micro burst type weather system that brought heavy rain, sleet, and dangerous lightning to the area,” said Windham Fire Chief Thomas McPherson, Jr. “As a result, several homes were struck by lightening that kept Windham Firefighters very busy.”
Busy was an understatement as the Windham Fire Department received five almost simultaneous calls. Then at approximately 5:46 p.m. the fire department received a report of a building fire at 1 Timberlane Road.
“We had our first crew on the scene within five minutes of the call,” said McPherson. “They had been returning to the fire department from one of the earlier calls. Because of the number of calls, we had no one in the station at the time that the call came in. The first arriving firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from the entire roof area and second floor of the approximately 6,000 square foot single family home.”
A second alarm was immediately sounded which brought fire departments from Salem, Pelham, Londonderry, Nashua, Derry, and Hudson to the scene.
There is no municipal water in Windham, so tanker trucks had to carry water from the closest cistern to the home. It wasn’t long until a third alarm was sounded. In all, approximately twelve different fire departments responded to the scene.
“Our firefighters entered through the front door and began a search,” recounted McPherson. “They didn’t know if anyone was in the home or not. After they searched most of the second floor, they opened the door to the attic and saw that it was completely engulfed in fire. They backed out and called for more help at approximately 6:06 p.m.”
This call brought additional tankers from Litchfield, Hampstead, Atkinson, Plaistow, Chester, Kingston, Londonderry and Dracut, Massachusetts. The Salvation Army also assisted at the scene.
Litchfield Fire Chief Thomas Schofield handled the water flow. He said that everyone worked in a very professional manner, and he was extremely impressed at how all the different units worked together on the fire. “We had ten tankers bringing water to the scene. At one point, they were even pumping water out of the recently installed in-ground pool. That pump only pumped about 100 gallons a minute, but we needed all the water we could get.”
A combined effort.
The fire was brought under control at approximately 8:25 p.m., with Windham crews remaining on scene throughout the night monitoring for any rekindle.
McPherson happily reported that no injuries were reported. “It’s always good when no firefighter or no civilian is hurt at a fire. It’s unfortunate to lose a home, but you can rebuild a home.”
Although the fire is under investigation by the Windham Fire Department, McPherson said that it appears that a lightning bolt started the fire in the empty home.
Schofield noted that by the time the fire was out, the tankers had brought in, and firefighters had used, 104,000 gallons of water.
McPherson said the first floor had smoke and water damage, but that the roof had caved in and the second floor suffered extensive damage as a result.
A decision on whether or not to ban smoking at Windham’s town beach, or, as some want, to prohibit puffing on cigarettes at any town-owned outdoor recreational facility, has still not been made by selectmen. Smoking inside town buildings is already prohibited.
Although selectmen and other town officials bantered the subject around for more than an hour at the board meeting on Monday, May 14, they ultimately decided to give members of the public one more opportunity to provide additional input. A public hearing on the issue is set for Monday, May 21. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the planning and building department next to town hall.
Cheryl Haas, who assumed full-time duties as Windham’s recreation coordinator on May 1, said her main focus at this juncture is on Cobbett’s Pond Beach. “I don’t want to go through another summer as is,” Haas told selectmen. The town beach will officially open for the summer season on Saturday, June 9. The question posed by Haas is whether or not to enact a total ban of smoking at the town beach, or to simply set aside a designated smoking area.
Town Administrator David Sullivan said the State of New Hampshire enacted the Indoor Smoking Act in 1989, legislation which “regulates indoor facilities, period,” he said. “It does not in any form or manner regulate the outdoors,” Sullivan said.
Haas said she’s received lots of phone calls from residents, expressing opinions on banning smoking at the beach; most of which have been in favor of the prohibition, either for health reasons, because of littering, or both. Sullivan said he has also gotten numerous phone calls on the subject, with varying opinions.
Selectman Dennis Senibaldi said he agrees with those who want a total ban. “If there is a ban, it should the beach entirely, including the parking lot,” he said. Senibaldi said he opposes a designated smoking area, because it would encourage parents to either “drag their kids into the smoke or leave them alone on the beach,” while they take a smoking break. “Lifeguards are not babysitters,” Senibaldi said.
In summers past, lifeguards have had to caution children against using discarded cigarettes to decorate their sandcastles or to tell them not to put the butts in their mouths, Haas said.
Selectman Roger Hohenberger said he doesn’t condone smoking on the town beach, particularly in front of children, but he also doesn’t approve of legislating someone else’s lifestyle. If the discussion of banning smoking at recreational facilities is based on health concerns, Hohenberger said, perhaps officials should consider regulating obesity. “Obesity is much more of a problem than second-hand smoke,” he said.
Senibaldi took exception with Hohenberger’s point-of-view, saying that someone else’s obesity has no health effect on him or his family, but second-hand smoke can cause harm to others.
While Hohenberger opposes a total ban on smoking at the town beach, he said he is in favor of establishing a designated smoking area, away from other beachgoers.
Selectman Bruce Breton said he would like to see smoking completely eliminated from all outdoor town facilities. Breton said he believes it would set a good example for the town’s young people if smoking is banned from these locations. Breton said he received 170 calls on his cell phone regarding the potential “no smoking” ban. He said most of the callers were in favor of the ban, while just a couple were in opposition.
Selectmen’s chairman Alan Carpenter read a letter from the Windham Recreation Committee supporting a smoking ban at all town outdoor facilities. Another letter read by Carpenter said that bans aren’t for places like New Hampshire; they’re for “kooky states like California and New York.” The writer also said similar bans, in other places, in the past, haven’t worked.
One mother attending the meeting said she is definitely in favor of a ban at the town beach, as well as any other recreational area that kids frequent. She said she was concerned not only about second-hand smoke, but also children stepping on lighted cigarette butts tossed in the sand.
Another resident said he sees the problem at the beach as being more about littering. “Don’t we already have laws against littering?” he asked. He also said he wasn’t sure how officials could even enforce the smoking ban, referring to it as a “he said/she said” dilemma.
Selectman Margaret Crisler said she can definitely see banning smoking at the beach, but is also concerned about how it would be enforced. While the beach actually burning down is not a concern, Crisler said, she does worry about the careless disposal of smoking materials being a fire hazard at other town-owned recreational facilities. Also, Crisler said, the beach is very small and smoke drifting to others nearby is a problem.
“Why not just say ‘no smoking’ in Windham?” Hohenberger asked sarcastically. “Why stop at recreation?”
A motion to ban smoking at the town beach, effective June 1, failed by a vote of 3 to 2. Senibaldi and Breton voted in favor of the ban; Crisler, Carpenter and Hohenberger voted against the motion, saying they wanted to give people another chance to provide their thoughts on the subject, prior to taking an official vote.
Julie Loosigian, Brandee Peglow, Lauren Maruca, Colleen Fyfe
Keiligh Dorhety, Brianne Caira, Amanda Barry and Jahira Negron
Mike Andrews, Catlin Sawicii, Rebecca Greenwood and Mike Robillard
Jennifer Gray, Jessica Fanaras and Lauren Maruca, Member s of the Python Softball Team enjoy the prom.
Katie Parisi, Amanda Carnazo, Paige McDonald, Erin Haglund, Kartney Holstton, Leanne Terry, Kandra Reinha, Kelsey Lamoureux, Julie Roussel and Jenna Riordan
Kathy DaSiva and Escort, Meghan Harris, Mike Peters and Cathrine Sullivan
John Maribito and Hydi Fuller
James Randsom and Jenna Riordan