Pelham Strawberry Festival Provides a Sweet Retreat from the Summer Heat

by Lynette Cornell

Jennifer Moyer looks on as her daughter Deborah, 3, retrieves a winning duck during a game at the Pelham Strawberry Festival. 

No one could have asked for a better day for the Pelham Senior Center’s strawberry festival held on Saturday.  A soft breeze tamed the summer sun as Pelham’s seniors served up sweet strawberry shortcake, hot dogs, soda, and chips. 

The Pelham Medical Reserve Corps was on site to promote the Vial of Life program.  Registration for the program is free and is open to any Pelham citizen 55 years and older.  Those registered are given a pill container to safely store important medical information.  A window sticker identifying the resident as a Vial of Life participant notifies medical responders.  The vial is kept in the fridge so the emergency response personnel have one standard place to look in any participating residence.  

“I would just encourage any senior to sign up for the vial of life,” advises Martha Flood, an assistant team leader for the program.  “It can save their life.”

For young kids and the young at heart there were games like ring toss and a pick-the-lucky-duck game.  Seven-year-old Melissa Contover enlisted the help of her mom in deciding which prize to choose for winning the ring toss game.  Her mom, Joyce Invernizzi-Contover, said this has been her third year coming to the strawberry festival.  “It’s a lot of fun for the kids,” she said.  “They enjoy the games and the raffles.”

Over at the jam table, Dot Carter was selling through her homemade jams very quickly.  The larger-sized containers sold out early in the event with two flavors to choose from, strawberry or strawberry rhubarb.  Some folks could not pick just pick one flavor and had to buy both.  “We grow our own strawberries,” Carter proudly proclaims.  Although she has her own rhubarb plants, she gets the rhubarb for the jams from her friend Danny Atwood.  With some help from her husband, Carter makes all the jams at home.  She said the process usually takes a full day.  With thirty years of experience in jam making, Carter has the process down pat. 

While at the table, Terry Deselle keeps Carter company.  A former cook for the Pelham Senior Center, Deselle is a big fan of the Strawberry Festival.  “I’ve been coming here for almost 15 years,” Deselle said.  “It’s a pleasure to see all the people.”

Nearby, Mary Sarcia was enjoying strawberry shortcake with her husband.  “We’ve been coming faithfully for the last 10 years straight,” she said.  “I like everything about it.” 

Face-painter Margaret Greff poses with Jaxon Snyder, 4, taking a break from painting a smiley face on Jaxon’s right cheek. 

Knight Ride – A Legacy Experienced

by Lisa J. Jackson

Riders returning from the trip.

The weather on Saturday, June 23, was sunshine, light wind, and a smattering of clouds.  It was perfect weather for a motorcycle ride from Salem to the seacoast in honor of Mark Knight, 20-year resident of Windham and 20-year past-resident of Salem.

Friends and co-workers of Windham Patrolman Mark Knight began organizing the “Knight Ride” two months ago, with the expectation of getting a small group together to honor a great friend, brother, father, uncle, husband, partner, and coworker.  The result was an overwhelming outpouring of love, support, and compassion from hundreds of fellow police officers, firefighters, family, friends, motorcycle enthusiasts, and people who were touched by Mark in some way.

“Knight Ride is a great cause for a great person,” said Carly Gartside, cousin-in-law to Mark Knight.  Her husband, Jeff Gartside, has been like a big brother to Mark all his life.  The two men and their families are very close.

The ride started at Park Place Lanes in Salem.  During registration, organizers realized the event was going to be larger than imagined.  Park Place then became the registration area, and the parking lot of Furniture World became the staging area and the starting spot for the Knight Ride.

“Jess (Mark’s partner) worked hard on this event,” said Mark’s older sister Marsha Knight.  Patrolman Jessica Flynn along with Patrolman Dave Comeau and Sergeant Mike Caron did not envision the event blossoming into such a community outpouring of love and best wishes. 

Jessica said, “I was very fortunate to be Mark’s partner, I learned a lot from him.  One of the most significant things I learned is how much he is respected, loved and so kind and giving to so many people.  It seems like Mark knows everyone.  I am very proud that I was able to be a part of the Knight Ride.” 

State Representative Mark Pearson was given the task of leading the group, and true to his word, he had the ride started promptly at 9 a.m.  Windham Motorcycle Officer Scott Rogers led the ride.  Close to 350 motorcycles, many with two riders, fell into line behind uniformed motorcycle officers from Windham, Salem, Hudson, Methuen, Londonderry, Salem, and the State Police.  Steve Hamilton, Mark’s best friend, went on the ride with Mark’s wife Jennifer.  They rode Mark’s bike and were at the front of the line as the group returned from the Windham-to-the-seacoast-to-Salem ride. 

Mark rode in a corvette for a short distance as the entourage headed up Route 111 toward the seacoast, where they stopped at Seacoast Harley Davidson before heading back to Salem.  The group returned to the Salem - Derry Elks at precisely noon where participants and other well-wishers participated in a BBQ that extended through the afternoon.

“We are completely overwhelmed with the amount of human kindness shown for Mark,” Marsha Knight said.  “We know he has a lot of good friends, but even Mark never expected this turnout.”  Mark witnessed the return of all the riders. 

Mark’s sisters Marsha, Deb, Kim, his daughter, mother-in-law, and other relatives and friends gathered at the Salem - Derry Elks parking lot entrance with cameras in hand, sharing their excitement over the turn out while waiting for the group’s return. 

“He’s always been a doer.  The type of guy doing for everyone.  He probably never realized how many people he touched,” said friend Diane Lannon.

“I'm sure that most of the people who participated in the Knight Ride have at least one story about Mark and how he touched their lives,” Jessica Flynn said.  “And if they don't have one, then they know someone who does.  Mark is a very genuine and caring person.”

Three hundred raffle tickets for a 2008 Harley Davidson Street Glide motorcycle were sold before the end of the day, four months sooner than expected. 

Many people in attendance said Mark was blessed to witness how far-reaching his caring and loving nature extends.  It’s a great legacy for his family and friends. 

“Lots of very good and very generous people,” said Marsha Knight, “made Knight Ride 2007 an event to remember.”

“The Knight Ride was truly an amazing and moving day,” said Jessica Flynn.  “It was very much a reflection of how much Mark and his family are loved and respected.  I am very thankful to all of the thoughtful and generous people who participated in making the Knight Ride very touching and a great success.”

Contributions to benefit the Knight family and the American Cancer Society should be made payable to Windham Police Association “Knight Ride”, and sent to Citizen’s Bank, 115 Indian Rock Road, Windham, NH  03087. 

Planning Your Future Begins Now

By Lynette Cornell

With high gas prices and the rising cost of a college education, most people are too busy thinking about current bills to plan for the future.  However, Stanley Morgan financial advisor Melinda Davis advises anyone making money to take some time to plan for the future.  Last Monday evening, she gave a presentation at Nesmith Library on how investors can get the most out of their IRA. 

IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account, which is money you put away for when you no longer can or want to work.  In the past, many companies had pension plans for their workers.  Now, people typically work for many companies over the course of their lives.  People are also retiring earlier and living longer.  As a result, trusting in social security to hold oneself over is a risky solution at best.  Inflation has made the cost of living go up so now, more money must be put away to cover retirement expenses.

Three major issues threaten the security of an IRA:  longevity, inflation, asset allocation, and excessive withdrawal.  With longevity, there is the risk of outliving your savings and being stuck penniless at a time in your life when you are physically or mentally unable to work to support yourself.  Inflation is currently increasing prices at a rate of 3 percent annually.  If your money is invested in a Certificate of Deposit (CD) at a rate of 5 percent, you are just barely covering the cost of inflation.  Asset Allocation Risk hinges on choices that investors make now and throughout the planning process.  If all your money rests in one type of investment and that investment goes sour, then you will be left with no money to retire.  Excessive Withdrawal Risk is all about planning wisely and sacrificing now for later gains.  If you spend more than your retirement savings can afford, you will quickly run out of money to meet your cost of living.

Davis strongly suggests investing early.

"Put your money in as early as possible," Davis said.  Compounded interest really adds up in the end.  She showed a slide presentation comparing multiple investors starting to invest $200 a month at different ages through age 65.  The investor that started at 25 invested a total of $96,000 and on average ended up with $702,856 saved by age 65.  Another investor starting at age 35 invested a total of $72,000, but only had $300,059 by age 65, less than half that of the 25-year-old.

An alternative to IRAs that is very common is the 401K plan.  With this plan, investors can put away a portion of their pre-tax earnings directly into an account that will grow tax deferred.  When the investor withdraws money from the account during retirement, that money is then taxed according to the tax rate for that investor’s current salary, which may or may not be lower than the rate during the initial investment. 

If someone expects that their future income may be higher than their present income, they may invest money in a Roth IRA.  This type of account is limited to people with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $110,000 ($114,000 for 2007) for a single person and an AGI of $160,000 ($166,000 for 2007) for married persons filing jointly.  For persons under age 50, the maximum annual contribution to a Roth IRA is $4,000.  To assist with persons aged 50-plus who are playing “catch up” with their retirement savings, the maximum annual contribution is $5,000.  Other restrictions may apply.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 brought some significant changes to retirement accounts and pension plans.  One important change now allows employees to put their tax return directly into an IRA.  The idea is that with their money out of sight, it will also be out of mind.  A government act from 2005, which was enacted in 2006, also had an affect on IRAs.  The Tax Income Prevention and Reconciliation Act loosened the restrictions on IRA conversions.  Under the act, taxpayers can rollover their IRAs into Roth IRAs regardless of modified adjusted gross income. 

For any questions related to investing, Melinda Davis is available at Morgan Stanley on Main Street in Nashua.   

Car Chase Winds Through Pelham and Back

by Lynne Ober

A number of police departments participated in the pursuit of a green 1996 Dodge Caravan which began in Nashua and ran through several towns and two states.

“The pursuit originated in Nashua, traveled through Hudson; Pelham; Methuen, Massachusetts; Salem, New Hampshire; back into Pelham, and ended in Hudson,” said Pelham Police Chief Joe Roark.

The pursuit came to an abrupt end when Officer Thomas Scottl of the Hudson Police Department deployed a spike strip on Pelham Road by Melendy Road.  When the driver drove over the spike strip, the van was disabled.

“Spike strips are very effective,” said Hudson Police Chief Dick Gendron.  “We carry one in each of our cruisers.  The spike strip is very effective in bringing a pursuit such as this to a safe conclusion.”

At one point, the driver of the van ran a Methuen police cruiser off the road.  During the pursuit, a Pelham police cruiser was hit and received damage.  According to police reports, the Pelham cruiser was “purposely struck by the suspect’s Caravan during the pursuit in their town.”  However, the Pelham police cruiser continued the pursuit despite being rammed.

According to Roark, the damage was not significant.  “The cruiser received dents and scratches.  It will be repaired and back in service soon.  It was not totaled.”  The cruiser’s tires were also shredded by the same spike strip that stopped the van.

Riding in the cruiser were Officer Eugene Stahl, Pelham’s K-9 officer and K-9 Officer Zahn.  “K-9s are not secured per se in the rear compartments of K-9 cruisers so during a prolonged pursuit over back road curves and bumps they can become somewhat nauseous.  Additionally, he was jolted during the impact,” commented Roark.  .

While Officer Stahl and K-9 Officer Zahn are fit and back to duty, “Officer David Deroche injured his hand when he attempted to deploy stop sticks against the fleeing vehicle,” said Roark.  “He was seen at the hospital, is wearing sling, but should return to work in the near future.”

Once the van’s tires were shredded by the spike strip, the driver fled on foot into a wooded area off of Melendy and Pelham Road.  Because of the injuries to Zahn, the dog was unable to pursue the victim into the woods.

“Upon deployment immediately after the pursuit, Zahn exhibited signs of lethargy and disorientation so he was brought to the vet as a precaution,” said Roark.  The vet checked Zahn and later released him with a “fit for duty” certification.

The state canine was called into assist, and with the dog’s help, the suspect was tracked to a Rose Drive, Hudson address, which is the same address as the listed owner of the van.

However, the listed owner of the van, James Barry, 32, of 4 Rose Drive, Hudson, was not at home and was later located at a Pearl Street address in Nashua.  Barry was not arrested at the Pearle Street address.

“Pelham PD is currently working with the other agencies involved to locate and identify the suspect,” said Roark.

Gendron concurred that the Hudson Police Department is also working with a variety of agencies, including the Nashua Police Department, to identify the suspect.

The suspect, when identified, will face multiple motor vehicle and criminal charges to include disobeying a police officer, reckless conduct, and conduct after an accident. 

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