Water Carnival on a Hot, Sunny Day

by Lynne Ober


The water raft is a popular gathering spot on a hot summer day.

Finally Mother Nature provided one of those perfect summer days with bright blue skies, lots of sun, and temperatures that draw people to the beach.  “This is a perfect day for our water carnival,” said Windham Recreation Director Cheryl Haas.  “We’ve had so much rain and so many cancellations.”

Haas praised the lifeguards who had worked to organize the games for the water carnival.  “We just have a lot of fun things to do today, and kids of all ages can participate.”

All of the games were entertaining, but perhaps the most frustrating was trying to fill a bucket.  Kids ran back and forth with cans — the catch?  The cans had holes drilled in them so that the water ever so slowly leaked out as the kids ran.   This caused lots of giggles and shouts of encouragement!

Musical kick boards drew kids into two large circles — one for the older kids and one for the younger.  While the older kids quickly understood the purpose and the game, the younger kids just wanted to run around in a circle.  Just being in the sun and playing with friends was their goal.

Relays, laughter, tag, Marco Polo in the water, and lazy summer days are all things that build memories of summer fun.

“We like to have people really enjoy the beach,” said Haas, who noted that the annual beach water carnival was a fun day filled with beach games, laughter and fun.

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Old-Fashioned Fun at Pelham Public Library


Kids all join hands with Miss Debbie to do the Looby Loo Dance.

The end of summer always comes too quickly, and this year was no exception.  The Pelham Public Library celebrated the end of its Summer Reading Program on August 13 with an Old-Fashioned Fun Day on the Village Green.  Children and their families came for the afternoon to enjoy the perfect summer afternoon. 

The afternoon featured obstacle courses, relay races, duck matching, singing and dancing.  Everyone was treated to Sno-Cones, popcorn and lemonade from the snack tent.  The Friends of the Pelham Library helped with the games and races.

The afternoon ended with a raffle of three bicycles donated by Super Wal-Mart in Salem.  The winners were Matthew Plutnicki, Jack Hamlin and John Gulbicki. 

It was such a beautiful day on so many levels, said Debbie Laffond, the childrens librarian.  The weather finally co-operated, there were many different organizations in town who gathered together to make this event the success that it was, and, perhaps best of all, it all happened at a minimal cost!

She added, The entire event, which was supported by the Friends of Pelham Library and the MOMS Club as well as other organizations from town, could not have occurred without the help of so many hands.  The Summer Reading Program volunteers also worked tirelessly throughout the day setting up, running errands, managing activities and then cleaning up.  I would like to thank all of these people for their efforts to make the event so successful!

With high gas prices inhibiting long trips, the Pelham Library and its summer reading program, GDay for Reading, was a popular destination for Pelham families this summer.  The children and their families entered into the spirit of the Australia-themed program with enthusiasm as they learned about the continent with its rain forests, deserts and Aborigine culture.  The reading groups were divided into the wombats, joeys, kangaroos and koalas.  Each group met weekly for stories and crafts related to Australia. 

The story hours each week were well attended as the children listened to stories, did crafts, danced and sang while learning about The Land Down Under.  Some of the highlights of the summer were the Big Truck Night, the Princess Visit, and the paper airplane contest.  Each of our special events were filled to capacity! 

Volunteer support for July was provided by eight volunteers who logged almost 100 hours!  They faithfully arrived each day at their appointed times to work on preparing projects, assisting the children with these activities and other Summer Reading Program games, and then cleaned up after the large groups of children who attended the weekly story hours as part of the summer reading program, said Laffond said. 

This year, 292 children registered for the Summer Reading Program, checking out 3,042 items in the seven weeks from June 22 until August 3.

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Sherburne Hall Repairs Continue

by Lynne Ober

The new municipal building on Pelhams Village Green is having its fifth birthday.  During that time the Sherburne Hall Committee has raised nearly $50,000 for the renovation of Sherburne Hall.  Phase one of the repairs has been underway since June.

You know I dont have a lot of patience, said Charlene Takesian when she last spoke to Pelham selectmen.  We got our first quote in June and if were very lucky, the first phase of renovations will be done by September.  There have been so many details.  I didnt realize how many details.

No tax dollars have been spent on this, said Takesian, who noted that it was important for the community to understand that.  Weve raised money and weve had donations.

The committee sought and was granted permission to complete the first phase.  Takesian told the board that the results would not look like the picture the committee has shown people.

For the first phase the committee is spending about $30,000.  The paint that we are using was donated to us.  Thats a big savings, noted Takesian.  Smoke alarms are one of the biggest items.  The committee is installing smoke alarms not only in Sherburne Hall, but also down the hallways of the municipal building.  Because of the configuration of the ceiling in Sherburne Hall, a laser beam is being used to track temperature changes or visibility changes.

Then the hall will be cleaned.  Walls and exposed pipes will be washed.  A decorator is helping the committee with the color scheme.  The walls will be painted and the hall will be carpeted.

When Town Administrator Tom Gaydos asked Takesian to talk about the carpet tiles, she said there were two options – normal rolled carpet or carpet tiles.  The carpet tiles are large tiles and are seamless when installed, giving the same appearance as rolled carpet.  However, the tiles can be removed if one gets stained or torn.  According to Gaydos, they also can be moved around so that heavily trafficked areas can have their tiles rotated to extend the wear.

Takesian is enthusiastic about the upgrades and said she already has tasks planned for the second phase.  She wants to upgrade the lighting in the hall and to buy chairs. 

As soon as the first phase is complete, the hall will be ready for public use, Takesian told the board.  I know the library wants to host some events.  The theater group is still interested.  This will be a nice place for public events.  Selectmen will have to work on how to schedule.

Takesian said the committee remains active and has made money selling hot dogs and hamburgers during the outdoor concert series. 

If it would only stop raining, we could make $10,000, joked Selectman Bill McDevitt, a committee member.

Takesian said the hall will look nicer – still not be what she hopes for the future, but definitely a start and it will be open to the public.  She noted that the committee would continue working.  We hope when the hall can be used that we will generate some more enthusiasm for the next phase.  

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Pelham Recreation Department Suffers from Zero-Based Budgeting

by Lynne Ober

Every Pelham department head has been asked to zero-base budget for next year.  Selectmen wanted residents to know that they understand the no votes this past March.

Pelham Parks and Recreation Director Brian Johnson managed to bring his budget in $74 less than last year, but thats primarily because he is earning $2,800 less than the former director.

As with all departments, increased utility and gasoline costs have meant a harsh look at the overall budget.

Last year the Budget Committee asked him to remove a defibrillator and put it into this years budget.  The defibrillator will cost $2,100.  Johnson said it would be the second one available in the parks.  There is already one at Muldoon, thanks to a donation.  I believe that we need one at every one of our parks, Johnson said.

After selectmen established the revolving account at the urging of the former director, programs have become self-sustaining and are not offered with tax dollars.  Johnson told selectmen he assigns costs associated with a program, such as trash removal for the duration of the program, to that program and those costs are paid out of the revolving fund.  It is working very well and some of what is currently in my budget will move to the revolving account.

Johnson reminded selectmen that he is in his first year and that he is still learning.  He talked about the need to move some of the repairs and new equipment into the revolving fund because those costs are really associated with the programming offered.

Selectman Bill McDevitt questioned the lifeguards and asked if summer camp registrations continue to be low, if the staff would be needed.

Johnson noted that the lifeguards are more for the public than for the campers, who also have camp counselors with them.

The one serious concern is funding for matching grants.  This year it is zero with the default budget and Johnson kept it at zero.

Finance Director Janice Gallant noted that in his first year Johnson really didnt apply for any grants and noted that in the past, money could be moved from other accounts to fund the matching portion, but she doubted that would happen with all budgets being zero-budgeted.  She talked about the Hillsborough County grant that Pelham has received before and noted that if there isnt any matching funding, the grants could not be accepted.

Parks and Recreation has many opportunities to apply for grants throughout the year.  The matching funds need to be available in order to apply for these grants, Johnson said.  We have removed this appropriation in compliance with the BOS request for a zero-based budget.  However, Parks and Recreation will not be eligible for matching grants unless funds are available.

Selectman Hal Lynde asked Johnson to prepare information for the board about the grants and level of funding that would be needed.

Other questions revolved around vandalism in the parks.  Johnson said that except for the skate park fire, vandalism had been low.  He said that it cost $1,000 to repair the slide that had been vandalized in Muldoon Park last year.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Doug Viger thanked Johnson for his budget and said selectmen knew that all department heads were having a difficult time. 

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