Daisy Troop Proves That Kids Can Make a Difference Too!
The girls playing in the leaves before they begin their project.
Local Daisy Troop 900 participated in USA Weekend Make a Difference Day on October 25. The girls wanted to help someone in need. After many discussions, they decided to help with a yard cleanup. They gathered together on Saturday and cleaned the yard of a local elderly couple.
“We have an amazing group of young girls. They took their rakes and immediately started their project. Without much instruction, they had the front yard cleaned up in less than one hour!” said co-leaders Jane Hodgdon and Rhonda Boudreau. The girls will earn their Rose-colored petal, which stands for ‘Make the World a Better Place.’ Not only did the girls earn a petal with the work they did, they also learned that with teamwork they can do anything. They learned that doing things for others makes you feel good inside, and helps the community too! They also learned that even though they are small they can make a big difference in the lives of others.
They would like to thank Ross and Marilyn McDonald for allowing them to use their yard for their Make a Difference Day project, and for the delicious cookies! We would also like to thank Friend Lumber for donating the leaf collection bags for the project, and also the parent volunteers that helped with the cleanup.
The girls will continue to serve the community throughout the upcoming holiday season by participating in the annual Hudson Fish and Game Thanksgiving Dinner.
Python Grid Men Make it 19 in a Row
by Tommy Gates
Josh Luciano hands off to Bruce Viera on the first play of the second half for a big gain
It was the prettiest of wins, and Pelham Python football coach Tom Babaian will take it as his kids took a 22 - 0 halftime lead last Friday night over Stevens High School, and held on for a 24 - 6 win over the Cardinals. The Pythons now own an 8 – 0 record and are the No. 1 seed in Division V, and they will wrap up their regular season this Saturday when they travel to Epping to take on the 1 – 7 Blue Devils. The Pythons looked a little banged up last Friday night too, as senior back Bruce Vieira only rushed the ball eight times for 20 yards before coming to the bench early in the third quarter. Josh Luciano was also banged up but he played in the second half, as did senior lineman, Davey Wesson, who had an egg-shaped welt on his hand.
Neither team did any scoring for the first 16 minutes of the first half, but Pelham’s defense stepped up with a turnover and Stevens helped them with a couple of costly penalties, and Pelham’s junior quarterback Joe DeAngelo got his team on the scoreboard with a four-yard touchdown run. Pelham’s two-point run attempt failed, but, with 7:57 left in the first half, Pelham led 6 - 0. DeAngelo went to the air on Pelham’s next possession and he completed three passes including a 48-yarder to Josh Luciano, and this drive ended with 3:47 left in the first half when DeAngelo hooked up with senior Joe Morin for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Morin also snagged a two-point pass from DeAngelo to give them a 14 - 0 cushion. This looked like there might be a Stevens score late in the half, but sophomore Timmy Schaffer picked off a Zach Melcher pass at Pelham’s 15-yard line and outraced everybody into the end zone with an 85-yard interception. Bruce Vieira rushed for the two-point conversion that gave Pelham a 22 - 0 lead with 30 seconds left to go in the first half. Stevens got on the scoreboard midway through the third quarter when Matt Dancause picked off a Pelham pass and returned it 60 yards for the touchdown, but only a last quarter safety by Josh Luciano and Mike Lombard tackling the Stevens quarterback in their own end zone would make it a 24 - 6 final.
George Harris, developer of the Sports Complex, shows support
at Friday night’s game.
Town Vehicles – Lease or Purchase?
by Lynne Ober
Pelham selectmen are very aware that voters spoke with a strong voice last March. As a result, they had been working diligently to keep budgets and costs down. Recently they discussed whether vehicles should be leased or purchased, and if such expenditures should go to the voters as a separate warrant article or be part of the operational budget.
After Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark briefed selectmen on the police leasing program, Chairman Doug Viger noted there had been additional conversations. As a result, he asked Roark to come forward and discuss a revised version of the leasing program. Roark said there had been a lot of different discussions and remarked that he was unsure where it had been left between the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee. Roark’s main recommendation was to lease his front line patrol fleet of marked cruisers. Police have already leased a motorcycle, and that amount could be amended.
Roark pointed out that specialty vehicles have a significant useful life and are valuable to the fleet. There had been discussion about decommissioning those vehicles while they had a useful life to other departments, in order to avoid future difficult warrant articles.
Roark said he would like to have the seven cruisers included in the operating budget, move the motorcycle lease into a different lease to have a reasonable purchase price at the end of the lease (right now the line item was included in the budget).
Many towns do keep cruisers in the operating budget, and Roark’s position is no different than the former police chief’s position had been. Cruisers have significant usage and need to be replaced on a regular basis.
However, Roark said that he was not certain at this point if a warrant article should be drafted or if the price should be in the operating budget, and he asked selectmen for guidance.
Viger recalled that when the idea was brought in to lease vehicles the selectmen had asked the chief to look at his other vehicles. Viger said the issue was discussed with other boards, and the question now was if there was any objection to cutting back the lease option to include only seven cruisers.
Selectman Hal Lynde said he may want to reconsider this if another department head requests purchasing a vehicle that the lease would have replaced.
Roark stated that the department would be able to seek out lease/financing on their own and could present the findings for reconsideration.
Selectman Bill McDevitt recapped the questions before the selectmen and said that he saw two separate questions: 1) If the seven basic police vehicles should be leased, and 2) If the vehicles should be in the operating budget or in a warrant article.
Viger reminded the board that the breakdown of the lease came in at less than the purchase price of two cruisers. Viger also said it was a matter of maintaining a level of service that the town had already approved. Viger felt the question was if it should become a line item in the budget.
Selectmen discussed the lease approach for obtaining vehicles and asked about the advantages and disadvantages.
Roark discussed the advantages in maintenance costs with having a leased front line fleet. Overall, the costs to the taxpayers were expected to be less with a leased front line fleet.
Selectman Victor Danevich felt a warrant article should be submitted since a lease would be a fundamental change in how the cruisers were funded. Currently, Pelham purchases their cruisers.
In other towns, a cruiser past its useful life as a cruiser can often become a code enforcement vehicle because it is driven less, doesn’t have to idle, and can continue to provide service to the town and cut costs for taxpayers.
Lynde suggested wording for a warrant article and pointed out that since there was money in the budget the lease could be entered into at no added cost.
Town Administrator Tom Gaydos outlined the differences between a lease and a loan. At that point it was suggested to draw up a warrant article that would allow selectmen to enter into a leasing program and “to appropriate x dollars; if the warrant article is approved, the operating budget would be reduced by x dollars.”
However, Roark questioned what would happen in three years (assuming the proposed warrant article passed). He wondered if an additional warrant article would be needed in three years.
Lynde replied that the intent was to allow going into the lease system.
When Selectman Bob Haverty questioned what type of position the police would be in if the warrant article was revoked, Roark said police would have a fleet that was close to the 75,000-80,000 miles. If the town decided to have another year to stretch the cars, the following year the entire fleet would be over 100,000 miles.
Gaydos discussed the lease process and answered several selectmen questions.
Roark informed the board that some of the surrounding towns had been leasing for many years, and added that if the cruiser leasing went to a warrant article he didn’t want the impression to be that he wanted seven new cars. Roark carefully noted in year two and three the department wouldn’t get any new cars, which was different from the current process where they got two new cruisers per year. He stated that he was not increasing the size of the fleet, and reiterated he was not asking for seven cars next year. The leasing would be a mechanism for reducing mileage. He also said he would work hard advocating the warrant article and pledged they would maintain the same size fleet that they had always had.
When Haverty asked if there was a mechanism to cycle out the old cruisers, Roark said the seven cruisers could be moved into administrative roles. Some of the cars would be traded for equipment, and some had minimal value. He reiterated that the growth of the fleet would not occur.
There was a consensus of the selectmen to have a warrant article for seven (basic) vehicles.
Proposed Conservation Easement Moves Forward
by Barbara O’Brien
Selectmen have decided to move forward with an approved warrant article, one which was supported by the majority of voters this past September, during a special town meeting. The warrant article in question asked voters whether they wanted to grant a permanent conservation easement on town-owned property.
The issue of moving forward with that easement was raised again during the selectmen’s board meeting on Monday, October 27.
The land referred to in the warrant article is located on the Windham-Salem Town Line and includes 53.4 acres known as the Blanchard Property, plus an additional 24.6 acres designated as the Rau Property. Both pieces of land were purchased by the town with the intent of using them as conservation land. They are both situated in an area known as the Town Forest.
According to Windham Conservation Commission Chairman Jim Finn, by legally placing a conservation easement on this property, the town could receive a $177,000 State Department of Environmental Services Wellhead and Water Quality Protection Grant. The grant is based on 20 percent of the original purchase price of the land under consideration. That money, Finn said, could then be used to buy additional conservation land for Windham. A conservation easement is a legal document, Finn said, one which would pretty much guarantee that this designated land would stay undeveloped into perpetuity, basically forever.
During a previous meeting this past summer, Ellen Snyder, a representative of the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire, explained the purpose of the conservation easement being proposed in Windham. The Land Trust is located in Exeter and serves all of Rockingham County.
The Land Trust’s overall purpose, Snyder said, is to conserve land for generations to come, resulting in multiple benefits, including drinking water protection, the protection of scenic views, the allowance of recreational use by the public and the prohibition of any construction. At a very minimum, the conservation easement must allow the public to have access on foot.
Although the Land Trust would serve in the capacity of a third-party steward and would annually monitor the area for potential violations, such as illegal dumping, the property would remain in the ownership of the Town of Windham and its residents. In order to overturn the conservation easement, the town would need to file court papers and attempt to have it removed through eminent domain.
During a discussion of the proposed conservation easement this past August, just prior to the town’s deliberative session on September 9, Selectman Charles McMahon, who also serves Windham as a State Representative in Concord, said the conservation easement should have been part of the original purchase and sales agreement. Because it wasn’t included in the original agreement, McMahon said he went to the State to have it brought before voters. The warrant article, which appeared on the ballot on September 9, was brought forth by the Windham Board of Selectmen.
Conservation Commission Chairman Finn said the ultimate purpose of the proposed conservation easement is to protect the quality of drinking water. That’s what should be kept in mind, he said. “Forever is the key,” conservation commission member Wayne Morris added.
As the result of the selectmen’s decision to move forward with the proposed conservation easement, public hearings will be scheduled on the issue. The hearings will include joint meetings between selectmen and the conservation commission. The tentative date of the first hearing has been set for Thursday, November 20.