Katherine (middle) and Keegan admire their handiwork as they look at the sugar cookies they are about to eat.
First grade students from Jen Pendergast’s Pelham Elementary School class created the classic culinary cuisines of chocolate and butterscotch brownies, sugar cookies with red sprinkles, Valentine candy hearts, as well as two more types of brownies, as they hosted the American Culinary Federation’s Chef and Child Program.
Master chef Alan Archer, Pelham resident, corporate executive chef to Nestle Corporation and volunteer to the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Chef and Child Foundation, volunteered his teaching, training, and time to instruct the students on proper hygiene, eating habits, food safety, and nutrition.
“Mr. Archer has a student in our class and I am most thankful for him coming to our class today,” commented Jen Pendergast. “The children really loved making the brownies and cookies. In fact, they will be given to the cafeteria where all the students of the school can enjoy these treats.”
The mission of the ACF is “To educate children and families in understanding proper nutrition through community-based initiatives led by American Culinary Federation chef members, and to be the voice of the culinary industry in its fight against childhood hunger, malnutrition, and obesity.”
Founded in 1989, the Chef and Child Foundation has visited many schools and organizations, promoting and fostering awareness of proper nutrition in preschool and elementary school children as well as combat childhood obesity.
“All children need to learn how to cook and how to choose healthy foods. With many children living in homes with a single parent or with both parents working, children are cooking for their little brothers and sisters, and even for themselves and their parents,” states the organization.
During the class instruction, Archer provided the students with hands-on instructional experiences involving cooking, cleaning, and preparing the foods. He also facilitated a question-and-answer session with the students on healthy food groups, proper eating habits, and how to evaluate the correct food groups to eat.
Students take a break from making all the desserts, while chef and child instructor Alan Archer (rear middle, sitting) and first grade teacher Jen Pendergast (right) look on.
Ethel and John Cadieux, Derry, still very much in love after 60+ years
The Windham Middle School SMILES had their first community service event at the Windham Terrace. They put on a small Valentine’s Day party, complete with flowers and a gift bag for each resident. There were about 40 residents in attendance, and the party was put on by 14 of the 8th grade students.
This was a time of sharing. The young people learned more about the elderly and how to respond to a different age bracket, while the seniors enjoyed the smiles, the gifts, and the general feeling of value they were just given by the students. This afternoon was a success by all.
Good job Middle School 8th graders. Don’t ever give up on helping and taking part with others.
Ritsuko Ohojin, receives a red carnation
The Windham Middle School students and staff members
Last year when the Pelham Budget Committee cut the funds for the full-time Adult Services Librarian, the voters of Pelham turned out to restore those funds at deliberative session.
This year, despite the fact that the library requested level funding, the Budget Committee sliced the library budget by $2,447. Even though it was a much smaller amount, voters still turned out at deliberative session to restore the money to the library budget.
Although Budget Committee Chair John Lavallee explained the cuts, stating that the library had presented a budget that included 4 percent raises for some of the staff, he also admitted that library trustees had come back with a 3 percent raise proposal but the Budget Committee still cut the budget to below level funded.
Why the additional cuts? That request was denied because the library was not specific about where that money would go, Lavallee said. Library trustees disputed Lavallee’s statements, not the first or last to dispute statements during the deliberative session.
Library director Sue Hoadley had presented a revised budget which showed that the $2,447 would go back to the budget for books and other materials that were cut by the trustees to allow for the staff raises. As Selectman Hal Lynde pointed out at the meeting, the trustees had made cuts somewhere to maintain the zero percent growth budget. The library was merely seeking to be level funded, as requested.
At the town deliberative session, Friends of the Library president Debbie Kruzel made a motion, asking voters to approve restoring $2,447 to the library’s budget. Several people spoke in favor of the motion, discussing that the library staff were among the lowest paid of similar libraries in New Hampshire, and paid far less than Pelham town employees. The voters present voted to return the money to the library’s budget. Library trustee Fran Garboski continued to be puzzled by the Budget Committee’s strategy.
“We did as the Board of Selectmen asked and presented a zero percent growth budget. There was never any mention by the Board of Selectmen or the Budget Committee of holding salaries to 3 percent increases. We are never sure what they (Budget Committee) want besides to cut our funds.”
In fact, several Pelham town employees have received raises much higher than 3 percent, with the full approval of the Budget Committee, as reported in a previous article.
Hoadley also spoke about the increasing demand for library services and presented both verbal and written statistics to substantiate that. She also said the staffing has remained level and the budget has only grown 5 percent in the past five years.
“People are relying on their libraries more than ever,” said Hoadley. “With this economy, people are realizing they can borrow books and DVD’s from the library rather than purchasing them. We also offer services to help those who have been laid off and are seeking jobs.”
During the December ice storm, the library’s computers were always occupied as people without power looked to connect to the outside world.
Garboski was pleased with the outcome of the deliberative session, but again took issue with the fact that the Budget Committee had made the cuts without any real explanation.
“We are here to serve the people of Pelham,” he said.
Hoadley was also very pleased with the outcome of the deliberative session.
“I just can’t thank everyone enough for supporting the library.”
Windham’s Town Administrator David Sullivan has submitted a list of “shovel-ready” projects that town officials hope are eligible for some of the federal funding to be made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan (i.e. stimulus package) recently approved by the United States Congress.
Sullivan said the list of 13 local projects, not in any order of priority, was developed by members of the Windham Planning Board. “Any community can submit an application for funds,” Sullivan said. It is anticipated that New Hampshire will receive approximately $300 million in stimulus funds, with some $50 million going to the restructuring of Route 93 from the Massachusetts state line to Manchester. The remaining $250 million will be divided among those communities which apply for funds. There are 16 cities in New Hampshire, plus 225 towns, as well as six unincorporated areas.
In a letter to U.S. Senator Jean Saheen, it is written, “In support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, established to stimulate our downtrodden economy, the Town of Windham respectfully submits the following list of shovel-ready projects for consideration. Additionally, please note that the Town of Windham has been working independently to stimulate economic development in part sparked by the I-93 widening and the Route 111 improvement projects. This is reflected in our 2005 Master Plan that dedicates a chapter to economic development, along with zoning supportive of the improved highways.”
Projects included in the submission for stimulus package funding are:
London Bridge Road - This roadway will establish a secondary access to the new Windham High School, scheduled to open in August of 2009. It will provide faster emergency access to a remote part of town that currently has emergency response times over the recommended standards, and, as suggested in the 2005 Master Plan, may ease congestion on major roadways by providing a cross-town connection. Estimated cost of the project is $902,000.
Town salt shed/maintenance facility - This project will relocate the existing storage of road salt from the historical depot site, a stipulation which is required under the town’s lease agreement with the State of New Hampshire (to be removed by 2012, as well as to comply with requirement for a new Environmental Protection Agency storm-water permit. The combined facility will also provide for indoor storage and maintenance of equipment, a situation which is currently unavailable. Estimated cost of the project is $960,000.
Water/sewer conduit pipes - This project is recommended as part of the widening of Interstate Route 93, which will make water and sewer a viable option in the future development of Windham. Preliminary project estimates are $400,000.
Golden Brook Elementary School Renovations - This project is intended to provide much-needed upgrades, including energy conservation improvements to the 30-year-old school, while allowing expansion for mandated kindergarten. The estimated cost of the project is $15 million.
Road Improvements - The highway department currently has a list of road improvement projects estimated at $2 million. These highway projects are intended to improve and repair rural roads that serve the Town of Windham and the region as a whole.
Police Station Garage - This project will allow the police department a secure area in which to store and process crime scene evidence. The garage would also be utilized for secure storage of items such as the department’s motorcycle, ATVs, etc. The estimated cost of the project is $90,000.
Police Station Training Room - This project will allow the construction of a training room in support of local law enforcement efforts. It is intended to allow better utilization of the existing building. Estimated cost of project is $110,000.
High School Track and Athletic Field - This project will allow additional athletic facilities for use when the new high school opens this coming August. Estimated cost of the project is $2.5 million.
High School Gymnasium - This project will provide a second gymnasium at the new high school, allowing full offerings of all proposed athletics, as well as to help alleviate the overall need for gym space in town. The estimated cost of the project is $1.5 million.
Nesmith Library Expansion - This project will build an addition to the existing town library in order to meet the growing needs for new programs and materials for town residents. This is a design-built project. Estimated cost of the project is $3.2 million.
Spruce Pond Recreational Fields - This project will provide athletic fields to support both the current and growing needs of the community. Estimated cost of this project is $600,000.
Griffin Park Amphitheatre - This project will utilize an existing town-owned park to construct an outdoor performing arts facility. Estimated cost of the project is $350,000.
New Town Hall - This project will allow Windham to centralize municipal services in one building in the town’s village center. The relocation of town services to a central site will also allow four existing historic buildings, currently used for municipal services, to be reused for other town purposes. Estimated cost of this project is $2.25 million.
Representatives of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) met with Windham Selectmen to update the progress being made on the expansion of Interstate Route 93, particularly in reference to the blasting being done near Exit 3.
Peter Stamnas, who is in charge of the I-93 construction project for the DOT, discussed the situation with selectmen during their board meeting on Monday, February 9. Stamnas said approximately 85,000 cubic yards of ledge have been blasted, to date, in the area near the former Dunkin’ Donuts franchise on Route 111. All blasted materials will be used in other segments of the project, Stamnas said. The blasting in that area is to create a detention pond, the purpose being to capture water run-off from the paved portion of the highway. Stamnas said it is anticipated that approximately 90 percent of the water run-off will be captured in the detention pond, thereby protecting Dinsmore Brook from silt infiltration. “There is no tolerance for silt infiltration of Cobbitt’s Pond,” he told town officials.
Stamnas said the goal is to complete the blasting in this area prior to the start of the upcoming spring rainy period. There is a great deal of “muck” in this vicinity, he said, some portions as deep as 12 feet. Certain invasive species have also been found to exist in this area, species which need to be eradicated to stop their spreading.
The total blasting expected to take place in this area of Exit 3 is approximately 442,000 cubic yards of ledge, according to Stamnas.
Selectman Charles McMahon said he had received one complaint from a resident regarding the blasting at Exit 3. McMahon said that the complaint had been received on January 2 and was made by a homeowner who lives about a mile away from the blasting site. The property owner was concerned about the effects of the blasting on his residence, which included a shaking sensation. Stamnas said the DOT has used seismographs to monitor each blast and all have measured below state standards. He also said he feels the magnitude of the blasting “would never even register on property a mile away” from the blasting site. Stamnas did advise, however, that the resident’s complaint be forwarded to the contractor’s insurance company for investigation.
The closest structure to the blasting site is owned by former school board member and local business owner Al Letizio. Letizio’s building is 300 to 400 feet from the blasting site and no adverse effects have been reported at that location, Stamnas said.
Selectman Roger Hohenberger asked Stamnas if the DOT violates Windham’s blasting standards, which permit a lower level of vibrations than does the state. Windham’s blasting standards were made stricter following problems which arose at the construction site for an industrial park off Ledge Road — a project which resulted in alleged damages to the homes of area residents, particularly in reference to their drinking water and air quality. Stamnas responded to Hohenberger’s question, by answering, “Yes,” the DOT is violating Windham’s blasting standards. The state adheres to its own standards during such projects, Stamnas said. “We are aware of the sensitivity of the issue, however,” Stamnas said, adding that New Hampshire DOT specifications are one of the most stringent in the region.
Prior to the actual blasting getting underway, a pre-blast survey was done of 45 existing wells in the area. The survey included a 1,000 foot perimeter around the blasting site.
Stamnas also said the state has modified its blasting procedures to further protect water quality and the DOT does have a consultant on staff whose responsibility it is to oversee all blasting operations. There is also an early warning sentry well which is in place, as well as a hydrologist who is on staff. “This is all being done at considerable expense,” Stamnas said. “If the project were done to Windham standards, it would cost twice as much and take twice as long to complete,” he said. For the record, Stamnas added, the state will continue blasting at the current level, but will be moving farther away from the closest structures. According to information discussed at the meeting, approximately 33 percent of the blasts taking place prior to February 9 were above town standards, but below state standards.
The new southbound off-ramp, which is the purpose of the majority of the current construction in that area, will be about a mile long, Stamnas said. The new northbound bridge over Route 111 will be about 400 feet in length, he said. It is anticipated that the new southbound off-ramp will be completed at Exit 3 by 2011. At that point, southbound traffic on Route 93 will be using the future northbound lane on a temporary basis and northbound traffic will be using existing lanes. “The goal is to complete the project on time and on budget with as little interference to the motoring public as possible,” Stamnas said. “In the meantime, we are asking for the public’s patience.”
Questions were also asked by town officials about the new Park and Ride facility to be included in the reconstruction of the Exit 3 area. Stamnas said the Park and Ride lot will be built at the tail end of the project and, therefore, several more years are left in which to determine the location of the lot. Originally there had been plans to build a new Park and Ride behind McDonald’s restaurant at the intersection of Indian Rock and Range Roads. “That is not set in concrete,” Stamnas said. The property at that location is still privately owned. “We’re keeping our options open,” Stamnas said.
The current portion of the I-93 project includes moving the north and sound bound “barrels” closer together and eliminating the loop-style ramps. There will be four lanes headed in each direction, Stamnas said. The loops will be replaced with what Stamnas described as “diamond-shaped” off and on ramps. As for construction on Route 111, there will be two lanes in each direction and a raised median from Route 111A to Wall Street. There will be traffic signals installed at the on and off ramps to I-93, he said.
Route 111A will be relocated in the area of the existing northbound off ramp of Route 93. Route 111A will be shifted about 400 to 500 feet from its current location and will reconnect to Route 111 at the intersection of Wall Street, in the area of Shaw’s Supermarket and Sovereign Bank.
It is anticipated that the reconstruction along this portion of the I-93 corridor, including work being done on Routes 111 and 111A, will be completed by the end of 2012.
Officials from the DOT will be meeting again with Windham selectmen, within the next couple of months, to provide a continued update on the reconstruction of Route 93. Anyone who wants to learn more about the I-93 reconstruction project can do so at the DOT Website, which can be accessed at RebuildingI-93.com.
Lowest Gas Prices in Pelham and Windham
New Hampshire Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com