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Volume 7 Number 42 April 30, 2010 14 Pages
It’s Not Over
Until the Fat Lady
by Lynne Ober
Yogi Berra’s famous words are definitely
at work in Pelham. Although the new high school proposal failed at the March ballot, the school board has appealed to Hillsborough Superior Court. During the hearing, School Board candidates who faced each other last March again brought forth their opposing views. School Board representatives, led by newly elected member and chairman Rob Hardy, argued in favor of allowing another vote on the project. According to Hardy, “confusion ruled.” He talked about the erroneous and anonymous information disseminated during the period prior to the election. At issue is whether people understood that state construction aid would “go away” on July 1. At the time that the election was being fought, some said that construction aid would not go away and that was only a scare tactic. Others, knowing the state was facing an unprecedented financial crisis, said that it would go away, and time has shown that it will. School projects not approved by June 30 will not be eligible for building aid. However, failed School Board candidate
Maddy Carrier continued her opposition. She submitted a petition signed by 142 residents and claimed that everyone knew that state aid would go away. She claimed there was no confusion.
During the one-hour hearing, Dean Eggert, the Pelham School Board’s attorney from Wadleigh, Starr and Peters, made a verbal presentation that covered the points of the 14-page petition that had been submitted to the court on behalf of the School Board. “We’re talking about less than a two-percent margin,” said Eggert, pointing out that this percentage was so low that misunderstandings about the availability of school construction aid could have caused some to vote against the proposal. Eggert explained that the new high school proposal was only one-and-a-half percent short of the required 60-percent vote at the March election, and the day after the town vote, the New Hampshire Senate passed SB486, which would suspend 30-percent state aid indefinitely as of July 1. At that point, Hardy voted with School Board members Andy Ducharme and Deb Ryan to petition the court for a revote, claiming an “emergency” situation exists. Recently, the New Hampshire House
has also approved SB486 and the bill has been sent to the governor. Whether he signs it or not, it can pass into law, and with the widening financial gap between state revenues and state expenditures, no one expects Governor Lynch to veto this proposal.
Eggert also discussed a second emergency factor surrounding the purchase agreements with the 32 owners of the property. These combined owners have agreed to temporarily extend their purchase agreements, but those agreements will be voided by fall 2010 if the land on Windham Road is not purchased. The agreements call for a $2 million purchase price. Eggert highlighted the educational situation at Pelham High School, including too many students resulting in an over- capacity situation, the violations of building and fire-safety codes, and lacking in sufficient lab space. He explained to the judge that the school has been placed on probationary status by the state and is in greater danger of losing accreditation. According to Eggert, beginning to work on the new high school would allow the school to retain its accreditation.
Summarizing the position, Eggert said that the “intersection” of these emergency factors set the stage for a “train wreck” that could be avoided with a revote and a positive outcome of the revote. School Board member Linda Mahoney,
who was against this proposal, testified that the school could not be put on probationary status until 2013.
Carrier contended that Fire Chief James Midgley has said there are no fire violations at the school and pointed out that residents have voted this proposal down year after year. Judge Jacalyn Colburn listened to the arguments carefully. She thanked those who spoke and those who attended the hearing, and promised a speed decision for the case. “I didn’t vote to submit this petition because I thought we were going to get the revote,” Hardy explained, and then elaborated that asking for the petition in court was the right thing to do for the students and town once the legislature voted to suspend construction aid. So, for those of you who think that the
March election is over, remember the wise words of Yogi Berra.
First Grade Science Fair PMA’s Annual
HUDSON, NH 03051
PERMIT NO. 33 Postal Customer
Finn Adamchek walks across the hot coals
submitted by Brian McLaughlin, Leader, Windham Pack 263 Tiger Den
Cub Scout Dens and Packs all need ceremonies to
have a sense of tradition and community. Cub Scout ceremonies can be especially fun, trying different ways to do an opening, closing, flag ceremony, and advancements. For every rank in Cub Scouts – Bobcat, Tiger, Wolf,
Bear, and Webelos – you can use unique ceremonies that will mark the occasion. Pack 263 uses a bridge of simulated hot coals for
the Tiger Cubs to cross over, marking the completion of Tiger requirements and the beginning of their next advancement to Wolf Cubs. The Tiger Cubs are led
by Shere Khan and the Cub Master to the bridge of hot coals, and each Scout crosses over as his name is called by the Cub Master. Windham Pack 263 would like to congratulate
Finn Adamcheck, Christian Brooks, Jackson Cavallaro, Sean McLaughlin, Connor Murphy, Alexander Noel, Harry Senibaldi, Curtis Shattuck, Ethan Kjersgard, Alexander Hoffman, Zack LeClerc, and Shane Oakham for a job well done. If your boy is interested in Scouting, contact
Fred Nader at FredNIII@aol.com
or Jim Curtin at email@example.com
Te Tiger Cubs from Pack 262 line up for the ceremony
Police Chief Presents
‘Road Map’ for Future Planning
by Barbara O’Brien
Windham Police Chief Gerald Lewis took some time recently to let selectmen know where he hopes to take the police department during the next one to three years.
Chief Lewis talked about his strategic plans during the board’s meeting on April 19. Referring to the planning process, Lewis said, “Essentially, this is a road map to a destination. It needs to be fluid and open to modification. It needs to be able to accommodate detours along the way. It is not a Bible; a book set in stone,” he said. As for the current status of the economy, one
Hayden Shattuck of Hudson, a student in Mrs. Polombo’s first-grade class
submitted by Presentation of Mary Academy, Hudson
The first graders at Presentation of Mary Academy worked for weeks studying this year’s topic—“Animals and their Habitats.” The children were given a fact sheet to take home and fill out with their parents. The parents were asked to help their child find the answers to basic questions about their assigned animals. Once the assigned fact sheets were returned to school, the children were taught background information about habitats. They used the fact sheets to compose a brief report about their animal, while practicing their creative writing, revising, and proofreading skills. A second assignment for homework was for
the children to create and make a three- dimensional model of their animal in its habitat. The models had to be made by the children. After weeks of studying and hard work, the children presented their Science Fair projects during the day at school to the other classes, and that evening to all the first-grade parents. First-grade teachers Mrs. Polombo and Mrs. Lamontagne were beaming with pride because their students did such a wonderful job presenting their models. The children had so much fun while learning so many things about the topic “Animals and their Habitats.”
which will likely extend into next year, Lewis said, “We are looking at another difficult year financially.” Some plans and proposed expenditures need to be put on hold, he said, and wait for better economic times. Taxpayers everywhere are hurting, he said. Things that can be worked on during 2010 include improving communications with the media, residents and taxpayers, and the victims of crime. Lewis said he plans to ensure consistent preparation and distribution of press releases by police department supervisors for significant events; establish an e-mail notification process for community-wide information; and institute victim update reports. As for the development of a Website for Windham
Police, Lewis said the department is currently “behind the curve” and improvements need to made. Plans include making certain forms available online, as well as keeping vital information up to date. “We need to make information available at the touch of a fingertip,” Lewis said.
One of the most vital aspects of the department that needs to continue unabated is the focus on
training, Lewis explained. While 16 hours per year of mandatory training is required by the State, Lewis also wants to ensure that employees also receive training on emerging trends. To accomplish this task, Lewis plans to increase the discretionary training budget during 2010, as well as explore online training opportunities and solicit training ideas from employees this year. “Training is the crux of everything we do,” Lewis said. Each supervisor will attend at least one supervisory leadership/development class each year, beginning this year. In addition, an application to the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA, will be submitted for one supervisor on a yearly basis, beginning in 2010.
Referring to accreditation for the police department, Lewis said there is no cost for the state process, but that achieving national accreditation is “very costly.” Lewis plans to initiate the pursuit of New Hampshire Accreditation later this year. Any enhancement or expansion of police facilities will be dependent on the condition of finances, Lewis said. Initially, however, plans for 2010 included adding a training/community room at the police department, while plans for 2011 include adding a garage for additional parking and secure storage, as well as a second driveway. A plan that has already been achieved is the
integration of a school resource officer (SRO) into the new Windham High School, which began operations this past September. Currently, that officer is also providing some services at the middle school and elementary school levels. Once juniors and seniors are in attendance at the high school,
continued to page 6- Road Map
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