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Pelham - Windham News 8 - July 2, 2010

Pelham Dad Pens Extraordinary Book

by Karen Plumley Bill Drover is a successful businessman from

Pelham. He is a loving husband and father of eight-year-old twin boys. He loves sports and he loves to coach. You may have seen him in the Pelham Elementary School (PES) gymnasium coaching basketball, or out at Muldoon Park during baseball season. He is a man who sees the extraordinary in everything. As all people do every day, Bill stumbles across many extraordinary things in his life. The difference is, he has chosen to focus on the wonder of it all. Take his son, Nick, for example. He is a happy

boy. He is loving and fun to be with. He is kind to his twin brother, Joe, and he loves his pet dogs. His whole family adores him, including his grandpa – ordinarily a very reserved and serious man – who lets his silly side show when Nick is around. Nick is an extraordinary human being who brings out the extraordinary in those around him.

Nick also happens to have autism. But after trying unsuccessfully to have children for nearly a decade, Bill and his wife, Jeannie, have been blessed with two boys that complete their lives in ways they could not have imagined. Bill has taken his journey into the wondrous world of parenting twins, including fathering an extraordinary child, and turned his musings into his first published book, titled Stumbling Upon the Extraordinary.

When parents have a child who is diagnosed with autism, they can choose to consider it as a curse. They can choose to only see the tough road ahead of them. They can believe that their many dreams and hopes they’ve imagined for their child are shattered. They can take that bar that was set so high at the beginning and adjust it lower. But some couples were simply meant to handle these challenges with fierce love and strength. Bill and Jeannie Drover are one such pairing. Unlike other parents in similar circumstances, Bill and Jeannie were able to compare the development of their two boys, side by side. They noticed that although Nick began to speak ahead of Joe, he regressed as time went on. (Nick is now nonverbal.) They also noticed a very interesting quirk—Nick couldn’t stand anything on his feet. He would just as soon stand in the snow barefoot than be forced to cram his very sensitive feet into any kind of boot. Nick was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. In Stumbling Upon the Extraordinary, no emotions are held back. The reader learns about what it is like to be a success in some areas of life, while struggling in others. It’s a story of ordinary people who count their blessings every day, no matter what form these blessings take. The idea for the book grew out of a daily journal that Bill started when they were first trying to have a baby. “It was a way for me to unload; write down my thoughts. It was very therapeutic,” he said. Then after the economy took a turn, Bill found himself out of work for a year. So, he decided to turn his journal into a book, and turned his out-of-work situation into yet another blessing. “I always thought I had a book in me,” Bill explained. In it, he points out all of the

extraordinary people that have helped his family, including the local teachers and therapists that have worked with Nick. “One of the greatest joys of having Nick was stumbling upon this incredibly talented and dedicated extended family—the unsung heroes who don’t get paid much, but are absolutely devoted to helping Nick, and others like him,” described Bill. Publishing his book, Bill was able to communicate using the written word to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others just

how to appreciate Nick—with the unspoken word. Adeptly defining Nick’s “condition” as “an exaggeration of the deficiencies that we all share—be they social, communicative, sensory, etc,” through his writing, Bill has also stumbled upon the way in which to see the world from Nick’s perspective. And it is truly extraordinary. Signed copies of Stumbling Upon the Extraordinary, by Bill Drover, are available for purchase at the Pelham Public Library.

Selectmen Award Contract for Salt Shed Project

by Barbara O’Brien Voters approved construction of a combination salt shed/highway garage

this past March at the annual Town Meeting. Now, selectmen have awarded the contract that will result in the actual construction of that facility. Approximately three months after voters gave the go-ahead to build

the much-needed project, on June 21, selectmen voted 4 to 0 to award the contract to Wrenn Construction, located on Range Road in Windham. Wrenn Construction has been in business for the past 26 years. Voting in favor of awarding the project to Wrenn Construction were Chairman Charles McMahon, Roger Hohenberger, Ross McLeod, and Bruce Breton. Selectman Galen Stearns did not attend the meeting. A total of nine bids had been received on the project, four of which

were fairly close to one another and all less than the approved total budget of $960,000. Of those four bids, one (Wild Horses Construction) was eliminated, as it did not provide a turnkey facility. The others, Wrenn Construction, Ricci Construction, and Hutter Construction, all met bid specifications, were within the bid amount, and provided the town with a turnkey operation.

“They are all reputable companies,” Town Administrator SOLID FILL

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David Sullivan said. Ricci Construction has a little more experience with

building salt sheds and garages, Sullivan said, while Wrenn Construction is a local company and has ample experience with municipal buildings. Ricci and Wrenn came in with the two lowest bids; “pretty much identical prices,” Sullivan said. Despite the unanimous vote on the contract award,

the discussion leading to that decision was not without contention. The debate revolved around the bid process itself. The issue that selectmen brought up with Sullivan was whether or not Ricci Construction had been given an “undue competitive advantage” when changes were made in Ricci’s bid after the quotes were opened. These changes, which resulted in a lowering of Ricci’s quote, related to the

type of roofing proposed to be used on the facility. Chairman McMahon questioned whether allowing this change to be made was “unfair.” “It makes me wonder about the bid process,” Selectman Breton said. Wrenn Construction had already proposed the type of roof subsequently

proposed by Ricci Construction. Sullivan said he agreed “partially” with what selectmen were saying, but

explained that the changes needed to be made regarding the type of roof so that town administrators could “compare apples to apples.” The original roof proposed by Ricci cost $40,000 more than the roof proposed by Wrenn Construction. “The board wanted an apples-to-apples comparison,” Sullivan said again,

adding that town officials have been “very budget-conscious” in considering alternatives. As a result of the discussion on June 21, Sullivan recommended

awarding the bid to Wrenn Construction in the amount of $822,627, which includes an emergency generator and radiant heating. Sullivan said the radiant heating would save the town money in the long term. This amount does not include engineering costs for the site, which is located off of Ledge Road, adjacent to the Windham Transfer Station. The dual facility includes a 40 × 90-foot garage with four bays, as well as

a 65 × 80-foot salt shed for a base cost of $773,677. A drilled well system up to a depth of 500 feet is also included in the price, and includes the removal of all ledge. A new salt shed is needed as the Department of Environmental Services

(DES) has mandated that the existing facility, at the site of the town’s historic Depot, must be vacated no later than 2011. The highway department garage is necessary to allow employees to have an indoor location where they can work on repairing and maintaining highway department equipment. The building will also allow for indoor storage of equipment, as well as office space. “This project has been 12 years in the making,” McMahon said. And at this point, it looks like it will come in about $80,000 less than what was asked for at Town Meeting.”




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