Pelham - Windham News January 21, 2011 - 5
Should Town Beach be Expanded? Voters Will Have Their Say
by Barbara O&#x2019;Brien Windham voters are being given the chance to decide if the lot adjacent to the Town Beach should be purchased and added to the existing beach property. The Town&#x2019;s opportunity to buy the .699-acre of beachfront property on Cobbetts Pond came to light during the January 4 selectmen&#x2019;s meeting. A week later, on January 11, it was presented as a proposed warrant article. &#x201C;This acquisition would allow substantial benefits to the Town,&#x201D; Selectmen&#x2019;s Chairman Charles McMahon said. The land has become available due to the death of Margaret Gunning, one of the elderly sisters who lived on the property for many years. It is being offered to the Town of Windham at a cost substantially less than that for which it was assessed. According to McMahon, the property was assessed at a value of $540,000, while it is being offered to the Town at a cost of $400,000. The property includes 87.6 feet of waterfront, two houses (one seasonal), and an updated chambered septic system. It is located at 47 Cobbetts Pond Road. &#x201C;We&#x2019;re bringing this proposal forward because of the uniqueness of this property,&#x201D; McMahon said. &#x201C;Porta-Potties at the beach would be a thing of the past,&#x201D; he added, due to the septic system that already exists. There would also be better options for launching boats, additional parking spaces, and more access for emergency services, he explained. &#x201C;It would help to protect the shoreline in this area,&#x201D; he said. &#x201C;We would be adding to an existing town asset.&#x201D; The property that now comprises the Town Beach was bought in 1980.
Representatives of the Cobbetts Pond Improvement Association (CPIA) said they want to make sure that whatever is done regarding the beach and this proposed land purchase is in the best interests of Cobbetts Pond, which is considered an endangered body of water.
Cobbetts Pond is a State-owned body of water. &#x201C;There is no specific utilization plan in place at this point,&#x201D; McMahon stated. To help offset the purchase price, the Conservation Commission is willing to donate $100,000 from its current use fund. If the taxpayers approve the purchase, and appropriate the remaining $300,000 to buy the property, it would mean an approximate one- time 15 cents on the Tax Rate, McMahon said. This translates into $45 on a house assessed at $300,000. When questioned as to using Conservation Commission money to help buy land for what might be considered a &#x201C;recreational use,&#x201D; McMahon said the purpose is for &#x201C;passive recreational purposes,&#x201D; not athletics.
Selectman Ross McLeod said he was in favor of buying the adjacent land. &#x201C;This presents a unique opportunity,&#x201D; he said. &#x201C;An opportunity like this doesn&#x2019;t happen very often.&#x201D; Selectman Roger Hohenberger said he was opposed to the proposed land purchase. &#x201C;I&#x2019;m not in favor of this,&#x201D; he said. &#x201C;We made the decision to keep the budget at a zero-percent increase,&#x201D; which it was without this particular proposal. Also, he said, &#x201C;Conservation Commission money is for preserving open space, not for buying recreational land.&#x201D; One resident, whose property abuts the land being offered to the
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Town, said she&#x2019;s very concerned how she and her family could be impacted if the proposed land purchase becomes reality. Her home is located virtually feet from this property, she said. Selectmen assured her that her considerations would be taken into account, should taxpayers approve the purchase this coming March. Selectmen approved moving the proposed land purchase to
the warrant by a vote of 3 to 1. Voting in favor were Selectmen McMahon, McLeod, and Bruce Breton. Selectman Hohenberger voted against putting the issue on the March ballot. Selectman Galen Stearns did not attend the January 11 board meeting.
Pelham School Board Establishes Communications Committee
submitted by Daryle Hillsgrove, Pelham School Board Communications Committee The Pelham School Board has established a Communications Committee comprised of residents of the community and a School Board representative, and supported by the school district administration. One of the goals is to provide two-way communication between the school district and all residents. The Committee is tasked with researching possible avenues of communication. Part of this will be to evaluate available methods and identify the best forms of communications for various demographics within the town. This includes using multimedia and coordinating outreach efforts on warrant articles to assist residents in making informed decisions on school district-related matters. Upcoming warrant articles include a stand-alone kindergarten/ Special Education Pre-K Services facility and teachers&#x2019; contract. The Committee is charged with developing a communication plan that will provide factually correct and concise messages to support the work of the School Board. Chaired by Debbie Ryan of the Pelham School Board, the Committee supports positive promotion of activities within the schools, including recognition of teachers, students, and programs within the district. The Committee began meeting on October 20, 2010, and has
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developed an initial list of action items to develop resources to assist residents in understanding warrant articles for the upcoming March election. It has already implemented small actions, including PowerPoint slides on the Pelham Cable access channel regarding contacting the Committee, and modifying the Pelham School District communication e-mail to go to the Committee members for improved response. The Committee members provide a diverse background, including volunteers from other school board committees, parents, and business professionals. Many of the Committee members are involved in other community organizations. Meetings are open to the public. The committee reports to the Pelham School Board. The sitting School Board representative to the Committee and the Superintendent will review all communications. Any resident who would like more information or have suggestions can contact the Committee through the School Administrative Office (SAU) office at 425-1976 or through e-mail via firstname.lastname@example.org
Anonymous. Fire Department Gets Grant for CO Detectors
by Barbara O&#x2019;Brien The Windham Fire Department applied for and has
received a grant from Primex, its Workers Compensation Insurance company, that will fully fund six carbon monoxide (CO) meters. Fire Chief Tom McPherson said that one of the CO meters will be placed in each of the fire department&#x2019;s
first-response vehicles. The purpose of the equipment is to protect firefighters from entering a building where the carbon monoxide level would be too high unless the proper equipment was worn. The value of the six CO meters totals $1,865. The
funding is being provided through Primex&#x2019;s Workers Compensation Safety Improvement Program. Last year, the Windham Fire Department received full funding for a new stretcher to be used in the department&#x2019;s first-run ambulance. No matching money from taxpayers was required for either of the two Primex grants. Windham selectmen voted unanimously (5 to 0)
to gratefully accept the money from Primex. Voting to accept the Primex grant were Chairman Charles McMahon, Vice Chairman Bruce Breton, Roger Hohenberger, Ross McLeod, and Galen Stearns. Chief McPherson reminds residents of the
importance of having working carbon monoxide detectors on each level of their home. This is especially important during the winter months, when heating equipment is often running full-tilt and houses are closed up tight.
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Get your New Hampshire 2011 hunting/fishing license yet? A new study funded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and carried out by Southwick Associates has found that the pool of American hunters is much larger than previously thought. This discovery can lead to major conservation and economic benefits. If many &#x201C;casual hunters&#x201D; (hunters that do not purchase a hunting license on an annual basis) can be converted into annual license buyers, a major benefit would be realized. This report estimates that 21.8 million Americans hunted at least once over the past five years. Previous estimates have shown over 14 million youth and adults hunt each year, but not all hunters take to the field every year. Conducted in partnership with 17 state wildlife agencies, the study assessed license sales patterns and found that 78 percent of the U.S. hunters who bought a license in a given year also purchased one again the following year.
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&#x201C;Considering hunters contribute over $1 billion every year to wildlife conservation via licenses and excise taxes, if half of the hunters who lapsed this year actually bought a license, conservation dollars would have increased by $97 million,&#x201D; reported Rob Southwick, President of Southwick Associates. &#x201C;This estimate doesn&#x2019;t even include the extra dollars possible from increased hunters&#x2019; excise taxes. Considering the limited government dollars allocated for wildlife and the tremendous impact hunters provide to rural communities, increased efforts to boost hunter numbers would make smart conservation and economic sense.&#x201D;
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