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Pelham - Windham News September 16, 2011 - 5

Village Green Family Dentistry Grand Opening

Curriculum Director’s Job Replaces Assistant Superintendent’s Slot

Dr. Levine’s sits with her daughters, dad and mom in the new lobby during the grand opening

by Robyn Hatch A brand new dentistry practice recently opened in Windham. Many other local businesses rolled out the red carpet for this occasion while Village Green Family Dentistry hosted a grand opening celebration. Windham resident Gayla Levine owns the practice. Levine has over a decade of dentistry experience. This is an exciting plaza to visit with many surprising stores not previously known. The Village Green Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing exceptional care to all patients with a state-of-the-art office and latest innovative techniques to give the highest quality dental care. The goal is to build relationships to help entire families maintain oral health with modern advancements. With a friendly and relaxing environment, this dentistry is a real plus for all.

by Barbara O’Brien There will no longer be two assistant superintendents representing the Windham and Pelham School Districts. School board members from both communities voted to replace the second assistant superintendent’s job with that of “curriculum director.” For the past two years, there were two assistant superintendents for SAU 28, which is comprised of Pelham and Windham. The two slots were held by Roxanne Wilson, who had been with the SAU for many years, and Amanda Lecaroz, who was hired two years ago. Wilson was in charge of the elementary level of education in both school districts, while Lecaroz’s focus was on the high school level. Things changed, however, when Wilson handed in her resignation this past June, with an effective date of July 1. During the September 6 Windham School Board meeting, Interim Superintendent Henry LaBranche nominated Natasha Ondzes as curriculum director, saying that a second assistant superintendent would not be hired to replace Wilson. School board members voted unanimously to accept LaBranche’s nomination. Ondzes will be under the direct supervision of remaining Assistant Superintendent Lecaroz, LaBranche noted. LaBranche stated that Ondzes (pronounced with a silent d) comes with a strong background in literacy and professional development. Ondzes, who comes directly from the Bedford, New Hampshire School District, was “highly recommended,” LaBranche told school board members. He also noted that Ondzes was the unanimous choice of the SAU’s hiring committee. LaBranche did not announce a precise date when Ondzes

would begin working for SAU 28, but did say that her $69,000 annual salary would be pro-rated based on her starting date. LaBranche also said that both Pelham and Windham would save money over the salary that would have been paid had a new second assistant superintendent been hired, rather than a curriculum director.

Opening Day ‘Very Successful’ by Barbara O’Brien Interim Superintendent Henry LaBranche is very pleased with

the way the 2011-2012 school year got underway for staff and students in the Windham School District. LaBranche, who said he visited all four of the local schools, said the opening day was “very successful.” “The staff is eager to go,” LaBranche commented, adding that he had seen evidence already of how engaged teachers are with their new students. “The transition went very smoothly,” he said, noting that students and staff members had begun seamlessly from where they had ended this past June. As for school bus transportation, LaBranche reported that administrators, as well as the Windham Police Department had worked very hard to improve any safety issues of which they were aware. LaBranche thanked local police for their valuable assistance. Enrollment at the four schools was pretty much as projected,

LaBranche told school board members during their September 6 meeting. “There were no significant surprises,” he said. LaBranche took on the job of interim superintendent this June after the resignation of former superintendent Frank Bass, who relocated to Hanover. LaBranche said there were 2,620 students enrolled in the

Windham School District on the first day of classes. This is an increase from a total of 2,482 students at the same time last year. A significant portion of the increase is due to there now being four grades at Windham High School. This is the first year that freshmen through seniors have been in attendance at the now two-year-old facility. “Windham High School is now a nine to twelve institution,” LaBranche noted. A breakdown of the enrollment shows 712 students at Golden Brook Elementary School. This time last year the school housed only 604 students. The major reason for the increase is that three of Windham’s third grade classes (66 students) now attend Golden Brook School, instead of Center School. The other three third grade classes have remained at Center School. Center School has gone from 561 students a year ago to a total of 608 students on opening day this year. Center School includes students in grades three, four, and five. The largest group of students in Windham, the so-called “bubble” is currently in this age range. The number of students at Windham Middle School, grades six through eight, actually decreased slightly, going from 617 last year to 611 at the current time. Windham High School, including its very first senior class, now

Love Wins- continued from front

our nation, Reverend Bill revealed that he was thinking of a “God of anger, wrath and hate.”

As healing and forgiveness

have made their way into our hearts, Reverend Bill now reassures his congregation that “I look at Jesus and see one thing – I see love.” He continued by saying that Jesus never fought violence with violence; choosing to love rather than hate. He also drew a religious and realistic parallel between Jesus’ actions and those actions that we as survivors, must now employ. The Reverend added that love is what sets us free from the retaliation mentality and practice of fighting violence with more violence. With conviction, Reverend Bill emphasized that he was sure that Jesus was not only ‘praying for the people on the planes, in the towers, our firefighters, policemen, EMTs and first responders,’ but also for the ‘misguided men (enemy)’ who were responsible for inflicting the devastation upon our nation, the ill effects of which still linger in our hearts and minds.

In the most poignant moment of the memorial service, Reverend Bill captured the essence of what must be the foundation of the healing

process for individuals as well as our nation; “To fight violence with love is the way of our faith … In the end, love always wins. There is nothing else. Love has to win.”

Before the Candlelight Hymn “Let there be Peace on Earth” was sung, Denise Duff, who was on the ground crew for the second plane that flew out of Logan airport that morning, lit the first candle which was then used to begin the lighting of each individual’s candle. Moments ahead of the candle lighting, Chief James Midgley, Chief of the Pelham Fire Department briefly addressed the congregation with his own reflection. He also invited those in attendance to cross the street to the fire station for a ceremonial rendition of ‘The Tolling of the Bells’ 5-5-5-5 which as the chief explained is in essence a universal code tapped out to fire stations signifying the death of a firefighter. With scores of people lining Pelham Center in silent and respectful observation, the evening of remembrance for those victims of the terrorist attacks ten years ago, came to a solemn conclusion – the illumination of the full moon metaphorically casting new hope for a better tomorrow.

has an enrollment of 705 students, rising from 689 students at the same time last September. LaBranche said there are now 21 more students attending

Windham schools than there were when classes ended this past June. School Board Chairman Ed Gallagher said he is extremely impressed with the passion and energy he has already seen exhibited by school staff at all grade levels. The teamwork is excellent, he said. “We are definitely off to a good start,” he added. LaBranche also reported that administrators would be working with the local cable television studio to tape monthly shows regarding educational issues in Windham. The first program features interviews with the principals of all four local schools and includes a discussion of their goals for the 2011-2012 school year. The show was described as being “a talking head panel” format. In addition to being available on cable TV, the interviews can also be watched on-line on demand. “We want to use as many venues as we can to make information available to our constituents,” LaBranche commented.

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Greater Protection for Landowners

At a press conference at the Legislative Office Building, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission joined State Representative Gene Chandler and State Senator Andy Sanborn to call for a legislative solution to address the need for greater protection for landowners who leave their land open for outdoor recreation. “It’s come to our attention that the current statute may not offer enough protection for landowners,” said Sharon Guaraldi, Chair of the NH Fish and Game Commission. “Today’s announcement is to let the public - both landowners and recreational land users - know that we are actively working to find the best solutions possible.”

Chandler and Sanborn agreed to co-sponsor a legislative solution, the specifics of which are yet to be determined. They have been actively working with the NH Fish and Game Commission, a variety of legislators, heads of various state agencies and departments, and members of the public in seeking a reasonable solution to help keep landowners from feeling forced to post their property because of liability issues.

Charlie Chalk can be reached at 898-7224

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