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Pelham - Windham News | April 6, 2012 - 7 The Man Behind the Castle Searles Castle courtyard One of the entrances for Searles Castle Another view of Searles

by Robyn Hatch Edward Francis Searles was born in Methuen, MA, on July 4, 1841. Searles Castle is a beautiful place in Windham with a beautiful location and history. His mother, Sarah Searles, was originally from Maine, while his dad Jesse was an overseer of the Methuen Company Mills. The family lived comfortably in a farmhouse for the first few years. When Edward was three, his infant brother George died, and six months later his five year old sister Caroline

for the

died - his father died shortly after. At 37, Sarah Searles became a single mother of two small children. Each of the boys left school when they turned 12 and soon they were working for the Methuen Company Cotton Mill. Edward most likely went to live with his mother’s family, where he became a carpenter’s apprentice while he lived in Maine. Edward returned home two years later and he became engaged to Catherine. At an early age, Edward was hired by Paul and Company, where in seven years, Edward was known as Boston’s best interior decorator. At this same time, Edward’s brother Andrew returned from war as a Major. Catherine broke her engagement to Edward and eloped with Andrew. Edward was able to provide a good life for his mother and at the same time he picked up wealthy clients of his time, working on several mansions at the same time. Soon he was traveling to Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany and England. In 1881, being only 40 years old, he became very ill with rheumatic fever and was told to go west to recover ... which he never did. After convalescing for about a year, in the next 15 years, Andrew and his wife Catherine both died. He lived the remainder of his life in quiet seclusion. He never actually lived at Searles Castle at Windham. Edward Francis Searles died on August6, 1920, a month after his 79th birthday.

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Developers File Suit Against Town For Impact Fees

by Diane Chubb Four local development companies have filed a lawsuit against

the Town of Pelham seeking the return of impact fees collected by the town. The suit was filed in Hillsborough County Superior Court and served on Town Administrator Tom Gaydos on Thursday, March 29. The attorney for the developers, John Cronin, states that the issue is that Pelham did not expend the funds within the required time period. Cronin represents K.L.N. Construction Company, Cormier & Saurman LLC, James W. Petersen Built Homes and Brian Soucy of Soucy Framing Inc. The impact fees in question are those related to construction of the new fire station that voters recently approved. Under state law, NH RSA 674:21, impact fees are a fee imposed upon development and building construction to help meet the needs created by that development for the construction or improvement of capital facilities owned or operated by the municipality. Impact fees may not be used to upgrade existing facilities unless the need was created by new development.

According to Cronin, impact fees were collected beginning in 2002. He contends that the town used impact fee funds for feasibility studies, architectural drawings, construction estimates and other items to present the project to voters. The complaint states that the town withdrew $598,961 between November 2006 and December 2011. The developers believe that the town cannot use the fees for due diligence, architectural drawings and that kind of thing, says their attorney. They seek to have the fees refunded because the use was unlawful, and the money was not used or properly accounted for as required by state law. NH RSA 674:21, Part V(c) states, “Any impact fee shall be accounted for separately, shall be segregated from the municipality’s general fund, may be spent upon order of the municipal governing body, shall be exempt from all provisions of RSA 32 relative to limitation and expenditure of town moneys, and shall be used solely for the capital improvements for which it was collected, or to recoup the cost of capital improvements made in anticipation of the needs which the fee was collected to meet.” State law also provides that a reasonable amount of time shall be established for the expenditure of the funds. Any funds not spent or otherwise legally bound to be spent for the purpose for which it was collected shall be refunded, with interest. The maximum amount of time set forth by the statute is six years. Cronin argues that the six years has now passed. The Board of Selectmen issued the following statement: “The Board of Selectmen has been made aware of a lawsuit making allegations about the expenditure of so-called impact fees collected from developers and used toward the new fire station. The Board of Selectmen, well aware of their responsibilities to

Pelham Selectmen Reorganize

by Lynne Ober Pelham selectmen have elected Selectman Bill McDevitt as

chairman for the next year and Selectman Ed Gleason as Vice Chairman.

Once the election was over, it was time to assign responsibilities and fortunately there were volunteers. Selectman Doug Viger volunteered to be the representative to the Budget Committee and Gleason volunteered to be the alternate. Viger also asked to continue as the representative for the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce and the liaison for the School. Selectman Bob Haverty volunteered to continue as the representative for the Fire Station Project, CIP, Haz Mat Director on the Pelham Citizen Council and School Board liaison. Gleason also volunteered to be the alternate for the CIP, continue as the NRPC Commissioner, and the representative for the Trustees and Senior Citizens. Selectman Hal Lynde volunteered to continue as representative for the Forestry Committee and to keep in contact with the Conservation Commission.

spend this money according to the law, had sought counsel’s guidance several years ago and are confident that the Selectmen’s actions met all of the requirements of the law. This matter has no effect on the construction of the new fire station which the voters approved overwhelmingly.” Gaydos has stated that the lawsuit will not affect the construction of the new fire station approved by voters.

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