PELHAM -- In Town Manager Brian McCarthy's first official selectmen's meeting, the board welcomed the retired Pelham police lieutenant to his seat before rescinding their recent decision to ban smoking at all town recreational facilities, and authorizing the Fire Department's request to purchase a new dual-purpose truck for more than a half-million dollars, among other agenda items taken up Tuesday night at Town Hall.
Fire Lt. John Ignatowicz, filling in for Chief James Midgley, received the selectmen's approval to pursue the purchase of a new, combination pumper and rescue vehicle for $584,000 that will perform the functions of two outdated vehicles at the department, including a pumper truck that is 25 years old, Ignatowicz reported.
After questioning the lieutenant about the prospective purchase at length, Chairman Ed Gleason said the board was OK with approving the requested amount because it would "replace two pieces of equipment, and serve a dual purpose that will increase our efficiency and our performance, hopefully," Gleason said.
Besides its ability to pump water on fires, the pumper-rescue truck will be equipped with the jaws of life, and multiple tools designed to clean up hazardous materials spills, aid ice rescues in winter, lake rescues in summer, "and the list goes on," Ignatowicz said.
Regarding the board's vote at its previous meeting to ban smoking at all town parks, selectmen rescinded that action Tuesday based on legal advice that "we had no statutory authority to do anything the state has not approved," said Gleason. "We cannot ban smoking in public areas."
The proposal to ban smoking had come up while the board was discussing a list of prohibited behaviors that will be imposed and listed on posted signs at recreation areas, including "no littering" and "no consuming alcohol," Gleason said.
During his regular update on the installation of dual roundabouts in the town center by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Planning Director Jeff Gowan was joined by four members of the Pelham Garden club who made a detailed presentation of their plans to beautify the roundabouts with 10 carefully selected varieties of plants and flowers.
Among a few suggestions board members offered to Gowan and the Garden Club members on decorating the soon-to-be completed traffic circles, Gleason requested that Gowan not commission a sculpture similar to the one that now stands on the roundabout in front of the main entrance road to Rivier University in Nashua.
"Please do not put a piece of architecture on there like what's front of Rivier," Gleason advised Gowan.
The piece Gleason referred to was created by abstract sculptor John Weidman, who titled it "Monument to Memory." (Critics of the work often refer to the Rivier roundabout as the "Clothespin Rotary.")
On behalf of the board, Gleason expressed sadness and sent condolences to the family of Jack Caynon, a former School Board and Budget Committee member, and 50-year resident of Plower Road. Caynon died Monday after suffering a series of strokes.
He was an Army Ranger and longtime employee of IBM who volunteered his high-tech skills to help the town install Internet hookups at the Pelham schools, Police and Fire Departments, and other town buildings, Gleason said.
Due to the recent resignation of Budget Committee member Kenneth Dunne, selectmen put out a plea that anyone interested in serving on the panel for an abbreviated term, through March 2015, drop by the Board of Selectmen's office to apply for the seat.
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