Friday, February 15, 2019

A small church with a big heart is big on bringing community together

Young and old, alike, enjoyed the free community meal
By Lorraine Glowczak

Approximately 50 people, young and old alike, enjoyed a free meal consisting of roasted turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, a salad, beverages and dessert. The meal was hosted and made by members of the Raymond Village Community Church – a United Church of Christ congregation (RVCC), on Wednesday, February 6 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Although the initial impetus of offering the free meal was the result of concern surrounding furloughed employees who had gone 34 days without pay, the desire to extend the invitation to include others developed with a greater purpose in mind. “We wanted to reach out to the broader community and include them too, no matter the age or circumstance,” explained Rev. Nancy Foran of RVCC. “The focus shifted, and the free meal became a way to enhance and build a sense of community spirit. The Raymond area is very large and spread out in terms of geography, with no real city center. As a result, it is difficult to get to know your next-door neighbor, let alone others in the area.”

If a room full of people who are engaged in constant chatter is any indication that people were getting to know one another, then the RVCC’s mission may have been right on target. “What surprised me the most was that people stayed and had conversations with each other after they ate, roaming from table to table,” stated Rev. Foran. “It was not an ‘eat and run’ type of evening. People were actually taking time to connect with one another.”

Raymond Town Manager, Don Willard, and his wife Megan were among several other Raymond residents at the gathering. Willard has always been a strong proponent of the concept of local community building and his support of last Wednesday’s meal was evident in a statement about the mix of community residents who were in attendance. “This is a perfect example of the power of
personal connectiveness and the unique opportunities possible in a small town to both promote and build community,” he said. “Normally separate groups getting together like this is a great way to move the town forward, bringing young and older citizens together – enjoying and getting to know one another. Having the church, the library, Raymond Arts Alliance and the age-friendly community all collaborate together, creating activities for everyone - is very impressive and contributes to our vitality and success as a community.” 

Linda Eldridge, who has been a Raymond resident since 1979, stated she saw people in the room she had never seen before. “It’s good to see people come out and enjoy a meal together,” she said while eating with her daughter and two grandchildren. “There are people here I do not know. This is definitely something that the church should consider doing again.”

https://www.egcu.orgRev. Foran stated that it is in the plans to offer a free community meal on a regular basis, but they are still ironing out the details. She and the church are open to collaborating with the other organizations mentioned by Willard. “In the past, each organization was doing their own thing, but we all had the same vision in mind – creating community and offering a space for people to gather,” she stated.
Recognizing that they all had the same mission, the groups have banned together in the past year, offering activities such as music events, poetry nights, writing workshops and exercise programs such as Qigong.

Now that the groups in the Raymond area are joining forces, Rev. Foran said that there is more strength in numbers. She wishes to continue the collaboration, which has been very successful thus far - and is building community in the truest sense, which is that of breaking through perceived barriers and differences and the coming together to enjoy and support one another.

For more information about RVCC, contact Rev. Foran be email at or by phone at 207-655-7749. Information about Raymond Village Library, Raymond Age Friendly Community and the Raymond Arts Alliance can all be found on the library’s website at

WPS third grade math students learn to solve problems in creative and useful ways

WPS third grade students with Rene Daniel of Social Services
By Lorraine Glowczak

“Hi there!” is how the message began. “My name is Caitlin Mansir. I teach third grade at Windham Primary School (WPS) and my team, which is three third grade classes, recently completed a clothing drive for the Windham Clothes Closet.”

What Mansir humbly left out is that the goal for this third-grade class was to not only collect 550 pieces of clothing and give it to the Windham Clothes Closet, but to do so as part of their hands-on and experiential math project.

Arithmetic and service to the community can go hand in hand and the third-grade team of teachers that included Jessica Melcher and Melissa Fries, prove that their innovative teaching techniques guide students in solving problems, not only with the obstacles faced in math, but obstacles that many face in life.

https://www.msspa.orgIn terms of math, the lesson was division. “We divided clothing by separating those items into bags,” explained third grade student, Elias Whitney. “We learned that it took nine Hannaford shopping bags for 72 items of clothing.” That number, of course, was different if you put clothing in big trash bags,
which the third-grade students also calculated.

Besides division, students discovered that there are hardships placed on others and you can be the one to help solve that problem, too.  “I found out that it’s very important to survival and there is always a need for help,” student Madison Buzulchuck stated as one thing she learned from the project. “It’s nice of people to donate clothes because you make a big difference in the community and the lives of others,” student, Anthony Napoleone-Sweet said.

In the course of this project, General Assistance Administrator of Windham’s Social Services, Rene Daniel, was invited to speak to the students. “He told us that no school has ever done anything like this before, and he was very happy that we were doing this,” third grader, Nicholas Sferes said when he asked what he learned.

Daniel verified Sferes’ statement. “It’s true. We have never had a donation come from a school as part of a project. Prior to my work in social services, I taught for 25 years, and I was very impressed with the way the third-grade teachers at Windham Primary School incorporated this learning and giving project into the curriculum.”

The students exceeded their goal and donated over 1000 items of clothing
All third-grade students helped to load the bags of clothes into all  three of the teachers’ vehicles, because “it took all three of us to get all of those clothes to the closet because we had so many,” Mansir said.

The clothes were donated by the families of the third-grade students and they exceeded their goal by donating over 1,000 pieces of clothing and other items such as shoes and jackets. The exact amount, however, cannot be determined. “We received so many bags of clothing that we stopped counting the pieces after we reached 1200 articles,” Daniel said. “We serve between 97 to 100 households a month and this donation will get us through until mid-March.”

Fries admitted she was surprised that this large donation of clothing would only last for about a month.

There are other surprising facts that that the public may not know. “What a lot of people may not be aware of is that we are one of only two pantries in Maine who do not require proof of need,” Daniel continued “Anyone who lives in Windham can use our services.”
Daniel also explained that the Food Pantry is open 32 hours a week, rather than two to four hours that
most other pantries are open, and confidentiality is of the utmost importance. “You do not have to stand in a long line with others,” Daniel said. “All an individual needs to do is make an appointment. They can then come in and get what they need in privacy and with dignity and respect.”

The food pantry is located at 377 Gray Road in Windham and is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., except for legal holidays. The clothes closet is open every Monday and Tuesday from 10 to noon. To make an appointment, call 207-892-1906.

The pantry and closet are always accepting donations. “Imagine if you were someone in that situation. You would want to stay warm, too,” stated student Luke Hangge.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Lakes Region girls make history with midnight celebration at Camp Hinds

Isabella Messer takes the ceremonial crossing 
By Lorraine Glowczak

At 12:01 a.m. on Friday, there were a group of girls from Windham, Raymond and Naples who were bringing down the house at Camp Hinds in Raymond. In a non-traditional ritual that made history, the girls ceremonially crossed over from Cub Scouts into Scouts BSA. The newly formed Raymond troop 851 is the first group to make this crossover.

“This is monumental as it's the first time in the history of Boy Scouts of America that girls can join the program formerly known as “Boy Scouts,” stated Alissa Messer, wife of Scoutmaster, Jeff Messer.

Scouts in Raymond’s Troop 851 will now begin their journey towards earning merit badges and the rank of Eagle Scout. And, as their websites states will be among the many former Scouts who “sit on the boards of global corporations, walk the halls of the White House and have been known to occasionally go hiking on the moon.”

Jeff Messer explained that the girls, ages 10 to 18, started out as a co-ed group before the crossover into Scouts BSA took place, but now the troops will remain separated among boys and girls. “Scouts BSA is not a co-ed group,” Jeff explained further. “There must be an all-female and an all-male troop.” also shared how the newly-formed Troop 851 named their group. “The new troop is linked to troop 800, thus the number 8. They were also once a part of Pack 51 and the girls wanted to pay homage to that, and thus the Raymond Troop 851 number was assigned.”

The Raymond Village Community Church agreed to be the troop’s sponsor and will be the location where they will hold their weekly meetings.

Briefly, the Council was organized in 1919 and was known as the Portland Council. In 1933, the councils in southern and central Maine merged to formally become the Pine Tree Council with York county joining the organization in 1937. The Scouts BSA mission is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

And for the first time in its 100+ year history, the Boy Scouts of America is open to both young men and young women. Scouts BSA is a year-round program for boys and girls in fifth grade through high school that provides fun, adventure, learning, challenge, and responsibility to help them become the best version of themselves.
Newly formed Raymond Troop 851

A traditional ceremony of Raymond Troop 851’s crossover was held on Sunday, February 3 in Raymond, at Camp William Hinds.

To learn more about this troop or to become a member of the Pine Tree Council, go to their website at or call 797-5252.

Snowmobiling and more – winter leisure sport activities available in our own backyard

By Lorraine Glowczak

No one will deny that a snowmobiling trip or a snowshoe hike in the northern and western areas of Maine makes for an exciting weekend getaway for all who favor winter leisure sports. But family duties and the costs involved for these adventures make it is impossible to get away every weekend from the Lakes Region and greater Windham areas.

But do not despair if you need to get your winter sports fix in just a couple of hours without spending tons of money and time. There is everything you need right here in our own backyard. The Windham Drifters Snowmobile Club (WDSC), a group made up of families and businesses that enjoy the fellowship of others who share enthusiasm for the sport of snowmobiling, makes sure you have access to 36 miles of groomed trails that are safe for daytime, evening and weekend explorations. you are a snowmobiler, snow shoer, winter hiker, cross-country skier or a fat tire bike rider – you have plenty of trails to choose from and is it all is available at no cost.

But where are these trails? “We have Windham trails that connect systems in Gray, Falmouth,
Raymond, Gorham and Westbrook,” stated treasurer and groomer operator for WDSC, Barry Bernard.

For more detailed knowledge and experience of the trails, join WDSC on Saturday, February 16th for a community group snowmobiling ride that will provide an opportunity for local residents to familiarize themselves of the trails available through fields and forest – FOR FREE.

For those interested, WDSC invites you to meet and gather at the Mountain Division parking lot at Gambo Road at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 16 for this amazing exploration. There will be stops along the way including a buffet style lunch at Binga’s, in Windham on the outdoor deck – all with an outdoor heating fireplace and all you can eat for $15, payable the day of the event.  Up-to-date details and sign-up for the ride and lunch events are available on the club’s Facebook page.
There are also trail maps available at your convenience. “Trail maps are available for $5 at Windham
Town Hall, Richardson's Annex, Windham Powersports, Binga's Windham and Westport Motor Sports.” Bernard said. “For $6, you can order one from our website at” However, if you participate in February 16th ride, you will receive a map for free.

As of this writing, there are over 50 interested individuals who hope to participate in this riding event, including people new to the Windham area. “I've had conversations with two families that have recently moved to the area and have little knowledge of our system,” explained Bernard.

“They are both looking forward to bringing their families out the day of our February 16th event.
WDSC has been a dedicated part of the Windham area winter sport staple providing trails since 1977.

“We love what we do, and we work hard at maintaining these trails,” stated Bernard. “WDSC includes a group of dedicated individuals, but we are always looking for new members whose passion includes the great outdoors – especially winter. maintaining winter trails for the activities you enjoy and deem an important part of the Maine experience, WDSC is always seeking new members. Whether you are a snowmobiler, snow shoer, or a fat tire bike rider – you most likely want groomed and safe trails available for you, free of charge.

To become a part of the club or to help maintain these trails that are a part of “way life should be” in Maine, considering joining WDSC through their website at

Or, perhaps, more importantly, join a group of like-minded individuals for free on Saturday February 16th and have the time of your life. Right here – in your own backyard.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Raymond Village Community Church to offer free meal for furloughed employees

Even though the most recent government shutdown has ended, affected federal employees will be feeling its effects for some time to come. With an estimated 78% of full-time workers living paycheck to paycheck, having a month’s pay delayed would be a big problem for almost anyone.

As a way to support and thank furloughed federal workers for their commitment and sacrifice, and to encourage a greater sense of community in Raymond and the surrounding area, Raymond Village Community Church (UCC) at 27 Main Street in Raymond will offer a free Friendship Meal for federal employee families and also all area residents Wednesday, February 6 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm in the vestry of the Church.“By our estimate, over 2500 of the 15,000 federal employees in Maine are furloughed.  Most of these people have continued to work in spite of not being paid since December 22,” said RVCC Pastor Rev. Nancy Foran.  “Their sacrifice and sense of duty should inspire us all.  Our congregation feels that whether or not the furlough ends soon, we want to do something to help them and to show that we care.” she said. 

In addition, RVCC is working to reach out to the broader community to include them in this meal as one of many planned actions to help enhance community spirit in Raymond and the surrounding area. 

“This is an “all-ages/all circumstances” meal. Our fondest wish is that young and old, individuals, friends, and families of every income level will all feel welcome here.” said Rev. Foran.
The meal will include roast turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, a salad, beverages, and a delicious dessert. The dinner is absolutely free for anyone who attends, and there are no strings attached.

For further information, contact Rev. Foran at or at 207-655-7749.

The importance of proper recycling and the cost of “wishcycling”

Manchester School students discover what is recyclable (in 2016)
By Lorraine Glowczak

We are all aware that recycling is the process of collecting materials that would be otherwise thrown away and make them into new products. To recycle reduces waste in landfills, conserves natural resources and prevents pollution, to name just a few of the benefits. It’s for these reasons most Americans will properly recycle items such as water bottles, newspapers and glass jars.

But what about that plastic fork? Is that a recyclable item? If you are not sure but throw it in the recycling bin and hope that all is well? Then you are a “wishcycler.” And this one act can cost you and the town money.

The term, wishcycling, is when an individual throws questionable items into the recycling bin hoping that the object will be properly recycled once it reaches the facility. The Windham Town Council learned about this and more at their last Tuesday, January 22 meeting. “We receive a report each month on how much contamination is in our recycling,” Interim Town Manager, Don Gerrish, told the council. “We’ve been on notice and we are going start to pay if the recycling hits a certain percentage of contamination.”

As a result, Gerrish invited Environmental Educator from ecomaine, Katrina Vehnhuizen to speak to and inform the council on the improperly recycled items that occurs at both curbside and the silver bullet site within the Town of Windham.
Vehnhuizen provided a PowerPoint presentation and shared with the Council some of the major contamination materials that people try to recycle which include (but are not limited to) the following: CDs or DVDs, appliances, such as microwaves or refrigerators as well as vehicle parts, propane tanks, hair dryer, coffee grounds and diapers. For the record - plastic cup lids, straws, knives, forks, and spoons are not recyclable materials either and, if put in the recycling bin, are considered contamination material.

“We also get a lot of plastic bags including big black trash bags to grocery store shopping bags,” Vehnhuizen stated. “These items are considered contamination and should not be placed in the recycling bins or in the silver bullets.”

Informing the public is Vehnhuizen’s job and she mentioned her success in educating students at Maine schools regarding the importance of proper recycling. She told the Council about her work at Windham’s Manchester School.

Katrina Vehnhuizen from ecomaine speaks to the Town Council about about improper recycling, otherwise known as 'wishcycling'
In the December 23, 2016 edition of The Windham Eagle’s article, “Fifth graders are ‘talking trash’ at Manchester School’, it was explained that as a result of the efforts of fifth grade teacher Jennifer Ocean, the school was awarded a $3,000 School Recycling Grant from ecomaine to teach the students about environmental responsibility.

Vehnhuizen visited the school and provided a hands-on and educational opportunities, teaching the students the difference between what is trash and what is not, by quite literally going through the garbage produced by the first school lunch hour. began the trash audit session, first weighing, then discarding a full bag of rubbish on a huge blue tarp. With tongs and rubber gloves, the students were asked to separate the trash into four piles, 1. Actual trash. 2. Re-useable items such as Ziploc bags, 3. Recyclables such as milk cartons and 4. Compost. The students discovered that what initially began as 25 pounds of waste, when separated into appropriate piles, ended up being only 1 pound of real trash. The students quickly discovered how many unnecessary items are placed into landfills and thus the need to reduce the amount of solid waste disposal.

Below is a helpful list to not only help reduce the amount of trash going into landfills, but to also help you and the Town of Windham save money.

Items that can be recycled:

Paper, including but not limited to:
All clean cardboard, paperboard and pizza boxes
Newspapers, advertising inserts and mail
Magazines, catalogs, phone books, hard cover books
Clean paper plates (not soaked or caked with food or oils)
Wrapping paper that can rip
Milk & juice cartons (it helps to remove caps, but isn’t necessary)
Drink boxes and other aseptic containers (such as nut milk boxes)
Shredded paper (contained in a clear plastic bag)
Plastic rigid containers marked with a #1 – #7 (NO Styrofoam, bags & films), including but not limited to:
Water bottles and salad containers jugs
Detergent bottles
Yogurt containers
Takeout food containers (not styrofoam)
Metal containers, including but not limited to:
Tin cans
Aerosol cans, such as shaving cream and hair spray (completely emptied)
Aluminum cans, tins and foil (not caked with food residue)
Pots and pans
Glass, including:
All glass bottles and jars

Items that cannot be recycled:

Propane, fuel, or gas (O²) tanks 
Plastic bags and film, such as SaranWrap®, shrink wrap or boat wraps 
Rope, cables, cords or wires
Yard waste or food (compost them instead!)
Video and audio tapes
e-waste, such as computers, laptops, TVs, etc. 
CDs or DVDs 
Appliances, such as microwaves or refrigerators 
Clothing, shoes or bedding 
Car, truck or boat parts, including batteries and brake rotors
Plastic cup lids, straws, knifes, forks, and spoons
Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) and regular fluorescent bulbs.

For more information, contact ecomaine at 207-773-1738 or peruse their website at

Windham community to experience the joy from Munjoy Hill: Celebrating Black History Month on February 10

The choir from Green Memorial AME Zion Church
By Lorraine Glowczak

They are at it again. The group of individuals whose mission is to bring the community together to enjoy and learn about other cultures and beliefs in a variety of exciting ways will provide a venue to explore other philosophies in February. Or, so states Father Tim Higgins of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church who is also a member of the Windham Area Clergy Association (WACA). “WACA is at it again.” Higgins began. “We will celebrate Black History Month on Sunday, February 10 at 4 p.m. at North Windham Union Church, 723 Roosevelt Trail. Pastor Ken Lewis and his gospel choir from Green Memorial AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Zion Church in Portland will join us and offer two musical selections from their choir. Dr. Rick Nickerson will direct the combined choirs to end the festivities,” stated Higgins in a recent email to The Windham Eagle. consists of the greater Windham area clergy that include the following churches besides St. Ann’s: Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS), Windham Hill United Church of Christ, North Windham Union Church and Faith Lutheran Church. The mission of this organization is to share concerns and joys, to support one another as well as to exchange outreach ideas within the greater Windham and Lakes Region communities. As an organization, the goal is to provide awareness of the communities’ needs as well as respond to any tragedies or difficulties the community may experience, all the while learning about others in the process in order to live together in harmony and respect. Any religious organization in the Lakes Region area is welcomed to join WACA.

For Black History Month, the purpose is to celebrate culture and how it contributes to personal and spiritual growth. “This gathering gives me hope and optimism,” began Glenn Davis, Bishop of LDS. “For me, the gatherings we have had thus far have helped me understand other cultures and people. It gives me a sense that things can change. It is a great opportunity to meet and serve with WACA who are willing to learn and share with one another. For this Black History event, it reminds me of the terrible injustices placed on others throughout our history and the ways those who faced such injustices have overcome great challenges despite the overwhelming odds.”
Davis went on to explain the past events that WACA has provided for the community. “In the past year we have gathered together in many ways including an opportunity to learn about the Jewish tradition, the Seder. We [WACA] and other community members met last year during a Seder meal lead by a Rabbi from Portland and hosted by Faith Lutheran Church in Windham. It was an amazing gathering that provided a learning experience for me.” Davis hoped that others learned from the experiences the WACA events provided from the past year that included community Thanksgiving gatherings and a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this Black History Event is the inclusion of the Green Memorial AME Zion Church from Portland. The church’s choir will provide two of the musical selections and will be a part of the Windham area church choirs, led by the one and only famous musical conductor, Dr. Richard Nickerson of Windham.

Green Memorial Choir will sing with Windham Area Church choirs
Briefly, AME Zion Church is a historically African-American denomination based in the United States. It was officially formed in 1821 in New York City that made its way into Portland. Reverend Kenneth I. Lewis, Jr. of Green Memorial AME Zion in Portland, who provided the invocation at Governor Janet Mill’s convocation ceremony, will be participating in this event and will offer historical and musical presentations from the Green Memorial’s choir. Rev. Lewis is looking forward to joining in with area Windham churches to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s message. “I am a believer of Dr. King’s promotion of a beloved community irrespective of race, stated Rev. Lewis “We are all brothers and sisters, where people are known by the content of their character not the color of skin. I think opportunities [such as this event] is a great way to promote and demonstrate the very best of our Christian character through education in a shared space and we are looking forward to sharing this space with Windham” Lewis also stated that Green Memorial, although historically an African-American church, is diverse in nature and has carried the mantel of Dr. King’s message. “We represent what heaven will look like. Our motto is ‘there is joy on Munjoy Hill’.”

The afternoon celebration event will include musical selections as well as readings, prayers, scriptures and pastoral commentary from all participating churches. The Green Memorial AME Zion choir will join in with the rest of the choirs and will be conducted by Dr. Richard Nickerson.

“This event is so very important to those of us who live in the Lakes Region area because we live in a homogenous community,” commented Rev. Higgins. “Most of us in this area are European-Americans and it will be beneficial on many levels to celebrate Black History Month by word and song with our African-American brothers and sisters.”

All are invited to experience the joy shared by our neighbors from Munjoy Hill.

If attendees wish, any financial donation will go toward the Green Memorial AME Zion ministries. All are welcome to attend for joy, celebration and refreshments after the event.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Lakes Region Senior Center settles in at Little Falls Activity Center

Clarence Wisecup and Blanche Alexander
By Elizabeth Richards

The Lakes Region Senior Center has moved around quite a bit in their seven-year history but has settled in nicely at the Little Falls Activity Center in Gorham, where they hope to stay for the long haul.

The center was founded after Tim Hortons in Windham closed. The first president, Glen Lynds, ran an ad looking for others interested in developing a place for seniors to gather. Current president Blanche Alexander was among those to answer the call.

The Lakes Region Senior Center is a membership organization and operates as a drop-in center.  Members don’t need to sign up for specific activities – they show up and participate however they see fit.  “They come because they’re lonely, they’re looking for companionship,” Alexander said. “It doesn’t mean you have to do something, just come and enjoy being with others.”

Founding member Clarence Wisecup said that there are only a few married couples who are members. “A lot of our members are singles who live alone,” he said. The center gives them a place to come and socialize.

The official hours of the center are from 9 am to 1 pm, Monday through Friday. Many members stay past 1 pm, however, and they are welcome to be in the room whenever the building is open. The center has a newsletter published each month by Wisecup to keep members informed of activities and upcoming events. events include Mah Jong on Mondays, card games on Tuesdays, twice per month board meetings on Wednesdays, Bingo on Thursdays, and a new crafting group on Fridays. They also have use of the gym for walking every Monday from 9 am to 11 am. “We try to find things that will interest different groups at different times,” Alexander said.

One popular monthly event is the luncheons the center puts on, which include a speaker on various topics of interest to seniors. In January, a police officer from Portland spoke to the group about RAD (Resisting Aggression Defensively). 

Alexander said they also try to let members who are ill and can’t get out know that the group is thinking about them. Wisecup adds that they have a member who will call people on a regular basis, just to talk and relieve loneliness.

The center is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. They conduct a few fundraisers throughout the year, including a bake sale at one of the election sites in Gorham. Next November, they’ll participate in a Christmas Fair to raise funds.

Wisecup said they’d love to have a manager to run the center, but because they operate on a volunteer basis, it’s difficult to find someone who wants to devote that much time to the center.“A lot of our seniors have been doing this all their lives, working, volunteering, and now they’re coming to have a little down time,” Alexander said. “They don’t want to come here and work.”

There are currently 66 members in the Lakes Region Senior Center, and their current goal is to reach 70 members. Membership costs $20 per year and is open to anyone 50 years old or older in the surrounding communities.

Alexander said that the places that offered the center a temporary space – the Grange, North Gorham church, and Sunset Ridge - were all very kind to the group. “They all tried to help us as much as they could,” she said.  The group loves having a space to call their own now, she added. “We wanted a place to call home, and everyone has been satisfied so far.”

The senior center has been a bright spot in Alexander’s life. “When I retired from nursing, I was looking for something special to do. That ad in the paper was a godsend to me because it’s been a wonderful experience for me,” she said.

Two WHS students share excitement and learning experiences with Capstone project

DJ Hayley with student, Hailey Gilbert
By Lorraine Glowczak

Poet, Mary Oliver, captured one of life’s most important questions very eloquently, “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” This is a question we all ask ourselves at one time or another; especially when graduation from high school is upon us and we set out into the great unknown.

Exploration and discovery are ways to help us find our way and the Capstone project may be one step
in the right direction.

Capstone is an innovative program put forth this year at Windham High School. It is a part of a new graduation requirement with a mission to help students not only discover their true calling but to show that whatever their endeavor, they can do it right here in Maine.

In a previous interview with Windham Eagle reporter, Elizabeth Richards, Lanet Hane who is the Director of Community Connections for RSU#14, said the district discovered that the school was missing an opportunity to help students be better prepared for their careers. Instead of simply doing 40 hours of service at random, students have to put together a project, complete with a final presentation, that better connects them to the community. “The Capstone project is intended to take the same amount of time in a more coordinated and intentional way,” Hane said. seniors, Samuel Nemeroff and Hailey Gilbert, are both nearing the end of their Capstone projects and have very intentional plans for exciting career possibilities. They both took time out of
their busy school schedules to share their discoveries and what they have learned thus far.

For Nemeroff, that is owning a PC gaming cafĂ©. His intention is to create an affordable gaming venue for those who have a passion in creating, maintaining or building games for personal computers. However, his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t end there. “It is my plan that when I open my cafe, I will use renewable energy to support the electricity it takes to run this type of business. I plan to do that through the use of solar energy and natural gases,” he said. “I’m also studying ways to convert non-renewable energy into a sustainable energy alternative.”

To gain knowledge and learn more about renewable energy, Nemeroff interviewed representatives from Central Maine Power (CMP). They have guided him in his study along the way, including the cost effective calculations to alternative electricity.

Nemeroff is also working with Acadia University in Novia Scotia, Canada where he plans to attend after graduation. While there, he will work towards a major in entrepreneurship with a focus on innovation. He also has plans to reach out to Governor Mills, working with her office on energy efficiency in Maine. “I would like to participate in planning public policies on environmental issues,” Nemeroff said. “It is my hope that whatever I choose to do, I will not be a detriment to the environmental issues we face. I want to be a part of the solution.”

Samuel Nemeroff, Lanet Hane, Hailey Gilbert
Although going in a different direction that came with a slight curveball, Gilbert is as focused as her classmate. “Initially, I was looking into the medical profession as a possibility for my Capstone project,” she explained. “I wrote to and reached out to a number of professionals but when I never heard back from any of them, I decided to rethink what I might do. One day, I was listening to my favorite radio station, 104.7, and it dawned on me.”

Gilbert stated that she had always enjoy listening to the radio and decided to see if the radio industry might be in her future. “I sent a message to 104.7 on Facebook to see if I could come into the studio and learn what it takes to be a DJ,” she began. “Within a few hours, I received a message inviting me to join them.”

In the course of a couple of months, Gilbert has learned the ins and outs of studio/radio broadcasting that includes the logistics of using a soundboard, content the industry deems important, the process of interviewing people on live radio, as well as being on top of current trends, music and news. “I have had so much fun learning about this industry,” Gilbert stated. “I have to admit, I’m glad the medical experts didn’t respond to my requests.”

At the advice she has learned from her mentors at 104.7, she will obtain a degree in communications with a focus on networking.

Although both Nermeroof and Gilbert are still coordinating their volunteer efforts as it relates to their individual projects, they both have decided that their presentations will include a slide show presentation of their experiences, what they have learned through their process and how they will apply that to their future goals – to live fully their one wild and precious life.

There will be a Capstone Information Night for parents and their seniors on Tuesday, February 12th at 7 p.m. in the High School auditorium. For more information, contact Hane at

Friday, January 18, 2019

100 years of customer service: Levinsky’s celebrates centennial

By Matt Pascarella

At one time or another, you’ve probably been in Levinsky’s on Route 302 in Windham. Whether you need a sweatshirt, pair of pants, winter clothing or some Patriots or Red Sox apparel, Levinsky’s has been serving the public for years. This April marks their 100th anniversary.

Owner Eric Levinsky’s grandfather, Jacob Levinsky, regularly brought military surplus items like blankets, buckets and clothing from Fort Williams to his barn on 8 Oxford Street in Portland and sold them to the public. The very first Levinsky’s opened in 1919 and that same store remained opened into the 1990s.

Eric Levinsky describes that first store, originally called New England Army Supply as the beginning of it all. “The roots that started that store in 1919 are the same ones that have moved it forward.” It evolved into a men’s clothing store, although early on it carried everything from basketballs to belts to firearms.
Eric describes his grandfather and grandmother as being conservative in their consumption and lifestyle, common for the era. In 1930, during the Depression, Jacob was able to sell a significant amount of army candles, similar to a tea candle, to the Hannaford Brothers during a big ice storm when all the power went out in the Munjoy Hill area. Jacob sold enough candles and made enough money to make it through the Depression.

After the popularity of the bellbottom pant in the 1960s and 1970s, Levinsky’s became a men’s and women’s clothing store instead of just a men’s clothing store. With so many new clothing styles and brands, Levinsky’s popularity skyrocketed in the late 1980s. Levinsky’s opened a store in Freeport on Route One, one in Brewer and in the Windham Mall. Unfortunately, over time the Freeport, Brewer and Portland locations had to close, but the Windham Mall location was very successful until business began to change in the mall. In 2005, Eric decided it would be better to move to their current location as a freestanding store on Route 302.

Eric started working for his father and grandfather in 1972 when he was 13 years old. When he turned 15, Eric began to take on a bit of a managerial role. He attended trade shows with his father and learned how and what type of merchandise needed to be purchased for the store. Eric saw the relationships his father made. He stated that building relationships is important, whether it be for business reasons or otherwise. He enjoys working with people and the sociability of talking with customers. Eric stated that he is especially interested in learning about customers and what products they are looking for and need.

Ad from 1985
Eric described his family as being well embedded in Maine. Often, customers come in and reminisce about past experiences or purchases. Eric said that these intimate connections made with people are so unusual and is what he enjoys about his job.

“Bigger stores could never provide that feeling of community, one-on-one, that we have had for a hundred years,” Eric explained.

“We appreciate our customers, we know our customers and we love our customers. We always put them first. There is always a Levinsky in the store; we try to do it right for our customers ... we have a big heart and care about people. If you want to talk to us, we definitely want to talk to you.”

Happy Anniversary, Levinsky’s!


Strap on your snowshoes and get outdoors for a unique and exciting competition

photo courtesy of Maine Running Photos
By Lorraine Glowczak

When was the last time you ran a 100-meter dash or ran/walked a 5K? For those of you who have – that’s great news. Next question. When was the last time you did either (or both) in snowshoes? Intrigued and wondering how one can go about participating in such a sport?

Whether you have competed in this form of sporting event before or not, now is the time to either participate or try it for the first time right here in Windham. The Le Club Montagnard- Maine Snowshoers-Racquetteurs, which is collaborating with Windham Parks and Recreation, is offering this popular Franco-American event for those who love the great outdoors and wish to compete in a fun and challenging race that will occur on Saturday, February 9 at the Lowell Preserve at 47 Falmouth Road in Windham.

“Le Montagnard is the oldest snowshoe club in the United States,” stated Denise Tanguay of Windham. Tanguay, who is in her early 50s, along with her sister, Diane and brother, Danny have been members of the snowshoe club since before they could walk. Their father, Roland, was the president of Le Montagnard man’s section in the early years of its existence while their mother, Monique, was the president of the women’s section. Both parents were from Quebec where the original club began.

The Tanguay family lived and grew up in Lewiston where there was a large immigrant settlement from the French-Canadian Provinces. In the early years, as there is now among present immigrants, a level of discrimination and outcast was experienced. As a result, in the early 1920s up to and including the 1980s, the Franco-American population stuck together to support one another. One way they did that is through the sports club that also acted as a social support group.  

According to a Sun Journal article written by Dave Sargent and posted online on January 15, 2013, the Le Montagnard was founded by Louis-Philippe Gagne. “[He] stood just 5 feet, 1 inch tall and weighed 110 pounds, but he was a giant in the history of snowshoe clubs and Franco-American culture in this [Lewiston] city. As editor of “Le Messager,” Lewiston’s French newspaper, he wrote political commentary that was read throughout New England and Canada.

He was elected mayor of the city twice. In the early days of radio, Gagne hosted live broadcasts
called “L’Oeil” (The Eye) on WCOU, and he was responsible for bringing notable Canadian performers to Lewiston.

Two years after his arrival in 1922, Gagne had founded Le Montagnard, which was the first organized snowshoe social club in the U.S. It was named after Le Montagnard Club of Montreal, the first Canadian Club, formed in 1895. Lewiston’s Le Montagnard Club adopted the original club’s gray and scarlet uniforms, as well as the club’s motto, “Toujours joyeaux,“ meaning ‘always happy.’”

Denise Tanguaay
Both a sport and a social gathering, the Le Montagnard of Lewiston continued the traditions of parades and events each winter that included colorfully uniformed members from many U.S. and Canada clubs. Many of the events were held in Lewiston.

“I remember playing the bugle in the parade we had each year,” recalled Tanguay. “It was imperative among the parade participants to have and wear as many snowshoes as possible. My dad made me wear snowshoes on my back while playing the bugle just so our club could have the most snow shoes in the parade. I always rolled my eyes. Now that I’m older, I understand his level of commitment and love for this group.”

What Tanguay and her siblings really enjoyed were the ice castles built every year. “Our family really enjoyed the ice castles built during the sporting competition,” Tanguay said. “The ice came in blocks from No Name Pond and we’d always be amazed at its creation.”
Tanguay’s father was so dedicated to the Le Montagnard club and the sport of snowshoe competition that he worked to make snowshoeing an Olympic sport. “I traveled with my father and
representatives from Canada to France prior to the 1992 Olympics to meet with the Olympic Committee to see if we could promote snowshoeing competitions as an Olympic sport,” Tanguay stated. “We discovered that at least three countries have to be involved to be a part of the Olympics.”
As far as attendance and membership in the United States, The Sun Journal article continued by stating, “From its charter membership of 30 members, Le Montagnard’s rolls grew to 1,000 members by 1950. The club built a large chalet at No Name Pond, and from those waters the ice was harvested for ice palaces constructed in downtown Lewiston for numerous snowshoe club conventions.”

Tanguay stated that at one point, snowshoe participation at the International Championships was up
to approximately 5,000 members. But after her father’s death, membership and participation significantly decreased. “When the last race and parade happened in February 7, 2015, my siblings and I knew we needed and wanted to continue this event and club as long as we could,” Tanguay reflected.

As a result, she hopes to make a comeback with this sport by having a race in collaboration with Windham Parks and Recreation.

Roland Tanguay
“While I am always excited about the opportunity to offer an additional recreational opportunity to our residents, I think that this event is particularly exciting due to the history involved with the Snow Shoe Club, as well as the importance of embracing our Maine winters,” stated the Director of Windham Parks and Recreation, Linda Brooks. “Lowell Preserve is one of Windham’s gems, yet many folks have not taken advantage of this wonderful trail network and holding an event there may bring people out who may not otherwise know it exists.”

To register for this event, visit the website at

Sign up before January 24 and get a free t-shirt. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. with check in and late registrations from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Along with the 5K run/walk open to all ages, there will be a 25-meter and 50-meter race for those 8 and under and 100-meter race is open for nine and over as well as a 200-meter for those 13 and over.

 For more information, contact Denise Tanguay or Diane Williams at
The Lowell Preserve is over 300 acres of a forested conservation area that has over 8 miles of trails for all types of users from hikers to ATV users.

Whatever your endeavor in life, may you don a pair of snowshoes and toujours joyeaux!