Friday, June 15, 2018

Students learn compassion and respect through Heart of Courage Project by Lorraine Glowczak

Kelsey Theberge (center) stands with her grandfather veteran Larry Theberge (right) and father Sean Theberge. Also pictured is the silhouette she made of her grandfather 
The sixth grades students at Windham Middle School (WMS) who are from Ms. Hopkins’ and Ms. Stokes’ team, celebrated an evening of gratitude and celebration with a presentation of their Heart of Courage - Veteran Project Base Learning (PBL) Program. The festivities occurred on Monday, June 11 at 5 p.m. at the Windham Veterans Center; beginning with an Honor Guard ceremony and the National Anthem, sung by sixth-grader, Caitlin Miles.’s celebration was an accumulation of educational discovery that began in early spring. The project was kicked off with an opening event with the ROTC cadets led by Sergeant Wirtz.  The event included a brief history of the military, students participating in practice drills, trying on military gear, and using portable military medic cots.

The sixth graders had been working closely with local veterans, interviewing them as part of their PBL project; which was a student-centered mode of educational discovery with focus on subjects in the humanities, math, English language arts, science and data analysis.

The festivities included a spaghetti dinner followed by presentations by the students. After the student speeches, guests had an opportunity to talk to the pupils as they stood by hand-made silhouettes of the veterans they interviewed, to discuss what the students had learned from veterans.

In addition to interviews, the students researched the history of U.S. conflicts, participated in activities with the high school ROTC, placed flags at cemeteries, listened to presenters and visited the Maine Military Museum.  The students also cleaned headstones and flat stones at the Augusta Cemetery.

Laurent “Larry” Theberge, a Vietnam, Dessert Shield and Dessert Storm Veteran, was one of the local individuals interviewed by the sixth-grade class. Theberge’s granddaughter, Kelsey, is one of those sixth-grade students and he felt honored to participate in his first interview. “I have discussed my experiences with others, but I’ve never been interviewed before,” Theberge stated. “Most people don’t know what you experience in war. It’s not fun. It’s good to let people know what happens in war and how it can change you.”

As for Theberge’s granddaughter Kelsey, the project created a few realizations that may not have occurred in a traditional learning mode. “It [this project] has made me realize just how important it is to respect veterans and why,” Kelsey said. “By talking to the veterans, I realized just how much they went through and it has made me go deeper into this subject.”

Logan Forbes (left) with Willie Goodman
Another student, Logan Forbes, had the opportunity to interview Willie Goodman, who entered the service in 1963 and is a Persian Gulf Veteran. “This was not as easy as you think,” began Forbes. “It was very difficult to capture the veteran’s story and put it into one writing assignment. Also, when we visited the cemeteries and we washed the stones, it was much more difficult than anyone would think. You just don’t wipe over the stone – you have to scrub it. We were told to say ‘thank you’ at each veteran’s gravestone, but I ended up talking to them all. So, I learned a lot about respect, too.”

One of the guiding questions for the interviews included, “How do we show gratitude to those in our community who have served?” Goodman stated that vets do not expect to be treated differently. “It’s not that we ask to receive it [respect], or even expect it, but when we are honored in some way it is nice to know that people care.”

Students took a lot of pride and ownership in this project. “During interviews many students were sensitive to the experiences and emotions of the veterans, making sure not to bring up uncomfortable memories,” Stokes explained. “During the flag placing at local cemeteries, students worked hard to make sure the grounds and headstones were neat and beautiful. In Augusta, students took their time, scrubbing and cleaning the stones, often saying, ‘I need to get this cleaner.’ Students took care and loved cleaning each and every one of the stones and memorial markers. As family members approached headstones to place flowers, students went up to family members, offered assistance and asked to help clean the stones. Many students engaged in conversation with family members about their deceased loved ones.”

As for what lessons the students learned from this project, Stokes explained it is difficult to narrow it down to just one thing. “Both Mrs. Hopkins and I feel that if we were to narrow it down, students have grown significantly in regards to compassion towards others, respect for those that have served (and still do) and our responsibility to give back to veterans.” this spring, Post VFW applied for a $1000 grant to help support the PBL project and received that grant. The grant money paid for all busing to field trips and reading books connected to the wars.

Joe Bruno will remain active after retiring from a long political career by Lorraine Glowczak

Joe Bruno and his wife Suzanne
Joe Bruno, a member of the Raymond Board of Selectmen, has decided to step back from his 29-year career in politics. The pharmacologist and entrepreneur is looking forward to having a few more evenings at home, but he has no plans to lay low. In fact, it seems he will continue with his busy lifestyle, making contributions to the community and beyond in a multitude of ways.

Although Bruno may not have envisioned a life in politics, he has always held a keen interest in the topic, following legislative outcomes and policymaking while growing up in Long Island, NY.

Although his interests in political affairs never subsided, Bruno chose pharmacology as a career, attending Northeastern University - graduating in 1978. Upon graduation, his chosen profession took him to Washburn, ME where he met his wife, Suzanne.

Together, they moved to Raymond in 1980 and had two daughters, Adrienne and Julia. It was when their daughters began attending school that Bruno’s interests in politics deepened and he decided to run for a position on the school board in 1989. He was elected and that’s when it all began.
“I wanted to be part of the community, the town and the school, learning from all the people I met,” stated Bruno.

While active in the school board, Bruno was also a member of the Maine Board of Pharmacy. “As a member of the board, I went to Augusta to present a testimony on a pharmacy bill to the Health and Human Services committee,” began Bruno. “As I spoke to the committee, the legislators continued to talk to each other and eat lunch as if I weren’t there speaking to them. I felt as if they were ignoring me. At one point I told them that they were being very discourteous, not only to me but to everyone who spoke that day. I also told them that as a result of their rudeness, I was going to run for office and
that I’d be there the next year as a member of that committee.” He did run office. He was elected. And, a year later he was on that committee.

Bruno, a Republican, served his first term in the Maine House of Representatives from 1993 to 1994 and a second term from 1996 to 2004; serving two terms from 2000 to 2002 and 2002 to 2004 as Minority Leader.

During his time as a representative, Bruno’s focus was supporting businesses in Maine and keeping taxes low. “Maine has so much potential. It was my focus to help small local businesses prosper and to make sure our aging population was not being over taxed,” Bruno said.

In terms of the recent concern on civility Bruno blames, in part, term limits as the contributing factor to the lack of civility among legislative members. “When there weren’t term limits, everyone in the legislature got to know one another,” Bruno began. “It didn’t’ matter if you were Democrat or Republican, you knew you had to work together for the common good. You sought to understand because you knew it was possible you would have to work closely with someone you might disagree with for a long time. No matter the party affiliation, it seemed we were willing to work together.”
Civility also played a role during his campaign for the state Senate against Senator Bill Diamond. “During that campaign, we never attacked one another,” Bruno said of that experience. “It’s just something both he and I refused to do.”

It was after that campaign and the election of Senator Diamond that he was nominated to be a Raymond Board Selectmen.

There are many things one learns about self and others while serving a role in politics. For Bruno, he admits he wasn’t always open to an opposite point of view. “When I first entered into politics, I had my talons dug deep in what I thought was right,” he continued. “But I have learned that it is best to hear the other point of view. I have changed my mind often after considering what others who differed from me had to say.”

Bruno is known for his passionate views and direct and straightforward style of communication. “It’s true I have had disagreements with people, but it was never personal,” he said.

In regard to advice he has for others who are considering a career in politics, he shared a few thoughts. “You must have a passion for things that matter to you and you have to be committed to work hard in order to get elected. A person must stand on their own merits, keeping emotion out of it. You must have thick skin. But most importantly, you must be knowledgeable on both sides of anissue, making decisions based on facts and numbers.”

Despite stepping down from politics, he isn’t slowing down. Bruno is the treasurer for the Shawn Moody campaign, the president of the Maine Board of Pharmacy and he teaches classes in pharmacy and law at the University of New England, Portland campus. And, he will still work full-time at his Community Pharmacy business.

“I’m not going away just yet,” Bruno stated. “I love this town and will remain involved. I will do my part to make sure the community of Raymond continues to be affordable place to live.”
As for missing his role as a Town Selectmen, there are is one thing he won’t miss. “The only thing I will not miss is having to go to meetings in the evenings and getting myself in trouble.”

A sincere good luck to Joe Bruno.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Thanks to volunteer efforts, Raymond is on its way to becoming a full-fledged age friendly community by Lorraine Glowczak

Volunteers at work folding 4000 copies of the survey
It all began over a year ago on April 28, 2017 when a group of approximately 40 Raymond area residents gathered together to learn about the concept of an age friendly community. The meeting was initiated by State Representative Jessica Fay and was led by Jess Maurer, Director of the Tri-State Learning Collaborative on Aging.

Fast forward to June 2018 and that group of individuals recognized a need and felt inspired to work tirelessly in a volunteer effort to build an age friendly network for Raymond residents. As a result, the Town of Raymond is now listed as one of 50 up and coming age friendly communities in Maine.

“There has been a critical mass regarding this issue,” stated Nancy Foran, a volunteer member of the group and pastor of Raymond Village Community Church. “Senator Collins is one of the many individuals who are working on the issue of aging in place, and Raymond with its geographically separated area is an region that needs an age friendly network. We [the volunteers] are all working together to consolidate access to services and to make a difference.”

The past year’s work has included the development of working groups such as steering and assessment teams. Raymond residents will find a survey included in this week’s edition of The Windham Eagle which they can fill out and submit for the team of volunteers to discover what Raymond residents (year-round and seasonal) determine to be important services and options that will aid and assist an aging population.  

Briefly, per AARP, “age friendly networks are not retirement villages, gated developments, nursing homes or assisted living facilities.”

Instead they are livable communities that help promote the areas’ health and economic growth. The network, consisting of devoted community members that can choose to work in partnership with their elected officials, actively work to help the growth of the aging population and to promote easy and comfortable living situations so that elder adults can remain in their homes.
It is no secret that Maine is the oldest state in the U.S. and people are living longer. The aging population has no plans to move into a nursing facility or move in with their children. Increasingly independent, the aging population wish to remain in their home and community where they have friends, go to church and continue to be socially active. The Raymond Age-Friendly Community is being developed to meet these needs.

To get to this moment in time, however, took many volunteer hours and steps. They are as follows:

After the initial meeting in April 2017, the volunteer group appeared before the Raymond Board of Selectmen two months later, in June 2017, to ask for Town support for joining the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities as 50 towns and counties have done in Maine. The Town supported the group and it was accepted into the Age Friendly Network in October of 2017

To keep the momentum going and to remain informed, monthly meetings are conducted at the Raymond Public Safety Building providing a wide variety of topics and speakers. These meetings are informative for everyone. “What I have learned is that there are a lot of services out there to help the aging population, but they are not advertised,” stated Irene Morris, a member of the steering committee. “We have learned a lot just by being involved as volunteers.”

To help the volunteer efforts, the Raymond Village Library requested and has received a grant from the Maine Public Library Fund to establish a monthly seniors’ only library hours with programming

To assist with the cost of the enclosed survey, a support grant of $1100 was received from AARP. AARP printed 3000 surveys and the cost of 2000 was donated by First Light Home Care of Windham, a home care agency that offers companion and personal care services to individuals, aging or otherwise, to remain in their homes.
And last, but not least of all the collaborative efforts, is a partnership with a student at Saint Joseph’s College. Student, Mira McKinney designed a logo that has been approved and is now the official brand of Raymond’s age-friendly network.

The Raymond Age-Friendly Community is dedicated to advancing a well-designed, livable community for the aging. The survey is an important first step in the team’s goal of learning about aspects of the community which are important for the overall well-being of Raymond’s older residents.

It is important to note that although AARP has contributed resources and funding, the Raymond Age friendly community is a stand-alone entity. AARP does not apply its social or political stances on this, or any, age friendly community network.

If you are a Raymond resident, there are many ways you can contribute to the success of endeavor. First and foremost, please fill out the enclosed survey and mail it to PO Box 297, Raymond 04071, or place it in the drop off box available at the Raymond Post Office, the town office or the Raymond Village Library.

To learn more or to become a volunteer, attend a monthly meeting on the second Monday of the month at the Raymond Fire and Safety Building, call 207-655-2222 or email at

The next gathering will be a potluck on Saturday, June 9th at 5 p.m. at the Raymond Public Safety Building, 1443 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond. All are invited to join in to meet others and learn more about the network. Please bring your favorite side dish.

Windham graduate follows in grandfather’s footsteps to become an Air Force Pilot by Matt Pascarella

Devin Pellitier
Devin Pelletier, a 2012 graduate of Windham High School and a 2016 graduate of the Air Force Academy recently finished training and officially became a pilot, receiving his wings on May 18, 2018.

Pelletier gave a speech during his high school graduation as an Honor essayist. This speech was dedicated to service members as well as to his grandfather, Edmond Theriault who was a World War II B-17 pilot and recently honored for his service at last week’s Memorial Day event in Windham.

Pelletier wanted to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and joined the Air Force. He knew that is what he wanted to do while in his junior year of high school, never once hesitating after upon making that realization.

There are a lot of opportunities in the Air Force. Initially, Pelletier was interested in becoming an engineer, but over time, he became more interested in becoming a pilot. His grandfather was a big influence on this decision.  

To become a pilot, he took academic classes the first month; and then began flying in a T-6 Texan II plane, which is an aircraft designed specifically to assist in training pilots. Pelletier learned airspace rules, how the systems worked and eventually switched over to a T-38 C Talon, a supersonic trainer. In this aircraft he focused more on formation flying and supporting other pilots in an air-to-air type fight.
At first, Pelletier said flying an aircraft was quite stressful; there’s a lot to pay attention to such as altitude, airspeed as well as all that is around you, listening to the radio and listening to the instructor. He stated that there’s always more to learn though; once you learn one skill you move on to another.
His grandfather was very happy for his grandson but was curious as to how Pelletier navigated. “We use GPS.” His grandfather shakes his head and replies, “We had to use the stars.”

Last week, Pelletier headed to Oklahoma for further training in a KC-135 plane, a military aerial refueling aircraft. This aircraft supports fighters when they need fuel. He will later travel to Okinawa, Japan where he will be stationed for two to three years flying the KC-135 plane.
We wish Pilot Pelletier the best.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Volunteers needed for free summer meal program at Dundee Park this summer by Lorraine Glowczak

The Summer Food Service Program will be providing free summer meals every weekday from July 9th to August 17th from noon to 1 p.m. This sixth annual free summer meal program will be located at Dundee Park, 79 Presumpscot Road in Windham with the intention of helping families save money while providing a fun, safe place for kids and teens, ages 18 and under, to eat a healthy meal every day of the week.

Statistics indicate that one out of every five school age children are food insecure. This includes
children in our small-town communities of Windham and Raymond.

According to the Economic Research Service division of the United States Department of Agriculture, the following is what is known about food insecurity in the U.S.

The defining characteristic of very low food security is that, at times during the year, the food intake of household members is reduced and their normal eating patterns are disrupted because the household lacks money and other resources for food. Very low food security can be characterized in terms of the conditions that households in this category typically report in the annual food security survey.
·         98 percent reported having worried that their food would run out before they got money to buy more.
·         97 percent reported that the food they bought just did not last, and they did not have money to get more.
·         95 percent reported that they could not afford to eat balanced meals.
·         97 percent reported that an adult had cut the size of meals or skipped meals because there was not enough money for food.
·         88 percent reported that this had occurred in 3 or more months.
·         68 percent of respondents reported that they had been hungry but did not eat because they could not afford enough food.
·         44 percent of respondents reported having lost weight because they did not have enough money for food.
·         33 percent reported that an adult did not eat for a whole day because there was not enough money for food.
·         26 percent reported that this had occurred in 3 or more months.”

RSU#14 and the town sponsor the Summer Meals Program to help those families who are facing these choices and are able to do so through a federal grant. But in order for this meal program to run successfully, volunteers are needed.

“I think it is important to volunteer and to help bridge the summer gap that students experience during summer vacation,” stated Jeanne Reilly, RSU#14 Food Service Director. “This gap is pretty severe right here in Windham and Raymond and we need all the help we can get.”

To volunteer will not take much of your time. “All we need are individuals who can commit to two or three dates throughout the summer,” Michelle Jordan, Volunteer Coordinator for the program said. “Each volunteer will be asked to attend a small training session and will only have to be available for 2 hours - from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. - on the days they volunteer to serve the meals. The two hours consists of receiving the meals as they come in, serving the meals to the children and a few minutes of cleaning up after the meals are completed.”, and their children, will have free access into the park, as entrance fees do apply. Park pass waivers are available for Windham and Raymond residents and can be requested from Reilly at

For those who are interested in volunteering, contact Jordan at To learn more about the program itself, contact Marge Govoni at

First day of the Farmers’ Market at Turning Leaf Drive in Windham was a hit by Lorraine Glowczak

If you missed the first day of the Farmers’ Market at Turning Leaf Drive in Windham (intersection of Route 302 and River Road) that occurred on Saturday, May 26 – no need to worry. The market will continue every Saturday from now until November 17th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

But come early and often! Saturday’s first market was such a success, despite the cloudy and cool weather, that when the farmers packed up at 1 p.m., they had very little produce left to sell.

Windham Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is the sponsoring entity of the Farmers’ Market and Tom Bartell, Executive Director and Lisa Fisher, Administrative Assistant have been working tirelessly to bring back a market in the area. “Despite the fact we got a little bit damp [on Saturday] it was so nice to see everyone happy at this Saturday’s market,” stated Fisher. “It was great having a large crowd of people come out to enjoy a farmers’ market again. I was very pleased with how successful the day was.” 

Bartell and Fisher are grateful for the help they have received to make this farmers’ market a realization. “So many people helped with this project, not just Tom and I.” Fisher said. “Local farmers, the folks from the Windham Community Garden and volunteers came to our meetings and graciously shared their time and knowledge. The property owner [at Turning Leaf Drive] let us use his land. Town staff helped us to get ready for opening day. Members of the WEDC gave their time and efforts. The people who help us with graphic design and advertising have been great. There are community members who kept asking for a farmers’ market. The wonderful vendors took a chance on this new beginning. It has really been a group effort.” 

https://www.egcu.orgBetween the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., the parking lot was intermittently full as people visited each farmer and vendor, purchasing their locally raised produce, meat and gifts. The first market included the following businesses:

1)      PH Farm from South Paris. They were at the market on Saturday to sell eggs and seedlings and plan to also have produce at future markets. PH Farm also hopes to incorporate selling rabbits in the future.
2)      Mountain View Farm from Harrison was available to meet the needs of those who prefer locally raised chicken, beef and pork.
3)      Mulberry Farms from Raymond was available to provide organic produce such as asparagus, radishes, lettuce mix, cucumbers and rhubarb.
4)      Sweet Relief Farm from Standish was available to sell organic seedlings. They will have organic produce in the future.
5)      Fox Run Gifts from Raymond were available as well to sell many locally made gifts including, household products, bird houses, wreaths, placemats, aprons and more.

“We have had additional vendor inquiries, so we suspect there will be more vendors available as time continues,” explained Fisher. “WEDC is working to grow the market in order to have a variety of vendors and attractions. In fact, we recently discovered that June is National Dairy Month and we are told to expect to have calves present during month of June.”

Farmers’ markets are an up and coming way to provide healthy and locally grown foods as well as a way for people to gather. There are many advantages to farmers’ markets and Frank Pecoraro of Mulberry Farms stated those advantages in a previous article. “The big difference between grocery store produce and what you get at a market is twofold,” Pecoraro began. “First, most often you get to speak to the person who grows the produce you are purchasing. You get to find out what fertilizer was used, if there were any pesticides applied, when produce was picked, etc. You don’t get that sort of knowledge at a grocery store. Second, the food that is grown locally is much better tasting and nutritious because it hasn’t traveled up to 3,000 miles. Food at a store is also made with the intention to have a long shelf life. As a result, the produce purchased at a grocery store loses nutrition and flavor.”

If you are a farmer or artisan and wish to be a part of the Farmers’ Market at Turning Leaf Drive in Windham, contact Fisher or Bartell at 207-894-6900, extension 6122.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Students at Windham Primary School learn the importance of giving back to the community by Lorraine Glowczak

The students at Windham Primary School held a Community Day Assembly on Thursday, May 18 at the Windham High School auditorium, to show their appreciation and to give back to community organizations that have given to the students throughout the year. The first through third graders, who raised funds and learned about community accountability and character education in the process, collectively raised and contributed $7,000 as their way of saying, “thank you.” this was the first community day event established by the students, it is the goal of the educators and students alike that the event will become an annual project. “We wanted to help build a sense of community within our school and hope that this becomes an annual event,” stated Michelle Jordan, one of the volunteer coordinators. “Because of our large size, we rarely hold a school wide assembly. This event was designed for two reasons: 1) to bring the school together, and 2) to teach our students the importance of community programs and supporting those programs.”

The recipient organizations that received funding for their contribution and assistance to the students at Windham Primary School include: Windham Public Library supported by the kindergarten class, Ledgewood Nursing Center supported by the first-grade class, the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals supported by the second-grade class and the Windham Historical Society supported by the third-grade class. All organizations were very appreciative of the donations given to them including the members of the Windham Historical Society (WHS). “This very generous gift will help us a raise a blacksmith shop as well as complete the South Windham Library,” stated Susan Simonson, President of the WHS.  “This building will house South Windham Village and train station historical collections. To the third-graders, the Historical Society shows grateful appreciation for their donation, and to all of the primary grades and staff we applaud the lessons of support and involvement given to the community.”

To raise funds, the students participated in a “Race for the Community” day. “They each had a sponsor sheet to have friends and family members sponsor them for the number of laps they ran or walked around the [high school] track,” Jordan explained. “On Friday, May 4, the whole school went out in groups of 5 or 6 and spent 30 minutes on the track. Kids had paper sneakers that were hole punched for each lap they completed. Then students collected donations based on the laps they ran. enjoyed participating in the community day event. Not only did they learn the importance of community but the significance of acting upon the passions they carry for life. Lilly Steele, a second-grade student loved the fact that they donated to the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals. “It was nice to raise money for the animals because I love the horses and like patting them.”
Parents were proud of the students and saw the importance of what their children learned in the community give back effort. “I think it’s been an eye opener for them and you can tell they were proud to have been part of giving back,” stated Mel Oldakowski who is Steele’s mother.

During the assembly, Dr. Karl Rhoads complimented the students for their hard work and explained why community is so important. “We are very fortunate at Windham Primary School that has a supportive community that gives to us in many ways. And all the organizations that were funded today, give to us. This is an opportunity for us as a school to give back. That’s the reason for Community Day and the Community Day Assembly.”

The school donated the following: Windham Public Library received $1163.05, Ledgewood received $1692.15, MSSPA received $2412.80 and Historical Society received $1723.

K9s on the Front Line hard at work to save the lives of veterans with PTSD by Lorraine Glowczak

Dr. Hagen Blaszyk with one of his favorite canines
Memorial Day is the day we remember and honor those veterans who have passed away. Although, the non-profit and Portland based organization, K9s on the Front Line, concentrates on veterans who have returned from service and are alive. Their mission to provide trained service dogs to military veterans who are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at no cost is worthy of attention. 
Their service to veterans can and has saved the lives of those who experience trauma as a result of war.

According to Dr. Hagen Blaszyk, President and Cofounder of K9s on the Front Line, PTSD occurrences contributes to 22 deaths per day in the U.S. “Veterans who experience PTSD believe that ending their life is better than continuing to live the nightmare,” explained Dr. Blaszyk, “That’s the reason why we are here and do what we do.”

The organization trains dogs to create a human-canine bond that gradually and permanently helps to manage the PTSD experience. The K9s on the Front Line staff often hear from the veterans they work in conjunction with, that the traditional treatment approaches to PTSD have not worked well for them. “Traumatic memory is not accessible by our conscious brain. The dog gets to the brain at an unconscious level,” Dr. Blaszyk stated. website explains the PTSD experience and how dogs play a role in calming the trauma and stress: “Traumatic memory, in order to protect us from overwhelming affect, is encoded in consciously inaccessible parts of our brain. Traumatic memory typically has no storyline, no beginning and no end. To make matters worse, traumatic memory is freely taken in and stored, but the person’s ability to rationalize the experience is compromised. Dogs seem to be able to read our minds, having developed the capacity to discern the most miniscule changes in our mood and behavior. A perfect example is the working dog for patients with seizure disorder, where they detect and alert the approach of seizures long before the patient becomes aware of it.” It seems that dogs play that same role in the PTSD experience.

K9s on the Front Line, established in 2016, is staffed by volunteers and 100 percent of the funds donated go directly to the purchase of dogs. The dogs are then trained on a volunteer basis by police officers who are certified canine trainers. The dogs then go home to a veteran to develop that life-saving canine-human bond.

Dr. Blaszyk explained that all volunteers have firsthand knowledge of PTSD in one way or another. “For example, the police trainers have been involved in some form of traumatic experience while working on the streets,” explained Dr. Blaszyk. “The veterans do not have to utter a single word when they walk into our space – they know we all get it and they can sense that on an emotional level. We have not walked in THEIR boots, but we are all walking in boots.”

K9s on the Front Line offers their outreach to veterans in all of Maine and New Hampshire. “If I could fast forward the clock I would bring this to a national level,” Dr. Blaszyk said. “Ideally, I would like to be able to have a complex established here in Maine and have veterans from all over the U.S. come to stay for a couple of months. We have many ideas we are discussing.”
 Dr. Blaszyk stated there is an art and science that encompasses many layers of what the organization does but one of the most important components is the role that dogs play in saving the lives of veterans. “Dogs are somehow able to soak up the negative emotions. It is miraculous,” Blaszyk said.

To learn more information or to donate to K9s on the Front Line, visit their website at k9sontheFront

Friday, May 18, 2018

Jordan-Small Middle School students apply knowledge from water project in creative ways by Lorraine Glowczak

Ryanne Greene and Macie Ennis explain the water cycle
Sixth-grade students from Jordan-Small Middle School released hundreds of baby brook trout in the Presumpscot River on Tuesday, May 8 as part of a collaborative, educational effort with the Portland Water District’s TroutKids Program. On the day of release, the students performed water quality tests, macroinvertebrate sampling and conducted shoreline assessments to ensure the new habitat was healthy for the trout. The purpose of the project was to help the students gain insight into local water issues; take a role in its future protection and to apply the information in creative and fun ways.

The TroutKids project began in early January when the students received the fish eggs, raising them until their release last week. Their projects entailed scientific evaluation and record keeping and making sure the water in the fish tank remained at a certain Ph level, in order for the fish to grow in a healthy environment., the students studied the trout life cycle, the water cycle, the watershed and other related environmental topics; such as storm water runoff as well as the importance of composting and recycling. They also learned the history of water filtration and wells that dates back as early as 500 BC.

Of the many things the students learned, the most reiterated topic was the importance of keeping our waters clean, fresh and pollutant free. Not wasting water was also a noted topic, realizing that there is not an endless supply. “Some people in other countries, such as some countries in Africa, have to walk thousands of miles to get water,” stated students Ryanne Greene and Macie Ennis, whose project included artwork of the water cycle.

Artwork was one form students chose to share what they learned during the project. Others applied and presented their new-found knowledge with PowerPoint presentations, slide shows with music, books, games and other “call to action” strategies. The students will present their projects in a school-wide event to share what they learned with the other grade levels.

The Splish Splash game
Students Marlie Ennis and Elizabeth Gurney created the game, “Splish Splash”, to teach the correct call of actions one needs to take for the future of healthy water. In order to advance on the game board, the player has to answer the problem correctly. The questions have multiple choice answers. Responding to the questions correctly will allow the participant to move on to the next space and win $50. An incorrect answer could land you in jail.

Maya VanHise, Bailey Butts and Stella Feenstra wrote a children’s book. The story is about a student who goes on a field trip but does not dispose his trash properly, leaving the garbage behind to soil the water. There are a few individuals who come along to help pick up the trash left behind by the story’s main character. Together, they start a Save the Water Club. “These ‘helpers’ are actual representations of the Jordan-Small teachers,” explained VanHise, Butts and Feenstra. “And the purpose of the story is to teach younger students ways not to pollute the environment. The story explains how one person can make a difference.” Austin created call to action signs to be placed on all the trash cans in the Jordan-Small Middle and Raymond Elementary schools. On the sign, it reads “Is this trash or compost?”  The purpose of the sign is to encourage individuals to dispose of trash properly and recycle when appropriate. Austin is in the process of delivering her signs to the teachers, but her project will not end there. “After a couple of weeks, I will go around to interview the teachers to see if my sign actually made a difference,” Austin stated.

The science teachers Jack Fitch, Adina Bassler and Lynne Estey (who is also the coordinating teacher with the Portland Water District) spoke about their endless amazement at the talent, creativity andpassion for learning their students encompassed and applied to this water project.

“I have learned not to set boundaries with what students can learn and how they apply what they have learned,” stated Estey; “Because they have always exceeded my expectations.”

The Dundee Duck arrives in time for an exciting Dundee Park Summer by Lorraine Glowczak

Ron and Dusti Faucher, Linda Brooks, Tony Plante
The Dundee Duck will now greet and welcome all visitors to its scenic 20-acre Dundee Park this summer, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Windham Parks and Recreation Department, its committee members and the contributions of local businesses and entrepreneurs. The unveiling of the mascot occurred at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 14 at the park with committee members, town officials and park managers on hand to celebrate its arrival.

Pat Moody, Chair of the Recreation Committee and Linda Brooks, Windham Recreation Director,
welcomed all present, introducing and thanking the individuals who supplied the creative contributions and the technical portion that brought the creation into reality.

Nikki Jarvais from Windham and owner of Rinck Advertising in Lewiston, along with her Co-creator and Project Manager, Elizabeth Rentz, also from Windham - are the creative minds behind the soon to be infamous, Dundee Duck. Brendan Faherty of Windham Innovations (a small subsidiary of Windham Mill Works) produced the family-friendly signage you will find around the park. “We did our best to make Dundee Duck family friendly and to keep the logo colors of the Windham Parks and Recreation Department,” Jarvais stated of the combined effort.

“We originally thought the mascot would be a loon,” Moody stated to the crowd on Monday evening. “But Jarvais approached Linda and her staff, telling them that a cartoon of a loon with its small eyes and black head can look pretty scary and suggested the more approachable and cheerful caricature of a duck.”

Brooks and her staff agreed and thus the Dundee Duck was born. Managers, Ron and Dusti Faucher are looking forward to another exciting summer, only this
time sharing the season with Dundee Duck. This is their sixth year as managers, living on site, to make sure the quality of the park is maintained and family friendly throughout the summer.

“We have been the managers here for a little over six years,” stated Ron Faucher. “And we have seen the park expand and improve in that short time. We see a lot of amazing people from the region, including those from various cultural backgrounds. They come here and enjoy the area throughout the week. They eat, play, swim and simply have a fun, family-style experience together. It is great to see and it’s the very mission of Dundee Park to provide a safe and healthy environment for an enjoyable summer time getaway.”

Besides the family recreational and swimming activities Dundee Park provides along the Presumpscot River, it will once again offer its annual four-week Summer Concert Series that will occur every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., beginning on July 11 and ending August 1. Gates will open for free after 5 p.m. on these Wednesdays.

Musical guests for this year’s series will include in order: 121 Band, The Hurricanes, Downeast Soul Coalition, with the well-known local musical talent, Rick Charette ending the Summer Concert Series.

The Dundee Park will also be the host location for the “Summer Meals at Dundee”, a free, federal summer food service program that works in collaboration with the RSU14 nutrition program. More details regarding this event to come in a future article.

Dundee Park will reopen on Saturday, May 26 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends only, until June 23.
From that date until August 12, the park will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., returning to its weekend only time after that until September 3. Dundee Park will close for the season on September 3 at 5 p.m.

The park offers bathrooms and a beverage vending machine, as well as boat rentals and barbeque grills throughout the picnic areas. Day and seasonal passes are available for residents and non-residents. Day passes are $5 for residents $3 for children and $6 for adult non-residents, $4 for non-resident children. Senior and veteran discounts apply.

Seasonal passes are per household vehicle and cost $50 for residents and $65 for non-residents.
For more information, call the Windham Parks and Recreation Office at 892-1905 or visit our website at or check Dundee Park on Facebook.
Be sure to put Dundee Park on your summer “bucket list” to not only see firsthand its new Dundee Duck mascot, but to create exciting and lasting Dundee Park memories with your family.

Friday, May 11, 2018

An uncle and nephew share a heart-felt trip to Washington on Honor Flight Maine by Michelle Libby

Ed Quinlan (L) and his nephew James Mannette
Ed Quinlan, 82, has the military woven into the fabric of his being. His father was in World War I, his three brothers served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam respectfully, and Quinlan served in the Army in Germany after the war. He recently took a trip to Washington D.C. on the Honor Flight Maine, where veterans are given a once in a life time chance to experience their memorials.

“It was a wonderful and emotional trip,” Quinlan said. He was able to visit each memorial that symbolized the service his father and brothers gave to the United States, as well as his own memorial. “We went to all the memorials. Each one represented a brother to me.”

Quinlan served as a private first class for two years in the Army. He was drafted and spent 16 months of his two years in Germany. His unit was one of the last to travel overseas by ship. It took 11 days to sail across the ocean and 13 days to return, he said. He marveled at the whales swimming alongside the ship during that trip.

Quinlan grew up in South Windham and was a 1954 graduate of Windham High School. He worked for S.D. Warren Paper Company for 34 years. was nominated to go on the Honor Flight by his niece Anita Quinlan. Last year, Anita’s son was a member of the ROTC group at Windham High School. They went to a homecoming at the Jetport and she decided to look into the program for her uncle. She didn’t expect anything to come of it, but a few weeks before the flight they were told Ed was cleared to go.

Each veteran traveled with a companion and for Quinlan it was his nephew James Mannette, who will soon be entering the United States Air Force Academy in June.

“My heart is full and glowing after spending the weekend in Washington D.C. I was very fortunate to escort my great uncle, a US Army Korean War Veteran, alongside many other WWII Veterans to see their memorials with Honor Flight Maine,” said Mannette.

He was most impressed with the stories the veterans told. One man was an Army Colonel who had served in many wars. He had a Purple Heart and three Silver Stars. “He was the first to come up to me and thank me for my service, which was amazing coming from him,” Mannette said.

This was the first Honor Flight of 2018, which transported 48 veterans, 48 guardians and three or four volunteers to Washington DC.

Quinlan’s favorite part of the trip was Arlington National Cemetery. “I could not believe or imagine all the headstones. Four hundred thousand headstones,” he said. He enjoyed seeing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown. “It was a once in a lifetime trip.”

Quinlan had been to Washington D.C. with his wife before she passed away, but this trip had its own merits as the volunteers made sure they always had water or a snack in their hands. Each veteran was also given a disposable camera to record their memories.

“It was first class,” Quinlan said.
They saw the Women’s Memorial, Navy Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Fort Meade, were some of the highlights, said Mannette.

When the flight arrived back at the Portland International Jetport, the veterans were greeted by hundreds of people waving flags and clapping for them. For many it was the first time they returned and were celebrated. Honor Flight Maine held mail call for all of the veterans who received a pack of letters from family and friends.

Quinlan received letters from Susan Collins, Angus King, his son in California, his son in Gorham and from students in his niece Anita’s class, thanking him for his service. Representative Bruce Poliquin was there to greet the returning troops.

“The stories these veterans have are extremely powerful, and their patriotism is far from subtle. Full of laughter and smiles, these brave souls never cease to show love and pride for the country they fought for. These veterans changed the world, and their contributions will be forever honored,” Mannette said.

Honor Flight Maine is a non-profit organization solely to honor America’s Veterans. Priority is given to terminally ill and frail Veterans. It costs $17,500 to send one Veteran on the Honor Flight Tour and the trip is funded completely through sponsorships and donations.

For more information, visit

“We can’t all be heroes. Some of us get to stand on the curb and clap as they go by.” - Will Rogers