Friday, August 17, 2018

A matter of historical record: Disciplined learning and occasional chaos characterized early one-room schoolhouses by Walter Lunt

Anderson School. Windham's earliest schoolhouses

Windham and Raymond are bringing back their one-room schoolhouses, not as components of the RSU14 school district, but as replicas of a much earlier time.  

In Windham, the historical society plans a grand opening on August 25 for its Village School, one of several buildings slated to become a living history compound at Windham Center.

Education, in the form of one-room schools, was dispersed throughout Windham for most of the 19th and into the early 20th centuries. One teacher taught “scholars” ranging in age from six to about 16 years. Many attended school just long enough to gain the minimal reading and “ciphering” (math) skills to support life on the family farm. An eighth-grade education was considered high attainment.

At one time, Windham had 19 district schools. Each served a neighborhood, including Centre School at Windham Center, Arlington School in North Windham, Friends School (which now serves as the local food pantry) and John A. Andrew in South Windham. Others were Anderson School, which served the first-settled area on River Road near the Westbrook line, Windham Corner at the intersection of Ward and Pope Roads in the “triangle” at Windham Hill and Bakers Corner, or Clark School on the corner of Brand Road and Route 202, which was said to have been a “lively place.” 

In the early 1800s the Society of Friends, or Quakers, opened an academy at the corner of Swett Road and the Main Road (Route 202). Of their school and religious teachings, Historian Samuel T. Dole noted that the Friends “sturdy observance to the principles…. (of) peace, religious and social freedom, equality of race and strict honesty (was) conducted with marked success.”

The historical record fails to reveal the year of Windham’s first school. However, tradition holds that Mary Chute, wife of first settler Thomas Chute, conducted classes in her home. The first schoolhouse, Anderson School, was built around 1770 on River Road near the Westbrook line.

In his book, “Windham in the Past”, historian Dole describes the function of the General Examining Committee (forerunner to the modern Superintending School Committee). Comprised of three learned men of high moral character, the committee was charged with visiting each school twice during the winter term to evaluate instruction, often by quizzing the scholars.

Dole recalls one such visit to his 19th century schoolhouse: “(I) remember the awe with which these dignitaries were regarded by the average pupil, as, with slow and stately tread, they filed into the schoolroom and took their places behind the teacher’s desk; and with what fear and terrible forebodings we awaited their questions in regard to our proficiency in the different branches then taught.”

The late Kenneth Cole, Jr. of Windham wrote of his days in the early 1930s at the one-room Knight School on Pope Road near its intersection with Route 302.

“I went to school by sleigh. (But) if the …. road hadn’t been rolled I would go on snowshoes.”
Cole recalled being the chief stove tender – the stove wood were slabs donated by a local sawmill. Water was drawn from a nearby well, “The first couple of years we all drank from…a 10 quart milk pail (using) the same long handled dipper. At recess time there was no playground, just the cow pasture across the road. We played baseball; dried cow flops were bases.”

Cole expressed high praise for the teachers and the education he received over five years at Knight School, “Eight grades every day for one teacher and the only breather for her was when the town’s music teacher dropped by.”

Courses of study in those early school days included reading and grammar, composition, arithmetic (earlier known as ciphering), history, geography, recitation and elocution (speaking skills), health and wellness and agriculture. Penmanship (cursive) and spelling were emphasized. Grammar instruction meant “parsing” sentences, that is, explaining the function of each in a sentence (a forerunner to diagramming sentences).

A typical day for a student (scholar) would begin with the journey to the schoolhouse. Those without a horse or pony would walk, up to three miles for some. One or two older boys would arrive early to fill the water pail for drinking and washing hands and to haul wood for the pot-bellied stove.

This one room school house is a 19th century replica and sits on the Village Green of the Windham Historical Society on Windham Center Road. Contact the historical society for a tour and workshops.
Today’s aging population who were scholars “back in the day” remember feeling roasted when seated near the stove or freezing when far from it – heavy wool clothing was a must. Attendance was largely voluntary, depending on weather or the need for labor at home.

Before 1900, community schools had two terms, one in winter from November to April, and in summer from May to August.

A teacher’s needs were largely met by the community which usually included a small salary, housing, staples and food. If a female teacher married, many communities expected her to quit teaching because it was felt her most important job should be the care of her family.

Schools were ungraded. Scholars were seated according to age and ability, younger up front – older in the back, and were promoted only when the teacher felt he or she was ready to move on to more challenging material.

A typical day would begin with a morning greeting. The teacher would welcome the scholars. In response, scholars would “mind their manners;” girls would curtsy, boys would bow. Following Pledge of Allegiance and a morning prayer, the teacher would conduct a reading lesson with younger students while others would cipher an arithmetic problem on their individual slate boards.

Gaining the teacher’s attention by raising a hand was a rarity in the one-room schoolhouse. Students waited to be called upon by the schoolmarm/master, then they would stand to answer or recite. 

Responding to a mental arithmetic problem involved more than simply giving a numerical answer. For example, just stating “28” would not be an acceptable response to the following problem. The teacher would expect to hear, “Because Alice collected four eggs each day for seven days, and the product of four and seven is 28, Alice collected 28 eggs.” Discipline was taught in conjunction with schoolwork as well as behavior.

Later, during penmanship, scholars would use quill pens and ink to write their names, date and a maxim into their copybooks. Maxims were oft repeated sayings that promoted proper living habits or good moral character (ex: Deal justly with all; speak evil of none.)

“Turn-out,”, or privy privileges, usually occurred in conjunction with recess. Girls first. It was not unusual for the boys to disappear during recess time to go swimming in a nearby stream or pond.
Forms of punishment for scholars who failed to complete work or mind their manners were varied.

The most common was the use of the dreaded ferrule, a bendy rod utilized to change attitude and behavior when laid sharply across a scholar’s palms or buttocks. Other methods included sitting on a stool wearing a dunce cap or standing against the board with one’s nose pressed inside a drawn circle.

Perhaps the worst practice for boys was being made to sit with the girls while wearing a bonnet.
A special program for local school children designed to replicate the old-time teaching practices (sans the ferrule) has been created by a committee of the Windham Historical Society.

Elementary students studying local and Maine history will be invited to assume the identities of actual Windham residents who attended a Windham Center school in the late 1800s. Slates, quill pens & ink and McGuffey Readers will be used to give participants a realistic one-room schoolhouse experience. The soon-to-be restored Friends Schoolhouse, located on Route 302 in Casco will offer a similar program, according to Frank McDermott, president of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society.

The 1848 structure was lost to fire last April. McDermott said the RCHS hopes to have the building up and closed in by late fall. Donations of money, materials and furnishings are now being accepted.

While there is much romanticism surrounding the culture and teaching practices of old schoolhouses, their successes were coupled with many of the same problems that plague schools today. However, those difficulties were dealt with in a much different way. The old Bakers, or Clark, School referred to earlier as a “lively place” was probably Windham’s most unruly school. According to an early story, a group of boys slugged their schoolmaster, lugged him out of the building and threw him headfirst into a snow bank.

Many, if not most, of the old schoolhouses experienced similar or more outlandish events than the one at Bakers. Next week, in a special edition of The Historic Record series, we will share a bizarre story told several years ago by the late Phil Kennard who attended the old Arlington Grammar School in the late 1920s. <

Windham Recreation "Green Team" Campers keep Windham High School Community Garden alive

This summer, a small group of campers from the Windham Recreation Adventure Camp group spent part of their time at camp working and learning in the Windham High School Community Garden. This garden was started in 2011 by a high school activity group calling themselves Green Roots. In addition to learning about various aspects of environmental science and doing projects around the school, the group was able to convert an enclosed courtyard space into a school garden.

With the help of several grants - lumber, tools, soil components and even a shed were obtained.

Students built the raised beds under the direction of former teacher and master gardener, Bill Keller and Earth Science teacher Lindsay Hanson. Over the next few years, beds were added by Windham/Raymond Adult Education classes, also taught by Keller.

Each year a variety of vegetables are planted, nurtured and harvested. Vegetables have been used by the school lunch program, taken home by students and teachers and given to families in need.

This space is more than just a garden. It is a place of learning about topics one might not even consider as “gardening”. Teachers of several subjects such as art, science, math and even English have used the space for various learning activities. There are a couple of picnic tables in the space where students can just sit and read, eat lunch or quietly work on something.

This is the third year that the Windham Recreation campers have been involved in the garden during the summer weeks. Calling themselves the “Green Team”, they spend time several days a week planting, watering, weeding and even harvesting some of the veggies. Once or twice a week, Keller would come in to teach the students some things about gardening and guide them in things they could do during the week. This year, counselors Bailey Turner and Julia Hamilton helped in the day to day supervision of the campers when they were able to spend time in the garden.

At the beginning of the camping season, the campers learned about how this garden started, some of the advantages of raised beds for this type of location and how to properly water the beds. Since many plants had already been started by the high school and adult education, the campers did some weeding around them as well as harvesting some of the lettuce to take home before cleaning out that bed and preparing it for a future planting.

The campers learned how to measure and mark with strings a square foot garden space to plant some beans to hopefully be harvested in the fall for the school lunch program. Campers were taught about the soil and how composting of organic matter in the composting bin could be used to replenish the beds in following years.

A bed of radishes was started a few weeks into camp and was flourishing by camps end. Students checked progress on plants noting how long it took for seeds to germinate and grow.

Enjoying chives the "Green Team" planted
The involvement of the Windham Recreation campers has provided a fun and interesting learning experience for them while at the same time been a great way to keep the high school community garden going during the summer. The campers gladly took time out of their activities to make sure the plants were well watered during this very dry season and the amazing growth in the gardens is a result of their work.

On August 2, several of the campers and counselors went on a field trip to Bumbleroot Organic Farm in Windham. They were given a tour by Ben Whalen who explained the workings of the farm, a little bit about their philosophy of growing things as close to nature as possible and of giving back to the community.

The campers and counselors were then given a chance to do some volunteer work in one of the strawberry fields that will be ready for harvest next year. The students got dirty and sweaty and learned a bit about how much work goes into the food that comes to their tables. On the way home, they stopped for a short tour of the Windham Community Garden where they learned a bit about how members of the community could come together to share space, tools, and comradery while growing fresh tasty food for their tables and those in need.

In a follow up with Ben Whalen of Bumbleroot, he shared that “It was good having you and the kids out to the farm, despite the heat! The strawberry fields look way better than they would have without your help.”

Next summer Windham Recreation is hoping to offer campers this experience as an “enrichment” program which would allow for more designated times and learning opportunities in the gardens.      

Friday, August 10, 2018

Proposed amendments regarding medical marijuana caregiver retail stores does not pass by Lorraine Glowczak

The Windham Town Council met on Tuesday evening August 7 at the Town Hall in the Council Chambers to discuss a variety of agenda items. The items of greatest concern that filled the chamber room with area residents and Windham delegation was the discussion surrounding issues and recent changes in adult-use and medical marijuana.

Many municipalities, including Windham, have been struggling with how to handle requests from registered caregivers to operate medical marijuana retail stores. Existing law has been completely silent on the legal status of these stores and unclear as to municipal authority to regulate.

As a result, the Council invited Windham delegation, the town attorney, police chief and code enforcement to examine these complicated issues, specifically, the lack of clarity regarding the legality of retail caregiver stores.

Basic information provided to the Council included but not limited to the following:

There will be a constantly changing and rearranging of the laws regarding cannabis for a while.
Recreational use is largely up to the municipalities.
Violations of retail stores go to the Department of Health and Human Services. can only enforce general violations.
Complaints about retail caregiver stores can be addressed during the businesses licensure renewal process.

The subject of medical caregiver retail storefronts was also discussed and was an agenda item that required action. The action considered was regarding a proposed amendment to the definition of a retail caregiver store. The proposed amendment was as follows:

“Caregiver Retail Store” – A Retail Sales establishment operated by a registered medical marijuana caregiver for the sale of marijuana and marijuana products to qualifying patients, which establishment may also include facilities for the conduct of any other activities authorized to be performed by a medical marijuana Caregiver pursuant to 22 M.R.S. Sec. 2423-A(2), as may be amended from time to time. Notwithstanding 1 M.R.S.A. § 302, this Amendment shall apply to all Caregiver Retail Stores not in operation on or before August 7, 2018 or authorized by a permit granted by the Town of Windham prior to August 7, 2018."

Area caregivers and owners of retail stores in Windham offered public comments, making the argument that medical marijuana provides relief for many ailments and, as such, the importance of not restricting this form of medication from patients.

Various council members expressed their views on the matter. Councilwoman Rebecca Cummings clarified that the proposed amendment was not a punitive action, but rather an effort to make sure that patients receive safe product and met quality assurance specifications. She mentioned the importance of commercial and home kitchen licenses for the safe making of edible products. Jarrod Maxfield expressed that any legal business should not be prevented from coming into town and stated he would not vote for the proposed amendment.

The action did not pass with four council members against the proposed amendment and three for.

For full details and other agenda items discussed, go to the town website at The meetings are also available to view on Facebook Live as well as recorded and broadcasted on Channel 7.

For patients who wish to know if their care provider is licensed for the use of a commercial or home kitchen can contact the Maine Department of Agriculture at

National Night Out to bolster relationship with law enforcement a success by Matt Pascarella

McGruff, the crime solving dog
On Tuesday evening, August 7th, the Windham and Gorham law enforcement departments and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department hosted a National Night Out held at Windham High School. This was a community event seeking to strengthen the relationship between townspeople and law enforcement.

Josh Noyse participates in a kayaking demo
The Windham and Gorham Police Departments put on a K-9 demonstration, showcased new drone technology and county SWAT team members were present along with police cars and motorcycles. Various fire apparatus and the DARE to Adventure program were available to talk and showcase their programs as well.

Service organizations such as Domestic Violence, Trauma Intervention and Be the Influence were on hand so the public could learn more about what they do.

Windham Chief of Police and event organizer, Kevin Schofield, said the National Night Out, which Windham began participating in last year, is “an event to give police departments an opportunity to interact with the community; community members to get to know officers, as well as the various types of programs and equipment that are available to help departments serve our communities.”

“[There are] different things that we do to try and keep people safe other than stop them for speeding and putting handcuffs on people,” said Community Services Officer, Matt Cyr. “[The public] gets to see some of the community policing programs…and lets them see some of the equipment and technology that has really come into law enforcement,” Cyr adds.

Residents from Windham and the surrounding communities were in attendance. Some were there to see what it was all about, while others like Windham resident Angela Wyman, came for the child fingerprinting service for child IDs. Standish resident, Kimberly Nielsen was there with her Den 12 female Cub Scout group working on earning their safety badges.

Each law enforcement department “enjoys meeting new people, getting to know our citizens and displaying and demonstrating some of the programs and equipment we have available,” stated Chief Schofield.

Raymond’s Age Friendly Community receives Community Challenge Grant by Lorraine Glowczak

Members of the Raymond community participate in the intergenerational community garden project
The Raymond Community Garden, located on the grounds of the Raymond Village Library, was the host to area individuals on Monday, July 30 as they came out to celebrate the competitive grant awarded to Raymond’s Age Friendly Community (RAFC). RAFC is one of 169 organizations, nationwide, that received the AARP Community Challenge Grant. This grant is part of AARP’s Livable Communities initiative that helps towns and cities across the United States like Raymond become great places to live for residents of all ages. The goal is to encourage and support individuals to become engaged in all areas of life.

The monetary award received by RAFC will go toward an intergenerational community garden project, allowing people of all ages and abilities to garden together and provide food for the Raymond Food Pantry.“The intention of this project is to foster friendly and safe places for older residents to partner with our children while providing opportunities for each group to learn from each other and to provide fresh vegetables to the food pantry,” stated Sheila Bourque, Age Friendly community member, Raymond Village Library Board Director and author of the grant.

This collaborative effort, inspired by the Raymond Age Friendly Community, includes other organizations who also wish to be involved in creating a healthy and livable community. The other organizations involved include: the Raymond Village Library, Raymond Community Garden, Raymond Lions Club, the Town of Raymond, the Raymond Beautification Committee and Raymond Garden Club. A donation of lumber to build the elevated garden beds was provided by Hancock Lumber. The Raymond Lions Club are donating their time and carpentry skills to build those elevated beds and benches.

The innovative endeavors between these organizations are something to celebrate and the receipt of this grant should be applauded. “There were 1600 grant applicants nationwide,” stated Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “Only 169 grants were awarded, and Raymond was among the recipients for their innovative project – a project that not only creates a better place for residents of all ages to live but inspires positive change.”

Parham also stated that Maine leads the country in age-friendly communities. “There is something special about Maine – especially in the rural areas. Rural locations face more challenges, and the people in these locations are up to facing those challenges by collaborating to make the community more sustainable. The Town of Raymond is a prime example.”

It was only 14 months ago when the Raymond Age Friendly Community was just an idea. Inspired by a meeting hosted by Rep. Jessica Fay, over 35 individuals came out on a nice May 2017 afternoon to learn about creating an age friendly and sustainable town.

Briefly, the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities is an affiliate of the World Health Organization and is a part of an international effort launched in 2006 to help cities prepare for rapid population aging along with the popularity of urbanization.

The gathering that occurred 14 months ago was held to inform the Raymond residents and other surrounding and interested communities how to prepare for their aging population. “I’m so excited about how that one step we took back in May of 2017 is now a reality,” Fay said. “I’m proud of how the community came together to create something this big out of nothing. When that first meeting occurred, this collaborative effort is exactly what I had envisioned.”

Town Manager, Don Willard, also sees a benefit in this intergenerational project. “Given the demographic of Raymond, anything we do that puts older individuals along with younger citizens as a way to engage and connect is beneficial to building a strong and sustainable community.” demographic in Raymond is unique – as are all other communities in Maine. AARP Maine is there to help assess and to support those needs of individual towns. “Our role is to provide resources and tools to help the communities decide what is best for their town. We are here to support the communities in accessing those needs - whatever the individual community deems that may be” explained Parham.

What are the needs of Raymond? That is still being decided. Approximately three months ago, RAFC members sent out and delivered a community assessment questionnaire that ends in September. The survey asks questions related to transportation, social activities, home health care, home repair and many others. Once the results are in, the stated needs of those who live in and visit Raymond will be analyzed by St. Joseph’s College faculty and students. RACF will factor the needs requested and stated by the community from the report to prioritize new projects moving forward.

“The opinions of the people of Raymond are important,” Bourque said. “It matters! Whether you live here full time, seasonally or are just visiting, the RAFC wants to know what you think on these important issues. Our group wants to work on what matters to you. We ask everyone to take the survey. Feel free to drop in on our monthly meetings. Together we can make a difference.”

RACF survey can be taken on-line at The next monthly meeting is Monday, August 13 at 2 p.m. at the Raymond Public Safety Building, 1443 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Couple celebrates 75 years of marriage by Jennifer Davis

Love conquers all. If there is every any question about that statement, one would not have to look farther than our own hometown of Windham, Maine. Ivan and Barbara Perkins, long-time residents of Windham, are a great example of this as they recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary this past July.

Ivan and Barbara met at the Church of the Nazarene in South Portland and were married on July 10, 1943. Their wedding was nothing elaborate, but it didn’t need to be because they were in love. They were married at Barbara’s grandmother’s house in Portland surrounded by a couple of good friends.
Their first wedding anniversary went off as a “hollering success” as Ivan used to say. This is because on July 10, 1944, Barbara and Ivan gave birth to their first son. The couple went on to have four children; two boys and two girls.

Ivan and Barbara were very active in their church and were “stand up Christian people” as Randy Perkins, their grandson, stated, doing everything they could to help others. Perkins recounted one of the many things his grandparents did from a story his grandfather had told him. “Nearly 60 years ago, my grandparents took in two little boys whose father had been killed in an accident and raised them as their own. This was just one example of many of how my grandparents helped others.” their children grew, Ivan opened his first business better known as Ivan’s Motor Sales in South Portland. He and Barbara worked closely together; Ivan working with the cars and Barbara handling the paperwork. The two made a great team and the business thrived. Ivan later opened a second location here in Windham where Binga’s Express now resides. 

The couple moved to Windham and lived behind the business for many years. When Ivan retired in 1984, one of his sons purchased the business. This business was later purchased by Ivan’s grandson, Perkins and is now named Perks Peak Auto Sales. 

Although the name and location has changed, the family values of running a business have remained the same. Perkins operates the business now with his brother, Craig. Perkins’ son is also part of the business. 

Perkins stated the best advice he received from his grandfather when purchasing this business was to be truthful to each other, treat others how you would want to be treated and to do right by people.
So how does a couple make it 75 years? “Keep God first in your marriage,” said Ivan.  “Always be kind to one another. There is enough hurt outside your doors. Always hold up your spouse.” 
Five generations have witnessed a happy marriage

Ivan and Barbara moved to Florida after doing the “snowbird” thing for some years. This past July, Ivan and Barbara’s family rented a motorhome and took a road trip to help celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary. Perkins noted that upon his arrival in Florida, his grandfather met him at the door and said “I knew you’d make it down.  I knew you’d make it.” 

Barbara suffers from dementia, but when she saw her grandson, she had a moment of clarity, calling him by his childhood name and jumped up to give him a hug. 

The party went great and Ivan and Barbara were glowing, Ivan and Barbara are a beautiful example of how love is patient and kind and never failing.
Congratulations to the happy couple!

Windham Skate Park - a collective project fostering community and passion by Lorraine Glowczak

Local skateboarders provide input
Dedication, passion, collaboration and commitment to the benefit of community are words often associated with those who are 30 or over; many of whom are invested in their children’s safety, health and future success. The same description can also be applied to the group of young men in their early 20s who attended the Windham Community Skate Park public meeting on Monday, July 30 at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Windham Town Hall.

Often battling an ill-informed reputation for misguided laziness whose only concern is self, the group of Windham skateboarders were far removed from that assumption as they provided their knowledgeable input and interest in providing something unique for Windham at Monday evening’s meeting.

Presented by Brian Moore of American Ramp Company and Daniel Diffin of SME/Sevee & Maher Engineers, the public meeting began with background information of the Windham Skate Park’s history as well as various skate park design features and guidelines for a new and improved park.

The Skate Park, a no-admission fee facility, will be a part of a larger community park design that will include sand volleyball and basketball courts along with green spaces and trails. It will be located on Gray Road between the Windham Public Safety Building and the Windham Community Garden. The project is headed by the Parks and Recreation Department in conjunction with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, and the park plan is currently going through the planning board process. At a future date that is yet to be determined, the Skatepark Plan will be presented to the Council.“The budget will dictate the final design,” Moore stated after his PowerPoint presentation. “Once approved, the construction of the skate park will begin in the spring of 2019 with a completion date by September of 2019.”

An opportunity for questions, answers and discussion occurred after Moore’s report. The first subject approached was regarding a way to provide a form of lasting dedication to fellow skateboarder, McKenzie MacVane.

MacVane of Windham died at the age of 14 in an accident at El Weir Dam. He was a member of the “Dare to Adventure” Program, a community program supervised by School Resource Officer, Matthew Cyr. Cyr has stated that MacVane had an incredibly infectious personality and was well liked by all. “He was perhaps one of the most positive people a person could meet,” Cyr said in an email interview.

He left a memorable mark on his friends. “Mackenzie was fun and did crazy moves on the skateboard,” stated Matthew Howe from Windham who has been skateboarding for 14 years. “We would definitely like a special line rail put in the park which is something he would have enjoyed. It would be nice if we could have his name stamped into a brick in honor of his memory.”

Of those who attended, the preferred park design presented is the project that incorporates both advanced and beginners skating levels. “This way, everyone gets to be a part of the skate boarding community,” Howe continued.

A community it is. “The skateboarding community is a great way to show kids you don’t have to fall into a norm,” explained Spencer Harriman who has been skate boarding most of his young life. “You get to be yourself. You have your own [skateboarding] style and everyone supports you and we all have fun. It is a place where everyone accepts you as you are.” 

One of the designs being considered for the Windham Skate Park
Norm Watson has been skateboarding since he was in the sixth grade. “The Skate Park will provide a fun and positive vibe to Windham – not only for those of us who live here but for those in the surrounding areas, including Portland. It will be a great park to share with others.”

The 20 somethings also discussed about being role models for those younger who are seeking to be a part of something different. “When you have a young kid skating with you and you are a positive dude who shows them how to skateboard,” began Howe, “they will remember that positive moment and they will take that with them forever.”

When asked if skateboarding was his passion, Howe answered, “This is more than a passion. It is a lifestyle. Skateboarding has taught me to be confident in life and I want a skate park available to help others younger than me to gain self-esteem in the same way.”

When the costs of the skate park were discussed, those in attendance were on board with any fundraising efforts to help the park become a reality. “We can do fundraisers,” said Tom Hill from Windham who has been skateboarding since he was eight years old. “We can BBQ hamburgers and do other cookouts as one way to raise money.” stated he is willing to help raise funds by providing skateboarding lessons. Other fundraising ideas included establishing a GoFundMe account and to provide recyclable containers at the park in order to recycle bottles/cans for cash. “We might as well be environmentally friendly, while we are at it,” Hill added.

Windham Town Councilwoman, Rebecca Cummings, who is also a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, was present at the public meeting and encouraged the advanced skateboarders to speak to the Windham Town Council when the committee brings the design idea to the council. “Your energy and dedication will make an impact,” Cummings said.

As the meeting ended and all seven skateboarders who attended the public meeting were getting ready to leave, they all seemed to agree that positive things were happening and moving forward with the proposed skate park.

“I like where we all are heading collectively,” Hill said

Friday, July 27, 2018

Birchwood Afterschool Summer Program focuses on the meaning of community by Elizabeth Richards

This summer, children attending the Birchwood Afterschool Summer Program are gaining a greater understanding of what it means to be a member of a community. The teachers are accomplishing this goal by asking members of the Windham community to visit and share how their role or occupation contributes to a healthy community. The program is also engaging in weekly community service projects.

Heather Marden, one of the Birchwood Afterschool Summer teachers, said that the idea behind helping children grasp stronger concepts about how communities function, and how they can be active members in a community, came from reading a book. The story, “Roxaboxen” by Alice McLerran, details the author’s childhood experiences with neighborhood friends. These children built their own community, which they called “Roxaboxen,” with found materials like rocks, crates, and sticks. In the story, there are examples of children developing a monetary system, transportation, and community services found in real neighborhoods.

This book inspired the staff to block out a section of a wooded area behind the school to allow children to create their own “Roxaboxen.”  Marden said, “The students have created bakeries, restaurants, hospitals, homes, a police station, town hall, auto shop, and even a baseball field. This small version of a community is allowing them to explore different roles as well as strengthen their social skills needed for problem solving, negotiating, and compromise.” 

Watching how motivated the children are to play in their “Roxaboxen” community are some of the teachers’ favorite moments, Marden said. “The children are eager to share this area with parents at the end of the day. We often find parents reminisce about their childhood memories of those special places they created as children that mimicked community concepts for them. Many children have built their own “Roxaboxen” communities at their homes,” she said. attending the summer program showed great enthusiasm when talking about the “Roxaboxen” area. Lincoln Rulman shared some of what they do in the area: “We play in “Roxaboxen,” and we have built houses…we use rocks as money. A lot of people sell chicken[s]…we have a nurse there too…we have signs out there that tell the rules.” 

Like in any community, disagreements can arise, and helping children learn to solve those problems is all part of the experience. Marden said they sometimes hold town meetings to work out issues, allowing the children to take the lead.

While some of the kids said the process was boring, they admitted that it worked to help them solve issues that arose.

One thing that teachers have seen since the creation of their “Roxaboxen” is that the temperaments of children have changed with the extra time spent outdoors. “And, it’s a space where we can really give them freedom to resolve their problems on their own,” said Marden. Sarah Murray says the children are very imaginative in “Roxaboxen,” and they spend a couple hours each day in the area. “They beg to go out there,” she said. “It’s just their zone. That’s where they just know that they have their own control.”

The “Roxaboxen” area has been in use at Birchwood for at least four years now, Marden said, and this summer the teachers decided to take the concept of community a step farther. That’s when they began to invite members of the community in to visit – either in person or via technology. “We have so many resources in our town, and you can bring so many people in during the summer,” she said. “Our entire goal is that they understand how a community functions and that it’s a system that works together, that it takes a lot of compromise to work together.”

Visitors have included members of the fire department who did some CPR training for the children, a Skype visit with a geologist from Casco who is in Hawaii studying the volcanoes, and myself. I visited to help children understand the role of the press in a community.

Often, Marden said, projects will evolve from the visits. After my visit, for example, children wrote their own articles and produced a Birchwood Daily Newspaper. August, Senator Bill Diamond will speak about his role as a legislator. The children will then be led through an activity on how to change rules in your community, as they examine rules in the classroom community and propose rule changes that will go through a mini legislative process at Birchwood, Marden said. A karate instructor will be visiting to lead a series of four karate sessions, focusing on working together and the social and emotional concepts learned through karate.

In addition to the visitors, the school has been doing weekly community service projects to express thanks to members of the community for their important roles. Recent projects have included: bringing a full meal to the fire department, bringing muffins to employees at the post office, making artwork for a nursing home, and making kindness rocks to place into the community to brighten someone’s day.

We are proud of how the children have embraced our summer of building our community concepts,” said Marden.

Raymond Arts Alliance provides an evening of great music among beautiful views by Jennifer Davis

Hacker’s Hill Preserve in Casco is a beautiful location with excellent views of the Lakes Region Area. This past Saturday, July 21 from 4 until 5:30 p.m., Hacker’s Hill came to life as more than 120 members of the community arrived to enjoy the beautiful music from The New England Jazz Band. 

The event was hosted by the Raymond Arts Alliance (RAA) as part of their fundraiser efforts. The event was supported by Loon Echo Land Trust, the environmental organization that manages the preserve.

 The New England Jazz Band performed music from “The Great American Songbook” with a goal of entertaining their audience and reminding those in attendance of America’s great musical heritage. The band is an 18-piece band with a polished sound. “They were fantastic, professional, creative, talented, and very fun,” said Mary-Therese Duffy, President of the RAA. “Everyone enjoyed them tremendously.”  For more information on The New England Jazz Band and to hear their music please visit their website RAA is a program of the Raymond Village Library in partnership with the Raymond Village Community Church U.C.C. The RAA hosts events such as music nights, artists’ gatherings, and workshops to provide an avenue for people to express their talents and interests. All funds raised by this event at Hacker’s Hill will go to support upcoming events in consideration and development such as “The Jazz Poetry Project” with Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl, a “Community Sing”, “Favorite Collections,” as well as a Native American flute maker and storyteller, one or two writers’ groups, a published author who resides in both NYC and Raymond. 

“Our goals also include a monthly fine artists’ group for networking, collaboration and simple enjoyment of learning of each other’s works; a mentoring program where aspiring artists/performers can meet and perhaps shadow a successful artist/performer,”  said Duffy.  “In addition, a scholarship program is available for young students who wish to pursue continued study in the fine or performing arts and humanities.”

With this year’s event being such a success, the goal of the RAA is to have this event again next year. “We hope to continue growing, both in membership and in community participation,” said Duffy. “Our true goal and commitment is for the community to feel that this is their organization and that they can participate at any point and be as creative as they would like to be with it.” If you would like more information or want to participate in the RAA, you may visit their website at

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The third annual Concert in the Park at Dundee begins with high energy and attendance by Lorraine Glowczak

Over 200 people were in for a lively experience at Dundee Park, 70 Presumpscot Road on Wednesday, July 11 for the first evening of four, Concert in the Park Series. Beachgoers and music lovers alike were entertained by the 121 Band, a seven-member local band, based out of Raymond.

“It went splendidly at Dundee,” stated Amy Krikken, one of the lead singers still riding high from the evening.

The 121 Band is known for its high energy delivery of many popular and favorite songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s and beyond. Children and adults were dancing to the tunes of “Mustang Sally,” “You ain’t nothing but a Hound Dog,” “Love Shack,” and “Feel it Still” to name a few.

Those in attendance enjoyed the band’s diverse musical selection, including one member of the audience, Rebecca Lawind. “I like their versatile music selection, energetic style and especially appreciate Amy’s vocals. I also love the nostalgia element to their song selection.” 121 Band launched onto the scene approximately three years ago, with some members playing together much longer with the band, Rip Tide. Musicians of the 121 Band include Krikken, Aaron Spiller (lead singer), Steve Knowles (lead guitar) and Dennis Look (lead guitar), Dan Wolf (rhythm guitar), Matt Natale (bass) and Ernie Look (drummer).

In the three years they have been performing, they have played at various venues throughout the state to include Tailgates in Gray, Dena’s in Windham, Crooked Hook in Mechanic Falls, Skips in Buxton, The Northland in Jackman, Gary’s in Naples; and at private parties and more. “We are looking forward to playing on a chartered and sold-out cruise aboard the Casablanca on Friday, the 20th,” Krikken said. “We did this last year and it is so much fun.”

As for the band’s name, the story goes something like this. The band had just begun, and a name had yet to be decided upon. Knowles, who plays with a number of musical groups, was trying to explain which band he was going to be practicing with that evening. “I’m going to be with my 121 peeps this evening,” he told that friend. Why 121? Because the band’s home base and practice site are located on Route 121 in Raymond. the members of the121 Band are not performing their high energy and danceable music, they are busy working in other fields. “There's a bit of a theme to our work outside of the band,” explained Krikken. “Steve and Ernie are in the computer industry and work from home. Aaron, Steve and Matt work in car industry related businesses, Dan is in construction and I’m in real estate.”

If you missed the 121 Band and the first evening of Concert in the Park at Dundee, do not despair. The third annual concert series will offer three more Wednesday evening concerts from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. with free admission after 5 p.m. The Hurricanes performed on Wednesday, July 18th (The Windham Eagle’s publication day). On Wednesday, July 25, music will be provided by the Downeast Soul Coalition and Rick Charette will perform on Wednesday, August 1.

“We are very pleased with the attendance for the first two concerts,” stated Linda Brooks, Director of Windham Parks and Recreation, the host of the event.

Brooks also stated that concessions are available at each performance and funds raised will support area non-profits to include the Legion Auxiliary, Rescue and the Lions Club. 

For more information about the Concert in the Park series, visit For more information about: 121 Band, visit For The Hurricanes, visit Downeast Soul Coalition, visit and Rick Charette, visit