Friday, September 30, 2022

Raymond angler savors pro bass fishing experience

By Ed Pierce

Jason Kervin of Raymond continues to shine while fishing in professional bass tournaments and is taking aim at competing once again for a Major League Fishing world title in North Carolina in March.

The first-round leader of last weekend's Toyota Series bass
fishing tournament in the St. Lawrence River was Jason
Kervin of Raymond. He's aiming to qualify for the 
REDCREST IV world championships for professional
bass fishing to be held in March 2023 on Lake Norman near
Charlotte, North Carolina. PHOTO BY SEAN OSTRUSZKA  
Kervin, 42, moved to Raymond several years ago and was the tournament leader entering the final day of the Toyota Series Northern Division finale on the St. Lawrence River last weekend. That day he caught fish weighing in at 23 pounds, 15 ounces and although he didn’t win the weekend event, he remains a promising contender for future professional fishing tournaments.

So far, Kervin has fished in 22 pro events and racked up $19,063 in prize money. Currently he’s ranked 50th overall among pro bass fishermen in America while only competing in a handful of tournaments this year.

Having posted two Top-10 finishes already this year, it appears certain that Kervin, a service manager at Goodwin Chevy Buick in Oxford, will qualify for the REDCREST IV, the world championships of pro bass fishing on Lake Norman near Charlotte, North Carolina starting March 8, 2023.

For last week's Northern Division event, he said he was fishing a place “they want to be for some stupid reason that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.” He had to relocate them every day, but said they’re there. The problem is, if they hear his trolling motor, they spooked off immediately.

First thing Saturday morning, it wasn’t a problem as he was able to silently drift above them. However,

storms rolled through midday with significant winds kicking up that made it impossible to fish his stuff.

“Once the wind picked up, I didn’t catch another fish,” Kervin said. “The wind direction was just bad and the fish I’m catching know you’re there. If they hear the trolling motor, they really take off running because there’s nothing holding them to anything.”

While there’s was more wind in the forecast on Sunday, Kervin said he knew he couldn't let off the gas with the significant number of big bags behind him. 

“I’m committed to making that run,” Kervin said. “The winning fish are down there. It has all the potential in the world. It’s just really tricky to get them to bite.”

He competed in the 2020 Toyota Series Championship at Lake Cumberland in December 2020 and continues to stand out during Toyota Series Opens in the Northern division, prompting optimism for success in more prominent national championship events.

“I have been fishing since I can remember, age 7 or 8 maybe,” Kervin said. “I’ve been fishing bass tournaments since 2010 and started out with a small bass club, Rocky Hill Bass Anglers, out of Brunswick.”

According to Kervin, his favorite local spot to fish is Panther Pond in Raymond and he says Androscoggin Lake is his absolute favorite place to fish in Maine.

“It's a beautiful, largely undeveloped shoreline lake, full of quality sized bass,” he said. “The early season high water also makes for some really fun fishing, allowing me to get my boat back in the brush areas to fish the shallow water that is usually marsh or dry land.”

To be at the top of his game each time out in professional tournament fishing, Kervin said that he needs to spend a lot of time on the water.

“Having a family, a job, and losing four to five months due to frozen water up north, I can only expect

to achieve so much,” he said. “I don't believe I will ever stop tournament fishing though. I love the competition and bass fishing too much.”

To date the largest bass that Kervin has caught was a 6.8-pound smallmouth bass on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River.

“It was caught on a drop shot in 20 feet of water using a Xzone slammer in green pumpkin purple flake,” he said. “It was caught during practice for an event and released. I didn't find it again during the tournament, but I looked like hell.”

His dream is to someday become a professional bass fisherman and tournament fishing offers Kervin an opportunity to achieve that dream.

Balancing work, family life and traveling to pro fishing tournaments is not easy, but Kervin says he’s content to just enjoy fishing, being on the water and visiting different lakes to take in an amazing view of nature.

“Our lakes in Maine are some of the most beautiful and scenic places in the world. The serenity and peace I find while fishing is something that I haven't experienced doing any other activity,” he said. “Fishing in tournaments is a bit different given the frantic and intense nature of being on the hunt, but the scenery remains the same and the experience is always a memorable one.” <

Advance preparation crucial should storms strike Lakes Region

By Ed Pierce

If history is any indication, Mainers must be on guard and prepared in case a devastating storm should strike here. The hurricane season runs through Nov. 30 and forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year, making it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration image 
shows Hurriucane Fiona off the coast of Maine on Friday,
Sept. 23. With this being the busiest time of the year for
hurricanes, Maine officials are urging residents to be
vigilant and to have a plan in case a storm comes this way.
COURTESY OF NOAA 
Maine typically doesn't see many hurricanes, but in 2011 Hurricane Irene, which by then had been downgraded to a tropical storm, resulted in a disaster declaration for the state. In 2020, Hurricane Isaias blasted through Maine and the Sebago Lake Region was one of the locations hardest hit with trees knocked down, power outages and six moored boats being beached in estimated 45 mph winds produced by the storm. Last week Hurricane Fiona passed by the Maine coast and struck Canada as a tropical storm, affecting Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and New Brunswick, as well as in parts of Quebec.

The state does have emergency plans in place should a hurricane move through Maine causing significant damage. The Maine Emergency Management Agency was created to be used to ease the effects of natural disasters on the lives and property of the people of the Pine Tree State by supporting four phases of emergency management assistance including mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency, funds 16 different county emergency management agencies to lead local disaster responses and ensures that the Maine Emergency Operations Center in Augusta is staffed year-round weekdays and a duty officer is on call 24-7 for emergency situations. MEMA also works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help them prepare for and manage disasters.

Closer to home, the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency is headquartered in

Windham and has a few levels of activation to assist residents of the Lakes Region in handling disasters such as a hurricane.

“The lowest level of activation is just monitoring a situation that could become a disaster,” said Michael Durkin, Deputy Director of the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency. “That's what we did in Hurricane Fiona, we had one person following the situation closely and had a plan in case we needed to escalate things further.

Durkin said Cumberland County’s EMA would activate if an event were significant enough that it overwhelmed a community's ability to respond to it.

“If it's beyond the scope of one town's normal mutual aid agreements, we come in to assist. We also come in if a significant event crosses jurisdictions or in countywide events,” he said. “We also may activate in a limited capacity to support any gaps a municipality may have. Our general motto is, if a town needs help, we're going to try our best to help them.”

He encourages the public to follow big storms closely via the National Weather Service: https://www.weather.gov/gyx/

“There are lots of things folks can do to be prepared,“ Durkin said. “The big threat being high winds which knock over trees and power lines. Have a several-day supply of food, water and necessary medications in the event of a prolonged power outage, trim back dead limbs on your property to prevent them from causing damage in a storm, and never drive through flooded roadways.”

According to Durkin, as a county-level agency, Cumberland County EMA is the link between the towns and the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

“We coordinate with all our municipal emergency managers,“ he said. These are typically Fire Chiefs but not always, for Windham, it's Chief Brent Libby, as well as the Maine Emergency Management Agency. We also work closely with Central Maine Power and the National Weather Service.’

Since hurricanes are seasonal, at the Cumberland County EMA we train for them yearly just before the season starts. Since we get a few days’ notice about hurricanes and can follow them up the coast, we also do event-specific tabletop exercises in the days prior to an event. Since Fiona was predicted to hit well east of us, we did not do a specific tabletop leading up to that.”

Maine residents can always visit www.Maine.gov/MEMA for the latest hurricane preparedness information. There you can find information about preparedness, weather and emergency information when an event is taking place. It also has shelter information.

Through the years, several hurricanes have impacted Maine. Hurricane Edna in 1954 created $7 million in damage statewide. Also in 1954, Hurricane Carol left behind $5 million in damages and Hurricane Bob in 1991 caused $5.5 million worth of damage in Maine. Two other significant storms, Hurricane Donna in 1960, and Hurricane Gloria in 1985 also created problems for Mainers.

In the event a hurricane or tropical storm takes aim at Maine again, MEMA and Cumberland County EMA recommend some simple steps to be taken now to be prepared when it arrives here:

** Building an emergency kit to include supplies needed for several days without power, including food, water, hand sanitizer and face masks.

** Making a family plan and discussing it with your family.

** Getting the latest alerts and warnings by downloading the free FEMA app or National Weather Service app.

** Ensuring cell phones are enabled to receive National Weather Service Wireless Emergency Alerts for tornadoes, flash flooding and other emergency situations.

** Plan for the safety of your pets as some shelters do not allow pets inside.

** Avoiding driving on flooded streets and roads.

** Determining local evacuation routes.

** Identifying alternate shelter locations in case you need to evacuate.

** Bringing in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.

** Charging cell phones and other electronic devices in advance of storms.

** Ensure your home, vehicles and recreational toys are properly insured in the event of fallen trees, wind, or water damage.

** Removing boats and other watercraft from the water.

** Making sure that generators are properly installed and in good working order. <

Friday, September 23, 2022

Lowe's ceremony honors life-saving heroes

By Ed Pierce

For those who believe that one person’s kindness can save a life, an event at the Lowe’s in Windham last Saturday is confirmation of that fact.

Windham Fire Chief Brent Libby, left, recognized Lowe's
employees. first responders and members of the public who 
stepped up to assist when a South Portland man suffered a
cardiac arrest in the Lowe's parking lot in Windham in July. 
Because of their efforts, Thomas O'Connell survived, and he
was on hand last Saturday to thank everyone who helped
to save his life. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE 
Back on Saturday, July 23, Thomas and Tammy O’Connell drove from their home in South Portland to the Lowe’s store in Windham to purchase a new grill. 

It was about 12:30 p.m. when Thomas, 65, was loading the grill into the back of his truck in the Lowe’s parking lot when he collapsed, clutching his chest, and falling to the ground. To his wife’s horror, he was unresponsive and barely breathing as she cried out desperately for someone to help.

Fortunately for the O’Connells, Lowe’s employees Andrew Tanguay and Stephen Sargent were outside in the parking lot and saw what had happened. Tanguay tried to help Thomas up while Sargent ran into the Lowe’s store to obtain an AED defibrillator. 

Sargent had received training on use of the device three or four months earlier during a Lowe’s employee training session.

Store employees called for emergency assistance and while waiting for help, Tanguay and Sargent worked to revive Thomas with the AED while a bystander started CPR on him. Seeing what was taking place and hearing Tammy O’Connell’s screams, a nurse from Windham who had just pulled into the Lowe’s parking lot, Danielle Dunnam, ran to assist and took over CPR compressions until Windham Police Officer Ernie MacVane and Sgt. Rob Hunt arrived at the scene and assisted with CPR.

Dunnam, who was at Lowe’s to buy trim for new flooring, performed CPR for three or four minutes on Thomas before MacVane and Hunt got there.

“He was in cardiac arrest, and we did what we could to help him,” Dunnam said.

Moments later, a crew from the Windham Fire Department including firefighter/paramedic Max Newton, firefighter/paramedic Mike Dube, firefighter/paramedic Tony Cataldi, firefighter/paramedic Paul Silva, firefighter/emergency medical technician Advanced Josh Merrill, firefighter/emergency medical technician Advanced Steve Bishop, and firefighter/emergency medical technician Grace Sawyer, all worked on Thomas to save his life and prepared him to be transported to Maine Medical Center for emergency treatment as he clung to life.

After 10 days in the hospital for what was described by doctors as a “cardiac episode,” Thomas was

able to go home, thanks to the heroic efforts of everyone involved that day, including the Lowe’s employees; Windham public safety personnel; Cumberland County dispatchers Faith Mishkin, Maria Jensen and Cody Kalinka; Dunnam; and a crew from Raymond Fire-Rescue consisting of firefighter/paramedic Carol Dennison, firefighter Jonah Martin, and firefighter Jeff Burt who responded to the scene.

Windham Fire Chief Brent Libby said the quick actions of the Lowe’s employees and by Dunnam and the professionalism the first responders are responsible for Thomas still being alive today.

“It shows that it takes a village,” Libby said. “For Mr. O’Connell, the Lowe’s staff and people in the parking lot recognized there was a problem and helped. It shows how everybody can work together in a time of need.”

Chief Libby handed out certificates to all the public safety personnel who worked the scene and thanked all Lowe’s employees who sprang into action during the emergency.

Lowe’s Store Manager Alan Freeman presented Tanguay with the Lowe’s Angel Award for his heroic efforts to save O’Connell’s life. The award is a plaque and badge and comes with a $500 cash gift.

Sargent said he couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.

“I’m very satisfied,” he said. “People worked together who didn’t know each other. I’m grateful for that training on the AED, it was more than sufficient. It’s hard to believe how fast everything happened that day.”

Tammy O’Connell said the whole episode seems like a dream now.

“When he was down and they were working on him, it seemed like an eternity,” she said. “I am sure
glad they were around and able to help us. It’s amazing and brings tears to my eyes just thinking about that day and what happened.”

Thomas O’Connell said he feels fine now and doesn’t remember anything about what happened to him
that day.

“I have no memory of anything from that day,” he said. “I woke up in the hospital and didn’t know how I got there.”

He said he wanted to express his gratitude to every person who contributed to saving his life.

“I sincerely appreciate what you have done,” he said. “You will always be in my heart and I can’t thank you enough.” < 
 

Raymond singer composes songs for Ukraine

By Masha Yurkevich

There is no one word to describe it, but if tried, there might be a few. Destroyed. Fear. Despair. The war in Ukraine is no secret to anyone. To us, it is far away, and it is difficult to just stand up and do something. But singer/songwriter Marilyn Redegeld Ross of Raymond has found a way.

Singer/songwriter Marilyn Redegeld Ross of
Raymond has written and recorded songs
supporting the people of Ukraine during the
invasion by Russian forces. She's hoping that
the songs will be picked up and played by
radio stations across Europe.
SUBMITTED PHOTO   
Redegeld, originally from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, graduated from Framingham High School. Her first instrument was the violin through the orchestra program at school. She also loved singing and joined the school chorus beginning in middle school. In high school, she was practicing the violin and singing every day and decided it was time to choose between the two.

“But before I made my formal exit from the violin after learning that the orchestra program was being canceled, I pleaded with the music director that he allow me to perform a solo in the music concert,” says Redegeld. “He was reluctant but decided that I could do it on the condition that he would give me private sessions to practice for it.”

According to Redegeld, she says that she was fortunate that her school offered music theory and that she took two semesters of it which help her in her songwriting today.

“When it was time to think about college, I had a discussion with my music teacher and he said it’s very hard to make it as a singer and that I shouldn’t expect to make money at it,” says Redegeld. “I think that is why I did not consider it my primary study in college although sometimes I wish I had gone to Berkeley College of Music in Boston.”

Redegeld continued singing and taking classical voice lessons. She was also very interested in poetry and kept a notebook of poems where she would write about life, thinking that she could turn them into songs.

“My mother played the organ and bought a synthesizer keyboard which was new technology and I taught myself to play since I could read music,” says Redegeld. “My father was a singer and formed a group to play in nursing homes for twenty years and he would have me come as a guest to play violin or sing. My aunt played the pipe organ in churches for 45 years and would invite me as guest soloist. I
also sang for weddings and was in the Heritage Choral and in the chorus at Framingham Union College and Immaculata College in Pennsylvania.” At Immaculata college, she studied violin a little more and

also took piano lessons off and on.

“My mother was very supportive raising me as a single mother paying for my violin and singing lessons all through school and driving me to lessons and taking me to concerts and Broadway shows in Boston, which I’m very grateful for,” says Redegeld.

After having a family and her four boys became adults, Redegeld had time to start focusing on her goals again. She never stopped singing and does it every day. She sings everything from opera to jazz to rock.

“Before my mother died from breast cancer, she told me she hoped all my dreams would come true. And I took that to heart,” says Redegeld. “It’s never too late to make your dreams come true. I decided if I wasn’t going to make it as a singer maybe I can make it as a songwriter and sing my own songs.”

Last fall, Redegeld began writing songs starting with lyrics, putting in a melody and then adding harmonies with chord progressions. She then began searching for other songwriters to collaborate with and found a 20-year-old college student from Brunswick named Cole Orr. In late February the unthinkable happened; Ukraine was invaded by neighboring Russia.

“I have a friend from Ukraine who has family there so I would always ask him questions,” says


Redegeld. I was very alarmed by the disturbing nature of the attack and decided to write my first song for Ukraine called ‘Heart of Ukraine.’ I then realized there are so many angles to the effects of the war on the Ukrainian people and decided I needed to write more songs. So I wrote With the Light of Love which is about Ukrainians fighting for the right reasons: to defend their people, their country and their freedom and that the light of love - God and heaven - is watching over them.”

In collaboration with co-writer Orr, she also wrote “Up So High,” a song for President Volodymyr Zelensky and all the Ukrainian defenders that they will rise up and go down in history. Orr also teamed up with Redegeld on two other songs so far: “The Essence of You” and “Only Heaven Knows.”

All these songs and more can be found on Redegeld’s YouTube channel, Marilyn Redegeld Ross.

After several sessions in the recording studio, the songs are getting ready to be formally released.

“I played the synthesizer/keyboard for two of the songs, ‘Heart of Ukraine’ and ‘With the Light of Love,’” says Redegeld. “I also envisioned a cello playing in these two songs and was fortunate to find master cellist Ben Noyes to add his magic to them.”

Redegeld has two more songs for Ukraine. One is called “Back For You” about President Zelensky telling his wife that she needs to be safe and stay away from the war as he promises that he will be back for her when it is over. The other one is called “War Criminal” and one other ready to go to the studio.

“I feel like my songs are a gift to the Ukrainian people from God and I am the instrument to get it to them. It’s sad that I need the war to continue in order for people to be interested in my songs, but I think the war has gone on long enough that the songs have real meaning to a lot of people,” says Redegeld. “My challenge now is getting this music to them and continuing my mission and finish my songs for Ukraine in the recording studio. Ukrainians are beautiful people who just want to live free and have a quality of life like we enjoy here. They have suffered and witnessed unimaginable horrors that seem unthinkable today. I will continue to support Ukraine until the war is over. As my ancestors are from Europe and Finland, it’s the least I can do for my fellow humans.” <

 



Friday, September 16, 2022

Windham Police Department bids a fond farewell to retiring Captain Bill Andrew

Captain Bill Andrew, a 1992 Windham High School
graduate, became a Windham Police Department 
officer in 1996. He credits his long career in
law enforcement to the many mentors who inspired
and encouraged him throughout his youth. Andrew
is retiring and his last day at the Windham Police
Department is Friday, Sept. 16.
PHOTO BY LORRAINE GLOWCZAK   
By Lorraine Glowczak

After 29 years of serving and protecting the citizens of Windham, Captain William (Bill) Andrew will provide his final ‘end of shift’ signoff with the Windham Police Department (WPD) on Friday, Sept. 16, at 3 pm. Andrew, who is retiring from law enforcement to pursue a new career as a Project Manager for Tyler Technologies, says people in Windham haven’t seen the last of him as he will still be an active member in the community he loves and calls home.

“Windham is a wonderful place to live and work,” he said. “The community has strongly supported the police department and public safety. Although the larger society’s perception and support of law enforcement have become divided over the years, the Windham community has remained incredibly united in its support. I have always appreciated that.”

A 1992 Windham High School graduate, Andrew began his career in the public safety field while attending high school, participating in the Junior Firefighter Program. Upon graduation, he began working as a dispatcher for the WPD and worked in that position for three years. In 1996, he decided to become a police officer and attended the Maine State Justice (Police) Academy.

Upon becoming one of WPD’s finest, Andrew quickly moved up the ranks of law enforcement; first becoming a Sargent of Patrol in 2007, an Administrative Sergeant in 2015, a Patrol Captain in 2017, and, in his latest - and last role, a Support Services Captain in 2020.

Andrew said that he has enjoyed all his work at WPD and loves many aspects of his career. However, he shares one of his favorite experiences.

“By far, the best part of my career was starting up the canine unit at WPD,” he said. “I had the vision of creating a canine program while working in dispatch. Once I became an officer, the first thing I wanted to do is to implement that program and I worked hard to make it happen.” 

Andrew explained why he understood and then pursued the need for a canine program.

“As a dispatcher, I observed many individuals in crisis and how each emergency was handled,” he said. “In circumstances where we needed to calm people, we reached out to find a dog from other police departments to help subside the anxiety-filled situation. I witnessed over and over again that having a dog present often diffused the apprehension at the scene so the police could do their job effectively while also offering a positive, safe service to the individual.”

When Andrew developed the program, it was presented to Windham’s Town Council. The canine program was voted upon and approved in 2000. It is still an integral part of the WPD services today.

There are many reasons why having a canine unit is vital as part of a law enforcement agency.

“It breaks down any barriers that often occur while dealing with people in stressful situations,” he said. “Everyone has a story about their dog growing up or the pets they have now, and these stories create a commonality between the public and the police. It is a calming tool when people are dealing with tragedies.”

Andrew credits his long career in the ‘serve and protect’ occupation to the many mentors who have inspired and encouraged him throughout his youth.

“I have so many people to thank for their guidance and support as I explored a career in law enforcement,” Andrew said. “First, I must credit WPD’s former Chief Hammond. He was my first introduction to this career because I used to go on calls with him and former firefighter Ernie Nichols.”

Andrew said that while growing up in Windham, he had a childhood friend whose father, Greg Hanscom, was a WPD Police Chief. 

“Greg was the first police chief in 1976,” Andrew said. “His son and I spent a lot of time together while attending Field Allen School [the current Windham Middle School]. Getting a first-hand look at this man I admired, I knew I wanted to grow up to be like him.”

Captain Andrew’s contributions to the community have not gone unnoticed. He has worked in various capacities, including the role as a leadership team member with Be the Influence Coalition, an organization that raises awareness and addresses concerns caused by substance misuse in youth and educates about and prevents substance use disorder as one becomes an adult.

Laura Morris, the Director of Be the Influence, shares her praises of Andrew.“I cannot thank Bill Andrew enough for helping to create and make Be the Influence a reality, but also serving on our leadership committee,” Morris said. “Bill provided wisdom, passion, expertise and vision. He helped us to grow in the past six years to make a difference in the lives of our youth, parents and community. BTI will miss him and his guidance.”

WPD Chief Kevin Schofield echoed Morris’ sentiments.

“We most certainly appreciate all his work for the department and dedication to the town,” Chief Schofield said. “In over 36 years in this business, Bill has demonstrated the most dedication to this town and to the department that I’ve ever seen. We will miss him greatly, but we are happy that he will stay in the area and be a part of the department as a retiree moving forward.”

Morris shares the WPD and community’s thoughts about Captain Andrew as an individual.

“He is simply a wonderful person all the way around. We wish him the best as he goes about his new adventure.” <

Candidate field set for November election

The field of candidates for Maine's General Election on
Nov. 8 has been finalized with voting scheduled at
Windham High School for Windham residents
and Jordan-Small Middle School for Raymond residents.
COURTESY PHOTO 
By Ed Pierce

It’s been said that voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves and each other and once more on Nov. 8, residents of Windham and Raymond will visit polling places to cast ballots to shape the future of the community.

According to Windham Town Clerk Linda Morrell and Raymond Town Clerk Sue Look, the field of candidates for the election has been finalized and those running for office will now make their case to the public leading up to Election Day.

In Windham, three candidates for the Windham Town Council are unopposed.

Town Council Chair Jarrod Maxfield is unopposed in his bid for re-election to represent the town’s North District for a three-year term, while South District incumbent Nicholas Kalogerakis is unopposed for re-election to a three-year term. Maxfield has represented the North District of Windham since 2016. Kalogerakis was elected to represent the South District on the council in 2019.

John Henry is unopposed for election to the At-Large position for town council in Windham for a three-year term. Councilor Ed Ohmott chose not to seek re-election for the At-Large seat. 

Two three-year positions on the RSU 14 Board of Directors representing Windham will be decided on Election Day by voters choosing from a field of three candidates. 

Incumbent Marge Govoni, a former RSU 14 board chair, is seeking re-election. Two other candidates are on the ballot, including former board member Christina Small, who was first appointed to a seat on the board in 2020 to fill a vacancy. Small announced that she would be a candidate for a permanent seat on the board in 2021 but later withdrew her name for consideration for that position. First-time candidate Caitlynn Downs is also running for one of the RSU 14 Board of Directors seats.

Also running for a five-year term as a Portland Water District Trustee representing Windham and Raymond is Louise Douglas of Windham. Douglas was first elected to the Portland Water District board in 2017 and has served as Trustees chair since 2020.

For the State Senate District 26 seat representing Windham and part of Raymond, two candidates are vying to replace incumbent Bill Diamond, a Democrat, who is term-limited and cannot run for re-election this year. Former Windham Town Councilor Tim Nangle, a Democrat, will face former State Senator and State Representative Gary Plummer, a Republican.

Maine legislative districts have been renumbered for the next term and the two incumbent representatives for Windham, State Rep. Patrick Corey, a Republican, and State Rep. Mark Bryant, a Democrat, are both term-limited and cannot run for re-election during this election cycle.

For the newly renamed Maine House District 106, newcomer Dana Reed, a Democrat, will face Barbara Bagshaw, a Republican, for the right to represent Windham in the Legislature. Bagshaw was a candidate for a seat on the RSU 14 Board of Directors in 2021.

In the newly renamed Maine House District 107, newcomer Michael Hall, a Republican, will oppose Jane Pringle, a Democrat, to represent Windham in the 131st Maine Legislature. Pringle formerly represented Windham’s District 111 as state representative from 2012 to 2014. Hall is a member of Windham’s Human Services Advisory Committee.

Incumbent Jessica Fay, a Democrat, is seeking re-election in a newly redrawn and renumbered House District 86 representing Raymond, Casco, and Poland. She is opposed by Republican Greg Foster, who defeated Karen Lockwood in the primary in June for the opportunity to oppose Fay in the election.

There are no statewide referendums on this year’s ballot. A referendum to change Maine’s primary utility company into a quasi-public agency has been tabled until 2023 because organizers indicated they did not have the necessary signatures before the deadline to make the November ballot. <


Friday, September 9, 2022

Windham veteran to lead American Legion as National Commander

V. James 'Jim' Troiola, a resident of Windham
and a U.S. Navy veteran, has been elected to
serve as National Commander of the
American Legion for the 2022-2023 term.
COURTESY PHOTO   
By Ed Pierce 

A Windham resident who understands that freedom requires a huge commitment and responsibility is now leading the American Legion veteran’s organization as its National Commander.

Vincent “Jim” Troiola was elected to the position during the 103rd American Legion National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin earlier this month. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1971 as a Boatswain Mate aboard the USS Nitro, an Ammunition Auxiliary Ship, when it was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea as part of the Sixth Fleet, and then as a reservist until being honorably discharged in 1974.

Troiola originally joined the American Legion in 1993.

“I joined the William E. DeBevoise Jr. American Legion Post 1682 in New City, New York in 1993,” Troiola said. “At the time I was involved in activities at my daughter’s elementary school and one of my friends whose daughter also went to the same school asked me to join the Sons of the American Legion, a program of the American Legion. The SAL is for sons or grandsons of veterans that have served. I actively participated in their programs and was approached by the Post Commander and was asked if I was a veteran. He recruited me to join the American Legion.”

As a new Legion member, Troiola started attending meetings and became interested in what they were doing for their community.

“We were involved with good citizenship awards in the local schools, teaching flag etiquette classes also in the schools, laying flags on the graves on Memorial Day, scholarships, hosting the annual Memorial Day Parade and sending high school students to Boys State and getting high school students to participate in the Oratorical Contest, a constitutional speech contest,” he said. “We also visited the nearby VA Hospital to have luncheons for the patients, give gifts at Christmas and provide comfort clothing to them.” 

LEADERSHIP

After a year of membership, Troiola became 2nd Vice Commander of the Post and then in 1997 was elected Post Commander, a position he held for two years.

“I became very active in many committees and programs in higher levels of the American Legion including County Commander, District Commander, Department (State) Commander (2010-2011) and National Vice Commander (2016-2017),” he said. “I also chaired many committees and commissions at all levels. At the Department level, I served on the faculty of the New York American Legion college, Membership Chairman and the centennial task force for the future. At the National level, I served as Chairman of the Veterans Employment and Education Commission and the National Legislative Commission. I wanted to be involved. I enjoyed being involved with the youth programs. Watching them participate in programs like the oratorical contest renewed my faith and still does today that our country will be in good hands in the future. I also was inspired at the many programs the Legion has to help veterans and their families. Add to that the resolutions that our Legion Posts write all over the country supporting our veterans that get approved at the National Executive Committee and then presented to Congress for approval. I joined because I knew I could make a difference in the lives of our veterans and our youth.”

In 2017, as his term was drawing to a close as National Vice Commander, Troiola was approached by a candidate for National Commander who asked if he would ever consider running for National Commander.

“After some thought, I decided I was interested, and the New York American Legion passed a resolution endorsing me to run for National Commander. I campaigned all over the country in 2021 and 2022 visiting 39 states including Alaska,” he said.

He was elected National Commander for a one-year term Sept. 1 and that requires 330 days of travel during that time.

“I will visit all 55 departments to include 50 states, Department of Mexico, Department of France, Department of Puerto Rico, Department of the Philippines and the Department of District of Columbia. In December I will embark on a Far East Trip to Okinawa, Philippines, Guam and Hawaii to participate at the Pearl Harbor Day Ceremonies. In June 2023, I will travel to Normandy Beach for D-Day ceremonies, Paris, France, the birthplace of the American Legion, Bastogne, Belgium and Ramstein Air Base in Germany to meet the troops.” 

His daughter, Laura, and her husband, Michael, moved to Falmouth about 2012 before Troiola and his wife, Saveria, moved to Maine.

“They were in New Hampshire where Michael did his residency at Dartmouth. We decided in 2015 to move to Maine to be closer to our two grandchildren at the time, now three grandchildren. Laura works from home, and we felt we were able to help with the kids, one of which, has special needs,” Troiola said. “We shopped for a new home for about two months and came across a new construction home in the Sebago Heights subdivision. We purchased the house and moved in January 2016. We love the neighborhood and living in the Lakes Region. I retired from my job in New York in February 2017 after commuting on Monday and Friday to and from New York. I started working as a school bus driver in Falmouth in February 2018 and work part-time as a motor coach operator for Custom Coach and Limousine in Gorham. I am on a one-year leave of absence from both while I serve as National Commander for the American Legion.”

According to Troiola, Windham’s American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 is evidence of the strength and relevance of the veteran’s organization.

“Post 148 proves that the articles that are written about the American Legion declining in numbers are wrong. As a matter of fact, the entire organization lost less members last year than any in the last 10 years,” he said. “As an example, here in Windham, the Post 148 constantly increases in membership every year. Why? Successful Legion Posts are generally pillars in their local communities. When Posts are involved in the community the members come. I visit the Post once in a while on Wednesday mornings for the veteran’s coffee and get-together. A veteran doesn’t have to be a member to visit. There is no pressure to join. The purpose is the camaraderie that we enjoy as veterans. Add to that the suppers and luncheons, the Memorial Day Parade, and the many youth programs they are involved in, and you have a place for veterans to join who want to help in their communities.”

EVOLVING

He says that going forward, the makeup of the American Legion is evolving.

“The veterans who served from 1990 and forward in the Gulf War, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Afghanistan, are joining our ranks all over the nation. Many of them have raised their families and are now looking for something to do. They are serving in many capacities at all levels,” Troiola said. “What was relevant in the 1950s and 1960s may not be relevant now. As our military changes, so do our priorities. Today’s military and veterans have different experiences. As the military changes, so do we. As an example, a large part of our military today is comprised of woman veterans. They are deployed all over the world and many serve in combat. It is up to the American Legion and other Veteran Service Organizations to advocate for women to receive healthcare from the VA specific to them. We advocate on Capitol Hill every day before the house and senate veterans affairs committee to outfit VA Hospitals and Outpatient clinics with physicians and equipment and space to take care of women’s specific needs.”

That advocacy is making a difference, Troiola said.

“A few weeks ago, the Senate passed legislation, Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act, that provides funding and care for presumptive diseases stemming from toxic exposure to toxins in all wars from the VA. The bill initially failed to get passed in the Senate. Legionnaires from all over the country sent over 34,000 messages to their senators demanding that the bill get passed before the break. They heard our voices and passed the bill, and the previous National Commander was at the White House when President Biden signed it into law. The exposures include Agent Orange in Vietnam, toxic drinking water in Camp Lejeune, and toxic burn pits in Afghanistan. Veterans that have toxic exposure disease can file claims to the VA for service connected disabilities due to toxic exposure. We are relevant. As the military evolves, so do we.”

Troiola says his top priority for his year as National Commander will be tackling the toughest challenge facing veterans today, veteran’s suicide.

“My goal is to raise $2,000,000 for the Veterans and Children’s Foundation,” he said. The American Legion has activated a national campaign to end veteran’s suicide called ‘Be The One.’ Veteran suicide may be the biggest challenge yet, but anyone can ‘Be The One’ to help save just one veteran.” <

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

‘Guardian Ride V’ a test of endurance for police officer

By Ed Pierce

Brian McCarthy of Windham learned much during his time in the military but one new thing he found was how military families like his own were cared for and looked after when he was serving overseas. When he retired as an Army Sergeant First Class following a 20-year military career, McCarthy kept his pledge to support military families through what he calls the “Guardian Ride,” an annual long distance bicycle trip to raise money for Maine’s 488th’s Family Readiness Group which assists military dependents in resolving problems while military personnel are away from home.

Windham's Brian McCarthy will undertake his fifth
'Guardian Ride' to raise money for Maine military families
starting on Sunday, Sept. 11. McCarthy will cycle from
Windham to New Hampshire and into Massachusetts before
returning to South Portland on Sept. 17, a route consisting
of more than 319 miles. COURTESY PHOTO
McCarthy, a police officer in South Portland, is now preparing for the fifth edition of his cycling fundraiser and the 2022 “Guardian Ride V” will be taking a new route through some different terrain and passing through different states that promise new challenges for him from previous years. It kicks off Sunday and will span seven days while covering hundreds of miles.

“This year, for the first time, I’m venturing south,” McCarthy said. I’ll be on a loop ride from the Windham Veterans Center, departing on Sunday, Sept. 11, across southern New Hampshire, passing through my hometown of Templeton, Massachusetts, and then returning to Bug Light Park in South Portland on Sept. 17. This year’s route should be 319-plus miles.”

While stretching himself to the limit physically and mentally each day cycling on the ride, McCarthy said he remains focused on the basis for the fundraiser.

“When I deployed, I had a great deal of support from my family, not only in the form of emails and phone calls, but also in the knowledge and surety that they were secure in our home, in their schooling, jobs, etc. I was blessed with strong family supports,” he said. “I also knew that our unit’s Family Readiness Group had our back, just in case there was an unforeseen emergency or if something fell through the cracks. Additionally, my co-workers and community also rallied around me and my soldiers, keeping us well supported with care packages and cards, etc. With me taking on this ride every year, and raising not only funding, but also awareness for the FRG, is my own little way of giving back to the unit and its families behind the scenes.”

Supporting McCarthy on this year’s ride are his wife, Kristin, daughter Logan, colleagues from the South Portland Police Department, and his friends from the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 in Windham.

“I’ve been blown away by the generosity of my donors, friends, and family. Over the first four years, we’ve raised over $15,000 for Maine military families,” McCarthy said. “In addition to monetary donations, several households have helped with my ongoing year-round can and bottle drive, I’ve had a soldier-owned bike shop provide some parts and repairs on my bike, and I’ve had friends in every corner of the state host me at their homes and camps for meals and showers along my routes.”

McCarthy says that the feedback he’s received from his military friends has been entirely appreciative and supportive of the “Guardian Ride.”

Having served in three separate National Guard units here in Maine in Brewer, Westbrook and Waterville, I have fellow veteran brothers and sisters in every corner of the state,” he said. “They’ve made very generous donations, hosted me for overnights, cookouts, showers, and have even jumped out of their trucks to say hi when they see me passing through their town. I’ve received updates and pictorials from the FRG leader, to show how the group is incorporating our donations into their annual family functions. And our local service organizations, particularly Windham’s own Field-Allen American Legion Post 148, spearheaded by Post Adjutant David Tanguay, has been very supportive with donations, send-offs, and ‘welcome homes’ for me.”

By collecting pledges made for his ride on a Go Fund Me page, McCarthy raised more than $6,000 in 2021 and hopes to better that this year.

“I’ve received overwhelming and heartfelt support from my old unit, the 488th Military Police Company. I’m still in regular contact with current soldiers and leaders through social media, as well as unit alumni like myself. They are extremely appreciative of not just my efforts on the bike, but also of the generosity of my donors and ride supporters.”

Once more, McCarthy will be using his 24-year-old HARO mountain bike and pulling an Allen Sports cargo trailer for this year’s fundraiser.

“In terms of challenges, in years past I’ve covered long, quiet, remote stretches of road in central and northern Maine. This year, heading south, I expect there to be much more vehicle traffic and urban and suburban roadways. So, I’ll definitely be on alert, staying far to the right, and keeping my head on a swivel. And as always, it’s impossible to scout every mile of such a long ride, so I’m sure there will be plenty of surprises along the way: monster hills, construction sites, and detours.”

According to McCarthy, being out on the open road on his bicycle for his “Guardian Rides” have been some of the best days of my life.

“I’ve been on luxury cruises and beach vacations, but to pack everything you need for a week onto your bicycle, chart a course, and then wind your way through the countryside, is the most relaxing, refreshing time I can recall,” he said. “Crisp morning air rushing by, roadside snacks, friendly faces, and chats with strangers. And this year I have the special treat of biking through my childhood hometown in Templeton, Mass. I’m hoping to see some old friends that day.”

All money collected from the “Guardian Ride” is donated to the Family Readiness Group and used for such things as purchasing back-to-school supplies for military dependent children, a summer cookout and gathering for unit families and single soldiers, a catered unit Christmas party with a visit from Santa for unit families, emergency relief funds for families in need, and for keeping unit families in touch with their loved ones who are stationed overseas.

To make a pledge to McCarthy for this year’s “Guardian Ride,” visit https://gofund.me/40eb5315 <

Friday, September 2, 2022

Windham couple compete in international CrossFit Games competition

After meeting each other at the gym in 2016, Caroline and
Austin Spencer of Windham fell in love and were married
this May. They are only the second married couple to ever
qualify and compete in the international CrossFit Games,
a huge accomplishment that they are both very proud of.
COURTESY PHOTO
By Masha Yurkevich 

For many of us, the word “international” followed by “competition” is something that we can only think about or watch on TV with a cup of tea. But local Windham fitness couple Caroline and Austin Spencer have put that cup down, got up, raised the bar and made it a reality instead.

From Aug. 3 through Aug. 7, the Spencers did something that many of us will never be able to say we’ve done: they qualified and competed in the 2022 International CrossFit Games that were held in Madison Wisconsin.


Caroline started CrossFit at the end of 2013. She is currently a trainer, remote coach and does a lot of behind the scenes for their competitive CrossFit company. Austin started his CrossFit journey in 2012 and is a full-time arborist. They met at their gym and started dating in 2016 and got married this past May. They also coach together at the MisFit Gym in Windham.

CrossFit is a strenuous fitness regimen that involves constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.

“I started getting interested in fitness my senior year in high school,” says Caroline. “I was a cheerleader for about ten years and competed on a travel team, but once that was over, I started to go to the gym more and started lifting weights just to stay fit.”

Austin played all kinds of sports growing up, including soccer, lacrosse, track and rugby in college. A friend of his introduced him to CrossFit during college and he knew right away he wanted to compete in the sport. 

“Austin basically knew right away that he wanted to get good enough to compete. He just enjoyed the sport, and knew he was capable of reaching that goal,” says Caroline. “It wasn't until my third year, maybe, that I realized I was good enough to really make a push to become competitive and qualify for one of the stages leading up to the games. Once I qualified for Regionals - now known as semi-finals - as an individual two years in a row, I really started to want to make it to the next stage, which is the CrossFit Games.”

Caroline has been training for nine years and Austin for 10.

To qualify for the CrossFit Games, you are required to have to make it past three different stages from February to June. Stage One is known as the "Open." It is a three-week online competition. Each week a new "test" is announced, and participants have from Thursday night to Monday night to complete the workout and submit their scores and videos. From there, the top 10 percent of each country move on to "Quarterfinals."

The quarterfinals are also online but are only one week. Five tests are announced, and participants have to complete them between Thursday and Monday as well. From there, the top 120 from participating countries advance to the "Semifinals."

There are four semifinals for the US, six more in other countries, which are all days of competition in person. Each US semifinal has 30 men and 30 women, where you have to finish in the top five to qualify for the CrossFit Games. In total, the top 40 men and 40 women worldwide are the only individuals to make it to this stage and this year, the Spencers achieved that goal.

The competition typically starts on Wednesday and ends on Sunday. There are anywhere from 12 to 15 tests spread out over the week where competitors earn points based on their ranking in each event. The more points you have, the higher you are on the leaderboard. Whomever earns the most points across the week of tests is the winner. First place wins $310,000. Earnings are less as you go down the leaderboard. Participants can also win money if they place first in an event.

“We both are very passionate about fitness and about competing. The dedication comes much easier because we both truly love the process of continuing to grow as athletes to get to our full potential,” said Caroline.

This is her second year qualifying for the CrossFit Games and Austin’s first. They didn’t win, but they say that there really is no way to describe how they feel about qualifying for the CrossFit Games.

“It's really extremely hard to qualify. Some people train for years and never make it,” says Caroline. “We have both sacrificed a lot and have worked so hard for so long, and to be able to share this experience, as only the second married couple ever to do it, is such an incredible feeling. We're both extremely grateful and proud.” <

Grant supports outdoor learning at Windham Middle School

Windham Middle School students work on building raised
gardens for planting seeds last spring at the school. WMS is
the recipient of a $1,500 grant from the Maine
Environmental Education Association for continuing to create
new ways to help students appreciate outdoor activities.
SUBMITTED PHOTO   
By Ed Pierce 

A new grant is helping students at Windham Middle School to learn more about the natural world, fostering independence and promoting spending more time outside.

WMS is one of 160 in the state to receive funding from the Maine Environmental Education Association, helping to create more outdoor learning opportunities statewide. MEEA has distributed $200,000 for the initiative and WMS has received a grant of $1,500 for teachers to reimagine classrooms outside.

The grant benefits WMS educators by supporting a project to create a new garden/greenhouse at the school. Statewide, MEEA grants were awarded to schools for projects including outdoor recreation, science exploration, art outdoors, curriculum and professional development, snowshoes, gardening and birding.

The grant applicants were selected on the basis of innovative ways to engage students in the outdoors and reported on the wide range of positive impacts to their students, from increased school attendance to academic learning outcomes to improved mental and physical health.

“At MEEA, we are so grateful for the amazing educators who have worked so hard this year to get their students outside learning. Research shows that outdoor learning has hugely positive mental and physical health benefits, and also academic benefits for youth,” said MEEA’s Executive Director Olivia Griset. “We also know that not all youth have access to the outdoors, which is an environmental justice issue. These teachers and projects happening in public schools across the state are helping to ensure that our youth have positive experiences gaining a deeper connection to nature in their local community.” 

Griset said that teachers and school administrators across Maine are stretching to fill the gap between school funding and their students’ needs and these grants are highly valuable.

“Often with limited resources, teachers are accomplishing incredible projects, engaging a variety of students, and bringing outdoor learning to new extents across the state. The impact of these projects supports thousands of students across the state," she said. "Supporting teachers and schools in the pursuit of outdoor learning is a critical piece of MEEA’s mission as the organization strives to enhance and amplify the efforts of individuals and organizations that are building environmental awareness, fostering appreciation and understanding of the environment, and taking action towards creating equitable and resilient communities.”

Using the MEEA grant, materials were purchased to create raised beds, soil, starter trays, and seeds for a school garden at WMS School.

School administrators say that WMS students took a lead role in nearly every step of the process, marking the first time that designing and building raised beds, including researching the design, planting the seeds, and using power tools were incorporated in an outdoor classroom there.

“I used to be afraid to go outside because of hornets and ticks and bugs but building outside distracted me from my fear of bugs. It was exciting to use power tools, and I don’t even mind the bug bites I got,” WMS students said about the garden/greenhouse project. “The grant got their money’s worth because this garden will last for a long time. I’m looking forward to coming to school to use the gardens over the summer, and it’ll be a pretty nice home for the worms.” 

The beds that were created at WMS were offered for families to use over the summer, and several families living in apartments nearby responded positively to the offer. As a result, school officials says that this fall’s harvest will be able to feed WMS students during their snacks and lunches this fall.

According to Angela Mavrich of the MEEA, this is the first community garden for the families of students at Windham Middle School, and she said that first group of students using the garden now have all the necessary skills and knowledge to go from the vision to execution of raised beds.

“MEEA continues to seek impactful partnerships with local communities and organizations during this changing cultural and environmental climate, as the equity-centered environmental work that MEEA creates plays a key role in building an environmentally literate Maine; where all people can engage civically and understand the relationship between their wellbeing and that of their environment,” Mavrich said.

Griset said that MEEA expects the 2022-2023 school year will be as successful as last year’s program with a new round of grants to be awarded in November and anyone or an organization is encouraged to join the effort by donating to this fund. To do so, send an email to grants@meeassociation.org

“We are grateful to all the individuals who donated to make this project possible and to all the amazing teachers for their incredible work,” she said. <

Friday, August 26, 2022

Ukrainian family fleeing invasion, war finds refuge with Windham couple

Former Windham High School foreign exchange student
Kyrylo Perederli from Ukraine returned to Windham on
July 14 with his mother, Olene Kriutchenko, and father, 
Andrli Perederli, to escape their war-torn city. They were
invited to stay and live with Kyrylo's host family, WHS 
teacher Pam Carter, and her husband, Bill Allen, until they
feel safe to return to Ukraine.
PHOTO BY LORRAINE GLOWCZAK 
By Lorraine Glowczak

When 16-year-old foreign exchange student Kyrylo Perederii arrived in Windham in 2018 to attend Windham High School, he never envisioned returning with his mother, Olena Kriutchenko, and father, Andrii Perederii due to life-altering circumstances.

But that is what happened to Kyrylo, now 20, and his parents, who lived in Melitopol, Ukraine, one of the first cities to be invaded by Russian armed forces earlier this year.

Fortunately, Krylylo and his parents kept in contact with his Windham host family, Pam Carter, a WHS teacher, and her husband, Bill Allen. The communication between the families continued in earnest during the early days of the war.

“When we decided it was time for us to leave Melitopol and we were trying to figure how we would do that, we asked Pam and Bill if Krylylo could stay with them while we were in transition and found a safe place until the war was over,” Olena said. “But Pam and Bill offered their home to all of us. We are very grateful for their kindness in allowing the three of us to stay together.”

However, the decision to leave their home bore relentless challenges.

Before the invasion, Kyrylo was attending Erasmus+ program, a university student exchange curriculum in Turkey. The program began in the fall of 2021 and ended in February. He arrived home on Feb. 12. However, just before his arrival, he started to receive alarming texts from friends in other countries. 
 
“My friends were asking me how I was doing, and I had no idea what they were talking about,” said Kyrylo, who has known Ukraine to be a sovereign nation since birth. “We had Ukrainian tanks passing through our streets in 2013 when the war started in the Eastern part of Ukraine. However, we saw no military activity near our city this time, so we didn’t think it was an actual menace.”

When one friend told him that she had heard men 18 years old and older would be called to serve the Ukrainian forces, Kyrylo and his parents became alarmed, and the uncertainty began.

The day after receiving these alarming texts, Russia started a full-scale invasion on Feb. 24.

“The next day, on Feb. 25, we were without electricity and running water and there weren’t cell phone connections for long periods at a time,” Olena said. “We didn’t know how our relatives were doing, they lived on the other side of the city. A lot of tanks were rolling through the city, bombing buildings. Going outside was unsafe, and we had no clue how long we’d have to stay inside our home.”

Olena said that looting became a problem, and food was becoming scarce.

“Luckily, Dad went shopping for food just before the invasion, so we had something to eat for a while,” Kyrylo said. “But when we ran out, we had to stand in long lines to purchase foods from the businesses that officially remained opened.”

Olena said that the Russians helped the shoplifters by ensuring that the “looting happened in an orderly fashion.”

During these early war-torn days, the uncertainty increased, and Kyrylo experienced an epiphany.

“Everything I was working toward, things that I thought were valuable, didn’t mean a thing anymore,” he said. “My plans to make my city a better place didn’t matter, no one will care about being proactive or volunteering now that everything is destroyed. When I made that realization, I just started to cry.”

Leaving family, friends, and their cat and dog added more heartbreak to this crisis, and it took extra strength knowing that the travels to the U.S. would be wrought with more challenges and intimidation. They prepared the best they could by deleting all calls, texts and social media posts that would raise suspicion. 
 
“To leave the city, we had to go through a lot of checkpoints,” Olena said. “You experience humiliation and interrogation by Russian officials, and often you never know if you will come out alive or what will happen next.”

Kyrylo and his parents described intimidating and degrading incidents Ukrainians experienced while crossing the checkpoints.

“There were no toilets and very few bushes to hide behind, so people went to the bathroom at the side of the road without getting too close to the land mines,” Olena said. “People had to wait in line for long periods in 100-degree weather, and Russian soldiers often took personal items that included money, laptops, cell phones, and jewelry without explanation.”

Repeatedly, Ukrainians were asked to remove their clothing so officers could inspect tattoos and hidden items that would favor Ukraine.

The family’s long and risky travel to safety, which began on June 7 and cost the family $1,000, eventually led them to Turkey on June 18 where they stayed with friends for three weeks while they waited for the proper paperwork to live temporarily in the U.S. and at the home of Carter and Allen.

Once the paperwork was filed and all was in order, Krylylo and his parents arrived in Windham on July 14, five weeks after leaving the city they love and call home. But gratitude is their focus.

“It was an amazing feeling to finally reach where we were trying to all this time and actually with people who have helped us so much,” Olena said.

Now that they are here, they are anxious to find work and be contributing members of the Carter and Allen household but must wait once again for the proper paperwork before they can begin working legally.

Krylylo continues to work on his college degree through online coursework while Olena and Andrii, a builder by trade, work to help the Carters with their house and camp projects.

“We always wanted to travel more after we retired, and visiting Maine was at the top of our list,” said Olena, a teacher. “But it was never in our plans to do it this way.”

They were very clear about their next steps and goals.

“To find a job, help people in our country, and return home as soon as the war is over,” Olena and Andrii said.

For others, like Carter and Allen, who may be interested in helping a family from war-torn Ukraine, you can do so if they legally reside in the United States. They can apply to sponsor Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members if they can prove they can financially support them for up to a two-year period. For more information, contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department’s “Uniting for Ukraine” website: https://www.uscis.gov/ukraine.

Individuals may also contribute financial donations. Although there are many venues to choose from, one option to consider is United24, https://u24.gov.ua/, a website launched by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to support Ukraine. <

Windham’s Keddy Mill site to be cleaned up, demolished

By Ed Pierce 

A long awaited project to tear down the former Keddy Mill
industrial building at 7 Depot St. in South Windham along
with cleaning up the site and removing contaminants there
will be starting this fall. The site work will be funded by a
federal Superfund program administered by the EPA to
safeguard human health and the environment
PHOTO BY ED PIERCE.    

An agreement has been reached to clean up and demolish the old Keddy Mill site in South Windham under an initiative to protect human health and the environment.

Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and ITT LLC, the company responsible for the 6.93-acre site and structure off Depot Street in South Windham, say that the former industrial building on the site will be razed and contaminated materials there will be removed.

Testing has determined that the two-story concrete industrial structure on the property contains elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, and other contaminants known to pose a risk to human health and the environment.

Located at 7 Depot St., the crumbling two-story concrete building at the site is thought to have been built in the early 20th century, although mill operations at that location date to the mid-1800s. Throughout the site’s history, several buildings have been constructed there and added to the mill complex.

Originally the mill was used as a grist and carding mill before being converted to a pulp mill, a box-board manufacturing facility and a steel mill. The site is in a mixed commercial/residential area in South Windham and is bounded by Depot Street to the north, a former Maine Central Railroad right-of-way to the east, and undeveloped property and the Presumpscot River to the south, and by Route 202/Main Street and an operational hydroelectric facility to the west. 

Use of the site for various industrial activities began in 1875, with its primary industrial use being for metal fabrication starting in 1945. The Keddy Mill Company began a metal manufacturing operation there in the 1960s which continued into the 1970s. Through the process of transforming scrap metal into products, electrical capacitors and transformers containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used there.

The building itself at 7 Depot St. sits on a concrete/soil foundation and contains a full basement. The EPA reports that no wells or known private drinking water sources are situated close to the location.

Under the Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent reached between the EPA and the responsible party, the cleanup work will be done in compliance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, commonly known as the "Superfund," and ensures that the cleanup will protect human health and the environment. Cleanup work is expected to be phased, initially consisting of pre-design investigation activities, beginning this year.

"EPA is very pleased that after years of assessment and discussion with the community, we are moving into a significant stage of recovery and reclamation of this site," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "The upcoming building demolition and removal of contaminated materials is an important step in the lengthy process of returning a Superfund site to productive use in a community."

The property was first listed on the National Priorities List of Superfund sites in 2014. The Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled, or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country to protect people's health and the environment.

Initial EPA actions there were launched in the 1980s. Data was collected during these investigations, as well a fuel oil spill, resulting in two previous cleanup actions performed at the site. In 1997, an action to remove nearly 11 tons of petroleum-impacted soil from the north-central portion of the property was conducted in accordance with Maine Department of Environmental Protection requirements. In 2010, a second cleanup action removed accessible PCB-contaminated fuel oils in piping and PCB-contaminated sludge, dirt, debris, and oil materials within the buildings on the site.

EPA completed a thorough site investigation in January 2013 and a Hazard Ranking System package in April 2013. Following that, the Keddy Mill site was placed on the NPL Superfund list in May 2014. A Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study was initiated there in 2015 to determine the nature and extent of contamination and the risks posed to human health and the environment and evaluate alternative cleanup measures if necessary.

An Action Memorandum for a Non-time Critical Removal Action was signed by EPA and ITC LLC in 2018. That required that contaminated building materials must be removed from the site and sent to an off-site licensed hazardous waste site facility. The primary building contaminants exceeding acceptable human health standards included polychorinated biphenals (PCBs) and asbestos.

Windham Town Council Chair Jarrod Maxfield said the cleanup announcement is welcome news for South Windham residents.

“Ever since I started in town government, I have been hearing about the Keddy Mill and the eventual cleanup that will happen,” Maxfield said. “This is the first of many steps to clean that site, redevelop it and open more opportunities for South Windham to become the vibrant, mixed-use community it once was and will be again.” <

Friday, August 19, 2022

State public administrators honor Tibbetts with 2022 Leadership Award

Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts, left, accepts the
Maine Town, City and County Management Association's
2022 Leadership Award from MTCMA President Jey Feyler
during the association's convention Aug. 10 at Sugarloaf.
SUBMITTED PHOTO 
By Ed Pierce 

Windham’s Town Manager Barry Tibbetts was honored with the Maine Town, City and County Management Association’s 2022 Leadership Award during the association’s convention Aug. 10 at Sugarloaf.

The annual award is presented to recognize a Public Administrator in the state for a particularly bold and innovative project or for solving an unusually difficult problem. The recipient must have played a key role in developing the project as well as in implementing it. Over the past year, Tibbetts has played a substantial and pivotal role in Windham’s wastewater treatment solution for North Windham, development of a connector road system to alleviate traffic congestion in the Route 302 corridor and Windham’s approval of the East Windham Conservation Project where hundreds of acres were conserved by the town for recreational use.

In nominating Tibbetts for the prestigious award, Windham Town Council members and Bob Burns, Windham assistant town manager, representing Windham town staff, wrote that Tibbetts stepped up and led the way for Windham in getting these major projects off the ground in the last year.

“These achievements that needed Barry’s motivation, tutelage and leadership are wins for him and major wins for the Town of Windham and its residents,” Burns said. 

Jarrod Maxfield, Windham Town Council chair, agrees with that assessment.

“For too long Windham has been stagnant in terms of progress and development for success. We would often remark we are the ‘Town of Studies because we would study projects for years and then shelve them or not get the project over the finish line for one reason or another,” Maxfield said. “This pattern over the decades was not a positive thing for Windham and held us back from moving forward and creating opportunities. The day Barry showed up, that attitude and pattern ended, and we have not looked back as we move forward.”

Maxfield said Tibbetts’ wisdom and experience is exceptional in his role as Windham Town Manager.

“It is hard to think of how one man can move a boulder that has sat for so long but in Barry’s case it comes down to leadership, energy, out of the box thinking and a positivity that gets things done, not just talking about getting things done, but actually getting them done,” he said. “He helped foster a better environment for Windham employees after some years of turmoil and empowered them to finally get those things done. He gave them the foundation to know that if a roadblock occurred, as it will, they had his support, and he would help find a solution. He is a kind, positive and energetic person who makes those around him better and creates success by being there.”

In June, Windham voters attending the Annual Town Meeting approved a proposal for the town join a partnership with Presumpscot Regional Land Trust to purchase and conserve 661 acres near Little Duck Pond in East Windham in a project called the East Windham Conservation Project. It will acquire forested acreage for recreational opportunities in Windham while also adding 1,545 feet of undeveloped water frontage on Little Duck Pond, the 150-acre Deer Wintering Area for hunting, and the 580-foot Atherton Hill, the tallest hill in Windham. As part of the project, Lands for Maine’s Future awarded Windham $998,000 to help fund the initiative and voters approved a bond to match the LMF award with town open space impact fees so there will be no impact upon the mil rate for local homeowners.

Also in June, a town referendum for a proposed $40.4 million sewer and wastewater treatment project for North Windham was approved by 71 percent of voters after a different sewer proposal was rejected by Windham voters 10 years ago. The project will not raise taxes and all but $500,000 is covered to pay for the initiative through a combination of grant funding, a $38.9 million award by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and North Windham TIF funding supported by North Windham businesses. Under the project, a new wastewater treatment facility on the grounds of Manchester School will be built and addresses pressing environmental issues by removing thousands of pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus being dumped by septic systems into the aquifer and watershed. It also is intended to stimulate significant economic growth and development in the North Windham area from industry and businesses not willing to locate there previously because of septic system issues and associated costs.

As town manager, Tibbetts also is leading an effort to alleviate persistent traffic congestion in North Windham along Route 302 through creation of a system of new access roads and sophisticated high-tech traffic signals. In January the Windham Town Council adopted a study that puts forward a phased plan to build connector roads in the next few years. For years, heavy traffic during peak travel times remains a problem along Route 302 from the intersection of Route 115 to Franklin Road and causes congestion, motorist delays and a high accident rate for motorists in the town. The issue has been studied repeatedly for years, but now a potential solution is at hand.

Tibbetts has served as Windham’s Town Manager since November 2019, first on an interim basis and then was made the permanent town manager since March 2020. He has extensive municipal experience and experience in local government, administrative operations, budgeting, regulatory functions, and community relations and served as the Kennebunk Town Manager through 2017.

Upon his retirement with Kennebunk and coming to Windham, Tibbetts worked with a small energy start-up business and developed a consulting business in energy and governmental services. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Maine, and he also earned an MBA degree during his career in government. He also holds credentialed certifications from both the ICMA and MCTMA.

In learning he had won the award, Tibbetts said he was humbled and caught off guard.

“I was totally surprised by the Windham team, they did a great job in keeping it undercover until it was announced,” Tibbetts said. “It was an honor to receive this statewide award from the MTCMA with the recognition of the Windham Town Council and town staff. Since beginning in Windham two years ago, the council and staff as a team has been working toward addressing critical infrastructure needs which have been accumulating over the past. The timing is right, and Windham has great staff and council to get the work done. It been a pleasure to serve the council, staff and residents. <