Friday, October 19, 2018

A tea workshop at Windham Public Library introduces the history of an ancient beverage

By Lorraine Glowczak

For those who were able to attend the workshop, “Tea: History, Types and Tasting” at the Windham Public Library on Friday October 5th got to experience a real treat. Not only did the participants get the opportunity to explore the beverage’s history, but they were also introduced to varieties of tea leaves and the processes to which the leaf is transformed from tea bush to cup.

Ray Marcotte on a tea sourcing trip in India
The workshop was led by Windham Library’s Ray Marcotte, a Reference and Technology Assistant, who is also a tea connoisseur. Marcotte and his wife are co-owners of an Asian-style teashop in Portland’s Old Port and they have studied the history and art of tea for over seven years. Marcotte travels annually to various Asian countries such as India, China, Korea and Taiwan on tea sourcing trips to learn the details of tea production.

“Despite popular perception, tea does not come from England,” Marcotte said. “The small leaf variety tea bush (Camellia sinensis sinensis) was discovered 5,000 years ago in China, and has been transplanted all over Asia, the Middle East, and even the United States.”

Marcotte stated in the workshop that Chinese legend has it that the mythical emperor Shennong, the “father of Chinese agriculture”, was sitting under a camellia bush when a leaf dropped into his cup of boiled water, thus discovering tea and its restorative and healing powers.

Workshop participants learned that there are two main varieties of tea: Camellia sinensis sinensis (small leaf variety from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Vietnam) and Camellia sinensis assamica (large leaf variety from India, Ceylon, Sri Lanka and Kenya, Africa).

“From those two main varieties, there are six classes of tea,” Marcotte explained. “These include green, black, white, yellow, oolong, and Pu-er teas. Each tea class is produced and processed differently.”

Tea is a highly managed product and the method from plant to cup of boiling water is a long and sometimes arduous one. “There are very specific methods of picking tea leaves and the process to which each class of tea is produced.”

Marcotte further explained the details of picking tea leaves by expert hand pluckers as well as the process that occurs after the leaves are picked. “Most green tea comes from the bud, first and second leaves only. The top shoots provide the best quality tea, and therefore produce the most pleasant and refreshing taste. Once the leaves and bud have been picked by hand, then the processing of the leaf begins. For Chinese green tea, that includes withering, heating (pan-firing), shaping and drying (unoxidized).”

Tea productions and processes for other classes of tea include a variation of the following: pan-firing, shaping and drying, sun baking, rolling, tumbling, roasting, withering, fermenting and smothering.        
Marcotte also shared with workshop participants how the misconception that tea comes from England came to be. The story states that the popularity of a mid-afternoon English tea began only 200 years ago by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. Supposedly, she is the one who coined the phrase “sinking feeling”, referring to her energy as it began to wane in the middle of the afternoon after breakfast had worn off. At that time in England, dinner for the upper classes wasn’t served until approximately 8pm, so Anna started having afternoon tea with desserts to relieve her hunger. She enjoyed her new daily routine and as a result, began to invite friends. By the 1840s, the afternoon tea became a high society social event among the wealthy. The tea that was most often served and consumed was Darjeeling (from India.)

The transformation of loose-leaf tea into tea bags happened quite by accident. “A New York tea merchant by the name of Thomas Sullivan sent samples of tea to his customers in small silk bags as an easier way to send the tea leaves,” Marcotte stated. “His customers assumed that they were supposed to put the entire bag into the pot of boiled water, rather than emptying out the contents, and thus – the teabag was born.”

Marcotte stated that the teabag grew in popularity in the 1950s. “It is important to note that the contents in a teabag are not leaves but are actually the ‘dust’ from the leaves which is what’s left over from the sifting process.”

The hour-long workshop participants, after discovering the many interesting facts about the ancient beverage, got to enjoy and sample a variety of high-quality teas. No teabags were used, of course.

For more information about how tea became popular in the West, Marcotte recommends reading the book, “For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History “by Sarah Rose. It is available to check out at The Windham Library. Marcotte is also available to answer any questions.

Welcome aboard! Local Chamber of Commerce votes in Maine’s youngest president

By Lorraine Glowczak

It is true that small and local businesses have an edge today with social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Webinars and Facebook Live. There is little doubt that the internet has given some boost to individuals looking to grow their business in today’s society. But nothing can compare to the personal and face-to-face interactions that help a business and individual grow more profoundly to reach goals and to expand career options and aspirations.

Zack Conley
That’s exactly the purpose and mission of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. And what better way to incorporate both social media and face-to-face interactions than having one of the youngest Chamber Presidents in Maine.

 Zachary “Zack” Conley, age 22, a Financial Representative with Modern Woodmen in Windham, was voted in by Chamber Board members to replace former President, Michelle Libby, on Thursday, October 4.

“My first goal is to discover all of our individual strengths,” stated Conley about all the board members. “From there, we can gather from our individual knowledge, experiences, expertise and talents to achieve the mission of the chamber, which is to help businesses grow and reach their goals through networking and educational events.”

Conley also stated that his chief focus is to invite more members to become actively involved with the intention to help them succeed in both business and in life, as he believes they go hand in hand. His second main goal is to introduce the chamber, whether it is the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce or beyond, to young professionals in the area seeking to become the best they can be.

To achieve this goal, Conley has spoken to classes at Windham High School about personal finance and is incorporating the importance of joining the local chamber, no matter where you live. “Now that I’m the President of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber, I will be reaching out to speak to other high schools in the Lakes Region area, too.”

Conley believes that joining and being active in the Chamber is one of the best ways to meet successful business people. “The chamber is one way to meet all the shakers and movers in your community,” Conley stated from experience. “It was just a little over a year ago when I became a Financial Representative at Modern Woodman and I was advised to become a part of the chamber as a way to succeed in my business. I joined the Chamber, met many successful movers and shakers and not only has my business taken off, but so has my networking with others and meeting so many amazing people who have contributed to my success.”

And, now here he is, in one year’s time frame his business has blossomed and he is the youngest chamber president in Maine. But his path to success was not without a few bumps. “I was attending college in New Hampshire, but I had no clue where I was heading and was spending money on something that I felt like was not leading me anywhere,” Conley began. “So, when I dropped out of college and returned home, many people were disappointed in me and I was told I was going nowhere. When I accepted the position as Financial Representative, there were naysayers who stated I would fail. Instead of fulfilling their prophecy, I used their words of discouragement as a source of motivation.”

Lynn Mansfield, Executive Director of the Sebago Lakes Chamber of Commerce states that Conley’s strong network of peers and his business success makes him the perfect fit for his new role in the chamber. “His success attracts a new face to the Chamber—the young professional. My vision is to establish a young professionals network that will focus on career, community and connections--a vision that Zack also shares.  Together, we met with the Greater Portland Chamber about the success of their program, PROPEL. We are fortunate to have a rich resource in Saint Joseph’s College, so we’d like to strengthen that relationship in hopes that more young people will put down roots in the business community.  Zack already works to educate high school students on the importance of financial stability, so it will be a natural extension of his connection to the community.  He’s humble and looks forward to leading the Chamber in a positive new direction.  I knew we had the right man for the job when he shared that he read an extra chapter of “Robert’s Rules of Order” because he found parliamentary procedure to be interesting!”

No matter what industry you’re in, networking is always a good idea to build your business and lead it into a successful endeavor that helps others. The chamber is one way to make that happen. Conley promises to help businesses succeed. “I believe in giving 110% in whatever endeavor you choose to do – and I will give that in my role as President,” Conley stated. “Also, I want people to know that I’m always open to suggestions on ways to improve the organization and that my door is always open if anyone wants to learn more about the Chamber or has questions.”

A few of the following networking opportunities are available:

*Weekly Connecting For Growth referral group meetings that gather every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Windham Baptist Church, 973 River Road.

*Monthly evening Business Breaks that offer an opportunity to meet other business members in the surrounding area. The Breaks come with free food and fun networking. You do not have to be a member to attend.

*Quarterly Morning Momentums that provide an educational opportunity to improve business goals. It comes with breakfast and an opportunity to meet others. You do not have to be a member to attend, although there is a discounted cost to members.

*Ribbon Cutting Events to celebrate, welcome and highlight the new businesses in the Lakes Region. All are welcome to attend.

For more information about the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, call or text Conley at 207-838-0464 call or email at or contact the Chamber office at 207-892-8265.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Managing the 90 Year Crop: Sustainable Forestry in Raymond’s Hayden-Murdock Memorial Forest

Hayden-Murdock Memorial Forest
By Briana Bizier

Have you ever looked at a stretch of forest along the shore of one of our beautiful lakes and wondered how long it would remain undeveloped?

This tree was removed because it showed signs of damage.
For the Hayden-Murdock Memorial Forest on Panther Pond, the answer is forever. Owned by the Maine Woodland Owners as a land trust, this 100-acre parcel on Panther Pond is a working forest managed sustainably by the forestry company Timberstate G. to encourage tree health and growth. The Maine Woodland Owners currently own more than 5,000 acres of land, all of which is open to the public, sustainably managed and permanently protected from development. Although they are a non-profit organization, the Maine Woodland Owners chooses to pay property taxes out of the proceeds of their timber management.

This forest property contains 1,000 feet of lake frontage which will never be developed, and the entire acreage is open to the public for hiking, hunting, or nature walks. The property is also crossed by an existing snowmobile trail for winter access to the woods.

On a recent beautiful, sunny Wednesday, Greg Foster of Timberstate G. gave me a tour of the property to explain how sustainable forestry works. In the 1800s, the lot which eventually became the Hayden-Murdock forest was a sheep farm. As Foster and I walked through the woods, we found several crumbling rock walls, evidence of the land’s past as a working farm. The sheep fields reverted to forest in the 1920s, and the land was donated to the Maine Woodland Owners in October of 2000. then, the Maine Woodland Owners has held several meetings and demonstrations on the property, including inviting members of the Portland Water District to discuss past and future forest management and its impact on the watershed.

The objectives of long-term forestry are very compatible with long term environmental goals,” Foster said as we began our walk in the woods.

Sustainable forestry, he explained, involves a careful inspection of every single tree on the lot. The larger trees are the most profitable, but size isn’t the only concern when a forester marks a tree for cutting. On the Hayden-Murdock acreage, the current timber harvest is being managed for maximum sustainability. This means any tree which shows signs of insect damage, disease, or rot is removed, even though those trees are not the most valuable. Clearing those trees, Foster explained, opens the forest to more sunlight and air flow.

Sunlight is the only thing we can control,” he told me. Removing the larger trees allows more sunlight to penetrate the canopy and reach the forest floor, encouraging the growth of the most valuable tree in the forest: white pine.

Maine’s famous white pine has been highly valued since the 1600s, when it was used for the masts of the great ships of England’s Royal Navy. Many of the original white pines in Maine were marked with “The King’s Broad Arrow,” a pattern of three hatchet slashes forming an arrow pointed toward England. It was illegal to cut a white pine with the King’s Arrow, a law which fueled the simmering resentment toward England which eventually boiled over and created an independent United States.

These days, foresters use bright orange spray paint instead of hatchet marks to indicate which trees will be removed from a forest. As we walked through an area of forest which had been logged several days earlier, I was surprised to note how many large white pines remained standing.

We’re doing what’s right for the forest,” Foster explained, “and leaving the best quality trees.” hemlock, white pine, and hardwood trees taken from this plot of woods will travel all over New England. The largest and highest quality wood will be sold to lumber yards, where it is destined to become boards, furniture, decorative trim, or even tongue and groove planks. The tops of the trees, which tend to be smaller and knottier, become pulp logs for paper mills, or are processed into wood chips and sold to mills or power plants to generate electricity. Remaining tree limbs are returned to the forest, where they will decompose naturally.

If a landowner can get good returns on selling timber, they’re a lot less likely to sell their land for development,” Foster said. “The forest is like an investment. You can’t have a better long-term investment than high quality fiber from a forest.”

Lily the forestry dog on a recently felled white pine 
This acreage, Foster elaborated, will probably be logged every fifteen or twenty years. Cory Jordan of Jordan Tree Removal, the loggers who are currently removing trees in the forest with high tech machines like feller bunchers, explained that he and Foster had logged the Hayden-Murdock Memorial Forest fifteen years ago.

There was a lot more rotten pine then,” Jordan said, explaining how the sustainable forestry practices of fifteen years ago had led to healthier trees for this harvest.

I noted that sustainable forestry was a bit like farming, only on a very large time scale. Jordan laughed.

Instead of a ninety-day crop, we’ve got a ninety-year crop,” he said.

As Foster and I walked through sections of forest which were marked for logging and sections holding stacks of trees that had just been felled, chickadees flitted over our heads and an enormous pileated woodpecker flew between the trees. Foster explained Maine state regulations recommend foresters leave one standing tree per acre to remain as a “wildlife tree,” although his practices of thinning the forest to maximize white pines left significantly more than one tree per acre.

I also noticed many white pine saplings lining the forest floor. Some of those trees barely reached my knees, and some were almost as tall as me. Foster explained that white pine seeds germinate quickly after a logging operation, especially along the trails which have been disturbed by logging equipment.

He told me the saplings which now reach my shoulders may be ready to harvest in a hundred years.
We won’t be around to see them when they are harvested, but the Hayden-Murdock Memorial Forest will remain a forest for the next hundred years, open to the public and echoing with the sounds of chickadees and woodpeckers as the white pines stretch toward the sun.

A big thank you goes to Tony Plante for outstanding service to the Town of Windham

Tony Plante in 2016 celebrating his Stackpole Award
By Lorraine Glowczak

Serving as Windham’s Town Manager since 1996, Tony Plante’s official last day on the job was this past Wednesday, October 10. During his 22 years of service, Plante has provided exceptional leadership with dedication to the community and town staff.

In a previous interview with The Windham Eagle, Town Clerk Linda Morrill expressed her admiration for Plante’s loyalty and devotion to his career. “Being a town manager is not an easy job, and if anyone switched jobs with him they would find that out in a hurry,” Morrill said in 2016. “A manager needs to be on top of everything, 24/7. You need to be dedicated, and Tony is.”

Morrill was interviewed as part of an article written about Plante when he received the Linc Stackpole Manager award of the Year by Maine Town, City and Country Management Association two years ago. (August 19, 2016 edition by Michelle Libby). Stackpole award is named for Lincoln Stackpole, who served as town manager in Machias from 1970 until his death in 1977. It recognizes integrity and leadership, and recipients must demonstrate a socially responsible approach towards their community; concern for the well-being, support and growth of their municipal colleagues; and contribution and service beyond their community.

It has been reiterated in recent weeks about Plante’s concern for the well-being of not only the members of the community but for the town staff as well. Police Chief Kevin Schofield stated in the 2016 interview that Plante was a very easy boss to work for. “He gives us a lot of autonomy. He’s very analytical, thoughtful and well spoken. He promotes a family atmosphere within all the departments and employees,” Schofield explained.

Town Councilman, Jarrod Maxfield who has always been a big supporter of Plante stated that he has always admired Plante’s professionalism. “I appreciated his focus and dedication to his work and the community. He was respectful, not only to individuals in the community but to town staff as well.” staff members are sad to see Plante go and have stated that the next town manager will have big shoes to fill. Jen Alvino, Director of the Windham Public Library, shared her thoughts about Plante and his new direction.

“He has so much to offer and whatever he chooses for his new path, I sincerely wish him well,” Alvino began. “Where ever he goes next, those who get to work with him will benefit from his leadership, expertise and knowledge. I will really miss him.”

Donna Chapman, Chair of the Town Council also wishes Plante well. “We all honestly wish the best for Tony as well as the best for his family.”

The community of Windham wishes you luck, Tony Plante, although you won’t need it. Thank you for your many years of service, dedication and extraordinary leadership.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Hazel Gilman is presented The Boston Post Cane

By Lorraine Glowczak

In 1909, as part of a publicity act, The Boston Post newspaper presented gold-headed walking sticks, known as the Boston Post Cane, to 431 New England towns. The stipulation that the cane be given to the oldest citizen for use as long as he or she lived. Although, The Post stopped its circulation over 60 years ago, the tradition still exists in many municipalities, including right here in Windham.

Town Clerk, Linda Morrill
On Tuesday, October 2nd a replica of Windham’s original Boston Cane Post was presented to Hazel Gilman, age 100, at her home by Town Clerk Linda Morrill. The original gold-headed walking stick is in an enclosed display at Town Hall for safe-keeping.

When asked how she felt about being presented with a time-honored tradition, Gilman said with a smile, “It’s nothing I’ve done to deserve it. I just happen to be the oldest person alive in Windham.”

Born Hazel Plummer on July 20, 1918, Gilman has lived her entire life in Windham, of which 98 of her years have been spent in the home where she currently resides. “When I was two years old, my Mom and Dad moved in with my grandparents to help take care of them,” Gilman explained. “My grandfather was deaf and blind, so my mom and dad wanted to be there for them.”

Gilman graduated from Windham High School in 1935 and married Kenneth Gilman in 1941. Their favorite past time activities were weekend day trips with friends. “We loved to travel. During our week-long vacations we would rent a home on the beach or travel around the New England area,” she said.

Gilman and her husband lived a happy life together until his passing 20 years ago. Although they did not have children, Gilman is surrounded and supported by a loving and large family, that includes two younger brothers. She had a total of six siblings. been through five major wars, she has witnessed and experienced many changes in a century’s time. Gilman shared an insight she had recently. “I put laundry in the washing machine the other day and it dawned on me that I can have my clothes washed and dried in a couple of hours,” she began. “It would have taken my mom two days to do the same amount of laundry…by the time she boiled the water, soaked the clothes, etc.”

As for the current electronics, she admits frustration. “There are so many buttons. It’s all very confusing to me.” Referring to the electronics of fifty plus years ago, such as the radio and television, Gilman joked, “I liked it when there was just an on and off button.”

When asked what she thought may have contributed to her longevity, she thought for a moment and then responded, “I don’t know. It just happened.”

For those who were present at her home yesterday that included two nephews, Peter and John Forbes, and her youngest brother Rick Plummer, one could not help but notice the laughter and jesting between the family members. “They are always teasing me,” she kidded.
But then, becoming serious, Gilman said, “I am very fortunate to have such a large and loving family who looks in on me.”

She did not remain serious for long, however. As the crowd in her home was getting ready to disperse, Gilman teased Morrill, “They need to make these canes shorter for short people.” Laughter filled the room.

Gilman may not know exactly what has contributed to her long life, but it is evident that love and humor has something to do with it.

Congratulations, Hazel Gilman.

Raymond and Windham students eat a locally prepared Maine Harvest Lunch

All the food in the above photo came from Maine farms
By Lorraine Glowczak

To encourage and expose students to healthy and locally grown foods, Chef Samantha Cowens-Gasbarro, District Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator, and Jeanne Reilly, School Nutrition Director as well as the lunch program staff have been slowly introducing wholesome diets into the RSU14 lunch program for the past eight years.

But Tuesday, October 2 was an exceptional day for the students of Raymond and Windham. It was “Maine Harvest Lunch” day – a day when students had the opportunity to indulge in all fresh foods that were grown and raised from Maine farmers. There was not one morsel of processed foods or staple from other states – or countries - in Tuesday’s lunch.“Our ‘Maine’ goal is to introduce kids to nutritious, real food and to get them interested and engaged in eating freshly prepared, minimally processed, locally grown foods,” explained Reilly. “We want them to know where their food comes from and we want them to be excited about eating healthy and delicious food. We also feel strongly about supporting the local economy by purchasing as locally as possible when we can.” 
When asked how successful it was to have a full menu of locally grown foods for the students at RSU14, the answer was resounding positive. “The kids loved it,” stated Cowens-Gasbarro. “At the high school they loved the [chicken] drumstick bar and so many kids were raving about the roasted delicata squash. Many who had never had it were asking to try it. The kids were pleasantly surprised at the local food options and how they were prepared. One student said this was the best meal they had all year. At one of our elementary schools, those who were lined up at the end of lunch were still trying to finish every last bit on their plate before being dismissed. They needed more time to eat this delicious meal.”

Those of us who live in Maine are lucky to experience and eat locally grown produce, livestock and seafood that are readily available. Cowens-Gasbarro and Reilly have taken advantage of this opportunity by reaching out to Maine farmers to supply the food for the lunch program.

“Farmer Frank” Pecoraro of Mulberry Farms in Raymond was one of the local farms that supplied the organic red potatoes, kale, delicata squash and peppers. He delivered the food to the Raymond Elementary School himself on Thursday, September 27th.

“Farmer Frank” Pecoraro of Mulberry Farms in Raymond delivers food directly from his farm to Raymond Elementary School
“Our partnership with Farmer Frank came about through us having conversations about our mutual dedication to serving this community delicious top-quality food,” explained Cowens-Gasbarro.

So, what are the benefits of eating locally? According to the University of Washington, the top eight reasons to eat local foods includes the following:

Local foods are fresher. Fruits and vegetables begin to lose nutrients as soon as they are picked. Buying local produce cuts down travel time from farm to table.

Local foods are seasonal. True, it would be great to have fresh tomatoes and berries all year round but eating seasonally means avoiding “artificial ripening” or eating food that’s been shipped thousands of miles.

Local foods are better for the environment. Some foods are shipped literally thousands of miles; that is a big carbon footprint that could be avoided by purchasing local and seasonal foods.
Local foods preserve green space and farmland. The environmental question of where your food comes from is bigger than its carbon footprint. Buying foods grown and raised closer to where you live helps maintain farmland and green space in your area.

Local foods promote food safety. Less distance between your food’s source and your kitchen table leaves less of a chance of contamination.

Local foods support your local economy. Money spent locally stays local. Purchasing locally builds your local economy instead of handing over the earnings to a corporation in another city, state, or country. Also, since the food itself moves through less hands, more of the money you spend will end up in the pockets of those raising and growing those foods.

Local foods create community. Ever find yourself spending much of your time at the farmers market chatting and socializing in addition to purchasing your produce? Getting to know your farmer, cheese purveyor, fishmonger, butcher, workers at your local co-op, etc., creates a sense of community.

In addition to the organic vegetables by Mulberry Farms; broccoli was grown and sold by Chipman Farms in Raymond, organic peppers and red onions were grown and sold by Hancock Farm in Casco and the chicken for Tuesday’s lunch was provided by various Maine farms.

The Maine Harvest Lunch was more of a success than staff had hoped - not only among the students, but for the parents as well. We often get emails from parents thanking us for exposing their children to new and different foods.  Because children have the opportunity to try new foods in a friendly and safe environment, parents report that they are more likely to serve these new foods on their menus at home.  Reilly said. “This is a true success to us.”

Police Sergeant recognized for outstanding work

By Matt Pascarella

Last month, Sergeant Raymond Williams of the Windham Police Department was recognized by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy for his 25+ years of service as a certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). There were seven officers, including Sergeant Williams, recognized in Maine. Each officer was recognized for their exceptional work in evaluating 100 or more drug impaired drivers during their career. Sergeant Williams has evaluated 130 impaired drivers.

Sergeant Raymond Williams
A DRE is a police officer trained to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.

In the late 1980s, standardized field sobriety tests to test for alcohol were brought into Maine. These tests were based off standardized practices that all officers across the country were required to use. The tests determine the top three ways to obtain information regarding a person’s impairment. This included the horizontal eye test (involuntary jerks of the eyes), the walk and turn test as well as the standing on one leg test.

Although these standardized tests work well to identify drunk driving, it was discovered that many who were impaired drivers were not impaired by alcohol, and therefore could not be arrested.
As a result, the International Chiefs of Police Association and the Bureau of Highway Safety brought the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program into the state of Maine in the early 1990s, incorporating instructors who had been through the DRE program.

Sergeant Williams knew how frustrating it was to have contact with a person who was clearly under the influence of something, but either had no alcohol or not enough alcohol in their system to be a crime. There was no mechanism to prosecute such people in the late 1980s/early 1990s. So, when the DRE program came to the State of Maine, the Legislature had to add wording into the regulations that stated it was against the law to be under the influence of alcohol and/or any other substance.

“I saw the end result of people operating under the influence,” Williams said. “I wanted to do what I could to get those people off the streets.”

Sergeant Williams became a certified DRE through the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. This included being certified on the standardized field sobriety testing, taking the drug evaluation classification program as well as participation in a two-week DRE school. The program included mock and/or actual evaluations and written testing. To be DRE certified, you also need to be knowledgeable about various types of drugs.

Sergeant Williams, who grew up in Cumberland, went to Southern Maine Community College and got an associate degree. After college, he worked in Windham as a reserve police officer in the summer of 1985 and was hired full time in the summer of 1986. He attended the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in 1987.

Sergeant Williams has been on the department for 33 years and would like to pass on his knowledge until retirement. He manages a firearms program and began the motorcycle unit in 1998 which is still in use today.

Friday, September 28, 2018

First of three public forums to discuss proposed Windham Community Center held on Monday by Lorraine Glowczak

Joe Crocker of Windham and a Rep. from Harriman Associates
Over 20 Windham residents attended the first of three public forums to discuss the planning of a Windham Community Center on Monday, September 24 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall Gymnasium. The forum also included those who attended remotely on Facebook Live. The evening began with a meet and greet as well as time for conversation that included pizza donated by Corsetti’s. Sodas, water and chocolate dessert were also available.

By 6:15, the organized meeting began with a welcome by Pat Moody, Chair of the Windham Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. A background and historical synopsis that led to the evening’s first public forum was presented by Linda Brooks, Director of the Windham Parks and Recreation Department.

Brooks stated that an advisory committee was established in 2015. Results of a survey taken by Windham citizens from 2016 to 2017, indicated the preference for a community center with intentions and purposes of giving Windham a sense of place that accommodates the needs and activities of all demographics.

The possible site location for the center is at the rotary between Routes 302 and 202 behind the Smith Cemetery.

Two members of the design firm working with the recreation committee, Harriman Associates, were also available at Monday evening’s forum to discuss the possible design considerations. Their discussion included high revenue/high construction cost designs such as a leisure pool, a kitchen, a weight lifting and cardiovascular room, aerobic and dance studio as well as a multi-purpose room. The possible plans also include lower revenue and construction cost designs such as an adult lounge, teen and youth hangout, conference rooms and offices.

After being introduced to ideas, concepts and plans for a community center based upon the results of the survey, three groups of approximately five to seven people had an opportunity to engage, participate and communicate ideas in an interactive session regarding the center’s programming and concept design.

Mary Wassick; volunteer, actor, and director of Windham Center Stage Theater; was present at Monday evening’s forum. “I would like to see an arts and theater section added to the plans,” Wassick explained to her group of five. “Our theater program brings in 900 to 1500 people three times a year and we are one of the only multi-generational programs in town. I see a lot of design for sports but would also like to see the arts/theater added.”

Joe Crocker, a Windham resident who is employed by Lewiston Recreation Department stated to his group that there is one room he deems the most important. “In my professional opinion, the multi-purpose room is the most important because trends change, and that room is adaptive to ever changing needs and activities.”

Other ideas and concerns shared included but were not limited to the following:
Making sure programs and activities for seniors accommodated the age spectrum from 55 to the more elderly.

Installing solar panels to heat the pool.
Installing a commercial kitchen.
Considering programs and room designs that will generate income for payment and upkeep for the center.
Making sure there is sufficient Wi-fi access.

The forum ended with the separate groups coming back together to discuss what they deemed most important as well as programs and designs they would like to see added. For programs and designs that are not on the original suggested designs compiled by the committee, Brooks clarified that “these designs are actually little pieces of the big picture” and that the evening’s forum was part of gaining additional information.

Donna Chapman, Windham Town Councilwoman and Chair was present and participated in the forum. She stated that the community of Windham has been requesting a community center for quite some time. “So, we must start the process of moving forward,” Chapman said. “Although the community center will not totally pay for itself, I think the benefits will outweigh the cost of running it.”

Windham Town Councilman, Tim Nangle was also present. “I think a community center in Windham is a great idea,” he stated. “Its time has come, and it would be nice to give the community something to be truly proud of. One thing we hear all the time is the “small town feel” that Windham still has. A center like this could bring the town together across generations and town.” also added that he acknowledges the cost of running a community center and how to pay for it is a major concern for a majority of people. “Windham’s taxes have gone up by double digits over the last 10 years and there is nothing that the residents can put their hands on and say, ‘this is what my taxes get me.’ Bond rates are pretty low right now, so financing a project like this is doable. What I don’t want to see is the council to look at this project and say, “We’ll only do this if we can grant fund it 100%.”’ Nangle explained that grants require a certain match and the town would have to have that money in hand (a voter approval for a bond for example) in order to trigger some level of grant funding. 

The next step in the Community Center Committee’s process is to put all the information that was gathered in this first public forum, refining the programming and design options that will be discussed in greater detail at a second public forum that will occur in December. An exact date has yet to be established.

For more information about the community center plans, programs and designs, contact the Windham Parks and Recreation Department at (207) 892-1905 or Parks&

Children’s music icon Rick Charette announces semi-retirement by Matt Pascarella

Rich Charette in the early 1990s
If you grew up in or around Maine, you probably know who Rick Charette is. He’s been performing in Maine for close to 40 years. Charette is semi-retiring and will no longer perform at schools or travel for gigs, but he will not give up music completely as he still plans to perform at the occasional event.

Charette, a lifelong Mainer from Westbrook, got his first guitar in junior high school and learned to play by ear from a friend. At the time, Charette was very interested in folk music, especially the music of Bob Dylan. He started playing folk songs and songs from other songwriters of the time. He began writing songs in high school and when he was in his early 20s, opened for folk singer Tom Rush.

Charette has a Bachelor of Arts in English, but music was his passion. He began studying classical guitar and obtained a second degree in music education and then taught music for grades kindergarten through sixth grade.

Charette thought folk songs were ok but wanted something more contemporary for children. One of his instructors at college thought Charette might have a talent writing music for younger audiences and believed this was something Charette should explore.
Charette had an opportunity to meet Mister Rogers

Charette wrote a song called “Bubble Gum” and it got a different reaction from children than when he played folk songs. Charette noticed that children had more energy and attentiveness during his “Bubble Gum” song but didn’t know if it was because he was excited to sing it or that they were up and moving around during the song.

In 1980, Charette met Roy Clark through a roommate. Clark was a good musician and worked for Charette’s roommate’s dad at the Frost and Flame woodstove store in Windham to earn extra cash. Clark liked Charette’s songs and they became business partners.
A record company produced Charette’s first album, but Charette and Clark decided shortly after to start their own company, Pine Point Recording Company, “and 12 albums later, here we are,” he observes.

“Bubble Gum” gave Charette credibility and confidence and, as a result, went on to write two other hits, “Alligator in the Elevator” and “Mud”.

There is no doubt Charette has made a difference within Maine and with many children and individuals. Charette recalls performing at Deering Oaks Park before social media and there was a large crowd filling the park.“That was the beginning; wherever we would go, the place would fill up,” recalls Charette. He recounts a show in Fairfield where he walked by a mother and daughter waiting for his performances and overheard the daughter say, “Mommy, this is a dream come true.” Charette was very moved that he was able to bring so much joy into a child’s world.

Charette has been recognized on a national level as well. He and Clark were at a literacy conference in San Diego in the 1990s where they were performing and conducting songwriting workshops. They bumped into keynote speaker Fred Rogers. Charette was happy to hear that Rogers was familiar with and liked his music.

Charette believes now is a good time to not close all doors but pull back a little. He would like to write a book about what it’s like being Rick Charette. 

There’s a place for everyone when it comes to Charette’s music.

He observes, “It’s been a lot of fun over the years seeing all the smiles and the joy and the laughter and the silliness.”

Friday, September 21, 2018

Local roots for BNI® Maine good for business by Lorraine Glowczak

Kelly and Niels Mank speak at an annual success training 
Most business owners and professionals would agree that the growth and success of their company is due, in large part, through their connections with others. Raymond residents and local business owners, Kelly and Niels Mank, have no doubts that their business successes are a direct result of networking with other professionals. For them, it was their active involvement in BNI®, an international membership-based business networking and marketing organization.

In fact, when Kelly joined BNI® Maine in 2006, Mank’s photography business grew by 100% for the next two years. This was followed by the growth of their printing company (Time4Printing) and the addition of the vehicle wrapping and commercial signage division (Time4Wrapz). Their businesses continue to grow exponentially.

It is for this reason the Manks recently purchased and became Executive Directors of BNI® Maine. The purpose of this acquisition is not just to gain another business venture, but more as a mission to help others succeed as they have.

Cumberland Fair“I attribute our professional and personal successes to our involvement with BNI®,” Kelly stated. “It now feels like a calling for me to help other small businesses succeed and assist people to meet their personal and professional goals. That’s the main reason why Niels and I decided to purchase BNI® Maine. Additionally, we also wish to grow our management and leadership skills.”

Cherri Crockett, Vice President of BNI® – Successful Business Partners in Norway agrees with Kelly’s self-assessment. “Kelly and Niels are so family and community oriented, THIS is their calling and their ticket to helping the rest of us grow.”

The concept of BNI® began in January 1985 in California by Dr. Ivan Misner who was looking for ways to increase clients for his personal consulting business. With the help of a few friends and associates, Misner created the first network gathering. Within a year, 20 BNI® chapters were established throughout California. Moving forward 33 years, one can find 8,500 BNI® chapters world-wide with 20 chapters and 450 members in Maine. Windham has one chapter and a new chapter is forming.

According to the website, the mission of BNI® is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive and professional referral marketing program that enables companies to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals. This occurs through weekly meetings and exclusive resources.

There our many core values that members of BNI® promote and these include the commitment to life-long learning, having a positive attitude, attending weekly meetings and taking accountability. But one core value that builds long-term success was explained by Dr. Misner in a recent interview.
“BNI®’s principle core value is ‘Givers Gain®’,” Misner began. “The idea is that if you help others by sending business their way, they’ll do the same for you. This is a concept that is predicated on building relationships, not focusing on transactions. One of the most important things I’ve discovered over the last 33 years is that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting.  It is about building long term meaningful relationships with other business professionals.”

With the ‘Givers Gain®” value by which BNI® members adhere, many professionals throughout Maine have also seen significant increase and growth in their businesses.

Michael Eric Berube, President of Profit Partners chapter stated that in eight years, he has reached a level of success that keeps him busy today and is ready to pay it forward.

“In 2010 I was working part time at a camera store for $12 per hour and trying to shoot weddings and portraits on the weekends in the attempt to feed my family of four,” he began. “With the great recession in full swing and advent of digital cameras, every mom and uncle with a DLSR decided to become a 'wedding photographer' and significantly cut into the market for my moderate price point. I was invited to be a substitute for a Graphics Designer at Profit Partners BNI® Chapter and seeing the positive energy of cooperative relationships in the room I went to the hall, called my dad and borrowed the money I needed to apply and I put in an application. My application was accepted and within a month of membership I received my first large referral and was able to pay my dad back for my first year of membership. Shortly after this, Ridge York, our Realtor in the Chapter introduced me to Real Estate Photography and helped set me up in the business. By 2013, I was so busy with my new business model that I had to quit the part time job and stopped photographing anything but Real Estate. Today, I routinely work with 4 subcontractors just to keep up with the work. Life is good. In 2017, I volunteered to be on the Ambassador and Director Team to be able to hopefully Pay Forward the help I received and to help others in turn achieve the same.”

David Brady of Kane Insurance who is a member of the BNI® Business Partners Chapter in Westbrook stated that in just two years of joining BNI®, he had experienced a significant financial growth. “Through contacts and referrals, I went from $60,000 profit in my first year to $100,000 in the second year.”

The professional growth that BNI® members experience also transform into their personal lives, helping to reach individual dreams and goals.

Mary Emerson, Office Manager of Time4Printing, stated that she cannot say enough about how BNI® has impacted her life. “Every Friday after I leave my weekly meeting I feel so truly happy and energized. Just very ready to take on the day. Everyone is so like-minded and truly wants to see each other’s businesses prosper. Plus, everyone is so positive and optimistic that it is infectious. BNI® has also really helped me strengthen my relationships with friends and family! Every member in the group trains you to listen for key things that could lead to possible referrals.  I love how my friends and family know they can come to me when they are looking for a trusted business professional."

But despite all the successes BNI® members experience, both Kelly and Niels admit that this organization is not necessarily for everyone. “If you are in a profession where you are a solo-prenuer and/or sole proprietor who intentionally wants to remain in that capacity, a BNI® membership is probably not the best fit for you,” Niels explained. “However, if you are reaching for a growth plan that would include increasing staff and/or number of company vehicles, then BNI® can help you reach your business goals.”

Both Kelly and Niels have an excitement for life, business and helping others succeed. Their enthusiasm shows and is catching. BNI® members state-wide and beyond are looking forward to their leadership.

“Their passion for business shows in their daily work, not only with their businesses, but with their children and community,” stated Crockett. “I love that they are teaching their children the value of smart business and commitment to seeing a project through. THIS is exactly how the rest of us will benefit from their new roles, sharing their values and having the integrity to see the rest of us to succeed, in a way that works for Maine businesses.”

Misner, too, is excited by Maine’s future. “I helped to launch the operation in Maine several decades ago and it has been exciting to see its growth there over the years. I have the utmost faith in the Mank’s to continue to serve the BNI® members and the general business community throughout Maine.”

For more information about BNI®, visit the website at or call 207-894-7200.