Friday, February 23, 2018

Principal keeps unique promise by Lorraine Glowczak

Film director and novelist, Neil Jordan, has been quoted as saying, “Never make a promise – you may have to keep it.” Perhaps it is possible that Randy Crockett, Principal at Jordan Small Middle School never heard or considered that statement when he challenged the JSMS students with their school-wide Pennies for Patients fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“Mr. Crockett made the pledge that if our school could fund raise over $500, then he would kiss a cow,” explained Lisa Schadler, JSMS Librarian. “Of course, the kids took him up on that challenge and overachieved!”

It seems over achievement is an understatement. The students raised $1036.84 total and of that amount - Grade 5 collected $550.
Staying true to his word, Crocket honored his promise with a “Kiss the Cow” ceremony on Friday,
February 16 at 12:50 p.m. on the grounds of JSMS just prior to the annual staff/student basketball game. grade student, Finley Sabasteanski and his parents, Kristina and Matt provided the barnyard animal whose name is Daisy. Daisy waited patiently while Crockett kissed her on the forehead as the students observed, laughed and enjoyed watching their principal keep his word.  

The money collected by the students will go towards the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a non-and philanthropy.” 
profit health organization dedicated to finding cures for blood cancers. According to their website, part of their Student Series’ Pennies for Patients program helps raise money to fund research for therapies that save the lives of blood cancer patients. The website states, “by participating in Pennies for Patients, teachers will have new opportunities to incorporate service learning and character building into their curriculum. Students will also learn about service, leadership

LK Kulaw, JSMS Health teacher, was the organizer of this event. Both she and Mr. Crockett were unavailable for interviews due to winter break.

For more information about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Student Series efforts, peruse their website at

A Windham activist remembered by Lorraine Glowczak

Many people whose passion for harmony and goodwill lost a soldier for their cause recently, when peace and human rights activist, Sally A. Breen of Windham, passed away on Wednesday, February 14, at the age of 82 after a bout with cancer. 
Originally from Texas, Breen is remembered by her family, friends and colleagues for her zeal and enthusiastic efforts to create public policy changes regarding the use of nuclear weapons as well as other human rights issues. With her efforts in changing polices, she changed many lives along the way.

“How to begin describing the ways Sally Breen has changed my life?” step-daughter Marcy Landry recalls fondly. “My earliest memories in Portland with Sally were going to protests regarding nuclear weapons. I had never seen anything like it in East Texas. She opened my eyes to gay rights and shunned the Baptist East Texas mentality. The many camping trips in Maine and New Hampshire with Sally changed me into a tom-boy. I started to care less about makeup and more about having fun hiking and camping. As a young child, I was told that every day is a blessing and empathy towards everyone is the way to act.”, it seemed, was Breen’s life force and personal mission. She was involved in many organizations such as Peace Action Maine and Equality Maine as well as an active member in the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist (AAUU) church in Portland. Additionally, she was participated in many issues surrounding clean air and other environmental concerns. “I worked on legislation and policies to strengthen our environment [with Breen],” stated Senator Bill Diamond. “She was the tireless devotee to protecting our environment.”

Her greatest actions in the fight for peace, equality and the environment were found in her protesting endeavors, and she did so - no matter the consequences. She has been arrested many times in many states while protesting; which include both offices of Senator Snow and Senator Collins. However, there is one caveat that makes her stand out from other protesters.

“Sally loved to cook,” began Nancy Knauber, a close friend. “In fact, she would bake cookies and take them to Senator Snow’s and Senator Collins' office when she went there to protest, knowing that she might get arrested. She usually got arrested. Sally got stung a couple of times as a result of her passions, but it never stopped her from doing what she believed was right.”

Knauber, who is also a member of AAUU, stated that Breen cared deeply for the homeless in the community. “She took in people who were homeless and rented a room to them. When I was sick and had no one to care for me, she let me stay at her home for a couple of months.”

Breen’s love and compassion for peace, equality, environment and those who faced challenging times did not end there. She enjoyed writing, often publishing her thought provoking articles for the Lakes Region Weekly. But more importantly, was her love for her family that included not only her step-daughter but her step-son Kyle G. Williams as well as her children Rachel Scholz, Mindy Baldauf and Neal Hogue. Last, but not least is her husband, Keith Williams who remains at their Windham home.

“She showed me how a true and loving marriage can be amazing” Landry stated. “She loved my father very much and he loved her very much. She supported my father’s endless work on water quality for Highland Lake Association and many other lakes around New England. I consider Sally to truly be my second mother.”

Her activism, love, enthusiasm and compassion will always be remembered by all those who knew and came in contact with her. For those of us who did not get to meet her, an opportunity has been missed.

There will be a celebration of life at the AAUU, 524 Allen Avenue in Portland on March 24 at 2 p.m.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Be the Influence youth members represented well in Washington by Elizabeth Richards

Meader and Bradford visit Senator King
Last week, Windham High School students Maggi Bradford and Danielle Meader had an opportunity to hone their leadership skills at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum in Washington DC.
Bradford and Meader attended the conference as youth members of the Be the Influence (BTI) coalition, which is dedicated to reducing youth substance abuse in Windham and Raymond.  Coalition member Doug Daigle, the BTI Youth Advisor at the high school, and Project Director Laura Morris also attended.  

Morris said that the forum is an important way for the coalition to stay current on pertinent issues, such as the opiate crisis and marijuana legalizations. The youth component of the conference offered the students an opportunity to learn about these topics so they can bring the information back to the community. 

This was the first time the coalition has had youth attend the conference. Part of the conference includes meeting with senators and representatives to educate them on how important substance abuse prevention funding is. Morris said having youth present allows these legislators to hear firsthand what the kids are seeing in their own schools and neighborhoods, and how they are making a difference. “The main reason we bring the youth is that they’re a far better voice than any adult could be,” she said. at the conference, the coalition members had an opportunity to talk directly with Senators Susan Collins and Angus King. “We really got a chance to showcase what it is we’re doing in the schools, what we’re doing in the community, and how important it is that they really fight for it,” Morris said.

Meader, a senior who has been involved with the coalition since her freshman year, said “The most important and powerful part of the conference for me was just to learn that there are so many other people that are also trying to help prevent substance abuse.” She added that the opportunity to talk with senators and representatives about the work they do, and hearing that they are supported in their efforts, was powerful. “That felt like we shouldn’t give up on this work that we’re doing because it really is having an effect,” she said.  

The conference brought together youth from all over the country, which allowed them all to learn from each other. Meader and Bradford had a chance to share the exciting things happening in their community, as well as learn what other youth across the nation are doing, Morris said. 

Bradford and Meaderm talk to Senator Collins
“It was really nice to go there because we got the chance to meet a bunch of other youth that had the same passion in their own schools,” Bradford said.  “It was nice to get to meet them and get to know what they are doing in their schools to make a difference. It gave us some ideas on what our next steps could be,” she added.

Bradford, who is a junior, has also been involved with BTI since her freshman year. She said that at the conference she also learned about collaboration and how they can work with other coalitions to benefit everyone.

Morris said that in the community, BTI has been doing a lot of peer-to-peer training, which allows high school students to then take the information to the younger grades. Bradford said she enjoys speaking with younger kids and letting them know that not everybody does drugs.  “It’s like being a role model to the kids, and I enjoy doing that,” she said.  

Bradford said that her favorite part of the conference was hearing other people’s stories, especially a high school student who was very empowering, she said, as he shared what he has done to make a difference.
Meader said the best part of the conference for her was getting to meet others who have some real insight into the issues. “I think that’s what I’m most looking forward to sharing with other people in the community,” she said. She adds that she wants the community to know that the coalition is doing this work and she encourages anyone who hears about their fundraisers and activities to come out and support them.  “We always like to hear that other people are fighting for the same issues as us,” she said.

Morris said that she was very proud of how the two youth represented the coalition. “They were well spoken, they were passionate, they knew what they were talking about, and we were very pleased that they were representing us,” she said.

The Be the Influence Coalition has many ongoing activities at the schools and in the community.  Anyone interested in getting involved with helping to keep our youth off drugs in the community can contact Morris at

Ice fishing with small children by Briana Bizier

Ian Bizier holds a small mouth bass
“Ice fishing with a toddler? You’re crazy!”

It may sound far-fetched, but ice fishing is actually a wonderful activity for small children. What’s more, getting out on the ice is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the lakes region, to spend quality time outside with your children, and to shake a fist at old man winter!

Ian and Sage Bizier
After extensive testing with my two little ice fishing assistants, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks for taking small children onto the ice. Hopefully this will give you the confidence to get outside and enjoy all that Maine has to offer - even in February.

Fishing with small children is not about catching fish. Serious fishing takes commitment. Unfortunately, fish tend to bite first thing in the morning and just as the sun is setting, times when it can be very difficult to convince small children (or their parents) to bundle up and head outside. Serious fishing also requires time and patience, both qualities that can be a challenge if your fishing buddy is a toddler.

When ice fishing with small children, it’s helpful to remember that the purpose of the trip isn’t actually to catch as many fish as possible. Instead, taking a child fishing is an investment in the future. If your two-year-old loves ice fishing now, chances are she will love ice fishing when she’s ten. She might even love it enough to wake up in the dark and set up traps with you by flashlight.

Be safe. Ice has to be four inches thick to safely hold the weight of a person, five to seven inches thick for a snowmobile, and a foot thick to hold a car. 

But how can you tell how thick the ice is on any given lake? Ask around! Local bait shops are happy to share information about ice conditions. You can also check websites like, or you can look for other ice fishing parties. This time of year, you may see ice fishing shacks or even
pickup trucks on a frozen lake. If you see shacks, other fishermen, and especially cars, you can stride across the ice with confidence.

Another safety concern is footing. Conditions on the ice change every day, and sometimes the surface of a frozen lake can be quite slick. YakTraxs or similar cleats help adults keep their footing, while a sled or backpack can help transport kids comfortably across the ice. When my youngest was a baby, we pushed his stroller out onto the ice.

Finally, if you’ve never been on a frozen lake before, you may be surprised to realize ice makes noise. It’s normal for ice to gurgle and, yes, even crack under your feet. 

Let your kids help. To a young child, there aren’t many places as exciting as a bait shop. Why not let your assistant tag along on your pre-fishing errands, or help you to “choose” your bait fish? They will feel more invested in the fishing trip if you let them assist with the preparations, even if their “help” consists of carrying a single water bottle to the car.

Sage Bizier enjoys hot chocolate
Once you’re on the ice, chances are your little fishing buddies will be fascinated by the whole process of drilling holes and setting up traps. When we go ice fishing with our kids, they want to help us do everything. Yes, this did lead to losing a scoop down a hole on the first fishing trip of the year, but it’s also led to a seven-year-old who knows how to use an ice auger and spends the summer talking about how much she misses ice fishing.

Keep them warm. The most expensive outfits in our house are the kid’s snow suits. 

Why spend all that money on something we only use in the winter? Because nothing ruins a fishing trip faster than a cold kiddo!

Before you go ice fishing with small children, make sure you’ve dressed them well. Their bottom layer (and yours, too) should be wool, silk, or polypropylene. Avoid cotton, which gets wet and cold faster than you can say, “Don’t stick your foot in the water!”

Hand and foot warmers are readily available at many stores. Our strategy is usually to put foot warmers in boots before we leave the house, and to open a pair of hand warmers in the parking lot.
If you have an especially curious or fast toddler, it also pays to bring a spare pair of mittens. Even on the coldest day, toddlers have an uncanny knack for getting wet.

Feed them. Fruit, vegetables, and a balanced diet may be the rule at home, but I am hereby giving you permission to feed your small children junk food while ice fishing. We usually bring an assortment of snacks which are easy to eat without taking off your mittens, like lollypops and pretzel rods.

A thermos of hot water and a few packages of instant noodles, as well as a plastic mug and hot chocolate mix, tend to brighten spirits on the ice. For longer ice fishing trips on days when the wind is low and the sun is shining, we light a fire and cook hot dogs. If you’re lucky enough to catch a few pan fish, those make an excellent addition to the picnic! a few extras. When the fishing is slow, a frisbee can go a long way. If the conditions permit, ice skates can be a lot of fun for both kids and adults. And an impromptu adult versus children snowball fight is highly recommended (by the children, at least).

Know when to head in. Even if the fishing is great, when our children start to complain about being cold, we pull up the traps and head for the shore. Why? Because I want my kids to love the winter.
I want them to have fun when they’re outside, and to grow to enjoy Maine just as much in the snow and ice as they do in the middle of August. When my children look back on winter fishing trips with Mom and Dad, I don’t want them to remember being miserable and cold. I want them to remember special food, laughing with their parents . . . and maybe even catching a fish or two!

You don’t have to fish! You may not own any ice fishing gear, or you may not have the slightest interest in ice fishing. Don’t worry - you can still have fun on the ice. With a sled and a backpack, you could have a wonderful, unique picnic on the ice. A frozen lake is also a beautiful place for cross-country skiing, especially during a moonlit evening. Maine’s lakes are breathtaking any time of the year, and our winters are too long to spend indoors.

So, get outside, enjoy nature, and take the kids with you!

Friday, February 9, 2018

WHS students form a band for varsity players and spectators to enjoy by Matt Pascarella

Three students make up the band, Pantomime, that plays during the varsity games at Windham High. Windham High students, Owen Wert (senior) plays guitar and bass, while Tyler Briggs (junior) plays drums, bass and guitar. Jack Twombly (junior at South Portland High School) plays bass and drums.
The band started after Wert had seen a faculty band play at Windham and told Briggs that they should consider starting a band together. Briggs knew a friend he met at church who may be interested in joining in. He contacted Jack Twombly, a South Portland resident, and asked if he wanted to jam. And, just like that - the band was formed. 

They came up with the name, Pantomime, after careful consideration. Twombly explains he and a friend came up with a list of possible band names. They each threw in a name or two, but eventually picked Pantomime. The group waited a while to announce the official name just to make sure it fit. landed the varsity gig because originally they were a pep band, formed from a school band. So Wert and Briggs approached Windham’s athletic director, Rich Drummond, and asked about putting a garage band together. Drummond had seen something similar at Waterboro and said he thought it was a good idea. So, they booked the varsity gig.

Briggs explains that his father, Jim, has a lot to do with picking their songs. The band is eclectic in their listening habits, but Briggs’ dad suggests a lot of older rock music, like Led Zepplin and AC/DC. Considering the advice from his father, Pantomime throws in a variety of tunes to include 90s music like Nirvana as well as more modern artists like Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino.

They are looking to expand and book more gigs. They’ve already been asked to play at Project Graduation 2018 this year. 

“We hope to keep doing this and . . . to write our own music; we’d like to put together some songs and find a way to record and get it out there,” says Briggs. 

Be sure to catch Pantomime at the next varsity game and enjoy local talent in the making. Who knows, you may say, “I knew them when . . .”

Two local students set sail for Cuba during winter break by Lorraine Glowczak

Ellen Clarke in center (wearing pink)
The Katahdin Program, a RSU#14 high school alternative education school, is proud to announce that two students, Owen Shepard, junior, and Ellen Clarke, senior, have been selected to participate in a 12-day sailing trip aboard the Tall Ship, Oliver Hazard Perry, from St. Petersburg, Florida to Cienfuegos, Cuba.

As part of Tall Ships Portland, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to maritime youth education, Shepard and Clarke as well as Katahdin teacher Christine Caputo and Katahdin headmaster, Rich Meserve will set sail with approximately 30 other Maine students on the round-trip educational adventure on Friday, February 16. This hands-on learning experience will provide discovery and study in the areas of leadership, culture, self-reliance, responsibility, team-work and much more.

To help defray some of the costs for the students and educators, the Katahdin Program is hosting a number of fundraising efforts. One such fundraiser, a variety show, will take place this Saturday, February 10 at the Windham Center Stage Theater, 8 School Road in Windham at 7 p.m. The show will include local talent and the cost is on a donation basis.

Originally known as the Real School, the Katahdin Program is based at Camp Hinds in Raymond, and provides alternative education programming for students, grades 9-12, in the RSU #14 Windham/Raymond School District.

Owen Sheard
This alternative program recognizes all variety of learners and focuses in students’ strengths, assets and interests. According to their website, “We believe that every individual is an important part of our learning community, in which our core values of integrity, safety, respect, responsibility, and kindness are central. We strive to foster meaningful relationships among our students and staff, through which we are able to provide individualized, standards-based programming for every student. Our practice is experiential and builds upon the integration of therapeutic adventure, service-learning, restorative practices, and community partnerships into classroom instruction.”

“This program has changed my son’s life,” stated Laurie Shepard, who is the mother of Owen. “He told me recently that the Katahdin Program, and the sailing experience to Cuba specifically, has opened doors to his awareness and interest in possible career opportunities that would not have been known to him otherwise.”, Shepard and Clarke, both participated in a Tall Ship Portland Program this past October. “It was their dedication to the educational experience along with showing high interest in the program that contributed to their selection on this trip,” Laurie Shepard explained.

“This is a remarkable opportunity for local teens to experience an entirely different world on many levels,” said Paul Wolf, Events Director for Tall Ships Portland. “Unplugged from technology, they quickly learn about teamwork, vigilance and harnessing the forces of nature.” 

While learning navigation, meteorology and sail handling, a one-week sailing voyage equates to one semester credit. “This is a great way for these teens to learn outside the classroom,” said Jon Radtke, Assistant Principal at Falmouth High School and Coordinator of the Cuba voyage. “Experiential learning has a profound effect on a student because they learn a lot.”

If you are unable to attend the Variety Show this Saturday and wish to contribute monetary donations to Shepard and Owen’s adventure, please send contributions to The Katahdin Program, 54 Hinds Rd., Raymond, ME 04071 or call (207) 655-6903.

Remember that these students are the ones who hold the future. Sir Andrew Martin is quoted as saying, “Our young people hold the future of the nation in their hands and deserve all the help we are able to give them in their developing years.”

Friday, February 2, 2018

There’s a new robot in town at the Raymond Village Library by Briana Bizier

Sage Bizier has fun testing out her programming skills with Dash
As part of their new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) Programming, the Raymond Village Library recently purchased Dash the Robot. This little robot looks like a pyramid of blue plastic balls with a cheerful bank of lights for a “face” and a vocabulary of electric chirps and trills. It even peeps a wide array of friendly phrases like, “Toodles!”

With the help of a tablet and the computer application called Wonder, children can create computer programs that make Dash the Robot move, wink, blink its lights, and even speak. Wonder is designed to be visual and intuitive, so children can learn the basics of computer programming through hands-on play.

Using the Wonder program on the tablet, visitors to the library can program Dash the Robot to race around the floor, dance and spin, light up and even record messages. The application comes with a tutorial as well as built-in programs; but it is also flexible enough to allow children to create their own routines for Dash. 

Along the way, kids learn problem solving skills, gain familiarity with the basics of computer coding, and explore their creativity. 

And the kids think they’re only playing!

Although Dash the Robot, and the application Wonder, are designed for children ages six and up, personal testing by my three-year-old assistant found that even a toddler can make Dash spin in circles or move backward and forward while saying, “Hello!”
Dash the Robot also received the highest form of praise from my three-year-old tester: A crying meltdown when it was time to leave the library and say goodbye to the robot. I suppose there are still some problems technology can’t solve!

I would imagine even an adult would enjoy playing with Dash . . . if you can manage to pull your
children away from the fun!

Stop by Raymond Village Library during regular business hours on Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday to check out Dash the Robot.

Civil Rights Team begins “No Name Calling Week” with an all school assembly by Lorraine Glowczak

The Civil Rights Team at Jordan-Small Middle School (JSMS) designated the week of January 29 to February 2 as “No Name Calling Week.”

As a way to begin and introduce the program, the team invited Brandon Baldwin, Program Manager of the Civil Rights Team Project headed by the Maine Attorney General’s office, to present an all school assembly on Monday, January 29 at 1 p.m. 

The JSMS Civil Rights Team with Brandon Baldwin
The 45-minute presentation was entitled, “The Power of Words” with a focus on bias-based language.
After a brief introduction by Principal Randy Crockett, Baldwin first explained that bias-based language includes insults that are offensive and include hurtful words and phrases. They also include expressions that demean or exclude people because of age, sex, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, social class or certain physical or mental traits.
Baldwin began his presentation with a personal story to show how words can affect people deeply and why it is inappropriate.

“When I was in the fifth grade, I was growing quickly and had out grown my winter coat,” Baldwin began. “My mom took me shopping and I found the perfect coat. It was a red, puffy, White Stag
brand coat and I loved it. Not only was red my favorite color, but I loved the white stag pendant which hung at the bottom of my zipper. I couldn’t wait for the first cold day so that I could wear it.”

The cold day finally came and he was proud of that red, puffy coat as he stepped onto the bus. But his excitement was soon destroyed. “When I sat down with my older brother’s friends, one of them said to me, ‘That coat is so gay.’”

Baldwin never wore that coat again. Ever. That is how powerful one word or one sentence can affect an individual. “I remember feeling horrible and never wanted to be seen in it again,” Baldwin said of that childhood moment.

As an adult looking back, he shared insights on the many ways a word that gives a sexual orientation to describe an inanimate object was inappropriate then and still is today. 

He continued with his presentation that included a poem by an African American poet, Countee Cullen who is famous for the following poem, entitled, “Incident.”

Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, 'Nigger.'
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.

Baldwin pointed out that in the seven months eight-year-old Cullen visited Baltimore, where he had many experiences, it was that one bias-based insult that he carried with him for the rest of his life. “This is how words can be powerful and damaging,” explained Baldwin.

Baldwin also explained that not only are these insults hurtful and long lasting, but they are against RSU14’s harassment policy.

The students listened quietly throughout the presentation and appeared to absorb the important message that was the week’s focus.

Laura Kulaw, who goes by LK, is the JSMS Civil Rights Team Advisor and Health Teacher stated that the students seemed very happy with the presentation. “They personally approached Brandon after the assembly and thanked him!” she said. 
The Civil Rights Team (CRT), which began as an organization last year, has already created many events to build awareness and education around this important issue.

“The team created a ‘Mix It Up’ at lunch day where students were encouraged to sit with students they didn't know very well and get to know them better,” stated LK. “I gave them suggested topics to talk about such as, if you had one super power what would it be and why, what is your favorite season, favorite sports team, an accomplishment they were proud of, etc. We also highlight Black History Month, Women's History Month and Native American Heritage Month by displaying accomplishments of these groups around the school. Last year we also had a Day of Silence event where students took a vow of silence to represent LGBT students who were silent because of bias related harassment, bullying and stigma. The CRT made rainbow ribbons for their classmates to wear in solidarity.”

The team members, who meet every Wednesday at 2:15 p.m., include Cameron Landry, Stella Feenstra, Addison Starcher, Brianna Streaky, Vanessa Berry, Fiona Harmon, Katei Cockfield and Mackenzie Gervais. Parents are welcomed to join the group or be involved with the team in many ways. If interested, one can contact LK at 

As for the team itself, it is “a group of kind, committed students who really care about making the school a warm, safe and welcoming place for everyone,” began LK. “They are dedicated to highlighting how to make the school community a place they can be proud of! I know without a doubt that I am super proud of them!”

Friday, January 26, 2018

Sebago Lakes Region Chamber honors local businesses and individuals with 2017 Service Awards by Lorraine Glowczak

The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting on Wednesday, January 17 at Cole Farms, 64 Lewiston Road in Gray.

Michelle Libby (L) and Aimee Senatore (R)
The evening began at 4:30 p.m. with a social hour and buffet dinner followed by a Keynote Address presented by Grace Noonan-Kaye of Grace Noonan-Kaye and Associates. The evening also included the announcements of Special Service Awards for area businesses and individuals. The awards are as follows:

Metayer Family Eye Care - Recipient of the Community Service Leadership Award
Bob Cyr of DIRFY Generators - Recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Larry Eliason of Butts Commercial Brokers - Recipient of the Frank Koenig Business Person of the Year Award
Momentum/Bomb Diggity Bakery and Café - Recipient of the Business of the Year Award
Edward Getty - Recipient of the Chamber Hall of Fame

Last but not least was Michelle Libby, reporter for The Windham Eagle newspaper who was honored as the Volunteer of the Year.  

Libby, who is the author of 11 books, can be found as a volunteer member of numerous organizations within the community to include, but not limited to: The American Legion Auxiliary, Vice President of Marketing for the Pine Tree Council, First Vice President of the Sebago Lakes Chamber of Commerce Board and President of Maine Romance Writers.
In her acceptance speech, Libby explained that she has always been one to be involved. “My father
was a superintendent of schools and we moved around a lot,” she began. “I found that to get to know people quickly was to become involved, so I immersed myself into volunteering for a number of organizations.”

Many people who work closely with Libby always speak of her natural kindness. 

Michelle is a sincere and genuine individual,” stated Aimee Senatore, Director of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. “She is humble and so kind. Volunteerism and community service are engrained in her spirit and we are so lucky to have her amongst our leadership here at the Chamber. Michelle serves on a multitude of committees and has stepped up to serve as President of the Board of Directors in 2019. I have great confidence that the Chamber has a very bright future with Michelle’s passion and enthusiasm helping lead the way.” 

Congratulations to Libby and the other award recipients. The community is a better place due to the time you give to important causes and organizations.

An untold story of local nurse, Elizabeth Wisecup, upon her retirement by Lorraine Glowczak

Elizabeth "Liz" Wisecup on the S.S. Hope
The CBS television series, “Everybody Has a Story” became a popular program in the late 1990s and early 2000s when news correspondent, Steve Hartmen, travelled the U.S. to visit and interview random people. These people were folks he picked out of the white pages in the phone book. In the six years that the series ran, Hartmen had made the discovery that the world is “chock full of amazing, untold stories.”
Our community is no different than the rest of the world. We too have amazing and untold stories from amazing people among us. One such person is Elizabeth “Liz” Wisecup of Windham who was introduced to us by a family member. She took a moment to share her life story as a nurse of 55 years as well as some of the lessons she learned along the way. 

Born Elizabeth Timmons in 1941 to Bernice and Ernest Timmons; she graduated from Windham High School in 1959. 

Upon graduation at the age of 17, she attended Maine Medical Center’s 36-month nursing program. After student nursing and graduating from the program, Wisecup worked at Maine Med in the Special Care Unit. 

When she began her nursing career in the early 1960s, the medical equipment was much less sophisticated from today’s medical equipment. “Glass IV bottles and syringes, metal bed pans and emesis basins were used, cleaned, and reused,” Wisecup explained. “It was just the beginning of kidney dialysis and open-heart surgery. Since there were no cardiac or IV monitors nurses were constantly with their patient taking very frequent vital signs and counting the IV fluid drops.”

After a couple of years working at Maine Med, she decided to combine her love of nursing with her yearning to explore beyond the boundaries of Maine. 

Wisecup applied and was the first nurse in Maine accepted to work as a staff nurse for a 10-month assignment on the U.S. hospital ship, the S.S. HOPE. 

Briefly, S.S. HOPE was a program supported by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and developed by cardiologist, Dr. William B. Walsh. Its mission was to provide “Health Opportunities for People Everywhere.” The ship made 11 voyages to third world countries such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Columbia, etc. 
Wisecup’s assignment was the ship’s fifth voyage and its first to the country of Nicaragua.
According to the National Museum of American History website, “the 15,000-ton ship had three operating rooms, a pharmacy, isolation ward, radiology department, and closed-circuit television so visiting local doctors and students could observe operations. The S.S. HOPE also carried its own freshwater plant the ‘iron cow’ - a machine that blended powdered milk and fats into 1,000 gallons of milk a day, for use on the ship and distribution among the malnourished at ports of call. The medical crew’s main job was to teach American practices in specialties from neurosurgery and physical therapy to dentistry and public health. Many of the diseases and afflictions they encountered were rare in the United States.”

“I learned and was exposed to so much,” Wisecup said of her nursing experience in Nicaragua. “I saw many medical issues that I would never see here in the U.S. Things such as parasites and tumors that had grown due to the lack of medical intervention. I witnessed tumors that had grown so large but due to that lack of medicine, it was not taken care of until we arrived.” 

“Due to the absence of immunization and access to medical care people were dying from rabies, tetanus and other diseases,”

“In another separate case, I witnessed a 10-year-old boy who had ingested lye when he was three years old.” Wisecup continued. “It had burned his esophagus and his mother had to feed him by a feeding tube for seven years - until we arrived. The medical staff made him a new esophagus and when I saw him eating rice and beans with a smile on his face, it made my day.”

While serving as a staff nurse on the S.S. HOPE, she had met a fellow nurse who was from California. That nurse (Wisecup’s new friend) wanted to live in another state upon her return to the U.S. and so Wisecup decided to join in on the adventure. They both chose Denver, Colorado. It was at this point that she began her role as a psychiatric nurse, working in a hospital there. She also worked in public health as well.

While living in Colorado, she met Clarence Wisecup. Clarence was the Public Health Advisor of the Center for Disease Control in charge of the Venereal Disease Program in the State of Colorado. While working together they fell in love and married. “It’s not everyday one can say they met their spouse in a VD clinic,” Wisecup joked.
Together, they had two children. A daughter, Kathleen who was born in 1972 and a son, Mike who was born in 1975. Wisecup took a 10-year sabbatical from nursing to be a full-time mother. Once her son entered the first grade, she returned to nursing full-time. 

“I returned to nursing in the early 1980s and discovered that so much had changed,” Wisecup said. “Everything became disposable. From glass syringes to plastic. From carefully counting pills out of big brown pharmaceutical bottles to prepackaged pills. Many medical advances and progresses occurred in the 10 years I was away.”

Her husband’s job required many moves throughout the U.S., but his final assignment was Maine; where they returned to Windham in 1996. At this point, Wisecup began working in the Behavior Health Department at St. Mary’s Regional Center in Lewiston, until her retirement this past October 2017.

“I have seen many tragedies and miracles in my career,” Wisecup said. “And I hope that the cause of schizophrenia will be known before I die. It is an illness that takes a terrible toll on those afflicted as well as their families.” 

Wisecup is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement exploring all of life has to offer. She is a member of the Windham Historical Society, Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, Lakes Region Senior Center, is a local artist and has served on the Windham Town Council.

If you or someone you know in Windham or Raymond has a story they want to share, please contact Lorraine Glowczak at

Friday, January 19, 2018

Windham resident places fifth in the Disney World Marathon by Matt Pascarella

Julian Gazzelloni crosses finish line
Julian Gazzelloni is not your typical 25-year-old. He is an athlete and has run in many races and marathons, all over New England, New York and Iowa. He is also a participant in the Beach to Beacon, where he is considered an elite, one of the top 100 runners. He recently finished running in the Disney World Marathon earlier this month.
A graduate of Windham High School in 2010, he has been a runner since he was little.

His mom, Allison, explains, “Julian is driven. He started running in sixth grade. He started as a sprinter where he did really well. He transitioned to middle or distance running his junior year of high school. Following high school, Julian ran for the University of Southern Maine in both cross country and track and field.”  

Gazzelloni decided to run the half Maine Marathon last year, which is 13.1 miles. The half marathon was easier to run than he had expected. He wanted to test himself and see what an actual marathon felt like. So, he ran the full Maine Marathon and although he struggled with it, came in eighth place.

From there he and his girlfriend, who lives in Florida, decided to run the Disney World Marathon.
In order to prepare for the Disney World marathon, Gazzelloni trained by running between 50 and 60 miles a week. Disney World Marathon is a 26.2-mile run through all four Disney World theme parks and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. As Gazzelloni began running the marathon, he had benchmarks laid out in his head. 

Thanks to his training, he was able to meet all his benchmarks. However, after he hit mile 20, Gazzelloni was hurting, but he powered through and finished with a time of 2 hours 38 minutes and 16 hundredths of a second. Fifth place! He said he felt better finishing the Disney World Marathon, than he did after he finished the Maine Marathon. 

His family is very supportive and they have seen Gazzelloni run in many races. He has his very own cheer section everywhere he runs. His mom says she would watch any race he ran even if it was only to the refrigerator.    

What’s next for him? His Disney World Marathon time qualified him to run in the New York Marathon this year, and the Boston Marathon next year. Gazzelloni plans to run the Philadelphia Marathon in November and then the New York Marathon in March of 2019. In order to train for these marathons, he is working to up his mileage by running 85-90 miles a week. He also trains with marathon pace workouts, as his goal is to get his time below 2 hours and 30 minutes for future marathons.

Gazzelloni was happy about placing fifth in the Disney World Marathon. “I knew I had an outside shot at the top five, but my goal was to finish in the top ten,” he explained. “It felt good to finish top five out of roughly 20,000 runners.”

“Libby’s Ouchie Box Toy Drive” – Helping to fill an ongoing need at Maine Children’s Cancer Program by Elizabeth Richards

Libby with her "Ouchie Box" donations
The “Ouchie Box” at the Maine Children’s Cancer Program (MCCP) is something Libby Rulman looks forward to every time she has an appointment at the facility. But last fall, she went to choose a prize and found the box sadly depleted. That’s when her mother, Sarah Adams Rulman, decided to spread the word.

Libby was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Langerhan Cell Histipcystosis, (LCH) at age 2 ½, and in the two years since has been to MCCP for countless treatments and follow up appointments. She is currently in remission and February 27th will mark one cancer-free year. But that doesn’t mean her journey is over; she still has follow up appointments, including an MRI and full body scan, every three months. And at 4 ½, Sarah said, her attitude has shifted somewhat. “Now that she’s older and she’s been going through this for so long, it’s a little bit harder to get her to cooperate like she did before.”  Libby is more aware of what will happen, which is a lot to endure, Sarah said. 

That’s why the “Ouchie Box” is so important.  

The box at the center is filled with donations of small toys, activity books, and other treasures that children, who visit the facility, get to choose from when their treatment or appointment is over. “It’s pretty awesome because some of those kids are in there all day for chemo treatments, and to have something to look forward to when they are done is really important to them,” Sarah said.

She and Libby had been collecting donations on their own to add to the box, but when they had the experience of finding it nearly empty after an appointment, Sarah decided to try to do something on a larger scale and get the community involved. 

They launched “Libby’s Ouchie Box Toy Drive” and met with great success, collecting five large boxes of toys. “I posted that we were doing it and we’d love help and people just came out of the woodwork. It was great,” Sarah said.

Sarah’s employer, Amigo’s, also got involved, collecting toy and cash donations with raffle prizes as incentives. Chris Rulman’s employer, Nappi Distributors, also participated by making posters to advertise the drive and donating some of the prizes.

With each toy or $5 donation, people received a raffle ticket for a drawing that included a Rossignol
Snowboard, Pabst Blue Ribbon aluminum cooler, and other prizes. Donations were collected until the drawing, which was held on Sunday, December 17.  

In addition to quite a few toys, the drive brought in enough money to purchase fifty-two gas gift cards worth $10 each. These were donated to families that have to travel from a distance to MCCP, which is the only cancer program in Maine. The raffle items were a nice incentive, Sarah said, but she found they weren’t what drove people to donate. “Most people didn’t want to put their name on a ticket. They just wanted to help,” she said.

MCCP is a full medical facility, where children often receive their chemo treatments or see their oncologists.  Until Libby was diagnosed, Sarah said, they didn’t know it existed. “Maine Children’s Cancer Program is just an amazing, amazing place,” Sarah said.  

Although the official drive is complete, the need will not end. Because the Ouchie Box is filled by donations, items are always welcome.  

“They are always looking for help,” Sarah said, including toys, knit hats, or any other comfort item that children or families might need to help them in the difficult time they are going through.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Indoor Beach Party full of fun and prizes by Lorraine Glowczak

Lilly Steel having fun
Although the sub-zero temperatures kept most people home on Saturday evening, January 6, it didn’t prevent the 50 or so individuals who joined in on the fun at the Indoor Beach Party at the Windham Middle School for this year’s Winterfest 2018.
The event, hosted collaboratively by the Windham Parks and Recreation Department and the Windham PTA, consisted of free beach grub as well as enjoyable entertainment provided by Flamin’ Raymin’ and Sizzlin’ Suzzin’.

The evening also consisted of a multitude of giveaways. The following is a list of individuals and the gifts they won from the participating organizations:

2 One-Day Passes to Evo Rock & Fitness
Mary Jane Goodell
2 Tickets to a Windham Center Stage
Theater Production
Heidi (last name not given)
Picnic Basket of Local Gift Cards
Dominic Cataldi
$25 Gift Card to Subway Restaurants
Brian Butler, Hayleigh Moody
$50 Gift Card to Buck’s Naked BBQ
Liza Libby
2 Tickets to a Maine Red Claws game
Ronan Mace
2 One Hour Jump Passes to Get Air
Brock York, Bella (last name not given)
2 Day Passes to
Kahuna Laguna Indoor Water Park
Gavin (last name not given)
2 Day/Night Passes to Shawnee Peak
Matt (last name not given)
$120 towards an exam at
Moore Chiropractic & Wellness Center
Heidi (last name not given)
2 Free Race Passes at
Maine Indoor Karting
Cassie Fleek
Professional Take Home Whitening Kit from
Armstrong Advanced Dental
Megan York
2 Public Skating Punch Cards from
Family Ice Center
Bria Mills
Small Angle Grinder from Lowe’s
Waylon McDonald
$50 Gift Card to Rustler’s Steak House
Brayden Bean
2 Free Admissions to
Happy Wheels Skate Center
Corey McDonald, Lilly Steel,
Abby Patenaude

The evening also included a Winterfest Photo Contest that officially opened on Saturday evening. Entries are accepted through Wednesday, January 31. for the photos: They should be taken from January 2017 until the current day, they must be originals, and they must have been taken in Maine. The Parks and Recreation Department is looking for photos that capture the fun and beauty of winter in Maine, which could include photos of friends and family, children or pets frolicking in the snow, or stunning scenery. There is no fee to enter, and prizes will be awarded to the top photographs as chosen by our judges. Prizes include passes for snow tubing and cross-country skiing, tickets to a WCST production, and other activities that will help families enjoy these winter months.

Information regarding contest guidelines and how to enter can be found on the Parks and Recreation website at