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Friday, June 21, 2019

Ron’s Mexican Cantina and Grill will continue to make a positive impact in the community under new ownership

Ron's Mexican Cantina at its new location.
By Elizabeth Richards
When Ron Eby of Windham Automotive built Ron’s Mexican Cantina and Grill for the first Summerfest celebration in Windham, he never imagined it would be a catalyst for raising nearly $700,000 dollars for Camp Sunshine. But in the years since he created the food cart, that’s exactly what has happened. And although the cart has now been sold, new owner Jose Chavez of A La Mexicana plans to continue the tradition of giving.

Eby said that when he built the Cantina his goal was to build something that would inspire others as they worked to get Summerfest started.  He then decided that the proceeds raised from the cart would go to support Camp Sunshine. Over the years, the Cantina became somewhat of an icon in the area. 
“It was a huge success,” Eby said. In recent years, however, it hadn’t seen much use. Eby came to a point when it was time to move forward and do something different, he said, so he decided to sell the Cantina.

https://www.egcu.orgWhen Chavez expressed interest, Eby said, “I told him I’d love to see it still used in some capacity to raise money for Camp Sunshine.”

Chavez said that continuing to support Camp Sunshine is in their plan, but they haven’t yet determined exactly how that will happen. He added that he wants to help the community, especially since they have helped him so much.  “I want to give back a little bit too,” he said.

As for Eby, he stated he will continue to raise money in other ways.  “It’s come time to move on and do something different,” he said. 

Eby has been honored for his efforts as a 6 Who Care recipient, and he was one of four finalists for the NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian of the Year award in 2012. That honor came with a $25,000 donation to Camp Sunshine.

The move to A La Mexicana was a great one for the cantina, Eby said. “I probably couldn’t have asked for a better destination,” he said.  He believes the cantina will be beneficial to both the restaurant and the community and he hopes that it will evolve in a way that grows awareness of Camp Sunshine and the work that they do.

Eby said that he’s been able to make a greater impact than he ever imagined. The Cantina started a “ripple effect,” he said.  “That drop was started, and those ripples continue to this day. If it can continue with Jose, that would be special,” he said.

Eby called Camp Sunshine a “diamond in our own back yard.” People don’t realize the national and even international impact the camp has for families, he added.  Being able to make such an impact makes him step back and say “wow”, Eby said. “It started with a little idea, and a little dream.”

World War II pilot’s remains found after 75 years: Memorial services to be held in Windham on Tuesday

Burleigh Curtis
By Lorraine Glowczak

Pearl Grant, a resident of Windham for the past 93 years feels some closure now that her cousin, Burleigh Curtis, can be laid to rest in Windham, next to his parents – 75 years after his death.

According to a DPAA (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) Public Affairs press release, “Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Burleigh E. Curtis, killed during World War II, was accounted for on December 13, 2018.”

The press release continued by stating that Curtis, a member of the 377th Fighter Squadron, 362nd Fighter Group, piloted a P-47D aircraft on June 13, 1944. On that date, he was assigned to a dive-bomb attack near Briouze, France but, unfortunately, he crashed in a nearby field of the target. 
“Witness reported that he was not seen bailing out of the aircraft prior to the crash,” the press release stated.

“The last time I saw Burleigh was when he graduated from high school in 1939,” Grant said, who spent summers with her cousin and other family members on the family farm on Highland Cliff Road in Windham. “We all had fun. We played games, joked, laughed – a completely pleasurable experience on the farm as a family,” Grant said.

rita.theriault@raymondmaine.orgCurtis was born in Freeport, ME and lived there until the Great Depression required his family to move to Massachusetts where his father obtained a job – which was a stroke of “luck” during the hard and difficult times of the late 1920s and early 1930s. “But Burleigh along with his parents, two sisters and two brothers would always come back to Windham on summer vacations to spend time with us on our grandparents’ farm,” recalled Grant. “I don’t have any specific memories – for me it
was just a time with family, and it was something I always looked forward to.”

Grant and Curtis’s grandparents were Fred and Lida Cobb. Curtis’s sister, 94-year-old Madelyn Curtis Klose of Antrim, MA recalls her own memories of life with her brother on their grandparents’ Highland Cliff Farm:

“My grandparents had a total of 13 grandchildren, but there were ten of us who would spend the summers together on the farm in Windham,” Klose began. “One memory I have is the times when our grandfather came home from work at night, he would take all of us to the lower potato field and let us pick the very tiny fresh potatoes to eat raw. They were almost like eating peanuts.” 

Klose continued fondly, “We would play in the barn, sliding in the hay, making a mess of my
Pearl Grant of Windham holds a collage of photographs
 of her grandparent's farm  on Highland Cliff Road
where she spent summers with Burleigh
and her other cousins
grandparents' barn. We would pick bushels of blueberries on their farm and sell them. They would let us keep some of the money and all of us cousins would go shopping in Portland and buy our clothes for the school year. I remember once playing football with Burleigh. He grabbed the ball and ran into my stomach and knocked the wind of me - he wasn't rough or violent - just playing football.  I remember eating around the supper table together every night...and Burleigh sat right next to me....and he loved his mashed potatoes.”

A specific memory Klose shared about her brother is that Burleigh was rather quiet, gentle, thoughtful, she said. “He was just a nice boy. He was popular at school...voted as vice-president of his class all through his high school years.”

In an interview with the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript of Peterborough, NH, Klose stated that Curtis married his high school sweetheart before he was stationed in England, but never returned to her. Initially, it was believed the plane Curtis was piloting had been hit by its own bomb, but the family believes the bomb came from another plane based upon what they have been told from officials. Klose is also stated as saying in that article, “[Curtis] was missing in action for a whole year and then they automatically pronounced him dead, but they didn’t produce any of his remains.”

That is, until the non-profit History Flight took on Curtis’s case in 2017. As stated in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, the History Flight “embarked on an archaeological dig of which his plane went down.”

https://www.orangecircuitfitness.com/The story in the above-mentioned article detailed that once Curtis’ plane crashed behind enemy lines,
a French cabinet maker who witnessed the accident went to the field and reportedly buried what remains he could find. Those remains are believed to have been dug up by the Army at a later point and buried in a military cemetery in France. Scientists used anthropological analysis as well as historical and material evidence to successfully identify Curtis’ remains.

Klose and her 100-year-old brother, Donald, who lives in California, are the only remaining siblings of Curtis – and now the family can finally lay their brother to rest.

Curtis’ name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Brittany American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Montijoie Saint Martine, France, along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.

“The family has heard from several people in France, thanking us for Burleigh’s sacrifice,” stated Grant. “In fact, one person from France plans to be at the memorial.”

Everyone is invited to a memorial service that will be held at Highland Cliff Advent Christian Church, 96 Highland Cliff Road in Windham at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25. Interment at Chase Cemetery, next to the church. The community is invited to attend the memorial service to honor a great local hero.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Raymond Garden Tour: Nestled in the verdant forests off Raymond Hill Road lies a true oasis

By Briana Bizier
April Fey’s garden, which has been a labor of love for the past thirty years, is an enchanting space filled with flowers, birds, unique artwork, and the sound of running water. On Saturday, June 22, for the first time ever, Fey will join the biennial Raymond Garden Tour and open her garden to the public to benefit the Raymond Village Library.

Her decision to join the Garden Tour all started with a simple Facebook post. “When we finished the
dry stream bed in my garden, I posted a picture of it on Facebook,” Fey explains. “Sharon Dodson saw it and asked if I’d like to join the Raymond Garden Tour!”

Her garden, Fey told me, is inspired by her family’s globe-spanning travels. Her husband Robert is a pilot, and their family loves to travel. Many features from the sites that they have enjoyed during their many excursions have found their way home to join her beautiful garden.

Fey built her stone stream bed, which leads from a dry well near her porch and is home to three cheerful salmon sculptures, after admiring similar features in gardens during a trip to Japan. The colorful glass balls grouped near her rose bushes were inspired by a Chihuly exhibition, and the tiki statue she decorated herself is an homage to her family’s love of the Hawaiian Islands.

http://buttscommercialbrokers.com/Several other sculptures adorn Fey’s garden, including a cheerful metal silhouette of three children. “That sculpture was a Mother’s Day present,” Fey explains. “Our three children are grown now, but the sculpture is right next to the path they used to walk to school.”

Although Fey’s children are now adults, her yard is still home to a young gardener. Fey’s two-year-
old grandson visits frequently to play with the miniature barn and farm animals in her flower bed or to move Fey’s collection of ceramic mushrooms. During my visit, the mushrooms were clustered artistically behind an enormous fern in what must have been the perfect place for a two-year-old to practice his own garden design.

Fey’s magnificent garden, which now wraps around her house and contains hundreds of flowers, all began with a muddy bank. “The slope in front of our house was a mess,” Fey explains. “My husband and I took apart an old rock wall to build a terrace, and that was our first garden bed.”

That first terrace is now home to poppies, daylilies, columbines, and a hops vine inspired by an urban garden in Portland that Fey visited for her daughter’s wedding. It’s also home to a few surprise volunteers.

I didn’t even plant these,” Fey tells me, gesturing to a thriving clump of purple columbine flowers. “That’s another gift from Mother Nature.”

https://www.egcu.orgFey’s original terrace garden has now been joined by many more flowerbeds. In addition to her roses and a garden by the shed filled entirely with divides from her many perennials, Fey has a bed devoted
entirely to lavender, another bed for cutting flowers, and several high bush blueberries.

We come out in the morning with a bowl of cereal and pick blueberries for it,” Fey told me.
Even the old swing set in Fey’s backyard is host to an unusual variety of forsythia with red flowers that came from the Botanical Gardens in Boothbay as well as a container overflowing with purple blossoms. “This spot just needed a bit of color,” Fey explained.

Fey’s garden also includes a whimsical bottle tree, which Fey calls, “the easiest plant I grow.” From what this journalist can tell, Fey’s entire garden looks like it grows beautifully, although she laughed at the compliment.

I’m a big believer in mulch,” Fey tells me, with a smile. “I just plant what I like, and I don’t worry too much about it.”

If you’d like to see Fey’s garden as well as the other featured gardens, the Raymond Garden Tour will take place this Saturday, June 22, with a rain date of Sunday, June 23. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the tour, and they can be purchased at Raymond Village Library. All proceeds will benefit the library.

So long, farewell and good luck to Superintendent Sandy Prince

By Lorraine Glowczak

In about two weeks and after 16 years at the helm, RSU14 Superintendent Sandy Prince will move on to new territory and adventures, handing the baton to Assistant Principal, Chris Howell.

Prince has spent the past 39 years of his career in education, first obtaining his degree in education at the University of Maine in Farmington. His initial foray in education, a vocation near and dear to his heart, was at the Spurwink School in Portland, working with students with special needs. At that time, Brown Elementary School, which was (and still is) part of the South Portland School System, rented classrooms from Spurwink, so Prince gained additional experiences in the public special education sector.

“While I was there, I picked up six college credits towards a master’s where I finally obtained my graduated degree in Exceptional Student Education at USM,” Prince said, further explaining that ‘Exceptional’ Education’ was the term used for Special Education at that time.

Soon upon his completion of his master’s, he taught educational leadership courses at the University of New England. In 1981, he was hired as Windham’s first full-time kindergarten special education teacher. “Sue Gendron was the teaching principal at that time, and she was like a mentor to me,” 

stated Prince. “I learned so much from her - I was only 26 years old. She was a great thinker and had a sensible approach to educational administration. I admired her ability to work with people and not micromanage them. I have always tried to emulate her leadership style.” Gendron eventually became the RSU14 Superintendent of Schools until Prince took her place 16 years ago.

http://www.windhammaine.us/After about four years in his teaching role, he became Director of Special Education services in Gorham. “I was hired by Dr. Connie Goldman,” stated Prince. “Connie led by example where she always made her decisions based on what was right for students. She hired some of the best educators and everyone admired Dr. Goldman who was a Harvard graduate.” 

While with the Gorham school system, Prince filled the role of principal at Rock [elementary] School as well as Gorham Falls, a kindergarten center. He also held the role of interim middle school principal for approximately three years. 

It was during his time there that he once again experienced and witnessed great leadership in action with Tim McCormick, who replaced Dr. Goldman. “He could not only think well and have great vision, but he was a genius at implementing that vision. It’s one thing to say you will execute an idea, but it is quite another to carry through and do it well.”

Prince moved on to Portland where he was the Principal of Lyseth Elementary for a couple of years and then accepted the position of Assistant Director of Educational Planning at Portland’s central office. Once again, he was guided by great leadership who helped pave the way to his own role as superintendent. “In Portland, MaryJane McCallum was the superintendent who hired me to be Principal of Lyseth School. An amazing leader who had great vision and was able to build a K- Adult school system that was well aligned for the 21st century.”

http://www.genest-concrete.com/ After 16 years, he returned to Windham where, he has admitted is the “home of his soul.”
When asked about fond memories of the community he stated that he loved working in special
education and really enjoyed his contact with both students and parents. As far as successes, he points to the teachers and staff who made the biggest impact on students’ educational achievements. “I have been amazed at the high quality and passionate educators, staff and parents who provide a fun, learning atmosphere for our students,” he said. “I’m truly amazed and grateful.”

Prince admitted that it is the nature of the job to take a hit once in a while. “But I have always tried to make the best decision for kids – and I always tried to listen and respond with understanding in challenging circumstances.”

As Howell steps forward this fall, Prince offers a few words of wisdom. “First, I must say I am wicked excited for Chris,” he began and then continued. “As for advice I would remind him to also stay focused on the children and do what you morally believe is right. I know without a doubt that he will do well as the new superintendent – and will take it further, creating more successes.”

Next fall, Prince will take on a temporary position at the Scarborough School District. As far as retirement? “I’m keeping my options open.”

Good luck and farewell, Mr. Prince – and thank you for your dedication to the Windham and Raymond students. You will be missed.

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Maine Blues Festival celebrates its fourteenth year

 Blues band, Poke Chop and the Other White Meats
will be one among the many musicians to provide entertainment
By Lorraine Glowczak

If there is anything the Windham and Raymond community loves, it is listening to good music and supporting local musicians - and the 14th annual Maine Blues Festival in Naples happening Friday, June 14 to Sunday, June 16 – is an anticipated yearly event.

Beginning in the winter of 2006, the concept to have a festival started as just an idea between two friends while talking over a couple of beers. Kevin Kimball was visiting his friend Mike Bray, who was the owner of the former pub, Bray’s, in Naples (currently Gary’s Old Towne Tavern). “If we are really going to do this, we need to make it happen,” Kimball recalled Bray telling him. “We had been discussing this for awhile and we both realized that it was time to take action with this blues festival idea.”

The original vision was just to have a small mini-festival in Bray’s Beer Garden. “But then word got out, and various local businesses were asking if they could join in,” Kimball explained. “It mushroomed beyond our wildest dreams. To be honest, we were scared out of our wits.”

https://bbcultivation.com/On the day of the first event, Kimball also recalled that the crowd of people came out in droves and
as the first band was being introduced, Bray -feeling awed by the attendance and interests - leaned over to Kimball and said, “This has become a runaway train. Here we go. Either we will succeed big or fail horribly.”

Fourteen years later, we all know that the runaway train has become a huge success with over 40 Maine blues bands coming together every Father’s Day weekend, performing for three days at 10 venues – including five cruise performances on the Songo River Queen II.

Mark Persky, known as the voice of the airways and former WBLM DJ, has been the official emcee of the event since 2008. “I’ve always been astounded at the quality of music that comes from the musicians in Maine. When I first moved to Maine and heard the talent, it blew me away.”

Persky, who loves all genres of music and attended the first Woodstock event in 1969, is especially fond of the Maine Blues Festival and the fun, family friendly atmosphere it has become. “There is this real warmth and a small town feel at the event. I get to meet and become friends with people, children – and dogs, too! It’s just an overall enjoyable occasion for everyone. It reminds me of the atmosphere of Woodstock. Everyone just enjoying the music, having fun and creating friendships.”

Ron Gill, local blues musician who has made an annual appearance, playing with his band Poke Chop and the Other White Meats since 2007, concurs with Persky’s sentiments. “This is a premier event for Maine-based blues acts. It really the opening of summer in Naples," Gill stated. "It's great to see so many well-behaved fans every year at this event. I've been honored to have been a part of this for
some 12 years or so now. Kevin Kimball and his committee do a crack up job of attending to the myriad of details associated with putting this festival on. Performing for an invested, rollicking crowd is a thrill every year. I see so many musician friends each year  -it turns into a celebration for us.

https://www.egcu.org/boatKimball stated that a new feature of the Maine Blues Festival has been added and this is the inclusion of the First Maine Cigar Box Guitar Festival, a sort of festival-within-a-festival, and the first of its kind in New England. Taking place on Saturday on the Naples Village Green, this event will showcase both performers and makers of cigar-box guitars (CBG’s). CBG’s are hand-crafted instruments literally built around wooden cigar boxes with anywhere from one to six strings (most commonly three or four), and are considered by many to be the seminal instrument of the blues.

Celebrate Maine’s musical talent with other liked-minded spirits who enjoy the soulful melody of blues– and make a friend or two as well. There are also fun activities for the young, and perhaps, future blues artists. For more information on vendors, venues, list of entertainers and activities or to purchase tickets, check out their website at www.mainebluesfestival.com/

Free monthly holistic care services for veterans begin Monday at the Windham Veterans Center

Reiki energy work will be one of the services provided
By Lorraine Glowczak

We celebrate our veterans upon their return home from war or conflict, relieved that they arrive on American soil safe and sound. However, statistics indicate that although they survived battle in other lands, the trauma from the experience has proved to be more deadly than the frontline itself. Many return with scars unseen, suffering silently with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other health issues. This often leads to drug/alcohol abuse, homelessness – and worse yet – suicide.

Although there may be no magic that can take away the atrocious and unspeakable experiences many veterans faced at war - and continue to live with, there may be options that might help calm and relax an individual for at least a moment in time, letting them known they do not have to suffer alone.

Beginning this Monday, June 10, a group of area holistic practitioners will provide therapeutic massage, reflexology, reiki, polarity, meditation practices and more on a monthly basis (second Monday of each month) to all Lakes Region area veterans for free from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Windham Veterans Center, 35 Veterans Memorial Drive in Windham.

http://www.genest-concrete.com/“I have been wanting to do something like this for some time,” stated Bob Beane, an Air Force
Veteran during the Vietnam War area and brainchild of this newly established free holistic service. “The idea began in 1990 when I supervised a crew of workers during the 1990 census. I was living in Brownfield at the time and we all worked together for approximately 10 weeks to gather the required information for the census. This work included the towns of Brownfield, Fryeburg, Porter, Hiram and Kezar Falls. During that time, we discovered eight veterans who had created cave-like living dwellings in conspicuous places for themselves, hiding from society. I knew at that point, I needed to do something.”

Yes, these eight veterans were officially homeless but not in the sense that the word “homelessness” conjures up for most people (that is another topic that needs to be addressed and understood, much like this subject matter). They are there because PTSD and other illnesses propelled them to be alone – not wanting to be a part of a society in which they once felt called as a personal vocation to protect and serve.

“It’s called agoraphobia,” Beane said.

According to MayoClinic.com, agoraphobia is “a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd.”

https://www.egcu.org/homeBeane, a retired Lieutenant with the Portland Fire Department who is currently a certified reiki master, shaman, druid and earth angel, stated that he also suffers from PTSD as well as other various
physical symptoms. When asked how his work with holistic healthcare helped him in his own personal journey, which included being diagnosed with aggressive cancer in 2008, Beane admitted that he still suffers a lot of pain. “I’m nearly 70 years old, but I still get up every day feeling grateful despite the physical pain. I get up and work every day. I continue to learn by taking classes, reading, studying – and writing every morning. It’s not always easy, but my work keeps me alive and engaged with life. I attribute my energy and approach to life with my holistic work and lifestyle.”

Rebecca LaWind, owner of Ways to Wellness Center, is a licensed massage therapist, certified yoga teacher, reiki and energy practitioner who will be among the many individuals offering therapeutic services to veterans.  “My intention is to support people to relax and calm amidst full and sometimes stressful lifestyles,” LaWind stated. “Emotions can be held and stored in the body and with massage or intentional positive touch, they can become aware of, soften and even release, leaving one feeling lighter and less stressed.”

She has personally faced her own challenges in life and LaWind stated that her practice has helped her feel more grounded, open, relaxed - experiencing less pain, both physically and emotionally. “It can take time and patience,” she said. “It is my hope that this monthly, consistent Holistic Share for Veterans will provide people a safe space to relax in as they may carry residual feelings of trauma, fear, isolation, etc.” 

https://goodwillnne.org/jobs/Lisa Defosse, certified reiki master teacher, licensed massage therapist, Bowen practitioner, and myofascial release therapist stated that reiki helps to release old patterns and stuck memories and brings in light and new possibilities. “With the help of a Reiki Practitioner, the veteran can calm the mind and begin to feel again,” DeFosse said. “Reiki is beneficial for those with PTSD as it harnesses the inner healing inside each person and allows them to experience a feeling of peace.

All veterans are invited to experience the relief they deserve. Beane stated that all individuals will
feel safe and there will be no pressure or questions. Just acceptance as they experience a safe and healing space for a while.

For those who are holistic practitioners who need to take a break and care for themselves, LaWind and others gather together for monthly reiki shares on the last Tuesday of each month. All are invited. For more information, contact LaWind at  www.waystowellnesscenter.com. For more information regarding the monthly holistic care services at the Windham Veteran Center contact Beane at 207-749-1857 or sebagojourney@yahoo.com.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Teacher works to ensure Windham Middle School students stay ahead of the technology curve

WMS STEM Teacher Jason Lanoie, next to
the FlashForge 3D Printer
By Craig Bailey

Windham Middle School’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teacher, Jason Lanoie, has an objective: to ensure students are fully engaged in the learning process. Lanoie emphasized, “We want our program to change with technology and where things are going.”

To support this, Lanoie is seeking funding for a GlowForge 3D Laser Printer, which he hopes to have in place by the beginning of the upcoming school year. To-date, he has received half of the needed $4,000 from The Perloff Family Foundation.

“This equipment will broaden the scope of experience that the students have with our hands-on program at the middle school level,” Lanoie stated.

Lanoie is not new to the process of obtaining funding to supply his students with leading edge technology. Since joining Windham Middle School, he has written grants for the school’s two existing 3D printers.

A 3D printer is a machine allowing the creation of a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession.

“I began working with the Perloff’s, who hadn’t yet had experience with the technology,” Lanoie shared. “I wanted to make sure we had the best possible technology for schools. The result is that we acquired our first 3D printer, a MarkerBot Replicator 2, during the beginning of the 2014 school year, for $2,500. More recently we acquired our second, more advanced, 3D printer, a FlashForge, at a cost of $300.”

Lanoie reinforced his objective, “We want to provide new technology for students. If we don’t, students can get bored. For example, everyone has a smartphone. We need to keep up with and stay ahead of the students. Soon, these things [3D Printers] will be in the home, as they are becoming more affordable.”

In contrast to the existing 3D printers at Windham Middle School, which create physical objects, a 3D laser printer uses a beam of light the width of a human hair to cut, engrave, and shape designs from a variety of materials.

A few examples of what the students could create with the 3D laser printer include: a family photo keepsake by importing a digital photo into the machine and burning it onto a piece of wood, glass etching to make a special gift for a loved one, or, designing something that can be used on their Rube Goldberg machine (a contraption that uses a chain reaction to accomplish a very simple task in a very complicated manner).

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When asked, why the GlowForge 3D laser printer, Lanoie responded, “I had been doing research on the technology. Then, I watched an episode of MythBusters, in which Adam Savage did a review on the product and absolutely loved it. When seeing someone like Savage, an expert who supports STEM programs, enthusiastic about the tool, it confirmed where I wanted to go. That sealed the deal.”

Lanoie continued, “This investment will ensure our students remain engaged. You should see the look on their faces when new technology is introduced. It really shows they are interested in learning and using the technology. The result: the students are excited about being in school.”
Further emphasizing the point, Lanoie mentioned, “I love to have the 3D printer going when new students arrive. They are excited about it and ask ‘Can I do this, or that?’ That is entirely on them. They can then try it and figure it out. The technology helps our students learn our engineering design process.”

Lanoie indicated, “The students will be happy to create something with this new technology, for public display, to memorialize all donations received in support of this program.”
To learn more about the GlowForge 3D Laser Printer, visit: www.glowforge.com.

Donations can be sent to the Windham Middle School, in care of the STEM program. Any questions can be directed to Jason Lanoie (jlanoie@rsu14.org) or Principal Drew Patin both of which can be reached at: 207-892-1820.

Windham business owner volunteers with “Military Makeover” on Lifetime® TV

Mindy with Jennifer Bertrand and Art Edmonds
By Lorraine Glowczak

This Friday morning, May 31 at 7:30 a.m., the Lifetime TV channel will begin another edition of the television series, “Military Makeover with Montel”. According to the website, this series, “offers hope and a helping hand here on the home front to members of our military and their loved ones. Talk show legend and military advocate Montel Williams, a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Navy, leads the makeover team’s mission.”

The website also states, “this special series enlists conscientious designers, contractors, landscapers and other home improvement professionals to transform the homes and lives of military families across the country.”

It just so happens that local business owner, Mindy Zink of Half Moon D├ęcor and Design Studio will use her expertise with Chalk Paint®, a Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan will be among the many conscientious home improvement professionals you’ll see in this Lifetime’s latest series.

“I wanted to give back in some way,” began Zink, whose father is a veteran of the Airforce. “I don’t watch much television, but I did see a “Military Makeover” episode and I realized that I could volunteer my experiences with chalk painting. So, I simply emailed them to see if they could use my services.”

https://www.egcu.org/homeThe response from the show’s producer was immediate, Zink said and before long, she was accepted to be a part of the next series. But a family emergency created a minor setback for Zink and her husband Stephen. “My mother-in-law had brain cancer and we decided to be with her and declined the offer.”

Although they feared the show wouldn’t invite them back for another opportunity, Zink and her husband felt it was the right decision to remain home with his mother as she faced her final days. But their concerns were unfounded, and the show invited them to their next project for a military family in Ashville, NY.

And just two weeks ago, Ashville is where Mindy and Stephen spent six days painting the two bathrooms in the home of Airforce veteran, Cody Willett and his wife. Willett was injured during a tour of duty in Afghanistan and was sent to a military hospital in Germany. This is where he met his wife. He currently experiences PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

The Zinks, who donated their time, travel, product and hotel stay, were among many of the home improvement professionals who worked together on this project – all under a deadline – with “together” being the key term of the experience. “There was every contractor under the sun in the house at the same time,” stated Zink. “There was a specific window of time and we all had to do our projects together while television crews were filming.”
That is no easy feat when you are painting. “The insulation guy was running behind and was installing insulation while I was painting. I was literally standing in a foot of insulation. Add in the fact that there was dust from sanding made painting under a time constraint difficult. Oh!,” Zink recalled something further. “It was cold in New York, too. This delayed the time for the paint to dry.”
But despite the difficulties, the Zinks and the other contractors felt very little stress. “There was a sense of camaraderie among us and no one felt discouraged even as we were working elbow to elbow,” she said. “It was an uplifting experience. Everyone was happy. No animosity and no

When asked if she got to meet Montel Williams, Zink stated that she, her husband along with other crew members and contractors sat with him as they ate a meal together. But because he is known to very reserved, the contractors were asked to respect his privacy. As a result, no conversation occurred between the well-known host and the Zinks. Did this disappoint Zink. “No. It wasn’t the reason why I was there.”

The real purpose of giving back to those who served will continue. The Zinks will be traveling to Florida in July for another “Military Makeover” episode - where the paint will dry slowly once again. This time, instead of the cold – it will be the heat. But Zink would quickly point out that these challenges are small compared to those experiences of the brave who serve.

The “Military Makeover” series consists of five episodes. The following is a list of the dates and times of the Willett family home makeover -where one will get to spot our local celebrities in action:

Episode 1 – May 31 and June 7
Episode 2 – June 14 and June 21
Episode 3 – June 28 and July 4
Episode 4 – July 5 and July 11
Episode 5 – July 12 and July 18

Friday, May 24, 2019

“Bridges of Friendship” photo exhibit at Windham Library has ties to Russia

By Lorraine Glowczak

If you have been to the Windham Public Library (WPL) in the past two weeks, you may have noticed an array of nature and candid photography gracing its walls. Some photographs are encased in gold frames while others – silver frames. Why is this subtle difference so important?

“Silver frames indicate that the photographs are from photographers of the Greater Portland area,” began Dennis Marrotte, a member and former president of the Portland Camera Club. “The photography that you see in gold frames – they are from photographers in our sister city – Archangel in Russia.”

As in all artforms, there is a story involved in the “Bridges of Friendship” photography exhibit at WPL that will continue until June 29. The tale is filled with not only cultural exchange but is also steeped in history which gives the photography display an interesting twist.

It all began in the early 1980s and continued in the early 1990s when, during the end of the Cold War, hostilities in America were growing toward Russia. To create more peace among the two countries, a professor from Oregon State University instigated a sister city initiative between the U.S. and Russia.
The effort caught on and members of the Greater Portland area, including the town of Windham, joined forces “to provide opportunities for Russians and Americans to share time, ideas, and the best of our communities; to bring true friendship and understanding to our peoples; and to improve the chances for world peace through citizen diplomacy,” as stated by portlandme.gov website.

Friendship, culture and art has continued to develop between the two cities since the Archangel Committee of Greater Portland nonprofit organization was established in 1988, of which Dan Glover of Westbrook lead the group as president in its beginning years.

Glover shared that although the towns and cities that comprise the sister city exchange with Archangel began in the late 1980s, their roots and connections began in WWII. “South Portland had two shipyards, building EC-2 Emergency Cargo, also known as ‘Liberty Ships’, with Portland being one of the several east coast ports from where Liberty Ship convoys sailed to Europe and to the Artic Ports of Murmansk and Archangel, in Russia.”

https://bbcultivation.com/Fast forward to 2019, and the connections continues. Part of the success with the Archangel Committee of Greater Portland can be contributed to the exchange of high school students between the two cities. Glover explained that the students from the Greater Portland area would spend one month, usually during the March break, in an Archangel school (and vice versa). In recent years, the student exchange has subsided. Glover is happy to announce that the exchange will be revived – at least for one year – in 2020 as students at Westbrook High School will do an exchange with students from Archangel.

However, the photography exhibit exchange has remained intact since the Archangel Committee of Greater Portland was established, creating not only an exchange of art and culture, but that of lifelong friendships between the photographers of the Portland Camera Club and the camera club of Archangel, the Spolokhi Club.

Marrotte has developed many friendships and experiences over the years travelling back and forth from his home in Westbrook to Archangel. “When the photo clubs first began the photography exchange, everything was film and you couldn’t just send photography at the click of a button,” Marrotte explained. “We had to communicate via teletype and travel with photographs in hand.” 
(Teletype was used to communicate typed messages from point to point through a simple electrical communications channel, often looking like a big typewriter, before the days of the internet.)

https://www.egcu.org/boatMarrotte has so many stories of his travels throughout Russia as well as the generous and kind people he met - that could fill volumes of books – all as a result from the love of the art of photography and the photography exchange that developed between the two cities.

You too, can experience a small slice of Marrotte’s (and all the photographers’) journeys throughout the past 30 years with the “Bridges of Friendship” exhibit. In the photographs, you will not only see art – but if you look deeply enough, you’ll also see history, friendship – and peace.

“The exhibit is a visual connection between the two cities,” explained Marrotte. “Both camera clubs agreed on the title of the exhibit as it came from an essay written by a member of the Spolokhi Camera Club after Marrotte had visited Archangel three times. The title of that essay was also, ‘Bridges of Friendship’, and it reflected the photographer’s experience between the two countries.”

NOTE OF INTEREST: The Portland Camera club has been a gathering of both amateur and professional photographers in the Southern Maine area since 1899. For more information, peruse their website at www.portlandcameraclub.org. The camera club in Archangel, Spolokhi, was formed in 1980 by a General Physician who left his practice to follow his calling of photography. “Spolokhi” translates to “Northern Lights”.

Essay contest winner shares important message with the community

AJ Sweet shows off his awards with his sister
By Elizabeth Richards

AJ Sweet has a message to convey: Anybody can be awesome. The third-grade student at Windham Primary School shares this message in an essay he wrote for a competition sponsored by the Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness. His moving essay won the third-grade prize. “I was thinking from my heart, and that’s how I was writing it,” AJ said.

The prompt for his essay was “We all have different abilities and different challenges. Why is that a good thing?” The Caring Classrooms Contest was open to any student in a classroom that has been part of the Cromwell Center’s disabilities awareness program, which is presented free of charge in schools throughout southern and central Maine.

In that program, staff from the center give a presentation on common disabilities and building awareness around them, AJ’s mother, Torrey Sweet, said. 

The contest is a follow up to that presentation. A flier promoting the contest said, “The contest is a great way for children to think about what they learned about disabilities and inclusion.”
For AJ, the topic is personal. In his essay he talks about having autism, and how that has impacted his life and attitude. 

AJ said writing the essay was really fun, and he had a great time working on it. “I have a hard time writing, but also I love to write,” he said, demonstrating the perseverance he has developed.

https://www.lpapplianceme.com/When he found out he was the third-grade prize winner, AJ said, “I freaked out. I was so excited.” The school recognized his accomplishment with an announcement over the intercom, and everyone in his classroom and the class next door lined up to shake his hand. “It was just a great couple of days,” AJ said.

Torrey said that AJ’s essay is a great depiction of what life is like for him and emphasizes that it’s okay to be different. “We’ve always told him his brain is a little bit different, but that doesn’t mean he’s not as smart as other kids, it doesn’t mean he can’t do the same things they do, it just takes a little bit more to do those things,” she said. AJ’s essay clearly demonstrates that he’s received and understands that important idea.

AJ said he thinks this contest is important because it allows children to “let their hearts out and let them know what they think.” When he gets the opportunity to tell people how things are for him, he said, he feels like they are really interested. “Some people get it, but some people don’t also – that’s okay. In my essay I kind of walk you through what it’s like,” he said.

When asked if he thinks this experience has helped others understand him a little better, AJ answered “I don’t think they understand me just a little bit, I think they understand me a whole bunch better. They understand how I feel, they understand my well-being, they understand me so much, and I feel like that’s really helped me get to know people.”

http://www.mwamconcerts.com/AJ’s father, Tony Sweet, said that although he didn’t know that AJ was writing an essay for the contest, he wasn’t surprised by the content.  “He’s always really tried to speak out for other people and his classmates,” Tony said. “We’re super proud of him, and all the things he’s done so far.”

“We were very proud of him for writing it. It’s very well-articulated, and it does do a great job of summing it up and putting it in a way that everyone can understand,” Torrey said. “It was definitely a huge win for him, and a huge win in making people more aware of this.”

AJ said he wishes everyone could have a chance to feel the way he felt when he learned he had won.  “I might never forget that minute in my life,” he said. Even more, he said, he wants people to know that they can embrace their true abilities. 

Fear of what other people will think can stop people, he said, but he thinks everyone should be able to be their true self. “Anyone can have a growth mindset. Anyone can embrace beauty on the inside. Anyone can embrace anything, because they, on the inside, are awesome,” he said.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Saint Joseph’s College officially launches Institute for Integrative Aging

Donato J. Tramuto with SilverSneakers participants
95 year old Shirley Saunders, right, and her daughter Judy Alepeter
By Lorraine Glowczak

The Baggot Street Cafe at the Heffernan Center on Saint Joseph’s College campus was host to over 50 Lakes Region community members on Friday, May 10 for a breakfast reception that included locally sourced food. The purpose of the celebratory event was to recognize the successful launch of SilverSneakers®—the first phase of the college’s innovative program, the Institute for Integrative Aging (IIA).

SilverSneakers® is an exercise series specifically targeted for older adults and is initiated by Tivity Health®, an organization with the mission to work hand-in-hand with members, clients and healthcare partners to create everyday opportunities for long-lasting health and vitality. CEO of Tivity Health®, Donato J. Tramuto, was the guest speaker for the event.

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In a recent press release announcing the launch, Tramuto is quoted as stating the following regarding the reason and purpose of SilverSneakers®: “Loneliness is the new epidemic of the 21st century. I have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles and have met tens of thousands of SilverSneakers® members. Fifteen million adults are eligible for this program. Sixteen thousand gyms participate. And it all started with the desire to train gyms on how to treat mature adults in exercise classes who may have chronic conditions. I applaud Saint Joseph’s College for establishing this program on campus. It takes leaders to move us forward so that we never forget the senior community. Thank you for making it easier for older adults in rural Maine to age with dignity.”

There are a multitude of reasons for establishing SilverSneakers® and the Institute for Integrative Aging on the 500-acre campus – and aging with dignity is one important aspect. “Everyone is going to age differently,” said Peter Nielsen, executive director of Mission-Aligned Business at Saint Joseph’s College who oversees the IIA program. “The purpose of the Institute for Integrative Aging is to support individual agency, empowering each person to choose their own path to longevity.”

As Tramuto referred to in his talk at the event, rural isolation is another big factor to adding this new program. Social seclusion is a serious concern in the U.S. and beyond but especially so in rural communities and the aging population. Shirley Saunders, a 95-year-old participant in SilverSneakers®, joined her first class a little over a week ago. “My first class was so enjoyable. I barely got out of my home all winter because it was so icy. I went a long time without being around people. SilverSneakers® is wonderful. I like being in a room full of people and even more so when they’re close to my age. Participating in the class was the highlight of my winter.”

https://bbcultivation.com/Saunders’ daughter, Judy Alepeter is also a participant and explained one purpose for her attendance is because the program gears the exercise components toward the older age group. “It respects us and the fact that we can’t do things at the same speeds as our younger counterparts,” she said. Alepeter, who is a two-time cancer survivor, added that the program keeps her energy up and adds friendships and socialization in her life.

Nielsen pointed out that the word ‘integrative’ is the key point in this campus-wide endeavor. Besides the fact that Saint Joseph’s college is the largest privately-owned property that sits along the shore of the second largest lake in Maine, the program is unique in the fact that it incorporates many facets of the community and individual needs. “The program ties together socialization and food security as well as sustainability and wellness,” Nielsen said, adding that it supports economic development and improved quality of life for Mainers.

Incorporating SilverSneaker® exercise program into the IIA encourages older adults to visit the campus, and Nielsen stated that it is one way to get to know the older population and discover the continuing needs they have. “By having them on campus, we can talk with them and ask them what they want and need,” he said. “We can only move forward successfully with their input.”

Nielsen and other Saint Joseph leaders realize that not all the aging population of the Lakes Region community can easily travel to campus to take advantage of the many services that are available at low or no cost. “Our next step is to discover a way to connect with those who are unable to travel to campus so they, too, can be connected to the community at large.”

One next step in the process that may solve some of the travel concerns is the plan to build housing for the older population to live on campus in the near future. “This will provide an opportunity for intergenerational connectivity,” Nielsen began. “And is another example of the intentional word, ‘integrative’.”

When introducing Tramuto at last Friday morning’s event, President Jim Dlugos, who coined the term “integrative aging” said, "We want you to think of Saint Joseph's as your college.  Know that we are here for you and for everyone in the Lakes Region. Please come back often and take advantage of all we have to offer at this beautiful place on Sebago Lake."

Maine’s future and the opiate crisis

Rotarians Ingo Hartig, Goerge Bartlett, Mark Morris and
Peter Garland
By Craig Bailey

On Thursday March 9, Windham Middle School’s seventh-grade students hosted an event to share the outcome of their project: Taking Back Maine’s Future: Ending the Opiate Crisis. In attendance were parents, children, law enforcement, Rotary Club members and Senator Bill Diamond.

With a $1,200 donation from the Sebago Lake Rotary Club, the students were able to include the DeLorean replica as it was seen in the 1980s film, “Back to the Future”. The project is the brainchild of RSU14 school personnel Doug Elder, Lee Leroy, AJ Ruth and Gwen Roberts and required students to travel through time, via research and evaluation of current data and statistics, bringing newspaper articles back from the future: some from the bright promising future where Maine has defeated the epidemic. Others from a dark and dangerous future where the epidemic persists.

https://www.egcu.org/homeWhen Elder opened the school cafeteria doors the public was welcomed to visit both of these possible futures. One side of the cafeteria was dark, with litter strewn about, mock drugs and syringes on tables along with would-be news articles sharing the state of affairs if the epidemic goes unchecked. The students clearly demonstrated their concern and what the future could hold.

Students shared their concerns and the results of what they learned from the project. Maggie Whiting stated, “Opiates are a real problem. If this issue is not solved, Maine could go very wrong due to increased overdoses and deaths.” This was reinforced by headlines of news articles on display, including: “Child Overdoses on Mother’s Fentanyl.”

Dakota Woodall concurred by adding, “Maine will come to an end as we know it if we don’t do something. People need to listen to what we are saying.”

Another student, Nathan Jordan was very clear when he said that the possibility of a bleak future is not a fantasy. “It is based on what could happen if things continue as is,” he said. “We need to educate to avoid this future.”

Traveling to the bright future the public observed thoughtful ideas and positive outcomes that could result from pragmatic approaches to battling the epidemic.

Cate Culbovich expressed what he learned from the project, “We need more treatment centers where people can get help.”

Julia Mazerolle had an idea that may be helpful in eradicating addiction. “A prescription drink, wearable patch or chewable could be developed to cure opiate addiction. If we can prevent addiction there will be a better future for everyone.”
Elexis Crommett reinforced, “We need to take action that will result in fewer overdoses.”
Sasha Funk proposed, “Scientists could come up with a vaccination which prevents addiction.”
Another scientific approach was offered by John Ulmer. “Scientists could extract the addictive components from prescription drugs.”

Haley Blethen stated that education is imperative, making people aware of the many side effects of addiction. “When a baby is born to an addict, the baby immediately goes through withdrawals. The doctor must give the baby the correct dose of opioids and continue to reduce until they are off the drug. However, the baby remains an addict as ‘once an addict, always an addict’ since the drug rewires your brain,” she said.

The Windham Police Department was also present, and Patrol Captain William Andrews stated that he was impressed with the data collected by the students. “It is refreshing that the youth are taking interest in this epidemic. I’m impressed with their ideas, figures and statistics.”

Rotarian George Bartlett was enthusiastic about the project stating, “this gets the kids involved in the community to help with a very real problem.”

The students were overwhelmingly positive about what they learned which required multi-week investments of time. Ulmer indicated this included, “practicing the Socratic method to answering questions in preparation for this event.”

“We are all at risk as an ‘unlikely addict.”, Elder stated. “It could start simply from an injury, after being prescribed an opioid. One thing leads to another. I just read an article on a police officer dying of an overdose. The problem is so stark and pressing. The students extrapolated the cold hard facts. If the trends don’t change, Maine will become a wasteland. The tide is turning, though, as we are beginning to see companies and doctors held accountable.”

The project was also aided by Be the Influence Coalition, which is a collaborative group of Windham and Raymond community leaders who are working to raise awareness and address concerns caused by substance use and abuse in area communities.

The replica DeLorean was provided by Bill and Patrick Shea of Hubbardston, MA.