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

Raymond Arts Alliance presents first musical event of 2018 by Sheila Bourque

David Young
The Raymond Art Alliance (RAA) will provide an evening of musical talent on Saturday, January 20 at 7 p.m. hosted at the Raymond Village Community Church located at located at 27 Main Street in Raymond. The cost of the event is on a donation basis.
RAA’s mission is to reach out to the community to bring residents together, through opportunities for enjoyment and enlightenment. There are many different programs that will be offered to the community and our first is the appreciation of music. 

RAA is pleased to present three different musical groups to kick off this year’s events. Young is a vocalist/acoustic guitarist and native of Raymond. He has performed extensively in local venues including last summer's “Everybody Loves Raymond” and the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Lewiston. His covers of folk classics, the music of Bob Dylan and original singer/songwriter tunes, combined with his easy-going stage presence, are always a big hit.  
The group, Top Brahmen, led by guitarist Thomas Brown, features singer Katie Oberholtzer, who is a vocal jazz major at the University of Southern Maine School of Music. The group plays smooth, groove based modern R&B/soul music in the Portland Area and their blend of contemporary and traditional styling has become an audience favorite. For more about the band, please visit

The musical team, Canoso y Otros, consist of Gary Wittner (guitar/vocals) and Rafael Freyre (bass/vocals) who have been performing Latin music together for over a decade. Freyre (a native of Raymond) is a busy freelance musician, performing with many groups throughout Northern New England. 

Canoso y Otros
Wittner’s musical career spans five decades and five continents. He lives in Raymond and has represented the USA overseas as a Kennedy Center Jazz Ambassador, a Fulbright Specialist and a U.S. Embassy Outreach Artist. This group, featuring singer/percussionist Eric Winter, will perform high energy Latin music in the son/salsa tradition.

The sanctuary of Raymond Village Community Church offers a delightful acoustical setting for music of all kinds. This will be presented in three sets and light refreshments will be available. This event is open to the community. An entrance fee is suggested but not required. There is no advanced seating and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. show.  

Come on out of the hills and enjoy the show! The RAA is a program of the Raymond Village Library.

Friday, January 5, 2018

The twist and turns of “Building a Life”; a memoir of unexpected discoveries by Lorraine Glowczak

Memoir writing is becoming a popular way to share challenging life lessons that evoke a change in the author. As a result, it can be therapeutic not only for the writer, but for the reader as well.
Although Julie Brown never originally intended to write a memoir, once she realized that was the path she would take, she found herself on an unanticipated journey of reflection, self-discovery and validation of a life that included making difficult choices. Through the evolution of the writing process, Brown’s memoir, “Building a Life” was born.

It’s true that writing a memoir was not always on Brown’s bucket list but that’s how the twist and turns of unexpected discoveries began.

It all started as an average, typical day performing routine life activities. While preparing a meal for the evening, Brown received a phone call. It was her adult daughter. The news her daughter shared collapsed any notion of a routine, ordinary day. “Mom, I have a brain tumor.” 

Although those six words took Brown’s breath away and paralyzed her temporarily, she moved forward in an unexpected way and wrote a memoir as part of her healing process.
Yet, the memoir is not where the healing began., Brown intended to write a children’s book about the experience. “About six years ago I had the idea to write a children’s book about dealing with a loved one who is sick in an effort to help my grandchildren cope with their mother’s illness,” Brown said. 

“As I researched further, I was finding it difficult to put together,” Brown continued. “I met two writers while participating in “Head to the Hill” in Washington D.C. This is organized by the National Brain Tumor Society ( and advocates for research funding and support for families of brain tumor patients. Both of these writers had self-published and I looked into it. One of them had recommended their co-writer, Angel Logan. When she and I met, we hit it off and things moved along easily.”

Once she discovered it was a memoir that she would write, it wasn’t long until she made another discovery. “I thought I wanted the book to be more about my daughter’s diagnosis and treatment [but] then I realized I had a lot of my own ‘stuff” to work through, so I decided she has her own story to tell,” Brown explained.

In “Building a Life”, co-written with Angel Logan, Brown shares her story of becoming a mother, giving birth at age 16 and the beautiful, yet challenging journey of raising children at such a young age.

While writing her manuscript, she noticed some additional things about herself. “I still held onto ideas and beliefs that I needed to let go of.  I also validated, for myself, the hard work it takes to be a wife and mother.” Brown explained that the unfolding of events in the book evolved through the use of old letters and journals. Her memoir involves members of her family, including her mother and father. “My parents were very supportive through the process," Brown said. “They read and re-read drafts of the manuscript. My daughter also read through the manuscript before it went to print and made some suggestions that were helpful in the editing process.”

Brown decided to self-publish her book. After doing her research, she discovered Balboa Press was easy to work with. She stated that the entire self-publishing endeavor took about a year.

If one is interested in publishing a memoir (self-published or otherwise), Brown gives the following advice; “A memoir is very personal. I believe I am a pretty private person and, yet I have a book revealing a lot of details of my life. My advice to others would be that they need to be ok with that.” 

The author lives in Windham and has copies of her book at Sherman’s Bookstore in Portland and will be donating a copy to the Windham Public Library when they begin accepting donations again after their construction project is completed. 

For more information regarding Brown’s book, one can peruse her website at

Raymond Elementary Class wins second place in national contest by Briana Bizier

Dr. Bizier helping the second-graders set up their crystals
A second-grade class at Raymond Elementary School started the new year with some exciting news.
On December 21, Mrs. Aileen Pelletier’s second-grade class won second place in the United States Crystal Growing Competition! Open to U.S. students of all ages, this competition is a STEM Outreach Program designed to encourage scientific literacy for students in kindergarten through high school. Now in its fourth year, the contest is organized by Dr. Jason Benedict at the University of Buffalo.

Mrs. Pelletier’s class began growing their crystal on October 23, when Dr. Bizier, the Honors and AP chemistry teacher at Windham High School, visited Raymond Elementary to help the second-graders set up their own crystal growing experiment.

Many common household items, like sugar and the cleaning solution Borax, will grow crystals under the right conditions. For the United States Crystal Growing Competition, all competitors are required to grow a crystal using alum, a common pickling salt found in most grocery stores.

To grow their crystal, the second-graders first heated water and dissolved the alum. Then they suspended a tiny “seed crystal” from fishing line, and hung it in the alum and water solution to serve as a nucleation site. If the alum solution is left undisturbed at a consistent temperature, the dissolved alum in the water begins to grow a crystal around the nucleation site.

Crystal making, day one
“Think of crystal growing like stacking Legos,” explained Dr. Bizier. 

If the water is heated too quickly, or the solution is disturbed, the alum will fall out of the solution
like a handful of Legos thrown on the floor. Under ideal conditions, however, the alum molecules dissolved in the water will slowly stack together to form a beautiful crystal.

Leaving a solution undisturbed was a challenge for a class full of second graders. 

Same crystal, 26 days later
The students were very careful as they eagerly tracked the growth of their crystal. Mrs. Pelletier added daily photos to the class website so parents were able to follow the experiment as well.

Despite losing power for three days after the late October wind storm, the crystal continued to grow, especially once the class heated the solution again to re-dissolve the alum.

After 26 days in Mrs. Pelletier’s classroom, the crystal was mailed to Buffalo, New York to be judged against crystals from classrooms across the country. The crystals are evaluated for size and quality by a team of experts who judge factors like intact edges, well-formed faces, and clarity.

Out of 160 entries, Mrs. Pelletier’s class won second place! prize comes with a $100 award and the crystal from Raymond Elementary School will be added to the permanent Winner’s Display at the University of Buffalo. If your travels ever bring you to Buffalo, New York, be sure to stop by the University to view Raymond’s prize-winning crystal.