Friday, November 16, 2018

Veterans Day celebration and special awards held last Sunday

Winners, Alexander Potter, Sam Williams with Willie Goodman
By Lorraine Glowczak

Community members and veteran came out to celebrate Veterans Day on Sunday, November 11 at 11 a.m. at the Windham Veterans Center, 35 Memorial Drive. The open house and ceremony not only included honoring our veterans but also included the official announcements of the student Patriot’s Pen essay as well as the Voice of Democracy themed audio essay awards along with a teacher of the year recognition.

Commander Willie Goodman of the Windham Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post began Sunday’s celebration by welcoming all present and providing a background history of Veterans Day.

Goodman stated that Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Additionally, congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and November 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.”

https://www.egcu.orgVFW Chaplain Roger Timmons gave the invocation. This was followed by Past Commander, Bob Akins who shared thought provoking insights on the Patriot’s Pen, Voice of Democracy and Teacher of the Year programs. Commander Goodman then announced the winners of the essay and teacher of the year contests.

The first to be announced was the second-place winner of the Patriot’s Pen essay competition that was open to middle school students including home schoolers, in grades sixth through eighth in the Windham area. Out of the 48 submissions, Sam Williams of Windham Christian Academy won $50 for his second-place win for his 300-400-word essay on this year’s theme, “Why I honor the American flag.” First place winner was Alexander Potter from Jordan-Small Middle School who won a $100 award. Both middle school frontrunners read their essay to Sunday’s attendees and will enter the Maine competition for a chance to win on a National level.

The Voice of Democracy audio essay competition was open to high school students, grades nine through 12, including those home schooled in the Windham area. Students were required to write and record a three to five-minute essay, on an audio CD, regarding this year’s theme “Why My Vote Matters.” The winner was Rose Hagerstrom of Windham Christian Academy (WCA). Because she was unable to attend the ceremony and read her winning essay, Principal Jackie Sands read the essay in her place. Hagerstrom will also be in the running for a win on the state level.

Teacher Emily Stokes with Willie Goodman
The first-place state winner of both competitions receives a four-day trip to Washington, DC. The first-place national winner receives $5,000 for the Patriot’s Pen winning essay and the first-place winning essay nationally for the Voice of Democracy receives a $30,000 college scholarship.

The final announcement was the Teacher of the Year Award. This year’s recipient was sixth grade Windham Middle School teacher, Emily Stokes, for her year-long study of veterans. Stokes incorporated all the mandatory curriculum mandates to include language arts, social studies and more as part of the year-long study. The students spent time interviewing veterans, writing biographical essays, visiting museums and cemeteries to name just a few of the projects included.

Special awards were also given to the Boy Scouts Troup 805 for their dedication to various veteran activities as well as a Blue-Star Banner to a mother who has two sons currently in the military.
The Veterans Day ceremony ended with placing a wreath on the Vietnam Memorial in the Memorial Garden


“The Little Mermaid” gives students a chance to shine onstage and off

The "Little Mermaid" cast

By Elizabeth Richards

Putting on a Disney show is an ambitious undertaking, and Windham High School pulls it off beautifully in their production of “The Little Mermaid”.

From the acting, singing and dancing, to costumes, lighting, special effects and sets, the show is magical from Ariel’s first moments on stage to the final scene. Windham has some amazingly talented students, and they shine in this familiar tale.

Countless hours must have been spent creating the sets and costumes that brought this story to life. Creating an underwater world on stage is tricky at best, but this cast and crew pulled it off beautifully.
This year, younger students filled some of the main roles, including freshman Emma Chasse as Sebastian and sophomore Denali Dieumegard as Ariel.

Chasse, who said she’s been acting since second grade, brought Sebastian to life with a quirky walk and delightful expression. Chasse said she was overwhelmed at first, but by a couple of weeks before the show opened, she was taking it all in stride and enjoying every minute. “It’s my first high school show, and I’ve waited for this for such a long time. It’s so crazy!” she said. 

https://www.egcu.org/cashDieumegard said she’s been acting since kindergarten, and has performed at Schoolhouse Arts Center, Breakwater School and Windham Middle School.  She said she has always loved the character of Ariel and wanted to play the role. “It was a really nice surprise, getting the role. It’s a dream, honestly.”

Listening to her sing, it’s easy to hear why she was cast. Her voice is strong and steady, and it’s easy to believe that it would capture the attention of a handsome prince. Her mannerisms portrayed Ariel’s innocence and longing for a different life nicely.

Dieumegard said the cast is like a family. “They’re all so kind and inviting. It really is a cool community,” she said.

Each role seemed perfectly cast. It can be difficult to bring such well known characters to life in a unique way, but each performer did just that. The ensemble moved in sync to clever choreography, their voices blending perfectly, to create dynamic numbers that were incredibly fun to watch. Some numbers were funny (Will Searway as Chef Louis in Les Poissons had the audience roaring with laughter) and some more touching and sweet. All were well executed and engaging.

It was clear from the quality of the production that the talent extends well beyond the stage.  Scene transitions went smoothly, and lighting cues and special effects were right on time. The costumes were amazing, and clearly the product of a lot of hard work.

Some older students had the opportunity to take on leadership roles that extended beyond their on-stage presence. Damara Stratis, who played a gull, was the dance captain and Travis Burt, who played Prince Eric, was the Assistant Director. 

Both have been involved in theater for many years, and as seniors were excited to take on these leadership roles. Their interest in getting involved beyond performing was sparked when they did “Kiss Me Kate” as sophomores, Stratis said. She said she has loved watching everyone grow as the show came together. “It’s teaching me more about responsibility and being a good role model,” she stated. 

Ariel (Denali Dieumegard) and Ursula (Corrine Ulmer)
Being that role model makes the production more about community instead of just the individual, Stratis added. “This really does give a good sense of community.

Stratis stated that after high school, she’s interested in going into occupational therapy. “That is very much about helping people and supporting people. This is kind of prepping me for that,” she said. “I think it’s really going to help me in my career.”

Burt was student director last year for the “Sound of Music” as well.  “Having my own thoughts and my own creativity being portrayed on stage was an amazing feeling to me,” he said. 

This year, Burt said he handled more scenes and was trusted to take control when Juergens was busy. “I have felt like I’ve grown more mature from it,” he said. “I feel like it’s really helped us become who we are.”

Burt said he wanted the other students to trust him, just as he trusted older students when he was younger.  Having the responsibility of assistant director has made him more responsible, he said, and he can carry that through to college and beyond. Burt is interested in studying acting, and direction, in college.  “I’ve enjoyed taking control and being able to create and invent my own show,” he continued. “You aren’t just focused on you yourself, you’re focused on the entire show as a whole; you’re not just inventing a character and making it grow, you’re making sure that the entire cast grows as a whole,” Burt said.

The performance I saw was evidence that the entire cast and crew worked cohesively, coming together to put on a production so good I had to remind myself it was a high school show. The show runs for one more weekend, on Friday November 16 at 7 p.m.; Saturday November 17 at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, November 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for children, students, and seniors at the door. Reserved tickets are $14 and can be purchased at www.whsfallmusical.weebly.com.



Friday, November 9, 2018

Saying thank you and goodbye to the Windham Kiwanis: 1930 – 2018

By Walter Lunt

The Kiwanis Club of Windham, a highly regarded youth service organization has officially ended 88 years of local charitable and philanthropic work.

Left behind is a legacy of youth development and community improvement that included projects ranging from student scholarships and Key Club to the ambitious Windham High School home building program.

“I’m so, so sorry to think that it’s gone.” said long-time Kiwanian and former vice-president Glenn Libby. “It was a great and worthy organization that did a lot of good things; (I have) wonderful memories of what we did for young people in town.”
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In the sixties when Libby was heavily involved in Kiwanis, the club numbered over 30 members.
“(Despite recruitment efforts) we were down to 3 members.” said Jerry Black, “and we just couldn’t keep going.” Black, who joined Kiwanis in 1962, was the longest serving member, having assumed numerous roles over the years including president, treasurer, committee chairs and district Lieutenant Governor.

Past president Phillip Moody echoes Black’s assessment that dwindling membership would cripple the capability of Kiwanis’ effort to carry out its mission of support to local youth. He cited the club’s sponsorship of Presidential Classroom, Boys and Girls State and local scouting organizations as points of pride for Windham Kiwanis Club.

From its inception in Windham in 1930 and into the 1950s, Windham Kiwanis Club attracted business leaders, teachers and residents who worked tirelessly raising money to fund various youth and community projects. Among the most memorable were the Kiwanis Auction, an annual amateur golf classic and creative booths at Windham Old Home Day. Those projects helped to support scholarships for high school seniors and contributed to the establishment of a Windham High School Key Club.

In 1960, Windham Kiwanis embarked on its most unique and ambitious undertaking to date. It established the Windham Kiwanis Building Trades Corp. Under the supervision of Windham High School faculty member Fred Kelley and as part of the formal school curriculum, students enrolled in building trades courses applied classroom theory by actually building houses. The Windham Kiwanis Club financed the project by furnishing a house lot and by obtaining credit from local merchants, including L.C. Andrew (lumber), Don Rich Oil Co., Maurice Rogers (excavation), Northeast Foundations, Sherwin Williams (paint) and others. On sale of the house, creditors were paid, and the profits used to buy additional tools and machinery for the high school and to increase the size and number of scholarships. The project attracted the attention of Kiwanis International and became a model for other Kiwanis Clubs in Maine.

Kiwanian Jerry Black with the official Kiwanis bell and gavel that will no longer open and close meetings
In all, the corporation built 10 homes between 1961 and 1971 in what became the Brookhaven development in North Windham.

Windham resident Walter Lamb participated in the first two years of the program. “It was a great experience and a hell of an idea,” he recalled. “Old Fred was a no-nonsense guy and he’d tell you, ‘this is a screwdriver for driving screws, not a chisel.’ We used hand saws and hammers. No power tools. We built the forms for the concrete, framed up the house, closed it in, put in the floors, hung the doors and installed the windows. I remember Fred and a couple of masons built a chimney and we had a wood stove for winter work. But it was still cold.”

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Asked about transportation to the work site every day, Lamb went on, “We had an old yellow Chevy van. We’d all pile in and go – it was the days before seat belts.” Regarding mischief and practical jokes, Lamb said the student crews were never destructive but still managed to have some fun. “I remember we’d stop at Herb Thomes store at Foster’s Corner (the rotary) and pick up soda and snacks. One time we were shingling the roof and I laid down with my back to the roof to have my snack. My buddies were hammering away next to me. When I went to get up, I discovered they’d nailed the shoulders of my coveralls to the roof.”

“A lot of kids took that program and learned a lot. One of my classmates became a builder and I built my own house.”

Glenn Libby said he joined Kiwanis (“It was an honor to be recommended”) because of the home-building project.

“That hands-on program meant a lot to me. It made sense. If those kids were going to do anything productive, they’d do it with their hands.”

Lamb agreed. “We weren’t academics. If it weren’t for that program, (many of the kids) wouldn’t have stayed in school.”

And, interestingly, the motto of Kiwanis International is “We build.”
The demise of the home building project came, according to Libby, when Fred Kelley was unable to carry it on, and when the formal vocational education programs expanded, particularly the program in Westbrook.

zachary.j.conley@mwarep.orgIn more recent times, Windham Kiwanis has continued vigorous fund-raising projects, including the sale of Christmas trees in North Windham. It has sponsored youth horse shows, spurred support for the Windham Food Pantry and conducted bicycle helmet fitting and child safety seat inspections.

Disbanding meant the resources of the club had to be dispersed. Jerry Black said some materials will be given to neighboring Kiwanis organizations. And after bills are paid, all money will go to the Kiwanis Scholarship Fund, which will continue to award scholarships to deserving seniors. He said the high school Key Club will also continue under the supervision of Standish Kiwanis.    

Libby concluded that the motivation behind Windham Kiwanis Club was this: “What you’re doing for young people you’re doing for your community.”  

New Raymond fire truck named to honor the late Captain David Mains

Fire truck dedication ceremony
By Briana Bizier

On October 28, the town of Raymond welcomed a new fire truck into its fleet. Tank 2 has been dedicated to Captain David Mains, a beloved member of the Raymond Fire Department who passed away in June of this year. The dedication of Tank 2 assures his memory lives on.



The truck named in honor of Captain Mains was built by METAFAB Fire Trucks. It has a 3,000-gallon tank and is designed to carry water to fire scenes in rural areas without access to fire hydrants. Those familiar with the town of Raymond will note fire hydrants are a rarity and will be relieved to know Tank 2 is standing by in case of emergency.

Ninety percent of the funds used to purchase the vehicle came from a FEMA grant written by Deputy Chief Cathy Gosselin, and the remaining ten percent of the funds were contributed by the town of Raymond.

The ceremony of pushing a truck into service comes from old fire traditions,” Deputy Chief Gosselin explains. “The horse-drawn fire wagons had to be pushed into the stations as the horses didn't like backing up. The christening of the truck was taking water from the old tank truck and placing it into the new truck. Everyone was invited to help dry the truck after it was washed and then to push it into service.”

markbryantwindham@gmail.comTank 2 was welcomed into service during a ceremony attended by 75 people. Chief Bruce Tupper offered a welcome and explained the tradition of putting a new truck into service. After a ceremonial transfer of water by firefighters Chris Nassa and Doug Kerr, the truck was christened by firefighter Brandon Cunningham and Lieutenant Andrew Jordan. The truck was then officially “pushed” by Captain Scott Mildrum, who was assisted by the speaker Alice Mains, Dave’s aunt; Jen Mains, Dave’s wife; firefighter Charissa Kerr, who spoke about Dave’s history with the Raymond Fire Department; Noah Mains, who unveiled the plaque; and Deputy Chief Cathy Gosselin, who offered the closing.

 “David's name is David Alexander Mains,” Gosselin explains. “As a kid he couldn't pronounce Alexander, so said his middle name is alligator!” Hence, the logo being put on Raymond’s newest fire truck is a fire-fighting alligator complete with a water bucket, axe and helmet.

David Mains is deeply missed in this community. Through the dedication of this new fire truck, Captain Mains is still protecting the homes and businesses of Raymond, Maine.

Friday, November 2, 2018

D.A.R.E. to Adventure students raise funds and help community through “Labor for Donations”

D.A.R.E to Adventure members hard at work
By Elizabeth Richards

Leadership skills, communication skills, community building, bridging social groups and outdoor adventure training are just a few of the benefits for students who participate in D.A.R.E. to Adventure at Windham Middle School. 

The program goes well beyond the traditional Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) curriculums. Led by Community Service Officer Matt Cyr of the Windham Police Department, the program incorporates elements similar to programs like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Outward Bound to teach students leadership skills. 

The group is made up of 20 students – ten seventh and ten eighth graders - from all different social groups who have shown leadership qualities or potential. “Our goal is for them to come out and learn leadership and team building, then go back to their peers and help their peers make good decisions. That’s the big idea,” Cyr said.

https://www.facebook.com/Tom-Tyler-for-Maine-House-374831959591528/“The reason we keep it so small is because of the mentoring piece that happens. I get pretty close to all of them,” Cyr said.

The group meets after school on Mondays and Wednesdays, participating in both team building and skill building activities. In the spring, Cyr begins teaching students how to roll a kayak. “It’s not so much about the kayaking as what they gain from doing it,” he said. Not everyone is successful with the roll, but they gain confidence, a sense of accomplishment for the things they can do and learn about taking positive risks.

The year culminates with an outdoor adventure trip. They begin with a ropes course then alternate between two days of whitewater rafting one year and a day of rock climbing and one of rafting the next. Cyr also teaches the students First Aid and CPR, and all are required to complete this training before going on the year end trip.

While there has always been some fundraising for the D.A.R.E. to Adventure program, it didn’t come close to paying for that year end trip. Student Josh Noyes said that he and his mother didn’t think it was right for Cyr to have to fund a large portion of the trip. They set a goal of raising $5000 this year to fully fund the trip for all the students. 

The whole goal is that he doesn’t have to pay for it, and we get a part in it,” Noyes said of their fundraising program called “Labor for Donations.”  D.A.R.E. to Adventure students go door to door asking people if they have any work they need completed. They have shoveled loam, moved brush and have other jobs, including fall clean up, coming. Parents of students in the program have also stepped up, donating their time to the efforts.

Kimberly Noyes, Josh’s mother, said that Officer Cyr is passionate about the D.A.R.E. to Adventure program and truly cares for kids in Windham. He makes the students – and their parents – passionate about the program as well, she said.

Morgan Hammond, a student participant, said that Labor for Donations helps the community as well. “Before, we didn’t do as much for other people,” she said. 

Haley Atherton added, “It helps other people learn about what Dare to Adventure is all about and how we’re helping the community. Not a lot of adults really know about this great program and how it really affects everyone else in the school district, and how we’re helping our community in different ways.”

https://www.egcu.org/autoUpcoming fundraisers include possibly shoveling in the winter, a fundraiser dance, participating in a craft fair at the high school on November 10 and 11, and activities at summer fest.

The program creates close bonds among participants. Atherton said she has learned leadership skills and made friends she wouldn’t have otherwise known. “The kids that are in the group now wouldn’t have really met each other or talked to each other if we hadn’t been in this program. It helps us become really good friends,” she said. 

Atherton thinks the program will help them later as well. “In high school when we go back into these social groups that we’re in, it will help us help our friends, but also help us when we get into those tough situations. It helps us build a better thought process,” she said.

Levi McDonald agreed.  “It helps me get more social with other people and learn leadership and how to have fun and make the right choices, positive choices,” he said. 

D.A.R.E. to Adventure also helps build bridges between social groups the students said. “If there’s any drama between social groups, there’s always people that know each other,” said Hammond.  “It’s exactly like a team with any sport. You all get along with everyone and learn stuff as a group. You get to see beyond your friends,” she said. 
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Finn Smith said, “I feel like DARE is a good place to make lifelong friends.”

Students who participate in D.A.R.E. to Adventure often maintain contact with Cyr and come back to mentor younger students. Their reasons for doing so vary, but all emphasize the positive impact of the program.  

Tenth grader Ezra Smith said he returns because he wants younger kids to know they have someone to support them when they go to high school.  “It’s good to be somewhere you feel accepted,” he said.

Kyle McLeese, a ninth grader, said, “I definitely gained a lot of friends from the program, and people who accept me for who I am, so I keep coming back for that.”

Community celebrates new building for horse rehabilitation at MSSPA

By Jennifer Davis

What began with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, October 26 led to a weekend long celebration at the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA), welcoming guests to the farm to tour their new facility. With lots of hard work and donations throughout the past year, MSSPA was able to construct their new building. Despite the frigid temperatures, visitors flocked to MSSPA to take a look.

The new building, the Lawrence J. Keddy and Marilyn L. Goodreau Equine Rehabilitation Facility, is a $2 million expansion project, that was entitled “Help, Hope, Home”. It features a full-size indoor equine training arena together with a humane education classroom, administrative offices and infrastructure upgrades. “This is a big change for MSSPA as this is the first time the administrative offices are on campus and can be hands on to what is going on day to day,” said Meris Bickford, CEO of MSSPA. “We are all really excited.” The old administrative offices were previously held off campus on Gambo Road.

https://www.facebook.com/Bill-Diamond-Maine-State-Senate-District-26-535326616567615/The building was named after Keddy and Goodreau, who dedicated their lives to MSSPA, beginning in 1972 when the organization was simply an office on Exchange Street in Portland. At that time, there were no shelters or rehabilitation centers for horses in the state, so Goodreau and Keddy set out to find the perfect location. Through their efforts and dedication, MSSPA’s current location eventually became that safe haven.

The open house offered light refreshments and giveaways as well as items for purchase to support the organization. The refreshments were held in the new building overlooking the indoor arena in the viewing room.  As people mingled, they could watch as the staff took the horses around the arena for their first time. “This is the first time the horses have visited the arena,” said Jeff Greenleaf, Barn Manager.  “The horses may be a little nervous, but this is a great spot to train the horses and prepare them for adoption.”

MSSPA is a non-profit organization that offers refuge and rehabilitation for abused or neglected horses in Maine. The hope is that the horses that arrive on the farm are adopted but some of the horses live out the remainder of the lives at the farm. The horses are cared for by a compassionate staff and a large group of volunteers. As a result, MSSPA are always accepting volunteers. 

“Volunteering at MSSPA is wonderful, said Ev Lennon, volunteer at MSSPA since January 2018.  “It is great way to help out, get exercise and be around beautiful creatures that need our help.”

Visitors this past weekend had the honor of touring the new facility as well as other areas of the property. They also got to visit with the horses currently residing at MSSPA. But if you were unable to make it to the grand opening celebration, do not despair. MSSPA is open daily for tours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  For those interested in volunteering, visit msspa.org and complete a volunteer registration form.