Friday, October 11, 2019

Author Anna Crowley Redding shares her wisdom with middle school students

By Matt Pascarella

Since elementary school, Anna Crowley Redding has always had an interest in writing and literature. She was naturally curious and liked asking lots of questions; this later served her very well when she became an investigative TV reporter.

However, she had always dreamed of becoming a writer for young readers. After her children were born, she used her knowledge as an investigative reporter to uncover stories for kids.

She brought her knowledge to Windham Middle School on Friday, September 27th. Students had the opportunity to hear about her experiences, her writing process and participate in problem-solving activities as well as a mock press conference. started out writing articles for her college newspaper, the Northeastern News. “Learning journalism in Boston was a fantastic experience,” stated Crowley Redding. “I felt that every day I was learning from the best in the business. I worked off-air as a field producer, intern, and associate producer for NECN.” Crowley Redding became a TV reporter in Utica, New York; then Syracuse; then Charlotte, North Carolina. “Every station taught me so much about writing, investigative reporting, and on-camera presentation,” she added.

Her reporting did not go unnoticed. She has won Edward R Murrow awards which honor outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism. Crowley Redding has been recognized by the Associated Press and has an Emmy for an investigative piece she did about an ice storm.

Investigative reporting allows you to make a meaningful difference in your community and in people’s lives. It’s hard work and often stressful. When you can produce results that matter to the people most’s a very fulfilling experience.”

Crowley Redding decided to switch career gears after becoming a mom. She was always reading books to her boys about following their dreams and writing for young readers had been a dream of hers since she was old enough to remember. Eventually she went for it. Her debut book, ‘Google It’ tells the story of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Stanford College students who created what today is the most used search engine. ‘Elon Musk: A Journey to Save the World’ is a biography of the struggles Musk has gone through and his big dreams for the future. ‘Rescuing the Declaration of Independence’ (out in 2020) is Crowley Redding’s first picture book. It tells the true story of a man who risked it all to save our founding documents.
Autumn Wood, Tiffanie Scott and Mia White
work together on the domino challenge

During Crowley Redding’s presentation she spoke about the power of problem solving and the role failure plays in accomplishing your goals. Although it may look like it, success isn’t something that just happens – people have to work at it. “Don’t give up, you are enough” she stressed.

To help illustrate problem solving and failure, students had to work together in groups to stack dominoes around a large table. The goal was to be able to set them off and have the oval go successfully around the table. The students were given three tries to do this and it is a much tougher challenge than it sounds.

Another class held a mock press conference about a pretend fire that had happened in Windham. Each group had to take and sort the information given and then write a news report for the station they worked for. Each station had a different spin to their stories, e.g. appeal to a young audience, sensationalistic journalism, or Big J journalism, which focuses more on the quality of the story.“I hope that in talking to students today, they’ll feel inspired to follow their own dreams, to believe that they are enough, and that when problems and obstacles appear (and they will), that they are capable of finding a way to overcome setbacks.”

Seventh grader Fletcher Vopal observed, “It was was cool how she started out small and it’s inspirational for people who want to start doing big stuff. I learned if something fails you have to keep getting back up...keep trying and trying until you succeed.”

Seventh Grader Mia White remarked, “I learned a lot because I am starting on a graphic novel and it was a lot of good feedback about what I need to be thinking of if I do want to publish it. I was really inspired by the fact that Crowley Redding had struggles and she got up and blew everyone away. Anyone can really do anything if they set their mind to it.”

Friday, October 4, 2019

Town revitalizes former Raymond Road Runner concept to begin October 25 in The Windham Eagle newspaper

Kaela Gonzalez, Community Communication
Coordinator, will be writing and editing
the monthly newsletter that will be the center
of The Windham Eagle newspaper 
By Lorraine Glowczak

The last edition of The Raymond Road Runner, a 20-page monthly newspaper created by the Town of Raymond, was published on June 2008. It was directly mailed to the homes of Raymond residents to provide information about town happenings – including everything from municipal discussions and budgetary matters to local events and calendar items.

However, due to a significant increase in printing and distribution costs, the decision was made by the
Board of Selectmen at the time to discontinue the Road Runner newspaper after ten years of publication. According to the town’s website, “This wasn’t an easy choice, but the cost of producing the newspaper was weighed against two counterbalancing factors: the taxpayers’ need to fund essential town services and the several alternative opportunities Raymond residents have for getting news and information.”

The alternatives included emailed newsletters, reader boards, the website and cable TV. Although the substitutes were available, the direct mailing of the Road Runner was missed by many and, as such, the newsletters, etc. were often overlooked.

Fast forward 11 years and the Raymond Road Runner concept is being resurrected.

The idea began earlier in the year. It had come to the attention of the current Raymond Select Board that residents were not aware of major issues occurring in the town. “People were telling us that they weren’t getting the news they needed to make informed decisions and to be active participants in the community,” stated Select Board member, Teresa Sadak. “We wanted to find a way to bring the news to people so they could be aware of what was happening on an ultra-local level.”

As a result, Select Board Member, Rolf Olsen suggested a doing a survey. Sadak took the idea and put it together with all the different ways people could possibly receive news. The survey included questions on how people preferred to get local news and suggestions as to how to obtain information as it affects the town’s people.

“The feedback we received was varied, but the two most popular responses included: The Windham Eagle newspaper is where most people read their local news and many suggested bringing back the Road Runner,” explained Sadak. “As a result, we are bringing the two concepts together in the form of a monthly newsletter that will be a published as the center two pages of The Windham Eagle.”

The first Road Runner newsletter will be published in the October 25th Windham Eagle newspaper edition and will be written and edited by Kaela Gonzalez, Community Communications Coordinator, who also works part time in the Raymond Assessor’s Office under the direction of Curt Lebel as well as an assistant to Town Manager, Don Willard.

“Kaela has been a part time employee for the past three years. With the additional ten hours a week dedicated to the monthly newsletter, she will now be full-time,” explained Willard.

Willard went on to state that Gonzalez was chosen to write and edit the newsletter, not only due to her professionalism and experience, but due to the fact that she is an active member in the community who has a passion to serve in a variety of ways to help Raymond continue as a successful small town.
Gonzalez moved to Raymond with her husband in 2014. They have three children. Wanting to get to know the community – especially the school system in which her children would attend, Gonzalez got involved immediately.

An original copy of The Raymond Road Runner
“When we first moved here, I heard that there was a RSU14 Withdrawal Committee, so I joined just to see what it was about,” explained Gonzalez, referring to the first RSU14 withdrawal discussions that occurred six years ago. “It wasn’t that I was for or against the separation. In fact, I didn’t know what it meant. I wanted to find out, so I got involved. There are so many good things happening in Raymond, it is truly a great community to be a part of.” 

You will also find Gonzalez active in the Raymond Parent Teacher Organization, fulfilling the role as Vice President. Being involved in her multiple roles also makes her a great choice to gather pertinent news, informing the citizens regarding the latest happenings in much the same way as the original Road Runner, albeit in a more condensed version.

“We will include public notices, calendar items and reoccurring events,” stated Gonzalez. “Other article items will include municipal issues, school updates and organizations that will offer events of interest to the public.”

Since it will be a two-page newsletter, Gonzalez admits that it will be a challenge to get as much news into the space as possible. This is where The Windham Eagle newspaper will continue to offer larger article and feature stories for the town.

Willard stated that when the Raymond Road Runner newspaper discontinued, there were many disappointed residents. Long-time Raymond resident, John Manoush, was among them. “I remember John, in particular, who told me that he would greatly miss reading the Raymond paper every month,” Willard continued, smiling as he explained further. “He told me that he would even miss the excruciating detail of the Town Manager’s report.”

Manoush admits that he did miss the Raymond Road Runner when the publication ended and is
looking forward to having it reestablished.

“It is a great opportunity for the town,” Manoush said. “I look forward to reading it every month. I’ve always been a big fan of The Windham Eagle newspaper and the way it supports community and organizations who all struggle for attention and membership. This is a big step to help the Town of Raymond get the word out about what is happening in the town, how our tax money is being used and the various community events that occur. And then – of course, it will be great to get an update again on how the Town Manager is doing.”

For all Raymond residents, town offices, schools and organizations who wish to share a brief update or event in the monthly newsletter, contact Gonzalez at or by phone at 207-655-4742, ext. 133. For article length feature stories and news events, continue to contact The Windham Eagle newspaper at

Lifelong love of local library inspires Eagle Scout project

Jamie Louko (photo by Tammy Louko)
By Briana Bizier

Not many seniors in high school can say they have led a construction project, submitted building permits, or faced the town board. Yet Windham High School student and Raymond resident, Jamie Louko has done all three as part of his process to become an Eagle Scout.

Think of getting the rank of Eagle Scout as going through high school with a very big project at the end,” said Dr. Nick Bizier, Eagle Scout and Windham High School chemistry teacher. “By the time you apply for an Eagle Scout, you have to have shown proficiency in many different areas.”

That big project at the end must be a contribution of value to the community. Prospective Eagle Scouts must propose their project to the BSA and then execute the project themselves by leading other scouts and members of the community.

There was no doubt in my mind that my Eagle Scout project would be at the library,” Louko told an audience of over sixty community members at the dedication of his completed service project, an outdoor gazebo dedicated to the memory of Raymond volunteer and community leader Betty McDermott. Louko spoke to the audience at the gazebo’s dedication, he shared fond childhood memories of reading the Warriors children’s book series in the back of the Raymond Village Library while his parents browsed the adult sections. With his Eagle Scout project, he hoped to share his childhood love of reading with the next generation of Raymond children. Inspired by the gazebo in the Raymond community garden, Louko decided to build a similar structure closer to the library. Louko presented his service project plan to the Raymond Library Board of Trustees in May of 2018 and received their enthusiastic approval.

However, as Louko discovered during the course of the gazebo’s planning and construction, building Louko’s original plan for the gazebo proved to be too close to a land lot line, and his application for a building permit was turned down by the select board. This setback forced a creative reevaluation of his original plan.
projects are rarely straightforward.

We were forced to move to the front of the library, which ended up being an even better place to build,” Louko told me. “I am very thankful because I think it was for the better.”

After submitting his revised plans to the select board and finally acquiring his building permit, Louko needed to contact donors willing to provide supplies for the actual construction. Several organizations generously agreed to provide the building materials, including P&K Sand and Gravel, Hancock Lumber, Roosevelt Trail Garden Center, Machine Lumber, and Louko’s neighbor David Lind.

In order to turn a pile of donated supplies into a beautiful gazebo, Louko turned to the other members of Troop 800. “The only workers I had to help build my project were either scouts or scouts' parents,” Louko said. “Leading my fellow scouts is an important step in doing my project because it teaches me so much about how to lead effectively and what my leadership style is.”

The Eagle Scout project gets at the heart of what experiential learning really is,” Dr. Bizier added. “It teaches you to make lots of those little adjustments that are necessary to bring a complicated project to life.” the case of Jamie Louko’s Eagle Scout project, his gazebo both embodies and honors the spirit of community service. Before construction began on the gazebo, the Raymond Village Library Board approached Jamie about dedicating the structure he planned to build to Raymond resident and longtime volunteer Betty McDermott. Louko agreed, adding that the McDermott family are his next-door neighbors.

This is a great example of how Eagle Scouts can honor the past and contribute to the future through service to their community,” Dr. Bizier, Louko’s former chemistry teacher, adds. “I think it’s a wonderful thing to be an Eagle Scout.”

The new gazebo is open to the public and can be found just outside the Raymond Village Library at 3
Meadow Road.