Friday, September 25, 2020

New Code Enforcement Officer continues to provide professional service to town of Raymond

By Lorraine Glowczak

Alex Sirois is the new Code
Enforcement Officer for the town 
of Raymond.
SUBMITTED PHOTO

Alex Sirois recently joined the town of Raymond as the new Code Enforcement Officer, replacing Scott Dvorak who accepted a similar position with the town of Gray.

A code enforcement officer is responsible for evaluating, educating, and enforcing local codes as well as providing other administrative services that fit within code enforcement guidelines.

It is a respected and important civic position, but how often has an adult heard a child say, “I want to grow up to be a code enforcement officer”? As a result, there are not a lot of people who seek to be a CEO, therefore the supply of qualified individuals is limited.

“The position of Code Enforcement Officer can be a difficult one to fill, but Raymond has been fortunate to have always had dedicated and talented professionals join our staff,” said Raymond Town Manager Don Willard.

Sirois, a 2006 Poland High School graduate, comes with a lot of experience and educational background that contributes to the professional service he can offer the residents of Raymond. He is a graduate of the New England School of Communications out of Husson College, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Communication.

“It may be a surprise to most people, but I use my degree all day long in my position as a Code Enforcement Officer,” Sirois said. “Communicating effectively and proactive listening are both imperative to the success of this position and my educational background has prepared me well.”

Sirois has gained much experience in a variety of Civil Service and Town positions as well, that included working for the Cable TV Department for the Town of Poland which opened the doors to a
CEO administrative position.

“While I worked in Poland in the Code Enforcement Office, I went through code enforcement training and gained my certifications.”

After a few years at Poland, Sirois applied and was selected by the Town of Casco to be their Code Enforcement Officer. 

“I was ready to make the jump from an administrative position to a manager’s position within the field of code enforcement, and I was happy to be selected and loved working for the Town of Casco,” Sirois said.

Sirois spent four years with Casco and was ready for a new challenge when Dvorak’s position became available.

“I’m finding that the people in Raymond are great to work with,” Sirois said. “People are very understanding of the state and local rules and requirements. There is a very good citizen base here.”

Upon his arrival, Sirios quickly went to work to increase code enforcement efficiency by updating a permit software system. This new system allows town residents to quickly fill out required forms, creating a more easy and user-friendly method to obtaining information and building permits.

“It is true that the COVID 19 pandemic has created some challenges, but we are working hard to move forward into a successful 2021,” Sirios said.

Fee scheduling has also been reviewed since Sirois’ arrival.

“Fee scheduling is revised periodically every couple of years after surveying other towns that are comparable in size and location to our own,” said Sirois. “Since the review, the fees have not changed or increased dramatically. This periodic review is important so that we are in alignment with other communities and to offset the increase of expenses in order to provide improved services.”

Many within the Town of Raymond are pleased with their new Code Enforcement Officer, including Willard himself.

“I think Alex will prove to be a good fit and will improve the function of this service for our town,” Willard said.<

Faith Lutheran Church to host second annual ‘Blessing of the Animals’ event at Hartwell Farm

Jo Hartwell stands beside Koby,
her family's German Shepherd as he
receives a blessing from Rev. Jane
Field. This year all COVID
precautions and Maine mandates 
for outdoor events will be adhered
to during a 'Blessing of the Animals'
event at l Farm on Oct. 3. PHOTO
BY LORRAINE GLOWCZAK

In honor of Saint Francis of Assisi whose feast day is in early October, Faith Lutheran Church is holding their second annual traditional Blessing of the Animals ceremony at the Hartwell Farm at 443 Sebago Lake Road in Gorham.

This special event will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 (rain date is Oct. 4 at 11:30 a.m.).



St. Francis of Assisi was a 13th century Christian friar, deacon and preacher who was known for his love of animals and nature. He wrote a “Canticle of the Creatures,” an ode that includes the line, “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures.”

He believed that human beings have a duty to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of creation and as creatures themselves. 

Churches around the world hold Blessing of the Animals ceremonies in honor of St. Francis. One of the most well-known and famous services has been held inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City where elephants, camels and other animals from the Bronx Zoo proceed up the aisle to receive a blessing, along with farm livestock like horses and sheep, and the pets of parishioners. 

“Faith Lutheran is proud to participate in this tradition and offer it to the Lakes Region community,” said Faith Lutheran’s pastor, Rev. Jane Field. “We wish to recognize and protect all species and the glory of the Creator that they reveal.”

The Oct. 3 event at Hartwell Farm is open to the public and pet owners are invited to bring their creatures, great and small, to receive a special, personal blessing.

Dogs must be on a leash, cats in carriers, and smaller pets in cages or aquariums. For those who do not want to bring their pets but still wish to have them blessed, pictures of the animal will be welcomed too. Those wishing to trailer in larger animals are asked to send an email to faithlutheranwindham@icloud.com in advance to ensure adequate parking.

Rev. Petra Smyth from Raymond Village Community Church will be co-officiating the event.

All COVID precautions and Maine CDC mandates for outdoor events will be adhered and all participants are asked to wear masks. <

Project Graduation 2021 fundraising efforts greatly affected by COVID-19

By Ed Pierce

Parents and volunteers for Windham High School's
Project Graduation 2021 are exploring new ways
to fundraise as a result of event cancellations
because of the pandemic. To support the effort,
send a check made out to WHSPH2021 to
2 Whispering Pines Road, Windham, Maine
04062 or they have a VENMO account at
windhamprojectgrad2021.
COURTESY PHOTO

For more than four decades, Project Graduation has captured the imagination of graduating high school seniors and that includes making a significant and positive impact on the lives of graduates from right here at Windham High School.  

Each year, the Project Graduation program provides graduating seniors with a safe, drug and alcohol-free event to celebrate their academic accomplishments. Plans for next spring’s event are already underway by the Windham High School Class of 2021 Project Graduation Committee, a dedicated group of volunteers and parents of senior students.   


However, like many other community activities, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created a challenge for the Project Graduation committee to fundraise for the annual event, although organizers say that they are committed to continuing this long standing tradition even in the face of a global pandemic. 

“These unprecedented times have impacted all our lives. It has impacted Project Graduation fundraising plans and events, most of which were either cancelled or postponed,” said Kathy Pepin, president of the Windham High School Class of 2021 Project Graduation Committee. “The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted our students as they enter their Senior year. There has never been an incoming class of high school seniors who have faced such uncertainty, and unimaginable challenges. Students gain many life skills during their senior year as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives.”

Pepin said that Project Graduation does not receive public funds, it relies solely on fundraising, and kind and generous donations from the Windham and Raymond residents and business community.

“As we began our fundraising efforts in April of this year, the pandemic cancelled the Windham Youth Soccer (WYSA) recreation program, and therefore cancelled Project Grad’s proceeds from running the concession stand,”  Pepin said. “The WYSA fall season is in swing however the decline in registrations and the reconfiguration of games due to the pandemic has meant a decline in concession sales.”

According to Pepin, last fall the Class of 2020 raised more than $1,300 dollars from WYSA concession sales, but so far the Class of 2021 is only on track to make less than half of that amount.

“We also lost fundraising events such as Summerfest, Windham High School Football 50/50 raffle, the homecoming dance, the craft fair pie sales and cash raffles, and most likely the Windham High School Basketball 50/50 raffle,” she said. “We are usually able to have several restaurants and businesses host a night-out event with a percentage of the sales being donated to Project Graduation, yet due to the pandemic affecting so many business, they are not financially able to help as in years past.”

The group also has seen significantly less sponsorships and donations for the Annual Project Graduation Golf Tournament that will be conducted at Spring Meadows on Nov. 1.

“While it has been a huge struggle to find creative ways to raise money, we are doing our best to rise to the task,” Pepin said. “Gale Savard and I have been making face masks since May and have raised close to $4,000 for Project Graduation. “We have also donated masks to Windham Primary School, Manchester School, Windham Middle School and Windham High School at the start of the year to assist our community.”

She said that the group just had a very successful mum sale with the assistance of Skillins Greenhouse in Falmouth where they sold more than 1,200 mums. And last weekend they hosted a small fundraising gathering for Scrapbookers at North Union Church in North Windham and was able to socially distance and provide a safe environment to craft.

“We hope to do another scrapbooking event next March,” Pepin said. “For upcoming fundraisers, we will continue our face mask sales, we are selling Windham Eagle Pride Stainless Steel 32-ounce tumblers for hot and cold drinks, a Silent Auction will be held Oct. 5 through Oct. 12, we are hosting a Paint Night on Sunday, Sept. 27 at the North Union Church, and the Annual Golf Tournament on Nov.
1.”

For more information regarding these events please visit WHS-Project-Grad.com; its Facebook page WHS Project Graduation 2021; send an email to WHSprojectgrad2021@gmail.com.

“The Class of 2021 has faced and will continue to encounter many challenges due to the pandemic,” Pepin said. “However, with the support of the Windham/Raymond community, the Class of 2021 will make it through and be a strong, resilient, shining beacon of future business owners, civic leaders, healthcare workers, first responders, members of our Armed Forces, and most of all caring citizens who will someday say they grew up during a pandemic. The caring and generosity of their community will leave a lasting mark on their lives.”  

Pepin and members of the Windham High School 2021 Project Graduation Committee are asking the public to please consider contributing to Project Graduation 2021, and no amount is too small.

“We do have a Venmo account, windhamprojectgrad2021, or checks can be made out to WHSPG2021 and mailed to Dana McKenna at 2 Whispering Pines Road, Windham, ME 04062,” Pepin said. <

Delivery made of 2019-2020 Windham Middle School yearbooks after production delay

By Ed Pierce

The cover of Windham Middle
School's 2019-2020 yearbook was
designed by Sasha Funk, who is
now a freshman at Windham High
School. The cover of the middle
school yearbook is always designed
by an eighth-grader at the 
school each year.
 SUBMITTED PHOTO

Student yearbooks are supposed to be a treasured remembrance of time that students spend in school and are filled with pages and photographs of club activities, sports teams and happy occasions in and out of the classroom. But the 2019-2020 yearbook for Windham Middle School may be remembered for being a memento that almost wasn't.

Across America, yearbook production was slowed in the spring because of the pandemic and that not only affected collection of materials for the Windham Middle School yearbook, but also its eventual delivery. Students finally received their 2019-2020 school yearbooks late last week following a delay of almost three months.

Windham Middle School Yearbook Advisor Jason Lanoie said students paid $25 for the yearbook, which was published by Lifetouch, a printing company based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. But with students and teachers having to use remote learning starting in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, gathering materials and creating the yearbook was a struggle.  

“Last year the deadline was mid-April, as with most schools many advisors were scrambling to fill pages and was told by Lifetouch, the company we use for our students portraits and the yearbook that we could have until the end of April,” Lanoie said. 

 

According to Lanoie, Windham Middle School’s yearbook typically has 68 pages and they have no problems filling the pages.


“But with many events being canceled, I knew I would not be able to fill all of those pages,” he said. “Lifetouch eliminated eight pages for us which took off some of the stress.”

Lanoie, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics teacher, has served as the advisor for Windham Middle School’s yearbook for 10 years and said the pandemic threw a monkey wrench into the entire process for producing and delivering the yearbook and is also hampering efforts for this school year too.

“I think the one downfall of the COVID shutdown is that the yearbook club wasn’t able to work on the book,” Lanoie said. “We build the yearbook online and I usually have a team of students who would stay after school and put the candid photos in the book. They didn’t get to do that this year, with after school activities not happening at the moment, we might not have a team this year which puts a lot of pressure on me.”

 

For the 2019-2020 yearbook, the school was contracted to sell 376 copies, so no matter how many yearbooks they pre-sold, they had to order 376. Windham Middle School actually sold 298.

 

“I received many emails asking to be put on the waitlist for those who wanted to buy one but missed


out on the presales,” he said. “I also sell a bunch once they come in. I think that this year the extras won’t sell as well because we don’t have the end of the year thrill of the yearbooks arriving. Plus all of the former eighth-graders, now freshman at Windham High School are not in the building.”

 

As the 2019-2020 school year wrapped up in June and students were still out of the building, those who ordered yearbooks were told they would receive them as soon as they arrived. In August, Lifetouch sent out an email to schools that they were working to clear the backlog and delays.

 

As you may know, our yearbook production facilities are located in some of the states that are being hardest hit by the pandemic. We have prioritized the safety of our employees and we are following all state and local health guidelines to create a safe working environment. Social distancing requirements mean that there are fewer people available to work at any given time,” the Lifetouch email read. “These changes have impacted our production schedule and significantly slowed our production. We realize you, our yearbook adviser, and your families, are eager to receive this year’s yearbook and it has been frustrating to not have an estimated shipping date. Please know that teams are doing everything possible to get you your finished yearbook. Shipping is monitored, and as soon as your yearbook ships, you will receive tracking information so you can arrange to distribute the yearbooks to the students and families in the manner that is best suited for everyone's safety.”

 

Windham Middle School received the 18th and final box of its 2019-2020 yearbook shipment on Sept. 10 and distribution began immediately.

 

“Last Wednesday and Thursday I hand-delivered all of the yearbooks to the students. It actually went very smoothly and with only half the students in the building at a time I only had half to do,” Lanoie said. “The freshman yearbooks were delivered to the high school and handed out in their advisory. Any students who are remote can come to the middle school and pick their yearbook up in the office.”

 

With not every yearbook sold, Lanoie said there are plenty of extra copies available.

 

“If there is any middle school or freshman families that would still like one they can reach out to me directly jlanoie@rsu14.org and we can set one aside for you,” he said. < 

Sticky Bud Farms makes generous donation to Windham Food Pantry

By Ed Pierce

There was a time when David Whitten, the owner of Windham’s Sticky Bud Farms, needed to rely on a food pantry to survive and years later he’s shown his gratitude and generosity with a large donation to the Windham Food Pantry.

On Sept. 14, Whitten and three Sticky Bud employees dropped off more than $2,000 worth of food and non-perishables in dozens of boxes for the food pantry. The money to purchase the food came from a donation jar set up near the Sticky Bud cash register which was then doubled when matched by Whitten.

Sticky Bud Farms employees and owner David
Whitten dropped off more than $2,000 worth
of food and non-perishables in a generous 
donation for the Windham Food Pantry on
Sept. 14.  COURTESY PHOTO    
caption
“At one time in my life when I broke my neck, I had to rely on the food pantry,” Whitten said. “I’ve been there, and I know how hard it can be sometimes.”

Operating a successful business in Windham, Whitten said he wanted to repay the kindness that residents of the town have shown to him.

“Personally, I feel that giving back to the community is important,” he said. “And right now, more than ever because of the pandemic, there is certainly a growing need for the food pantry and an increasing number of our friends and neighbors in need of help.”

Rather than use the cash register jar for tips, the six employees of Sticky Bud Farms chose to use what they collected to purchase food items that the Windham Food Pantry was sorely in need of.

“The staff gave up their tips because they felt it was important and we wanted to include them in our spirit of giving,” Whitten said. “We feel that we’re an integral part of this community working with as many cancer patients as we do and this donation shows that our staff is committed to the health and well-bring of everyone in Windham.”

The Windham Food Pantry is open to any Windham resident with proof of residency and residents are provided with food on an every month basis.

Food and non-food donations are accepted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Monetary donations are accepted from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at the Windham Town Manager’s Office at the Windham Town Hall.

The donation from Sticky Bud Farms followed the official wish list of the Windham Food Pantry but went above and beyond, Whitten said.

“There were so many boxes, it was just amazing to see it all,” he said. “There were soups, beans, cookies, crackers, chili and much, much more and the four of us that went over before work to drop it off came away impressed with how organized they are at the food pantry. We were all so humbled by that experience that we’re going to do it again soon.”

 Whitten said Sticky Bud Farms has ordered 100 food boxes from Hannaford which will be donated to the Windham Food Pantry for those in need for Thanksgiving.

“And we’re going to be collecting toys at Christmastime again this year for Toys for Tots,” he said. <

Friday, September 18, 2020

Pandemic impairs Athletic Boosters fundraising

By Ed Pierce

Members of the Windham Raymond Athletic
Boosters meet up during a prep football game
at Windham High School last fall. From left are
Sarah Elliott, Laurie Palow, Barb Maurais,
and Allision Talon. COVID-19 has
hampered fundraising efforts this year for the
boosters, who are appealing to the public for
financial support to help pay for programs and
initiatives that benefit WHS student-athletes.
SUBMITTED PHOTO

An organization that has championed student-athletes at Windham High School is feeling the crushing downturn of the pandemic and is appealing to the community for assistance.

The Windham Raymond Athletic Boosters, made up of parent volunteers, has worked closely with the Windham High School Athletic Department for years in recognizing student-athletes and Windham teams, paying for items not included in the school budget through an array of popular fundraising projects and events. But the lingering effects of COVID-19 are hurting those efforts significantly.


“This is going to be a tough year for us,” said Shelly Afthim, Windham Raymond Athletic Boosters president. “We’re going to have to find new ways to fundraise. If not, this will hurt our program for years to come.”

Typically, the boosters staff a booth at Summerfest, sell concessions at summer track meets, offer a booster club card to the public for discounted Windham High School football game admissions and host a Holiday Craft Fair among fundraising projects, but all of those initiatives have come up short this year, thanks to the pandemic. The craft fair will still be held this year, but it will only be virtual.

“Every opportunity we have to make money this year has not worked out and we need the community to rally around us more than ever before,” Afthim said.  

Some of the programs that the boosters have paid for recently include enrichments for every team every season every year; paying for special guest speakers to talk to student-athletes; renting space at the University of Southern Maine for training; buying new cheering mats; purchasing new girls’ soccer uniforms, new baseball uniforms and girls’ field hockey uniforms; turf rental at Saint Joseph’s College for cross country and lacrosse teams, creating new dugouts for softball; and purchasing a new scoreboard for baseball.

Afthim said boosters also have bought flowers for graduating senior athletes, purchased deck jackets for teams and created a new shelter for the school’s track team. They also award four $500 college scholarships every year to Windham High graduates, with two for boys and two for girls.

“The boosters are vital to the student-athlete’s experience at Windham High School. In any given season the boosters play a vital role in our program’s success and continued growth,” said Rich Drummond, Windham High School athletic director. “The boosters provide necessities over and beyond the school athletic budget that help enhance the athletic experience. These are items that are needs and


not wants and the ability to lean on them is a huge piece of mind.”

Drummond said he has served as an athletic director for more than 20 years in Southern Maine at three large schools and what the Windham/Raymond Boosters do to support the athletes in this district is unmatched. 

“They make sound decisions that benefit all kids and all teams and always have the best interest for all involved at the forefront of every decision,” Drummond said.

Afthim said she originally wanted to join the boosters when one of her children started to attend Windham High School and play on a school sports team.

“I wanted to make a difference because there are so many positives in sports,” she said. “Student-athletes learn social skills, leadership, establish friendships and must do well academically to stay eligible to compete in sports. We feel it’s an honor to play for Windham High School.” 

Former football standout Anthony Gugliuzza graduated from Windham High School in June and is now attending Endicott College in Massachusetts. He says he will always be grateful to the Windham Raymond Athletic Boosters for what they did for student-athletes like him.

“The Windham Boosters program did a lot over the course of my four years at Windham High School to positively impact the experience of my teammates and I,” Gugliuzza said. “Whether it was providing us with a coach bus to away games in Bangor, throwing pizza parties for teams that made the playoffs, or giving us seniors a cording ceremony in the midst of a pandemic, the Windham Booster Program has never failed to show how much they truly care about their athletes.”

He said he’s actually had the amazing opportunity to connect with some of the people in charge of the boosters program and said they are absolutely phenomenal.

“Everyone involved with Windham athletics is so thoughtful and down to earth that it would be a mistake not to look back at my time in Windham with anything but fondness and love,” Gugliuzza said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the booster program, because at the end of the day they played an influential role in four unbelievable years of high school sports that I will never forget.”

Afthim said to try and salvage fundraising efforts, the boosters have launched a Go Fund Me Page and


is asking anyone who can do so to donate to this worthwhile cause. The Windham Raymond Athletic Boosters are certified as a 501©3 organization and all donations are tax-deductible.

The Windham Raymond Athletic Boosters Go Fund Me link is at gofundme.com/f/2020WHSBoosters

“And if anyone would prefer to pay by check, they can mail it to WRAB PO Box 617 Windham, ME 04062,” Afthim said. “No amount is too small and we are grateful for any amount donated.”

To help the Windham Raymond Boosters continue their efforts this school year, The Windham Eagle newspaper is donating $330 raised from this week’s newspaper advertising sales to this worthy organization, said Melissa Carter, Windham Eagle Sales Manager.

Carter said she encourages everyone to support advertisers who contributed to this initiative. <


Local public libraries beef up activities, programs for public heading into fall season

By Elizabeth Richards

The Raymond Village Library resumed walk-in
services on Sept. 1 and the public is encouraged
to visit and check out library materials, use
computers or shop the library's ongoing book sale.
Both the Raymond Village Library and the Windham
Public Library are set for a number of events and
activities this fall. SUBMITTED PHOTO

As fall approaches, the public libraries in Windham and Raymond continue to serve the communities with online programs, curbside pickup, and limited in-person hours of operation.

In Windham, Library Director Jen Alvino said staff members are prepared for the busy fall season ahead.  

“The important thing to note at this time is that all our programs at Windham Public Library are continuing online,” Alvino said. “We have lots going on and something for all ages, but everything will be posted on our Facebook or done with staff through Zoom.”

These online programs include Story Time and Books and Babies either posted or held via Facebook Live at their usual times each week. Story Time happens on Mondays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m., and Books and Babies is on Tuesdays at 10:15 a.m.

The Windham Public Library has a regular Book Group and Socrates CafĂ© program offered on Zoom.  On Sept. 22 at 4 p.m., via Facebook Live, Tim Caverly will present The Allagash – New England’s Wild River, a virtual canoeing experience on the 92-mile Allagash River complete with lore, legends and characters that Caverly experienced as a Maine Park Ranger.

For more information and program links, contact Reference and Technology Librarian Ray Marcotte at rmarcotte@windhammaine.us.

The Windham library also offers a writing group, an Author Talk and Art Nights online, Alvino said.

According to Alvino, the library is still operating with reduced hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday because of the pandemic. Curbside pick-up is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We have a limit of 15 people in the building and we ask that people wear a mask and keep their visits under 30 minutes,” Alvino added.

Because of the limitations on number of people and time limit for visits, the library cannot accommodate students after school as they have in the past, according to a notice on the Windham Public Library website. 

“Winsome Wednesdays,” a program designed for grades K to 6, will feature a new video on Facebook most Wednesdays with “a smorgasbord of interesting activities to try out by yourself, or with your family,” according to the description on the website.

The Raymond Village Library (RVL) is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and


Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The library resumed walk-in services on Sept. 1, and patrons can feel free to drop in and check out materials, use computers or shop the library’s ongoing book sale, according to their September newsletter.

Reserving time for computer access at the Raymond Village Library is highly recommended at this time because of the limited availability of computer stations.

Face coverings and social distancing guidelines are in effect, and access is limited to five people in the library at a time. No-contact parking lot pickups of materials to check out are still available by contacting the library for a pickup time.

While the library isn’t currently offering story time, plenty of activities remain to captivate and entertain all ages, Raymond Village Library Board Member Briana Bizier said.

“The Children’s librarian, Karen, who is amazing, still has the story time packets that parents can pick up, and those are for all ages,” Bizier said. “The packets include books, songs and a craft.”

The library has also set up a new story walk at the Raymond Shopping Center, Bizier said. 

The Raymond Village Library children’s librarian worked with the owner of the shopping center and independent stores to display a page from “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault in storefront windows throughout the center. 

This story walk is in addition to the “Jack and the Beanstalk” story walk in the community garden next to the library.

With community assistance, the Raymond Village Library also recently purchased picnic tables to expand their outdoor seating area. Bizier said this area will be available throughout the fall so that school children, and anyone else, can access the free wifi at the library.

Bizier said that in addition to the indoor book and movie sale the library has going, they are selling “some really cool Maine and Raymond T-shirts” as well.  She said that the library plans to hold its holiday basket fundraiser again this year.

The library also will conduct a “Grow with Google” workshop online from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14.  This workshop will offer tips on selling online, including the benefits of setting up an online store with Shopify and how to list products on Google Shopping.  Registration will open soon. Interested individuals should contact the Raymond Village Library for more information.

The Raymond Village Library will also host a virtual discussion of “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead, on Monday Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. through Zoom. Participants should contact the library for specific meeting information.

For a listing of additional activities this fall offered by both the Raymond Village Library and the Windham Public Library, the public is asked to review up-to-date information on the library websites, as well as on their Facebook pages. <

Windham Pack 805 ready to welcome new Cub Scouts

By Ed Pierce

Windham Cub Scouts Pack 805 gather following
a pack building exercise this summer in which
eight wooden benches were made by scouts that
will be donated to various locations around town. 
SUBMITTED PHOTO

For boys in kindergarten through fifth grade, joining the Cub Scouts will open a world of adventure, make new friends, gain a sense of confidence and is an opportunity to learn new skills in an environment designed to help them succeed.

In Windham, Cub Scout Pack 805 is always welcoming new scouts and new parents that hopefully turn into new pack volunteers. On Monday, Sept. 21, Pack 805 will conduct a registration night at Donnabeth Lippman Park at 6:30 p.m. and pack leaders are hoping for a great turnout of boys looking to take the first step to become Cub Scouts. 

“Scouting teaches kids positive character traits, helps foster relationships, and to be part of the community,” said Pack 805 Den Leader Casey Melanson. “It helps them take their best self, work on self-growth, and try new things. The scout motto is ‘Do Your Best’ and that’s what the kids learn.”

Melanson said that Cub Scout Pack 805 dens meet one night a week for about an hour. The whole pack gets together once a month, usually for a special meeting, like Trunk or Treat, a holiday party, or for the Blue and Gold Banquet or other special events.

According to Melanson, Pack 805 currently has about 36 Cub Scouts who work on several community projects each year. 

“We have assisted in celebrating the grand opening of a retirement home, picking up trash after Summerfest, and we will usually host a toy drive for a family for Christmas,” Melanson said. “We also participate in Scouting for Food each November to collect needed goods for the Windham Food Pantry.”

Pack 805’s dues are $100 per scout for the year, half of which is due at sign up and the other in December.  Of that $100, most of it covers national registrations, insurance, and
other expenses.  The rest stays with the pack to help toward achievements by local members.

“During the year, the pack does fundraisers to help with the cost of awards and to pay for some of our activities, like camping and overnights at EVO,” Melanson said. “We do pizza sales, popcorn sales, and bottle drives.  Our last bottle drive raised over $1.200/”

According to Melanson, Cub Scout uniforms consist of a shirt, a rank neckerchief, and a rank slide. Pants and rank hats are optional. Scouts are encouraged to have a belt (not necessarily a scout belt) to be able to display their beltloop achievements. 

“There is also a handbook for each rank that the scout will need to be able to learn, perform, and complete each achievement,” Melanson said.  “Prices for these items start at around $6 and go up from there. There is a Scout Shop right in South Portland by the Jetport that carries everything that a budding scout would need.” 

She said that Cub Scout activities emphasize having fun and learning useful life skills.      

“Cub Scouts can do anything they put their minds to. We have gone winter camping, hiking, ice fishing, and built lean-tos in the winter woods,” Melanson said. “We also have our annual Pinewood Derby where the boys design and build their own cars and then compete against one another.  As a pack we have had beach outings, cookouts, movie nights, and EVO Rock Gym overnights.”

Serving as Pack 805’s Den Leader, Melanson said that she became involved with the Cub Scouts when her son joined as a Tiger in first grade. He’s now in fifth grade and part of the Arrow of Light Den, which is second-year Weblos, the highest rank of Cub Scouts. He will be crossing over to Boy Scouts at the end of this year, she said.

“I was just a scout mom, but soon became part of and then Chair for the Fundraising Committee.  I am also now the Den leader for this year’s second-graders, the Wolves,” Melanson said.

Joining the Cub Scouts is almost a rite of passage for boys in Windham.

“Our pack is a great group of scouts and parents.  We care about each other, push each other, and just all around have fun,” she said. “We want our scouts to learn what is means to be part of something important, what is means to help their community, make new friends, build relationships, and most importantly grow as a young man.” 

Over the summer, members of Cub Scout Pack 805 worked on completing their achievements so that the scouts could move up in rank. 

These included First Aid, safety, teamwork, nutrition, and other topics, Melanson said. 

“We did have a few Zoom meetings when possible just to stay in touch with our scouts,” she said. “And the scouts worked on completing a different outdoor activity each month in order to earn their National Summertime Pack Awards.”

For Pack 805’s registration night on Monday evening, the registration table will be staffed through 7:30 p.m. 

“We have asked that only one parent comes to complete paperwork, to make sure that we can social distance appropriately,” Melanson said. “If someone has a new potential scout who is interested, they may come with the parent. We are asking that masks be worn also. If someone is interested in joining but is unable to make the registration event, they can reach out to us through Facebook or email.

For more information about Cub Scout Pack 805, visit their “Pack 805 Windham Maine” Facebook page or send an email to  scoutpack805me@gmail.com <

RSU 14 obtains grant for school violence prevention

The COPS School Violence Prevention Program Recently has announced the 160 awardees of the 2020 SVPP Grant, and RSU 14 (Windham and Raymond) is one of only two Maine school districts to receive funding.

According to Lanet Hane, Director of Community Connections for RSU 14, this competitive award program is designed to provide funding to improve security at schools and on school grounds through evidence-based school safety programs. 

 

RSU 14 has been awarded a $475,000 grant by
the COPS School Violence Prevention Program.
COURTESY PHOTO
Lane said that RSU 14 was awarded just over $475,000 to be disbursed over a three-year time period.

 

The school district will use these funds to provide increased training and to make building modifications to improve emergency response time during critical incidents, she said.

 

Specific improvements include the addition of external public address systems, external warning lights, improved room numbering systems, a district-wide risk assessment, and full-scale police trainings on-site, Lane said.

 

In addition to the SVPP grant, Lane said that Windham Police Department also has received a grant to fund a second school resource officer position in the school district.

 

All states, units of local government, Indian tribes, and public agencies such as police and sheriff’s departments and school districts are eligible to apply for SVPP grants. 

The Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018 (STOP School Violence Act of 2018) gave the COPS Office authority to provide awards directly to states, units of local government, or Indian tribes to improve security at schools and on school grounds in the jurisdiction of the grantee through evidence-based school safety programs.

Up to a total of $50 million in funding was available for grants during the FY 2020 SVPP cycle. <

 

Windham awards two retail marijuana licenses at special town council meeting

By Ed Pierce

Shaw Dwight is the owner of Paul's Boutique
in Windham, one of two businesses that were
awarded adult-use retail marijuana licenses
by the Windham Town Council on Tuesday.
CannaRX Windham also received a retail
license from the town. Retail marijuana
sales open in Maine on Oct. 9.
PHOTO BY ED PIERCE

Capping a long application process and review, the Windham Town Council awarded two adult marijuana retail licenses at a special council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Following a two-hour discussion and lengthy examination of seven different applications and a council vote to clarify the term “retail” as outlined in Windham’s marijuana ordinance, councilors scored each application based upon operational plan, security measures, safety, experience, product handling, any violations on record and other specific criteria.  The top two businesses scoring the highest, Paul’s Boutique and CannaRX Windham RSL, were then awarded provisional one-year retail licenses pending verification of the collection of sales taxes in other communities.

Before any scoring was unveiled, Councilor Clayton Haskell said he would abstain from voting or scoring applicants. 

Prior to scoring each application for the adult-use licenses, each applicant was given three minutes on Zoom to present their last-minute arguments for why they should be awarded a license by the council. Representatives of six of the seven applicants spoke, with each one thanking councilors for their diligence in carefully reviewing volumes of documentation regarding each application.

Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said that each application was well over 100 pages and that the review process was extensive and time consuming.

“Hours were spent reading through them,” Tibbetts said. “Councilors spent more than two days reading applications and I want the public to know that a tremendous amount of work and effort went into getting us to this point tonight.”

During the meeting, town attorney Kristin Collins advised councilors on how to score categories, including how to rate one section of the town ordinance that asked applicants to list retail experience in locations other than in Windham.

Town Council Chairman Jarrod Maxfield said he understood the ordinance term “retail” as having a storefront and clearly defined hours of operation with customers coming and going, but other councilors suggested that they understood “retail” to mean having paid sales taxes for transactions to other communities. A vote was taken, with councilors David Nadeau, Nicholas Kalogerakis, David Douglass, Timothy Nangle and Brett Jones voting for sales tax collection to define “retail” and Maxfield voting for it to mean an actual storefront elsewhere.

Under the scoring system, Paul’s Boutique accumulated a total of 15.58 points, with CannaRX Windham RSL coming in with 14.67 points. Next in line was Jar Co. at 14.33 points, followed by Kind & Co. with 13,67 points, Sticky Bud with 12.75 points, Legal Leaf at 10.25 points and Maine’s Alternative Caring with 9.83 points.

Before a motion was made to award the licenses, Councilor Timothy Nangle told applicants that the
town would ensure details contained in the applications were being adhered to.

“We’re going to hold you to everything you submitted in your application,” Nangle said.

Councilor Brett Jones said he was glad to see the application and review process finally come to an end for the adult-use retail licenses.

“Personally, I would give licenses to all the applicants,” Councilor Brett Jones said. “I don’t feel this is the right way of going about it but that’s my personal opinion. I followed the criteria and made decisions based upon what was in front of me.”

Maxfield said he was grateful to all who participated in the process.

“I just want to say thanks to everyone, to the council, the staff and to the community,” Maxfield said. “We’ve done the best we can.”

Under state law, the first day that adult-use retail marijuana sales may be made is Oct. 9. Under terms of Windham’s marijuana ordinance adopted by councilors in May, successful applicants must pay $2,500 to the town for the adult-use retail licenses.

Previously Tibbetts has said that Windham will use money collected from the licensing fees for substance-abuse education and prevention, but the specifics for that have yet to be worked out by the council.        

Councilors also voted during the special meeting to extend a public hearing regarding the awarding of caregiver licenses and four medical marijuana storefront licenses in town to the council’s Sept. 22 meeting. <       

Friday, September 11, 2020

Cornerbrook II residents dedicate new flagpole for community

Members of the American Legion Color Guard line up prior
to the dedication of a new flagpole honoring the
contributions of veterans at the Cornerbrook II
condominium complex on Sept. 4 in Windham.
From left are VFW Post 10643 Commander Willie
Goodman, American Legion members Richard Drapeau,
Linwood Bailey, Craig Pride, Dave Rendell, and Walter Braley,
who is one of the oldest VFW Post 10643 and an
American Legion member and a resident of Cornerbook II.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA

By Ed Pierce
Across the nation for the past 244 years, the American flag has been flown as a tribute of remembrance and a reminder of the freedom that Americans cherish. And flying the flag is a great way of expressing appreciation for the men and women who have served the United States while protecting that freedom and liberty.
On Friday, Sept. 4, residents and a contingent of veterans from Windham’s VFW Post 106443 gathered near the entrance of the Cornerbook II condominiums to dedicate a new flagpole created for the community by volunteers.
The flagpole project was funded through donations and used available space in the existing Cornerbrook II rock garden at the entrance to the condominium complex.
Those instrumental in getting the project off the ground were Walter and Nina Braley, Jerry and Cindy Beaulieu and Phil and Janice Perry, all Cornberbrook II residents.
Janice Perry has lived in Cornerbrook II for the past 2 ½ years and said the initiative was launched to remember the contributions of veterans living in the complex.
https://www.egcu.org/breezeDuring the dedication ceremony, Walter Braley, a member of Windham VFW Post 10643, raised the new flag for all to see entering the Cornerbrook II community.
At the age of 88, Braley is one of the oldest members of the VFW post and served in the First Marine Division Dog Company during the 1950s. He was stationed in Korea for 14 months, mostly in the Demilitarized Zone and proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years.
He is a member of both American Legion Post 148 and VFW Post 10643 in Windham.
Braley asked VFW Post 10643 Commander Willie Goodman if he could attend the event and conduct the flag-raising ceremony.
“I then asked our color guard to participate and we are all honored to be a part of this ceremony,” Goodman said. “The flag will be a reminder of our great country and the special patriotic community of the people of Cornerbrook II.”
Goodman said that Braley is known at the VFW post as their “Membership Guru" because of his commitment to the VFW and his larger than life personality.
Since the national VFW organization was founded in 1899, Goodman said that the VFW has enacted many programs and services geared to meet the current needs of America's service members, veterans and military families, as well to meet community needs worldwide, Goodman said. By assisting with Department of Veterans Affairs claims assistance, legislative advocacy, troop support programs, youth activities, community service and scholarships and assisting in local events such as the Cornerbrook II flagpole dedication are some of the ways the VFW works to give back to veterans.
According to Goodman, the VFW Post 10643 currently has 77 members.
“We sponsor Windham's Boy Scout Troop 805 and they use our facility to hold their meetings.  All veterans are encouraged to contact the VFW for whatever their needs may be and either we will help them or know where to direct them,” he said. “Even though we are located in Windham, the VFW slogan is ‘Veterans Helping Veterans’ and we strive to live by that motto so any veteran in any town should feel free to contact us.”
He said that many times the VFW find veterans who aren't aware of services they could benefit from or don't know who to call to answer specific questions they may have.
“Our members are more than comrades, they genuinely care about each other and we want veterans to reach out to us if we can be of any assistance,” Goodman said.  
https://www.facebook.com/JonathanPriestMetLife/In all, about 30 to 40 residents of Cornerbrook II attended the flagpole dedication event and Perry said it was a fitting and patriotic way to cap off work performed by the volunteers in transforming the project from an idea to a reality.
“For everyone who worked on this, it certainly was a labor of love,” Perry said. “Our community is indebted to the members of the VFW for sending the color guard and for being so committed to this project. All of us in the Cornerbook II community are very grateful for their help with this.” <

Windham to issue two adult-use marijuana retail licenses next week

The Windham Town Council will review applicants
and award two adult-use marijuana retail
licenses during a special meeting at the Windham
Town Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 15. COURTESY PHOTO
 By Ed Pierce
A long and complicated road for the Windham Town Council could be in the rear-view mirror next week as decisions about applicants for two adult-use marijuana licenses will finally be determined.
Windham Town Manager Barry A. Tibbetts said that a special meeting of the Windham Town Council will be conducted at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the Windham Town Hall to review applicants for several marijuana business licenses in the town. All other marijuana license applications will be discussed or approved by councilors on Sept. 22.
“These are the two adult use licenses,” Tibbetts said. “By our ordinance we will only award two and those applications per the ordinance were due at the end of July.”
https://www.schoolspring.comA revised town ordinance addressing the sale of Recreational Adult-Use and Medical Marijuana Storefront facilities, along with business and personal marijuana outdoor cultivation was approved and adopted by Windham town councilors in late May. The new ordinance officially took effect on June 26.
Tuesday’s license review caps a four-year process for the town after voters in Maine approved a statewide referendum in 2016 to legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. A string of lawsuits and time-consuming legislative reviews further delayed the process to this point, although the state already had an existing medical marijuana program.
There are currently nine marijuana businesses in Windham which will be grandfathered into the town’s existing land use ordinance. The land use ordinance also was approved in May and requires that licensed marijuana facilities have a minimum of 1,000-foot setbacks from schools and a minimum of 250-feet setbacks door to door from day care facilities.
Under the provisions of the new marijuana ordinance, Windham will license seven different kinds of marijuana establishments including two adult use retail stores, a cultivation location, a manufacturing location, a registered medical caregiver cultivation location, home medical caregiver cultivation, a testing facility and a medical marijuana caregiver shop.
The new ordinance prohibits growing plants outdoors and mandates that vendor and personal licenses must be obtained before marijuana can be grown.
http://rtprides.org/Councilors also established an annual town fee structure for marijuana businesses as follows:
** Adult-Use Marijuana Store - $2,500
** Marijuana Cultivation Facility - $1,000
** Marijuana Manufacturing Facility - $1,000
** Medical Marijuana Registered Caregiver – On-site cultivation - $300
** Medical Marijuana Registered Caregiver (Home Occupation) – with cultivation not conducted on site - $150
** Medical Marijuana Caregiver Retail Store - $2,500
** Marijuana Testing Facility - $1,000
Tibbetts said that the license fees will be directed at substance use education and prevention, but specifics on that have yet to be determined by the council.
The first day that adult-use marijuana may be sold legally in Maine is Oct. 9. <