Friday, January 3, 2020

2019 - Year in Review

As we welcome the year 2020, it is The Windham Eagle newpaper’s tradition to look back at some of
our readers’ favorite and most read articles. The following articles were chosen based upon social media statistics and feedback. We hope you enjoy rereading these articles from the past year as much as we have.

JANUARY

Reading challenge opens a new world to students at Raymond Elementary School

Every year, the teaching staff at Raymond Elementary school organizes exciting ways to spark the love of reading among their students. But what made this year’s reading challenge different from past contests is that it is the first time, as a whole group, that the challenge has been combined with a service project – participating in the Heifer International Read the Feed challenge, raising money to purchase animals for farmers in other countries.
The reading challenge ran from November 5 until December 14 of 2018 and the students from each homeroom who had read the most pages or minutes formed a group to decide which animals to purchase.
They raised over $800 and the animals purchased were: a water buffalo, a llama, a pig, a trio of rabbits, a hive of bees and a flock of chicks.
But that is not all they purchased.
Although it is true that reading develops vital language skills and deepens the understanding of the written word, reading also opens new worlds and enriches the lives of children. “I met with the group of top readers when it was time for them to choose what to buy from Heifer,” RSU14 Teacher, Patricia Gordan stated. “I assumed they would be most interested in choosing animals and was very touched by their passion to send a girl to school. In fact, they were distressed to learn that there are places in the world where children, and especially girls, do not have the opportunity to go to school. They were also very interested in buying a biogas stove and were shocked to learn that some people in the world have open cooking fires in their houses.”
From this reading challenge, not only did farmers receive animals that help to provide income, food and self-sufficiency, but one girl gets to go to school and one family gets to cook on a stove instead of an open fire. Simply as a result of reading.

Coach/Teacher spotlight on mother and son team

https://www.sebagolakeschamber.com/Lisa Hodge and her son, Mitch shared their stories about how they both work with youth in educational and sports settings.
Lisa, Language Arts Teacher at Windham Middle School, stated she had always played sports. She also volunteered working with kids and did a lot of recreational programs as well as coaching her kids when they were little.
Mitch Hodge, a Behavioral Interventionalist at Windham Primary School as well a soccer coach, stated that teaching is a quality embedded in him based on the attribute his caring mother passed on to him. In high school, becoming a teacher crossed his mind, but it wasn’t until after high school when he began working with special needs adults that it was clear he wanted to keep helping and teaching in order to make other people’s lives better.
Both mom and son agreed that they feel lucky to be able to do what they do, and they enjoy their jobs so much they admit it doesn’t feel like work.  

Before the memory fades: Edith Helen Bell, fiercely dedicated servant of church, youth and community

In his "Before the Memory Fades" series, Walter Lunt highlighted Edith Bell, a community leader, historian, outdoors woman and all-around amazing person who contributed very much to the Windham area and beyond.
She had been described as a ‘force of nature,’ a lady with boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm while in service to the people and the institutions of her much beloved town of Windham.
Edith H. (Burgess) Bell became stilled with her passing in Williamsburg, VA on Dec. 22, 2018 at the age of 92. The projects and institutions with which she was involved touched nearly every family in town from the 1950s through 1990.
Edith taught elementary grades in Windham and gave private piano lessons. She later earned two master’s degree and became a librarian and media specialist at Westbrook Junior High School.
Despite a busy schedule with family and career, Edith became involved in numerous church and community activities. She and Fred joined the Windham Hill United Church of Christ (U.C.C.) where she taught and became superintendent of the church school. In addition, she was the church organist and sang in the choir. Edith would later create the popular hand bell choir in commemoration of daughter Johnna who died during her early years of college.
She wrote and compiled historic photos for the book “Images of America – Windham, Maine”, which is still sold today.

Mrs Windham Maine America defines true beauty

It’s not every day you are asked to be Mrs. Windham and to participate in the Mrs. Maine America
pageant. But that is exactly what happened to Sarah Boynton, a special education teacher for the Westbrook school district.
Mrs. Maine America offers an opportunity for married, single and/or divorced women over 18 years old to build a network, supporting one another, with the sole focus on bonding together to create better communities within Maine and beyond. “It provides us a chance to use our gifts, talents and roles in life to serve the community, choosing a platform that we are passionate about,” Boynton said.
For Boynton, during her reign, she took a stand on empowering young adults to be confident in who they are, providing tools for self-acceptance.  “As a middle school special education teacher and a mother, I am very familiar with the struggles that children face on a daily basis with self-image and acceptance. 
I strongly believe that every child has unique qualities and talents that should be celebrated. My son is an amazing example of a child with unique qualities that should be celebrated. I will always be his biggest supporter and advocate and will use my passion in this area to be a supporter and advocate for many children in Maine.”

100 years of customer service: Levinsky’s celebrates centennial

After 100 years of providing great customer service, not many businesses can say, “The roots that started that store in 1919 are the same ones that have moved it forward.” That’s what happened this year. Levinsky’s celebrated their centennial. Owner, Eric Levinsky spoke with reporter, Matt Pascarella, about the past 100 years. Levinsky’s grandfather, Jacob Levinsky, regularly brought military surplus items like blankets, buckets and clothing from Fort Williams to his barn on 8 Oxford Street in Portland and sold them to the public. The very first Levinsky’s opened in 1919 and that same store remained opened into the 1990s. Eric described his grandfather and grandmother as being conservative in their consumption and lifestyle, common for the era. In 1930, during the Depression, Jacob was able to sell a significant amount of army candles, similar to a tea candle, to the Hannaford Brothers during a big ice storm when all the power went out in the Munjoy Hill area. Jacob sold enough candles and made enough money to make it through the Depression.
“Bigger stores could never provide that feeling of community, one-on-one, that we have had for a hundred years,” Eric explained.“We appreciate our customers, we know our customers and we love our customers. We always put them first. There is always a Levinsky in the store; we try to do it right for our customers ... we have a big heart and care about people. If you want to talk to us, we definitely want to talk to you.”

Dr. Richard Nickerson’s love of music has made a difference to many

Matt Pascarella, in his Teacher Spotlight series, focused on an amazing, caring, successful, encouraging, supportive, well-known instructor......otherwise known as the conductor....Dr. Richard Nickerson
Throughout his career Dr. Nickerson has received many accolades. One that stands out is when he was selected as a top ten finalist for a Music Educator Grammy. He says the best part about being nominated was all the former students who reached out to him. He says it was an honor to be recognized, but his motivation comes from seeing his students work hard.
Dr. Nickerson never doubted that Windham was where he was meant to be. Over the years, he has made a difference in the lives of so many students and - the students and surrounding community have made a difference in his life. “I’m very fortunate to work in a community where my work is supported and valued.”
He says his favorite part of being involved in music are the connections and relationships. Dr. Nickerson says it’s an amazing thing to discover different periods of time and different cultures all through music.

Before the memory fades: The Windham Drive-In Theater, 1949 – 1984

In his popular "Before the Memory Fades" series, Walter Lunt shared with our readers the 35-year history of Windham's drive-in, sharing a few fun and silly antics of local teenagers of the time. He captured a story from Frank Lamb, who graduated from Windham High School in 1964. Lamb said he recalled one weekend in the early 1960s when he tried to sneak his buddies in without paying. “There were two of us in the front seat and seven guys in the trunk. We were in a ’59 Chevy – that car had a huge trunk. We would have gotten away with it… except the rear bumper was (almost) draggin’ on the ground.”
Lamb said the ticket booth attendant claimed state law required him to check the car for alcohol and that they had to open the trunk. “Of course, there was no such law, but we didn’t know that. He could see the back of the car riding low.” The boys were made to pay the full ticket price. “But we had to scrounge for change to do it.” said Lamb, smiling and clearly enjoying the memory of the incident.

Two WHS students share excitement and learning experiences with Capstone project

Two seniors, Samuel Nemeroff and Hailey Gilbert, took time to talk about their projects which focused on the plans for exciting career possibilities. For Nemeroff, that is owning a PC gaming café in his near future. His intention is to eventually create an affordable gaming venue for those who have a passion in creating, maintaining or building games for personal computers. However, his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t end there. “It is my plan that when I open my cafe, I will use renewable energy to support the electricity it takes to run this type of business. I plan to do that through the use of solar energy and natural gases,” he said. “I’m also studying ways to convert non-renewable energy into a sustainable energy alternative.”
Gilbert also shared her story. “Initially, I was looking into the medical profession as a possibility for my Capstone project,” she explained. “I wrote to and reached out to a number of professionals but when I never heard back from any of them, I decided to rethink what I might do. One day, I was listening to my favorite radio station, 104.7, and it dawned on me.”
Gilbert stated that she had always enjoy listening to the radio and decided to see if the radio industry might be in her future. “I sent a message to 104.7 on Facebook to see if I could come into the studio and learn what it takes to be a DJ,” she began. “Within a few hours, I received a message inviting me to join them. I have had so much fun learning about this industry,” Gilbert stated. “I have to admit, I’m glad the medical experts didn’t respond to my requests.”
All students presented their projects as part of their graduation requirements.

FEBRUARY
Sports run deep for boys’ basketball coach George McCrillis

In Matt Pascarella’s “Coach Spotlight” series, he took a moment to speak with Coach George McCrillis. McCrillis trains individuals at the college level in javelin; most recently for University of Maine at Orono, Holy Cross and Tufts.
cstlouis@spurwink.orgA shoulder injury caused him to give up the javelin, a sport he loved, and he didn’t throw for a long time. Through coaching high school track, he got back into throwing again. He had been coaching a student, Chris Dowling, in javelin who was impressed by how far McCrillis could throw. Dowling challenged him that if Dowling qualified in the state championship and came in the top three, McCrillis would start competing again. Dowling qualified and placed second. McCrillis began throwing javelin again and went on to compete at the national level, going to the USA track and field national championships and placing fifth in the country in 2008.
It seemed that in his giving, something was also given back to him.

Windham community to experience the joy from Munjoy Hill: Celebrating Black History Month

Windham Area Clergy Association celebrated Black History Month on Sunday, February 10 at North Windham Union Church, UCC, 723 Roosevelt Trail. Pastor Ken Lewis and his gospel choir from Green Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Portland will join Windham area churches and offer two musical selections from their choir. Dr. Richard Nickerson will direct the combined choirs to end the festivities.
The purpose of the event was to celebrate culture and how it contributes to personal and spiritual growth. “This gathering gives me hope and optimism,” began Glenn Davis, Bishop of LDS in his interview with the Eagle. “For me, the gatherings we have had thus far have helped me understand other cultures and people. It gives me a sense that things can change. It is a great opportunity to meet and serve with WACA who are willing to learn and share with one another. For this Black History event, it reminds me of the terrible injustices placed on others throughout our history and the ways those who faced such injustices have overcome great challenges despite the overwhelming odds.”  


Lakes Region girls make history with midnight celebration at Camp Hinds

It's not every day you get to make history, but a group of girls formed Raymond Troop 851 last winter and are now a part of Scouts BSA (formerly known as Boy Scouts). In a non-traditional ritual that made history, the girls ceremonially crossed over from Cub Scouts into Scouts BSA. The newly formed Raymond troop 851 is the first group to make this crossover.
“This is monumental as it's the first time in the history of Boy Scouts of America that girls can join the program formerly known as “Boy Scouts,” stated Alissa Messer, wife of Scoutmaster, Jeff Messer.

Before the memory fades: Windham’s Marion S. Hodgdon, a teacher’s teacher, 1889 – 1975

Whether you have lived your entire life in Windham, or you are new to the area, many readers have looked forward to Walter Lunt's “Before the Memory Fades” historical series. Last winter, Walter shared the story of one of the most well-known teachers in Windham, Marion Hodgdon, whose early experiences were in the one-room school house. One story that reflected Hodgdon’s thought about education included the following:
The two colleagues met in the teachers’ room at Windham High School during the opening weeks of the 1963 – 64 school year; it was Earl Pike’s first year of teaching.
He exchanged pleasantries with retired teacher Marion Hodgdon, who was a substitute teacher that day.
Pike told her, “I teach mathematics,” to which Hodgdon replied, “No, you do not.”
Puzzled, Pike rejoined, “Yes, I do. I teach mathematics.”
“No, you teach children. You teach students.” came the sharp rebuke, as Hodgdon stared back with the confident, knowing look of 50 years teaching experience.
 “She was correct,” said Pike, who now lives in Casco, “and that was a lesson (I never forgot) for my next 30 years of teaching at Windham High School.”

WPS third grade math students learn to solve problems in creative and useful ways

Students learned that arithmetic and service to the community can go hand in hand. Teachers Caitlin
Mansir, Jessica Melcher and Melissa Fries proved that their innovative teaching techniques guide students in solving problems, not only with the obstacles faced in math, but obstacles that many face in life. The class project was to not only collect 550 pieces of clothing and give it to the Windham Clothes Closet, but to do so as part of their hands-on and experiential math project.
The math lesson was division. “We divided clothing by separating those items into bags,” explained third grade student, Elias Whitney. “We learned that it took nine Hannaford shopping bags for 72 items of clothing.”
Students also discovered that there are hardships placed on others and you can be the one to help solve that problem, too.  “I found out that it’s very important to survival and there is always a need for help,” student Madison Buzulchuck stated as one thing she learned from the project. 
General Assistance Administrator of Windham’s Social Services, Rene Daniel, who spoke to the class stated that the closet has never had a donation come from a school as part of a project. He also stated that prior to my work in social services, I taught for 25 years, and I was very impressed with the way the third-grade teachers at Windham Primary School incorporated this learning and giving project into the curriculum.”

School is out for break and science is in at the Raymond Village Library

February vacation began on Monday, February 18 in 2019, and the Raymond Village Library made sure there were plenty of programs to keep children of any age entertained and even educated over the school break.
In addition to books and plenty of cozy spots to read, the library also offered a wide selection of games and puzzles. Older children got to enjoy the library’s oversized Scrabble board while younger children had opportunity to play with the building sets. Microscope for scientific exploration and DASH the programmable robot were available as well as a Fire and Ice show presentation and a slime making project lead by Dr. Bizier, Windham High School AP Chemistry Teacher. And, no one could refuse reading with Lucy the dog!

Young artist from Raymond wins best of show in world-wide art competition

Holden Willard was and continues to be an example of what happens when you follow your dreams,
despite overwhelming odds.
Willard, a 2017 Windham High School graduate and son of Don and Megan Willard of Raymond, received news on Wednesday, February 13 from the Cultural Center of Cape Cod that a self -portrait he entered into the center’s “The WORKS” competition won best in show. The competition was open to all artists from all over the world and Willard, who attends Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA decided to submit two pieces of his artwork to see what might come of it. Not only did he receive best of show for his self-portrait, but he also won $500 which he received at the gallery’s reception.
Willard has been an artist/drawer/painter from a very young age. But discouraged by others who told him to forget about pursuing such a venture, Willard stop what he loved doing most. “I was told that being a painter isn’t possible as a career option and I was told to forget about it,” Willard began. “So, I did forget about it. Although I continued drawing, it wasn’t until I was a senior in high school when I began to receive more positive feedback that being an artist was definitely a possibility and I started painting seriously.”
If you are interested in looking at more artwork from our very own Holden Willard, take a look at his Instagram page at holdenwillard.

Results from the Sebago Lake Ice Fishing Derby

Over 850 registrants enjoyed a perfect weekend for ice fishing at the Sebago Lake and Cumberland County Derby this past weekend. Over 1000 fish were donated to be processed by Nova Seafood in Portland resulting in over 550 pounds of filets which will go to food pantries locally. This is an event that attracts fishermen from all over the state. If you have never had the opportunity to be a part of this spectacle on ice, be sure to consider joining in on the fun next year. Tentative dates have been set for February 22 to 23, 2020. Follow posts on the Sebago Lake Rotary on Facebook or their webpage at www.sebagolakerotary.org/

MARCH

Norway Savings Bank and Riding To The Top continue to change lives

Patricia Weigel, President and CEO of Norway Savings Bank (NSB) visited Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center (RTT) in late February and presented a check for $5000 to support RTT’s equine assisted activities and therapies. 
“Every time I visit, I am inspired by the incredible horses and the stories I hear about the connections they form with RTT’s clients - some as young as three years of age!” She added that Norway has supported RTT for 17 years because “Services like RTT’s are important to the health and well-being of Mainers. Norway Savings Bank’s contributions also include hundreds of volunteer hours contributed by local employees who work on projects and fundraising events.” Sarah Bronson, RTT Executive Director said, “Contributions from local businesses like Norway Savings Bank allow us to deliver services 6 days a week, year-round, keeping an important resource available year-round to over 250 people with disabilities.”

“Vets on the Ice” fishing shack open house catches the spirit of its mission

Approximately 40 people visited the transformed and handicapped accessible ice shack for veterans
on Friday, February 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Located off Kent’s Landing on Long Lake in Naples, the visitors to the ice shack open house included residents of the South Paris VA home who got to take advantage of the wheelchair ramp as they wheeled themselves into the warmth of the ice shack to ice fish, participating in the winter activity they love best and now made possible by this program.
This was the first year for the “Vets on the Ice” program and is a collaborative effort among many organizations. “The “Vets on the Ice” project is a collaboration between the “Vets on the Water”, The Sebago Lake Anglers Association, Field-Allen Post 148 in Windham and Naples Post 155,” stated Dave Tanguay, Post 148 Adjutant. There are plans to continue the project on an annual basis.

Be The Influence speaks to council and shares concerns on youth drug use and its effect on the developing brain

Be The Influence (BTI) Coalition Director, Laura Morris, and other coalition members spoke to Windham Town Council to share the coalition’s mission, it’s work within the community and to express their concerns regarding youth drug use and how a long term habit has been scientifically proven to be harmful to youth brain development.
Morris stated that vaping among youth has become a very important issue and is specifically targeted to children. It is advertised to be a safe alternative to cigarettes, but it still contains nicotine and it’s just a dangerous. There are over 8,000 vape flavors, including “Kool-Aid”, and “Cotton Candy” to name but just a few.
http://www.windhammaine.us/Morris also introduced an active BTI student member and Windham Middle School sixth-grader, Dominic Cataldi who successfully completed a public service announcement (PSA) that was shown at Smitty’s Theater. 

Ben Schulz takes over as new varsity soccer coach

Matt Pascarella spoke to Ben Schulz, who has been coaching soccer, at various levels, for the past 10 to 12 years and who was the new 2019 soccer head coach. Schulz told Pascarella what got him interested in soccer. “The first thing that initially got me interested in coaching soccer was spending time with my son having interaction without technology. You can get on a field and it’s a beautiful fall day...you get an hour, hour and a half of enjoyment and joy with him – that’s kind of what drew me in,” recalled Schulz.
Schulz was an athlete growing up and said the older you get, you feel those competitive juices start flowing again. He wanted to be a role model. He understands coaches play an important part in children’s lives.

Anne Blake turns ‘I Can’t’ into ‘I Did’ for students and athletes

Reporter, Matt Pascarella, spoke with Anne Blake, a physical therapist who has worked for RSU14 for eleven years.
As a physical therapist, she works with students who need special requirements to access the school environment. Blake’s job is to figure out how to help or make these students stronger, give them more endurance, better balance, or provide assistance in some way to make the school environment easier for them.
Her goal as an educator is to take students who may need some extra help and turn those students’ statements of “I can’t, I can’t” into a statement of “yes, I can.” She believes basketball has been an excellent avenue for this. Students may not think they could do something but now they’re on the court scoring baskets. “The biggest thing is to give them the confidence and show them they can do more than they think they can and where their potential really lies.” 

Retired Navy Seal with local roots strives to build strong communities

After a twenty-year career as a Navy Seal, Mike Wisecup settled in Maine hoping to find an opportunity to use the lessons he has learned to build strong communities.
He shared his story with us about life as a Navy Seal. Wisecup stated that mental strength and the ability to deal with failure repeatedly are important in making it through Seal training. “The biggest thing I learned coming out of Seal training is that I can do anything I want to do if I just focus on it and work hard,” he said.
Wisecup’s career as a Seal included many deployments, including to Southeast Asia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. During one deployment he was injured and earned a purple heart. He was involved in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and came full circle to help the U.S. pull out of Iraq in 2010.
Wisecup has already begun to build connections and give back to Maine communities. In 2014, he started an annual event to raise money and awareness for Camp Sunshine to help military families. In that first event, four active duty Seals swam 13 miles across Sebago Lake. Every year since, they’ve completed a tough task in Maine, as well as events in San Diego. To date, just over $500,000 has been raised to help military families attend Camp Sunshine. Their 2019 event is a 16-mile swim from Bridgton to Casco on July 25th. More information can be found on: www.sealsforsunshine.org.

High school to middle school mentoring to make transition stress-free

Middle school can be a challenging time for many students, and the transition from middle school into the high school can cause tremendous anxiety. A new initiative was developed between Windham High School and Windham Middle School where students are teaming up to make it a little easier.
The new mentoring program asks Windham High School students in good academic standing and with free periods in their day to volunteer to walk over to Windham Middle School. They are partnered with a sixth to eighth grade student, with pairs chosen based primarily on shared interests.
The mentoring program is beneficial both for the mentor and the mentee. The mentor is provided with an opportunity to develop leadership skills, and the mentee has the opportunity to make a meaningful connection with someone they admire. Many of these middle school students will now have at least one connection when they enter high school. This mentoring program is continuing for the 2019-2020 school year.

Raymond Elementary student’s artwork on display in Augusta

The Maine Education Office in Augusta celebrated March as Youth Art Month with an exhibit coordinated by the Maine Arts Education Association. Student artwork from around the state was on display in the main corridor of their offices. Summer Bush, a fourth grader at Raymond Elementary School, contributed her Cat on a Limb artwork to the exhibit and she was selected and recognized at an opening celebration on March 3.
Bush’s professionally framed painting remained on display until November of 2019. Then, it will forever remain on the wall of the young artist’s home, where her parents will be eternally proud.

Windham Community Center begins to take shape at third and final forum

The third and final scheduled public forum to discuss the planning and development of a Windham Community Center was held on Monday, March 25 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Town Hall community gym. 
Mark Lee and Emily Innes, both of Harriman (the design firm), revealed what Windham residents selected - the third concept design that was chosen from a previous forum. Concept design number three would include: a three-court gym and indoor track, two pools, locker rooms, kitchen, youth and adult wellness studio, childcare room and administrative office. While the original square footage estimate was 60,000; given the contents of the building and its surroundings, a new square footage estimate of roughly 70,000-84,000 was given.
Harriman presented Monday night’s attendees with three pool designs. Attendees were given ballots and broke into groups to discuss which pool they thought was best. For those who were watching via Facebook Live, there is a similar ballot available on the Windham Parks and Recreation website. When the ballots were counted from the meeting, the hybrid pool came in first, then the competition pool followed by the family pool. A final pool concept design will be decided next month. (As of this printing, final design and location has yet to be determined.)

Casey Sinclair enjoys working with athletes on and off the field

In his educator/coach spotlight, Matt Pascarella sat down to speak with Athletic Trainer for Windham High School, Casey Sinclair. She stated that her job is to help an athlete if they get hurt on the field or on the court. In addition, and just as important, Sinclair explained that being an athletic trainer is also about forming a relationship with the athletes during their high school career. Sinclair’s favorite aspect of her job is working with the athletes. “You really get to know the athletes before they get hurt and sometimes while their injuries are developing. It’s a relationship you build that’s different than any other medical profession. You know the student, what they do, what they like...you build a bond. You have four years with this athlete. It’s not like the doctor’s office where you come in, it’s ten minutes, you may never see them again.” 

MARCH

Programs work to stop hunger in RSU14

There is a program to combat food insecurity among students in Windham and Raymond. The Backpack Program runs the length of the school year and supplies food to grades kindergarten through fifth grade. It doesn’t supply actual backpacks, but rather a bag of food that can go home with a child when they need it.
The program serves Raymond Elementary, Windham Primary School and Manchester School. Program director Marge Govoni, Chef Ryan Roderick and Director of School Nutrition, Jeanne Reilly as well as a group of dedicated volunteers help make this program the success that it is.
The Village Fund stems from the knowledge and daily awareness that there are families in the community who, although they may not qualify for reduced or free meals, still struggle to provide their children with a well-balanced and nutritious breakfast and lunch. These children can come to school without having breakfast and/or without a lunch. “It is our mission to feed [these children]” remarked Reilly. “To provide them with a meal, regardless of their ability to pay. Free and reduced meals are available for families throughout the school year; families just need to fill out a yearly application to make sure they qualify.”
“We believe that healthy, nutritious food is a basic human right and that no child should go through the school day hungry,” reiterated Reilly. 
If you would like to donate to the Backpack Program:
Checks may be made payable to RSU #14; please note “Backpack Program” in memo.
Please send donations to:
ATTN: Ryan Roderick
RSU #14
228 Windham Center Road
Windham, ME 04062
If you would like to donate to the Village Fund:
Monetary donations can be sent to:
The Village Fund
c/o Windham Raymond School Nutrition Program
228 Windham Center Road
Windham, ME 04062

Windham woman makes it to the top of loan officers

Acadia Lending Group, LLC announced that Skylar Welch of Windham placed number 32 amongst 50 of the nation’s top loan originators and was the only Maine loan originator to make the list.
What made this even more outstanding is that she was one of few women on the list and has been in the business for only four years while seated amongst veterans of 30 plus years.
Welch has quickly grown an outstanding career as a loan officer at Acadia Lending Group, LLC where she started out as the assistant to the owners in 2011. She has been originating loans on her own since 2015 and within this short time has grown an extremely impressive portfolio with many accolades along the way.

Long standing challenges of Gore Road in Raymond may come to an end

It had been an issue for the past 30 years, but with the collaborative efforts between the towns of Raymond and Gray, the ¼ mile private road section between the two towns may have finally found a creative solution to a unique situation. It was a topic of discussion at the Raymond Board of Selectmen’s meeting on April 9.
Of the many solutions considered, it was established that the residents in Gray that access their homes via Gore Road who would benefit from this improvement have indicated that they could raise around $25,000 while the Raymond property owners on this section of private road would contribute $500 each (plus $250 for title work). Those who attended the selectmen’s meeting agreed to move forward.
The next step in the process was for Gore Road residents to get a petition signed by all property owners on Gore Road who will be affected by the change. They must have this petition signed by Tuesday, April 23 where it was reconsidered at the Board of Selectmen's meeting and discussion on this issue had ensued. Also, to be considered by Gore Road property owners is a signed promissory note (or cash to the Town) to pay for the fees. (Petition was signed and Gore Road has been improved.)

New landscapes in education puts the learner in the driver’s seat

As a response to an editorial/insight that Managing Editor, Lorraine Glowczak,  had written about my own experience in education, where I didn’t quite fit in and may have fallen through the cracks of a one size fits all system, she was invited by Dr. Kyle Rhoads, Principal of WPS, to visit – and see how the educational landscape has changed.
She was given the opportunity to observe and to speak to the young learners (students) at the primary school, their relationship to the facilitators (teachers) and the role they play in their own educational success – thus creating a genuine love of learning.
As teacher Jen Melcher explained, “Regardless of a child’s age or what grade a student is in, we meet students educationally, where they are,” Melcher explained to me before her students arrived. 
“Students can and do tell us where they are academically, and they guide us in their preferred learning style – and as facilitators – we teach them from there - providing options from which to choose. By having a hand in their own education, they feel successful and want to participate. They are invested and want to see their success through.”

Sophomore lacrosse athletes to compete in national tournament

Sophomores Emma Yale and Riley Beem were selected to participate in the U.S. Lacrosse Women’s National Tournament in Baltimore with the competitions occurring in Maryland on May 25 and 26.
Coach Matt Perkins, realized their potential and recommended Yale and Beem tryout for the tournament. “Emma and Riley are returning starters who continued to work on not only their game but also their strength and athletic abilities,” explained Perkins. “Along with great work ethics and never being satisfied with where they are, they are extremely coachable. The other thing that’s impressive about both of them is that they put the team first.”

Famous musician entertained crowd with song and story at the Windham Performing Arts Center

Internationally renowned for his song, “Caledonia” as well as a composition featured in the movie, “Last of the Mohicans”, Dougie MacLean from Scotland performed to a crowd of approximately 300 last Wednesday, April 10 at the Windham Performing Arts Center.
The singer-songwriter, who played a few scores with the Windham Chamber Singers, provided an interactive concert, sharing tales and encouraging the audience to sing along; crafting a harmonious musical adventure.
"I loved the way he wove his story, telling us a bit of the background of his songs along with gently coaxing us into true audience participation," stated one audience member, Barb Hunt Maurais. "Of course, the songs and his guitar playing skills were amazing. What a treasure."

Windham students heading to Odyssey of the Mind World Finals in Michigan

For the second time, a team of elementary students from Windham Primary and Manchester Schools
headed to Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. Odyssey of the Mind (OotM) is an international creative problem-solving program that engages students in their learning by allowing their knowledge and ideas to come to life in an exciting, productive environment. Participants build self-confidence, develop life skills, create new friendships, and are able to recognize and explore their true potential. OotM proves that students can have fun while they learn.
This annual event took place at Michigan State University, in East Lansing Michigan, from May 22 to 25. Seven energetic students, in grades three to five, along with their fearless coaches/ parents are heading west on Tuesday, May 21 for the 15 to 18-hour drive. The students and their respective grades are: Nick Verrill (5), Nick Jenkins (5), Cameron Weeks (4), Ewan O’Shea (5), Marek Slomczynski (5), Ashlynn Cuthbert (4) and Adam Slomczynski (3). The first five of which previously competed in the OotM World Finals, along with their coach April O’Shea.

Windham sculptor wins 2019 artist’s residency at Monson Arts

In February, Anne Alexander, a local artist and teacher, received the news that she was accepted for a month-long artist retreat at Monson Arts – a new residency program that started less than a year ago with the support of the Libra Foundation.
“I had applied early for the visual artist residency program but there were already so many artists and writers who had applied and were accepted that I was wait-listed for the next retreat,” explained Alexander. “I reapplied and received the news two months ago, in February, that I was accepted.”
One of her first experiences at Monson Arts began with a snowshoe walk in the woods, of which there is plenty at the edge of Maine’s North Woods—3.5 million acres of forest bordering Canada. 
 “I found the perfect cedar tree to carve,” Alexander said.  “With the help of the program’s technician, a tree was cut and moved to the woodshop. I carved an eight-foot tall sculpture using both power and hand tools.”
In her time there, which ended on April 26, she also developed a series of smaller clay sculptures and large drawings.

MAY

Varsity softball shuts down Westbrook

Spring was in the air and Windham sports fans were happy on a day where many games were canceled due to rain and bad field conditions. The varsity softball team traveled to Westbrook on Saturday, April 25 to take on the Blue Blazes. The Lady Eagles started strong and early, hitting a home run in the first at bat – keeping the momentum going. Fast forward to the top of the fourth inning, Windham was up ten to zero with the final score at 18 to zero.
“They had to get in the mindset that we had to come out and play; both teams were playing in the same weather. Whitney threw an awesome game today, really good control of the ball and everybody contributed offensively, defensively; just great all-around game,” stated Coach, Fred Wilcox.

Grant awarded to the Windham Public Library

In April, the Windham Public Library applied for and submitted the grant application and they were recently notified that they have received $1500. “We have benefited from the grant program twice in the past to add technology devices to our children’s room,” stated WPL Director, Jen Alvino. “This year the grant funds will be used to expand our backpack program. We currently circulate themed backpacks from the children’s room collection. The backpacks are filled with books, games, and activities for children and families to check out and use together.”
Alvino also explained that the current themes for this year are nature, games, birds, magnets, history, seashore, and a microscope backpack.  “With the grant funds, we will be able to expand our offerings to new themes like rock hounds’ backpack kit, treasure hunting, save the earth as well as add healing backpacks with themes such as Alzheimer’s, death of a pet, death of a loved one, and divorce. The healing backpacks will have books and resources for families dealing with difficult situations and will provide helpful resources as they work through a tough situation.”

“Man with a Mandolin” – Al Hawkes remembered and honored by fans and musicians

It was standing room only at Lenny’s at Hawkes Plaza in Westbrook on Sunday, May 5, the pub that was once the recording studio of the nationally known bluegrass musician, Al Hawkes, was filled to the brim. It was standing room only as fans of the late recording artist came out to honor and celebrate the gifted performer and instrumentalist. Also present were over 15 bluegrass, country music and folk artists who personally knew, jammed in the backyard and/or performed with Hawkes, playing their favorite tunes from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
In addition to honoring and remembering the “man with the mandolin”, it was an afternoon of fundraising for the Al Hawkes Scholarship Fund. “I made a promise to Al,” Nickerson told the crowd before the performances began. “He wanted to start a scholarship fund to help area music students. Today we are asking for donations toward this scholarship. The funds will be used to help students purchase musical instruments and with the cost associated with performances and studies.” Nickerson added that the performers were donating their time to help with the cause.

Sen. Diamond welcomes decorated Navy SEAL to Maine Senate

At the beginning of May, Senator Bill Diamond, D-Windham, welcomed Commander Michael Wisecup USN, Ret., to the Maine Senate for the day.
Commander Wisecup, who retired from the Navy in Nov. 2018, graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1998 and received a Master of Business Administration from the Indian Institute for Technology in Mumbai, India. He was deployed multiple times to Iraq, Afghanistan, and across Africa and Asia on military operational assignments on SEAL Teams 1, 5 and 8 and Special Boat Team 12. He also had various staff assignments at home and abroad, including most recently serving as Deputy Commander of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Iraq. Commander Wisecup has received the Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon, and various other unit, campaign and personal citations. He is currently a Presidential Leadership Fellow at Colby College in Waterville.

Third-grader wins calendar contest

Lincoln Rulman, a third-grade student in Mrs. Arbour’s class at Windham Primary School entered the Casella Waste calendar contest for third graders. Out of 308 entries in Maine and 2200 entries total, Lincoln’s artwork was selected, and his photo will be showcased in the Casella Wastes 2020 calendar. Rulman didn’t know he won until Friday, May 10 when a representative from Casella Waste came to Windham Primary School and presented him an award alongside some of his third-grade classmates.

Windham’s softball slugger, Junior Chloe Wilcox breaks record

Junior, Chole Wilcox recently broke Windham High’s record for most home runs hit during a high school softball career. The original record, 13 home runs, was set by Liv Mora (class of 2017). Wilcox has hit 16 home runs during her career; nine of which have been this season.
“She’s a hard worker,” stated her dad and coach, Fred Wilcox. “As a catcher, she understands pitchers. She’s educated on what pitches may be coming and she’s a numbers kid. As a lefty, pitchers will work the outside corner of the plate, she’s got really quick hands to work the inside and she’s a smart, smart player; very strong with great hand eye coordination.”

Essay contest winner shares important message with the community

AJ Sweet had a message to convey: Anybody can be awesome. The third-grade student at Windham Primary School shared this message in an essay he wrote for a competition sponsored by the Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness. His moving essay won the third-grade prize. “I was thinking from my heart, and that’s how I was writing it,” AJ said.
The prompt for his essay was “We all have different abilities and different challenges. Why is that a good thing?” The Caring Classrooms Contest was open to any student in a classroom that has been part of the Cromwell Center’s disabilities awareness program, which is presented free of charge in schools throughout southern and central Maine.
AJ said he wishes everyone could have a chance to feel the way he felt when he learned he had won.  “I might never forget that minute in my life,” he said. Even more, he said, he wants people to know that they can embrace their true abilities. 

Learning is just as important as winning for Kregg Jarvais

Reporter, Matt Pascarella caught up with coach Kregg Jarvais who has taken his knowledge of baseball and transferred it to softball, where he sees duality. Jarvais stated that he wants his girls to know the fundamentals of the game. It’s the little things, or cheats as he refers to them, that can really strengthen a player. 
Jarvis is the head coach for the Bill Diamond Softball Team. He also coaches in the Maine Thunder Organization, a U12 travel softball team.
He got interested in coaching when his kids started getting interested in and playing sports. That energized him. From that point on, he was watching his kids and volunteering a lot of time and energy.
“The way I viewed it was, I was going to be there anyway supporting my kids, and it would be a shame if I didn’t provide the catalog of stuff I had in my head to help the progression of children in sports.”

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

Mindy Zink of Half Moon Décor and Design Studio used her expertise with Chalk Paint®, a
Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan, along with other home improvement professionals, were a part of Lifetime’s latest series of “Military Makeover with Montel”..
“I wanted to give back in some way,” began Zink, whose father is a veteran of the Airforce. “I don’t watch much television, but I did see a “Military Makeover” episode and I realized that I could volunteer my experiences with chalk painting. So, I simply emailed them to see if they could use my services.”
Zink and her husband, who donated their time, travel, product and hotel stay, were among many of the home improvement professionals who worked together on this project – all under a deadline – with “together” being the key term of the experience. “There was every contractor under the sun in the house at the same time,” stated Zink. “There was a specific window of time and we all had to do our projects together while television crews were filming.”
“There was a sense of camaraderie among us and no one felt discouraged even as we were working elbow to elbow,” she said. “It was an uplifting experience. Everyone was happy. No animosity and no negativity. It’s what happens when you gather together for a good cause.”

Raymond Little League wins the “Take Me Out to the Dugout” fundraising contest

It’s been a friendly competition for the past 10 years as a fundraising event for local softball and baseball teams. “Take Me Out to the Dugout” sponsored by The Ice Cream Dugout raised over $1,600 this year, making a total donation to participating teams of $11,852 over the course of a decade.
This year, the participating teams were: Windham Christian Academy, Windham High School Softball, Raymond Little League, Windham Little League and Standish Little League. The winning team who made the most money was Raymond!

JUNE

The Maine Blues Festival celebrates its fourteenth year

If there is anything the Windham and Raymond community loves, it is listening to good music and supporting local musicians - and the 14th annual Maine Blues Festival that occurred in Naples from Friday, June 14 to Sunday, June 16 – is an anticipated yearly event.
Beginning in the winter of 2006, the concept to have a festival started as just an idea between two friends while talking over a couple of beers. Kevin Kimball was visiting his friend Mike Bray, who was the owner of the former pub, Bray’s, in Naples (currently Gary’s Old Towne Tavern). “If we are really going to do this, we need to make it happen,” Kimball recalled Bray telling him. “We had been discussing this for a while and we both realized that it was time to take action with this blues festival idea.”
The original vision was just to have a small mini-festival in Bray’s Beer Garden. “But then word got out, and various local businesses were asking if they could join in,” Kimball explained. “It mushroomed beyond our wildest dreams. To be honest, we were scared out of our wits.”
It was another fun, family event and was attended by many.

Congratulations to former Windham Middle School student

Friends of Anneliese Warnberg were excited to discover that she has been named the varsity softball Rookie of the Year.
Warnberg, who was a student at RSU14 but moved with her family to Florida last year, now attends Allen D. Nease High School in St. Augustine. She not only made the varsity team, but she was part of the starting lineup as catcher, her favorite position. In a press release, Warnberg stated that the season shaped her into, “not only a better player, but a better person as well.”
Warnberg’s grandparents, Russell and Elaine Warnberg still live in the Windham community.

Volunteers needed for free summer meal program at Dundee Park this summer

The Summer Food Service Program provided free summer meals again this year every weekday from Monday July 8 through Friday, August 16 from noon to 1 p.m. The intention of the summer meal program is to help families save money while providing a fun, safe place for kids and teens, ages 18 and under, to eat a healthy meal every day of the week -unless the park is closed.
Statistics indicate that one out of every five school age children are food insecure. This includes children in our small-town communities of Windham and Raymond.
According to the Economic Research Service division of the United States Department of Agriculture, the following is what is known about food insecurity in the U.S.
The defining characteristic of very low food security is that, at times during the year, the food intake of household members is reduced, and their normal eating patterns are disrupted because the household lacks money and other resources for food. Very low food security can be characterized in terms of the conditions that households in this category typically report in the annual food security survey.
Volunteers stepped forward to help with this important initiative.

Another successful year for Windham and Special Olympics

Eight excited Special Olympics athletes made their way through the crowd of celebrating students, faculty and staff on Friday morning, June 7 to the vans that would take them to the University of Maine at Orono for the 50th year of the Special Olympics Maine State Summer Games.
The weekend began with a huge parade and opening ceremonies on Friday night. Saturday was filled with great competitions. Many awards and personal bests were achieved. Saturday ended with a 1969-themed dance.
“All the athletes participated in three individual events and all did a fabulous job with some personal bests,” stated Coach, Anne Blake. “Thanks to all the support from RSU14 athletic boosters, administration, our volunteer assistant coaches, Margie Dionne, Nikki Rogers, Olivia Latham and Mitch Hodge, the parents and athletes.”
Congratulations to all the athletes: Mary Greslick, AJ Mains, Kayla Fillinger, Dani Iaconeta, Eric Loftin, Austin Rice, James Tucker and Cam Malone.

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

Pearl Grant, a resident of Windham for the past 93 years finally felt some closure this summer when her cousin, Burleigh Curtis, was laid to rest in Windham, next to his parents – 75 years after his death.
According to a DPAA (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) Public Affairs press release, “Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Burleigh E. Curtis, killed during World War II, was accounted for on December 13, 2018.”
“The last time I saw Burleigh was when he graduated from high school in 1939,” Grant said, who spent summers with her cousin and other family members on the family farm on Highland Cliff Road in Windham. “We all had fun. We played games, joked, laughed – a completely pleasurable experience on the farm as a family,” Grant said.
Curtis’ name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Brittany American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Montijoie Saint Martine, France, along with the others missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
Everyone was invited to the memorial service held at Highland Cliff Advent Christian Church on Tuesday, June 25. Interment was at Chase Cemetery, next to the church.

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

When Ron Eby of Windham Automotive built Ron’s Mexican Cantina and Grill for the first Summerfest celebration in Windham, he never imagined it would be a catalyst for raising nearly $700,000 dollars for Camp Sunshine. But in the years since he created the food cart, that’s exactly what has happened. And although the cart has now been sold, new owner Jose Chavez of A La Mexicana plans to continue the tradition of giving.
When Chavez expressed interest, Eby said, “I told him I’d love to see it still used in some capacity to raise money for Camp Sunshine.”
Chavez said that continuing to support Camp Sunshine is in their plan, but they haven’t yet determined exactly how that will happen. He added that he wants to help the community, especially since they have helped him so much.  “I want to give back a little bit too,” he said.

Windham Middle School softball team makes history

The Windham Middle School softball team made history this past season by becoming the first team at WMS to go undefeated all season, winning eight consecutive games. The team is made up of mostly eighth graders with the exception of a couple seventh graders.
“This group of young ladies have been playing together as a unit for [a while]. I've seen less-talented teams succeed because of strong team chemistry, and this team combines that chemistry with elite talent,” remarked parent, Matt Shardlow.
Congratulations to Emile Allen, Anne-Marie Andrews, Haley Atherton, Kailey Chalmers, Isabella Clapp, Casey Downing, Odessa Files, Hannah Heanssler, Savanna Heanssler, Jayden Kimball, Bella Lorenzatti, Chloe Manette, Rielly Russell, Gianna West and Ella Wilcox!

Reconstruction and maintenance to begin on River Road - historical sites preserved

Although the exact schedule and start date was uncertain in June, the River Road reconstruction project, which has been awarded to Shaw Brothers Construction, will begin soon. The area of River Road to receive the update includes the Doles Bridge over the Colley Wright Brook as well as a 3 mile stretch of the road, beginning at the Westbrook line and extending north. The entire project is scheduled to last two years with the completion date set at June 19, 2021.
As the reconstruction and widening has been discussed over the past four years, concerns regarding the many historical sites along that portion of River Road have been expressed to representatives of both the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Windham Delegation by members of the Windham Historical Society (WHS). It had been decided to save the historical sites.

JULY

Tenth annual food drive a success

Field-Allen Post 148 in collaboration with the Joint Military Cadet of America (A co.1st BN 3rd ACTB) Windham High School, held its 10th Annual Food Drive at Walmart North Windham in support of the Town of Windham Food Pantry Summer Youth program. The Cadets and Post members filled an M-37 Dodge Military Vehicle with food products and received $1500 in cash donations for the cause.  

Windham Area Clergy encourages everyone to help neighbors as part of July 4th festivities

Clergy serving churches in the Windham area agreed to provide three collection sites at Faith Lutheran Church, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, and Windham Hill United Church of Christ to accept donations of toothpaste, toilet paper, bar soap and suitcases/duffel bags for the Asylum Seekers. They delivered everything donated to Gateway Community Services in Portland for distribution to the families seeking asylum. 
“Jesus was pretty clear,” Faith Lutheran’s pastor, Rev. Jane Field, said, “We are to love our neighbors—no exceptions! And he taught that when we welcome a stranger, we welcome Him. So, we don’t believe expressions of generosity should be thought of as ‘either/or.’ They can be ‘both/and.’ That’s the thing about love—when it’s shared, it isn’t used up; it expands. We can love both our neighbors nearby and our new neighbors.”

Local volunteers continue a 32-year tradition beautifying the Windham rotary islands: Enough funds to last only two more years

With the help of a few community volunteers - local residents and visiting motorists come upon a colorful display of scenery at the round-a-bout at the intersection of Routes 302 and 202 in Windham every summer for the past 32 years. The Windham Eagle took a look at who are the landscaping creatives and how did it all begin?
In his June 6, 2017 article, Reporter Walter Lunt shared the following: “The rotary gardens have their roots in Windham’s 250th year celebration back in 1987. The town went all out with lectures, historical programs, open house events in old homes and churches, various entertainment venues, a parade, festival and gardens featuring red, white and blue plantings. (The color theme is retained in the current rotary gardens.) Gary Plummer, General Chair of the 1987 event, said the rotary flowers were well received by the public, so it became a spring tradition.”

SEALs for Sunshine undertake 16-mile swim to help military families enjoy Camp Sunshine

Mike Wisecup started SEALs for Sunshine to raise awareness of what Camp Sunshine offers to
military families with children facing life threatening diseases. The first event in 2014 coincided with Camp Sunshine’s 30-year anniversary campaign, “Going the Distance”. “’Going the Distance’ seemed to fit with a 13-mile half marathon swim across Sebago Lake,” Wisecup said.
Every year since then, SEALs for Sunshine has held at least one intense physical challenge to support the goal of raising money for military families to attend Camp Sunshine. Just over $500,000 has been raised through these events, prompting a significant increase in military families – both active duty and veterans – attending camp.  Many of these families would not have known about Camp Sunshine without the publicity surrounding these events.
The funds raised through SEALs for Sunshine events directly supports both attendance at the camp and travel costs to alleviate the financial burden of getting to and from camp.

Windham resident hopes to spread awareness of mental illness through her 2019 Caregiver of the Year Award

On Wednesday, June 19 Rumo, who is a Psychiatric Technician at Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook received the Caregiver of the Year award at the Maine Hospital Association’s (MHA) annual Summer Forum held at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. News Center Maine Anchor Sharon Rose Vaznis presented the award.
Rumo, a 1984 graduate of Windham High School, was nominated by a longtime coworker and friend, Claudia Henry. Henry, who wrote the required 500-word essay and collected testimonials for the application process, is the one who called to let Rumo know the good news. “When Claudia called to tell me I had been selected, she said, ‘Karen! This is like winning the Oscars in Hollywood!’”
Her hope that the attention she has received with winning this award can bring about more awareness in the mental health field. “There is still so much stigma surrounding mental health and it is my hope that this perception changes,” Rumo stated.
Rumo’s greatest message is kindness, understanding and sympathy. “No matter who you come in contact with, everyone has a story, and everyone has something to contribute. Since we don’t know the whole story of an individual’s life, it is best that we do not judge – but to be kind to one another.”

Rep. Corey’s bill to allow spouses to provide home and community-based services is now law

Rep. Patrick Corey (R-Windham) announced his legislation, LD 84, Resolve, Directing the Department of Health and Human Services To Allow Spouses To Provide Home and Community-based Services to Eligible MaineCare Members was signed into law by Governor Janet Mills. The new law directs the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to request a federal waiver allowing spouses employed as personal support specialists to provide services to their spouse.
For Rep. Corey, this was his second attempt to pass legislation in response to the plight of constituents, John and Linda Gregoire of Windham. John has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and requires round the clock care from his wife Linda.
"John and Linda Gregoire really opened my eyes to the hardships that a spouse with a debilitating disease can place on a family,” said Rep. Corey (R-Windham). "While getting spouses paid for caregiving through Medicaid seemed pretty straight forward, it took two attempts, strong advocacy from many interests, and some really creative thought regarding who will employ this new workforce to keep the costs down. LD 84 brings us one step closer to allowing spouses to be paid for caregiving activities.”

Before the memory fades: Boy’s plunge into icy South Windham pond saves two lives in 1961

In his bimonthly historical series, Walter Lunt spoke to Philip Loura, who at the age of 14 saved two young girls from drowning in a small man-made pond in South Windham.
“It was just a day out on the ice – we were whipping each around and having fun,” said Loura. “Then we heard a scream.”
Apparently, a young Doreen Nealey had fallen part-way through thin ice and was struggling to lift herself out. When her friend, Kathy Smith skated over to help, the ice gave way beneath her too. Now both were in about seven feet of freezing water, hollering for help.
Loura was first to respond. “I knew the same thing could happen to me. They were about 15 feet from shore, so I skated like a mad-mother to the shore and started busting up the ice until I had an open water path out to where they were.”
Maine Governor John Reed recognized Loura with a special plaque. The Carnegie Foundation awarded him a medal for heroism.  From the American Legion, another medal for heroism. And then, the crown jewel of tributes: the Young American Medal for Bravery, to be presented by the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

Braxton Cassidy chosen to play in 30th Annual Lobster Bowl

Braxton Cassidy of Windham played at the 30th Annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic on July 20th.  In a letter recommending Cassidy to play, Coach Matt Perkins stated, “In my 20 years of coaching, Braxton is one of the most unique kids that I’ve ever coached,”
Cassidy’s Team, The East played against The West. Although The East team lost 60-14, Cassidy said it was an honor to play the game, none-the-less. “It didn’t end the way I wanted it to, but it was for a good cause. I got to play one more football game and that’s what I really enjoy,” explained Cassidy, who was also chosen to be a co-captain for his team.
Next year, Cassidy will attend Bridgton Academy and after that he plans to attend the University of Maine at Orono to play Division 1 football. Cassidy is interested in Zoology and wants to study animals

AUGUST

Five-year old to receive portion of proceeds from the Tenth Annual Kelli’s 5K

Griffin Cochrane, a five-year-old from Windham, was diagnosed with leukemia on June 25, 2017, and is in the process of receiving his three and a half years of chemotherapy sessions. He was a recipient from this year’s annual Kelli’s 5K.
In its 10th year, the proceeds from the run/walk are distributed in a number of ways. First and as always, monies raised are contributed to the anticipated growth of the Kelli Hutchison Memorial Playground, located on the grounds of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, 40 Windham Center Road. In addition to funding the playground, a portion of the funds raised is given to a community organization or an area family facing extraordinary challenges.
“We’ve been so touched by the community’s response” began Danielle, Griffin’s mom. “People we’ve never met have reached out to see what they can do to help. We are honored to be chosen by Kelli’s family. It means so much to us.”

Varsity girls’ soccer win Northern New England Challenge Cup 2019

The Windham Lady Eagles won the Northern New England Challenge Cup, which was held Saturday, July 27th and Sunday, July 28th. This tournament is hosted every year at the end of July and this year’s competition was held in Yarmouth. Sixteen teams entered from Maine and Massachusetts. During the playoffs, Windham started the day by beating Gorham 3-0. They then beat Bonny Eagle in penalty kicks. In the finals they beat Scarborough 1-0.
“It’s a great way to wrap up the summer season and it’s a fun way to start seeing where younger players might find a role on the team. We were excited about the outcome because we only had 5 returning varsity players participate,” commented coach Deb Lebel. 

Miss Southern Maine Princess uses platform to promote anti-bullying campaign locally

Adelynn Elwell’s of Raymond won Miss Southern Maine Princess in February and prepared for USA Nationals. When asked for the key message she would like to share with others, her immediate response was, “I want to create a respectful environment in schools.” Her message echoes that of The Crown CARES program.
The Crown CARES (Creating a Respectful Environment in Schools) program is specifically designed for pageant systems to promote awareness internationally, on the number one problem facing youth and children in school and today's society: bullying and harassment.
As part of The Crown CARES Program, each titleholder spends their year visiting schools and promoting awareness, reading to children and helping them to understand how to stand up to bullying.
Elwell commented, “As a pageant winner, I’ve had the opportunity to read the book “Sticks, Stones and Stumped” (authored by Deb Landry) to preschool and kindergarten classes and make friendship bracelets. I’ve also joined a couple of parades and we held a ‘Unite against bullying’ dance party to get the message out.”

Celebrating 20 years of Food and Fellowship at Dundee Park this coming Monday

The idea of a free Monday meal officially began from members of the Windham Hill United Church of Christ in 1998 but it wasn’t long until other churches joined in and together formed, Food and Fellowship, Inc. a non-profit ecumenical organization. Food and Fellowship has sponsored the free Monday Meal program in the Lakes Region since 1999.
“Although we began as a monthly program, we realized that what we provided was more than food for those who participated,” Seder explained. “We realized that people were also longing to connect with others – they were feeling isolated and alone. We had people come up to us, saying that this gathering was the first time they got to talk to others that day – or even in over a week. It’s at that point we understood that we were not only feeding people nutritious meals, but we were serving individuals who longed for connection and conversation. We decided at that point to provide Monday Meals on a weekly basis.”
Food and Fellowship’s free Monday Meals currently serve approximately 50 individuals every week.

Windham Parks and Recreation senior campers’ program: A big summer success

This past summer, Windham Parks and Recreation’s Senior Campers Program celebrated its fourth year as part of the Adventure Camp for grades six through eight. The Senior Campers Program is a next step for rising high school freshman who are interested in working towards becoming a Windham Parks and Recreation camp counselor.
Recreation programmer, Sarah Davenport and counselor, Lauren Syphers oversaw the program.
“Our goal is for them to start to take that next step and transition from campers into more of a leadership role; to work on leadership skills, character development and still have a really fun time getting to be a part of the summer camp program,” explained Davenport.
During a regular day, they were given additional responsibilities such as activity set up, helping counselors/directors with special projects, and holding their fellow campers accountable for their words and actions.

Little Sebago Lake Association promotes water safety in significant but fun and hands-on ways

Late last summer, the Little Sebago Lake Association (LSLA) shared the importance of water safety and why they began a safety patrol program 15 years ago. Like most lakes in Maine, Little Sebago Lake is becoming a popular spot for water activities. “Over the years it has become more and more crowded and congested,” President Lamontagne of the LSLA. “Many people, especially new members or renters who are not seasoned boat drivers and not are aware of the boating laws with the State of Maine - we wanted to serve as a gentle reminder to know the laws and to stay safe.”
According to the 2019 LSLA’s yearly newsletter, accidents occur on Maine lakes every year. The State of Maine had a total of four boat crashes that involved more than $2,000 in damages and 10 personal injury crashes that involved the Warden Service last year.
The Water Safety Program includes a working relationship with the Cumberland County Dispatch service center and has created six entry points onto the lake so medical personnel can easily respond to any emergency. “The Safety Patrol Program has even increased our membership and has provided a sense of community among us,” stated Lamontagne.

Former Town Clerk Rita Bernier retires at the age of 81 after a total 44 years of service to Windham

The well-known and well-loved former Town Clerk, Rita Bernier, shared her story with The Windham Eagle, about the 44 years of services she has given to the Town of Windham.
Many will remember she was a bus driver for the Windham school district, but Bernier eventually became a town clerk in a round-about way. “I worked for an oil company as an office manager,” Rita said. “It was a fun job that I loved with no plans to leave any time soon.”
One day, the Windham Town Clerk at the time, Barbara Strout, had decided to run for state legislature and asked Rita if she’d be interested in being the next elected official for the town clerk. Rita accepted Barbara’s proposal.
I was elected immediately,” Bernier began. “I was elected on a Friday and went to the town office the following Monday.”
Rita states that the townspeople are what made her job. “I’m telling you – I fell in love with the people. If there is anything, I miss the most after my retirement - it is the people I came in contact with on a daily basis.”
Although Bernier has retired in the traditional sense, she has not slowed down. “She is the energizer bunny,” Morrill said of her former co-worker and close friend. For anyone who may be interested in learning how to make rag rugs, Bernier would love to share her skill with you. For more information, call Bernier at 894-8114.

Long standing challenges of Gore Road in Raymond coming to an end

A long-standing issue came to an end this past summer. Briefly, Gore Road included sections of ownership and maintenance by the Town of Raymond, residents of Raymond, residents of Gray and the Town of Gray. As stated by Nathan White, the Town of Raymond’s Public Works Director, “We have over 200 miles of private roads in Raymond and Gore Road was the only private road connecting Raymond to another town.”
Don Willard, Raymond’s Town Manager, reinforced, “Gore Road has long been a public safety issue as it was almost impassable. The privately-owned portion of the road (part of a through way between the two towns), known as “no man’s land, had long since deteriorated beyond the residents’ ability to implement the necessary improvements”.
In fact, White explained that last winter a plow truck fell through a culvert on Gore Road.
Improvements to the road included: tree work, excavation, putting in place proper drainage and paving.
Willard emphasized, “As a result of this work we now have a public road connecting the two towns: a win-win for residents of Raymond and Gray.”

Instrument donations needed to help Little Kids Rock

An announcement was made that an addition to was added to the music curriculum at Manchester School – called “Little Kids Rock”.  Using guitars as a basic instrument, the focus is for students to learn chords and strumming patterns so they can accompany popular songs. Students do not need to read traditional music notation, but the approach does include icons that guide performance. In late August, Manchester School had ten guitars to assist in the success of that program. While ten guitars were a good start, more instruments could be used.  Music Teacher, Charles Oehrtmann asked the community for any spare instruments such as guitars, ukuleles, keyboards, drum sets or anything else that might work in a rock band ensemble, to contact him so arrangements could be made for drop-off at Manchester School. For more information, call Oehrtmann by phone at 892-1830 and leave a message, or contact him by e-mail: coehrtmann@rsu14.org

RAA to host inaugural artist scholarship fundraiser

The Raymond Arts Alliance (RAA) hosted its inaugural artist scholarship fundraising concert on Saturday, September 7 at 1 p.m. at 163 Raymond Hill Road. The purpose of the concert is to raise funds to support local artists in need.
The concept was inspired by the aspirations of David Young, a local singer/songwriter, Raymond resident and 2017 graduate of Windham High School (WHS). David has performed in clubs for several years and has developed a strong local following. He studied guitar for a year at the University of Southern Maine and now will be moving to Nashville in the first week of November. 
The RAA hopes to donate part of the proceeds raised from this event to help with his move and start his new life, while also seeding a fund to assist others in the future. David, along with his brother, Devon - a drummer who is a 2019 WHS graduate, is also moving to Nashville and will be performing with David.
Mary-Therese Duffy, RAA Chair, stated that the scholarship program is in the early stages and that the organization hopes to collect enough funds to support all artist and ages.

SEPTEMBER

GWBE Wing Challenge crowns first winner

Greater Windham Business Exchange hosted its first GWBE Wing Challenge at All About Kids in
Windham. The event brought in stiff competition with The Beacon in Raymond winning the popular vote and taking home bragging rights and a plaque to be hung in their restaurant for the year.
The wing challenge partnered with area businesses to raise money for Hannah Warrior Princess’ mission of raising money to purchase fun play sheets to be giving to children at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.
Hannah was diagnosed with Leukemia and spent a lot of time at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. She’s home now and wants to give back to other children staying at the hospital. The play sheets go home with the children after they use them at the hospital.
The event raised over $600 with admission and donations combined. This will purchase at least 60 sets of sheets for ill children.

Windham parish collects over 2,500 food items to help feed local children

Thanks to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Windham, many local children were able to enjoy healthy snacks during their summer fun.
Created in the spring of 2016, “Operation Summer Snacks” is an initiative of the parish, located on 919 Roosevelt Trail, that collects food for children in need who receive bags of food from the “Backpackers” program during the school year but, in many cases, do not have the snacks during the summer.
“We totaled more than 2,500 individual snack items, bagging 226 gallon-sized bags that included 31 nut-free bags, 30 nut- and gluten-free bags, and 165 bags with no food restrictions,” said Jill Russell-Morey, a parish catechetical leader. “Each bag contained a mix of 10 snack items, and we tried to include a fruit and juice pouch in each while donations lasted.”
Russell-Morey also stated that the project makes the issue of hunger in the community clearer to both the children and adults at the parish.

Senator Bill Diamond helps to pass law to keep hands on the wheel

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) website, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates distracted driving kills an average of nine people and injures 1,000 every day.
This past fall, Senator Bill Diamond introduced and passed LD 165, a bill “To Prohibit the Use of Handheld Phones and Devices While Driving.” This bill will go into effect on September 19, 2019.
The bill was created out of a similar law that Senator Diamond sponsored in 2011, that made texting while driving illegal. However, while it was illegal to text and drive, it was not illegal to use your phone or have it in your hand.
“We talked with law enforcement and the biggest problem is texting while driving; the crashes, the injuries are just exponentially increasing,” stated Senator Diamond. “What this says is you cannot have your phone or device in your hand. Everything in this bill is all about hands-free. You look down for two seconds, often times it’s three or four seconds – and in that short amount of time a lot can happen. And that’s a problem. This fixes it.”

Raymond Elementary School dedicates new playground

The first day of school is always exciting, but the first day of school at Raymond Elementary School and Jordan Small Middle School had an especially memorable event to mark the beginning of their academic year. As the bright September sun glittered off Panther Pond and Sebago Lake in the distance, students left their classrooms and walked to a new fenced field behind Raymond Elementary School.
Randy Crockett, the principal of Raymond Elementary School, welcomed students from both the
elementary and the middle school. After offering his heartfelt thanks to the community, parents, and local businesses whose generous donations helped with fundraising events such as last summer’s ice cream social and the annual holiday pie sale, Crockett described the elementary school’s new playground and play field.
A new balance apparatus was installed as well as a climbing Webscape and two new sandboxes.

Food insecurity continues for displaced veterans: Windham Veterans Center still taking food donations

Food Insecurity among the homeless and displaced Veterans in the Portland area continues to be a concern of the American Legion Field-Allen Post in Windham.  For the Past two plus years the Legion Post has been collecting food items in support of the Portland Vet Center, Homeless Vet Food Pantry, a small, but crucial support system for many local homeless and food insecure veterans.
Chuck Whynot and Bill Cassidy are two of these Post members who work tirelessly in collecting, sorting and the distributing the food items each week. Over the last two plus years, they have delivered almost two tons of food items to the Portland Veterans Center. Staff at the Portland Veteran’s Center indicates that they fill 20 to 30 requests each week.
How can you help? Each Wednesday, Whynot collects non-perishable food items at the WVC from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Want to give a financial donation? Not a problem, Whynot keeps a ledger of donations. Checks should be made out to the Legion Post 148.

Historic Casco schoolhouse rises from the ashes and now is open to the public

After more than a year of resolute and reverent reconstruction, a replica of Casco’s old Quaker Ridge Schoolhouse, or Friends School, was opened to the public in September on the grounds of the Casco-Raymond Historical Society museum.
Nearly 100 visitors attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the museum complex on Route 302 in Casco. Society curator Rose Andrews-Symonds said she heard the comment “How beautiful” numerous times during the three-hour open house event. Andrews-Symonds, who also curated the original building before it was destroyed by fire in 2018, continued, “It’s quite breathtaking to it see (back) almost in its original state.”
The original Quaker Ridge Schoolhouse was built in 1849 on Quaker Ridge Road. Run by the Society of Friends (Quakers), it operated continuously until 1942, except for the year 1920 when it closed temporarily due to low enrollment.

Raymond residents honor Betty McDermott at dedication ceremony

In late fall, the Raymond Village Library dedicated their new gazebo to the memory of long-time Raymond resident Betty McDermott and the spirit of community service that she embodied.
A devoted volunteer and advocate for Raymond, McDermott served the town in many capacities. She was a member of Raymond’s Board of Selectmen for nine years, serving as the Chair for two of those years. She was also a charter member of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, and she served as the Treasurer of the Raymond Women’s Club, which built and ran the Raymond Village Library.
“This library exists because of Betty,” Sheila Bourque, head of Raymond Village Library’s Board of Directors, told a crowd of over sixty people at Saturday’s dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Sheila praised the efforts of local volunteers not only in the library by also in the Raymond Recreation program, the Raymond Lions Club, and the Raymond Arts Alliance.
Maine State Senator Bill Diamond and state Representative Jessica Fay also praised Betty’s service.

Daddy Warbucks fundraiser

To really get into his role of Daddy Warbucks in the Windham Center Stage Theater's production of "Annie", Randy Hunt shaved his head for a cause. He raised money for St. Baldrick’s foundation.
According to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation website: “Every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer – about the time needed to log onto your laptop, order a coffee, or get through a TV commercial break. It’s also about the same amount of time it takes to have your head shaved to support childhood cancer research. Join the fight against childhood cancers by participating in a St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event near you.”
The head-shaving fundraising event occurred Sunday, September 29th, at 12:30 p.m. at the Windham Town Hall. Randy Hunt stated, “I’m trying to raise $1,000 to help with the Baldrick's mission of fighting childhood cancer.

OCTOBER

Lifelong love of local library inspires Eagle Scout project

Windham High School student and Raymond resident, Jamie Louko, tells the story as to why he was inspired to build at gazebo at the Raymond Village Library for his Eagle Scout project. 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.
When 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.

Broadway veteran Norm Lewis to perform with Windham Chamber Singers at An American Family Holiday

This year’s headliner for the Annual American Family Holiday event was Norm Lewis. Lewis is a Broadway veteran who was recently seen in NBC’s live broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar. He made history as The Phantom of the Opera’s first African American Phantom on Broadway.   “We are excited to welcome back Norm Lewis and continue our tradition of bringing the highest quality performers to Windham," said Nickerson.  This will be the third time Norm Lewis has appeared at An American Family Holiday and, according to Nickerson, he is always a crowd favorite. Also welcomed back was Daniel Strange. Strange is a WCS alumnus and on the faculty at the University of Miami and violinist Ashley Liberty.

Little Sebago Lake Association successfully keeps milfoil under control

Little Sebago Lake Association shared with The Windham Eagle how they have come to grips on the overgrowth of milfoil in the lake. Using an innovative ‘vacuum’ type Venturi pump attached to a 50 foot hose, they are able to extract the milfoil as a professional diver swims to the bottom of the lake to pull the invasive plant roots from the lake floor. The milfoil then flows through the hose and into a trough on the boat. The trough has a set of four gates that allows the milfoil to drop into onion bags twice filtering the water before going back into the lake. The boat has become a model that LEA and other lake associations have re-developed to fit their needs in order to work on their own milfoil extraction.
Once the milfoil is removed, it is taken to be used as compost. In recent years, co-milfoil director, Tim Greer, personally takes it to the town of Gray’s compost – where townspeople can use the nutrient rich compost in their gardens.
Little Sebago Lake residents who wish to learn more about milfoil extraction, help with an adopt a shoreline program or to become an active member in the association, visit littlesebagolake.com, contact Pam Wilkinson at pwilkinson@littlesebagolake.com or call 207.809.4706.

Survey results are in: Windham Age Friendly community forum to begin action planning from feedback

Windham’s Age Friendly Community Committee completed their first major step in creating a community action plan. On September 13 – the deadline for the survey, the committee received feedback from over 320 individuals to express the types of human service needs experienced by Windham residents.
The results have been tabulated by Patricia Oh, AARP Maine's Age-Friendly Consultant with the help of her intern, Yacov Aviv. All Windham citizens, young and old, were encouraged to join and attend the Community Forum that was held Monday, October 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Windham High School’s Open Cafe to review the initial results. The forum will start the process for developing a community action plan to address needs for older members in the community. Refreshments will be served.Topics to be discussed will include: Community support, housing, health services, transportation, employment, outdoor spaces and buildings, communication and information.

Katie Frost Franzoni inducted into the USM Sports Hall of Fame

For the past 12 years, Katie Frost Franzoni has been a sixth-grade teacher at Windham Middle School. Franzoni is a graduate (2006) from the University of Southern Maine (USM) and played basketball for the Huskies during her time there. In September of this year, she was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame, for her accomplishments on and off the court.
Created in 1985, with the first inductees in 1986, to honor coaches, administrators and former student athletes, the Husky Hall of Fame identifies excellent athletic achievement by graduates of USM and its predecessor institutions.
Katie Frost Franzoni was a four-year starting guard for the Huskies’ women’s basketball team. She helped guide Southern Maine to a record of 118 wins 11 loses from 2002-2006.

Production begins on Mary Poppins, Jr. with new Drama Director at Windham Middle School

Suzy Cropper, the new Drama Director at WMS is no stranger to the drama scene in Windham. In addition to owning and operating a performance studio, Cropper was the musical director for Windham Middle School’s annual musical for the past eight years.
Cropper has been teaching both theater and voice for close to 25 years. Her studio, MainStage
Academy, was based in Windham for several years before she closed it. For three years, she was the chorus teacher at the Manchester School.  “I’ve done a lot of directing kids for a long time. I’m excited to be able to work with these kids in this capacity,” Cropper said.
Cropper enjoys middle school students, she said, because they are teachable, excited about learning new things, and willing to try things they haven’t done before. “They’re just at a time of great exploration, so it’s nice to give them lots of opportunities while they’re still trying to figure out what they love,” she said.

Gonzalez family from Raymond create memories with Halloween costume tradition

Since 2013, Kaela Gonzalez and her family get in on the Halloween fun by dressing up in theme inspired costumes that are cleverly created and hand-made by Kaela and her family. 
Kaela admitted that the family Halloween tradition can be a bit daunting and overwhelming at times, acknowledging that it takes a village to create costumes of this extent.
Kaela hopes that this Halloween family tradition imparts on her children the importance of making hand-made gifts for others and taking time for those they love and care about. “I hope my children will see the value of giving to others and how it can make others happy.”

Tiff Theriault has a love of field hockey to pass on to others

In his Coach Spotlight, Sports Reporter Matt Pascarella spoke to coach Tiff Theriault.
The benefits of seeing the athletes grow and learn the sport is one of the many things she enjoys about coaching. What Theriault wasn’t expecting was the player’s eagerness to learn and the connection she would make with the team. 
 “We have a great team, both JV and varsity this year, they really are incredible. I love the connection with them, I love being a part of it again. Win or lose...watching them grow throughout the season has been more of a rewarding experience than I ever thought it could be. My hope is coach DiDonato and I are playing some small role in their lives to making them better humans and I want to be a part of that – I want them to be successful. This is what drives me to be a better coach each season.”

NOVEMBER

Community organizations collaborate to keep Lake Region residents warm

The Raymond Village Library, Raymond Village Community Church, Age Friendly Raymond and
the AmeriCorps volunteer based at Saint Joseph’s College will be combining efforts and organizing a Window Dressers event to help individuals who live in the greater Sebago Lakes region to stay warm this winter and save on energy costs. Eligible families are being provided with free custom window inserts.
Briefly, the above local organizations collaborate with the WindowDressers.org organization. The mission of that organization brings volunteers together to improve the warmth and comfort of homes, lower heating costs, and reduce CO2 emissions by producing low-cost insulating window inserts that function as interior-mounted storm windows. Staff supplies, trains, and supports teams of community volunteers as they build affordable, insulating window inserts at local workshops.

Before the memory fades: The recycling of a Windham one-room schoolhouse

In his "Before the Memory Fades" history series, Walter Lunt shared the story of an old school desk - and how, after 85 years, it makes its way to the Windham Historical Society's Village Green Museum. But that's not all! The story also includes a one room schoolhouse where the desk came from - and how it was recycled to make a home. 
What do we know about the Bodge School? Very little, it turns out. But one thing we do know, said Windham resident Gary Plummer, is that when the town closed down and sold Bodge School in 1934, his father bought it for the sum of $100,  disassembled the structure  and utilized the materials to build a house the Plummer family lived in for the next 80+ years.
Becky (Plummer) Delaware said the rebuild was done over a period of two years as time and funds permitted. “The floor downstairs was a beautiful fiddlehead maple from the schoolhouse.”

New administrative team hard at work for RSU14

On July 1st, 2019, a new administrative team took the reins at RSU 14. Christopher Howell stepped up from the assistant superintendent position he had held for a year to become the district’s Superintendent and Christine Frost-Bertinet stepped into the role of assistant superintendent.
Howell said in the interview that it’s important for the community to know that the administrative team loves working with their students. “I know that Windham and Raymond are very special places to raise kids,” he said. “We really enjoy being a part of that process. We’re going to do whatever we can to make sure that every kid has every opportunity to be successful,” he said.
Howell said the combination of their experiences make he and Frost-Bertinet a great team. With experience at different levels of education, they can be more efficient, he said.  They both appreciate the opportunity to work in the district, and feel the community support they receive, he added.

Local volunteer project part of nationwide Celebration of Service campaign for improving the homes and lives of veterans

On Friday, November 1, The Home Depot Foundation partnered with the Windham Veterans Association to transform the Windham Veterans Center, which serves local veterans and the community as a whole. More than six members of Team Depot, The Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer force, supported the project on their day off.
The repairs to the Windham Veterans Center have upgraded the building so that it is more attractive for the community to host various events and functions in the space. The venue rentals will in turn support the association’s mission to help local veterans and provide scholarships to youth in the community.
This project in Windham is part of The Home Depot Foundation’s ninth annual Celebration of Service

WHS Senior Evan Glicos becomes a Triple-Impact Competitor Award Finalist

On Sunday, November 10th, 14 New England high school seniors were named finalists in the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship Award program. The finalists were recognized at the Harvard v. Maine basketball game at Lavietes Pavilion in Allston, Massachusetts. One of the finalists recognized was Windham senior, Evan Glicos.
Triple-Impact Competitors are selected by the PCA based on essays with three parts of criteria: personal mastery (making oneself better), leadership (making one’s teammates better), and honoring the game (making the game better). A testimonial must be given from a school administrator, a coach and another individual who can speak to the student athlete’s character and embodiment of the Triple-Impact Competitor principles.  
After Glicos heard about the scholarship, he did some research and decided it would be worth applying because he liked what the PCA stood for.
“It was pretty crazy to be a finalist because there are 3,500 applicants and only 14 [finalists], so I felt honored,” remarked Glicos.

Eight-year-old Odyssey Angels on the move to raise funds and make a difference

The Windham Odyssey Angels consists of seven eight-year olds from Windham Primary School. They are teaming up with the Windham PTA and Raymond PTO to not only help raise awareness about adding stop arms to school buses but are determined to help raise the funds too.
Windham Odyssey Angels became an official organization at their first meeting on Monday, November 4th and took immediate action by visiting area businesses to raise those funds.
There is a reason for their enthusiasm. “Right now, the stop signs on the buses only stick out about two feet,” explained one Windham Odyssey Angel, Harlie Menard, “The stop signs we are trying to raise money for will come out six feet which will make it harder for cars to pass the bus.”
It is a part of their mission that every person in their community become an angel with them. “This is very exciting for the kids,” stated Carrie Menard. “These kids are amazing and want to make a difference in our community. I could not be more proud of them.”
For more information or to make a donation to the Windham Odyssey Angels, contact the group at Windhamodysseyangels@gmail.com.

The last lesson: Daughter shares wisdom from former Raymond Boston Cane Award recipient

To offer an honorary farewell to the previous Raymond Boston Cane Award award recipient, Elizabeth “Betty” Stetson, who passed away in October at the age of 101, we met up with Stetson’s daughter, Becky Almstrom, also of Raymond. She shared some of her mother’s life lesson that family and friends have incorporated into their own lives.
“There were many things our mother and grandmother taught us,” began Becky. “One lesson was the importance of food, family, friendship and hospitality. She always believed that there should be enough food in the house for unexpected visitors. And, she never failed to spontaneously host a wonderful spread of food if guests stopped by. As a result, she taught me well and I always have plenty of food in my pantry for any guest I may find at my doorstep.”
Stetson easily and readily slipped into that very possible next life on October 3, 2019. But she left this life – sprinkling it with joy, laughter, adventure and love for family and friends. And a lesson or two. Not only for her family, but for anyone who might listen and learn from a woman who lived a long and eventful life.

Wrestling Coach John Nicholas's goal is to teach the lesson of "work hard and never give up"

Wrestling coach John Nicholas has been involved with wrestling, in some manner, most of his life. He wrestled in high school and afterwards began coaching wrestling. He’s been a wrestling coach for 22 years and is currently entering his second year as the coach for the Windham/Gray New Gloucester (GNG) co-op wrestling team. Nicholas stated that he was drawn to wrestling, and coaching, because he likes all that wrestling has taught him. It’s taught him to work hard and not give up.
“It really prepares you for life in general; it’s prepared me for work, for family and eventually coaching. It’s been such a big part of my life; growing up I knew I wanted to give back and I’m so glad that I did. Once my wrestling career was done, I wanted to continue, and coaching seemed like the right avenue to go.” A Windham resident, Nicholas has also coached travel soccer for his two daughters. He teaches physical education at Scarborough High school and is a big New England and Windham sports fan.

New Interim Town Manger believes Windham has encouraging future ahead

It was officially announced on Thursday, November 21 by the Windham Town Council that Mr. Barry A. Tibbetts will be filling in as the Interim Town Manager. He began his post December 19th. Tibbetts stated that believes Windham has an encouraging future ahead. He also stated that he looks to the Council for direction and plans to listen and learn from the them as well as from town staff and community members about the goals, desires and opportunities for Windham.
“I believe it is important to listen first, then work with the Council and staff (team) finding consensus, planning and the appropriate support mechanisms to move forward,” Tibbetts said. “From what I have heard and read, Windham has tremendous potential and the Council is looking to move the community forward.”
As the Town Manager of Kennebunk, he is known and appreciated for developing and reinventing the downtown area. He, along with elected officials and the community, collaborated to increase the town’s economic development, producing over 700 jobs during his tenure.

New trail opens in Raymond Community Forest

There is a new trail to explore! The is part of Loon Echo Land Trust's Raymond Community Forest, a 356 acre permanently conserved area off Conesca Road in Raymond, and it is open to pedestrians and mountain bikes.
As the crowd applauded at the grand opening a month ago, Evans handed a wooden plaque to Dave Dowler, who spearheaded the trail building efforts. Dowler turned the plaque over and revealed the name of the new trail: Grape Expectations.
When Loon Echo Land Trust analyzed the potential trail site, Evans explained, they discovered an abundance of summer grape, a native grape species. Raymond is on the far northern edge of the wild grape’s habitat, so the trail builders took care to conserve the wild grape vines. In addition to providing a clever name for the trail, these native grapes are an important food source for wildlife.

DECEMBER

Magic is happening again this year with Santa’s mailbox in Windham neighborhood

Sometimes Santa needs a little help gathering stories and answering letters. Windham residents, Joanne Mattiace and Maggie Terry, were at it again this year assisting a very busy Santa. As they had done the year before, the couple had set up a festive holiday display outside their home, complete with a mailbox to collect letters for Santa.
Mattiace and Terry encouraged children to write letters telling Santa what Christmas means to them. Children who dropped off letters received a personalized response.
 “I really think that Maggie and I focus on charity at Christmas time because we adopted a young boy years ago…and Christmas has meant a lot to him,” Mattiace said.  “Everybody needs a little holiday cheer, whether you’re Christian or Jewish or whatever, whether you’re old or young, straight or gay. We all just need to be a little kinder to each other,” she said.

Christmas Caroling in the Barn with the Friendly Beasts event

Faith Lutheran Church of Windham invited the community to a Christmas Caroling in the Barn event that took place on Sunday, December 15 at The Hartwell Farm, 443 Sebago Lake Road in Gorham at 1 p.m.
It was an old-fashioned community carol sing held in a cozy barn with live animals, storytelling, hot cocoa, Christmas cookies and special treats for the children.
Based on an ancient European legend that at midnight on Christmas Eve animals can speak, the carol gives each animal in the Bethlehem stable a voice to tell of the gift they gave the Christ child. 
“We will sing lots of other carols, too, and enjoy Christmas cookies and hot cocoa,” stated Faith Lutheran Pastor, Jane Field.
Every family who joined in on the fun received an ornament to take home, and we had a present for each child who participated. 

Windham Pack 805 sponsored a local family for Christmas

Windham Pack 805 sponsored a local family for Christmas (seven-year-old boy, ten-year-old girl, 12-year-old girl, a mom and grandmother). The Scouts gifted the family with winter coats, snow pants, boots, gloves, toys for the kids, gift cards and goodies for mom and grandma, and more! They definitely exceeded expectations!

Area elected officials work to increase safety at dangerous intersections in Windham

In late November, Windham’s Legislators met with Chief Kevin Schofield and Captain Andrew Williams of the Windham Police Department along with Town Council Chair Jarrod Maxfield and members of MaineDOT (Department of Transportation) and the owners of All In One Insulation, for an on-site visit at the dangerous intersection of Route 302 and Albion Road.
Rep. Mark Bryant explained that the on-site visit was requested by the Windham Legislative Delegation.  “We reviewed crash data and discussed short- and long-term solutions to improve safety at this dangerous intersection as well as other roads in Windham,” Bryant state. 
According to Chief Schofield, there have been 25 crashes at that location in the past five years. “Twenty-four out of those 25 had some level of personal injury,” he said.
“Having MDOT safety officials actually come to Windham to see firsthand the dangerous intersections like Route 302 and Albion Road and the Falmouth Road and Route 202 makes a big difference in securing safety improvements,” stated Sen Bill Diamond. “The Windham Legislative Delegation works as a team and we will continue to engage state agencies whenever necessary to protect the safety of our citizens.”  

Windham Clothes Closet: A hidden gem offering resources to many communities

The Windham Clothes Closet, located at 377 Gray Road, provides not only infant, children and adult clothing but also shoes, blankets, afghans, coats, curtains, books, sheets, decorative pillows and much more. Although a wonderful resource, it is not known by many in the community.
Rene Daniels, General Assistance Coordinator, stated that both the Windham Food Pantry and the Clothes Closet are hidden gems and realized that concept even more during the construction of the new maintenance building when the trash/recycling containers were moved to the Windham Resource Center’s Parking lot.
“I was amazed when the receptacles were relocated to our parking lot. I don’t know how many people told us they didn’t know the Food Pantry and Clothes Closet existed. Having the trash bins moved to our location during the construction was probably the best advertisement we received.”
The Windham Clothes Closet, which is visited by 100 people per month, is available for everyone, not only those who live in Windham. “We also provide free clothing for the other surrounding towns,” stated volunteer Pat Vigue said. “This includes Westbrook, Gray, Gorham, Raymond, Standish, and other towns that touch the boundary of Windham.”

Before the memory fades: Jackass Annie’s epic horseback ride to the Pacific – Windham stopover yields support, encouragement

In what has been described as one of America’s most remarkable equestrian journeys, a 63-year old down-on-her-luck woman from Minot, Maine rode out of her hometown in a quest to fulfill a life-long dream: to see the country and swim in the Pacific Ocean. Along with Mesannie (aka Annie) Wilkins on that chilly November day in 1954, were ‘her boys,’ an aged horse, Tarzan, and her energetic and faithful dog, Depeche Toi, a Spaniel/Dachshund mix. In his "Before the Memory Fades" series, Walter Lunt shared excerpts from Annie's diary about her stop here in Windham which included a night spent with Dr. and Mrs. Laurence Bennett who ran a nursing home on Windham Center Road.
Mesannie Wilkins successfully completed her journey and remained in the West for a long time; eventually returning to Maine and settled in a town near Minot. A doctor’s diagnosis that she would die before reaching retirement age proved to be unfounded. She passed away in 1980 at the age of 89.
According to Annie, “Doctors, they don’t know everything. Most things in life are foreordained.”




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