Friday, January 26, 2018

Sebago Lakes Region Chamber honors local businesses and individuals with 2017 Service Awards by Lorraine Glowczak

The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting on Wednesday, January 17 at Cole Farms, 64 Lewiston Road in Gray.

Michelle Libby (L) and Aimee Senatore (R)
The evening began at 4:30 p.m. with a social hour and buffet dinner followed by a Keynote Address presented by Grace Noonan-Kaye of Grace Noonan-Kaye and Associates. The evening also included the announcements of Special Service Awards for area businesses and individuals. The awards are as follows:

Metayer Family Eye Care - Recipient of the Community Service Leadership Award
Bob Cyr of DIRFY Generators - Recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Larry Eliason of Butts Commercial Brokers - Recipient of the Frank Koenig Business Person of the Year Award
Momentum/Bomb Diggity Bakery and Café - Recipient of the Business of the Year Award
Edward Getty - Recipient of the Chamber Hall of Fame

Last but not least was Michelle Libby, reporter for The Windham Eagle newspaper who was honored as the Volunteer of the Year.  

Libby, who is the author of 11 books, can be found as a volunteer member of numerous organizations within the community to include, but not limited to: The American Legion Auxiliary, Vice President of Marketing for the Pine Tree Council, First Vice President of the Sebago Lakes Chamber of Commerce Board and President of Maine Romance Writers.
In her acceptance speech, Libby explained that she has always been one to be involved. “My father
was a superintendent of schools and we moved around a lot,” she began. “I found that to get to know people quickly was to become involved, so I immersed myself into volunteering for a number of organizations.”

Many people who work closely with Libby always speak of her natural kindness. 

Michelle is a sincere and genuine individual,” stated Aimee Senatore, Director of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. “She is humble and so kind. Volunteerism and community service are engrained in her spirit and we are so lucky to have her amongst our leadership here at the Chamber. Michelle serves on a multitude of committees and has stepped up to serve as President of the Board of Directors in 2019. I have great confidence that the Chamber has a very bright future with Michelle’s passion and enthusiasm helping lead the way.” 

Congratulations to Libby and the other award recipients. The community is a better place due to the time you give to important causes and organizations.

An untold story of local nurse, Elizabeth Wisecup, upon her retirement by Lorraine Glowczak

Elizabeth "Liz" Wisecup on the S.S. Hope
The CBS television series, “Everybody Has a Story” became a popular program in the late 1990s and early 2000s when news correspondent, Steve Hartmen, travelled the U.S. to visit and interview random people. These people were folks he picked out of the white pages in the phone book. In the six years that the series ran, Hartmen had made the discovery that the world is “chock full of amazing, untold stories.”
Our community is no different than the rest of the world. We too have amazing and untold stories from amazing people among us. One such person is Elizabeth “Liz” Wisecup of Windham who was introduced to us by a family member. She took a moment to share her life story as a nurse of 55 years as well as some of the lessons she learned along the way. 

Born Elizabeth Timmons in 1941 to Bernice and Ernest Timmons; she graduated from Windham High School in 1959. 

Upon graduation at the age of 17, she attended Maine Medical Center’s 36-month nursing program. After student nursing and graduating from the program, Wisecup worked at Maine Med in the Special Care Unit. 

When she began her nursing career in the early 1960s, the medical equipment was much less sophisticated from today’s medical equipment. “Glass IV bottles and syringes, metal bed pans and emesis basins were used, cleaned, and reused,” Wisecup explained. “It was just the beginning of kidney dialysis and open-heart surgery. Since there were no cardiac or IV monitors nurses were constantly with their patient taking very frequent vital signs and counting the IV fluid drops.”

After a couple of years working at Maine Med, she decided to combine her love of nursing with her yearning to explore beyond the boundaries of Maine. 

Wisecup applied and was the first nurse in Maine accepted to work as a staff nurse for a 10-month assignment on the U.S. hospital ship, the S.S. HOPE. 

Briefly, S.S. HOPE was a program supported by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and developed by cardiologist, Dr. William B. Walsh. Its mission was to provide “Health Opportunities for People Everywhere.” The ship made 11 voyages to third world countries such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Columbia, etc. 
Wisecup’s assignment was the ship’s fifth voyage and its first to the country of Nicaragua.
According to the National Museum of American History website, “the 15,000-ton ship had three operating rooms, a pharmacy, isolation ward, radiology department, and closed-circuit television so visiting local doctors and students could observe operations. The S.S. HOPE also carried its own freshwater plant the ‘iron cow’ - a machine that blended powdered milk and fats into 1,000 gallons of milk a day, for use on the ship and distribution among the malnourished at ports of call. The medical crew’s main job was to teach American practices in specialties from neurosurgery and physical therapy to dentistry and public health. Many of the diseases and afflictions they encountered were rare in the United States.”

“I learned and was exposed to so much,” Wisecup said of her nursing experience in Nicaragua. “I saw many medical issues that I would never see here in the U.S. Things such as parasites and tumors that had grown due to the lack of medical intervention. I witnessed tumors that had grown so large but due to that lack of medicine, it was not taken care of until we arrived.” 

“Due to the absence of immunization and access to medical care people were dying from rabies, tetanus and other diseases,”

“In another separate case, I witnessed a 10-year-old boy who had ingested lye when he was three years old.” Wisecup continued. “It had burned his esophagus and his mother had to feed him by a feeding tube for seven years - until we arrived. The medical staff made him a new esophagus and when I saw him eating rice and beans with a smile on his face, it made my day.”

While serving as a staff nurse on the S.S. HOPE, she had met a fellow nurse who was from California. That nurse (Wisecup’s new friend) wanted to live in another state upon her return to the U.S. and so Wisecup decided to join in on the adventure. They both chose Denver, Colorado. It was at this point that she began her role as a psychiatric nurse, working in a hospital there. She also worked in public health as well.

While living in Colorado, she met Clarence Wisecup. Clarence was the Public Health Advisor of the Center for Disease Control in charge of the Venereal Disease Program in the State of Colorado. While working together they fell in love and married. “It’s not everyday one can say they met their spouse in a VD clinic,” Wisecup joked.
Together, they had two children. A daughter, Kathleen who was born in 1972 and a son, Mike who was born in 1975. Wisecup took a 10-year sabbatical from nursing to be a full-time mother. Once her son entered the first grade, she returned to nursing full-time. 

“I returned to nursing in the early 1980s and discovered that so much had changed,” Wisecup said. “Everything became disposable. From glass syringes to plastic. From carefully counting pills out of big brown pharmaceutical bottles to prepackaged pills. Many medical advances and progresses occurred in the 10 years I was away.”

Her husband’s job required many moves throughout the U.S., but his final assignment was Maine; where they returned to Windham in 1996. At this point, Wisecup began working in the Behavior Health Department at St. Mary’s Regional Center in Lewiston, until her retirement this past October 2017.

“I have seen many tragedies and miracles in my career,” Wisecup said. “And I hope that the cause of schizophrenia will be known before I die. It is an illness that takes a terrible toll on those afflicted as well as their families.” 

Wisecup is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement exploring all of life has to offer. She is a member of the Windham Historical Society, Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, Lakes Region Senior Center, is a local artist and has served on the Windham Town Council.

If you or someone you know in Windham or Raymond has a story they want to share, please contact Lorraine Glowczak at

Friday, January 19, 2018

Windham resident places fifth in the Disney World Marathon by Matt Pascarella

Julian Gazzelloni crosses finish line
Julian Gazzelloni is not your typical 25-year-old. He is an athlete and has run in many races and marathons, all over New England, New York and Iowa. He is also a participant in the Beach to Beacon, where he is considered an elite, one of the top 100 runners. He recently finished running in the Disney World Marathon earlier this month.
A graduate of Windham High School in 2010, he has been a runner since he was little.

His mom, Allison, explains, “Julian is driven. He started running in sixth grade. He started as a sprinter where he did really well. He transitioned to middle or distance running his junior year of high school. Following high school, Julian ran for the University of Southern Maine in both cross country and track and field.”  

Gazzelloni decided to run the half Maine Marathon last year, which is 13.1 miles. The half marathon was easier to run than he had expected. He wanted to test himself and see what an actual marathon felt like. So, he ran the full Maine Marathon and although he struggled with it, came in eighth place.

From there he and his girlfriend, who lives in Florida, decided to run the Disney World Marathon.
In order to prepare for the Disney World marathon, Gazzelloni trained by running between 50 and 60 miles a week. Disney World Marathon is a 26.2-mile run through all four Disney World theme parks and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. As Gazzelloni began running the marathon, he had benchmarks laid out in his head. 

Thanks to his training, he was able to meet all his benchmarks. However, after he hit mile 20, Gazzelloni was hurting, but he powered through and finished with a time of 2 hours 38 minutes and 16 hundredths of a second. Fifth place! He said he felt better finishing the Disney World Marathon, than he did after he finished the Maine Marathon. 

His family is very supportive and they have seen Gazzelloni run in many races. He has his very own cheer section everywhere he runs. His mom says she would watch any race he ran even if it was only to the refrigerator.    

What’s next for him? His Disney World Marathon time qualified him to run in the New York Marathon this year, and the Boston Marathon next year. Gazzelloni plans to run the Philadelphia Marathon in November and then the New York Marathon in March of 2019. In order to train for these marathons, he is working to up his mileage by running 85-90 miles a week. He also trains with marathon pace workouts, as his goal is to get his time below 2 hours and 30 minutes for future marathons.

Gazzelloni was happy about placing fifth in the Disney World Marathon. “I knew I had an outside shot at the top five, but my goal was to finish in the top ten,” he explained. “It felt good to finish top five out of roughly 20,000 runners.”

“Libby’s Ouchie Box Toy Drive” – Helping to fill an ongoing need at Maine Children’s Cancer Program by Elizabeth Richards

Libby with her "Ouchie Box" donations
The “Ouchie Box” at the Maine Children’s Cancer Program (MCCP) is something Libby Rulman looks forward to every time she has an appointment at the facility. But last fall, she went to choose a prize and found the box sadly depleted. That’s when her mother, Sarah Adams Rulman, decided to spread the word.

Libby was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Langerhan Cell Histipcystosis, (LCH) at age 2 ½, and in the two years since has been to MCCP for countless treatments and follow up appointments. She is currently in remission and February 27th will mark one cancer-free year. But that doesn’t mean her journey is over; she still has follow up appointments, including an MRI and full body scan, every three months. And at 4 ½, Sarah said, her attitude has shifted somewhat. “Now that she’s older and she’s been going through this for so long, it’s a little bit harder to get her to cooperate like she did before.”  Libby is more aware of what will happen, which is a lot to endure, Sarah said. 

That’s why the “Ouchie Box” is so important.  

The box at the center is filled with donations of small toys, activity books, and other treasures that children, who visit the facility, get to choose from when their treatment or appointment is over. “It’s pretty awesome because some of those kids are in there all day for chemo treatments, and to have something to look forward to when they are done is really important to them,” Sarah said.

She and Libby had been collecting donations on their own to add to the box, but when they had the experience of finding it nearly empty after an appointment, Sarah decided to try to do something on a larger scale and get the community involved. 

They launched “Libby’s Ouchie Box Toy Drive” and met with great success, collecting five large boxes of toys. “I posted that we were doing it and we’d love help and people just came out of the woodwork. It was great,” Sarah said.

Sarah’s employer, Amigo’s, also got involved, collecting toy and cash donations with raffle prizes as incentives. Chris Rulman’s employer, Nappi Distributors, also participated by making posters to advertise the drive and donating some of the prizes.

With each toy or $5 donation, people received a raffle ticket for a drawing that included a Rossignol
Snowboard, Pabst Blue Ribbon aluminum cooler, and other prizes. Donations were collected until the drawing, which was held on Sunday, December 17.  

In addition to quite a few toys, the drive brought in enough money to purchase fifty-two gas gift cards worth $10 each. These were donated to families that have to travel from a distance to MCCP, which is the only cancer program in Maine. The raffle items were a nice incentive, Sarah said, but she found they weren’t what drove people to donate. “Most people didn’t want to put their name on a ticket. They just wanted to help,” she said.

MCCP is a full medical facility, where children often receive their chemo treatments or see their oncologists.  Until Libby was diagnosed, Sarah said, they didn’t know it existed. “Maine Children’s Cancer Program is just an amazing, amazing place,” Sarah said.  

Although the official drive is complete, the need will not end. Because the Ouchie Box is filled by donations, items are always welcome.  

“They are always looking for help,” Sarah said, including toys, knit hats, or any other comfort item that children or families might need to help them in the difficult time they are going through.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Indoor Beach Party full of fun and prizes by Lorraine Glowczak

Lilly Steel having fun
Although the sub-zero temperatures kept most people home on Saturday evening, January 6, it didn’t prevent the 50 or so individuals who joined in on the fun at the Indoor Beach Party at the Windham Middle School for this year’s Winterfest 2018.
The event, hosted collaboratively by the Windham Parks and Recreation Department and the Windham PTA, consisted of free beach grub as well as enjoyable entertainment provided by Flamin’ Raymin’ and Sizzlin’ Suzzin’.

The evening also consisted of a multitude of giveaways. The following is a list of individuals and the gifts they won from the participating organizations:

2 One-Day Passes to Evo Rock & Fitness
Mary Jane Goodell
2 Tickets to a Windham Center Stage
Theater Production
Heidi (last name not given)
Picnic Basket of Local Gift Cards
Dominic Cataldi
$25 Gift Card to Subway Restaurants
Brian Butler, Hayleigh Moody
$50 Gift Card to Buck’s Naked BBQ
Liza Libby
2 Tickets to a Maine Red Claws game
Ronan Mace
2 One Hour Jump Passes to Get Air
Brock York, Bella (last name not given)
2 Day Passes to
Kahuna Laguna Indoor Water Park
Gavin (last name not given)
2 Day/Night Passes to Shawnee Peak
Matt (last name not given)
$120 towards an exam at
Moore Chiropractic & Wellness Center
Heidi (last name not given)
2 Free Race Passes at
Maine Indoor Karting
Cassie Fleek
Professional Take Home Whitening Kit from
Armstrong Advanced Dental
Megan York
2 Public Skating Punch Cards from
Family Ice Center
Bria Mills
Small Angle Grinder from Lowe’s
Waylon McDonald
$50 Gift Card to Rustler’s Steak House
Brayden Bean
2 Free Admissions to
Happy Wheels Skate Center
Corey McDonald, Lilly Steel,
Abby Patenaude

The evening also included a Winterfest Photo Contest that officially opened on Saturday evening. Entries are accepted through Wednesday, January 31. for the photos: They should be taken from January 2017 until the current day, they must be originals, and they must have been taken in Maine. The Parks and Recreation Department is looking for photos that capture the fun and beauty of winter in Maine, which could include photos of friends and family, children or pets frolicking in the snow, or stunning scenery. There is no fee to enter, and prizes will be awarded to the top photographs as chosen by our judges. Prizes include passes for snow tubing and cross-country skiing, tickets to a WCST production, and other activities that will help families enjoy these winter months.

Information regarding contest guidelines and how to enter can be found on the Parks and Recreation website at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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