Friday, February 23, 2018

Principal keeps unique promise by Lorraine Glowczak

Film director and novelist, Neil Jordan, has been quoted as saying, “Never make a promise – you may have to keep it.” Perhaps it is possible that Randy Crockett, Principal at Jordan Small Middle School never heard or considered that statement when he challenged the JSMS students with their school-wide Pennies for Patients fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“Mr. Crockett made the pledge that if our school could fund raise over $500, then he would kiss a cow,” explained Lisa Schadler, JSMS Librarian. “Of course, the kids took him up on that challenge and overachieved!”

It seems over achievement is an understatement. The students raised $1036.84 total and of that amount - Grade 5 collected $550.
Staying true to his word, Crocket honored his promise with a “Kiss the Cow” ceremony on Friday,
February 16 at 12:50 p.m. on the grounds of JSMS just prior to the annual staff/student basketball game. grade student, Finley Sabasteanski and his parents, Kristina and Matt provided the barnyard animal whose name is Daisy. Daisy waited patiently while Crockett kissed her on the forehead as the students observed, laughed and enjoyed watching their principal keep his word.  

The money collected by the students will go towards the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a non-and philanthropy.” 
profit health organization dedicated to finding cures for blood cancers. According to their website, part of their Student Series’ Pennies for Patients program helps raise money to fund research for therapies that save the lives of blood cancer patients. The website states, “by participating in Pennies for Patients, teachers will have new opportunities to incorporate service learning and character building into their curriculum. Students will also learn about service, leadership

LK Kulaw, JSMS Health teacher, was the organizer of this event. Both she and Mr. Crockett were unavailable for interviews due to winter break.

For more information about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Student Series efforts, peruse their website at

A Windham activist remembered by Lorraine Glowczak

Many people whose passion for harmony and goodwill lost a soldier for their cause recently, when peace and human rights activist, Sally A. Breen of Windham, passed away on Wednesday, February 14, at the age of 82 after a bout with cancer. 
Originally from Texas, Breen is remembered by her family, friends and colleagues for her zeal and enthusiastic efforts to create public policy changes regarding the use of nuclear weapons as well as other human rights issues. With her efforts in changing polices, she changed many lives along the way.

“How to begin describing the ways Sally Breen has changed my life?” step-daughter Marcy Landry recalls fondly. “My earliest memories in Portland with Sally were going to protests regarding nuclear weapons. I had never seen anything like it in East Texas. She opened my eyes to gay rights and shunned the Baptist East Texas mentality. The many camping trips in Maine and New Hampshire with Sally changed me into a tom-boy. I started to care less about makeup and more about having fun hiking and camping. As a young child, I was told that every day is a blessing and empathy towards everyone is the way to act.”, it seemed, was Breen’s life force and personal mission. She was involved in many organizations such as Peace Action Maine and Equality Maine as well as an active member in the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist (AAUU) church in Portland. Additionally, she was participated in many issues surrounding clean air and other environmental concerns. “I worked on legislation and policies to strengthen our environment [with Breen],” stated Senator Bill Diamond. “She was the tireless devotee to protecting our environment.”

Her greatest actions in the fight for peace, equality and the environment were found in her protesting endeavors, and she did so - no matter the consequences. She has been arrested many times in many states while protesting; which include both offices of Senator Snow and Senator Collins. However, there is one caveat that makes her stand out from other protesters.

“Sally loved to cook,” began Nancy Knauber, a close friend. “In fact, she would bake cookies and take them to Senator Snow’s and Senator Collins' office when she went there to protest, knowing that she might get arrested. She usually got arrested. Sally got stung a couple of times as a result of her passions, but it never stopped her from doing what she believed was right.”

Knauber, who is also a member of AAUU, stated that Breen cared deeply for the homeless in the community. “She took in people who were homeless and rented a room to them. When I was sick and had no one to care for me, she let me stay at her home for a couple of months.”

Breen’s love and compassion for peace, equality, environment and those who faced challenging times did not end there. She enjoyed writing, often publishing her thought provoking articles for the Lakes Region Weekly. But more importantly, was her love for her family that included not only her step-daughter but her step-son Kyle G. Williams as well as her children Rachel Scholz, Mindy Baldauf and Neal Hogue. Last, but not least is her husband, Keith Williams who remains at their Windham home.

“She showed me how a true and loving marriage can be amazing” Landry stated. “She loved my father very much and he loved her very much. She supported my father’s endless work on water quality for Highland Lake Association and many other lakes around New England. I consider Sally to truly be my second mother.”

Her activism, love, enthusiasm and compassion will always be remembered by all those who knew and came in contact with her. For those of us who did not get to meet her, an opportunity has been missed.

There will be a celebration of life at the AAUU, 524 Allen Avenue in Portland on March 24 at 2 p.m.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Be the Influence youth members represented well in Washington by Elizabeth Richards

Meader and Bradford visit Senator King
Last week, Windham High School students Maggi Bradford and Danielle Meader had an opportunity to hone their leadership skills at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum in Washington DC.
Bradford and Meader attended the conference as youth members of the Be the Influence (BTI) coalition, which is dedicated to reducing youth substance abuse in Windham and Raymond.  Coalition member Doug Daigle, the BTI Youth Advisor at the high school, and Project Director Laura Morris also attended.  

Morris said that the forum is an important way for the coalition to stay current on pertinent issues, such as the opiate crisis and marijuana legalizations. The youth component of the conference offered the students an opportunity to learn about these topics so they can bring the information back to the community. 

This was the first time the coalition has had youth attend the conference. Part of the conference includes meeting with senators and representatives to educate them on how important substance abuse prevention funding is. Morris said having youth present allows these legislators to hear firsthand what the kids are seeing in their own schools and neighborhoods, and how they are making a difference. “The main reason we bring the youth is that they’re a far better voice than any adult could be,” she said. at the conference, the coalition members had an opportunity to talk directly with Senators Susan Collins and Angus King. “We really got a chance to showcase what it is we’re doing in the schools, what we’re doing in the community, and how important it is that they really fight for it,” Morris said.

Meader, a senior who has been involved with the coalition since her freshman year, said “The most important and powerful part of the conference for me was just to learn that there are so many other people that are also trying to help prevent substance abuse.” She added that the opportunity to talk with senators and representatives about the work they do, and hearing that they are supported in their efforts, was powerful. “That felt like we shouldn’t give up on this work that we’re doing because it really is having an effect,” she said.  

The conference brought together youth from all over the country, which allowed them all to learn from each other. Meader and Bradford had a chance to share the exciting things happening in their community, as well as learn what other youth across the nation are doing, Morris said. 

Bradford and Meaderm talk to Senator Collins
“It was really nice to go there because we got the chance to meet a bunch of other youth that had the same passion in their own schools,” Bradford said.  “It was nice to get to meet them and get to know what they are doing in their schools to make a difference. It gave us some ideas on what our next steps could be,” she added.

Bradford, who is a junior, has also been involved with BTI since her freshman year. She said that at the conference she also learned about collaboration and how they can work with other coalitions to benefit everyone.

Morris said that in the community, BTI has been doing a lot of peer-to-peer training, which allows high school students to then take the information to the younger grades. Bradford said she enjoys speaking with younger kids and letting them know that not everybody does drugs.  “It’s like being a role model to the kids, and I enjoy doing that,” she said.  

Bradford said that her favorite part of the conference was hearing other people’s stories, especially a high school student who was very empowering, she said, as he shared what he has done to make a difference.
Meader said the best part of the conference for her was getting to meet others who have some real insight into the issues. “I think that’s what I’m most looking forward to sharing with other people in the community,” she said. She adds that she wants the community to know that the coalition is doing this work and she encourages anyone who hears about their fundraisers and activities to come out and support them.  “We always like to hear that other people are fighting for the same issues as us,” she said.

Morris said that she was very proud of how the two youth represented the coalition. “They were well spoken, they were passionate, they knew what they were talking about, and we were very pleased that they were representing us,” she said.

The Be the Influence Coalition has many ongoing activities at the schools and in the community.  Anyone interested in getting involved with helping to keep our youth off drugs in the community can contact Morris at

Ice fishing with small children by Briana Bizier

Ian Bizier holds a small mouth bass
“Ice fishing with a toddler? You’re crazy!”

It may sound far-fetched, but ice fishing is actually a wonderful activity for small children. What’s more, getting out on the ice is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the lakes region, to spend quality time outside with your children, and to shake a fist at old man winter!

Ian and Sage Bizier
After extensive testing with my two little ice fishing assistants, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks for taking small children onto the ice. Hopefully this will give you the confidence to get outside and enjoy all that Maine has to offer - even in February.

Fishing with small children is not about catching fish. Serious fishing takes commitment. Unfortunately, fish tend to bite first thing in the morning and just as the sun is setting, times when it can be very difficult to convince small children (or their parents) to bundle up and head outside. Serious fishing also requires time and patience, both qualities that can be a challenge if your fishing buddy is a toddler.

When ice fishing with small children, it’s helpful to remember that the purpose of the trip isn’t actually to catch as many fish as possible. Instead, taking a child fishing is an investment in the future. If your two-year-old loves ice fishing now, chances are she will love ice fishing when she’s ten. She might even love it enough to wake up in the dark and set up traps with you by flashlight.

Be safe. Ice has to be four inches thick to safely hold the weight of a person, five to seven inches thick for a snowmobile, and a foot thick to hold a car. 

But how can you tell how thick the ice is on any given lake? Ask around! Local bait shops are happy to share information about ice conditions. You can also check websites like, or you can look for other ice fishing parties. This time of year, you may see ice fishing shacks or even
pickup trucks on a frozen lake. If you see shacks, other fishermen, and especially cars, you can stride across the ice with confidence.

Another safety concern is footing. Conditions on the ice change every day, and sometimes the surface of a frozen lake can be quite slick. YakTraxs or similar cleats help adults keep their footing, while a sled or backpack can help transport kids comfortably across the ice. When my youngest was a baby, we pushed his stroller out onto the ice.

Finally, if you’ve never been on a frozen lake before, you may be surprised to realize ice makes noise. It’s normal for ice to gurgle and, yes, even crack under your feet. 

Let your kids help. To a young child, there aren’t many places as exciting as a bait shop. Why not let your assistant tag along on your pre-fishing errands, or help you to “choose” your bait fish? They will feel more invested in the fishing trip if you let them assist with the preparations, even if their “help” consists of carrying a single water bottle to the car.

Sage Bizier enjoys hot chocolate
Once you’re on the ice, chances are your little fishing buddies will be fascinated by the whole process of drilling holes and setting up traps. When we go ice fishing with our kids, they want to help us do everything. Yes, this did lead to losing a scoop down a hole on the first fishing trip of the year, but it’s also led to a seven-year-old who knows how to use an ice auger and spends the summer talking about how much she misses ice fishing.

Keep them warm. The most expensive outfits in our house are the kid’s snow suits. 

Why spend all that money on something we only use in the winter? Because nothing ruins a fishing trip faster than a cold kiddo!

Before you go ice fishing with small children, make sure you’ve dressed them well. Their bottom layer (and yours, too) should be wool, silk, or polypropylene. Avoid cotton, which gets wet and cold faster than you can say, “Don’t stick your foot in the water!”

Hand and foot warmers are readily available at many stores. Our strategy is usually to put foot warmers in boots before we leave the house, and to open a pair of hand warmers in the parking lot.
If you have an especially curious or fast toddler, it also pays to bring a spare pair of mittens. Even on the coldest day, toddlers have an uncanny knack for getting wet.

Feed them. Fruit, vegetables, and a balanced diet may be the rule at home, but I am hereby giving you permission to feed your small children junk food while ice fishing. We usually bring an assortment of snacks which are easy to eat without taking off your mittens, like lollypops and pretzel rods.

A thermos of hot water and a few packages of instant noodles, as well as a plastic mug and hot chocolate mix, tend to brighten spirits on the ice. For longer ice fishing trips on days when the wind is low and the sun is shining, we light a fire and cook hot dogs. If you’re lucky enough to catch a few pan fish, those make an excellent addition to the picnic! a few extras. When the fishing is slow, a frisbee can go a long way. If the conditions permit, ice skates can be a lot of fun for both kids and adults. And an impromptu adult versus children snowball fight is highly recommended (by the children, at least).

Know when to head in. Even if the fishing is great, when our children start to complain about being cold, we pull up the traps and head for the shore. Why? Because I want my kids to love the winter.
I want them to have fun when they’re outside, and to grow to enjoy Maine just as much in the snow and ice as they do in the middle of August. When my children look back on winter fishing trips with Mom and Dad, I don’t want them to remember being miserable and cold. I want them to remember special food, laughing with their parents . . . and maybe even catching a fish or two!

You don’t have to fish! You may not own any ice fishing gear, or you may not have the slightest interest in ice fishing. Don’t worry - you can still have fun on the ice. With a sled and a backpack, you could have a wonderful, unique picnic on the ice. A frozen lake is also a beautiful place for cross-country skiing, especially during a moonlit evening. Maine’s lakes are breathtaking any time of the year, and our winters are too long to spend indoors.

So, get outside, enjoy nature, and take the kids with you!

Friday, February 9, 2018

WHS students form a band for varsity players and spectators to enjoy by Matt Pascarella

Three students make up the band, Pantomime, that plays during the varsity games at Windham High. Windham High students, Owen Wert (senior) plays guitar and bass, while Tyler Briggs (junior) plays drums, bass and guitar. Jack Twombly (junior at South Portland High School) plays bass and drums.
The band started after Wert had seen a faculty band play at Windham and told Briggs that they should consider starting a band together. Briggs knew a friend he met at church who may be interested in joining in. He contacted Jack Twombly, a South Portland resident, and asked if he wanted to jam. And, just like that - the band was formed. 

They came up with the name, Pantomime, after careful consideration. Twombly explains he and a friend came up with a list of possible band names. They each threw in a name or two, but eventually picked Pantomime. The group waited a while to announce the official name just to make sure it fit. landed the varsity gig because originally they were a pep band, formed from a school band. So Wert and Briggs approached Windham’s athletic director, Rich Drummond, and asked about putting a garage band together. Drummond had seen something similar at Waterboro and said he thought it was a good idea. So, they booked the varsity gig.

Briggs explains that his father, Jim, has a lot to do with picking their songs. The band is eclectic in their listening habits, but Briggs’ dad suggests a lot of older rock music, like Led Zepplin and AC/DC. Considering the advice from his father, Pantomime throws in a variety of tunes to include 90s music like Nirvana as well as more modern artists like Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino.

They are looking to expand and book more gigs. They’ve already been asked to play at Project Graduation 2018 this year. 

“We hope to keep doing this and . . . to write our own music; we’d like to put together some songs and find a way to record and get it out there,” says Briggs. 

Be sure to catch Pantomime at the next varsity game and enjoy local talent in the making. Who knows, you may say, “I knew them when . . .”

Two local students set sail for Cuba during winter break by Lorraine Glowczak

Ellen Clarke in center (wearing pink)
The Katahdin Program, a RSU#14 high school alternative education school, is proud to announce that two students, Owen Shepard, junior, and Ellen Clarke, senior, have been selected to participate in a 12-day sailing trip aboard the Tall Ship, Oliver Hazard Perry, from St. Petersburg, Florida to Cienfuegos, Cuba.

As part of Tall Ships Portland, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to maritime youth education, Shepard and Clarke as well as Katahdin teacher Christine Caputo and Katahdin headmaster, Rich Meserve will set sail with approximately 30 other Maine students on the round-trip educational adventure on Friday, February 16. This hands-on learning experience will provide discovery and study in the areas of leadership, culture, self-reliance, responsibility, team-work and much more.

To help defray some of the costs for the students and educators, the Katahdin Program is hosting a number of fundraising efforts. One such fundraiser, a variety show, will take place this Saturday, February 10 at the Windham Center Stage Theater, 8 School Road in Windham at 7 p.m. The show will include local talent and the cost is on a donation basis.

Originally known as the Real School, the Katahdin Program is based at Camp Hinds in Raymond, and provides alternative education programming for students, grades 9-12, in the RSU #14 Windham/Raymond School District.

Owen Sheard
This alternative program recognizes all variety of learners and focuses in students’ strengths, assets and interests. According to their website, “We believe that every individual is an important part of our learning community, in which our core values of integrity, safety, respect, responsibility, and kindness are central. We strive to foster meaningful relationships among our students and staff, through which we are able to provide individualized, standards-based programming for every student. Our practice is experiential and builds upon the integration of therapeutic adventure, service-learning, restorative practices, and community partnerships into classroom instruction.”

“This program has changed my son’s life,” stated Laurie Shepard, who is the mother of Owen. “He told me recently that the Katahdin Program, and the sailing experience to Cuba specifically, has opened doors to his awareness and interest in possible career opportunities that would not have been known to him otherwise.”, Shepard and Clarke, both participated in a Tall Ship Portland Program this past October. “It was their dedication to the educational experience along with showing high interest in the program that contributed to their selection on this trip,” Laurie Shepard explained.

“This is a remarkable opportunity for local teens to experience an entirely different world on many levels,” said Paul Wolf, Events Director for Tall Ships Portland. “Unplugged from technology, they quickly learn about teamwork, vigilance and harnessing the forces of nature.” 

While learning navigation, meteorology and sail handling, a one-week sailing voyage equates to one semester credit. “This is a great way for these teens to learn outside the classroom,” said Jon Radtke, Assistant Principal at Falmouth High School and Coordinator of the Cuba voyage. “Experiential learning has a profound effect on a student because they learn a lot.”

If you are unable to attend the Variety Show this Saturday and wish to contribute monetary donations to Shepard and Owen’s adventure, please send contributions to The Katahdin Program, 54 Hinds Rd., Raymond, ME 04071 or call (207) 655-6903.

Remember that these students are the ones who hold the future. Sir Andrew Martin is quoted as saying, “Our young people hold the future of the nation in their hands and deserve all the help we are able to give them in their developing years.”

Friday, February 2, 2018

There’s a new robot in town at the Raymond Village Library by Briana Bizier

Sage Bizier has fun testing out her programming skills with Dash
As part of their new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) Programming, the Raymond Village Library recently purchased Dash the Robot. This little robot looks like a pyramid of blue plastic balls with a cheerful bank of lights for a “face” and a vocabulary of electric chirps and trills. It even peeps a wide array of friendly phrases like, “Toodles!”

With the help of a tablet and the computer application called Wonder, children can create computer programs that make Dash the Robot move, wink, blink its lights, and even speak. Wonder is designed to be visual and intuitive, so children can learn the basics of computer programming through hands-on play.

Using the Wonder program on the tablet, visitors to the library can program Dash the Robot to race around the floor, dance and spin, light up and even record messages. The application comes with a tutorial as well as built-in programs; but it is also flexible enough to allow children to create their own routines for Dash. 

Along the way, kids learn problem solving skills, gain familiarity with the basics of computer coding, and explore their creativity. 

And the kids think they’re only playing!

Although Dash the Robot, and the application Wonder, are designed for children ages six and up, personal testing by my three-year-old assistant found that even a toddler can make Dash spin in circles or move backward and forward while saying, “Hello!”
Dash the Robot also received the highest form of praise from my three-year-old tester: A crying meltdown when it was time to leave the library and say goodbye to the robot. I suppose there are still some problems technology can’t solve!

I would imagine even an adult would enjoy playing with Dash . . . if you can manage to pull your
children away from the fun!

Stop by Raymond Village Library during regular business hours on Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday to check out Dash the Robot.

Civil Rights Team begins “No Name Calling Week” with an all school assembly by Lorraine Glowczak

The Civil Rights Team at Jordan-Small Middle School (JSMS) designated the week of January 29 to February 2 as “No Name Calling Week.”

As a way to begin and introduce the program, the team invited Brandon Baldwin, Program Manager of the Civil Rights Team Project headed by the Maine Attorney General’s office, to present an all school assembly on Monday, January 29 at 1 p.m. 

The JSMS Civil Rights Team with Brandon Baldwin
The 45-minute presentation was entitled, “The Power of Words” with a focus on bias-based language.
After a brief introduction by Principal Randy Crockett, Baldwin first explained that bias-based language includes insults that are offensive and include hurtful words and phrases. They also include expressions that demean or exclude people because of age, sex, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, social class or certain physical or mental traits.
Baldwin began his presentation with a personal story to show how words can affect people deeply and why it is inappropriate.

“When I was in the fifth grade, I was growing quickly and had out grown my winter coat,” Baldwin began. “My mom took me shopping and I found the perfect coat. It was a red, puffy, White Stag
brand coat and I loved it. Not only was red my favorite color, but I loved the white stag pendant which hung at the bottom of my zipper. I couldn’t wait for the first cold day so that I could wear it.”

The cold day finally came and he was proud of that red, puffy coat as he stepped onto the bus. But his excitement was soon destroyed. “When I sat down with my older brother’s friends, one of them said to me, ‘That coat is so gay.’”

Baldwin never wore that coat again. Ever. That is how powerful one word or one sentence can affect an individual. “I remember feeling horrible and never wanted to be seen in it again,” Baldwin said of that childhood moment.

As an adult looking back, he shared insights on the many ways a word that gives a sexual orientation to describe an inanimate object was inappropriate then and still is today. 

He continued with his presentation that included a poem by an African American poet, Countee Cullen who is famous for the following poem, entitled, “Incident.”

Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, 'Nigger.'
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.

Baldwin pointed out that in the seven months eight-year-old Cullen visited Baltimore, where he had many experiences, it was that one bias-based insult that he carried with him for the rest of his life. “This is how words can be powerful and damaging,” explained Baldwin.

Baldwin also explained that not only are these insults hurtful and long lasting, but they are against RSU14’s harassment policy.

The students listened quietly throughout the presentation and appeared to absorb the important message that was the week’s focus.

Laura Kulaw, who goes by LK, is the JSMS Civil Rights Team Advisor and Health Teacher stated that the students seemed very happy with the presentation. “They personally approached Brandon after the assembly and thanked him!” she said. 
The Civil Rights Team (CRT), which began as an organization last year, has already created many events to build awareness and education around this important issue.

“The team created a ‘Mix It Up’ at lunch day where students were encouraged to sit with students they didn't know very well and get to know them better,” stated LK. “I gave them suggested topics to talk about such as, if you had one super power what would it be and why, what is your favorite season, favorite sports team, an accomplishment they were proud of, etc. We also highlight Black History Month, Women's History Month and Native American Heritage Month by displaying accomplishments of these groups around the school. Last year we also had a Day of Silence event where students took a vow of silence to represent LGBT students who were silent because of bias related harassment, bullying and stigma. The CRT made rainbow ribbons for their classmates to wear in solidarity.”

The team members, who meet every Wednesday at 2:15 p.m., include Cameron Landry, Stella Feenstra, Addison Starcher, Brianna Streaky, Vanessa Berry, Fiona Harmon, Katei Cockfield and Mackenzie Gervais. Parents are welcomed to join the group or be involved with the team in many ways. If interested, one can contact LK at 

As for the team itself, it is “a group of kind, committed students who really care about making the school a warm, safe and welcoming place for everyone,” began LK. “They are dedicated to highlighting how to make the school community a place they can be proud of! I know without a doubt that I am super proud of them!”