Friday, March 29, 2019

Former Maine firefighter with local ties needs a heart

"Tim is the one that usually will give the shirt off his back for anyone who needs help.” a fellow firefighter stated as he described Tim Smith of Naples, Maine. Now, he needs help.

In 2012, Smith was diagnosed with coronary artery disease. With this diagnosis, he discovered his arteries were narrowing, blocked and or becoming hardened. He ended up with a bypass graft in 2013. Six months later he began coughing up blood, in which they realized part of the bypass graft did not take. He began receiving stents, which is plastic or metal tubing that bypasses the blockage. While the stent had worked for a while, the stents stopped working. Smith’s stents became blocked up and he began to need new stents despite the fact that he was on medications as well as following doctor's orders.

A year after the bypass, doctors had discovered that Smith had built up scar tissue that was surrounding his lungs. His lungs were no longer inflating and deflating properly. Tim received a video assisted thoracic surgery. However, despite the newest surgery, the shortness of breath and chest discomfort continued.
Over the past few years he received seventeen cardiac catherizations and more stents. By November
2018 things began to spiral downhill and Smith began to become more symptomatic. By January he received an angioplasty. By February he had suffered a heart attack. At this point, more stents were out of the option due to the fact there was no more places to work with. Having a heart transplant was the only option since he has also maxed out all the medications available.

Everyone who knows Smith would describe the former firefighter the same way. Smith, 44, is no stranger to serving others and putting others first. In fact, for twenty-two years he had served for the fire service as well as EMS. He began in the fire service in 1992 at the Groveville station and progressed to a captain at the Buxton Fire Department as well as a captain for Naples and the EMS Chief in Sebago.

He was also an instructor for many years throughout Southern Maine. His wife, Shauna, is a paramedic and nurse. Both are accustomed to giving aid and helping others in situations, not receiving it.

Both Tim and Shauna work closely with firefighters in the Windham and Raymond communities. "Tim is a wonderful father, husband, person and fireman,” stated Tony Cataldi from Windham. “He has spent his life being there for others in their time of need and now he needs our help." Firefighter, Gillian Thomas has known Smith and his wife, Shauna, for approximately 20 years. “They have always been dedicated to public safety in some role or another,” Thomas said. “We all cross paths in some way in our jobs, but I was lucky enough to work with both of them a few years ago and still stay in touch on Facebook. A lot of our mutual friends have worked for Tim when he was Chief of Sebago EMS, and with Shauna as a paramedic and RN, so there's a huge family of people gearing up to help them get through this. They have always been there when people need them, so if anyone deserves to be on the receiving end, it's them.” 

That's why on February 5, 2019 it came to a shock that to improve Smith’s quality of life, he would need a heart transplant. A heart transplant was the only way to improve Tim’s condition and still be a father to his two children as well as a husband.

“It really stinks for us to ask for help. We are the ones that are usually assisting others.” Shauna stated.

The Smiths are asking for help due to the fact Tim needs a heart. Transplant centers want to know that the recipient can pay for the organ, in this case the heart, as well as the anti-rejection medications and other medications where insurance seems to have a gap in coverage.

Anyone interested in helping the Smiths can donate via the GoFundMe page called 'Former Firefighter needs a Heart Transplant' or through the bank account that was set up at:  Tim's Transplant Fund, c/o ME Solutions Credit Union, 209b Western Ave., South Portland, ME 04106
For updates and to show your support, you can follow Tim at the Facebook page that was created

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

Monday evening's survey included the choice of a
pool concept design.Submitted photo
By Matt Pascarella

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. Approximately 15-20 people were in attendance. The forum was also made available remotely via Facebook Live.

In the first forum, Linda Brooks, Director of Windham Parks and Recreation, stated that a survey was sent to Windham citizens in 2016 and 2017. The results indicated the want for a community center with intentions and purposes of giving Windham a sense of place that accommodates the needs and activities of all demographics.

The proposed location is the Morrell property located near the rotary and Smith Cemetery at the intersection of Routes 302 and 202. This property is town owned and is currently being evaluated. the second forum, the design firm, Harriman (previously known as Harriman Association), proposed three concept designs: 1) a 20,000 square foot building with two floors that would include all the critical items such as a 2-court gym and indoor track, two locker rooms, pool, lobby and adult fitness area. 2) a “phase” approach which would entail constructing the center in phases. Still 20,000 square feet, it would contain a 2-court gym and indoor track, two locker rooms, a lobby, a 365 square foot kitchen, two multi-purpose rooms, a teen room, a senior room and administrative offices. 3) an all-purpose building: a roughly 60,000 square foot building that would include a three-court gym and indoor track, large pool, small pool, two locker rooms and a 625 square foot kitchen.

All designs would include outdoor space for an athletic field, playground and parking spaces.
In the third forum, Mark Lee and Emily Innes, both of Harriman, revealed Windham residents selected the third concept design, the all-purpose building by a vast majority. Concept design number three would include: a three-court gym and indoor track, 2 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. presented Monday night’s attendees with three pool designs. A competition style pool, with six lanes, ideal for swim meets and practices; a family pool, which has more of a wide-open swim area with a ramp for entry; and a hybrid pool which has a competition section on one side and a wide-open swim area on the other.

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.

At this point in the process, Harriman’s responsibility is to take the input from the final forum and present it to the building committee, deciding if the program elements desired by the community have been captured in concept design number three. If so, Harriman will do a final concept design to get a more concrete sense of the area of the building and what the construction budget will be. A study will be written based on the concept design and that study will be given to the building committee and eventually presented to the town council.“I think there’s a tremendous amount of excitement towards this project,” added Pat Moody, Chair of the Windham Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. “The data is clear. There is overwhelming support for concept number three. I think the next phase is figuring out what the cost will be, the revenue generating opportunities, how we can fund it and make it a reality.”

Council member, Jarod Maxfield is behind the community center effort. “I think it’s a great idea to explore and I’m definitely behind it,” he stated. “I need to know more about the revenue and costs and how we’re going to make money, but to be good for the town and the residents and especially with our aging population and all the families moving to town, it’s a needed resource.”
Lee projected the rough cost of this facility would be between $36.2 million and $39.8 million, with a projected timeline of 3-5 years from concept to construction.

For more information about each concept design and to vote on the pool concept design of your choice, contact the Windham Parks and Recreation Department at (207) 892-1905 or or visit

Friday, March 22, 2019

Theater provides confidence and team building for students at Jordan-Small Middle School

By Elizabeth Richards

On the last weekend in March, students at Jordan-Small Middle School (JSMS) will present the lively musical, “Jungle Book Kids.”

The show, adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories, tells the story of Mowgli, an
abandoned baby raised by wolves deep in the jungle. Banished by tiger Shere Khan, Mowgli is guided towards a village by Bagheera, a panther. But the trip doesn’t always go smoothly, and Mowgli is reluctant to leave his jungle home. He meets a varied cast of friends and foes on his journey, which climaxes with a giant jungle battle.

Deb Doherty, the director of the show, has been a drama teacher in Southern Maine for over 30 years. She was the program and summer stock theater director at Point Sebago Resort for 20 years, and when she retired, she returned to educational theatre., she said, is the most amazing confidence builder, and not just on stage. “It’s handling situations, thinking quickly, it’s being able to work as a team,” she said. “Theatre brings a community together, it brings a cast together. Everybody has equal footing,” she said. And that includes not only cast members on stage, but technical crew, stage crew, and anyone else involved.

Student cast members said that the show gives them an opportunity to meet new people and get involved. Eighth-grader Elijah Strom, who plays Akela and Colonel Hathi, said he started doing shows when he was very young, encouraged by Doherty. “I loved it. It was very fun,” he said of that first experience. “I am happy to see her again, to do another show with her and learn some more,” Strom added.

Noah Mains, a seventh-grader, plays Shere Khan. He has been involved in theater at JSMS for three years. He enjoys doing plays because, “It gives me something to do instead of sitting at home doing nothing,” he said.

Sixth grader Noah Campbell agrees. Campbell plays Baloo in the show, and this is his second year doing theater. “It gives me something to do after school, other than sit home and play video games and watch TV,” he said. He really enjoys performing for an audience, he added, and though he was nervous about his first show last year, this year he isn’t feeling nervous, he said.

Leila Laszok, a fifth-grader, is playing the role of Mowgli, and this is her first show ever, she said. She’s excited to finally be able to participate, something she has looked forward to since elementary school, she said. Playing a major role feels good, but is also scary, she said. “I like meeting new friends in here,” she added.

Meeting new friends from the whole range of grades is one benefit of participating, the cast members said. “When you’re in school, normally fifth-graders don’t talk to eight-graders,” Campbell said. Now, he added, kids from a range of grade levels can have real conversations with each other.
Laszok said that being involved in drama gives her something to look forward to at school. Mains agreed. “It’s definitely my favorite part of the school day,” he said. cast members said they have a lot of fun together, and they are excited about the costumes this year. They agreed that dancing and memorizing lines are among the most challenging aspects of doing a show. Learning to improvise is important, they all said. Strom said he learned this important skill from Doherty. “Even if I mess up, I’m still going to keep it going, and just have fun with it,” he said.

“Jungle Book Kids” will be presented on Friday, March 29th at 7 p.m., and Saturday, March 30th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m at Jordan-Small Middle School. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Doctor leads an evolution in occupational therapy and community leadership

Dr. Kate Loukas
Matt Pascarella

Dr. Kathryn Loukas has been a Windham resident for 29 years and heavily involved in the community programs like Youth Soccer, Riding to the Top, and Windham/Raymond Performing Arts. She has also been helping others since she started in occupation therapy (OT) in the Windham School system in 1993.

Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dr. Loukas loved the outdoors and had worked for the Outward Bound School in Colorado. She had had the opportunity to work for the Outdoor Education Center for the Handicapped and she described it as life changing. She worked with five young men who had spinal cord injuries and were skiers. She knew from that moment, she wanted to work with people who had grit and determination and were finding joy in life on a different level. 

When she graduated with her degree in occupational therapy in 1985, Dr. Loukas and her husband moved to Maine, eventually working for the Windham School system.

“I had an epiphany. I had been working mostly with adults, and when my oldest son went to kindergarten, I saw this really fun room [in the Primary School] where the occupational therapist was helping children access education and I wanted to be a part of that community.” The occupational therapist at the time retired the next week and Dr. Loukas was hired shortly after that.

She worked in Windham Schools for seven years and during that time, also taught courses at the University of New England (UNE). She had always liked teaching and promoting her profession but enjoyed working in the schools.

 In 1998, she split her time between Raymond (working at Jordan-Small Middle School and Raymond Elementary School) and teaching at UNE. Dr. Loukas eventually transitioned to only working at the university.
Dr. Loukas got her doctorate in Occupational Therapy in 2010 from Creighton University online in Nebraska.

In 2013, Dr. Loukas had the opportunity to go to Tangier, Morocco where UNE was building a campus. She observed the cultural differences in occupations (eating, dressing, bathing, education) and the need for occupational therapy. Recently, she was able to teach an interprofessional course with occupational and physical therapy students.  As part of the course the students visited service sites, including an orphanage and a school for children with developmental disabilities. “UNE hosted the first ever OT conference in Morocco,” stated Dr. Loukas. “[This] was really exciting to participate in the evolution of a profession in a developing country. We could see the need and role and were able to facilitate the infancy of the occupational therapy profession at the service sites. The teaching was bringing occupational therapy to Morocco.”

In 2016, Dr. Loukas and physical therapy professor, Dr. Eileen Ricci and several others at UNE helped to develop the Maine Leadership Education for children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) provides high-quality interprofessional education and practice training programs that are funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau in 52 sites across the country.  Dr. Loukas serves as the Training Director as LEND develops interprofessional teams that include family members, students, social workers, speech and language pathologists. LEND also includes self-advocates as trainees working to improve the health and community participation of infants, children, and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

“The idea is that we are creating future interprofessional leaders. I work directly with students, early career practitioners, self-advocates, and family members to build leadership and create programs in the state; it has been a culminating experience for my career to be part of the LEND program,” stated Dr. Loukas. “It is really exciting, as it is experiential teaching where I can spend more time with individual trainees, helping them develop their leadership skills as we work with children and families.  The LEND program also seeks to influence policy to support the rights of people with disabilities through our legislative process on the state and national levels. It is important work and I am honored to be a part of it.”
Dr. Loukas lives with her husband, Kane, and has two sons, two daughters-in-law, a granddaughter, and a grandchild on the way. She loves the outdoors and has a camp in Millinocket where she hikes, kayaks, and skis.

On a personal note, Dr. Loukas was my OT early on and I have continued working with her through the years. I am very grateful for her patience and dedication to her profession (and with me). She is someone who cares deeply about what she does and has her client’s/student’s best interest at heart.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Students experience potential and kinetic energy through sledding

Owen Gaulrapp 
By Lorraine Glowczak

The snow-covered hill near the football field and Windham Primary School was packed with eighth grade and second grade students having fun sledding on Friday afternoon, March 8. No, it was not recess. They were studying chemistry.

Windham Middle School’s eight grade team of Ohana Explorers led by teachers, Pamela Mallard, Lisa Hodge, Erika DuPont and Tricia Sabine, were given an unusual homework assignment – to build a sled from materials at home. They were given four weeks to make their creations, factoring in the concepts of potential and kinetic energy. Specifically, they were assigned to, “develop a model to describe objects interacting at a distance and the different amounts of potential energy that are stored,” Mallard said. This was the curriculum standard to which was learned and developed.

Briefly, chemists divide energy into two classes. potential energy is where the energy is stored while kinetic energy is the energy found in a moving object. The faster the object can travel, the more kinetic energy it has. “Students needed to be able to describe what the potential energy of the sled was and where it converted to kinetic,” explained Mallard. “The student also needed to identify the role of friction in stopping their sled.”

https://www.egcu.orgStudents were asked to determine the relationship between the amount of energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass and the change in kinetic energy. They also explored how adding a person to the sled, which increased the mass, would change the amount of acceleration of the object.

“Students did an on-line program through Gizmo (an interactive learning site) called Sled Wars,” explained Mallard. “This gave them information to ponder while constructing their sleds. Sleds were built at home and the students could have the help of a parent. I encouraged the home connection
among family members.”

If a student didn’t have materials of their own, Mallard offered materials from the school and they could stay to work on them after class.

The second-grade students who participated in this middle school science project are part of a mentorship program. “We have been mentoring Mrs. Brianna Butts second graders once a month since the beginning of the year,” stated Mallard. “This allows the eighth-grade students to take on a leadership role and make connection with their younger friends. It is something we will continue to do for the remainder of the year.” student, Abby Thornton stated that the project was a fun and engaging activity. “I never realized the true potential of sledding. It shares a global meaning of fun and allowed us to see how velocity, acceleration, speed, and other components contribute to real life.” 

Lucas Spencer, another eighth-grade student, stated it was a great learning adventure he experienced with both family and friends. “This school project allowed for me to really make a home connection,” Spencer said. “I am lucky that my little brother is on the buddy team at the primary school. We have been brothers and buddies all year. We designed and constructed the sled with the help of my Dad
and my uncle.” 

The next mentorship program event will consist of the eighth-grade students hosting a Grandparent Day in May for both groups. “This allows us to make a generation connection with our buddies,” Mallard explained.

Retired Navy Seal with local roots strives to build strong communities

General Dempsey awarding Mike Wisecup his second
 Bronze Star at the Pentagon in 2011
By Elizabeth Richards

After a twenty-year career as a Navy Seal, Mike Wisecup has settled in Maine hoping to find an opportunity to use the lessons he has learned to build strong communities.

Though his mother’s family has lived in Windham for generations, Wisecup was not born or raised in the area. His family moved a lot due to his father’s job, but they vacationed in the area, and his parents settled in Windham in their retirement, becoming active members of the community.
Moving a lot as a child set the perfect stage for a career in the military, Wisecup said, since he didn’t feel like there was one place he belonged to. “I was comfortable with the idea of the adventure, of something different,” he said.

margebarker173@gmail.comThough his father and uncles had been drafted and served in times of war, Wisecup said no one was pushing him to join the military, and in fact when he first attempted to get into the Air Force Academy, he found himself woefully unqualified. He’d done little to no research on the process, he said. “I just wanted to fly. I thought that would be cool,” he said.

After that interview, his eyes were opened, Wisecup said. He attended a Division 3 college, joined social organizations, did a lot of volunteering, and worked diligently to keep his grades up. The following year, he reapplied and won a spot at the Naval Academy.

Wisecup’s first encounter with Seals happened in between his freshman and sophomore years at the Academy. “I had never met better people in my life. They were kind, they were focused, they were fit, they were inclusive,” he said. “I liked their qualities, I liked their ethics, I liked their character, and I decided then that I wanted to be around people like that.”

That’s when he set out on the rigorous path to becoming a Seal himself. With great focus and determination, he was able to secure one of fifteen positions for Seal training when he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1998. Though over 140 people began that training with Wisecup, under 20 graduated. “It’s no joke that it is one of the hardest military training programs in the world. People go there and they want to be Seals, they’re prepared physically, they’re trained – and they still quit,” he said.

Mike Wisecup on board an LCAC with the USS Nassau
in the background on the coast of Djibouti in 2002
Mental strength and the ability to deal with failure repeatedly are important in making it through Seal training, Wisecup said. “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.

In 2007, Wisecup was selected as an Olmstead Scholar, a program that immerses military officers into another culture while they earn a master’s degree. He and his wife spent two years in Mumbai, India, an important growing experience for him as a person, Wisecup said. sheer number of people, the pollution, being treated differently as a minority, and the disparity between classes were all challenges Wisecup had never faced before. He said they saw both the best of humanity and the worst, every single day. “It really makes you question who you are as a person,” he said.

That questioning remained when he returned, he said. It changed the way he lives now, prompting him to question why things are done a certain way, to challenge assumptions, and to look at all sides of an issue to gain new perspective.

Other notable experiences in Wisecup’s career include acting as the personal aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and helping to develop policies to counter ISIS, as well as other counterterrorism policies, that required coordination with many agencies.

With wife, Emily
Near the end of his military career, Wisecup was selected for command. This two-year job is like being the CEO of a small business, Wisecup said. His command with a Seal team of approximately 500 people required him to oversee all resources, finances, training, and personnel. He was also responsible for culture and discipline, a complex task that involved people from a wide range of backgrounds, including the vast network of support people required to carry out successful missions.

“Being in command where you have the leverage to integrate all those capabilities together is really rewarding,” Wisecup said. “I loved it. I am now in constant search of opportunity similar in scope.”
Wisecup finished his command in 2017, volunteering for one last deployment in Iraq, where the Iraqis were now getting to a point where they could defend themselves. It was satisfying to see the years of hard work pay off, he said, to know that the Iraqis knew how to handle themselves. That deployment ended in June of 2018, and Wisecup retired in August 2018 after 20 years of commissioned service.

Ready to settle somewhere and become part of a community, Wisecup and his wife came to Maine, where they are currently renting in Portland. He has a fellowship at Colby College through May, putting the leadership skills he’s gained to use in ways that both benefit the college and help demonstrate what veterans have to offer. is currently waiting to hear from Harvard, where he hopes to attend a one-year program in Public Administration. Even if accepted, he will stay in Maine, he said. “The education will be valuable, but I want to be here. I still want this to be my home,” he said.

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

Thursday, March 7, 2019

“Taking Back Maine’s Future”: Ending the opiate crisis

A panel of experts speak to the students
By Craig Bailey

On Tuesday, March 5, Windham Middle School’s seventh graders participated in an assembly kicking off the project, Taking Back Maine’s Future: Ending the Opiate Crisis. This second annual program was hosted by Be The Influence, whose Mission is to promote community collaboration and positive choices in reducing youth substance use.

The assembly featured Janet Mills’ newly appointed substance misuse expert Gordon Smith as well as a panel of experts from law enforcement and prevention including: Kevin Schofield, Windham’s Chief of Police; Jonathan Sahrbeck, Cumberland County District Attorney; Bridget Rauscher, City of Portland Public Health; Bill Andrew, Windham Police Patrol Captain; John Kooistra, Windham’s Deputy Fire Chief; Nicole Raye-Ellis, Project Coordinator for Be the Influence. grade teacher Doug Elder kicked off the assembly sharing an overview that this project-based learning is developed to look into issues that are most impactful to the students. “We decided to take a look at Maine’s opiate crisis, viewing students as community members who can make an impact,” Elder began.  “We’ll educate together with Be The Influence, law enforcement, the medical field and state government. This is not only about information, but also transformation of our community.”

Be The Influence’s highly enthusiastic Executive Director, Laura Morris, offered a few opiate-related questions to students who eagerly provided their responses, which confirmed some basic understanding of opiates.

Gordon Smith reinforced how thrilled the Governor is with the school’s choice of this project and how honored he is to help launch it.

Smith stated, “The opioid crisis is about addictions. Finding out why people abuse substances.” He then asked, “Why are we educating about this at the seventh grade level?” to which he provided the answer, “Because that is the age people often begin abusing substances. It is important to educate now as you have your whole life ahead of you. You have the opportunity to help the State of Maine stop the biggest public health crisis of our time.”

Smith shared statistics to help the audience appreciate the magnitude of the problem, indicating that in Maine, “in 2017, 417 people died of an overdose. That’s more than one per day. Last year, 2018, numbers were lower due to the use of Narcan.” He further explained that Narcan is used for the reversal of opioid overdose.
Another statistic shared was, “of the 13,000 annual births in Maine, during 2018, the mother of 908 babies was an addict. Not only do we need to help the mother, we must also help the babies recover from addiction.”

A final, staggering, statistic shared by Smith was the number of people who died of an overdose last year in the USA: 72,000. Smith stated, “that means that in the time I’ve been standing here, at least 2 people have died of an overdose.”

Each of the panel members shared highly impactful perspectives. Schofield indicated, “Last year, in Windham, we saved over 30 people from an overdose, with Narcan.”

Sahrbeck offered a profound perspective by asking, “Is there anything in life you love?” to which students responded with: family, friends, pets. Sahrbeck then shared, “What if something could alter your brain to cause you to focus on (love) something else? That is what opioids do. They rewire your brain, changing your priorities, leading you down a path you didn’t realize you’d go.”

One of the most impactful perspectives was shared by Raye-Ellis, an addict in recovery for eight years, stating, “I was in your shoes. My school never covered anything on addiction. If they had done something like this, I could have seen a visual of what the path of addiction looks like.” A round of applause ensued.

In closing, Elder spoke directly to the students, “If you’ve ever asked, when will they start treating me like an adult? Well, it is right now. Simple answers to this problem will not work. We are going to talk through tough questions. There will be some difficult conversations. This will call for you to invest your time, energy and imagination. This issue is going to come for you whether you are ready or not. We want to make you ready.”

Queuing up the project, Elder relays, “The student’s job involves traveling through time via research and evaluation of current data and statistics, bringing newspapers back from the future: some from the bright promising future where Maine has defeated the epidemic - others from the dark and dangerous future.”

The assembly closed with the admonition, “What we do today and in the coming years to solve the opioid crisis; to help addicts, to find new solutions, legally, socially, and personally, will determine Maine’s future.”

Local Contractor appears on DIY Network Show “Maine Cabin Masters”

The O''Shea Builders team
By Elizabeth Richards

Local contractor O’Shea Builders, LLC recently appeared on season three of the DIY Network’s Maine Cabin Masters, in episode 10 titled “The Twister Camp.”

While the face time in this episode was brief, according to owner Warren O’Shea, it was a great experience for all involved. The opportunity arose when the company that was scheduled to install the outdoor kitchen area cancelled. O’Shea said he received a call on a Tuesday from the producer of the show, and his crew was there on Thursday putting it all together.

This isn’t the first time O’Shea has participated in a nationally televised home improvement show.  The first one, he said, was a three-month commitment for HGTV’s Vacation House for Free (Season 1, episode 10 “Cottage on the Lake”).  The second was an episode of Restaurant Impossible on the Food Network at Uncle Andy’s Restaurant in South Portland. 

This experience, like the others, wasn’t about making money. Nor was it about marketing or publicity. “They’re just fun,” O’Shea said. “You’re not expecting to make any money, or really bank on any kind of real publicity or marketing,” he added.  But being able to list this type of thing as an accomplishment can be satisfying. “It’s really just a plaque on the wall, and when people are looking through remodeling contractors, anything that makes you stand out from the others is good,” O’Shea said.

O’Shea said his employees were excited this time, since they hadn’t had the opportunity to participate in a show before.  It’s a nice thing to tell the grandkids, friends and neighbors about, he said.

As with the other shows O’Shea has appeared on, the work and filming was a whirlwind of activity. His experience on the other two shows helped him anticipate camera angles and get good shots, he said. In the end, you never know how much of the footage you appear in will be used, and this time, “if you blink, you’ll miss us,” O’Shea said. Even so, the experience was a lot of fun, he said.
The camera crew and cast of Maine Cabin Master’s were easy to talk to and great to work with, O’Shea said. “What you see is what you get with the show,” he said. “They are very down to earth, very creative with their solutions and designing. You can’t help but have a really good time when you’re with those types of people.”

Maine Cabin Masters focuses on camps in scenic areas that have an interesting back story.  The episode O’Shea Builders appears on centered around a camp on Moose Pond that was destroyed by the unusual tornado in Maine last summer. The episode first aired on February 18, 2019. A schedule of upcoming air dates can be found at’Shea Builders LLC, in business since 2014, does only remodeling.  The company has 50 five-star reviews on Houzz®, an online platform for home renovation and design. In January, the company was awarded its sixth straight “Best of Customer Service” award on the site.

O’Shea is also a certified home inspector, Kohler manufacturing certified installer, and has received a Citizen Award from the Portland Police Department. He is an advisory board member for the Portland Arts and Tech School carpentry program and has been featured on local news and radio programs. O’Shea Builders can be contacted at 207-838-1370 or

Friday, March 1, 2019

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

By Lorraine Glowczak

It was a party on ice as approximately 40 people visited one another, ate warm beans and hot dogs while enjoying 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 Maine Veterans' Homes in South Paris 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 is 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.

Tanguay also stated that the project was conceived last summer when he and “Vets on the Water” Organizer, Tim Hoffman, were fishing the Kennebec. “Tim mentioned that he had three sheds that could be easily converted to Ice Sheds and wanted to place one this coming winter in the Lake Regions of Sebago for use by disabled vets,” Tanguay said. “So, I brought the idea to the Sebago Lake Anglers Association (SLAA). The shed, which Tim donated, was delivered in December to Naples, reconfigured with a wider door and an eight-foot ramp to accept a wheel chair as well as the instillation of a stove and a 14 ft Flag pole to fly the colors.” also organizes a similar program during the summer in the Rockland area. “Vets on the Water” works in collaboration with the marine and fishing industry along with the boating public to provide water activities for veterans. Hoffman wanted to continue this concept for veterans, giving them, especially disabled veterans, an opportunity to ice fish without having to care for an ice shack and the work it takes to get it on ice.

Along with Tanguay and Hoffman; Bob Chapin, President of the SLAA and Dan Smart SLAA member were present for the open house. “I’d like to thank them for all the dedication to bring this program together,” Tanguay said. “Both Bob and Dan have joined the Field-Allen Post Windham, so our future collaboration in all things fishing will be easier.”

Although the ice shack, placed on Long Lake in mid-January, had a slow start with visitors, Tanguay stated that the shed is now in full swing, hosting area veterans and more. “It has supported small vet groups, youth groups from Camp Sunshine, as well as groups from VAST.” 

Tanguay also stated that during the open house, more interest in using the shed has developed. “The VAST coordinator stopped by. She has a group coming on March 7th and is looking to possibly get one more session after that. Also, a vet showed up midafternoon and made arrangements to use the shed with his family the next day.” 

Although no fish were caught during the open house, the purpose of the event was successful, catching the spirit of its mission.

For veterans who wish to use the “Veterans on the Ice” shed, contact; Bob Chapin at 517-217-1700 or 207-655-1028 or Dan Smart at 207-329-7269.

Firefighter takes the plunge for your safety

By Lorraine Glowczak

Windham Firefighter and Paramedic, Tony Cataldi, was among 21 instructor candidates to become a certified Ice Rescue Instructor at the 20th annual International Ice Rescue Instructor Academy with classroom training held in South Portland and hands-on instruction at Wassamki Springs Campground in Scarborough.

Tony Cataldi
Cataldi, who has been a certified ice rescue technician for the past 10 years, spent four days from Thursday, February 21 to Sunday, February 24 with other instructor candidates representing fire departments from New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Canada. In those four days, which often lasted late into the evening, the students worked in the classroom practicing their teaching skills and spent time outdoors to perform practical skills on the ice. They used everything from specialized equipment to real life circumstances such as using inanimate objects as unconscious victims.

“We also participated in a mock emergency call that occurred at night,” explained Cataldi. “We received the call that a snowmobile with two people and a dog were missing on the lake.” Cataldi further explained how the firefighters worked together to search for the victims. “We walked out on the frozen water together in a 600-foot line with all of us attached to a rope. The scene was set up for us and we looked for footprints and snowmobile tracks. We found the victims on the back side of an island.” stated that the most important thing they learned is that no ice is safe ice. Other important factors realized and advocated for include:

1. You need at least 5” of new, clear, hard ice before venturing out.  And, just because the ice is 5” at one section, it doesn’t mean it is not compromised elsewhere.
2. Consider wearing a float coat or a lifejacket if going out onto the ice in deep water.
3. Carry a pealess plastic whistle to alert others in the event of an emergency.
4. Also carry ice picks which can be used in the event you fall through to pick your way out of the
water and back onto solid ice.
5. Keep dogs and pets off the ice and under control.  Many incidents are triggered by an animal going through the ice and the humans then put their own lives at risk in an effort to save them.
6. And, in the event of an emergency, CALL 911, and only attempt to rescue someone from the safety of the shore by reaching, extending, or throwing something to the victim.

When it comes to rescuing a victim, Cataldi stated that the rescuer’s safety must come first. “If we become a part of the problem, we must rescue ourselves; otherwise, we will be of no use to the victim.”

The training program Cataldi attended, Lifesaving Resources, meets and exceeds NFPA (National
The Instructor Training program included hands-on experiences
Fire Protection Association) 1670 and 1006 Standards for Technical Rescue. To date, the program has trained over 400 water or ice rescue instructors from throughout the U.S. and Canada and Cataldi is now one of them. He will already begin instructing other firefighters and paramedics this week.

Cataldi will not only teach in Maine but is also certified to teach in other areas of the country.

Of all the important things Cataldi learned, perhaps the way the instructor candidates worked together meant the most. “We worked very well together,” he stated, referring to the mock rescue scene as part of their program. “It proves that different municipalities can work together when needed.”

Cataldi also had this to say about becoming a certified Ice Rescue Instructor. “Windham takes pride in keeping up to date for the latest techniques for rescue in order to provide the best service for Windham and surrounding communities.”

Congratulations, Tony Cataldi. The communities thank you.