Friday, July 31, 2020

Music with a Mission features Kelly Caufield in concert Saturday, Aug. 1

Kelly Caufield will perform
Judy Garland classics virtually
on Saturday, Aug. 1. The live
stream will be available
for 48 hours. SUBMITTED
Singer Kelly Caufield along with pianist Camille Saucier will perform a Judy Garland tribute show at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1 as part of the North Windham Union Church’s Music with a Mission series. 
Best known for her seven previous summer appearances with Broadway and Beyond, Kelly Caufield is a seasoned Maine singer and voice teacher. Thrilled to be back solo this year, she brings you a night of Judy Garland classics from the stage and screen! It will be a free concert (donations encouraged), delivered directly to your living room. 
The concert will be broadcast on YouTube and will be available one-time only on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m.  A link to the concert will be posted to our website and the church’s FaceBook page.  If you can’t join them Saturday night, the stream will be free for 48 hours.
The Music of Judy Garland is a selection of songs from Kelly’s one-woman cabaret that she performed many years ago at dozens of venues while on tour in Maine and New Hampshire. Kelly and her pianist, Camille, will engage the audience with their renditions of the songs that Judy made famous. There will be selections from the movies, the musicals and all the mayhem in between. Sprinkled with anecdotes about the famous performer, Kelly’s passion for this music will shine through and take you on a journey back in time.
The Music with a Mission concert series is sponsored by the North Windham Union Church, which donates a portion of the proceeds to area non-profits.  Now in its eighth season, Music with a Mission has provided more than $69,000 for mission support to the church and other community organizations.  Kelly Caufield will once again support Special Olympics Maine with the community proceeds from this concert.
The concert is free, but donations are gladly accepted with a suggested minimum contribution of $10 per person. Donations may be made before, during or after the concert either on-line at or by mailing a check to Music with a Mission c/o NWUC 723 Roosevelt Trail, Windham, ME 04062.
For more information please call 892-6142 or email

Windham Library’s ‘Calm as a Critter’ Program promotes relaxation, self-awareness in children

Windham Library Children's Room Coordinator
Diana Currier leads a session of 'Calm as a
Critter' for a You Tube segment on July 25.
The program promotes relaxation and self-awareness
for children. COURTESY PHOTO,
By Elizabeth Richards
The Windham Public Library’s Saturday morning Calm as a Critter Program may seem perfect for helping children deal with life during a global pandemic, but it began long before the days of COVID-19.
Children’s Room Coordinator Diana Currier said the program has been offered in the summer every year since 2017. 
The program was designed to give children things to do with their body, hands, mind and breathing to relax and feel good about themselves, she said.
Over time, the audience began to get younger, Currier said, so she modified activities appropriately.  Adults who came with their children were invited to participate, and did so, even asking if there was a similar program for adults.
The program was going to be phased out this summer, Currier said, but had a tie-in that reflected the need people had to be able to handle themselves. 
“Calm is the key word here, of course,” she said.
Though Children’s Librarian Samantha Cote “stepped right up to the plate to do virtual story time,” Currier said she wasn’t entirely comfortable with the platform.
But before summer began, she offered “Good Old-Fashioned Fun with Miss Diana” online on Saturdays at 9 a.m., and they carried that time slot over to Calm as a Critter. Although that’s when videos are posted, since they are pre-recorded, people aren’t limited to watching on Saturday mornings. puts a lot of effort into the information she presents, using books and other resources to design the program each week.  Each episode offers a craft so children can do something with their hands, a breathing activity, and a challenge or “homework.”
In the Fresh Air episode, for instance, she challenged children to try going for an extended period of time without talking, and to watch either a sunrise or a sunset.
She tries to keep episodes to about 15 minutes to hold the attention span of her young audience.  She also plans the order intentionally, such as putting the craft first to keep their hands busy so they can focus better when she is talking. Feedback is appreciated, she said, so she can please the audience.
There was a demand for this type of activity even before the pandemic, Currier said.
Parents often come to the library asking for books to help their children deal with nervousness and anxiety. And the suggestions she offers are things she enjoys, Currier said, adding that she tries the suggestions first to see what works for her before suggesting them to others. 
“I really want to make the world a better place,” Currier said. “I’m trying to do it through these videos somehow, and if people can walk away with a good thing or two, hopefully it’ll pay it forward somehow, someday.”
The Calm as a Critter program will run on Saturday mornings through Aug. 22. 
Past episodes are available and are posted in the Calm as a Critter Playlist on the Windham Library’s Facebook page. <

New town marijuana ordinance is in full swing as deadline for business applications has closed

Shaw Dwight is the owner of Paul's Boutique
in Windham and says he believes the town's
new marijuana ordinance will make it an
extremely competitive licensing process for
the adult use market in Windham.
By Lorraine Glowczak
The approved town ordinance on the sale of Recreational Adult-Use and Medical Marijuana Storefront facilities as well as business and personal marijuana outdoor cultivation that was voted on, approved, and adopted by the Windham Town Council on May 26 officially took effect on Friday, June 26.
The deadline, however, for business applications occurred July 27 and will be forwarded in a month to the Windham Town Council for consideration. A special Windham Town Council meeting will be called on the first or second week of September to review and address the applications.
A four- to five-year process in the making, the Town of Windham has considered this new business and perhaps controversial model for a while. All the while, the town itself has seen retail marijuana storefronts increase to the present number of nine businesses. Some see this as economic development while others view this as a moral or youth-based use issue. Whatever the case may be, the Windham Town Council has diligently considered both perspectives in the past four years.
“Marijuana vendors began to build their businesses in 2016-2017,” said current Town Council Chair, Jarrod Maxfield. “Council members at that time – along with the Windham delegation, toured the facilities that were established. The vendors built their businesses immediately following the vote to approve medical marijuana at a time when there were no state regulations. The 2016-2017 Council chose not to ‘opt out’ of having marijuana business in Windham. As a result, it fell to the current 2020 Council to take a highly unregulated industry and put regulations on it.” the past couple of years, former and current Town Council meetings have had the sell of medical marijuana as a business on their agenda with public comment on both sides of the perspective.
After much consideration and public comment, the current Council considered as many angles on this issue as possible and finally reached the current ordinance which includes the following:
1)      One must be licensed to own a business.
2)      Two recreational, adult-use storefronts are allowed in the town.
3)      Four medical marijuana storefronts are allowed in the town.
4)      No marijuana plant can be grown outdoors. This includes both vendor and personal plant growth.
5)      For businesses, fees to apply for vendor license will be required. The fees are as follows:
Adult Use Marijuana Store - $2,500
Marijuana Cultivation Facility - $1,000
Marijuana Manufacturing Facility - $1,000
Medical Marijuana Registered Caregiver - Cultivation conducted on site - $300 Medical Marijuana Registered Caregiver (Home Occupation) - Cultivation not conducted on site - $150
Medical Marijuana Caregiver Retail Store - $2,500
Marijuana Testing Facility - $1,000
“The fees will go toward substance use education and prevention, but the parameters and specifics have yet to be determined,” said Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts. “The town council will discuss and consider these factors in the near future.”
Town Council Chair Maxfield said that the intention of the ordinance is to limit storefronts to a total of two adult-use and four medical storefronts.
“Currently, there are nine storefronts,” said Maxfield. “These storefronts are grandfathered in.  When a marijuana business decides to close, it will not be replaced. At this point – there will only be a total of six marijuana businesses in Windham – limited to two recreational adult use and four medical marijuana storefronts.”
Two business owners offered their thoughts on the new ordinance put in place.
“As a member of the appointment committee, I helped draft the Town of Windham Marijuana Business Licensing Ordinance,” said Shaw Dwight, the owner of Paul’s Boutique. “I recognize and am grateful for the time and commitment put forth by council members on this subject. Paul's Boutique has been doing business in Windham since 2016, and this ordinance could allow us to expand our offerings at our store on Route 302 into the adult use market. The Town's cap on adult use marijuana stores, however, will make this an extremely competitive licensing process. I agree that the Town should be able to know and control who operates in the Town but do feel there may be a tendency for municipalities to over-regulate cannabis.”
Charles Hawkins, owner of Maine Alternative Caring, shared his thoughts in terms of a Windham resident rather than a property owner.
“I have two major concerns as property owning resident of the town,” Hawkins said. “The impact of this ordinance on Windham residents in terms of personal outdoor marijuana growth is a huge injustice. Whether one is growing for recreational or medical use, an individual is halfway through this season’s harvest as this ordinance is implemented. That is a lot of money invested in plant growth. Not only that, the implementation of this ordinance is a burden on the taxpayer in terms of police and code enforcement. My second major concern is the limitation of marijuana business growth to Enterprise Drive in North Windham. I find that this may be a violation on property owners’ rights as well as possible income for vacant farmland owners. What about other property owners who have the land to offer cultivation, providing a rental income on their property? Why should this be limited to Enterprise Drive?”
Although it is true that both sides of the perspective may not be happy, Maxfield believes the Town Council did their best trying to meet all sides.
“Neither side, for or against, is happy with the ordinance outcome,” Maxfield said. “But for me, this is a positive thing. That indicates to me the Council found a middle of the road answer while regulating and putting some control on the expansion of the marijuana industry in our town while at the same time addressing the concerns of Windham residents who believe we have too many marijuana businesses in a such a small town.” 
For more details about the current ordinance, visit <

Heating assistance program counting on donations to offset loss of annual fundraising gala

Three of the founders of the Windham
Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative
presented the Helpful Neighbor Award
to Dennis Dyer of K & D Countertop
last fall for their outstanding support of
the Windham Neighbors' mission. From
left are Mark Bryant, Dennis Dyer, Gary
Plummer and Bill Diamond.

By Ed Pierce
Since its inception, the Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors Program has made a significant difference in the lives of local residents and intends to keep on doing so despite the loss of its only major fundraising event this year.
The program provides one-time emergency heating fuel assistance to Windham residents and helps to direct individuals in need to find appropriate resources and to promote a culture of neighbors helping neighbors in the community. But COVID-19 restrictions have forced the non-profit organization to forego plans for its annual gala fundraiser held each summer at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.    
“This is an organization that came out of nowhere,” said co-founder Senator Bill Diamond. “We’ve been very successful through the years but are very concerned about the gala being canceled.”
The Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors group was founded in October 2007 by Diamond, Representative Mark Bryant and former Representative Gary Plummer. 
https://www.schoolspring.comIt is a 501c3 non-profit and is made up of Windham volunteers who have come together to provide one-time emergency assistance to those Windham residents who require immediate heating fuel.
Diamond said Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors has no overhead costs whatsoever and that all of its funding goes directly to helping those in desperate need.
“Every penny goes for heating fuel,” Diamond said. “100 percent of what is donated to Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors is used for the purchase of fuel for those who are in dire need.”
He said the organization focuses its resources toward those who may have fallen through the cracks and either don’t qualify or are in a bureaucratic process waiting for assistance from other agencies.
Last winter, heating a house with oil cost an average of $1,700, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Diamond said that the heating assistance can be a lifeline for those struggling to stay warm in winter.
“In many cases, Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors help people heat their homes safely without needing to choose between basic needs like heat, rent, medications and food,” Diamond said.
Recipients who have been helped receive 100 gallons of fuel and their need can be attributed to many different circumstances. Some are elderly and living on fixed incomes, some have lost a job and trying to reestablish their life, and others may just have a temporary situation that requires an immediate solution.  
The program is confidential and harkens back to a time when neighbors banded together to pitch in and help their neighbors when it was needed the most.
The Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors organization will line up deliveries to recipients, and connect    
Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors assists with one-time delivery of fuel. In addition to providing heating oil, assistance also can be given for those with KI and propane systems or through Bio-Bricks for homes uing wood-burning heat.
Diamond said that during the first year of operation for Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a total of 17 families were helped. By 2014, that number grew to 101 families and has since stabilized at about 75 families each winter.
The organization continues to serve the community because of countless donations of labor, hours, ideas and funding through contributions of money and goods from concerned individuals and businesses.
Not conducting the annual summer fundraiser is significant, but Diamond believes that the foundation of Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors lies in the generous spirit of the community.
“We have no administrative costs because those are administered by a fund that was established with a gift of $1,000 that was made to us by the Windham High School Class of 2010,” Diamond said. “And every donation that is made to Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors stays right here in our community to help those who truly need help the most.” 
Diamond said he’s confident that like in years past, the community will rise to the occasion and help the organization fund its worthwhile mission.
“We gratefully accept all donations and are accepting unsolicited donations,” he said. “Everything we collect will go to keeping Windham families stay warm during the coldest months of the year.”
For more information about the Windham Neighbors Helping neighbors Program, to volunteer to help or to make a financial donation, call 207-892-8941 or visit  <

Reuse, recycle: Vintage church windows to adorn Parson Smith House wedding barn

A workman removes an old window from
Windham Hill Chruch which will now be
used for a new wedding barn on the grounds
of the Parson Smith House in Windham.
A total of five of the six windows being
replaced at the church will be reused at the
new wedding barn.
By Ed Pierce
Nothing lasts forever, but everybody benefits when an attempt is made to see the lasting beauty of older items. That’s the premise behind an effort to reuse some old windows being replaced by Windham Hill Church in a contemporary setting.
Last week the church members announced that they were replacing six large old wooden windows with new metal ones with screens. Upon hearing that news, Broker Linda Griffin of Pleasant Hill Properties in Windham launched an initiative to try and salvage the windows.
Griffin said Holly Dickinson and Leith Smith of Windham responded and said they could use them in the wedding barn they are building on the grounds of the Parson Smith House on the River Road in South Windham.
“How exciting and how appropriate as Parson Smith was our second settled minister in Windham,” Griffin said. “He preached at two churches that were started inside the fort in front of his house, so he could walk to work.”
According to Griffin, the Rev. Don and Elaine Dickinson bought the circa-1764 Parson Smith House with a lot of the original acres years ago.  
She said that the third church built locally was called the corner church and was built nearby the Parson Smith House and then the fourth church, the Windham Hill Church, was built about 1839 on the Windham Center Road and is now the oldest existing church in Windham.
“When the state held the archeological dig a few years ago at the top of the hill under the River Road, the head archeologist Leith Smith met the Dickinson’s daughter Holly and the rest is history,” Griffin said.
Two years ago, a Windham home and barn on Route 302 near Highland Lake owned by the grandparents of Windham Historical Society member Linda Lunt was being demolished and Dickinson and Smith hired Ed Sommers, a barn wright from Bridgton, to take the barn down and moved the pieces to a neighbor’s barn on the River Road so they could work on repairs.
The barn is now being moved to the fields beside the Parson Smith House on the River Road. ago there had been two large cattle barns in that spot and the old well with the granite well cap stone is still in place and there is still water in the well, Griffin said.
“Holly and Leith want to create a wedding venue there in this newly rebuilt barn,” she said. “Ed Sommers spent two years repairing and restoring the timbers and work in the new location has begun recently on the sills and flooring. Holly and Leith were pleased to have five of the old windows with the original wavy glass for their wedding barn.”
Smith believes that the six windows from the Windham Hill Church are original as the muntins, or the windows’ glaze bars, have a similar profile to windows in 1839 when that church was built. There is a lot of the original wavy glass still in place.
“Many local people had already spoken for the windows as they wanted the windows for woodworking projects using the wavy glass but when they heard the windows were going to the Parson Smith property they let Holly and Leith have five of them.”
The large old windows also come with large storm windows, Griffin said.
“I did call Marc Bagala who has a business in Westbrook restoring old windows and his office person said he would buy the old wavy glass but had no calls for such large old windows.”
Windham Hill Church now has new metal windows that will not need painting and they also have window screens.
“A huge thank you to Rolf Dries and his crew of Jim Hanscom and Allen Greenacer who helped remove the old windows,” Griffin said. <

Friday, July 24, 2020

Summer recreation program for children still popular in Windham

A total of 115 children are participating in
the Summer Kids' Club recreation program
at three different locations this summer in Windham.
By Elizabeth Richards

Windham Parks and Recreation has continued to offer summer programming even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic through their Summer Kids’ Club and Summer Track programs.

Sarah Davenport, Recreation Coordinator for Windham Parks and Recreation, said the Summer Kids’ Club has a significantly different structure than the summer day camp program of prior years.

In late June, the program opened to students entering first grade through eighth grade.

There are three programs running concurrently, each with a maximum of 40 children.  A total of 115 kids are participating in the Summer Kids’ Club this summer in Windham.

Two of the three programs are housed in separate wings of Windham Middle School, with the third at Windham High School. 

Davenport said the school district has been very helpful in facilitating appropriate spaces, as well as new sanitizing and disinfecting procedures.“It’s been really great to work with them on that,” she said.

Within each program, kids are assigned to a group of 8 to 10 children with two or three counselors that they rotate through activities with and remain with for the entire summer.

“What’s great about that is the relationships that the kids get to build with each other and the counselors are maybe a little bit deeper and more meaningful than if you’re in a group of 50 kids and you’re changing activities all the time,” Davenport said.

Programming includes many traditional camp activities, such as arts and crafts, board games, and plenty of outdoor time. Though summer camp has always included a lot of outside time, Davenport said they’re being even more intentional about that now, incorporating more nature based and outdoors activities.

“Our oldest kids have really enjoyed being in the woods down near the high school cross country trails,” she said. “I’ve heard them talking about building forts, or trying to identify plants, and going on nature hikes and playing nature games in the woods, which is pretty great.”

In previous years, field trips happened twice a week to places like Funtown, the Maine Wildlife Park, and Seacoast Adventure Center.  This summer, field trips were not an option, because many places weren’t open initially, and because of transportation challenges. students going into middle school have begun participating in an outreach program with the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust, going to the Black Brook Preserve to do both community service and educational programs.  This is the second summer that they’ve worked with the Land Trust, Davenport said.

“It’s great to continue that partnership even if it looks a little bit different than it has in the past,” she said.

Though certain aspects of the summer programs cost more this year, such as staffing and providing individual activity bags to children, not having the cost of field trips has balanced things out.

At the beginning of the program, kids were provided with age appropriate activity bags that included playdough and art supplies that are frequently touched and non-consumable. Consumable supplies that are only used once, like plastic lacing for bracelets or paint, are still shared. Once these supplies are removed from the common stock, they are not returned after use.

Davenport said they haven’t experienced major challenges, but they’ve had to become accustomed to the culture shift of what it looks like to provide a fun day for children while following social distancing, masking and other health protocols.  Children are not required to wear face coverings if they maintain six feet of space between themselves and others. She said those who find face coverings a challenge have become good at communicating around maintaining that distance.

Success depends on helping kids and staff understand the importance of why it’s necessary and that “we’re all taking care of each other,” Davenport said. program was provided clear guidance written specifically for day camps and summer recreation programs to help them set up the program, she said.  In addition to social distancing, masking, sanitizing and hygiene practices, drop off and pick up are curbside and all children and staff have temperature checks in the morning and are asked some basic screening questions.

“Parents have been really good about understanding if kids need to stay home because they’re showing some symptoms. They’ve been good about doing that and notifying us,” Davenport said.

The Summer Track program is a five-week, skills-based program this summer, which looks quite a bit different than it has in previous years.  There is no inter-team competition or travel involved this year.

“Kids are having the opportunity to try lots of track and some field events to develop their skills and compete against themselves,” Davenport said.

The program received such positive response that they ended up with two sessions to stay under the 50-person group maximum.

“We feel really fortunate and pleased that we were able to do this. I know that there are communities who, due to various restrictions in the facilities they were using, just weren’t able to offer any kind of a summer rec program,” Davenport said.  “I don’t think we really could have done it without the district being so open and willing to partner with us and without the staff. We have some really great counselors and some really great administrative and leadership staff who are committed to making this happen in a way that’s safe, and healthy, and fun.”

Windham Parks and Recreation is not accepting new registrations for summer programming at this point in the summer. <

HART of Maine provides comfort and care to cats awaiting adoption

Addison is a 3-year-old female domestic cat available for
adoption at the HART Adoption Center & Shelter for cats.
By Elizabeth Richards

Since 1997, the Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART) of Maine has placed about 10,000 cats in adoptive homes, averaging about 500 adoptions per year. 

HART of Maine is a feline only shelter located in Cumberland and Operations Director Andy Hanna said their main goals are to provide medical care and comfort and a healthy place for cats to live temporarily until an adoptive home is found.

The HART of Maine shelter got its start on Long Island, New York, Hanna said. A woman there had taken in about 100 feral cats, and in 1997, she moved all of those cats to a renovated barn in Cumberland and started HART of Maine right down the road from where the current shelter stands.
At that time, the shelter was entirely run by volunteers.  In 2004, those volunteers pulled together resources and funding to build the building located at 302 Range Road, Hanna said. 

The shelter is still primarily run by volunteers, with only two paid staff members, the Operations Director and the Medical Manager. 

Hanna said the shelter takes in cats surrendered by their owners and helps rescue operations both in Maine and out of state whose areas are overpopulated find those cats homes as well. The shelter has space for 85 to 100 cats, and kittens live in foster homes, rather than at the shelter.

“Their immune systems won’t support them living here and exposing them to all of the things that happen in the shelter would be really detrimental,” Hanna said.
At the current time, HART of Maine has 168 cats, with about half in the shelter and the other half in foster homes.

The need for foster homes is currently met, Hanna said, but they are working to create long term medical care foster homes, which would provide a home environment while HART of Maine provided the mediation and medical care.  The hope, Hanna said, is that getting these cats out of the shelter environment will allow their conditions to improve, which will help them become more adoptable.

The biggest need that the shelter has, Hanna said, is monetary donations. Because they do not have town or county contracts, all funding comes from donations from individuals, foundations, or businesses. 

Physical donations are also welcome and there is a link to their Amazon Wish List on their website, where people can purchase needed items for the shelter.

Canned food is always a big need, Hanna said, and donations can also be dropped off on the shelter porch. Details about what they are able to accept during the COVID pandemic are on the website.

Donations they receive that can’t be used in the shelter are passed along to rescue partners in the state who may not have the same outreach capabilities as HART of Maine.
“It’s really nice to be able to give to those folks as well,” Hanna said.
Two other unique ways to support the shelter include their Sponsorship program, where for $15 per month or $150 annually, a person can sponsor a cat at the shelter, and the Cars for Kitties vehicle donation program.  HART of Maine is a 501©3 non-profit corporation, so donations are tax deductible.

The shelter can always use volunteers as well, especially those interested in transporting cats to medical appointments.  Currently, there are a couple of days when cleaners are needed, and some other volunteer administrative tasks, Hanna said.  All volunteer needs can be found on the website.

Those looking to adopt a cat can visit the website to look at available cats and complete the online application.  Currently, adoptions are by appointment only because of social distancing restrictions.

“They have to have an appointment. We will turn folks away if they don’t have one,” Hanna said.

Anyone coming for an adoption appointment should be ready to take a cat home with them, he said.

The fees to adopt are $160 for kittens up to 6 months old; $95 for young adults from 6 months up to 5 years old; $80 for adults ages 5 to 10 years; $50 for seniors ages 10 to 15 and for special needs adults; and a donation for seniors ages 15 years and older. The adoption fee is non-refundable.

According to Hanna, supporting the shelter by following their social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram and helping let others know about them is also appreciated. 

For more information about the HART of Maine shelter and other different ways to help, visit <

Windham resident elected president of Portland Water District Board of Trustees

At the Portland Water District Board of Trustees’ annual meeting this month, Louise Douglas of Windham was elected President and William Lunt was elected Vice President. 

Louise Douglas of Windham
has been elected as president
of the Portland Water District's
Board of Trustees.
Douglas has been a member of the board since 2007 and has served on several committees, most recently as vice president.  She currently works at WEX in the Receivables & Recovery Management Department.

She represents Raymond and Windham on the board.

Lunt has been a member of the board since 1996 and has previously served on various committees as president.  He is a general contractor and is very active in local politics. 

He represents Falmouth and Cumberland on the board.

During the annual meeting, David Kane was re-elected as treasurer, and Donna Katsiaficas was re-elected as clerk.  Carrie Walker was appointed as assistant clerk. 

The Portland Water District is governed by a board of 11 trustees who are elected to represent the 10-member communities. <

Tassel Top to offer more services as part of new Raymond Recreation plan

From left, Tassel Top Snack Shack employees
Eliza Trafford of Windham and Alyssa Howard
of Gray/New Gloucester meet with new Raymond
Recreation Director Joseph Crocker. Discussions
are underway for adding new activities at the
park to possibly include outdoor movies, summer
camp programs for youth, a new gazebo for outdoor
music venues and much more.
By Lorraine Glowczak

There are many hidden gems in the Sebego Lakes Region and one of those treasures can be found in our own community’s back yard. Tassel Top Park and Beach is located in Raymond and situated on 35 acres of Sebago Lake’s east shore off Route 302, across from the Raymond Shopping Center and behind Jordan Bay Veterinary Hospital.

“A stand of mature pines and hardwoods grace the entrance to the park and the park road leads you to a graveled parking lot,” The Town of Raymond website states. “The beach has a secured swimming area marked by buoys; picnic tables, outdoor grills, changing rooms, a Snack Shack with ice cream, charcoal, candy, drinks, snacks, and beach toys….”

And – this list is just the beginning of everything that the state park has to offer. Currently, plans to increase outdoor services at Tassel Top is the focus of the newly established Raymond Recreation Department. Raymond’s first Recreation Director, Joseph Crocker began his position on Feb. 18, and has created his position as well as the newly established department from ground zero under the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been working diligently the past couple of months to create more options and outdoor services here at Tassel Top while at the same time keeping the doors to the beach open while adhering to social distancing requirements,” Crocker said. “We are preparing the park to possibly provide a number of new activities in the next few summers. The discussions include outdoor movies, more variety of hot foods at the Snack Shack, summer camp programs for youth, a new gazebo for outdoor music venues as well as an event space for weddings, family gatherings, etc.”

Tassel Top Park is owned by the State of Maine and operated under a long-term lease by the Town of Raymond.

“Tassel Top was originally a privately owned property that was donated to the state,” Crocker said. 
“Twenty-five years ago, the Town of Raymond entered into a 100-year lease. We are doing are best to prepare for the future while at the same time maintaining the backwoods Maine feel that is well-known of this state and is what brings visitors to this area.” from all over the U.S. have been enjoying the shore-line beauty of Tassel Top for more than 25 years. Tourists and locals alike continue to come in full force and, this year, they are able to do so while keeping safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have measured out the beach front so guests can enjoy Sebago Lake and Tassel Top without having to worry about COVID,” Crocker said. “Unfortunately, we can only allow approximately 45 vehicles in at a time – depending upon the number of individuals in each vehicle. We are operating under a first come, first served basis.”

Another enjoyable feature of Tassel Top is a walking trail, covering about 0.90 of a mile that meanders through acres of Maine woods. The clearly marked trail has points of interest marked by signage and benches for quiet meditation or rest. The trail is maintained by park staff and is handicapped and stroller accessible. This path is for foot traffic only. No bikes or other motorized vehicles are allowed.

To enjoy all that Tassel Top has to offer for this summer, Crocker advises to call ahead for availability at 207-655-4675. 

For more information, visit the Town of Raymond website at:, <

Windham High graduate wins first race at Oxford Plains Speedway

Auto racer Garrett Lamb captured the checkered
flag at Oxford Plains Speedway on July 4,
winning in only his second time competing at
that racetrack. He began his career at age 4 by
racing go-karts at Victory Lane indoor karting
in Portland.
By Ed Pierce

He may have only just graduated last month from high school, but Windham’s Garrett Lamb isn’t letting youth stand in the way of racing success.

In just his second time competing at the Oxford Plains Speedway, Lamb, 18, won in a 12-car 30-lap Street Stock division race on July 4. It’s just another accomplishment for the young racer, who began by racing go-karts at age 4 at Victory Lane indoor karting in Portland.

His win at Oxford came in just his seventh overall career Street Stock race following previous starts at Scarborough's Beech Ridge Motor Speedway's entry-level Thursday Thunder events.

“As a young kid I always looked up to drivers like Dan Mckeage, Trever Sandborn, and Reggie Leeman,” Lamb said. “I have always looked up to the way these drivers have raced and conducted themselves on the racetrack. “I’ve also raced at Richmond Karting Speedway for about five years. My father has been involved in racing his whole life, so I was brought up around it and I have been involved with it for most of my life.” 

Lamb currently is racing in a Street Stock/Wildcat, a 1982 Chevrolet Camaro with a 602-crate motor. He will attend Southern New Hampshire University this fall to study mechanical engineering.

Street stock racing division features a rough and tumble class of production-based race car. It’s the most competitive type of racing because the fewest number of modifications are authorized to be made to the race car and cars can be easily brought up to division racing standards.“My favorite thing about driving a race car is just being able to hang out with my friends and family,” Lamb said. “Our entire race team is just a huge family and it is so awesome to be able to hang out with my friends at the racetrack.”

Lamb said that the most challenging aspect about racing at this stage of his career is his lack of experience in a full-sized car compared to most of the competitors that I he races against.

“I have only been in a full-sized car for three full seasons and this will be my first full season in this type of race car,” he said.

In addition to his two races so far at the Oxford Plains Speedway, Lamb also competed in last year’s Ikey Dorre Memorial race at Speedway 95 in Bangor and finished 11th in the 100-lap race there.

To support his career, Lamb works in the grocery department at Walmart and is sponsored by Dodo’s Hot Rods; Libby’s Septic; Portland Speed; Top Gun Construction; Mad Mikes Custom Detailing; DynaMaxx Training System; B&D Burner Service; ASM Graphics; Chasing The Checkered; East Coast Communication; Jay and Brenda Robinson; 
Lucille Brockman; David and Josh Childs; Black Flag Podcast; Night Owl Creations; Naughty 40 Racing; and Shamrock Farms.

I typically race in the Wildcat division at Beech Ridge on Saturday nights,” Lamb said. “However due to the pandemic, we ventured to Oxford Plains Speedway for a couple races this year and ended up picking up a victory in the street stock division.”

While competing at Beech Ridge, Lamb finished second overall in the points standing during his first season but went back the following year and won two races there and the overall championship.

“It is one of the most special accomplishments in my racing career,” Lamb said. 

The Lamb Family has been involved in racing for most of their lives.
“My dad Scott Lamb maintains all of my cars and is my biggest supporter,” Lamb said. “My mom Amy Lamb is another huge supporter that lets me love my dream out and race.”

He competes for Naughty 40 Racing, a racing team owned by Dan Mckeage.

“I have known Dan as a family friend my entire life and now he’s given me the chance to love my dream and race one of his cars. I cannot thank him enough for every he has done for me and provided for me,” Lamb said. “I can’t thank everybody on Team Naughty enough as well. We are all a huge family and they deserve as much credit for my racing as anybody and that includes Greg Emerson, David Boucher, Chris Robbins, Steve and Missy Taylor, Tim Bennet, Jason and Wade Kennedy, Shawn, Laura and Daniel Mckeage." 

According to Lamb, Dan Mckeage also owns a Super Late Model that Team Naughty has raced all around the Northeast.

“I am the tire guy on his car and my father is the car chief on the car,” Lamb said. “We all work together just about every weekend of the year whether I am racing or not.” 

For Lamb, he said he’s found that the worst aspect of being a race car driver is the ability to keep a clear mind inside of the car while driving. 

After the summer he’ll head off to college, so Lamb’s racing plans for the future are unclear.

“We will continue to race the Wildcat/Street Stock as long as we can until another opportunity presents itself to move up in division,” he said.

And for those seeking to following in his footsteps in a career in racing, Lamb has some simple guidance.

“Some advice that I would give to an upcoming racer would be to stay focused and stay determined,” he said. “With every opportunity that you are presented, you need to take advantage of it immediately because you never know when it might go away.” <