Friday, August 28, 2020

Pre-screening tool can help parents identify COVID-19 symptoms in RSU 14 students

RSU 14 is providing a pre-screening tool in today's
edition of The Windham Eagle newspaper for
parents, guardians and caregivers to review daily
prior to sending children to school. The tool can help identify
symptoms of COVID-19 and assist parents in
determining whether their children are physically
ready to attend school. COURTESY PHOTO
By Ed Pierce
In returning students safely to school this fall, parents will be the cornerstone in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in RSU 14 schools.
In a special insert in today’s edition of The Windham Eagle, a new COVID-19 pre-screening tool for students, is available for parents of children attending RSU 14 schools in Windham and Raymond. The pre-screening tool information was developed specifically by the Maine Center for Disease Control for the Maine Department of Education. pre-screening tool should be used daily and will help families determine whether or not their student is physically ready for school,” said Christopher Howell, RSU 14 Superintendent of Schools. “The implementation of a pre-screening tool is one of the requirements that must be met by school districts in order to open.”
Along with following established social distancing guidelines, frequent handwashing and sanitizing and the vigorous cleaning of surface areas of schools, Maine’s Department or Education recommends use of the pre-screening tool every day prior to a student going to school.
These self-checks should be conducted by parents, guardians and caregivers prior to children boarding school buses or entering a school, Maine DOE officials say. If a student develops symptoms, they must be held out of school and the school must then be notified about the symptoms.
Howell said that the pre-screening tool is simple to use.
“If a family can successfully answer no to every question, the student is ready for school,” he said. “If a student answers yes or has questions about their situation, we encourage families to reach out to the school nurse in each building to determine whether or not a student should attend school.”
Keeping students healthy during the pandemic was at the forefront of a proactive initiative over the summer months made by RSU 14 school nurses. a statement issued this week, RSU 14 school nurses said that they were able to contribute to the development of the state’s COVID-19 pre- screening tool from input made to a sub-committee of school nurses and school physicians.
“The tool was developed to identify any symptom that could be COVID-related and exclude symptomatic students and staff from school in order to minimize risk to others in the school,” said Matt Bell, representing RSU 14 school nurses.
In the statement, RSU 14 nurses ask that parents and guardians complete the COVID 19 pre-screening tool each morning before school.
“This process is easy to use and shouldn’t take long to complete. It consists of taking their temperature and some basic questions you should be asking your child prior to sending them to school. If you answer yes to any of the questions you should keep your child home and contact your primary care physician,” RSU 14 nurses said in the statement.

https://www.schoolspring.comAccording to RSU 14 nurses, by completing the tool prior to placing your child on the bus or bringing them to school, it will help the schools prevent the possible exposure of COVID 19 to other students and staff.
“The process of minimizing the risk and keeping our students and staff safe has multiple components and the COVID 19 pre-screening tool is one of them. With overlapping safety measures such as proper handwashing and sanitizing, social distancing and wearing a proper face covering, our hope is to provide your child with a safe learning environment,” Bell said, representing the RSU 14 nurses. “However, we cannot do this without support from the RSU 14 families.”
In the RSU 14 nurses’ statement, they say that ensuring the identification of symptomatic children on school buses and in the schools will help reduce COVID-19 incidents throughout the district. And completion of the COVID-19 pre-screening tool daily is an essential part of this process.  
Howell said that everyone has a part in keeping each other healthy during the pandemic.

“The use of the pre-screening tool by families helps to deliver an additional layer of protection for everyone at RSU 14,” he said. “The pre-screening tool does not need to be limited to attending school. Students, parents, or community members who exhibit any of the symptoms, have traveled to high risk areas, or been in contact with infected individuals should limit their contact with others in the community.” said the COVID-19 pre-screening tool is being provided in the newspaper as a method to get it into the hands of as many parents, guardians and caregivers as possible prior to the start of school on Sept. 9.   
“If we screen each day and follow all of the safety precautions, we have a better chance of restoring full face-to-face instruction for all students,” Howell said. <

Stockhouse Restaurant & Sandbar Pub to open in Windham

Windham resident Dan Drouin will operate a new sports pub
and restaurant at the site of the former Buck's Naked BBQ
Restaurant which closed in Windham in May. The new
restaurant will employ between 25 and 30 people and Drouin
expects it to be open by October.
By Elizabeth Richards         
The owners of a popular Westbrook restaurant will open a second location in Windham in the fall. Dan Drouin, who operates the Stockhouse Restaurant & Sports Pub in Westbrook, hopes the new location will be open by sometime in October.
Drouin and his wife, Jennifer, will operate the new location under a slightly different name, and with a different slant. Instead of a sports pub theme, Stockhouse Restaurant & Sandbar Pub is intended to highlight its location in the Lakes Region, having a little fun with the theme to create a “lake vibe,” Drouin said.
Stockhouse Restaurant & Sandbar Pub will go into the space formerly occupied by Buck’s Naked BBQ, which closed in late May after indoor dining was delayed in Maine due to the pandemic. Drouin said he is leasing the space, with an agreement to purchase down the road. “It probably wouldn’t be an easy venture right now as a restaurant to purchase a building,” he said.
The new restaurant will employ between 25 and 30 people.  Drouin said that the current permit allows for 130 seats inside, though during COVID restrictions there will be less indoor seating.
“We’ll lose anything I can’t socially distance,” he said, estimating that they would end up with about 75 seats indoors. to Drouin, there are 20 seats outside on the deck and he is also asking for the permit to be extended to the front porch, which would offer approximately 20 additional outdoor seats.
He said if they can get on the agenda for the next Windham Town Council meeting on Sept. 8, they   Either way, he said, the restaurant should be open by Nov. 1.
hope to open early in October. If they have to wait until the meeting on Sept. 22, he said, that will push the opening to later in the fall.
“I can’t think that we would not be open by then,” Drouin said.
Drouin has looked at other locations for a second restaurant in the past few years, he said. He chose the space in Windham because he liked the building and enjoys the community. Drouin lives on the Windham/Standish line off White’s Bridge Road.
 “I looked at the space and immediately my wife and I both felt like that space would fit us,” Drouin said. “Even with what’s going on with the pandemic I think we can get it off the ground and going, and as things get better that will allow the restaurant to grow with us.”
His experience in the Westbrook location makes Drouin confident they can operate safely under the COVID-19 restrictions.
“We’ve learned a lot in the last few months in Westbrook and we’ve been able to maintain a pretty high volume with making sure that we’re doing everything safely,” he said. “I think if you’re consistent, people appreciate the fact that you’re trying to create a safe environment, and we’ll do the same thing in Windham.”
The menu in Windham will be the same broad offerings as they offer in Westbrook, Drouin said, including burgers, wraps, pizza, home cooked specials like shepherds’ pie and turkey dinners, and wings. Because there’s a smoker still at the Windham restaurant, Drouin said that in Windham, once he is comfortable knowing how to smoke wings, he will add those to the wing lineup in Windham.
Drouin said their goal is to provide another family friendly eatery with affordable prices, good food, and a good selection of beer. He said he plans to keep things as consistent as possible, with food and drink specials, and some entertainment if they can do so safely under the current restrictions. <

Alateen hoping to create a group for Windham and Raymond teens

By Lorraine Glowczak
We all may know someone whose alcohol consumption causes disruption in our lives, whether the individual misusing the substance knows it or not. A loving spouse or parent who overconsumes can exhibit harsh personality changes that include, but are not limited to, outburst of anger creating physical and/or emotional abuse and harm.
As a result, some individuals need to talk about how this affects them personally and may yearn for support. These experiences are difficult for everyone but can be especially difficult during teenage years. This is where Alateen can help.
Alateen is a part of the Al-Anon Family Groups, commonly referred to and known as Al-Anon. It is a support group specifically for teenagers whose lives have been affected or disrupted by the alcohol misuse of a family member or any individual close to the teen.
“Alateens share their experience, strength, and hope in order to gain a better understanding of alcoholism and to lessen its effects on their own lives,” the Alateen website said.
Al-Anon member, who is a certified adult-member chair and chaperone of Greater Portland area Alateen groups, Barry Wolach, reignited the teen organization in Southern Maine a little over a year ago. He is looking to invite Windham and Raymond area teens who may need support and/or are interested in gaining knowledge regarding alcoholism and its effects on others around them.
“I realized how much I have gained being a member of Al-Anon and wanted to extend the same benefits to area teenagers,” Wolach said. “Alateen teaches teens how to take care of themselves and not the alcoholic. I wanted to help in some way, so I became certified as an Al-Anon member in Alateen Service to help start Alateen groups across Maine.”
Before the COVID pandemic, Wolach and others initiated Alateen groups at Noble High School in Berwick, Bonny Eagle Middle School in Standish, as well as St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Falmouth.“Since COVID, we have had to go online,” Wolach said. “We took a couple of months off during the summer but the Alateen group will resume meeting via the Zoom online format on Tuesday, Sept. 1.”
This online Alateen group will begin at 7 p.m. every Tuesday beginning Sept. 1. The groups will eventually return to meeting in person once it is safe to do so. Online and in person meetings are safe, private, and only first names are used.
“I want to extend the invitation to any Windham and Raymond teen who may need support – especially during COVID,” Wolach said. “This is the reason why I recently reached out to Laura Morris for her assistance in getting a group started in this area.”
Morris is the Director of Be The Influence, a Windham/Raymond coalition of parents, educators, business owners, government personnel, area clergy and other sectors whose primary focus is on reducing access to and substance youth use in the community. The organization offers fun and engaging activities that emphasizes healthy choices.
“There is a huge need for Alateen services in Windham and Raymond and I was so pleased to connect with Barry and his mission as it aligns with our own objectives,” Morris said. “Be The Influence will help him in any way we can to begin an Alateen group in Windham and Rayond.”
Wolach explained that to have an official Alateen meeting in Maine, there must be two adult certified Al-Anon members who act as chaperones, but he made it clear that teens are in charge.
“The teens run and facilitate their own meetings,” Wolach said. “The chaperones are only there for protection and assist with requests by the teens, when needed.”
Alateen is not a religious program and there are no fees or dues to belong to it. For more information, contact Barry Wolach at or peruse the national website at <

Options for voting available for 2020 election

Windham Deputy Town Clerk Pam Cleaves, left,
and Windham Town Clerk Linda Morrell show
a new secure dropbox for absentee voters
near the front door of the Windham Town Hall.
The dropbox was installed in April as a convenient
way for voters to file their absentee ballots
during the COVID-19 crisis.
By Matt Pascarella
COVID-19 has complicated a lot in 2020. The presidential election is right around the corner and may have some asking “how can I vote in a safe manner, both for myself and so that my vote gets counted?”
There will be no online voting in Windham or Raymond, but there will be in-person voting for Windham and Raymond residents. If you would rather not vote in-person, you can vote absentee in both towns. Windham absentee ballots will be available late September/early October. Raymond absentee ballots will be available the first week of October.
In Windham, if you are not registered to vote you can stop by Windham Town Hall anytime between now and Election Day, Nov. 3.
If you’d like to vote absentee, registered voters can call 892-1900 and their ballots will be mailed to them. Voters can also stop by the Windham Town Hall and fill out an application and take your ballot home or vote in Town Hall once ballots become available.
You can also fill out an online request at There is a ballot drop box outside of Town Hall.
If you like to go to the polls on Election Day, voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Windham High School.
 Voters need to be aware of limitations because of COVID-19. Social distance markers will be in place. They are only allowed to have 50 people in the gym at one time and that includes election workers.“If we have a lot of voters go to the polls, they will have quite a wait,” said Windham Town Clerk Linda Morrell.

In Raymond, if you haven’t registered to vote, you may do so by mail by Oct. 13. You may also register in person anytime right up until Election Day at Raymond Town Hall. 
In person voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Jordan Small Middle School gym. It is requested that masks be worn and there will be signage to maintain social distancing. Raymond will also be following safety guidelines, so if you plan to vote in person, you should also be prepared to wait.

If you would like to vote absentee, you may request a ballot online at, by mail, by phone (655-4742 ext. 124) or in person, at Raymond Town Hall, once ballots become available.
If you have concerns about your ballot not being counted in time, Raymond Town Clerk, Sue Look, said
absentee voters should request their ballots early enough for them to be returned on time.
To eliminate time for delivery, Look said voters can bring their ballots to the town office or drop them in the drop box outside Raymond Town Hall.

In both Windham and Raymond, ballost will be processed through a voting machine as long as it is received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. All ballots are counted by ballot machines. The only ballots that are hand counted are the ones the machine could not read for some reason.
As long as your ballot makes it in by the 8 p.m. deadline, every effort is made to make sure your vote is counted. In both Windham and Raymond, these processes are done by election clerks from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

If you’re interested in volunteering to help during the 2020 Election, in Windham contact Town Clerk Linda Morrell at 892-1900. In Raymond, contact Town Clerk Sue Look at 655-4742 ext. 124. <

Friday, August 21, 2020

Childcare centers adapt to support remote learning days for students

The preschool area at A Joyful Noise
Christian Day Care and Learning Center
in Windham is ready for more students
this fall. Because of RSU 14's decision to
start school next month on a hybrid model
because of COVID-19, local daycare and
childcare centers are trying to adapt
to increasing numbers of students being
enrolled this fall. COURTESY PHOTO
By Elizabeth Richards
Childcare directors have been as eager as families to hear what the plan for school in RSU 14 will look like this fall. Now that a hybrid model has been announced, centers are scrambling to create plans that will best support working families and their school-aged children.
With traditional before- and after-school care programs, space is often shared with other programs while children are at school.  With the hybrid plan in place, local centers will have two different groups of children attending full days on their remote learning days, all children on the third remote day, and children joining them for before and/or after school hours as well.
This means those childcare spaces will be used all day, and the overall number of school-aged children each center can accommodate will typically not increase.
Local childcare directors said the hybrid model has changed their programs in a variety of ways. 
Diane LaPierre, the owner of Creative Kids in Raymond, said the hybrid model will mean groups are not consistent, and staff will both be tutoring and caring for children. 
Brianna Hillock, director at All About Kids in Windham, said their program will be changed drastically.“We were just before and after care before, with an occasional snow day, early release day, and summer camp/school vacations, but now we must accommodate for 10 or more combinations as far as full day care for three days, and then a mix of before and after care on those other two days,” she said.
Connie DiBiase, director of Birchwood Day Nursery School, said that their morning preschool classes had to be moved to the main building since the school age children will be in the other building all day.
Jennifer White, the owner of A Joyful Noise Christian Day Care and Learning Center said that with two different groups of children, they are waiting to see where their numbers end up. 
She said that the RSU 14 superintendent Christopher Howell is trying to work with childcare centers in the district to try and even the numbers out, so one group isn’t very large while the other two days have very low numbers.
According to White, they plan to accommodate the same number of children as they had last year, which will work if it’s balanced.
“It will be a little bit tricky, but we’ve had all summer to be thinking about this and be preparing for it. Even though there’s a lot of unknowns, we’ve had some time to really give this some thought,” White said.
Hillock said it was difficult to get notice of the final plans three weeks before the start of school.
As a director/childcare provider who is a planner, it’s extremely frustrating to me because I felt like I was behind on the plan, and when I had parents approaching me asking about our pricing, plan, etc, I couldn’t give them a straight answer. We felt this was too much of a time crunch to make accurate plans,” she said.
She feels that there has been little guidance from the superintendent, school district, or anyone else for childcare providers. It was frustrating, she said, to receive a call from the bus garage on Aug. 18 letting her know she only had until Friday, Aug. 21 to notify them who would be attending before- and after-care.“How is that remotely possible when we don’t know what parents are committing to what, and some of the parents still have no idea what they’re doing?” she asked.
While hours and number of children remain the same for most centers, additional staff is required to hold full day programs for school-aged children.
DiBiase said they have hired two fulltime staff to be with children on remote learning days. At Creative Kids, the summer school-age teacher will now work fulltime throughout the year. Hillock has also hired more staff for their school-aged building.
 There will be many times when we have to have extra staffing in there for certain parts of the day which is above state ratios for childcare centers,” White said. 
In addition to their usual activities, teachers in school-aged programs will be helping students with their remote learning when possible.
“We will help with their packet of learning and we are thinking we will split that into 30-minute work times and do other activities in between,” DiBiase said. “We are also hoping to create individual workstations so children can do some work outside, especially independent reading.”
LaPierre said she hasn’t developed a concrete plan for helping students with remote learning yet both because things keep changing, and because needs will depend on the individual child. 
A Joyful Noise stayed open throughout the pandemic and developed a model to use for helping with distance learning back in March when schools closed. White said they are continuing with that model and adding to it, since it’s unknown how long remote learning will last. 
“It could be a month, it could be the school year, we have no idea,” she said.
For in-home childcare providers, who have less children and less staff, supporting remote learning can be especially challenging.
Tamara Gallagher, owner of The Growing Tree Childcare and Preschool in Westbrook near the Windham town line said she has two children currently enrolled who will be staying with her part time during remote learning, along with her own three children. 
“We have set blocks of time we are working on to help them,” she said. “What makes it really tough is that it requires extra time and staff, which puts a strain on finances. I have to hire extra help for the school age, so I’m spending a lot more money and not making any more.”
With the very different look of school aged childcare this year, one thing that is essential is for families to be upfront about possible exposure to COVID-19. 
“We want to keep everybody safe, and we can only do that if parents will partner with us in doing that,” White said. <

One in 20,000 find: Third-grader discovers rare botanical five-leaf clover in Raymond

Raymond Elementary student Chase Street
shows a five-leaf clover he found at his home
in Raymond earlier this month. The odds of
finding a five-leaf clover are estimated at
20,000 to 1. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE
By Ed Pierce
If there was ever a time to place a bet in a Powerball drawing offered by the Maine Lottery, now might be it for an 8-year-old Raymond boy and his family.
Chase Street, a third-grader at Raymond Elementary School, beat the odds of 20,000 to 1 a few weeks ago and discovered a five-leaf clover outside his house. His quest to find a four- or five-leaf clover began in June when his mother, Karlie Rouzer, showed him a story in The Windham Eagle about a Windham Public Works driver, Dave Rampino, who found four four-leaf clovers and a five-leaf clover in a patch outside his workplace.
His mother said that Chase is an inquisitive student and is curious about all kinds of things, including clover, which grows naturally throughout Maine.
“Chase is always eager to explore,” Rouzer said. “He likes gardening, hiking and finding things. We went on vacation this summer to Sturdivant Island and he found what looks like a fossil in a rock there.”
For the past few months he’s searched the grounds at his school and in nearby fields to try and find a four-leaf clover, but actually he should have been checking a little closer to home.“It was in the late afternoon on a weekend earlier this month and I was looking in a patch of rocks and well-shaped clover at home,” Chase said. “I jumped over the porch into the patch to talk to my Daddy when I looked down and saw it. At first, I thought it was a four-leaf clover, but it was really a five-leaf clover instead.”
He showed the lucky clover to his mother, his father Chris Street, and his brother, Aiden Street, 12, and they were all thrilled with his extraordinary discovery.
“My mother looked it up and found that the odds of finding a four-leaf clover are about 10,000 to 1 and that the odds of finding a five-leaf clover are about 20,000 to 1,” Chase said. “My brother told me if the odds are 20,000 to 1, then we probably have three five-leaf clovers still out there.”
As Chase wondered what to do with his lucky discovery, his mother posted about his find on Facebook’s Windham Community Board and she was hoping to find someone who could encapsulate the clover as a keepsake for her son.“When no one came forward to do that, we decided to just go ahead with a more traditional method and press it in a book,” Rouzer said.
She said Chase isn’t stopping with finding a lone five-leaf clover and he continues to search everywhere he goes to uncover others.
“He told me ‘Mommy I want to find more’ and I just think it’s really cool that this has fueled his interest in it and it’s grown even more over the summer,” she said.
According to legend passed down over time, the four-leaf clover is an extremely rare variation of the three-leaf clover and is thought to bring good luck to those who find one.
By tradition, each leaf of the four- and five-leaf clovers are thought to be symbolic, standing for faith, hope, love and luck and in the case of the five-leaf clover, wealth. It’s said that St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, used the three leaves of an Irish clover, also known as a shamrock, to explain the separation of God with the Holy Trinity, with one leaf for the Father, another for the Son and and the third for the Holy Spirit.
The Irish also believe that those who discover a five-leaf clover will actually enjoy more luck and financial success than those who find a four-leaf clover because it is much rarer in nature.
Superstition claims lucky clovers are included in the Bible and when Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, Eve took with her a four-leaf clover to remind her of what it was like in paradise.
According to Chase, he mentioned his discovery to several friends from school, but isn’t sure what many of his classmates will think about his find.
“I don’t think they’ll believe me that much,” he said.
Along with looking for four- and five-leaf clovers, Chase says he collects rocks and wants to someday become a geologist or an archeologist.
“I just think finding stuff is cool,” he said.
His advice for others looking for lucky clovers is simple.
“I’d tell them to not give up and keep your head down,” Chase said. <

Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing seeks volunteers for first home project

The mission of the Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing (SBLFCFH) is to make a difference in the communities of Raymond, Standish and Windham by providing safe and adequate housing repairs for those who are aging in place. The newly established non-profit organization had hoped to begin their projects much sooner, but COVID-19 has significantly impacted their timetables.
The good news is, after ironing out COVID safety protocols, the Fuller Center has scheduled their first project for Friday Aug. 28 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a rain date and perhaps a finishing date scheduled for Friday, Sept. 11.
This project is for an elderly couple located in Windham and will include repairing windows and door trim, caulking and repainting and some tree trimming as well as yard cleanup. SBLFCFH has a professional volunteer with window repair experience to guide the Fuller Center and its volunteers.
“It is so important to have people be able to stay safely in their homes and to know that they don’t have to leave at a time that they just want to have the memories and feel comforted by what’s around them,” said Diane Dunton Bruni, President of SBLFCFH. Fuller Center is open to volunteers to help with this first effort and future projects in the making. Any individual can sign up to volunteer and donate any amount of time by helping the organization keep this senior couple (and others in the future) warm during the winter months. The organization is asking for volunteers to work in a timeframe of their choice. To learn more about this project, contact the organization at
The Fuller Center for Housing was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller, who also founded Habitat for Humanity. The Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing, was established in 2019 and includes board members from area founding partners of Windham Hill United Church of Christ, Unity Center for Spiritual Growth, Faith Lutheran Church, North Windham Union Church, Saint Joseph’s College and Raymond Village Community Church.
To help support their housing repair efforts, the Fuller Center will be hosting a virtual bike ride fundraiser to take place from Sept. 12 to Sept. 26.  In deference to the current COVID experience, this means that any time during this period, the riders can complete the 40-mile route around Sebago Lake (which is a beautiful ride in and of itself). All registrants will get a T-shirt and prize drawings will be given after the event.
If you enjoy biking and want to support this work, this is a great way to do it. All the information regarding instructions, pledge forms, completion form, contact information, is available on the website:
Special thanks to following businesses who are sponsoring the virtual bike ride: The Goodlife Market, Gorham Savings Bank, Mulberry Farms, Sebago Technics, Inc., Unity Center for Spiritual Growth and Windham Hill United Church of Christ
“Millard Fuller talked a lot about hope and how hope is essential in life,” Dunton Bruni said. “What we are doing is we are giving hope.”
Be sure to follow the Sebago Lakes Region Fuller for Housing on Facebook and Instagram. <

Friday, August 14, 2020

Horse and Rider Connection launches campaign for permanent facility

Horse and Rider Connection is a nonprofit organization
that offers equine therapy for teens and young adults.
The group had been renting space in Raymond, but is
now launching a capital campaign to work toward
building a permanent home of its own in the Greater
 By Elizabeth Richards
Horse and Rider Connection, a nonprofit organization offering equine therapy to teens and young adults, has moved a few times since its inception a decade ago and its last two locations have been rented sites in Raymond. Now, it is entering a new phase and launching a capital campaign to work toward building a permanent home of its own.
Executive Director Debbie Little said that HARC is still an active nonprofit organization, but they are in a transition phase.
The mission of HARC, according to their website, is “to pair rescue horses with teens and young adults facing life challenges, to help them develop and improve life skills.” 
While the organization has been working with teens for a long time, board member Laurel Salamone said that they’ve also been interested in offering services to recovery centers, veteran’s groups, and other at-risk populations.  However, there wasn’t the space, enough horses, or enough staff to be able to offer programs like that. capital campaign will focus on raising funds to purchase land and build a permanent facility of their own in the Greater Portland Area.
“We want to be able to help more people, and in order to do that we need to be closer to the Greater Portland area,” Salamone said.
She said that they’ve been focused primarily on the Westbrook area, since there is still farmland, and public transportation is available.
Little said they’re looking for something along a bus route, so that when participants have a bad day and just need to get to the barn, they can do so. 
“We’ve seen significant growth in kids, adults and veterans just by letting them come in and hang,” Little said.  Before the pandemic, for instance, she worked with young adults in the MainStay program on a weekly basis. 
MainStay is a program of The Opportunity Alliance that provides residential treatment for young adults ages 18 to 25 experiencing significant mental health symptoms. Working with MainStay helped keep young adults in the program since they looked forward to being with the horses each week, Little said.
Little is currently working out of Fernwood Cove, a camp for girls in Harrison, under the Natural Horsemanship Center umbrella. Her work isn’t just about riding, she said. 
“It’s about relationship with the horse, and understanding the horse, and being able to read the horse and understand what they’re asking as well, so the kids learn life skills through it,” Little said. 
Meanwhile, HARC is working toward their long-term goal while still offering scholarship money to teens who could benefit from a relationship with horses to attend equine programs that the organization works closely with, including Little’s programs.
Little said she wants the community to understand that the organization is not going anywhere.
“I want the community to know that we’ve had great success with kids, and we want to keep going there, so we’re at a transition period,” she said. I don’t want people to think we’ve disappeared.”
Having a facility of their own would allow HARC to expand and operate the way they want.
“Unless you have your own place it’s really hard to run a program the way you really want to do it,” Salamone said., she said, they’d love to have someone gift the organization some land and build not only the barn, but a place for a stable manager and, at some point, space for recovery meetings and therapy sessions to allow participants to process what they learned through working with horses.
“It is a huge undertaking – it’s not going to happen in a year,” Salamone said. “It’s probably going to be at least a five-year plan.”
Salamone knows first-hand how valuable the program is, since her daughter participated in the Maine Mustang Project.
“I know it works.  I’ve seen it. It’s magical,” she said. “People don’t know just how much they can get from a horse.”
HARC will kick off the capital campaign by offering a clinic with author Tim Hayes who wrote the book Riding Home: The Power of Horses to Heal. This is not a riding clinic or a horse show suitable for young children, but a clinic focusing on body language, emotions, attitudes, breakthroughs, and both equine and human coping skills.
HARC is excited to offer this clinic because “what he talks about is what we do,” Salamone said. “We’re hoping to draw mental health professionals, social service people, teachers…anybody who works in a healing industry.”
The clinic will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 29 at Ashland Farm in Falmouth. CEUs for PATH professionals are available for both participating and auditing. 
The cost for the clinic is $250 to participate and $25 to audit.
Visit the news and events page at for more information and to register. <

Maine seeks public's help in checking trees for invasive species

By Ed Pierce
According to state forestry officials, the month of August is the most active time of the year for invasive insects in Maine and a period when adult wood-boring insect life and certain tree diseases can be easily identified.
Representatives of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are asking the public to examine trees in their communities and forests and report any visible invasive pest activity they see. such as the Emerald Ash Borer and Spotted Laternfly have made their way into Maine in the last few years and state forestry officials are striving to limit their damage here. 
"Our first defense against invasive species is to prevent their arrival in the first place," said Maine State Horticulturist Gary Fish. “Our partners at USDA APHIS and Customs and Border Protection here in the U.S. and Canadian Food Inspection Agency north of the border frequently stop plant pests before they can gain a foothold in North America. However, the volume of trade and travel prevents them from stopping every pest.”
Forestry officials say that invasive species are non-native organisms and species that when introduced to a new environment lack natural predators or diseases to keep their populations low. Species are considered invasive when they harm the environment, the economy or human health.
Patty Cormier, a Maine State Forester, said that she recognizes the importance that the public can play in protecting trees across the state from invasive species.
“Trees play an important role in our state economy and provide environmental benefits, including clean air and water and wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities,” Cormier said. “The public, our most important partner in detecting invasive species, is our eyes on the ground. We can avoid tree-loss from invasive species by stopping the spread of these pests.”
While checking trees, state officials urge the public to report finding these four invasive species:
  • The emerald ash borer, a small metallic-green insect which are deadly for ash trees. They leave small one-eighth inch D-shaped  exit holes in ash bark, and deposit a sawdust-like waste for feeding under the bark. The emerald ash borer has been identified in York and Cumberland Counties and in northwestern Aroostook County in Maine.
  • Spotted lanternfly, a colorful planthopper and a hitchhiker that damages grapes, hops, and a wide variety of plants. Adults lay eggs as dull-colored masses and can appear as brightly colored nymphs and adults on plants. Identification is important because while the living spotted lanternfly population dies during the winter, their egg masses of 30 to 50 eggs laid in neat rows remain and survive through the cold to hatch in the spring.
  • Asian longhorn beetles feed on maple trees and other hardwood or broadly leaved trees. The public is asked to examine trees for oval to round wounds on the bark where the Asian longhorn beetle females have chewed out an indentation to deposit their eggs, leaving piles of coarse sawdust at the base of trees.
  • Oak wilt disease is serious fungal disease affecting oak trees by suddenly wilting red oak trees during summer months.
“We’re asking people to take 10 minutes to search the trees in their yards, neighborhoods, and forests,” Cormier said. “If you find a suspected invasive pest, take a picture and send us information at Its quick and easy and will connect you with an expert who can help.”
Cormier said that the photographs should show enough detail that an expert can verify or determine if follow-up is needed.
“It can be helpful to include an object, such as a coin or pencil, for scale,” she said.
If it is an insect, Cormier recommends trying to capture it in case a photograph is not enough for forestry officials.
“Otherwise, make sure you can find the affected tree again if needed,” she said. “Captured insects can be stored in hard containers in a cool place. Most will survive in the refrigerator long enough to receive a response from the department.”
State officials say that there are simple actions that everyone can take to avoid introducing and spreading invasive insects in Maine.
They recommend only purchasing firewood where you’ll be burning it or gathering locally on site when permitted. When transporting or moving firewood, they suggest an inspection to detect invasive insects hiding within log piles.
Another suggestion is when driving to a new area in Maine, carefully inspect bags and boxes to ensure they are free from insects or invasive species.
Fish said that we all have a role to play in preventing invasive species movement in Maine.
“Taking just a few minutes to check the trees in your yard can go a long way to ensuring that the forests and trees we rely on now are here for future generations,” he said. <

Windham TV returns to airwaves and moving to Channel 5

Brad Saucier, program manager for
Windham TV, says that the public
access channel is back on the air
after technical issues and COVID-19
restrictions halted broadcasting
in March. The station will be moving
soon to a permanent location at
Channel 5 on Spectrum cable and
is currently dually broadcast on
Channel 7 and Channel 1303.
 By Ed Pierce
One of the few stations on cable television where Windham residents can find true diversity of opinion, civic engagement, entertainment, children’s programming and spirited community dialogue and discussion is back on the air and looking to become a favorite once again among local viewers.
Windham TV, formerly known as WCCG TV-7, resumed broadcasting in July after being on hiatus since March because of COVID-19 restrictions and technical issues. As the home of long running popular programs such as “Speak Out,” hosted by Representative Patrick Corey, the public access channel had been moved from its traditional site on Channel 7 by Spectrum to Channel 1303 in 2017 but is now being dual-illuminated on Channel 7 while awaiting a permanent move to Channel 5.   
Last year a Maine law was upheld by a federal judge that requires cable television providers to relocate public access channels to their former low-channel positions to make them easier for area viewers to find.
“Our viewers will still be able to find Windham Town Council meetings, Windham Planning Board meetings, RSU 14 meetings and Windham Zoning Board meetings on our broadcasts,” said Brad Saucier, Windham TV program manager. “But want everyone to know that our programming is so much more than merely local meeting coverage.”
Saucier has been working for the public access Windham TV station for the past 18 years and says that the channel’s main programming runs 18 hours each day with a continuously-running Community Bulletin Board filling the overnight hours.
He said at any given time of the day or evening, viewers can tune in to find a cooking show, a children’s program, a spiritual show, a political discussion or a movie.“I always try and change up the formats of our shows,” Saucier said. “We just don’t want our programming to be all about meetings.”
According to Saucier, public meetings filmed by Windham TV cameraman Bill Burwell are aired for on the channel for a week and then replaced by newer coverage.
“We do accept video from private or public submissions,” Saucier said. “We set the programming about a week in advance and it’s challenging to try and incorporate all of the ideas and put them together in a short period of time.
Some programming comes from a website called, which airs a verity of shows from across the world. Saucier uses to add appropriate kids, cooking and other informational shows with broad appeal for local viewers.
“There’s really something new for our viewers to find on Windham TV every week,” he said.
The programming schedule for WCCG-Windham TV is posted on the Town of Windham’s website each week at, Saucier said.
Public access programming is a great way to stay informed about issues that matter to the Windham community, he said.
“Windham TV can inform Windham residents about new initiatives put forward by the town and all of the services it offers to the public,” Saucier said.
The station is currently preparing new Bulletin Board items for broadcasting and Saucier said groups or residents wishing to air community announcements can send those to Windham TV by email at
"I love the changes and our ability to get information and entertainment out to the public,” Saucier said. “Some people may know that it’s available, but we want everyone to be aware that we’re back and we’re way better and so much more than just meeting coverage.”
Saucier said he expects the permanent move of Windham TV to Spectrum Channel 5 to be made by early fall. < 

Windham Raymond Adult Education prepares to offer online classes this fall

Windham Raymond Adult Education will transition to online
classes and online registration because of COVID-19 restrictions.
A digital catalogue of courses offered by the program this fall will
be available for the public at the end of August.
By Ed Pierce
Across America and even right here in Windham and Raymond, a movement is under way for adults to learn new career skills and knowledge and transform their lives, especially as the country struggles in the age of COVID-19.
Through the years, Windham Raymond Adult Education has been a path taken by thousands of adults by providing a range of instructional services to help them develop skills for further educational opportunities, job training, find better employment, and to realize their full potential as productive workers, family members and citizens of the community. As the fall term nears, many Windham Raymond Adult Education classes will be offered online because of COVID-19 but it hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for the program.
“We provide a safe place for students to learn, to get back on their path. We also help them to continue to navigate that journey, helping them to overcome barriers to their persistence with us. All of which helps to assist with their social and emotional well-being,” said Thomas Nash, director of Windham Raymond Adult Education. “Adult education not only contributes to our adult students’ educational attainment, but their employment options, their health and family development.”
Nash said that the program sees its students as the original ‘interrupted education’ population.“Adult education supports parents/caregivers role in their child’s education, helps train essential workers, assists in creating digital literacy and equitable digital access, assists with immigrant integration and ‘poverty reduction’ getting adults of all ages the skills they need for new jobs or moving up the career ladder as the economy shifts,” Nash said.
He said that some students take classes to transition to new careers more relevant in the 21st century, while others are looking to prepare to take the HiSET, the high school equivalency exam. Others have enrolled to better their computer skills, to earn their high school diploma, to complete English as a Second Language classes or for health and recreational purposes.


With a staff of about 75 instructors, Windham Raymond Adult Education was offeri8ngt about 300 different classes each year before the pandemic struck.
Nash said that many of those classes will continue to be offered to adult students except during the pandemic, they are being shifted online.
Along with online classes, registration for fall classes offered by the program will be available only online this fall.
“Our entire catalogue of fall classes will be available online at the end of August,” Nash said. “We will not be mailing out a catalogue this fall. We used to conduct in-person registration, but because of COVID-19, we changed that to strictly online registration.”
Because of the shift to online classes and online registration, Nash said Windham Raymond Adult Education is striving to stay as connected as possible to students without seeing them in person every day.
“Establishing relationships during the day and age of COVID is a challenge,” he said. “Some students preparing for the HiSET may not do as well need away from the classroom and need all the support and encouragement we can offer to them. We are trying to do the best we can given the circumstances related to the pandemic.”
Nash also said many in the community enjoy Windham Raymond Adult Education classes, such as yoga, so it’s disappointing to the staff not to see those people. It takes away opportunities people had, but it is a reality that we have to deal with.”
For many adult students, making the transition to online classes won’t be new.
“We transitioned to online classes in the spring because of the pandemic,” Nash said. “Some classes continued that way this summer.”
According to Nash, the feedback Windham Raymond Adult Education has received about online classes has been mixed.
“Some had reservations at first,” he said. A lot depends upon the level of the course they were taking. But other students were accustomed to learning online and were fine with it. The verdict is still out if many of the fall classes will lend themselves to that format.”
He said that the program is doing all it can to provide the best experience for adult students this fall and believes that this could be a genuine opportunity for some students to continue to explore what courses are available at Windham Raymond Adult Education or through other nearby schools online.
“Some students may find classes elsewhere that we do not offer and discover they are able to sign up for those classes through the remote option.” <