Showing posts with label Jennifer Davis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jennifer Davis. Show all posts

Friday, December 14, 2018

There’s a new face at the Windham Public Library

Sam Cote with a few of her new friends
By Jennifer Davis

There was a big welcome this past Thursday, December 6 at the Windham Public Library (WPL) as staff and residents formally welcomed Sam Cote as the new children’s librarian. With popcorn and cookies, brownies and juice, the conference room was filled with many excited community members. The welcome party was a success and a fun way to introduce Ms. Cote to all the library patrons.
Cote was hired as the children’s librarian this past October, following the retirement of Mrs. Laurel Parker who had been the children’s librarian for 25 years.

Liam and Fiona Shaw, along with their mother Liz, were among many who came to greet and welcome Cote. “It’s great,” five-year-old Liam said of the party as he played with plastic dinosaurs that were on display with pictures from the recent Dinovember event.

Cote, who grew up in Saco and was an avid reader from a very young age, is excited about this opportunity and the staff and community members are looking forward to working together with her at WPL.  Cote joins the library from Winslow, where she was the Youth Services and Technology Librarian.  “I have always loved books,” Ms. Cote said.  “But it didn’t occur to me until college to become a librarian.” 

Cote began her path to becoming a librarian during a work study program at Smith College where she majored in Women’s Studies and Public Policy.  Originally thinking she would work at a nonprofit dealing with issues such as domestic violence and sexual abuse, her time working in the work study program led her in a direction. “I found that my talents work better in the library world,” Cote said.  “So, I completed my Masters of Science degree online through the University of South Carolina while I worked full-time.”

Since graduating Cote has had time working at Baxter Memorial Library in Gorham, McArthur Library in Biddeford, and Jackson Memorial Library in Tenants Harbor in various roles, all leading her to the role she is most passionate about: children’s library services. Cote has many hopes and dreams for the Windham Public Library.  “It’s great to see so many families already using the library on a regular basis,” Cote said. “I look forward to coordinating family programs with our adult services department, as well as groups like Windham Parks and Recreation, Windham’s schools, preschools, daycares, and Be the Influence.” 

This month, the library has two programs taking place during vacation that Cote and the staff have been working on. One event will be aimed towards older kids making snowflakes and slime and the other will be geared towards families, opening an opportunity for younger children to participate in welcoming in the New Year with a “Noon” Year’s Eve celebration. 

Some events that the library is currently working on are programs for fourth through sixth graders such as a Lego Club and crafting session. With her love for music, Cote hopes to bring programs that include dancing and singing to supplement future story time events. “I would love to continue the great work Mrs. Parker did and put my spin on it,” stated Cote. 

The library just wrapped up Dinovember, where plastic dinosaurs caused mischief in the library and are currently working on the Wishing on a Star display.  “I love seeing families work together on filling out their feather or star and having a conversation about their wishes,” said Cote.  “I look forward to getting to know Windham better and making the library an even better place to come and visit.”

Cote got married in September and her husband works for the Maine State Library in Augusta.  Although she does not have any pets currently, she hopes to have cats and dogs in the future.  She has a love for music and dancing and plays the clarinet.

You never know where the path of life will take you, but you always end right where you need to be. If you are interested in meeting Ms. Cote, you can find her most days the library is open in the children’s library section. Stop by to say hello and welcome her to the community. As Dr. Seuss said in the book “Oh the Places You’ll Go. Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away.”

Friday, November 2, 2018

Community celebrates new building for horse rehabilitation at MSSPA

By Jennifer Davis

What began with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, October 26 led to a weekend long celebration at the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA), welcoming guests to the farm to tour their new facility. With lots of hard work and donations throughout the past year, MSSPA was able to construct their new building. Despite the frigid temperatures, visitors flocked to MSSPA to take a look.

The new building, the Lawrence J. Keddy and Marilyn L. Goodreau Equine Rehabilitation Facility, is a $2 million expansion project, that was entitled “Help, Hope, Home”. It features a full-size indoor equine training arena together with a humane education classroom, administrative offices and infrastructure upgrades. “This is a big change for MSSPA as this is the first time the administrative offices are on campus and can be hands on to what is going on day to day,” said Meris Bickford, CEO of MSSPA. “We are all really excited.” The old administrative offices were previously held off campus on Gambo Road. building was named after Keddy and Goodreau, who dedicated their lives to MSSPA, beginning in 1972 when the organization was simply an office on Exchange Street in Portland. At that time, there were no shelters or rehabilitation centers for horses in the state, so Goodreau and Keddy set out to find the perfect location. Through their efforts and dedication, MSSPA’s current location eventually became that safe haven.

The open house offered light refreshments and giveaways as well as items for purchase to support the organization. The refreshments were held in the new building overlooking the indoor arena in the viewing room.  As people mingled, they could watch as the staff took the horses around the arena for their first time. “This is the first time the horses have visited the arena,” said Jeff Greenleaf, Barn Manager.  “The horses may be a little nervous, but this is a great spot to train the horses and prepare them for adoption.”

MSSPA is a non-profit organization that offers refuge and rehabilitation for abused or neglected horses in Maine. The hope is that the horses that arrive on the farm are adopted but some of the horses live out the remainder of the lives at the farm. The horses are cared for by a compassionate staff and a large group of volunteers. As a result, MSSPA are always accepting volunteers. 

“Volunteering at MSSPA is wonderful, said Ev Lennon, volunteer at MSSPA since January 2018.  “It is great way to help out, get exercise and be around beautiful creatures that need our help.”

Visitors this past weekend had the honor of touring the new facility as well as other areas of the property. They also got to visit with the horses currently residing at MSSPA. But if you were unable to make it to the grand opening celebration, do not despair. MSSPA is open daily for tours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  For those interested in volunteering, visit and complete a volunteer registration form. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Couple celebrates 75 years of marriage by Jennifer Davis

Love conquers all. If there is every any question about that statement, one would not have to look farther than our own hometown of Windham, Maine. Ivan and Barbara Perkins, long-time residents of Windham, are a great example of this as they recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary this past July.

Ivan and Barbara met at the Church of the Nazarene in South Portland and were married on July 10, 1943. Their wedding was nothing elaborate, but it didn’t need to be because they were in love. They were married at Barbara’s grandmother’s house in Portland surrounded by a couple of good friends.
Their first wedding anniversary went off as a “hollering success” as Ivan used to say. This is because on July 10, 1944, Barbara and Ivan gave birth to their first son. The couple went on to have four children; two boys and two girls.

Ivan and Barbara were very active in their church and were “stand up Christian people” as Randy Perkins, their grandson, stated, doing everything they could to help others. Perkins recounted one of the many things his grandparents did from a story his grandfather had told him. “Nearly 60 years ago, my grandparents took in two little boys whose father had been killed in an accident and raised them as their own. This was just one example of many of how my grandparents helped others.” their children grew, Ivan opened his first business better known as Ivan’s Motor Sales in South Portland. He and Barbara worked closely together; Ivan working with the cars and Barbara handling the paperwork. The two made a great team and the business thrived. Ivan later opened a second location here in Windham where Binga’s Express now resides. 

The couple moved to Windham and lived behind the business for many years. When Ivan retired in 1984, one of his sons purchased the business. This business was later purchased by Ivan’s grandson, Perkins and is now named Perks Peak Auto Sales. 

Although the name and location has changed, the family values of running a business have remained the same. Perkins operates the business now with his brother, Craig. Perkins’ son is also part of the business. 

Perkins stated the best advice he received from his grandfather when purchasing this business was to be truthful to each other, treat others how you would want to be treated and to do right by people.
So how does a couple make it 75 years? “Keep God first in your marriage,” said Ivan.  “Always be kind to one another. There is enough hurt outside your doors. Always hold up your spouse.” 
Five generations have witnessed a happy marriage

Ivan and Barbara moved to Florida after doing the “snowbird” thing for some years. This past July, Ivan and Barbara’s family rented a motorhome and took a road trip to help celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary. Perkins noted that upon his arrival in Florida, his grandfather met him at the door and said “I knew you’d make it down.  I knew you’d make it.” 

Barbara suffers from dementia, but when she saw her grandson, she had a moment of clarity, calling him by his childhood name and jumped up to give him a hug. 

The party went great and Ivan and Barbara were glowing, Ivan and Barbara are a beautiful example of how love is patient and kind and never failing.
Congratulations to the happy couple!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Raymond Arts Alliance provides an evening of great music among beautiful views by Jennifer Davis

Hacker’s Hill Preserve in Casco is a beautiful location with excellent views of the Lakes Region Area. This past Saturday, July 21 from 4 until 5:30 p.m., Hacker’s Hill came to life as more than 120 members of the community arrived to enjoy the beautiful music from The New England Jazz Band. 

The event was hosted by the Raymond Arts Alliance (RAA) as part of their fundraiser efforts. The event was supported by Loon Echo Land Trust, the environmental organization that manages the preserve.

 The New England Jazz Band performed music from “The Great American Songbook” with a goal of entertaining their audience and reminding those in attendance of America’s great musical heritage. The band is an 18-piece band with a polished sound. “They were fantastic, professional, creative, talented, and very fun,” said Mary-Therese Duffy, President of the RAA. “Everyone enjoyed them tremendously.”  For more information on The New England Jazz Band and to hear their music please visit their website RAA is a program of the Raymond Village Library in partnership with the Raymond Village Community Church U.C.C. The RAA hosts events such as music nights, artists’ gatherings, and workshops to provide an avenue for people to express their talents and interests. All funds raised by this event at Hacker’s Hill will go to support upcoming events in consideration and development such as “The Jazz Poetry Project” with Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl, a “Community Sing”, “Favorite Collections,” as well as a Native American flute maker and storyteller, one or two writers’ groups, a published author who resides in both NYC and Raymond. 

“Our goals also include a monthly fine artists’ group for networking, collaboration and simple enjoyment of learning of each other’s works; a mentoring program where aspiring artists/performers can meet and perhaps shadow a successful artist/performer,”  said Duffy.  “In addition, a scholarship program is available for young students who wish to pursue continued study in the fine or performing arts and humanities.”

With this year’s event being such a success, the goal of the RAA is to have this event again next year. “We hope to continue growing, both in membership and in community participation,” said Duffy. “Our true goal and commitment is for the community to feel that this is their organization and that they can participate at any point and be as creative as they would like to be with it.” If you would like more information or want to participate in the RAA, you may visit their website at

Friday, May 11, 2018

Local Girl Scouts provide a taste of Maine in Afghanistan by Jennifer Davis

The Daisy Troop
Girl Scouts Troop 695 brought smiles to the faces of a few members who are serving in our U.S. Army, stationed in Afghanistan this past month, when the service men and women received two giant boxes full of Girl Scout cookies. 

During the Girl Scout Cookie Campaign, Troop 695 collected boxes of donated cookies to be sent to the soldiers serving our country. 

“The idea was started when one of the girl’s neighbors asked if there was a way to donate cookies to soldiers,” said Nicole Buzzell, Troop Leader for Troop 695. “The mom asked us on our private Facebook page and another mom commented that she was also interested because she has a cousin in Afghanistan now.” 

This interest and idea soon became reality as the girls began collecting their donated boxes of cookies. “Through all of the trainings we’ve taken over the past five years, we understand the importance of the troop being Girl led,” Buzzell said. “This was a great chance to make that happen.”
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Libby

Cookies were not the only donation made. In fact, a donation of $80 was made to be used toward the shipping costs totaling $120, making shipping the cookies much more affordable. The boxes were shipped to Troop 695 member, Paisley’s cousin, Chief Warrant Officer 3 TJ Libby, who is currently serving in Afghanistan.

The cookies arrived in Afghanistan safely and were received by those serving the U.S. The girls were very surprised when they received a video message from Chief Warrant Officer 3 Libby, directly thanking them for their gift. He explained how much these cookies were enjoyed by all of the people currently stationed with him and how the timing was perfect. 

Libby, who works closely with an orphanage in Afghanistan, explained that not only were the girls making some service men and women very happy, but also would be making some children very happy.  “You guys did a lot to help out the kids of Afghanistan,” said Libby in his video to Troop 695. 

Libby planned to keep one box of cookies for his troop and donate the other to the orphanage.  Libby went on to explain that these Girl Scout cookies would be the first ones that some of the children at the orphanage had ever experienced.

When Chief Warrant Officer 3 Libby opened the box full of cookies he found letters that had been included from all of the Girl Scouts in Troop 695. “These cards are my favorite part of this whole package,” said Libby. “You guys rock. You brightened up my day, week, month!  Thank you so much!  Keep doing what you’re doing.”
The video from Chief Warrant Officer 3 Libby was unexpected and made the girls’ day. “It made me really happy,” said Paisley, 6 years old. 

“He’s so far away from us, keeping our country safe, I wanted the cookies to make him happy.” Paisley and the rest of the girls in Troop 695 will be earning a fun patch to wear on their vests recognizing their efforts. 

What started as an idea and a simple question gave soldiers serving our country the taste of home and, at the same time, providing a little something special to those who could also use a surprise of sweetness. One kind act is all that is needed to make the world a better place.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Successful Color Dash Run supports local educational programs by Jennifer Davis morning, April 28, the community gathered for the Windham Primary School’s (WPS) third annual Color Dash. This year’s race welcomed 180 people, where families met and mingled with neighbors and teachers as they anxiously awaited the countdown to the start of the race.  
This year’s race wrapped around the school, through the woods, then meeting back on the WPS playground where participants ended their run by grabbing their packet of color – where about ten minutes later the air was filled with a rainbow of colors.

“Funds are being used to support teacher grants,” stated Michelle Jordan, Windham Primary School’s Volunteer Coordinator.  “This is a new initiative starting this year where teachers can request funds to support programs that help enhance student learning.”  By the turnout that crowded the WPS playground area, it was sure to be a successful event.

Jordan is part of the Principal Advisory Committee that organizes school wide fundraisers and events throughout the year. These events include: Smencils and Smens, scented pencils and pens that help support the technology in the classrooms and Scholastic Book Fairs fundraiser that supports the school library. Historically, a basket raffle along with the Color Dash have raised money for the playground, a new vision screening machine, smartboards, books and field trip scholarships.  

“Thank you to our volunteer coordinator, Michelle Jordan, and the staff and parents that helped make this a fun school community event,” stated Dr. Kyle Rhoads, WPS Principal.  “We are very fortunate to have such a supportive school and local community!”

If you are interested in donating to any of the school programs, donations can be sent directly the
Primary School. To ensure that your donation supports the program that you want, include a note specifying your donation request along with your donation.

Friday, March 2, 2018

RSU#14 leads in an Eggcellence School Menu Program by Jennifer Davis

On February 15, 2018, the Windham-Raymond School District Food Services Program, led by Jeanne Reilly, Director of School Nutrition, was named as the “2018 Eggcellence in School Menu-Innovation” Recipient by the American Egg Board. 
Throughout the country only 34 schools were nominated for this reward. “We were very surprised to win this award,” stated Reilly. “The American Egg Board had been following our presence on social media and the menu innovations that we highlight on our social media channels, led them to nominate us for this award.”
Healthy Foods Fuels Hungry Minds is the mission statement for the Windham-Raymond Schools Nutrition Program and the highly trained staff believes in and values this mission. They exhibit this every day in their daily activities by making sure all students have access to healthy nutritious foods.  

Reilly and her team work to create menus that are interesting with creative names and fun themed events, entertaining facts and delicious recipes, setting them apart from other schools. “We truly believe in social media marketing and we frequently post information and pictures and promotionals about our school meals across 3 social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,” said Reilly. “We are incredibly fortunate to have a chef on staff who works alongside our staff and me - inspiring, training, developing recipes and working with students in the classroom and in after school activities.”

Reilly and her staff serve approximately 1000 breakfasts and 1800 lunches every school day, using approximately 500 or more eggs each week. The eggs are served in various forms including breakfast sandwiches, breakfast pizza, breakfast wraps, scrambled eggs and egg pops from a recent themed event surrounding the Super Bowl. has worked for RSU 14 for the past eight years. Last year, she was awarded the Katherine O. Musgrave Public Service Award for her work. It is very clear that Reilly is very passionate about what she does. “Our goal is to ensure that all children have access to healthy breakfast and lunch,” states Reilly. “We offer parents the extra assurance that the meals are fresh, healthy, whole grain and packed with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.”

“As a school system we are egg-cited to share that Windham-Raymond Schools Nutrition Program is in the recipient of this years “Eggcellence in Menu-Innovation Award,” states Sandy Prince, Superintendent RSU 14. “Thank you to the American Egg Board for recognizing Jeanne Reilly’s leadership efforts with providing creative and nutritious meals to all of our students. Jeanne’s vision strikes again whereby she is brilliant with taking a vision and creating the future of ‘greatness’ with RSU 14 School Nutrition Program.”

Congratulations, Jeanne Reilly, and staff on your hard work.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Eleventh Annual MSSPA Christmas Open House grows in attendance to almost 2500 guests by Jennifer Davis

It was a beautiful day on Saturday, December 1 to welcome in the 11th Annual Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA) Christmas Open House. The free event occurred from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Each year there is always a challenge as so much of this event is outside that the weather can dictate
the attendance,” stated Meris Bickford, CEO of MSSPA. The weather was certainly cooperating this year and that could be seen by the line of cars, filling up the parking lots for the event.

The Christmas Open House has certainly grown and changed over the last 11 years. “During the first show in 2006,” states Bickford. “We had a cracker and cheese platter to offer visitors. This year there are donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate all donated by a local business.” 

In addition to snacks, there were also several family friendly events taking place around the property. Activities included ornament decorating, temporary tattoo station, horse-drawn wagon rides and a raffle featuring many local talents.

“The Christmas Open House is a great opportunity to have people come in and see what’s going on,” states Bickford. 

The beautiful property provides the perfect space for the majestic horses that once had been mistreated. The horses that reside at MSSPA have been seized by Maine law enforcement because they were either abused or neglected.  

MSSPA takes these animals in and nurses them back to health. Some of the horses call MSSPA their
permanent home while for others it is their temporary home before they are adopted. Currently, there are 49 horses that call MSSPA home.

Bickford, who has worked for MSSPA since 2005 said, “I celebrate the work of this animal shelter that I am so very proud to be a part of.” 

If you would like to become a part of MSSPA by making a financial contribution or becoming a volunteer, you may contact them at or by calling 207-892-3040.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Second annual Fall Festival at Windham Primary was a fun family event by Jennifer Davis

Saturday, October 28, Windham Primary School held its second annual Fall Festival from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. which welcomed many members of the community, both young and old.  Michelle Jordan, Volunteer Coordinator, led the event.
This year’s festival featured many activities including: face painting, crafts, a scarecrow contest, pumpkin decorating, selfie booth and a scavenger hunt. The atmosphere was inviting as music from D. J. Dave welcomed all who arrived. “I am so excited for this event,” said Lincoln Davis, first grader at Windham Primary School. “I like the leaf pools the best.”  

People in attendance found activities occurring throughout the school building and the playground. The dunking station was a hit attraction as people gathered to watch Corey McAllister, Primary School Secretary and Dr. Kyle Rhoads, Primary School Principal, get soaked. With every successful hit, laughter could be heard all around from the crowd of people who had gathered.  I get really excited for the event because families are having fun and staff and parents volunteering are having fun, too,” Rhoads said.  “The afternoon flies by!”

Inside the cafeteria, the PTO was set up with a bake sale and free apple cider and popcorn was available for everyone. were also about 10 tables setup to welcome pumpkin decorators that included many pumpkins to choose from, big and small.  Paisley, a kindergartener at Windham Primary, was there with her dad, David and brother Charlie. She did not have much to say, but her smile while she was decorating her pumpkin spoke volumes to the amount of fun she was having at this event.

Windham Public Library was present at the event and there was also a scarecrow contest.  The winner to the scarecrow contest will be announced at the end of this week. 

Outside, attendees could find selfie- boards set up to take pictures that would act as a reminder of the event and the great time that was had by all.  

Neighbors, friends, classmates, and co-workers mingled together creating a strong feeling of community. There were approximately 30 volunteers that came together to make this year’s event possible. year’s festival is already in the works, which is always made possible by the multitude of sponsors who donate time and money. 

We will soon discuss as a committee how to improve the event,” stated Rhoads. “We want it to be bigger and better each year and be a true school community event!”