Showing posts with label Lakes Region. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lakes Region. Show all posts

Friday, April 26, 2024

Community continues to grapple with aftermath from nor’easter

By Kendra Raymond

Even though winter has officially passed, area property owners are still dealing with the repercussions of several extreme weather events that ravaged the area. Both the late December windstorm and the surprise late-winter nor’easter on April 4 inflicted damage on many parts of the Windham/Raymond area and knocked out power for more than 48 hours.

Storm clean-up is continuing at Sebago Lake State Park. The
damage left by the April 4 nor'easter is extreme and clean-up
efforts are slow but steady across the Lakes Region.
While some ambitious homeowners are brave enough to tackle property cleanup on their own, others are unable to safely restore their site to pre-storm conditions. A lot of locals are finding a sense of community, sharing, and assistance through various social media outlets.

Raymond resident Bruce Small recently visited Sebago Lake State Park and was astounded by the damage he saw.

“The lake is very high with lots of erosion from the winter and spring storms,” Small said in a social media post. “The last big snowstorm devastated the area. There are trees and big limbs down everywhere! It’s really sad! It’s going to take an enormous amount of work to clean things up!”

Other property owners report more branches down than normal and are looking for recommendations for arborists or other landscape professionals to hire. Community members are coming together to share resources and support.

In another social media post Heather Fontaine-Doyle, a Raymond resident, said that her yard looked downright apocalyptic.

“The road in has a bunch of broken and bent trees and limbs down as well,” she said. “Still contemplating having someone come in for a spring cleanup since it was already a mess before the last storm, but at least we have the big limbs in piles now.”

Both Windham and Raymond Public Works Departments are working to remove tree limbs and other debris posing hazards to motorists, but the damage to private property across the area is beyond the scope of their duties.

Do I need a permit?

It is always best to check with the Code Enforcement Officer in your town if there is a question about permits. In general, anything considered “storm cleanup” is fine to remove, especially for safety reasons. An arborist can be a great resource since they are licensed and trained in the proper rules in your community. If they are performing work on your property, an arborist will obtain all necessary permits.

Small steps make progress

While it can seem daunting to face your post-storm yard damage, it is important not to become overwhelmed or attempt too much at once. Some broken trees can be quite dangerous to deal with and are best left to a professional with the proper training and equipment. For smaller jobs, a “brush clean up party” where everyone lends a hand could be helpful, then reward everyone with some burgers on the grill afterward? Another method may be to inquire with the local schools to see if students may be looking for volunteer hours.

Disposal options

For those brave souls ambitious enough to dig in and tackle the mess, there are a few great options right in the area. It would be helpful to have a pickup truck or trailer to move the debris off-site. Trailers can be rented on a daily or weekly basis.

The Town of Windham opens its leaf and brush disposal area twice a year in the spring and fall for a limited period. Its website asks that leaves be kept separate from the brush and disposed of in the appropriate areas as the posted signs indicate. If you transport your leaves in bags, please remove them from the bags and take the bags with you upon leaving. Brush being disposed there can be no larger than 12 inches in diameter.

The Windham Bush Disposal Site is located at the end of Enterprise Drive, off Route 302 in North Windham. It will close at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 12 and not reopen again until the fall.

The Casco/Naples Bulky Waste and Transfer Station is available to residents of Casco and Naples with a sticker. It is available to non-residents to pay with cash. Brush up to 6 inches is accepted and the cost depends on weight. The Transfer Station is located at 425 Leach Hill Road in Casco. Hours are from 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Businesses that process mulch can also be another worthwhile option to consider as home and property owners search for disposal options. This “green” solution helps the environment and puts that pesky brush to good use. <

Friday, October 21, 2022

Migratory birds exiting region for winter habitats

By Abby Wilson

In the last month, you may have noticed birds moving in groups or all together disappearing from the Lakes Region landscape.

Many migratory birds such as the Tree Swallow are
leaving the Lakes Region and Southern Maine this month
and headed south for the winter months. Many species
of migratory birds will return to Maine in the spring.
We all know what causes this. Migration is an annual event, surprising none of us each year. Animals all over the world move from one place to another to find better food or breeding resources. Many birds are exiting New England to seek favorable winter habitats. For some, this means heading south, toward warmer climates, windy offshore zones in open ocean waters are just the place that calls home.

Maine, and especially the Sebago Lake Region, is a spectacular place to view such migrations and many people spend hours searching for migrating birds in the sky, coastal habitat, and stopover sites (places where birds rest during tiresome migration). This is often a time to see birds that don’t live in Maine but that pass through from winter to summer habitats and vice versa.

“The songbirds we see migrating through Maine right now are coming down from the boreal forests to our north and will move into the southern United States, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and some even to South America,” says Brad Woodward of Scarborough, an avid birder. “These birds are ultimately looking for better food sources since they have learned over generations that food can be scarce during North American winters.

He also says that the shorebirds on our coast are making astonishing journeys from their breeding grounds on the tundra above the Arctic Circle to wintering grounds as far as the tip of South America.

Some birds migrate thousands of miles each year. The animal with the longest migration in the world is the Arctic Tern which travels from pole to pole (Greenland to Antarctica) several times during its lifetime.

And birds need stopover sites to refuel during the journey.

According to Woodward, Maine is a vital stop for [birds] to feed and rest along the way.

“We will see them all in the spring in a more urgent movement north, needing to get to their breeding grounds in time to find mates, establish territories, nest and raise babies, all in the short summer season in the north before cold approaches and it's time to begin the cycle all over again,” he said.

In southern Maine in mid-October, one might see several songbirds including Gray Catbirds, Northern

Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadees, White-throated Sparrows, and Blue Jays. These birds are typically seen hopping among the understory or flitting from branch to branch in the canopies. Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers are often running up the trunks of trees and haphazardly pecking bark in search of insects. Train your eyes to search the skies as well, and you will notice other birds such as Crows, Canada Geese, and many birds of prey.

Many trained birders identify perhaps more than half of birds by ear, rather than by sight. It takes a lot of practice to notice that each call is distinguishable. Many people can identify the “cheeseburger” mating call of a chickadee, but it takes real skill to know that the Red-tailed hawk territory call coming from the canopy is actually a bluffing Blue Jay.

It is also important to remember that birds are not the only ones making a racket. Frogs, crickets, and chipmunks, all make noise for similar ways. Chipmunks alert others of an intruder, while insects and amphibians send out mating calls.

While walking along a woods trail, birders’ eyes and ears are keen to pick up characteristics that can help them separate one species from another. More often than not an avid birder can recognize an individual with confidence, but sometimes a birder can be taken aback by a rare species.

Some of us remember the Great Black Hawk that appeared in Maine a few years ago and eventually finalized its journey in Portland. Or perhaps the most recent spotting of a Eurasian species, the Stellar’s Sea Eagle, rings a bell. These two individuals are similar in that they are not native to the Eastern U.S. These birds are called vagrants and they appear far outside of their normal breeding, migrating, and feeding ranges for what is often a totally unknown reason.

Vagrants and native migrators visit stopover sites such as waterways, marshes, fields, and even backyards. It is important to keep these areas clean, clear, and safe. If you have a field near your house, or a water source, your property may be a stopover site. Make sure your large windows are not a collision risk by using reflective stickers and decals. If you have a house cat, keep it indoors. Birds face many perils during migration, and we can minimize some of these hazards and make their journey easier. <

Friday, September 30, 2022

Advance preparation crucial should storms strike Lakes Region

By Ed Pierce

If history is any indication, Mainers must be on guard and prepared in case a devastating storm should strike here. The hurricane season runs through Nov. 30 and forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year, making it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration image 
shows Hurriucane Fiona off the coast of Maine on Friday,
Sept. 23. With this being the busiest time of the year for
hurricanes, Maine officials are urging residents to be
vigilant and to have a plan in case a storm comes this way.
Maine typically doesn't see many hurricanes, but in 2011 Hurricane Irene, which by then had been downgraded to a tropical storm, resulted in a disaster declaration for the state. In 2020, Hurricane Isaias blasted through Maine and the Sebago Lake Region was one of the locations hardest hit with trees knocked down, power outages and six moored boats being beached in estimated 45 mph winds produced by the storm. Last week Hurricane Fiona passed by the Maine coast and struck Canada as a tropical storm, affecting Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and New Brunswick, as well as in parts of Quebec.

The state does have emergency plans in place should a hurricane move through Maine causing significant damage. The Maine Emergency Management Agency was created to be used to ease the effects of natural disasters on the lives and property of the people of the Pine Tree State by supporting four phases of emergency management assistance including mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency, funds 16 different county emergency management agencies to lead local disaster responses and ensures that the Maine Emergency Operations Center in Augusta is staffed year-round weekdays and a duty officer is on call 24-7 for emergency situations. MEMA also works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help them prepare for and manage disasters.

Closer to home, the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency is headquartered in

Windham and has a few levels of activation to assist residents of the Lakes Region in handling disasters such as a hurricane.

“The lowest level of activation is just monitoring a situation that could become a disaster,” said Michael Durkin, Deputy Director of the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency. “That's what we did in Hurricane Fiona, we had one person following the situation closely and had a plan in case we needed to escalate things further.

Durkin said Cumberland County’s EMA would activate if an event were significant enough that it overwhelmed a community's ability to respond to it.

“If it's beyond the scope of one town's normal mutual aid agreements, we come in to assist. We also come in if a significant event crosses jurisdictions or in countywide events,” he said. “We also may activate in a limited capacity to support any gaps a municipality may have. Our general motto is, if a town needs help, we're going to try our best to help them.”

He encourages the public to follow big storms closely via the National Weather Service:

“There are lots of things folks can do to be prepared,“ Durkin said. “The big threat being high winds which knock over trees and power lines. Have a several-day supply of food, water and necessary medications in the event of a prolonged power outage, trim back dead limbs on your property to prevent them from causing damage in a storm, and never drive through flooded roadways.”

According to Durkin, as a county-level agency, Cumberland County EMA is the link between the towns and the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

“We coordinate with all our municipal emergency managers,“ he said. These are typically Fire Chiefs but not always, for Windham, it's Chief Brent Libby, as well as the Maine Emergency Management Agency. We also work closely with Central Maine Power and the National Weather Service.’

Since hurricanes are seasonal, at the Cumberland County EMA we train for them yearly just before the season starts. Since we get a few days’ notice about hurricanes and can follow them up the coast, we also do event-specific tabletop exercises in the days prior to an event. Since Fiona was predicted to hit well east of us, we did not do a specific tabletop leading up to that.”

Maine residents can always visit for the latest hurricane preparedness information. There you can find information about preparedness, weather and emergency information when an event is taking place. It also has shelter information.

Through the years, several hurricanes have impacted Maine. Hurricane Edna in 1954 created $7 million in damage statewide. Also in 1954, Hurricane Carol left behind $5 million in damages and Hurricane Bob in 1991 caused $5.5 million worth of damage in Maine. Two other significant storms, Hurricane Donna in 1960, and Hurricane Gloria in 1985 also created problems for Mainers.

In the event a hurricane or tropical storm takes aim at Maine again, MEMA and Cumberland County EMA recommend some simple steps to be taken now to be prepared when it arrives here:

** Building an emergency kit to include supplies needed for several days without power, including food, water, hand sanitizer and face masks.

** Making a family plan and discussing it with your family.

** Getting the latest alerts and warnings by downloading the free FEMA app or National Weather Service app.

** Ensuring cell phones are enabled to receive National Weather Service Wireless Emergency Alerts for tornadoes, flash flooding and other emergency situations.

** Plan for the safety of your pets as some shelters do not allow pets inside.

** Avoiding driving on flooded streets and roads.

** Determining local evacuation routes.

** Identifying alternate shelter locations in case you need to evacuate.

** Bringing in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.

** Charging cell phones and other electronic devices in advance of storms.

** Ensure your home, vehicles and recreational toys are properly insured in the event of fallen trees, wind, or water damage.

** Removing boats and other watercraft from the water.

** Making sure that generators are properly installed and in good working order. <

Friday, February 26, 2021

‘Greatest Show on Ice’ hooks 2021 Ice Fishing Derby participants

Greg MacIntosh of Nottingham, New Hampshire
displays his winning togue caught during the
2021 Sebago Lake Rotary Ice Fishing Derby.
It weighed 10.78 pounds and was 32 inches
By Ed Pierce

The ‘Greatest Show on Ice’ lived up to its reputation last weekend as more than a thousand fishing enthusiasts from across Maine and points beyond descended upon Sebago Lake and the Lakes Region to try their luck and possibly take home a prize in the 2021 Sebago Lake Rotary Ice Fishing Derby.

Participants braved chilly temperatures on the lake for a chance to take home the grand prize, a 2021 ATV from Windham PowerSports. This year’s derby welcomed a new Gold Sponsor, General Dynamics/BIW and official media sponsor, Channel 8 WMTW | Maine’s CW for 2021, according to Sebago Lakes Rotary Club member Cyndy Bell.

A total of 1,071 fishermen registered to compete in this year’s derby with 2,500 fish weighed and processed during the event. more than e Over 2500 fish were processed during the derby.

Approximately 7,500 pounds of fish from the 2,500-plus collected was delivered to Nova Seafood to be processed, flash frozen and will be delivered to food pantries,” Bell said. 

Sebago Lake Rotary Club member Tom Noonan is credited with coming up with the idea to create the Ice Fishing Derby in 2001 in cooperation with the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department.  Since that time, the event has grown to become the rotary club’s biggest annual fundraising effort and has supported hundreds of charities over the past two decades, accumulating more than $1 million to donate to local causes during that timeframe. 

“Under the leadership of Sebago Lake Rotarian Toby Pennels, the derby gained additional national notoriety as one of only four fishing derbies in the United States to be featured in a television program filmed for the National Geographic Channel that aired in June 2014,” Bell said.

While many families embraced the annual derby as a chance to get outside during the long winter, participants this year also had to adapt to the reality of 2021 as derby requirements followed the CDC’s COVID-19 protocols, including mask wearing and social distancing to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

According to Bell, proceeds raised from the derby will benefit the Salvation Army, food pantries and other Rotary focused charities and this year the club added an ice shack contest and a 50/50 raffle to benefit wildlife conservation programs.

Here’s a list of winners from the 2021Sebago Lake Rotary Ice Fishing Derby:

Top Prize winners

Grand Prize winner, Chris Grant, ATV from Windham PowerSports

50/50 winner, Josh Sparks, $2,055

5HP Mercury Outboard winner, Dan Stanton


First place, Greg MacIntosh, 10.78 pounds, 32 inches

Second place, David Ferris, 8.36 pounds, 29.5 inches

Third place, Rick Laney, 8.35 pounds, 29 ¼ inches


First place, Jacob Burrows, 1.90 pounds, 14 ¼ inches

Second place, Randall Breton, 1.60 pounds, 14.25 inches

Third place, Christopher Cook, 1.56 pounds, 14 inches


First place, Fran Orcutt, 4.98 pounds, 25 ½ inches

Second place, Wayne Roma, 4.71 pounds, 25 7/8 inches

Third place, Glen Sparks, 4.1 pounds, 25 ½ inches


First place, Ben Carlin, 9.44 pounds, 34 ¾ inches

Second place, Ben Carlin 9.24 pounds, 33 inches

Third place, Billy Groton 8.44 pounds, 32 inches <

Friday, February 19, 2021

Recovery during the pandemic; maintaining sobriety during a year of social distancing

By Lorraine Glowczak  

“The effects of the pandemic have been very hard for those of us in recovery, who support each other in maintaining a life free of alcohol and/or drugs,” said Laurie (To honor her privacy, we will only use Laurie’s first name). “Addiction is a disease of isolation. Even if people are around, emotionally you feel alone. For myself, a closet drinker with a definite problem getting sober, desperation led me to a 12-step recovery program.”

Laurie went on to say that it was the love and support of a group of people who accepted her and didn’t judge her missteps that helped her discover and stay on the path of sobriety. Laurie shares her experience about staying sober during a time when public gatherings are prohibited for the safety of all involved.

“There is no one to hug, no one to share meals with, no one to have discussions with, no one to sit and share feelings with.”

According to “Medical News Today”, numerous studies have found that alcohol and drug consumption has increased during the pandemic, and dramatically so for people with depression. With the concerns regarding the increase among those who were not struggling to stay sober, leaders in the field of recovery have become extraordinarily concerned for those experiencing substance use disorder and have taken a closer look at possible increases in accidental overdoses due to the required social isolation.

Gordan Smith, State of Maine’s Director of Opioid Response said that although there have been recent increases in fatal overdoses, studies indicated that the increases began during the final quarter of 2019 before COVID.

“There is something more going on than just the impact of social distancing,” Smith said in an email interview. “Although social distancing likely has had some negative impact, we do not have hard evidence on that point currently and are taking several aggressive actions addressing the increase.”

Cumberland County District Attorney, Jonathan Sahrbeck, who oversees the Rehabilitation and Diversion Program with Coordinator Stephanie Gilbert, states that supportive environments and systems are very beneficial in maintaining a person’s recovery and he suspects social isolation is having a major impact.

“Hard data is very valuable in helping us identify a problem and taking positive action, but the lived experience should not be ignored and is a significant factor to consider,” Sahrbeck said. “It is very clear to me as a result of working with the Rehabilitation and Diversion Program that the loss of support systems can lead to relapse and fatal overdoses.”

Although there is currently no firm data available that points to social isolation and overdose – the “lived experience” of recovery during the pandemic speaks to the challenges. It is for this reason that Laurie, who has been in sobriety for 30 years, is willing to share her story.

“I am a retired nurse who lives alone in a small home I love, in the middle of the woods,” she said. “Luckily, I am an introvert, so when we were told to stay at home, it wasn't too big of a change at first. But it soon became clear that not having contact with others in recovery was becoming difficult. I was used to stopping by the recovery center for a coffee and visit a bit with whoever might be there.”

Laurie said that the isolation was also having a negative impact on her PTSD, with increasing anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

“Before getting sober, I would use alcohol to calm the effects of a PTSD attack,” she said. “But the people I met in recovery with the addition of a spiritual path helped me when alcohol was no longer an option. At moments during the pandemic when my PTSD became unbearable and I began to find myself becoming more vulnerable to having a drink, it was the people at the recovery center who were there for me and helped me stay on the road of recovery.”

But after the recovery center closed due to the pandemic, a virtual support system was immediately put in place.

“Zoom meetings were set up that were and still are available every day,” Laurie continued. “Different kinds of meetings were developed to meet the needs of as many people as possible including phone calls and texts. I'm incredibly grateful for all of the virtual contacts but I miss seeing someone in person. I have no family in the area, so don't have a "bubble" of safe people. I struggle more with the PTSD.”

Laurie’s two sons reach out to her virtually and they meet on Zoom every few weeks. She also has a rescue dog who she enjoys loving and giving attention, but still the days of recovery during the pandemic continue to be a challenge.

“Sometimes I stand outside and realize I have seen no one for days,” she said. “I've even ordered from Amazon so the mail delivery person would drive her jeep down my driveway with a box and we'd chat a few minutes as she worked. Just that little bit of company is precious. When times are difficult, it would be so easy to go buy some wine, and no one would know. Thank God I know what would happen if I did that! And have friends who have the same fears and loneliness and struggles that support me and others to remain sober.”

For those who may be having the same “lived experience” during this year-long social isolation, Laurie offers these final words.

“For anyone who is feeling isolated and struggling during this time, know that there are people going through similar struggles who care and will be there for you as much as physically possible and that it is the right thing to reach out to either your primary [care physician], a hot line, a recovery center or a trusted friend. We need each other for support now more than ever. Remember you aren't alone......reach out. Someone who cares will be there. We're in this together.” <

Help available

If you find yourself struggling to maintain sobriety, whether during the pandemic or otherwise, there are a number of resources available:

** Maine Crisis Hotline, 1-888-568-1112

** The Intentional Warm Line, 1-866-771-9276

** Portland Recovery Community Center, 207-553-2575,

** Lakes Region Recovery Center, 207-803-8709,

Friday, August 28, 2020

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. <

Friday, August 9, 2019

Celebrating 20 years of Food and Fellowship at Dundee Park this coming Monday

Olley Klein (left) from Gray has been coming to the
Monday Meal program since its inception and finds
that fellowship is just as important as the food.
By Lorraine Glowczak

The idea of a free Monday meal officially began from members of the Windham Hill United Church of Christ in 1998. The intent was to provide nutritious meals once a month for those who experienced food insecurity. Hoping to receive help from other area churches, Ellen Hooper of Windham Hill UCC reached out to other area churches to see if they would be interested in joining with them on a needed service to the community.

“I was working as an office assistant at Windham Assembly of God (WAG) when I received the phone call from Ellen,” stated Marie Seder, a long-time member of WAG and the Food and Fellowship program (also known as the Monday Meals). “I knew immediately that we should join in.”

Soon, with other area churches on board, Food and Fellowship, Inc. a non-profit ecumenical organization, was established and has sponsored the Monday Meal program in the Lakes Region since 1999.

“Although we began as a monthly program, we realized that what we provided was more than food for those who participated,” Seder explained. “We realized that people were also longing to connect with others – they were feeling isolated and alone. We had people come up to us, saying that this gathering was the first time they got to talk to others that day – or even in over a week. It’s at that point we understood that we were not only feeding people nutritious meals, but we were serving individuals who longed for connection and conversation. We decided at that point to provide Monday Meals on a weekly basis.”

Seder stated that the mission of Food and Fellowship’s Monday Meal program is to provide food and fellowship for people in the Lakes Region area, seeking to serve those living with poverty, hunger, and social isolation. They also strive to work collaboratively with community partners.

“What amazes me the most is how we, the various organizations of faith and other volunteers, all get along so well,” Seder said. “Various churches with different faith backgrounds are able to serve together with the same purpose. The average small non-profit like this is lucky to last five years. But here we are, 20 years later and still serving together in unity, meeting the needs of the Lakes Region community.”

Stephan Palmer of Faith Lutheran Church, currently the Vice President of the Food and Fellowship/Monday Meal Board has been a member of the organization for the past five years. “We all have so much fun,” Palmer began. “We serve food to the people who come every week, then we sit and eat with them, developing long lasting friendships in the process.”

Indeed, it seems friendships have been established by those who have attended over the years. One such person is Olley Klein from Gray. “My wife died in 1991 and I have been coming here almost since the beginning,” he said. “Not so much for the food -which I enjoy – but more for the social aspect of it. In fact, I think I spend more time in the churches of the Windham area than I do at home in Gray,” he laughed.
Patty and Carol from St. Ann's Episcopal Church
and Stephen from Faith Lutheran serve up a free meal
last Monday

Turning serious, Klein mentioned that he met a friend at Monday Meals. “Tony and I did everything together,” he said. “Tony lost his wife too. I’d pick him up and we’d go everywhere together – doing errands, etc. And I’d bring him with me to Monday Meals.” Tony died a year ago.

But Klein keeps coming and still connects with others who has enjoy the social aspect of the Monday Meals program.

Meals begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. but guests begin arriving as early as 4:30 p.m. to reserve a spot and enjoy appetizers and fellowship. The meals traditionally end at approximately 6 p.m.

From September through May, the meal sites are as follows: First Monday at North Windham Union Church, second Monday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, third and fourth Mondays at Windham Hill United Church of Christ and on those rare fifth Mondays - at the Standish Congregational Church. During the summer months (June, July and August), the meal sites are: First four Mondays at St. Ann's Episcopal Church and the fifth Monday at the Standish Congregational Church. 

cstlouis@spurwink.orgMany of the 50 to 70 guests who enjoy the meals every week include senior citizens and families with children who are from the towns of Windham, Gorham, Raymond, Buxton, Falmouth, Naples, Westbrook, Casco, Standish and Limington, as well as other area communities. The host groups, from churches as well as various service organizations, help by preparing the food, setting up for the meals, and serving and doing clean-up after the meal. Various other individuals also volunteer in some way with the Monday Meals. The Thanksgiving meal, where there is apt to be 140-150 guests, has consistently had the largest attendance at a meal.

Funding for this program is donated by area churches. The Town of Windham also donates generously to this program on a yearly basis. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to the Food and Fellowship program, you can do so by sending a check or money order to Food and Fellowship, c/o Mark Stokes, Treasurer, 53 Ridge View Drive, Standish Maine 04084.

The Food and Fellowship Monday Meal program will celebrate their 20th anniversary of serving nourishment in both body and spirit on Monday, August 12th from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Dundee Park, 79 Presumpscot Road in Windham. Come celebrate with food and develop long lasting friendships.

systems that keep poverty, hunger & isolation in place.Bottom of Form

Friday, June 7, 2019

Free monthly holistic care services for veterans begin Monday at the Windham Veterans Center

Reiki energy work will be one of the services provided
By Lorraine Glowczak

We celebrate our veterans upon their return home from war or conflict, relieved that they arrive on American soil safe and sound. However, statistics indicate that although they survived battle in other lands, the trauma from the experience has proved to be more deadly than the frontline itself. Many return with scars unseen, suffering silently with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other health issues. This often leads to drug/alcohol abuse, homelessness – and worse yet – suicide.

Although there may be no magic that can take away the atrocious and unspeakable experiences many veterans faced at war - and continue to live with, there may be options that might help calm and relax an individual for at least a moment in time, letting them known they do not have to suffer alone.

Beginning this Monday, June 10, a group of area holistic practitioners will provide therapeutic massage, reflexology, reiki, polarity, meditation practices and more on a monthly basis (second Monday of each month) to all Lakes Region area veterans for free from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Windham Veterans Center, 35 Veterans Memorial Drive in Windham.“I have been wanting to do something like this for some time,” stated Bob Beane, an Air Force
Veteran during the Vietnam War area and brainchild of this newly established free holistic service. “The idea began in 1990 when I supervised a crew of workers during the 1990 census. I was living in Brownfield at the time and we all worked together for approximately 10 weeks to gather the required information for the census. This work included the towns of Brownfield, Fryeburg, Porter, Hiram and Kezar Falls. During that time, we discovered eight veterans who had created cave-like living dwellings in conspicuous places for themselves, hiding from society. I knew at that point, I needed to do something.”

Yes, these eight veterans were officially homeless but not in the sense that the word “homelessness” conjures up for most people (that is another topic that needs to be addressed and understood, much like this subject matter). They are there because PTSD and other illnesses propelled them to be alone – not wanting to be a part of a society in which they once felt called as a personal vocation to protect and serve.

“It’s called agoraphobia,” Beane said.

According to, agoraphobia is “a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd.”, a retired Lieutenant with the Portland Fire Department who is currently a certified reiki master, shaman, druid and earth angel, stated that he also suffers from PTSD as well as other various
physical symptoms. When asked how his work with holistic healthcare helped him in his own personal journey, which included being diagnosed with aggressive cancer in 2008, Beane admitted that he still suffers a lot of pain. “I’m nearly 70 years old, but I still get up every day feeling grateful despite the physical pain. I get up and work every day. I continue to learn by taking classes, reading, studying – and writing every morning. It’s not always easy, but my work keeps me alive and engaged with life. I attribute my energy and approach to life with my holistic work and lifestyle.”

Rebecca LaWind, owner of Ways to Wellness Center, is a licensed massage therapist, certified yoga teacher, reiki and energy practitioner who will be among the many individuals offering therapeutic services to veterans.  “My intention is to support people to relax and calm amidst full and sometimes stressful lifestyles,” LaWind stated. “Emotions can be held and stored in the body and with massage or intentional positive touch, they can become aware of, soften and even release, leaving one feeling lighter and less stressed.”

She has personally faced her own challenges in life and LaWind stated that her practice has helped her feel more grounded, open, relaxed - experiencing less pain, both physically and emotionally. “It can take time and patience,” she said. “It is my hope that this monthly, consistent Holistic Share for Veterans will provide people a safe space to relax in as they may carry residual feelings of trauma, fear, isolation, etc.” Defosse, certified reiki master teacher, licensed massage therapist, Bowen practitioner, and myofascial release therapist stated that reiki helps to release old patterns and stuck memories and brings in light and new possibilities. “With the help of a Reiki Practitioner, the veteran can calm the mind and begin to feel again,” DeFosse said. “Reiki is beneficial for those with PTSD as it harnesses the inner healing inside each person and allows them to experience a feeling of peace.

All veterans are invited to experience the relief they deserve. Beane stated that all individuals will
feel safe and there will be no pressure or questions. Just acceptance as they experience a safe and healing space for a while.

For those who are holistic practitioners who need to take a break and care for themselves, LaWind and others gather together for monthly reiki shares on the last Tuesday of each month. All are invited. For more information, contact LaWind at For more information regarding the monthly holistic care services at the Windham Veteran Center contact Beane at 207-749-1857 or

Friday, September 14, 2018

Make Shift Coffee House to offer food, music and good old-fashioned civic conversation

What good old fashion conversation looks like
We've always had people in our lives that disagree with us - and us with them. But in recent years, disagreements have grown and chasms have developed; not only within our communities but among friends and between family members as well. It might be safe to say we’ve all become tattered and worn by a lack of civil discourse and a breakdown in communication where the desire to appreciate our differences has all but escaped us.

It is true that our upbringing and environment shapes us and our beliefs. Learning a little about someone’s life can help us to understand one another and accept our differences – and thus potentially changing the course of civility.

Seeking to understand another’s perspective and to learn from each other is the purpose of the Make Shift Coffee House to be held on Thursday, September 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Windham Veteran’s Center, 35 Veterans Memorial Drive in Windham (behind Hannaford’s and Reny’s shopping center). The theme for the event is “Exploring the Political Divide.”

Briefly, a Make Shift Coffee House is an event where people have an opportunity for good old-fashioned civic dialogue while enjoying good food and great music. The occasion provides a chance to ask questions and to hear another’s perspective in a safe and fun environment. It’s not about persuading each other; it’s about coming together with the desire to understand and the willingness to listen and learn.

Make Shift Coffee Houses have been popping up in various communities across Maine for the past 18 months and is the concept of Craig Freshley of Good Group Decisions, Inc. According to the website, Freshley, a professional facilitator, stated that he was troubled by the growing political divide and the growing lack of civility in political conversations. As a result, he hosted the first Makes Shift Coffee House event in January 2017 in his hometown of Brunswick in an effort to help bridge that political divide. The event was so successful, volunteer members of other Maine communities have joined Freshley to provide a positive opportunity for conversations with others who have different perceptions.

To follow in the footsteps of that success, seven local community individuals from various political and philosophical perspectives have been working together for the past five months to give Raymond, Windham and other Lake Region residents the same chance to seek understanding with the hope of bridging the gap and returning to civil discourse.

Gary Wittner
The event will begin with music provided by Gary Wittner of Raymond and food donated by area businesses with an opportunity to meet and greet one another. This will be followed by a group discussion, led by Freshley who will manage a civil exchange of ideas as a neutral third party. Questions that may be considered include:

·         How does the political divide affect your everyday life?
·         What are the political differences that divide us?
·         If you affiliate with a particular political party, why?
·         If you feel strongly about a political issue, why?

Individuals in attendance will get a chance to voice topics that they deem important for discussion. Topics will be selected and discussed at individual tables, of which attendees will choose to participate in the issue of their choice. Freshley will bring the smaller groups back together for a large group dialogue to capture a larger viewpoint and to end another successful Coffee House discussion.

Gary Plummer of Windham who is a retired teacher and former elected official, is one of the volunteers who worked to host this Make Shift Coffee House. Being positive and giving back is important to him. “My nearly four decades serving as a local, county and state elected official was a hobby that provided me a chance to give back to a society that has given me so much,” he stated. “I signed on to the Makeshift Coffee House because I see this as a way to help spread and continue a positive outlook on life.” Duffy of Raymond who is a founding member of Raymond Arts Alliance and is a practicing clinical counselor as well as an adjunct faculty member at Central Maine Community College has also volunteered her time toward creating this event. She believes civil, face-to-face discussion is important.Civil dialogue takes the print and visual media, their need for simplification (and to sell their product) right out of the equation,” she said. “I see this [event] as needed more than ever. Our challenges seem more complicated than ever, and we can cocoon in our own likeminded communities and get nowhere forever. We really need to be more interconnected; everybody knows different things that contribute to the whole.”

To learn more about the Make Shift Coffeehouse, visit or call 207-729-5607.

About the musician:
Guitarist Gary Wittner has been performing worldwide for over 30 years. He has released several CDs and officially represented the USA overseas four times. A native New Yorker, Mr. Wittner performs Jazz, Latin music, and Middle Eastern music locally, regionally and internationally.  He also teaches guitar at Bowdoin College and is a faculty member of the Univ. of S. Maine School of Music.

About the Make Shift organizing committee:
In addition to Plummer and Duffy, the other volunteer members of the organizing committee include: Frank Pecoraro of Raymond, owner of Mulberry Farm. Nancy Foran of Raymond, Pastor of the Raymond Village Community Church. Marie Guerin of West Kennebunk, member of the Raymond Village Community Church. Lorraine Glowczak of Windham, Managing Editor of The Windham Eagle newspaper; and Sheila Bourque of Raymond, President of the Raymond Village Library.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Public Form educates and engages lake area watershed residents by Lorraine Glowczak

Dr. Wilson Powerpoint showed 2018 summer plans
The Highland Lake Association hosted a Public Forum for Highland Lake residents and the Lake Region communities on Wednesday, March 21 at the Windham High School Auditorium from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The primary purpose was to discuss what is currently known about the lake, to address the issues faced regarding the lake and ways for area residents to be actively engaged in the health of the watershed. A question and answer session followed. Approximately 80 people attended the event.

The Forum was facilitated by Craig Freshley, founder of Good Group Decisions, Inc. and Makeshift
Coffeehouse. It included a panel of four area experts in the field of water quality who each presented up to date information. The presenters for the forum included Wendy Garland of the Maine Department of Environment (DEP), Dr. Karen Wilson of the University of Southern Maine (USM) as well as Gretchen Anderson from the Town of Windham and Heather True of Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD). was the first to present, providing background information of the lake. She shared that Highland Lake has experienced a gradual decline in water quality over the past four years as a result of an increase in algae; the cause due to the excess input of phosphorus. This growth is referred to as Pico cyanobacteria bloom (also referred to as picoplankton bloom.) 

The lake has a high phosphorus level due to camp road runoff, soil erosion, fertilizer use, pet waste, septic issues and development. The phosphorus in the atmosphere also plays a role. 

Dr. Wilson, who has worked with the Highland Lake watershed in her role as associate research
professor with USM’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy discussed the unknowns. She is an expert in the field of Limnology – the study of the biological, chemical, and physical features of lakes and other bodies of fresh water. 

Wilson stated that that Highland Lake has the most households in comparison to other Maine lakes. She discussed the importance of the food web and how the Pico cyanobacteria bloom can potentially harm that web. She explained that the bloom occurs at the same time every year, late July and most of August.

Wilson explained that scientists don’t fully understand or aren’t able to identify the source of the Pico cyanobacteria bloom. In an attempt to do so, surveys and studies will occur this summer, 2018. The focus will include, but is not limited to, the physical structure of the lake. 

Keeping soil out of the lake is imperative because soil easily binds to phosphorus. With that in mind, both Anderson and True identified ways for residences to protect the lake. This includes the goal of mimicking the natural shoreline by establishing a vegetative buffer, planting native trees and shrubs in the upland areas, explaining that root structures hold the water in place that prevents excessive runoff. 

Installing a dripline trench to absorb roof runoff, installing rain barrels, planting a rain garden and repairing roads and driveways were other suggestions.

Most residents who attended the event gained a deeper understanding of what is occurring and are ready to act to help rectify the problem. 

“Having just moved into the community this summer, the Forum provided my fiancĂ© and I with a lot of background information and context for what has been happening with the health of the lake in the past, and plans going forward,” stated Richard Qualey. “Between the information presented, and the information available at the door, there was a good amount of material available as to what sources contribute to the pollution of the lake, and what we can do as homeowners and community members to reduce our impact.”

The Public Forum inspired some residents to engage and act immediately. “I learned that dog feces (not picked up) runs into the lake and the phosphorus from their feces hurts the lake,” stated Barbara Jessen “The next morning after the meeting I explained to three dog owners on my road about their dogs’ feces. Even kicking the poop into the woods does not stop the feces from entering the lake rain storm, etc. On Sunday I went on a mission: to find dog pick-up bags. After some research, I found that Dollar Tree sells 80 bags for $1.  I bought seven packages, brought them home and gave one to each of the dog owners on my road.”
during a

Resident, Tonya Heskett stated that she plans to participate in the volunteer efforts as well as do their part to protect the shoreline. “Our goal is to take advantage of the information provided about the buffer zone to protect the shoreline and runoff into the lake at our property,” Heskett stated.
Qualey and his fiancĂ© have plenty of landscaping plans also. “Our plans should help reduce the impact on the lake our property, and hopefully help with some of the runoff from surrounding properties as well.”

Mike Fasulo, a former Highland Lake Association board member, was most impressed with the involvement of the towns of Windham and Falmouth. He stated he was very happy to see the municipalities’ dedication to the issue. Fasulo highly recommends all lake residents to become members of the association and to get involved.

What can you do to create a healthy watershed?
There are many ways an individual can become engaged. One way is by volunteering, with many options to choose from. They include the following:

Watershed Survey – Forty people are needed to complete a survey on Saturday, May 19 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. No experience necessary. Contact Chantal Scott at 207- 899-7641 or

Water quality sampling transportation volunteers – Drivers are needed to drive samples to University of New Hampshire. The roundtrip to UNH is about 140 miles. Contact Chantal Scott for more information.

Buffer Protection Volunteers – This includes planning shrubs, bushes, perennials, cleaning out ditches and helping with the road improvements. Again, contact Chantal Scott for more information

Alewives counting volunteers – From May to June, Alewives that come up the fish ladder into the lake need to be counted. Contact Rosie Hartzler at 207-415-3727 or at

Lake Depth Calculation Volunteers – Volunteers with boats are needed to re-calculate the depths of the lake. Equipment and training provided by Lakes Environmental Association. Contact Rosie Hartzler for more information.

The health of Highland Lake is not only a concern to its residents and the towns that are part of the lake but is an overall concern for maintaining the health of all lakes in the Lakes Region. Whether or not one is a resident of Highland Lake, the information that was offered at the Public Forum can be used by all area watershed residents.

For more information, contact Highland Lake Association President, Rosie Hartzler at 207-415-3727 or at