Friday, January 24, 2020

Bad breath could mean big trouble

By Andrine Belliveau DVM of Lake Region Animal Hospital

Did you know that February is National Pet Dental Health Month? A common complaint that we hear from owners is that their pet has bad breath, or halitosis.  Usually this is caused by either a build-up of tartar on the teeth or gingivitis (or both!). 

We usually start to explore the issue by looking in the mouth for tartar/plaque accumulation.  Plaque is a colorless film of bacteria, while tartar is calcified plaque that can attach to the tooth both above and below the gumline. We also look for gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, that often occurs secondary to tartar. 

If we note signs of dental disease, we will then recommend dental cleanings and/or extractions (depending on the severity of disease). Dental cleanings should be performed under anesthesia, a position which is adopted by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Pets can be uncooperative patients at the best of times and the only way to ensure that we get a thorough evaluation and complete cleaning performed is to have the pet put under anesthesia. We put our patients under general anesthesia instead of just sedating them so we can place a breathing tube that protects the airway and lungs from all of the tartar we clean off the teeth. 

When we discuss your pet’s dental health, it is about more than just what we can see on the teeth in an exam. The tartar that you can see above the gum goes below the gumline as well. Over time, this leads to bone loss around the tooth. In very severe cases on the lower teeth, the entire bone can be eaten away – resulting in a jaw fracture. Severe bone loss around the upper teeth can lead to an oronasal fistula – this means a direct communication between the sinus and the mouth!  Even if the bone loss is not severe enough to cause a fracture or fistula, it often results in loss of the tooth and significant discomfort. 

Dental disease that is not addressed in a timely manner can even lead to heart disease. It has been shown that when tartar accumulation is severe, bacteria can get into the blood stream and settle on the heart valve, causing a disease known as endocarditis.  If you think your pet has dental disease, please don’t wait! It will only get worse with time, and your pet will thank you with fresh breath after their cleaning. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Student of the week: Brody Lewis

Brody Lewis is a sixth-grade student at Jordan-Small Middle School and The Windham Eagle student of the week. His teachers state that Brody is a hard-working student who strives to improve not just his grades but his skills as well. He isn’t afraid to try something new and grow outside of his comfort zone. Brody’s favorite subject in school is art, he enjoys playing soccer year-round and his favorite movie is “Toy Story”. Brody is a respectful and conscientious student who is kind to his peers and happy to lend a helping hand when needed. Congratulations, Brody!

Portland Museum of Art promotes young artists at RSU14

Adele Popova

Windham and Raymond Art Educator, Robin Greeley is happy to announce that two students from her art classes have been selected to exhibit their artwork at the Portland Museum of Art for their Youth Art Month exhibit.

Adele Popova is a first-grade student at Windham Primary School. Her artwork, entitled “Raccoon”, is currently being showcased at Portland Museum of Art. The medium of the artwork is chalk and the objective of the project was to explore the medium of chalk and to add expression. Popova created expression with both the tilt of the head and the eyes of her raccoon.

Olivia Gurney

Olivia Gurney is a second-grade student at Raymond Elementary School. Olivia’s tempra painting entitled “Close Cow” will also be on display at the Portland Museum of Art in the Youth Art Month. Olivia’s cow captures a whimsical playfulness with the eyes looking off to the left and the tongue sweeping off to the right.

Both student artists' exhibits that run from February 26 through March 29 on the lower ground floor
of the PMA.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

WHS Junior founds creative writing club

Members of the Windham High School writing club
By Ryan Lowell

At times, writing can be solitary, lonely work. But a brand-new creative writing club at Windham High School is giving young writers a place to hone their skills in an atmosphere that’s social, inclusive, and collaborative. The club is a passion project of junior Sophie Phipps, who loves writing creatively, but has had trouble carving out time for it in a schedule filled with AP classes.

“I wanted to join a creative writing club and found out Windham did not have anything like one,” Phipps said. “I wanted to hold myself accountable to write more, because it’s something I love to do but I never make the time for it. After talking with some friends, I found that plenty of other students shared my attitude toward writing.”

Phipps took action by finding a club advisor and submitting an official proposal to Principal Caron. She also worked with Lanet Hane, the WHS director of community relations, to create the club as part of her senior capstone project. One of her long-term goals is to compile an anthology of student generated writing. In the short term, she’s hoping to provide a fun place for students to strengthen their skills and get excited about writing without the stress of deadlines or grades. According to Kiana Webster, a junior who describes writing as her own personal sandbox, so far the club is meeting that goal.“I think the atmosphere of the club is great,” Webster said. “I enjoy the wide range of the writers who are with me. There are many different styles, and I’m learning a lot just through reading others’ work… Creative writing is my opportunity to test the limits of not just the language I speak, but also the people who read what I write.” 

Sophomore Emily PeBenito has also been enjoying the club and its open ended approach to creation. “I like that it’s really chill. You don’t have to follow the prompts if you don’t want to,” PeBenito said. “I like being with my friends and knowing that I’m able to write without being judged if I share.” 

The club is a space for writers like Webster, who has been writing creatively since she was little, but also for newcomers with little to no experience. Phipps discovered her love for creative writing somewhere in between, as a seventh grader in need of an emotional outlet after the death of her grandfather.

“It was the first major grief I’d felt in my life. I was overwhelmed by everything I felt and [I was] determined to figure out how to deal with my grief,” Phipps said. She wrote a short descriptive story about her “Papa” in English class and was moved to tears by putting her fond memories into words. “When my piece was finished, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt completely soothed and content and fell fast asleep that night. It was this experience that taught me the catharsis of creative writing. Personally, writing has stuck out to me as a passion ever since.”

The hope is that the club will give students a venue to express themselves like Phipps did. But in the day to day, the club meetings aren’t solemn, serious affairs. More often than not, the room is filled with the laughter and smiles of young writers who have found a group of peers that share in their joy of creation. It’s a room where individual aspirations run high, but camaraderie comes first. 

As Webster put it, “I aspire to write things never seen before, and the best way to come up with new ideas is by manipulating the ones we already have. And trust me, doing that with others is way more fun than doing that by myself.” 

The club meets most Mondays after school, and all students are welcome to join. For more information, stop by room 123.

Stop Harm: Stop Arm Collaborative thanks donors

Stop Harm: Stop Arm Collaboration, the combined efforts of the Windham PTA, Raymond PTO and the Odyssey Angels, is excited to report the following generous donations from the community. To date, the efforts of these organizations have brought in nearly $17K – that’s enough to purchase 7 of the 15 extended stop arms they have set as their goal.

Extended-Arm Donors ($2,150 & Above):
Chase Custom Homes 
K&D Countertops 
MGM Builders
ReVision Energy
Windham Raymond Athletic Boosters

Local childcare centers co-sponsored a full arm:
A Child’s World Early Education Center
All About Kids 
A Joyful Noise
Birchwood Day Nursery School
Children’s Adventure Center
Children’s Discovery Center
Little Log Cabin Montessori School
The School House Learning Center
Windham Raymond SACC

Major Donors ($250 - $2,149):
Milliken, Perkins & Brunelle 
Patmans Redemption Center and Agency Liquor Store
Varney Mill Estate
: residents of Forbes Lane, Stagecoach Lane and Acorn Lane
Many thanks to all the donors who have contributed. FMI or if you would like to be part of the effort:

A look at restorative practices with RSU14 Katahdin Program Director Craig Haims

Craig Haims
By Elizabeth Richards

The RSU14 Katahdin Program handles discipline much differently than most traditional schools.  Restorative practices are an essential component to the culture of the alternative learning program, and every staff member is fully invested in the process.

The Katahdin program evolved out of the REAL School and has maintained a philosophy that began in 2004, designed by a group of teachers at the REAL School, who are still teaching in the program now. Back then, restorative practices were something academics talked about, but they weren’t practiced in schools, said Katahdin Program Director Craig Haims.

“It was a philosophy that was very attractive to some educators, and we knew that if we continued to use more punitive, exclusionary discipline that we were going to lose our students,” Haims said. 

Students were attending the REAL School because they didn’t fit in the traditional environment. Many had missed a lot of school time due to suspensions and expulsions. “We knew that had we adopted that same disciplinary approach, we wouldn’t have a student body left.”, the staff studied restorative work to figure out how it would work in their specific environment. “I think restorative practices has to be molded into the community as it exists to work – there’s not one model that’s going to work for every community,” Haims said.  At the REAL School, staff built the program together, adapting as necessary as they determined what would best work for the students. 

Now, Haims said, there is a restorative learning process in place that all teachers and counselors in the program can implement at a moment’s notice. 

What, exactly, are restorative practices?  While the full answer is long and complex, these disciplinary practices center around relationships. At the Katahdin Program, that means having a set of norms that everybody can understand and strive to follow. They call these norms their Guiding Principles, Haims said, and when rules are broken, they use these principles in the restorative process.

“Any kind of behavioral mistake that a kid makes is going to probably violate one of those norms,” Haims said. When that happens, they use the event as a learning opportunity for the student. Their protocol includes naming the behavior and why it was wrong, how it affected others in a negative way, and learning how to make amends to others impacted by the behavior.  Amends often take the form of an apology, a letter, or an act of service.

“It takes the whole realm of discipline, which often can just feel punitive and non-educational, and makes it educational,” Haims said.

“If they don’t know their math facts, we’re not going to punish them, we’re going to teach them,” said Haims. “If you don’t know your behavioral ABCs, like how to get along in a community…you still have to teach that. And you have to teach that until kids really understand more adaptive ways of getting along in a community,” he said.

This approach teaches students why the rules are relevant and important, and also how to change so they can behave in a way that works for the community, Haims said, which helps keep students from externalizing and getting less invested in their education because they don’t feel like they belong. “When you don’t understand how your behavior impacts others, you don’t really understand the need to change. You just feel like you’re getting in trouble and it’s not your fault,” Haims said.

“One of the things we try to do with restorative practice is teach kids to internalize their behavior and internalize an understanding of where their true responsibility lies,” Haims said.  “It helps kids begin to understand that ultimately they’re responsible for their own behavior and teaches them how to understand that and then work to improve it.”

Restorative practices can be challenging in a school environment, because the process takes a lot of time, Haims said. Often, that means the restorative step is lost, and people lose faith in the process because behavior doesn’t change.

“There is no magic bullet in terms of changing behavior, it’s all a process. Restorative works, scientifically, but it’s a process, and doesn’t change behavior overnight,” Haims said.  It’s a framework based on relationships, so the closer staff is with students, the better the process works. “The more you know kids, and the more they respect you because you’ve taken the time to get to know them, the better the outcomes are,” he said.

Restorative practices work best as second order change, meaning the whole school agrees that it’s the way discipline will be handled and does a deep dive into what the work is all about and how to create restorative classrooms, Haims said.

Often, schools take a first order change approach, hiring someone to do restorative practices, but not changing the culture of the whole school. And while that helps some kids, it can be tricky, Haims said, since there are essentially two cultures operating in the same school.

Haims acknowledged that with a small population of 22 students, restorative practices are easier to implement.  “I know how lucky we are, and we structured our school largely around restorative practices so that we can do it. That was an intentional decision made back in 2004,” he said.

Haims said the Katahdin program serves students who need a more relational, hands on, integrated approach to education. “RSU 14 has made a really nice commitment to alternative learning for many years, which we all greatly appreciate because we feel like we are really making an impact,” he said.

“We’re really happy to be doing this work in the context of a bigger, traditional school and we’re just really grateful to the district for supporting this program and highlighting the importance of supporting alternative learners.”

A matter of historical record: Maine’s fight for statehood, 1785 – 1820

How Windham and Raymond voted

By Walter Lunt

Part one of a two-part series

Maine achieved statehood on March 15, 1820. Historical accounts explain the significant role of the Missouri Compromise in making that happen, but a lesser known part of the story is the 35-year struggle that led up to that historic day.

Map of Maine, 1790
Maine became the District of Massachusetts with the adoption of its state constitution in 1780. Rumblings in the district about Maine becoming a state in its own right began as early as 1785.
Between 1792 and 1819, residents in the district voted six times on the question of separation. It was not always a popular idea, even with District Mainers, including the town of Windham.

Certain features and characteristics clearly distinguished the district from Massachusetts proper. 

Climate was one often mentioned. Another was the geographical separation caused by New Hampshire’s inconvenient appendage to the sea. Also, following the Revolutionary War, the District of Maine was filling up with immigrants from other New England states and from Europe seeking large tracts of unspoiled land (often on property owned by land speculators).

A unique diversity of population emerged: One people, forged by frugal habits and independent attitudes and values, not unlike that described later by the Frenchman Alexis De Tocqueville.

By 1785 there were clear signs of discontent within the district. Many were convinced that Boston little understood the unique nature and economic problems of Maine people.

Long established seacoast towns from the Piscataqua to the Kennebec Rivers, including Kittery, Falmouth (Portland) and Bath were engaged in shipping and shipbuilding. As described by Ronald Banks in his 1970 book “Maine Becomes A State,” “…Maine (had a) nearly one-crop economy… Lumber was king!” And as a result of trade policies set by the Massachusetts aristocracy, profits were “…channeled to Boston and surrounding towns.”

Inland, meanwhile, subsistence farmers were happy to supplement their meager existence by supplying seacoast merchants with timber.

From this symbiotic arrangement, coastal towns further developed a modest prosperity by adding insurance firms, bankers and lawyers to their growing mercantile communities.

A clear and separate identity from the mother state was emerging.

The first serious attempt at separation emanated from community leaders in Cumberland County, including Judge of Probate William Gorham and gentleman farmer Stephen Longfellow, both of Gorham and General Peleg Wadsworth and minister Thomas Smith (father of Windham’s Parson Peter Smith), both of Falmouth. This group kick-started the movement by promoting the establishment of the Falmouth Gazette, a newspaper created for the expressed purpose of advocating separation. Oddly, some Federalists, the political party of the elite, or “blue-bloods,” who favored a strong government, favored the notion of separation.

The 23 star U.S. flag adopted July 4, 1820 following Maine's
admission to the union
Push-back to the idea was immediate. Opposition came from the General Court of Massachusetts (the legislative body) and from the coastal mercantile communities of Maine who feared a disruption of commerce.

Undaunted, proponents called for a convention of separatists where a list of grievances was drawn up and presented to the general court. Among the complaints: access to the courts and to public records required long, costly trips to Boston; trade regulations favored the Boston port; lack of representation in the state’s House of Representatives; a tax system that was inequitable to Maine people.

The court thwarted the separatists’ arguments by passing legislation that corrected most of the district’s complaints.

The fledgling movement held several more conventions in the late 1780s, only to adjourn due to lack of interest and from distractions caused by other significant national events. The Falmouth Gazette, for example, devoted considerable space to the creation of a new Constitution of the United States.
By 1791, renewed political pressure was such that the general court voted to authorize a public vote in the district on the question of separation. As described by author Banks, “…the stage was set for the first state-authorized test of separation in the district… petty Federalists,” he continued, “(were) anxious to emulate their brethren in Massachusetts, not to be their servants.”

Proponents sprang into action, pushing hard their arguments in favor of the division: 1) the “noncontiguousness” of Massachusetts and Maine, 2) Maine would gain two senators in Congress, 3) government would be placed in the “midst” of the people, 4) increased frequency of a sitting Supreme Judicial Court (the accused might sit in jail for up to 10 months awaiting justice), 5) establishment of a Maine-based system of taxation, 6) the incorporation of sparsely settled plantations, now denied the right to vote (Raymond was one).

Detractors countered that Maine had too little money and too little education and sophistication to self-govern. Portland’s Daniel Davis responded with “…men of common understanding and sound judgment (are found in the district) as there are in any part of the Commonwealth.”

The referendum was held on May 7, 1792. The vote: 2,074 in favor of separation, 2,524 against. But the results, by region, were noteworthy. Coastal communities tended to oppose self-governance. Inland towns supported it. The probable reason: the Federal Coastal Law, which greatly benefited Maine’s shipping interests.

Interviewed last July on Maine Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Portland historian Herb Adams explained the Coastal Law this way: “…if you were exporting goods by sea you were not taxed for import duties by any state that bordered yours, and this is so states beside each other wouldn’t tax the yahoo out of each other. Well, that was very advantageous for Mainers. All of that meant that you could get more than halfway down the eastern seaboard of the United States and not pay a penny in import tax.”

Even if the ship wasn’t delivering to a noncontiguous state, it had to stop and pay the fee at each state, just to sail by. Shippers were as concerned with the time-consuming stops as they were with the customs fees.

As stated by author Banks, “After ten years and more than a dozen conventions, separation was no nearer than when the movement first began.”

Convinced that the future prosperity of the district depended on separation, supporters plotted on. For reasons unclear, interest revived again in 1797. Petitions from numerous towns requested yet another popular vote on the matter.

The Federalists were now opposed to the idea as it became clear they would be unable to advance politically under separation. Most regions had subscribed to the more conservative Democratic-Republican Party policies which firmly supported separation. York County also could not be counted on for support – it had recently proposed a union with New Hampshire.

Fresh and sizable numbers of inland squatters, however, assumed, probably correctly, that they would be more likely to retain their land claims under statehood.

Amid the changing political times, the General Court granted the District yet another popular vote on the separation issue.

In May of 1797, 5,201 votes were cast. The “yeas” netted 2,785, the “nays” were 2,412 (four votes were deemed invalid).

Despite the York County opposition, the Coastal Law influence and nonsupport of Federalists, separation, at last, had won the day. Windham voted no, 16-6 (Raymond was not yet incorporated).
But not so fast! The general court proceeded to void the results of the election, reasoning that the slight majority was won with a mere 5000 votes cast out of a population exceeding 100,000.

Next time, we learn how it would take four more popular votes before winning statehood. The separatists would have to negotiate land treaties with the Native Americans, settle a border dispute with Great Britain and overcome voter apathy. And which way would the vote go in Windham and Raymond?