Saturday, October 13, 2018

LearningWorks Seeks AmeriCorps team members to empower southern Maine students

LearningWorks has received a $497,646 AmeriCorps grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The grant will support 101 AmeriCorps members who will provide tutoring, mentoring, and extracurricular enrichment for students who are not yet meeting literacy and math benchmarks.  In the 2017-2018 school year, AIMS HIGH provided individual and small group support to 550 students. We championed even more learners through afterschool activities and whole-classroom support. Our members have provided over 20,000 hours of direct service.

This grant will fund LearningWorks' AIMS HIGH program to recruit, train, and support AmeriCorps members at five elementary schools with School Turnaround initiatives that include Windham Primary School, among others. Each school's team of AmeriCorps members will provide critical support to these school communities by working directly with students during the 2018-2019 school year.

"AmeriCorps members are an indispensable source of positive impact and energy in our communities and nation," said Heather Davis, executive director of LearningWorks and a former AmeriCorps Member. "We're thrilled that the Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized the value of AmeriCorps members serving with LearningWorks in Southern Maine schools for the sixth straight year." 

Our members also see the importance of the work as it plays a positive role in both their communities and their own lives. Paula Webster, third-year member at Windham Primary School said, “I have had a post-retirement dream to volunteer at a school for a very long time. Both of my daughters attended Windham Primary School, and AIMS HIGH allows me to give back to a school that offered so much to my family.” 

In addition to the grant funding, CNCS will make available $221,000 in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for the LearningWorks AmeriCorps members to pay higher education costs or student loans. The grant will generate an additional $400,470 in local matching support and other outside resources from businesses, foundations, and other organizations.

AIMS HIGH is actively seeking AmeriCorps members both locally and nationally to join their team and empower Southern Maine students. Full-time members earn $13,732 annual living allowance, $6,095 education award, and health insurance. Half-time members serve 25 hours per week and earn a $5,500 living allowance and $3,047 education award. Minimum-time members serve 7 hours per week and receive a $1,290 education award. AmeriCorps members over the age of 55 can gift their education award to their children or grandchildren. To apply, email or call (207) 517-3137.

Saint Joseph’s College celebrates Campus Sustainability Month

Saint Joseph’s College joins campuses nationwide in celebrating Campus Sustainability Month throughout October 2018. This annual event, hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), highlights achievements and raises awareness of the value of higher education sustainability. The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Saint Joseph’s College has earned a STARS Silver rating from AASHE for its efforts.

The College’s Center for Sustainable Communities will partner with several departments throughout October for inspirational and fun events. The Center’s overarching goals include: achieve carbon neutrality by 2036; promote a culture of sustainability among students, faculty, staff, administration, and surrounding communities; establish the campus as a living laboratory for sustainable solutions; inform effective and inclusive sustainability-focused decision making on campus and in the community; and lead through innovation.

Campus Sustainability Month events have begun. The events established for the rest of the month include the following: 

October 12, 12:15 p.m., Tour of ecomaine
October 13, 9 a.m.: Trip to Portland Farmers Market
October 15, SJC Gets Lit 2.0
October 19, 9 a.m., Heffernan Courtyard: Waste Audit
October 19, 1 p.m., Viola George Auditorium: ecomaine presentation
October 21, 1 p.m. to -3 p.m., “Fishbowl”: Student Clothing Exchange
October 22, 6 p.m., Heffernan Lounge: Make Your Own Journal
October 23, 3 p.m., Viola George Auditorium, Maine Standard Biofuels presentation
October 26, 2:15 p.m.: Garbage to Garden Tour
October 29, 1-3 p.m., 2nd Floor of Alfond: Adopt a Plant
October 31, 11 a.m.: The Grotto, Prayer for Earth: Our Common Home

Ongoing events include Meatless Mondays in which members of the college community are encouraged to be mindful of meat consumption and weekly walks on Thursdays to promote exercise.

The College will also participate in the nationwide EcoChallenge, statewide Way 2 Go Maine Commuter Challenge, and everyone is encouraged to sign the pledge for #PlasticFreeSJC by incorporating reusable containers into daily routines.

For more information about Sustainability Month activities, contact Energy Efficiency Coordinator Heather Craig at or 207-893-7783.

For more information about the Center for Sustainable Communities, contact CSC Engagement Coordinator Kimberly Post at or 207-893-7789.

About Sustainability at Saint Joseph’s College
Sustainability at Saint Joseph’s College encompasses human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for future generations. It is expressed as a deep and holistic respect for the earth through daily practices, decision-making, and stewardship in a healthy and equitable way so that communities now and in the future can thrive. Learn more.
About the Center for Sustainable Communities
The Center for Sustainable Communities fosters innovation and leadership through the intersection of social justice and sustainability by integrating principles of social, environmental, and economic sustainability into campus operations, academics, engagement, and policy and administration.
About Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. They work with and for higher education to ensure that our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit

Self-care and healing highlighted at fall holistic fair in Windham

By Elizabeth Richards

Perfect fall weather accompanied the Fall Holistic Fair on Saturday, September 29th at the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham. A wide range of booths inside and out offered up products and services all centered around healing, mindfulness, inner peace and spiritual health.

The Fall Holistic Fair in Windham
The force behind the fair was Jennifer Joy Klein of Tangible Tarot. Singlehandedly organizing the fair was an immense task that Klein felt led to do. She’d begun doing more communal events such as open houses and self-care days. “I’m all about that. Let’s not wait until all the bottom falls out, let’s take care of ourselves now,” Klein said. “We’re all learning slowly that to be productive in the world, to want to help other people to make this world a productive place, we have to start taking care of ourselves.”

As more people asked Klein about events, she began to work on organizing something small, with perhaps six practitioners.  After some issues with her original location, she found herself driving right by where it was supposed to be held and ending up in the parking lot of the Microtel. She decided to go in and find out what could be done there.  When she saw the space available, she was astounded.  Everything fell into place, and she gathered vendors for her first fair held last March.  “Within a week, I was full,” she said.

For the fall fair, vendors approached Klein asking to be involved. “People drove two hours to come to this event,” she said. And afterwards, “they were ecstatic.”

There was no admission to get into the holistic fair, and that was by design. People have told Klein she should charge, but she doesn’t want to do that. “I’m offering this to the community,” she said. “So many people were offering free things,” she said. “It was a true gift to have to have all these people together and to offer this.”

The atmosphere at the fair was peaceful and welcoming. The sun was shining as I browsed the outdoor booths, examining the wealth of self-care and healing items for sale. I happened upon a booth in the corner offering information and a trial of Sahaja Yoga. Windham resident Jerry Mayfield was operating this booth, along with his son. After offering up a brief history and information about the practice, Mayfield led another woman and me through a meditation.  He was quick to emphasize that the practice of Sahaja Yoga is always free, because “the energy is yours.” 

An informational brochure on the practice states, “there can be immediate benefits in stress relief and a feeling of peace and contentment.”  That perfectly describes the experience I had with that one trial session. Though there was noise and activity all around me, I was able to focus on Mayfield’s voice and find a quiet place within. For a busy mom with three different jobs and a number of volunteering responsibilities, that’s a rare and wonderful thing.

After my meditation experience, I ventured inside to discover additional vendors and healing opportunities. Again, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming, with almost palpable positive energy. Some vendors were offering services for sale, others a free look at what they had to offer. As I walked by a sound and energy healing booth, and heard the tones from the crystal bowls, tears sprang to my eyes and I felt a sense of release. Since breaking down in public wasn’t of interest to me, I walked on by – but returned later to learn more. 

I wish there had been time for me to experience all the healing modalities present. The fair certainly reminded me how important self-care and healing are, and how many different practitioners and vendors exist nearby. “There’s huge things going on in Windham that people aren’t realizing we’ve started,” Klein said. “We’re really groundbreaking with what’s going on.”

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a group of practitioners is working on putting together a free “give to yourself” day at Ways to Wellness in Windham ( offering breathing, readings, stretching, yoga meditations, reiki and more.

Klein has a healing and reading practice for one on one readings, offers her services at a range of events, and has been a guest on radio broadcasts. She can be reached on Facebook at

A matter of historical record: History on the Hill tour to feature historic homes and storied tales of Windham’s past

By Walter Lunt

The latest in a series of Windham history tours conducted by the Windham Historical Society will be held on Saturday, October 13. Dubbed History on the Hill, it features several stops at addresses on historic Windham Hill, a neighborhood with a fascinating and storied past, at the corner of Pope and Ward Roads.

Included in each of four tours that day will be the Federal period style Moses Little House and the United Church of Christ, once featured in National Geographic magazine as one of the most picturesque old-style churches in New England.

The Edward Anderson House - first stop on the tour
The first stop on the tour will be the 2 ½ story Edward Anderson House, the oldest residence on Windham Hill, located across from the public works facility on Windham Center Road. Built of post and beam construction in the early 1790s, the mainly Georgian architectural style house retains many original features, including a slight mix of Federal period characteristics.

Edward Anderson built his first home on River Road, the beginnings of what would become the Anderson-Lord, or Maplewood Farm with its distinctive gothic appearance. The Windham Hill house would be his second dwelling and include many of the same features.

Windham historian Linda Griffin points out the importance of symmetry to early house builders. “Notice the center door with paired windows on each side…pleasing to the eye.”

Entering through the front door, the room on the right was a formal parlor used mainly for weddings, funerals or special visitors (children were often barred). Wide board wainscoting, wide pine floors and thin raised-panel doors with thumb latches and H and L hinges are original features. Ripples snaking across the flat surfaces of the woodwork and paneling reveal the craftsmanship of early hand planers.

In most Georgian homes of the time a sitting room, or informal parlor, would be located to the left of the entry-way. But in what Griffin describes as a “hall and parlor” layout, this is the kitchen. Twelve over eight pane windows (at least one original remains) admit the light of a southern exposure. Hand-hewn beams line the ceiling and an old brick lined fireplace with a side bake oven are preserved from a much earlier time. Three fireplaces on the first floor linked to a central chimney remind us that these wood burners were the sole source of heat and cooked food.

A back-room on the first floor, commonly referred to as a “borning room” was used to care for the sick, for storage and occasionally as office space, according to Griffin.

In addition to the acquisition of the property at Windham Hill, Edward Anderson also gained mill rights on the near-by Pleasant River. He built a saw mill. To increase water power to the mill, Anderson tapped the waters of Collin’s Pond, creating added water energy to the river via Smith Brook. In June of 1814, strained by the water pressure of spring rains, the mill dam gave way. The resulting flood took out mills and bridges from Windham Hill to Gambo and Mallison’s Falls in South Windham. Subsequent law suits and the loss of his lumber business apparently left him destitute.

Bette Davis and Gary Merrill 
Fast forward to 1947 – the house was purchased by the Sanborn family. According to daughter Ann (Sanborn) Clark, her father bought the place from a descendant of the Anderson family. For several months, the family used an ice box. “My dad had to buy ice every two days.” Ann’s brother, Lee, remembers his father installing the first plumbing and electricity.

The family moved to California around 1950; the house was put up for rent and was vacant for a while.

No one knows why Bette Davis’ eyes fell on Windham in the early 50s, but the legendary film actress and her movie star husband Gary Merrill rented the aged house. As far as anyone can remember, Davis and Merrill never lived there, but did move their furniture into the house for storage.

According to Lee Sanborn, “My father knew of Davis’ reputation as a (heavy) drinker and being concerned about the narrow stairway to the second floor with its treads worn dangerously thin by over 150 years of foot traffic, decided to purchase $20,000 additional liability insurance.” Family and friends told his father the move was unnecessary and tried to no avail to talk him out of it. Davis and Merrill ended up building an estate in Cape Elizabeth, having spent little time at the Windham house.
Later, in the 1960s, the Sanborn’s learned (although they cannot recall where the incident occurred) that Davis had indeed tumbled down a flight of stairs. And sued. “My dad said the (incident) proved he was clairvoyant,” recalled Lee.

The current owners of the Anderson House, Steve Woodward and Jenna Shank, will open their home and share its unique architectural features and its stories this Saturday, October, 13 for four tours beginning at 10 a.m.

Of their participation in the History on the Hill tours, Shank says, “Part of the responsibility of owning a piece of local history is to share it with your community.” 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

An evening picnic on the Songo River

By Briana Bizier

One of the many wonderful things about living in the Lakes Region is that you don’t need to go far to find a beautiful outdoor adventure.

However, last Sunday afternoon it looked like our family had completely missed the outdoor adventure boat. By the time we’d finished all our typical weekend chores, like cleaning the house until it was at least habitable again or going to the store because we’d run out of all the essentials (milk, eggs, and chocolate chips), it was almost two in the afternoon. When my husband suggested a canoeing picnic dinner on the Songo River, I was mildly skeptical. Could we really pull that off on a school night?

Well, there was only one way to find out!

We ordered dinners from a local sandwich shop, packed the car, and headed to one of our favorite easy canoeing sites: the Songo River.

The Songo River flows between Long Lake and Sebago Lake, with a very accessible put-in spot at the Songo Locks. As we rounded up the children and packed our dinners and paddles into the canoe, several kayakers launched their boats from the lovely Veteran’s Fishing Pier on the opposite side of the river. At least we weren’t the only paddlers heading out in the afternoon!

Downstream from the Locks, the Songo River follows a gentle, serpentine route through Sebago Lake State Park as it winds around small islands, laps against beaches, and swirls into bays. Just minutes after launching our canoe, we rounded a corner and saw a great blue heron standing majestically along the shore.
Look at the heron,” I told my little assistants.

So cool!” my eight-year-old agreed.

Where? I can’t see it,” our four-year-old cried.

At that, the heron spread its wings and flew directly ahead of our canoe, its wingtips almost touching the still water.

I SEE IT!” our four-year-old yelled, for all of Sebago Lake State Park to hear.

One of our favorite things about the Songo River, in addition to the herons, are the small beaches which line the river. Unlike many other canoe friendly rivers in the area, the Songo has gentle, sandy banks which are just perfect for beaching a canoe. These banks are also perfectly spaced for small children’s short attention spans. Once the four-year-old began to wiggle in the canoe, we were able to
pull onto one of the many sunlit beaches and let the children explore.

As Mom and Dad cast a fly rod into the calm waters of the Songo on the off chance a hungry salmon may have been patrolling the river (no luck, I’m sorry to report), our little assistants identified deer and squirrel tracks, climbed on logs, and played in the weathered roots of an old tree. At one point, just before the two assistants started fighting over a particularly irresistible stick, the fallen log was both a submarine and a fighter jet with minnows stuck in the engine who needed to be rescued.
However, fighting over a stick was a sure sign that it was almost dinner time.

Do you kids want to eat here, or keep exploring?” I asked.

Explore!” the kids shouted in unison.

We climbed back in the canoe, pushed off from the shore, and continued our slow paddle down the river. Because the twists, bends, and bays of this section of the Songo River are all part of Sebago Lake State Park, paddlers are free to beach their canoes anywhere without fear of trespassing. We chose a quiet, grassy spot beneath towering white pines for our picnic dinner. It may have been the cool evening air, the effects of climbing over a fallen log, or just the excellent sandwiches, but the assistants ate their dinners with gusto and nary a word of complaint.

Is that all it takes to get them to eat dinner?” my husband asked. “Just an hour and a half of canoeing beforehand?”

By the time we finished our dinner, the sun was sinking behind the trees and their long shadows had already reached across the glassy Songo River. We gave our assistants a five-minute warning, then put on our life jackets one last time and began our paddle back up the river. Luckily, because this stretch of river is so calm, there wasn’t much current to fight.

If you’re quiet,” I tried to tell my assistants, “you might see some wildlife.”

Quiet, however, is a difficult concept for the Bizier children. Despite constant running commentary from both little canoeists, however, we did manage to spot several groups of mallard ducks and a red squirrel. We didn’t quite reach the Songo’s outlet in Sebago Lake, but we did have a wonderful adventure for a Sunday afternoon.

And yes, we even made it home by bedtime!

If you’d like to explore the Songo River on your own, follow State Park Road off of Route 302 until your reach the unmistakable Songo Locks. Both the Veteran’s Fishing Pier and the locks themselves offer smooth put-ins for canoes and kayaks. The river itself is quite windy, and it’s also very clearly labeled with arrows. Please note there is a “no wake” regulation for motor boats.

Calling all directors

Schoolhouse Arts Center is very excited to announce their 2019 Season which also marks the 30th Anniversary of the performing arts in the Greater Sebago Lakes Region. They have so many wonderful opportunities coming in the next year and they hope that you will be a part of it! Schoolhouse is currently accepting directors’ proposals for the following shows:

“Singin’ In The Rain”
July 11- 28, 2019

“Catch Me If You Can”
September 26 - October 6, 2019

“A Christmas Carol”
December 6 - 15, 2019

If you are interested in directing any of these shows- they would love to hear about your vision and your plans with each production. Proposals should include the following:

1. Cover Letter
2. Director Resume (If you have one)
3. Your Vision for the Show
4. Estimated Budget (costumes, set, props, etc.)
5. Other Notes/Requests

Proposals must be submitted by November 1, 2018 to be considered and can be sent to or you may hand deliver a copy of your proposal during their regular office hours which can be found on our website.
They look forward to reading these proposals and seeing what kind of magic can be created on the Schoolhouse stage. For the last 30 years audiences have found a home here at Schoolhouse Arts Center and as they continue on the great tradition of theatre and the arts, they hope to welcome new directors to our family and welcome back some familiar faces.
Do note that Schoolhouse Arts Center’s Artistic Director, Zachariah Stearn will be acting as the role of the Producer for each of the shows on the MainStage to support the creative team in any way that he can and also be the liaison between the team and the Board of Directors. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call them!

DHHS reminds Mainers of dangers of accidental marijuana ingestion

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is reminding Mainers
of the importance of taking the necessary steps to ensure marijuana stays out of reach of children to avoid the risk of accidental ingestion.

Accidental marijuana ingestion often occurs when marijuana has been combined with food to become an “edible” form of the drug. Edibles can be presented in a variety of different ways, including in the forms of candy, brownies, and other baked goods or sweets, which may entice children to eat them without knowing they contain the drug.

Accidental ingestion of marijuana or marijuana products can cause serious health consequences, and young children are at an exceptionally higher risk because of their size and weight. In 2017, there were 16 calls for accidental marijuana ingestion by a child 0-5 years old made to the Northern New England Poison Center— an increase from only two in 2016. 

Adults and pets are also at risk of accidental marijuana ingestion by unintentionally consuming food that contained marijuana. Edibles often have high amounts of THC but the effects may not be felt until four hours after consumption. This delay of marijuana’s psychoactive effect in edibles has commonly led people to accidentally use more marijuana than intended. Signs and symptoms of marijuana ingestion can include lethargy, dizziness, lack of coordination, and difficulty breathing.

Marijuana should be stored in a locked area and out of sight and reach of children and pets. How you store marijuana should change as your children get older. What works to protect a toddler from accidental ingestion may not work to protect a teenager.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has introduced a campaign called Good to Know Maine, aimed at providing the public with information related to marijuana. The campaign outlines tips on safe storage, as well as educational information on Maine’s marijuana laws, youth-use prevention, and marijuana’s potential health consequences. Please visit:

If you are worried that you, your child or a loved one may have accidentally ingested marijuana, call the poison control hotline (1-800-222-1222). If the reaction seems dangerous, call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately. If you believe your pet may have ingested marijuana, call a veterinarian. Signs that an animal has ingested marijuana include loss of balance, vomiting, loss of interest or low body temperature.