Friday, February 21, 2020

North Yarmouth Academy Honor Roll for first semester 2019-20

The following students who live in the Windham Eagle’s coverage area attained honor roll status for the first semester:

Highest Honors       
Grade 9:
          Emily Greene of Windham     

High Honors
Grade 7:
          Timothy Taylor of Raymond
Grade 10:
Emma Rothrock of Naples
Grade 9:
          Jonah Donnelly of Raymond
Grade 10:
          Samantha Babbitt of Windham
Grade 12:
          Emily Beisel-Bolen of Raymond                                            
Marley Boettcher of Windham
Pierce Manchester of Raymond
North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school for toddlers to students in grade twelve. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character and intellect in its students. For more information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at

Student of the week: Caedyn Lipson

Caedyn Lipson, a fifth-grade student from Jordan-Small Middle School is The Windham Eagle’s Student of the Week.

“Caedyn Lipson, is a wonderful student, always smiling and always willing to share a positive thought,” her teachers state. “She is curious and inquisitive. Caedyn makes sure she fully understands a concept and uses her questions to create strong work. Caedyn is thoughtful and empathetic toward her classmates, often offering help to others when needed.”

Windham High School receives National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School Award for the second time.

Windham High School (WHS) is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School award. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment.

“Windham High School is honored to receive this recognition from NATA, for the second time.” said Casey Sinclair, Athletic Trainer.  “We remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during team practices and games, so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship, and good health. Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players.”

This award shows how important it is to have an athletic trainer in every high school. According to Korey Stringer Institute, in the state of Maine only 92 out of 147 high school have an athletic trainer, with only 53 schools having a full-time athletic trainer. Windham is one of the few schools that has a full-time athletic trainer. Casey has been at Windham high school for 13 years. Casey graduated from the University of New England with a bachelor’s in athletic training and Secondary Education. Casey is responsible for over 700 athletes that participate in the 28 sports offered at WHS, across three tiers of competition (varsity, junior varsity and first team). So far this year she has completed over 400 evaluations and 2400 treatments. These evaluations range from concussion, strain/sprain, fractures, blister/wound care, heat illness, cold/flu and mental health conditions. Casey is also the liaison between the student athletes, parents, coaches, school nurse, doctors, administrations, guidance/social workers and teachers. 

In order to achieve Safe Sports School status, the athletic programs must achieve the following:

Create a positive athletic health care administrative system
Provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations
Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
Plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes
Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions
Provide or facilitate injury intervention
Create and rehearse a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education
Be sure athletes and parents are educated about the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities

To apply, schools complete an in-depth questionnaire that assesses adherence to best practice standards and recommendations. For more information about the Safe Sports School Award, please visit

Do not forget March is National Athletic Training Month!

Annual Boys State and Girls State Programs announced

By Dave Tanguay

The American Legion Field-Allen Post and Auxiliary takes great pleasure in offering this highly visible education opportunity for our community youth. For the 72nd consecutive year, the American Legion is hosting the traditional Boys State Convention to be held at Thomas College, Waterville from June 21 through 25.

The exciting news! The Legion Auxiliary is making plans to host the Girls State Convention at Thomas Collage during the same period. This will afford both high school junior boys and girls an opportunity to share some of their experiences this year with a goal of full integration of the programs in the future.

The Boys and Girls State Programs provides an opportunity to participate in a program that supplements the students’ high school courses in government and how it functions. In this program, our young adults role-play as they learn to campaign for local, county and state offices and then organize and carry out the functions of the state government.

Any high school junior interested in learning about town and state government qualifies for Boys and Girls State. Information pertaining to the program is made available for all juniors at their school guidance office. All students at all scholastic levels may apply. Additionally, the Legion Field-Allen Post family will host an information session open to all juniors on Wednesday, March 18 to brief them on the programs. Additional application forms for both programs will be available at that time.   

There will be a follow-up interview session by the Legion Family on Tuesday, April 14th for those interested students. All forms must be completed at time of interview. For more info on Boys State, please go to: Girls State Information is pending and will be available by the end of February. Contact Pam Whynot for additional information at 892- 4720 or

The tuition of $320.00 is covered by the sponsors, the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 and Unit 148. If you want to become a cosponsor, contact Dave Tanguay, 892-1306 for additional information.

Last year nearly 200 high school juniors attended each of these outstanding programs. This year, the American Legion is attempting to expand that number and appreciate any assistance to attain this goal. There is no limit to the number of boys or girls a school may send. Currently, the Field-Allen Post and Unit have budgeted funding for four delegates and would welcome additional interest from organizations to support the funding needs.

At the Boys State Convention this year, three scholarships will be offered to attendees. Two of the scholarships are for $500 sponsored by The American Legion, Department of Maine. The third is the Samsung Scholarship offered through our National HQ for $1250 (please  Additional scholarships from the Alumni Association will be offered year to year depending upon funding. Information on Girls Sate Scholarship is pending.

To our high school junior boys and girls, if you are civic minded and desire to learn more about government, then please apply through your guidance office. Tell them you want to attend Boys or Girls State!  This can be a life altering opportunity! Deadline for application to the American Legion Post is May 1st

Bill to make technical changes to “hands-free” distracted driving law passes Senate unanimously

A bill introduced by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, to make technical changes to Maine’s new “hands free” distracted driving law received unanimous support from the Maine Senate last Thursday.  The bill, LD 1901, “An Act To Amend the Laws Prohibiting the Use of Handheld Phones and Devices While Driving," would amend the language of the law to clarify the intended fine amount and exempt ham radio operators.

“Maine’s new distracted driving law is already keeping our roads safer,” said Sen. Diamond. “The technical changes in LD 1901 will clarify the Legislature’s intent for law enforcement and the courts. I appreciate my Senate colleagues’ strong support for this bill, and swift action to move it through the process.”

Last year, Sen. Diamond’s bill, LD 165, “An Act To Prohibit the Use of Handheld Phones and Devices While Driving,” became law. The new law prohibits the use of handheld electronic devices while driving, and while it set a fine of “not less than $50” for the first offense and “not less than $250” for second and subsequent offenses, the courts initially decided to set the fines at much higher rates. This was not consistent with the intent of the law.

Sen. Diamond spoke with Maine Supreme Court Chief Justice Saufley about this discrepancy and, after that conversation, the Judicial Branch announced that it would honor the intent of the law and lower the fine amount. LD 1901 would provide the necessary legislative fix to clarify the law’s original intent going forward.

LD 1901 faces further votes in the Maine Senate and House.

Maine's Craft Apprentice Program: 2020 apprenticeships announced to include Windham artist

Anne Alexander of Windham
The Maine Crafts Association, in partnership with the Maine Arts Commission, is proud to announce and support seven master/apprentice pairs selected for the 2020 Craft Apprentice Program (CAP), including Anne Alexander of Windham.

Alexander will apprentice with Master Thomas Berger in his Kittery workshop to learn to carve
granite. Anne, an experienced sculptor, currently makes indoor and seasonal outdoor sculpture; by learning to carve granite she will be able to make and sell outdoor sculpture that can stay outside year-round and require little maintenance. Tom will also support her goals to scale-up her small ceramic, wood and alabaster designs into larger sculptures and help her set up a new outdoor granite carving studio.

The 2020 Craft Apprentice Program is supported by generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maine Arts Commission, media/magazine sponsorship from Maine Home & Design and program support from MCA organizational partner, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.

The Craft Apprentice Program began in 2016 to provide an in-studio educational opportunity for apprentices who demonstrate a commitment to further their abilities as craft artists; they accomplish this through a significant relationship with a master artist.

Applicants apply jointly, providing clear goals, a plan for how goals will be achieved, and a budget for the apprentice’s honorarium. Both must also submit resumes and images of current work. The apprenticeship is centered on the apprentice's goals for their studio practice and craft career over 100 hours of one-on-one in-studio learning with a master craft artist result in meeting those goals. Both master and apprentice are awarded funding. To close the program, all artists participate in an alumni gathering and a public exhibition of works created during the apprenticeship period. The 2020 exhibition will take place at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, with a public opening reception sponsored by Maine Home & Design on October 2, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m..

Friday, February 14, 2020

Windham woman shares personal experience of congestive heart failure diagnosis at the age of 35

By Elizabeth Richards

Shelly Afthim is a wife, mother, community volunteer, and heart failure patient.  Her story is one all women should hear.

Heart disease causes one in three deaths in women each year. Forty-five percent of women over the age of 20 have some kind of cardiovascular disease.  More women die from heart disease than from all types of cancer combined. These are startling statistics that Afthim didn’t know before her journey with heart failure began.

Shelly Afthim
In 2006, Afthim thought she had a bad case of bronchitis. She had a cough that wouldn’t go away, extreme fatigue, and shortness of breath. One night, as she fell asleep, she startled awake and found herself gasping for air.

She drove herself to the hospital, something she has since learned you should never do when having trouble breathing or heart-related symptoms. Once there, she had a chest x-ray and they found something she’d never expected: she had congestive heart failure. She was 35 years old.

“You would have never thought that it was my heart,” she said. There was no known family history of heart disease, although several years later her older sister died in her sleep at the age of 50 from cardiomyopathy.

After about a week in the hospital, Afthim was sent home, with a visiting nurse checking in on her every other day. She’d been home less than two weeks when her blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels were so low the nurse called the doctor, who told her she had to immediately get to the hospital.  The numbers were so low, her doctor said, that she was at risk of sudden death or stroke. 

Afthim went to Mercy Hospital, but they couldn’t do what she needed, so they planned to transfer her to Maine Medical Center. As she waited to be transferred, a nurse practitioner discovered that the blood work from her first visit had showed a positive test for Lyme disease.  She was put on an antibiotic to treat the Lyme disease, which is assumed to be the cause of her heart problems. After being treated at Mercy for a week, she was transferred to Maine Medical Center where a defibrillator was implanted. 

After that, Afthim said, she thought life would be back to normal. “I kind of looked at it like my security blanket, like ‘I have this defibrillator, my heart’s going to be okay’,” she said. But the Lyme disease became a chronic condition that caused other problems such as pain throughout her body and severe memory issues that impacted her job. 

At the same time, Afthim received more bad news: her defibrillator had been recalled.  Since removing it required a risky surgery, the unit was reprogrammed to send a warning signal if it was, indeed, defective.  A year later, that alarm sounded.

Afthim went to Brigham and Women’s hospital, where the surgeons had more experience with that type of surgery, and the defibrillator was removed and replaced. Once again, she thought all was well.
Unfortunately, her difficulties weren’t over yet. After beginning a new medication to help with her Lyme disease, an interaction with her heart caused enough irregular heartbeats that she needed a heart ablation.

Finally, Afthim started to recover. She began volunteering for the American Heart Association, was the Heart Walk Survivor Story in 2007, and in 2016 she was one of the spokeswomen for Go Red for Women.  She then decided to go back to work, taking a position at the American Heart Association. 
Within six to eight months of returning to work, she began having symptoms again. Her ejection fraction, which describes the amount of blood pumped back into your system with each beat, was below 15%.  The typical ejection fraction for a healthy heart is 60-70%.  In 2006, Afthim’s had been 18%, and she’d brought it back to 40% by the time she returned to work.  “Now, I had made it even worse,” she said. “Instead of focusing on my health, I decided to focus on a job again and that wasn’t the right thing for me to do.” 

Her doctors began discussing a heart transplant, but she asked for time to improve the numbers on her own.  With the help of a new prescription that wasn’t available before, her heart has rebounded to 40% again.  “I’ve learned to accept my limitations now,” Afthim said.  She says she has a great support network, including friends in the community as well as other survivors.  She volunteers for the American Heart Association, Windham Boosters, and other community outreach efforts, and has hobbies that keep her busy.  “I just try to balance my life now and realize that having a job doesn’t define who you are as a person,” she said. “Taking care of myself and being here for my kids is the biggest thing for me.”

Afthim has been asked to be the keynote survivor speaker at the Go Red for Women luncheon in Portland on March 19th, to share her story and help people understand that heart disease doesn’t always mean a heart attack or stroke. “Sometimes there are things like heart failure that is just something that people have to live with,” she said. The luncheon is an annual event that often has 600 people in attendance, with speakers and breakout sessions to learn about heart disease. 

For women, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms, which may be different than symptoms in men, Afthim said.  Often women are too busy taking care of others to recognize the signs, she added.

Although she lives with two chronic conditions, neither is obvious from the outside.  “I think It’s really important to have people that you trust, and people who support you through it because you don’t look sick,” Afthim said.  “People see me, and they think I’m fine, but they don’t understand that if I was having a bad day, you wouldn’t see me at all. I’d be staying at home and I wouldn’t be out in public.”        

“I really feel like we need to do a better job, especially with women, to make sure that they do know that their greatest health threat is their heart,” Afthim said. Although women find it difficult to take time for themselves, she said, there are things they can do in their daily lives to prevent heart disease, including not smoking, eating right, and knowing important numbers like blood pressure and cholesterol levels. “There are things that you can do yourself to lower your risks,” she said.  

Although Afthim is no longer the director of the Southern Maine Heart Walk, she’ll be walking with a team of family and friends on May 17, 2020.  On her fundraising page, she wrote “I walk because I know that with every step, I’m making a difference in someone’s life. I know that I am alive today because someone walked for me, so that I could survive.”

Donations to the team can be made through the website by clicking the Heart Walk page and searching Afthim’s name.