Friday, September 20, 2019

Book Review on Miranda July's “The First Bad Man”


Reviewed By Jennifer Dupree, Circulation Supervisor at the Windham Public Library

When Miranda July’s “The First Bad Man” opens, Cheryl Glickman is in love with Phillip, even though Phillip is infatuated with an underage girl and wants Cheryl’s permission to have an intimate relationship with the young woman. Cheryl, who keeps her life small and rigid so that she won’t be thrown into chaos, is thrown into chaos by Phillip. And then by Clee. Clee, the daughter of Cheryl’s employers at Open Palm, a self-defense studio for women, is what Cheryl describes as a blond bombshell. Cheryl’s employers ask Cheryl to take Clee in and, even though she resists, she can’t really say no.

Clee is a terrible houseguest. She’s entirely disruptive to the systems Cheryl has put in place and maintained for her forty-some years. She’s lazy, angry, and her feet stink. And then their relationship worsens as Clee begins to physically attack Cheryl and Cheryl, after therapy, starts to fight back. This novel is incredibly physical. July renders every aspect of the body viscerally. It’s impossible not to feel this book physically and then to feel it emotionally.

I don’t want to give too much away, but Clee and Cheryl’s relationship takes a turn, and then another. I loved the cadence of this book—the way things happened and didn’t happen, the consequences and regrets. Everyone moves outside her comfort zone, everyone makes mistakes. There’s happiness and sadness.

This is a beautiful novel about unexpected friendship, about finding yourself, about being true to yourself. It’s about identity and longing and loss and letting go. It’s also absurdist in places and, because of that, wickedly funny.


Fun, music and cocktails at Sebago Spirits Festival

The First Annual Sebago Spirits Festival hosted by the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce and Maine’s Alternative Caring was held Saturday, September 14th at Point Sebago, in Casco, and it was a roaring success.  Over 380 attendees enjoyed wonderful food, great music, and tasting of a fabulous array of gins, vodkas, whiskeys and more – all produced by local distillers right here in Maine!

Photo by Molly Shaw

Practice school bus safety every day

Millions of students rely on public transportation to get them to and from school each and every day. The National Safety Council (NSC) says 25 million students in the United States begin and end their school days on school buses. The NSC adds that riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a family vehicle and 10 times safer than walking.

Recent community conversations in the Windham and Raymond areas have included concerns regarding stopping for a school bus while the red lights are flashing. There have been a few incidents caught on video by concerned parents that shows vehicles continuing, and often speeding, through a stopped bus as it is either picking up or dropping off a student.

According to Maine State law, “It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus with red lights flashing on school property, on any undivided highway or parking area in Maine. If you are approaching a stopped school bus from either direction, with its red lights flashing, you must bring your vehicle to a complete stop in front or rear of the school bus and wait while children are getting on or off the bus. 

You must not proceed until the bus resumes motion or until signaled by the school bus driver to do so. The operator of a vehicle on a way separated by curbing or other physical barrier need not stop on meeting or passing a school bus if traveling in a lane separated by the barrier from the lane in which that operator is traveling.”

Although buses are designed for safety and other vehicles must adhere to the state law, student riders can do a lot to make their bus trips even safer and preventing injury.

· Stand only in the designated school bus stop. Always stand on the sidewalk, lawn or curb where the school bus stop is located. Stay away from the street because traffic in the morning and the afternoon can be very busy and hectic.
cstlouis@spurwink.org
· Arrive at the stop early. Rushing to the bus stop may cause you to make errors in judgment, including running in traffic to catch the bus. Leave early so you have ample time to catch the bus and obey all traffic laws.

· Only board and exit the bus when it is safe. Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before boarding or exiting. The driver will engage the stop sign and put on the flashing red lights. Move around the bus only when it is stopped.

· Keep the aisles clear. Stay out of the aisle when the bus is in motion and store backpacks on your lap or under your seat so they are not tripping hazards.

· Use seat restraints. Use seat restraints when available on the school bus. While not every school bus has seatbelts, many now do.

· Stay in your seat. Remain in your seat while the bus is in motion. Keep your hands inside of the windows. Do not get up to engage with other riders.

·Keep a good distance between you and the bus. Exit the bus and cross in front where the driver can see you. If you cannot see the driver, he or she cannot see you. Check for safety signals from the driver to proceed when traffic has stopped. Always walk, never run, around a bus.

· Do not goof off. When on the bus, always behave so that you can hear any safety instructions and be aware of your surroundings. Behaving also means one less distraction for drivers.

School bus passengers can make their rides to school even safer by playing it smart.

Let’s all work together, keeping in mind the safety of our children.


Schoolhouse Arts Center presents “Catch Me If You Can” musical September 27 to October 6

Once again, Schoolhouse Arts Center (SHAC)is pulling out all the stops to bring great entertainment to audiences this fall. From September 27 to October 6, the SHAC will be presenting the wonderfully entertaining musical comedy “Catch Me If You Can”, directed by Jake Boyce. “Catch Me If You Can” is a big and bright spectacle with high-energy dance numbers and a riveting musical comedy that is sure to set toes tapping and laughter throughout the performance.  

This PG-13 play is based on the hit film and the incredible true story, “Catch Me If You Can”.  It is the high-flying musical comedy about chasing your dreams and not getting caught. Nominated for four Tony awards, including Best Musical, this delightfully entertaining show was created by a Tony Award-winning "dream team," with a book by Terrence McNally (“The Full Monty”, “Ragtime”) and a swinging score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Hairspray”).  Schoolhouse is presenting a play that has not been presented in Maine for several years and is certain to be a hit. 

http://windhammaine.us/139/Boards-CommitteesSeeking fame and fortune, precocious teenager, Frank Abignale, Jr., runs away from home to begin an unforgettable adventure. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer – living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. When Frank's lies catch the attention of FBI agent, Carl Hanratty, though, Carl pursues Frank across the country to make him pay for his crimes.

“Catch Me If You Can” will be presented at Schoolhouse on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m. for only two weekends.  Order tickets before they are sold out. Tickets are available through the Schoolhouse web site at www.schoolhousearts.org. 

Adult tickets are $19, seniors or students are $17.  A $2 discount on your order is available by using the coupon code CatchMe30 when ordering your tickets online before Sept 27. The Schoolhouse is located at 16 Richville Road in Standish just 7 miles west of North Windham or Gorham center. 


Susie Pepper & Mixology delight crowd with a “Night at the Movies”


By Elizabeth Richards
           
The seventh season of Music with a Mission at the North Windham Union Church featured a lively, engaging “Night at the Movies” with Susie Pepper & Mixology on Friday, September 13, 2019.
Though the show included Disney and Pixar tunes, those certainly weren’t the only soundtracks the band drew from. The eclectic mix of songs came from movies that spanned many decades, from classics to recent blockbusters.

Susie Pepper
The group showcased their talents with an incredible range of styles, tackling everything from the jazz standard “As Time Goes By” from “Casablanca”, to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic”, to Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” from “Armageddon”.

Pepper’s energy and style shifted appropriately with each tune, and it was apparent that she and the band were having a great time throughout the show. At one point, Pepper burst into spontaneous laughter as a young boy in the front row covered his ears when she started to sing “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”.  She paused, then picked up right where she’d left off.

Pepper displayed impressive vocal versatility, keeping songs true to the originals while also incorporating her own style into each song.  From the first song to the last, the show was engaging, lighthearted and fun.

The nonprofit chosen as beneficiary for this concert was Hope Acts, a Portland based organization. According to their mission statement, Hope Acts provides housing, English classes, and other resources to support immigrants in both their transition to life in the area and in achieving their goals for the future. Their vision statement reads, “We envision a community where immigrants are welcomed and empowered socially, emotionally, physically, economically and spiritually.”

Over the course of its seven seasons, the Music With a Mission series has raised more than $65,000 to support the church and community organizations. Their last concert of the season, which features The Bruce Marshall Group, will be held on October 5th, 2019, and will benefit the Good Shepherd Food Bank. For more information visit www.mwamconcerts.com.

Local band to celebrate 40 years of making music together this Sunday


By Lorraine Glowczak

It all started in 1979 playing rag/tag tunes by a group of moderately undisciplined musicians jamming for fun. Fast forward to this Sunday, September 22 and you will find the slightly older, more refined - but still wild – band members of the current Bellamy Jazz Band perform their favorite Dixie Land Jazz songs at Lenny’s, 1274 Bridgton Rd, Westbrook from 2 to 5 p.m.

One of the original members who plays tenor sax and is a lead singer, Dave DeBree, shared the band’s history and story, beginning with his own experience. DeBree came to the band in a roundabout way. “I was at the store one day when I ran into a friend of mine, Roy Dunphy. He asked me if I still played the saxophone,” DeBree began. “I told him that I did. But the truth was, I hadn’t touched the instrument for a while. Roy asked me to fill in for their sax player, Peter Lord, while he was away for six weeks. I dusted off my sax and played with the band until Peter came back. Roy asked me to stay, joking that musicians are kind of like cats – you take them in and begin to collect them all.”

Dunphy who passed away in the fall of 2001 was considered the leader of the band. “Roy was the bass player and a wonderful entertainer. He was very charismatic and did a great job corralling 10 rotating musicians – all of which were either in early stages of parenthood or in late adolescence,” joked deBree. “Roy was just an over great guy and talented musician.”

Although the group has gone by a variety of band names, DeBree has been playing with the same group of musicians since the beginning early years. The group has performed all over southern Maine including venues such as the Old Port Festival, Sebago Lake Region Chamber events as well as at popular bars and nightclubs. The band has also performed for former Governor John McKernan on both of his Election Eve celebrations as well as at McKernan and Olympia Snowe’s wedding reception.

As described on their website, the band performs with six to eight pieces, depending on the occasion. They play a mixture of music from the 1900's to the 1940's including many standards by the likes of James P. Johnson, Duke Wellington, Fats Waller, George Gershwin, Bessie Smith, Sweet Emma Beret, Lewis Armstrong and many others.

“There’s hardly a tune that we cannot play,” DeBree stated. “We’ve gotten to the point that we rarely rehearse – we simply know each other too well now.”

But perhaps what is more important and contributes to the band’s longstanding success is that everyone gets their moment to shine. “We all share the spotlight – everyone gets their moment to stand out,” DeBree said.

Beside DeBree, the current members of Bellamy Jazz Band include the following: Peter Lord on soprano, alto, tenor sax, Bill Thurston on drums, Tom Whitehead on piano, Peter Dunphy on banjo, tenor guitar and vocals, Al Doane on string bass, Scott Thurston on trombone, Ray Sapierstein on lead cornet.

Although these musicians are the current members of the band, you will find past musicians who once played alongside them - jamming with the Bellamy Jazz Band as they celebrate 40 years of entertaining crowds this Sunday at Lenny’s.

“I remember at one point when we were running low on musicians due to the busy lives we sometimes lead,” DeBree recalled. “Roy said, ‘We may only have a few musicians from time to time – but there will always be a band.’”

It seems Dunphy was correct. And The Bellamy Jazz band is here to prove it.




Friday, September 13, 2019

New pollinator garden offers another reason to visit Black Brook Preserve

By Briana Bizier

One of Windham’s most pleasant places may well be the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust’s beautiful Black Brook Preserve. Situated between Route 302 and 202, Black Brook Preserve contains 105 acres of gently rolling hills, mature forests, and meandering little creeks just begging to be discovered. Our family has enjoyed several hikes along the preserve’s well-labeled trails, which offer enough variation to hold even a five-year-old hiker’s attention. This past summer, the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust added another attraction to Black Brook Preserve: a pollinator garden.

This 1,000 square foot garden is home to 12 varieties of native plants and will provide much needed habitat for our butterflies, bees and moths. The garden was built this summer with the help of Windham Recreation Department's Summer Day Campers, who came out to learn about pollinators, lend a hand in building the garden, and cultivate the skills they will need as the next generation of environmental stewards. After its construction, the new garden was tended by Land Trust summer interns.

Black Brook Preserve’s pollinator garden is directly in front of the site’s main parking lot off of Windham Center Road. It’s a wonderful place to stop before a hike and search for some of our more colorful local pollinators, like the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly or their more famous cousin the orange-and-black Monarch butterfly.

Upon our arrival in the parking lot, however, my two little assistants were more interested in running down the trails than admiring butterflies and bees or listening to their mother describe the vital role pollinators play in the local ecosystem. Happily, with its gentle bends and frequent, clear trail markings, Black Brook Preserve is the ideal place to explore with children. My assistants enjoyed racing up and down hills, pulling our new puppy behind them, while my husband and I tried to keep up. Together, we followed the Diamond Trail along the perimeter of the preserve, stopping to climb on rocks and admire the “bog bridges” spanning muddy sections of the trail. In one muddy section, Sage, my nine-year-old daughter, spotted raccoon tracks crossing the trail. Her five-year-old brother Ian seemed a bit disappointed to learn raccoons are not pollinators.

The western section of Black Brook Preserve is an open field ringed by a large, mown path. Sage decided to race through the field by herself while the rest of the family stopped for snacks and water. A few minutes later, the tranquility of the preserve was broken by screams and squawks as an enormous turkey erupted from the tall grass beside the trail.

That was huge!” Sage screamed as she ran back to us.

Was that a pollinator?” Ian asked.

I explained that, while wild turkeys don’t pollinate flowers, they do eat insects. After the turkey incident, the kids stayed closer to us as we followed the trail through the grass, watching butterflies dance above the nodding seed heads and late summer flowers. At the hill’s apex, we found a second, smaller trail access connected to Route 202. If you decide to visit Black Brook Preserve, this is the place to turn around and retrace your steps along the trails; the Snowmobile Trail, as we discovered, is only a trail in the winter. In the summer, it’s home to a very healthy crop of poison ivy.

To visit Black Brook Preserve’s trails and new pollinator garden, look for the parking lot off Windham Center Road just south of Route 4. A full map can be found at the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust’s website: www.prlt.org

Raymond artist wins second juried art competition

By Lorraine Glowczak

It was just seven months ago, in February, when we learned that Holden Willard of Raymond, a 2017 Windham High School graduate and the son of Don and Megan Willard won an international juried art competition on February 13 at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. That competition was open to artists from all over the world. Willard, who attends Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA., not only received best of show for his self-portrait, but he also won $500 which he received at the gallery’s reception on Friday evening, February 15.

Holden Willard (Photo by Gardner Reed)
Fast forward to August and Willard once again entered his artwork into another juried art competition. This time, it was Mills Pond Gallery in St. James, New York – located along the north shore of Long Island. The focus and name of the exhibit was “Transformations: Figures of Our Other Selves” which began on August 17th. This exhibit explored the artist’s take on what persona or alter ego is present in their artwork. This exhibition featured artwork, from around the U.S., where the transformation or alter ego focused on the creativity of the subject matter.


And, guess who won first place? Again? Our very own Raymond resident – Holden Willard. According to a local Long Island newspaper, The Times Beacon Record - August 15 edition, in an article written by Melissa Arnold, “The idea for  the latest exhibit, Transformations: Figures of Our Other Selves, “came to her [Allison Cruz, Director of the Museum] as she contemplated how young people today have embraced the concept of an alter ego, from multiple Instagram accounts for different facets of their lives to different personas in music and media. The subject intrigued the director, who said alter egos can be seen as dark and hidden or common and ordinary.”

The article also stated that around 10 exhibits are showcased at Mills Pond each year, roughly half of which are juried. Juried exhibits are curated by a guest juror who examines each entry for its artistry and how well it fits the chosen theme, ultimately selecting his or her favorites for exhibition. There were approximately 35 artists from all over the United States who entered the competition.
In addition to winning first place, Willard received a financial award of $700. Congratulations Holden Willard!


Friday, September 6, 2019

Music with a Mission features Susie Pepper & Mixology in concert Friday September 13th

Music with a Mission is proud to feature Susie Pepper and Mixology for a “Night at the Movies” concert featuring many favorite songs from Disney and other beloved musicals in a special Friday evening show, September 13th, at 7 p.m.  Mixology is a group of seasoned professional musicians who have performed hundreds of gigs covering jazz standards, pop, rock, R&B and genres from Elvis to Beyonce.

Susie Pepper is well-known throughout Southern Maine as a talented and dynamic vocalist. Susie won the title of Miss Maine in 2009 and was a featured soloist in the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s 2014 and 2017 “Magic of Christmas” series.  Kelly Muse is the bandleader and pianist for the group with over two decades of experience in performing, teaching, composing, and arranging. 

“We are very excited to bring Susie Pepper and Mixology back to our Music with a Mission concert series,” said Dr. Richard Nickerson, Minister of Music for NWUC. “They put on an impressive show in the spring of 2018 and our audience is eager to have them return.  Susie and Kelly have planned a fun concert of the most popular songs from movies that everyone loves.  This will be a terrific evening for families and kids of all ages from 9 to 90!”
https://bbcultivation.com/
The Music with a Mission concert series is sponsored by the North Windham Union Church, which donates a portion of the proceeds to area non-profits.  Now in our seventh season, MWAM has provided over $65,000 for mission support to the church and other community organizations.
Mixology has chosen to support Hope Acts with the community proceeds from this concert. Hope Acts provides transitional housing for asylum-seekers new to the Greater Portland area.  Their mission is to provide housing, English classes, and other resources that support immigrants in transitioning to life in Greater Portland and in achieving their goals for a successful future.  Hope Acts envisions a community where immigrants are welcomed and empowered socially, emotionally, physically, economically and spiritually.

Tickets will be sold at the door and online and are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $5 for children/students.  The box office opens at 6:00 and the doors will open at 6:30. The North Windham Union Church is located at 723 Roosevelt Trail in Windham.  For more information please call 892-7149 or email MWAMconcerts@gmail.com.





Windham parish collects over 2,500 food items to help feed local children

Thanks to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Windham, many local children were able to enjoy healthy snacks during their summer fun.

Created in the spring of 2016, “Operation Summer Snacks” is an initiative of the parish, located on 919 Roosevelt Trail, that collects food for children in need who receive bags of food from the “Backpackers” program during the school year but, in many cases, do not have the snacks during the summer.

“We totaled more than 2,500 individual snack items, bagging 226 gallon-sized bags that included 31 nut-free bags, 30 nut- and gluten-free bags, and 165 bags with no food restrictions,” said Jill Russell-Morey, a parish catechetical leader. “Each bag contained a mix of 10 snack items, and we tried to include a fruit and juice pouch in each while donations lasted.”

Organizers invite parishioners and community members to drop off snack items in the entrance of the church. From there, the bags are assembled by parish youth and volunteers before being sent to the Windham Food Pantry.

https://www.miracle-ear.com/locations/windham-me/?utm_source=Print&utm_campaign=Links&utm_medium=Short+URLs
“Three years ago, I contacted the pantry and asked if there was a particular food or item that we could focus on to collect at the parish throughout the summer,” Russell-Morey stated. “They needed individualized snack items to provide to some local families during the summer months. The donations helped supplement these children’s meals. The faith formation commission at the parish
decided that this was a great project to adopt, and we got the word out.”

In addition to individuals and families, generous donations were received this year from the women’s Bible study group at the parish and Windham Cub Scout Pack #805. Parishioners enjoy contributing their donations and time, and the project makes the issue of hunger in the community clearer to both the children and adults at the parish.

“It really puts things into perspective when we think about the number of snacks we eat throughout the week compared to what fits into a gallon-sized bag and will be rationed over a week’s period for these children,” said Russell-Morey. “Everyone wants to ensure the most variety possible for the children.”

Local American Legion shares update of national convention

Members of the American Legion Post 148 of Windham recently returned from a week in Indianapolis, Indiana at the American Legion National Convention. After a week of commissions, committees, caucus, and convention floor activities from August 23rd to 29th, Lin and Dave Tanguay, delegates to the Legion’s 101st and the Legion Auxiliary’s 99th conventions will now spend some time presenting the work of the convention to their respective department, district, post and unit organizations. Dave was a Maine delegate and assigned to the Convention National Security Commission and Lin was an Auxiliary delegate from Maine and sat on the history and upcoming Auxiliary’s 100th Anniversary Committees. Lin also sat in on the constitution and by-laws committee. All these meetings make for a very busy weekend prior to convention.

David and Lin Tanguay at the convention
This 100th year of the Legion and its 101st convention celebrated several major national events in support of veterans. Noteworthy that have both national and local implications to our veterans are as follows: 

The Blue Water Navy Act signed into law this year allows those Naval and Marine Corps personel attached to ships working off the coast of Vietnam during the conflict to be compensated for and treated by the VA for their exposure to Agent Orange.  Post 148 has one individual who, as a Marine Corp, was assigned to a helicopter carrier and was exposed to the chemical. He and thousands of other veterans will now be added to the support structure for agent orange.

The Legion Act, signed by President Trump on July 3, 2019 now makes 420,000 veterans eligible for membership in the Legion as well as their qualifying family members in the Legion Family. The Act strongly supported for years by the Legion recognizes the service of those veterans placed in harm’s way not during times of official armed conflict.

Over 1200 veterans lost their lives during these periods of “non-conflict”. The Act reads: “Any veteran serving after December 7, 1941 with at least one day of active military service and honorably discharged is eligible for membership in this country’s largest veterans’ organization, The American Legion. There are over 19,000 local veterans in Cumberland County eligible to join the American Legion.”

When the National Government shut down last year, many critical groups continued to be paid including our armed forces. Not so, the U.S. Coast Guard who falls under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime. The American Legion stepped up and provided over a million dollars in grants to the enlisted personnel of the Coast Guard during this crisis. In Maine, well over 60 families were supported out of the Legion Department of Maine.

Another milestone this year was the implementation of the Mission Act that allows veterans to use local medical support when VA support is too far away or not reasonably available. The other important factor is that veteran’s medical records are being digitized for use by both VA and civilian doctors. This program when fully implemented for all veterans will allow any doctor to see what other doctors have prescribed or recommended.

Each and every one of these laws and programs were instituted and/or endorsed by the American Legion. Like the GI Bill or the Veterans Administration Acts before them, these bills were the product of The American Legion and any member can be justifiably proud of their involvement in the Legion.

There were also many briefings and discussions on two major veterans’ issues:  Homeless veterans and veterans’ drug and suicide crisis.  In these areas much has been done, but much still needs to be done. 

On the local level, developing veteran camaraderie with the Field-Allen Post Veteran Coffee program (Every Wednesday from 9  a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Windham Veteran Center) and the very much appreciated, collection of non-perishable food items on Wednesdays at the WVC by the Legion Post 148 and delivered to the Homeless Vet Food Pantry at the Portland Veteran Center has made an impact in the local area. 

There is an open invitation to all veterans to drop in for coffee each Wednesday for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m at the Windham Veteran’s Center behind Hannaford’s North Windham. The Legion will also gladly accept any non-perishable food items for fellow vets with food insecurity issues. 
The American Legion: Veterans Serving Veterans for 100 years and looking to the next 100 years.