Friday, April 16, 2021

Windham student Will Colby uses lessons in he learned in boxing to teach self defense to others

By Matt Pascarella

Will Colby does pad work with North Waterboro eighth-grader
Emma Brown at Recon Fitness in Westbrook on Tuesday, April
13 during his Introduction to Striking class for students. 
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
Windham junior Will Colby started watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship with his dad when he was 3 years old and ever since then he’s been interested in combat sports.

When he was 14, he decided to check out Recon Fitness, a gym in Westbrook that teaches boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. He immediately started boxing along with Mixed Martial Arts and has stuck with it since. In 2020, he started teaching an Introduction to Striking class for youth at Recon Fitness.

Colby has been training as a boxer since 2018 working with coach Darren Elder. Elder has helped Colby grow tremendously as a person and boxer by encouraging, motivating and teaching Colby all Elder’s skills and knowledge. While Colby’s main focus is boxing, he does some Mixed Martial Arts with coaches Ernie Ornelas and Aaron Waite.

Colby wanted to start boxing because he has always looked up to boxers and fighters as physically and mentally strong men, which is what he strives to be.

In 2020, Colby had been preparing for a fight for about a month before Covid-19 shut everything down. He had been training with Ornelas and Elder who have helped Colby with their extensive knowledge and passion of the sport. Unfortunately, that fight, which would have been Colby’s first amateur boxing match in April 2020 was canceled.

Once Colby learned that the 2020 fight was canceled and Recon Fitness was closed temporarily because of COVID-19, he felt very discouraged and very disappointed he would not be able to test the skills he had gained over his time training. Colby did temporarily stop training in 2020, but quickly began training again and continued to motivate himself.

Will is a particularly kind and patient individual, said Elder. “Will has made massive gains both as a fighter and a young man. He has been consistent in focusing on his fundamentals and becoming comfortable in the uncomfortable. Whatever his role, be it training for his own contest, assisting one of his training partners, or coaching kid’s class, Will is the sort of guy you hope for.” 

In the fall of 2020, Elder saw potential in Colby to be a coach at Recon Fitness. Once Colby was offered this opportunity to coach, he said he was nervous and felt unprepared at first but honored that Elder had chosen him to coach the Introduction to Striking class for youth.

Colby’s Introduction to Striking class is for kids ages 10 to 13. Over time, Colby became very comfortable teaching the class and really enjoys it. He believes his responsibilities as a coach are to make sure the kids in his class are enjoying the sport as well as learning from it. Since he began as a coach, his class sizes have grown from one student to 12 students or more a class.

“I try to teach them to become comfortable in the uncomfortable just as my coach Darren had taught me, I try to develop their fundamental skills and grow their technique over the time of their training,” said Colby. He added it is encouraging to see kids coming to the class and sticking around.

North Waterboro eighth-grader Emma Brown has been participating in Colby’s class for three or four months. She likes the class because a lot of the time, it’s very one-on-one and it is a good way to learn self-defense. Brown said one of the things she enjoys most about the class is getting her anger out in a healthy way.

“He creates an environment conducive for the kids in his class to improve their skills as well as their sense of self; Will is exactly what the kids need,” said Elder.

Colby is currently looking for a boxing match he can fight in this summer. He is working towards getting ready for more training. He said he plans to continue to teach his classes at Recon Fitness for as long as he can. <

Friday, April 9, 2021

Before the memory fades: The police car caper that happened in North Windham, 20 years before the movie

By Walter Lunt

One of many local hangouts in Windham in the early 1960s was the business and entertainment district in North Windham.

Convivial groups of youths, mostly teenagers, would gather along the busy corridor between Boody’s Corner (Route 302 and Route 115) and the Lakeland roller skating rink located approximately on what is today the western edge of the Hannaford parking lot.

Rowdiness, hot rodding and sportive mischief were the rule on Friday and Saturday nights, especially during the summer and fall months.

A humorous artist's conception of the North Windham 'police car
scene' -- early 1960s.
DRAWING BY JERRY BLACK, ARROWHEAD ART
Occasionally, the pranks became creative and were the result of payback, settling a score or just sending a message.

In those years, there were three police agencies patrolling Windham: state police, sheriff and local part-time constables known as reserve officers. Officers from all three departments became well-known for their individual policing style and personalities, and the young mischief-makers had their own opinions of each patrolman. The stern, no-nonsense officers were well known for displaying little tolerance of youthful shenanigans.

One officer, in particular, was the object of much ridicule.  The youngsters would often complain about the officer’s supposed harassment and abusive behavior.

One among the assembled youth, we’ll call him Johnny Doe, decided it was time for payback; he’d carry out a creative stunt that would send the surly officer a serious message and make him change his ways.

One evening, according to sources who remember the event, the “offending” officer parked his police vehicle at the Lakeland skating rink parking lot. It was left locked and unattended while he rode with another patrolman. It was this situation that gave the knavish Johnny Doe a chance to exact his creative revenge.

As the story goes, the young Doe wrapped a heavy chain around the parked police vehicle’s rear axle, and attached the other end to an immovable object, possibly a tree. Then, Doe and an accomplice waited for the officer’s return. When this occurred later that night, Doe, driving his own car along with his companion, hot rodded past the Lakeland parking lot (laying down rubber all the way) as an enticement to draw a chase.

Now, at this point, the reader may be reminded of the 1973 movie American Graffiti, which portrayed a similar incident. The cinematic portrayal shows the police car being upended and its rear wheels ripped from beneath the vehicle. The Lakeland caper, however, ended in a slightly less dramatic way when the officer’s police car merely cinched up on the chain and was unable to proceed.

Whether or not the young Doe and his friend escaped apprehension for their police car escapade is not known, or not revealed by those contacted for this story.

But one thing is certain. According to those anonymous sources, the incident DID NOT change the personality or policing style of the victimized officer.  <

Friday, April 2, 2021

Get outside: Kid-friendly early spring activities

The Pismire Bluff Trail in the Raymond
 Community Forest can take hikers to an
unmatched view of Crescent Pond and
Sebago Lake, all nestling in the shadows
of Rattlesnake Mountain. 
PHOTOI BY BRIANA BIZIER 
By Briana Bizier

There’s no denying that the Lakes Region is a wonderful place to be, for children and adults alike, almost every month of the year. However, early spring can be a challenge in the best of times, and this year is hardly the best of times. One year ago this week, I posted on Facebook that my children would be out of school for two weeks. As we all know, those two weeks stretched into what felt like an unimaginably long period of staying at home, maintaining social distance, making panicked attempts to find toilet paper, and wiping down bags of groceries with bleach.

Even though we now have toilet paper and are no longer sterilizing the cereal boxes, the coronavirus pandemic still casts a long shadow over this season of renewal. For many people, kid-friendly indoor activities are still off-limits due to health concerns, and spring’s welcome warmer temperatures mean that favorite winter activities like skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling are coming to an end. Yet there are still plenty of fun adventures to be had, even in the mud and slush of early springtime.

One early spring adventure doesn’t even require going very far outside. If your far-flung friends posting pictures of spring flowers on social media has you itching for a bit of color, you can “force” spring blossoms in your own house. If you have a beautiful blooming tree or shrub in your yard, such as apple, forsythia, or lilac, you can cut off a few branches in one- or two-foot lengths. Be sure you cut the branches on a day when the temperature is above freezing, and choose a branch with a lot of fat, little buds; flower buds tend to be fatter than leaf buds.

Once your branches are inside, place them in a vase or bowl of room-temperature water, keep them away from direct sunlight, and be patient. Forsythia branches should bloom in about a week, while apples and lilac will take several weeks longer. If you start now, you might just have fresh blossoms in time for Easter!

We don’t typically associate March with hiking here in the Pine Tree State, but there is a huge advantage to exploring the woods in the Windham-Raymond community in early spring: No bugs! Last April, in the height of lockdown, my fourth-grade daughter and I decided to explore the snowmobile trails behind our house. It was a long, muddy hike, but we managed to follow the trails all the way to Little Sebago Lake without encountering a single mosquito. If there’s a mysterious trail near your house that you’ve never had time to explore, spring could be the perfect time to investigate the forest before the black flies descend.

If you don’t feel like setting out blindly into the woods, the Lakes Region offers plenty of clearly marked trails in our nature preserves. Raymond Community Forest off Conesca Road has something for everyone. The Pismire Bluff Trail, our family favorite, leads hikers to a beautiful view of Crescent Pond, Panther Pond, and Sebago Lake, all nestling in the shadows of Rattlesnake Mountain, while the flat and kid-friendly Spiller Homestead Loop contains colorful signs to help budding naturalists identify local plants and animals.

In Windham, Black Brook Nature Preserve on Windham Center Road is a wonderful local gem with clearly marked, kid-friendly trails that wind through a deciduous forest and explore a marsh. This would be the perfect place to go on a family “signs of spring” scavenger hunt. For older children, this scavenger hunt could even be a competition.

Whether you’re setting out to explore a nature preserve or poking around your own backyard, be sure to dress appropriately. March means slush and mud, so wear boots that can take a beating while still keeping your toes warm. March can also bring drastic temperature changes; it makes sense to carry a backpack with extra layers, as well as water and snacks, in case the sun dips behind the trees while you’re still adventuring.

Finally, a sunny spring day can be a perfect opportunity to take advantage of another one of Maine’s treasures: the beach! Lower temperatures and smaller crowds make spring a great time to go beach-combing for sea glass or special shells, and many beaches allow dogs during the off-season, so the entire family can join you on your seaside adventure.

Whether your outdoor spring adventures take you to the shore, to the trails, or just into your own backyard, I encourage you to get outside and discover for yourself that the Lakes Region has plenty to offer in every season… even mud season. <

Friday, March 26, 2021

Before the memory fades: The creation of Windham’s town seal, and the story behind it

By Walter Lunt

During the first week of June 1987, Windham was in the midst of a four-day birthday bash. The celebration commemorated the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the community’s first established resident, Thomas Chute, in 1737. There were parades, a giant festival, concerts, historical events and a giant birthday cake.

From the planning process came a suggestion that the town adopt an official seal, or logo; a committee was appointed by the town council to consider the idea. The group, including Windham resident Marcia Blanchard, turned to a story found in Frederick Dole’s History of Windham which, curiously, was written in conjunction with the town’s bi-centennial celebration, 50 years earlier.

Dole describes the arrival of surveyor Rowland Houghton and two assistants from Massachusetts in 1935. They were commissioned the task of laying out the boundaries and land grant lots of a new settlement to be known as New Marblehead (later incorporated as the town of Windham in 1762). 

The group arrived during the time of spring rains and were carrying heavy equipment through what was then a vast wilderness. 

When they reached a stream, today located at the boundary of Windham and Westbrook, the cold, rushing water made for a rough crossing. Houghton dropped his ink horn, a hollowed-out animal horn, into the stream.

History is silent regarding whether the powder was lost or damaged, and, if so, how the surveyor was able to record his work. Hence, the stream became known as Inkhorn Brook – the settlement’s first place name.

Committee member Blanchard says local artists Erla Davis and Dana Plummer collaborated on a design for the seal, which produced an image featuring a pine tree, a winding stream, an inkhorn and a quill pen with a sky blue and grass green background.

Blanchard says the imagery shows the history of the town’s creation, “It was a group decision. I was pleased with it and it was appropriate (because) that’s what the town was built around.” 

She recalls not all citizens favored the image, but it prevailed by a vote of the committee, and ultimately the town council.

The seal is reproduced in a hallway at town hall and appears on official town stationery. <

Friday, March 19, 2021

As Windham Community Garden grows, committee seeks new board with fresh ideas

There are many incentives to being a Windham
Community Garden board member and there are
discussions to ass a few more perks for those with
fresh ideas who want to join in.
SUBMITTED PHOTO  
By Lorraine Glowczak

The Windham Community Garden will soon be celebrating 11 years of bringing health and wellbeing to the community in more ways than one. Established in early summer 2010, the public garden has been promoting sustainable agriculture, reducing neighborhood waste through composting, and increasing access to fresh produce not only for the gardeners themselves, but through donations to the local food pantry.

Centrally located on Route 202 near the Public Safety Building, the new Skate Park and the impending family community park, the public garden initiative was the vision of a few forward-thinking individuals who thought that a public garden in Windham was needed and would be well received. Well received, it turns out it has been.

“The first year, we had four families who joined us, but by the next year in 2011, we had 37 gardeners,” said one of the founding members, Pricilla Payne, who currently serves as the secretary to the board. “Now there are over 50 gardeners with 75 beds, and we continue to grow.”

As the growth continues and expands, the community garden committee invites those who are looking for ways to cultivate their own food, seek a community of like-minded individuals or have the passion to learn about environmental sustainability to be a part of the ‘grow local, eat well’ movement.

“It is our goal to not only provide food sustainability, but to sustain the continued growth of the community garden,” said Marge Govoni, another founding member. “To do so, we are welcoming new individuals with new and fresh ideas – not just for the garden beds but as a garden committee member too.”

With only a fee of $30 per bed, per year with no plans to increase those fees in the near-future, there are many benefits to being a member of the community garden board. This includes supplying the gardeners with compost, tools and on-site water sources.

“Besides the fresh air, knowing where your food comes from and being among fun, like-minded people, there are many other perks the committee is considering,” Govoni said.

Payne added that other incentives are currently being established for those who want to try their hand at being a part of the board. “We are having a board meeting soon and will be discussing the additional advantages for those who want to be a part of the board.”

Gardening or horticulture experience is not necessary, “just a passion for the environment, gardening, and a willingness to learn,” Govoni said. The only expectations to be a board member is to attend meetings and workdays as needed. 

Additionally, the Windham Community Garden acts as a public neighborhood cooperative in a variety of ways. They work in conjunction with The Boys and Girls Scouts for project badges, provide garden plots for scouts to give away food to area non-profits like the MSSPA (Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals), as well as having a long-standing relationship with The Katahdin Program.

“The students at Katahdin use the greenhouse and garden plots as part of their experiential learning,” Govoni said. “This gives them the opportunity for hands-on education that can be easily transformed into a career.”

Also, it is important to note that in the past 11 years, the Windham Community Garden has donated more than 11,000 pounds of fresh organic food to the Windham Food Pantry.

“The intertwining community effort and support is among the community garden’s greatest strengths,” Payne said. “This garden is a huge asset to the community and to the folks that garden here.”

There are only a few garden plots left, so hurry to grab your spot in the sun, meet fun and interesting people and provide fresh vegetables and fruits for yourself, family members and the community.

“Whatever you invest in this community garden, you get back threefold,” Govoni said regarding the many advantages of the communal garden experience, both personally and for the greater good of society and the environment.

To be a part of the ‘grow local, eat well’ movement and for more information about the Windham Community Garden, visit www.windhamcommunitygarden.org, send an email through the website, or contact Priscilla Payne at 207-894-8237 or Marge Govoni at 207-892-7192. <

Friday, March 12, 2021

Windham’s American Legion post obtains digital bugle

American Legion Field Allen Post 148 in Windham
has purchased a digital bugle that can be used to
play 'Taps' and other music during ceremonies and
other patriotic events involving veterans.
COURTESY PHOTO 
By Daniel Gray

In Maine and, especially in Windham, there is a deep love for those who have served in the military. We honor those who have fought for our country in various ways including holidays, special ceremonies and even discounts at some stores. There are even community centers and posts created to help service local veterans in various aspects and these veteran centers are a great addition to any community, but our own local post has some exciting news.

The American Legion Field-Allen Post 148, located behind Hannaford in Windham, has been chartered since the 1930s and it's goal has been to provide to local veterans, whether that be a hot meal, activities or simple social gatherings. The post also performs funeral and other ceremonies for veterans, with the Color Guard and Honor Guard teams. 

After each ceremony, the final song that is played is “Taps,” a song created by Union General Daniel Butterfield in July 1862. The story is that Butterfield asked his bugle player, Oliver Norton, to help compose a piece. The somber and longer notes of “Taps” are said to reflect on Butterfield's mood after over 600 of his men were killed after the Battle of Gaines Mill. 

“Taps” is a very important song to play, the piece being a tradition for any form of military. To this day, it is performed throughout the country during ceremonies to honor our veterans with its beautiful, striking notes. It is also tradition to have this song played specifically on a bugle, which can lead to a small problem.

American Legion Field Allen Post 148 in Windham has purchased a digital bugle that can be used to play ‘Taps’ and other music during ceremonies and other patriotic events involving veterans.  

Bugle players are very hard to come by these days, so the post always had to have someone from the community play the instrument for them. David Tanguay, a member of the Post for 26 years and currently the post's adjutant, said a number of players have worked with them over the years.

"Over the period, the post has relied on a few outside sources to provide this honor including the Boy Scouts, Windham High School Band members, an organization called Bugles Across Maine (America) and the respective military service personnel when they are available."

Due to a lack of bugle players among post members, the organization has always had to outsource. Sometimes schedules do not always align, making gaps in where they needed a bugle player for events. To combat this, the post had been using a recording of “Taps” at the end of ceremonies. 

However, the recording was less than ideal for the post.

"At the May 2020 small Memorial Day ceremony at the WVC there was not a bugler available," Tanguay said. "Likewise, during the November Veterans Day Ceremony held at the WVC, the plan for the Veterans Day event was to use a tape recording of ‘Taps’ at the ceremony’s conclusion after the rifle salute. Unfortunately, the equipment used for the sound system faltered and the ceremony ended on a sour note, so to speak. "

Tanguay said that many people could not hear the final song used to end the ceremony, which was something the post did not want to repeat for upcoming events. Ditching the recording and the sound systems that malfunctioned, they instead took a modern solution to their problem, which was a digital bugle.

A digital bugle is similar to a regular, classic bugle. The only difference is that in the bell-end part of the instrument, there is a digital device with a speaker that can play certain songs without the player having to blow into it. 

With a click of a button, the instrument will sound as if the person is playing it themselves. It's an easy solution and, this way, anyone can pick the bugle up and play it like a pro.

From there on, the post raised funds to support the cost of the digital bugle. The choice that the Post went with was “The American Ceremonial Bugle” which is made of nickel and silver, 17 inches, and of course includes the device that plays “Taps” and several other selections. The bugle with the device was $565 and was purchased online. 

Tanguay said the importance of the post's digital bugle purchase is how it reflects a sense of independence.

"It is important for the HG to be able to provide a complete service for our fallen vets when the traditional service Honor Guard is not available. The Post Honor Guard can fold and present the American flag, conduct rifle salute and now play ‘Taps.’ The bugle adds to the Honor Guard’s capabilities." <

Before the memory fades: If you could salvage one thing from your burning home, what would it be?

Windham Historical Society vice-president Sam
Simonson examines the anvil 'rescued' from the
1940 Haskell House on River Road.
COURTESY OF WINDHAM 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
By Walter Lunt

In the summer of 1940, a long-standing and well-known farmhouse on River Road in Windham burned to the ground, destroying virtually everything within. Friends and neighbors rushed to the scene, filled buckets from several dug wells on the property and tossed the water into the ever-growing flames – to no avail.

At one point, when the home was fully engulfed, owner Herman Haskell broke from the assembled firefighters and, despite loud warnings against the move, dashed into the burning building. There were no people or pets left inside the home; apparently, there was an item he wanted to save.

The Haskell house, a post and beam structure located on the east side of an uphill slope near today’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints, was built in the late 1700s, according to Steve Libby, who lives next door to the site of the fire and is related to the Haskell family. He says, at some point in the 1800s, the house was moved from the opposite side of the road.

In the 1930s, it was occupied by Herman and Kemis Haskell; Herman operated a dairy farm and sold butter; Kemis was a longtime and highly respected Windham school teacher.

As they stood and watched the fruit of their toil and all their possessions go up in flames, Herman bolted and ran toward the door of the burning house, ignoring cries for restraint from the crowd.

Moments later, a heavy object was thrown from a second- floor window of the carriage house. It would leave a deep and distinctive indentation in the ground. Seconds later, in what must have seemed like long minutes, Herman emerged safely- breathless but seemingly satisfied with what he had done.

What had Herman tossed from his burning shed? A 145-pound anvil!

If Herman had shared his reason for choosing this particular commodity for rescue, or, moreover, why such an implement was kept on the second floor, the explanation never got passed down through the generations. Family members still don’t know but have never tired of telling the story.

Libby, son of the late, well known Windham resident Glenn S. Libby, speculates that the anvil was an invaluable tool for maintaining operations on the farm. It was used to repair machinery and horse-drawn equipment parts. Starting over would be difficult without it.
A few years ago, the Windham Historical Society got a call from Glenn Libby, who was aware of the organization’s plans to include a blacksmith shop in its Village Green history park at Windham Center.

He told Sam Simonson, a blacksmith who helped establish the shop, that he wanted to donate the old anvil for use in the operation of the living history park.

Simonson confirmed that fire would have damaged the anvil, “it could have lost all its temper,” and added that it was not uncommon for farmers in those days to have a fire forge, since it would have been inconvenient to visit a commercial shop for small jobs. Still, the reason for the anvil’s location on a second story remains a mystery.

In 1940, an anvil was important enough to be granted a second life. Apparently, in the 2020s it will have a third.

If your house were on fire, what object would you save? From which floor? <

Friday, February 26, 2021

Before the memory fades: Windham’s high-flying high school senior

By Walter Lunt

Next to his graduation picture in the 1965 Windonian, the Windham High School yearbook, John Francis Mannette is portrayed as “high flying and free falling,” a description that might bring to mind various personal characteristics. The meaning, however, was quite literal.

As a rising senior in the summer of 1964, John nose-dived out of a Cessna-180 3000 feet above North Windham; a static line deployed his parachute and, to the fascination of open-mouthed spectators, drifted onto a golf driving range adjacent to Route 302 (Don Rich Plaza today). The stunt wasn’t entirely his idea.

John Mannette as shown in the 1965
Windham High School yearbook.
COURTESY PHOTO, THE
WINDONIAN 1965
Marshall Libby was a family friend who was home on leave from the U.S. Army that summer.  It seems he had picked up an exhilarating pastime while serving in Germany: parachuting. John and his family listened to stories of Libby’s new-found hobby. With encouragement from his dad, who had served as a coastal reconnaissance pilot during World War II, John soon found himself under Libby’s tutelage learning how to bail out of the aircraft, control the chute’s steering mechanism and perform landing falls.

On the day of the jump, there was no grand announcement about what was going to happen in the golfing field. “But,” said Mannette, “there was word-of-mouth, you know, it was a smaller town back then.”

Mannette said he and Libby drove to a small airfield in South Portland where the Cessna and a pilot awaited to take them over North Windham. The golf range had been selected as the drop spot; a friend, Teddy Riley, had parked his convertible on the edge of the field, “I knew that car and it gave me something to aim for on the landing.”

Libby continued to give Mannette advice and pointers during the flight from South Portland. “I remember thinking,” said Mannette, “How the hell did I ever get talked into this?”

The weather was good, but Libby, fearing wind might cause Mannette’s fall to veer off course, called for two passes over North Windham. On the first, flying over Sebago Lake toward the shopping district, Libby dropped a streamer (ribbon strapped to a dowel) to test wind strength and direction. It dropped into Little Sebago Lake; the cautionary maneuver had prevented a potentially dangerous jump.

Mannette said that on the second approach toward North Windham, “…the door on one side of the plane had been removed. I was standing, one foot (inside the aircraft) and the other on the (wheel) fender outside the plane; I was holding on to the wing struts, waiting for Libby to signal me that it was time to jump.”

Asked what went through his mind when he finally took the leap, Mannette said he remembers being struck by the sudden sensation of silence. “Inside the plane was the noise of the engine, and rattling – then after the jump, all of a sudden, everything was calm and dead silent.” That’s what I remember most.”

“Also, looking down, there was only the ground – I could feel the fall, but as the chute opened, it felt like somebody was picking me up. Now my feet were below me. As I was drifting down it was quite beautiful. (The experience) was intimidating, but actually quite fun.”

Mannette said he was initially worried about hitting the ground in the right spot, “…but I was surprised at how well (the chute) could be steered.”

He landed within feet of Teddy Riley’s convertible. A crowd assembled, including his dad and other members of the family.

  Mannette said there was never another opportunity for him to soar out of an airplane, but that was okay because he’ll always have the memory of that wonderous, unforgettable day in 1964.

Looking back, Mannette says, “When I drive through North Windham today and pass that spot (where I landed) I always think about the jump, and wonder ‘How the hell did I ever get talked into that.”  <

Friday, February 19, 2021

Riding To The Top salutes volunteer and horse for outstanding service

Every year PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) selects regional winners in a variety of categories who demonstrate extraordinary service and dedication to the field of equine assisted services. This year two of Riding To The Top’s team members were selected as Region 1 (all of New England and eastern maritime Canada provinces) winners. Pat Niboli, was named the Region I Volunteer of the Year, and Luke, one of RTT trustworthy Haflingers, was named the Region 1 Horse of the Year.

Riding To The Top is a Premier Accredited Center with PATH Intl.—the organization that advocates for equine assisted services and sets industry standards for safe and ethical human-equine interactions.

Riding to The Top team member Pat Niboli of
Windham has been honored as the Region I 
Volunteer of the Year and Luke, a 27-year-old
Haflinger gelding, was named Region 1 Horse 
of the Year by the Professional Association of
Therapeutic Horsemanship International.
SUBMITTED PHOTO 
 Pat Niboli of Windham has volunteered at Riding To The Top for more than 10 years. She is a dedicated and passionate advocate for RTT assisting in the barn, working in lessons (both therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving), exercising and training horses, and leading fundraising efforts. Niboli is a friend to all and she strives to recognize the best in every person. She has been extraordinary through thick and thin and shows up in snowstorms, during pandemics and lends a hand with many special projects.

RTT Volunteer Coordinator, Nick Doria, said she is reliable and versatile.

“Pat is one of Riding to the top’s most dedicated volunteers, she is always ready to lend a hand wherever help is needed,” Doria said.

Luke is a 27-year-old Haflinger Gelding and has been a member of the RTT herd for nearly 15 years. Luke is an amazing horse (actually a pony, but don’t tell him that); steady and calm for those needing a lot of support, and responsive yet challenging for emerging independent riders.

His versatility is matched by a larger-than-life personality that endears him to his riders, volunteers and instructors.

According to Kristin Meaney, PATH Intl. Certified Instructor and RTT Equine Manager, Luke is a perfect fit for RTT and its clients.

“Luke has given confidence and happiness to countless riders and is adored and trusted by all of our instructors and volunteers. This award is well deserved, and we are so proud of him,” Meaney said.

Next, Niboli and Luke join all of the Regional winners as they move on to the International competition, with the winners announced in October.

Founded in 1993, Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center’s (RTT) mission is enhancing health and wellness through equine assisted services. RTT is a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International).

Located in Windham, RTT is the state’s only year-round PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center solely dedicated to serving people with disabilities through equine assisted services. RTT is a community-based nonprofit, receives no federal or state funding and provides scholarships to more than 60 percent of its clients.

Currently visitors at the farm are limited due to COVID-19.

For more information about client services, volunteering, or making a gift, please visit www.ridingtothetop.org or call 207-892-2813. <

Friday, February 12, 2021

Hands on the historical record: Seventh graders display a burning desire to showcase and share Windham history

By Walter Lunt

“It’s not just learning history facts; it’s learning while having fun doing activities.” Sophie Villanueva

Grasping wood burning pens and leaning intently over their work on a creative map project, junior historians at Windham Middle School plot and mark places of historic interest on small sheets of pine board.

Such is an almost typical day, after school, in the middle school library where the History Club meets each Tuesday, masked and socially distanced. Seventh graders Delia Tomkus, Aeden Leighton, Ty Stahle and Sophie Villanueva engage each week with co-leaders Paula Sparks and Brian Brigham to explore topics in Windham history, and other far-ranging subjects like wars and Victorian Santa Claus.

History Club member Ty Stahle
displays his half-completed
wood-burned map of Windham. The
finished project will include
locations and labels of historic sites.
COURTESY PHOTO
“(The club) reinforces what they are learning in Social Studies,” says Sparks, “…it provides an opportunity for them to talk about history from today’s perspective.” And how what was going in other places influenced the way people in Windham lived. A study of Victorian times, for example, spawned a discussion of a famous letter sent by a child to the New York Sun newspaper in 1897. Following a discussion of “Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus,” and how it prompted a slew of ‘letters to the editor’ from other children, History Club member Aeden Leighton solemnly observed how “…it was sad knowing what kids were asking for (back then), and how little some of them had and wanted.”

Delia Tomkus liked making the wood-burned maps and learning about historical places in Windham. Using the town maps found in the history back packs at Windham Library, the students placed carbon paper (historical in itself) between the map and the wood surface, traced the outline, wood-burned some of the geographical features, added paint to bodies of water and applied a natural stain. 

Later, they plan to identify and label historical sites (old fort, powder mills, Quaker district, etc.) utilizing push-pins and string.

The History Club is in its second year at WMS. Sparks says this year has been a real challenge. Some kids miss sessions because of quarantine, “Any time there is an active case (of the virus), anyone determined to have had close contact must quarantine.” Due to a rotating schedule, half of the student population can attend in-school classes on Mondays and Wednesdays; the other half attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, as Sparks points out, “…the only kids who attend are those who come to school on Tuesdays. (I have) no way of knowing if the lack of a late bus or no transportation on a non-school day impacts who can participate.”

Upcoming projects and activities will include more (Windham) trivia games and crosswords, constructing pinhole cameras to record modern history and a chance to showcase artifacts and the class’ handiwork in a display case at the school library.

The History Club is sponsored by the Windham Historical Society. <

Friday, February 5, 2021

Tenny River shoreland to be conserved by Loon Echo Land Trust

Loon Echo Land Trust is conserving 25 acres of forested land along the eastern shore of the Tenny River in Raymond.

While remaining privately owned by the Pine Tree Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the newly conserved land is legally protected by a conservation easement held by Loon Echo Land Trust. The property is managed by Pine Tree Council as a part of Camp Hinds, a wilderness camp in existence for more than 85 years.

The protected land includes 900 feet along the river, as well as several streams and a wetland. The conservation of the 25 acres protects the water quality of the Tenny River and the waters it connects to, preserves the forested river corridor for nature observation and education as well as low-impact boating and fishing, and allows for habitat preservation and sustainable forest management. The land and river provide a rich habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife.

A kayaker paddles on the Tenny River last fall in
Raymond, opposite from the shoreline just
conserved by the Loon Echo Land Trust.
SUBMITTED PHOTO
The terms of the perpetual conservation easement, which will run with the land regardless of future ownership, will preserve the quality of the water resources, plant and animal habitat, and scenic character of the property, while also encouraging the use of the property for educational and recreational opportunities managed by Pine Tree Council.

Conserving this land is part of an effort to protect the Tenny River that began six years ago. In 2014, LELT worked with community members and PTC to permanently protect 28 acres of forest and nearly 800 feet of shoreline on the Tenny River. The newly conserved land is directly adjacent, creating over 50 acres of contiguous conservation land and 1,700 feet of shoreline on the river, protected forever.

“Thanks to the foresight of local landowners and community members, the Tenny River remains almost entirely undeveloped, a rare occurrence in this area of the State,” said LELT Executive Director Matt Markot. “The conservation of this land ensures future generations will enjoy kayak paddles and the excitement of landing a fish on a wild and scenic Tenny River.”

Just 45 minutes north of Portland, the Tenny River allows boaters to experience an undeveloped river habitat. The river is bookended at one end by Panther Pond and the PTC’s Camp Hinds, and at the other by Route 85 and Crescent Lake. A public boat launch on the south end of Crescent Lake provides access for boaters; lake residents and visitors travel through the Tenny to enjoy its natural beauty and to explore the lakes on either end.

The protection of the Tenny River corridor in turn protects the water quality of Panther Pond, Sebago Lake and the Casco Bay watershed. The river and its forested banks have been identified by both the Town of Raymond’s Open Space Plan and the conservation partnership Sebago Clean Waters as a high priority for protection.

SCW, a collaborative of nine organizations, including LELT, contributed funds toward the long-term management, stewardship, and enforcement of the easement. The funds are the result of support from forward-thinking Portland-area businesses—such as Woodard & Curran and Allagash Brewing Company—that recognize the importance of clean Sebago Lake water for their communities and businesses to thrive.

The conservation easement was made possible by the Pine Tree Council, a group of Panther Pond landowners, the support of many individual donors, and Sebago Clean Waters. If you’re interested in learning about the conservation options available for your land, contact LELT Executive Director Matt Markot at 207-647-4352 or by email at execdir@lelt.org.

Loon Echo Land Trust is a member supported, non-profit land trust that works to protect the land and natural resources of the northern Sebago Lake region for future generations. Loon Echo conserves more than 8,000 acres of land and manages 32 miles of public trails in the towns of Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago. For more information on Loon Echo, local trails and preserves, or conserving your land, visit loonecholandtrust.org.

Sebago Clean Waters is a partnership between the Portland Water District and eight local, regional, and national conservation organizations working collaboratively to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and fish and wildlife habitat in the Sebago region through voluntary forest conservation and stewardship. For more information visit sebagocleanwaters.org. <

Friday, January 29, 2021

Before the memory fades: Restoring the Presumpscot

The remarkable journey of a local non-profit is now a book – a good read 

By Walter Lunt

For those inspired by history and advocates for conservation, there’s a new book: River Voices – Perspectives on the Presumpscot, written and compiled by Robert M. Sanford and William S. Plumley, with Michael Shaughnessy as art editor. 

Initially formed as a rebuttal group against the construction of a large de-inking and recycling facility near the banks of the Presumpscot River on Gambo Road in Windham in the early 1990s, Friends of the Presumpscot River (FOPR) started out as a loose-knit collection of neighbors fearful of a new polluting industry that would bring trucks hauling chemicals over their narrow, dead-end road (estimated one every seven minutes), a 90-foot-high smokestack and, most worrisome, the project’s one-million-gallon-per-day wastewater treatment plant that would pour 750,000 gallons of effluent into the river. 

The 'River Voices' book is available in
paperback on Amazon.com for $26.88.
COURTESY PHOTO
With their rallying cry SAVE OUR RIVER, the group soon attracted a diverse band of supporters, including life-long Windham residents, newcomers to town and the politically active. Principal opposition came from the local press and from town officials who courted the proposed industrial facility as a way to increase the town’s tax base, utilizing TIF (tax increment financing). What followed was beyond the imagination of those early activists. FOPR not only prevailed in its attempt to stop the facility but went on to fight for better water quality and fish passage along the river’s 25-mile flow which was restrained by nine dam impoundments between the river’s source at Sebago Lake and its confluence with Casco Bay in Falmouth. To that end, FOPR would engage countless federal and state agencies charged with environmental protections and dam relicensing. In 2005-06, in a battle before the United States Supreme Court that had legal ramifications for hydropower interests and environmental organizations nationwide, FOPR participated in a case involving water quality classification in federal dam relicensing. Ruling 9-0 in favor of the state of Maine and FOPR, the high court ruled that dams can cause chemical and biological changes to a stream and that states (here, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection) had the authority to issue water quality certification. The ruling went against SDW/Sappi papermill of Westbrook, the owner of five hydro-dams, in their effort to limit certain conditions for dam relicensing renewals. 

Many residents, living today, remember the Presumpscot of the mid-20th century. Its downstream course carried the by-products of the S.D. Warren Company’s paper making process. The writer recalls working an all-night shift at a radio station on Warren Avenue in the 1960s. On one particularly odorous June overnight, a listener phoned in to say, “Only in Westbrook, Maine can a beautiful spring night smell like feet.” He then requested the song Dirty Water, by the Standells. 

In those days, when traveling over the Riverton Bridge, one could observe puffy white cakes, resembling giant dumplings, floating on the Presumpscot’s dark brown current. A truly dead river, it was the exclusive effluent- carrier of the biggest employer in town. According to River Voices, no one faced the river. Homes and businesses fronted the street; trash bins and storage areas were reserved for the riverside. 

Central to the premise of River Voices is the question: why is this work important? In addition to FOPR’s remarkable history, the book, comprised of over 30 voices (perspectives), offers a comprehensive story of the Presumpscot River, from its geologic history to the 2000s, and its centuries-old relationship with humans. The reader learns how the river acquired its meandering course and about the origins of the geological Presumpscot Formation. 

Ethnohistorian Alvin Morrison discusses Native American settlements along the Presumpscot, beginning with sakamos (chief) Skitterygusset’s friendly and welcoming greeting of English explorer Christopher Levett in 1623 at the “Presumpscot First Falls” (later Smelt Hill in Falmouth). Morrison documents how this first encounter between English and Natives was a lost opportunity for lasting peace. Similarly, 100 years later Chief Polin’s efforts to assimilate the two cultures would be met with push-back. Morrison’s fair and unbiased account of Windham’s (New Marblehead’s) vicious confrontations between settler and Indian is in stark contrast to Windham history books written by Smith and Dole. Morrison also documents the true name of the local Presumpscot tribe: he maintains not Sokoki and not Rockameecook. Due to so-called Dawnland Diaspora; that is, movements and cultural mixing caused by natural disasters, diseases or warfare, “…the best we can do is to consider them simply as Presumpscot River Wabanaki…” (the all-encompassing term relating to all Maine Native tribes). 

Additional chapters in River Voices are devoted to the Quaker influence of Presumpscot development, Maurice Whitten’s exhaustive research on the Gambo Powder Mill, recreational opportunities on the river and its tributaries, fascinating information on the life-cycles and biology of diadromous fishes of the Presumpscot, exquisite and detailed drawings, literature and art uniquely related to the river’s mills and industrial history, as well as its aesthetic qualities. 

Today, according to River Voices co-author William Plumley, FOPR is working to help raise the classification of water quality from Saccarappa Falls in the center of Westbrook to the Casco Bay estuary from Class C to Class B, a higher, cleaner standard. 

FOPR and other environmental organizations are leading the effort to take the Presumpscot from an industrialized river to eco-tourism. Regarding the significance of River Voices, Plumley sums it up this way: “(The book) provides a broad appreciation of an iconic Maine river and many of the ways the Presumpscot influences life in its watershed. ‘The river to which I belong,’ as Chief Polin described it, is the life blood of the watershed’s whole environment, and it also plays vital roles in our culture, community and economy. Balancing all this for the greater good can lead to a sustainable, symbiotic relationship with the river that benefits all of these systems, human and ecological.” 

Regarding which way the future flows for the Presumpscot, witness the River Walk in Westbrook. It faces the river. < 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Virtual production nearing by Windham Center Stage Theater

By Ed Pierce

William Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It” contains the line “All the world’s a stage” and those words have been taken to heart by members of the Windham Center Stage Theater this year during the pandemic.

Despite not being able to host a live audience for performances because of COVID-19 restrictions, through the dedicated efforts of crew and performers, the theater’s annual production of “A Winter Wonderland Celebration” will be available for viewing online Feb. 1 through Feb. 6, 2021. Viewing will be free, but donations are encouraged to WCST Scholarship Fund for graduating high school seniors.  

Some of this year's 'A
Winter Wonderland
Celebration' performers
include, from left, 
Maddie Hancock, Elle
Hancock and Diane
Hancock. PHOTO
COUTESY OF
DARNELL STUART 
The virtual evening of entertainment features songs, dance and performances for all ages and was filmed earlier this month at the Gorham Arts Alliance.

“Our goal was to make a PBS-type holiday special using winter-themed local art as transition pieces,” said Rachel Scala, co-chair of Windham Center Stage Theater. “Viewers can expect to see 15 to 20 different acts, including the Maine State Ballet, theatrical skits, and lots of singing. It’s really an amalgamation of old school acts that the entire family will enjoy.”

Windham Center Stage Theater is a community theater that encourages people to participate in all aspects of theatrical arts in an environment that is safe and welcoming.

Because the theater’s home venue at Windham Town Hall was unavailable, the move was made to film the production and air it online.

“This is the first big online virtual event we’ve ever put together and it posed a challenge for us,” Scala said. “We didn’t know a lot about videography, which platform to use for this and all of the technical issues associated with doing this.”

Scala said that because of its success presenting this show virtually this year, the theater is looking at similar opportunities going forward during the pandemic.

“We really want to give performers a chance to show what they can do,” she said. “This presentation of ‘A Winter Wonderland Celebration’ is also a reminder for our community that Windham Center Stage Theater is still here and we’re not in the dark. We’re grateful to the Gorham Arts Alliance for their collaboration on this project.”

Many of the performers appeared in last year’s “A Winter Wonderland Celebration” production, with Maine State Ballet being new to the show this time.

Videography and editing for “A Winter Wonderland Celebration” was done by Evan Rivard and the production was directed by Darnell Stuart.

Andrew Linzell Shepard, a Windham Center Stage Theater board member and a 2016 graduate of Windham High School, said he’s anxious to see the final version of “A Winter Wonderland Celebration” production.

“I worked on the light and sound when it was filmed,” he said. “I’m really excited to see how the public will react to the wide variety of performances, music, skits and a cappela groups.”

Shepard moved back to Windham after graduating from Hampshire College in Massachusetts last year and said he was eager to help because the annual production serves as a fundraiser to provide a scholarship for drama students.

“Even though this event is free, and donations are optional, it’s an opportunity to help a graduating senior receive a scholarship,” he said.

Working on the production also helped foster Shepard’s technical abilities.

“I’ve learned a lot and added a technical level,” Shepard said. “It was an opportunity for me to explore bringing people together on stage, using different spaces to record the show and to see how it enhances the theater.”

Windham Center Stage Theater’s usual home for community productions is in the auditorium at Windham Town Hall and seats about 100. All activities for the theater were halted in April 2020 because of the pandemic and this will be the first production staged by theater members since then.

To view “A Winter Wonderland Celebration” online from Feb. 1 to Feb. 6, or to make a financial donation to the WCST Scholarship fund, visit www.windhamtheater.org <  


Friday, January 15, 2021

A matter of historical record: the Kennard neighborhood and the rotary (Final in a series)

By Walter Lunt

When considering early Windham history, discussion often centers around the founding families of New Marblehead, the South Windham area or even Popeville. But one part of town that usually receives only scant attention in books and articles, yet contributed greatly to the unfolding heritage of this lakes region municipality, is the Kennard neighborhood near Windham Center, or the rotary (The Windham Eagle – Dec. 4, 18, 31, 2020). As discussed earlier, from Elias LeGrow’s pitchfork confrontation with the tax collector during post-Revolutionary times, to the creation of the Fosters Corner rotary in 1951, early farm families and merchants displayed extraordinary perseverance and creative ingenuity in creating a tradition of high character, hard work and fraternity.

Local historians differ on who first settled the Kennard neighborhood, but there is good evidence that It may have been Elias “pitchfork” LeGrow. The reader may recall that he had settled in the vicinity before joining the fight against the British in the Revolutionary War. Writing in 1904, citizen historian Isaac R. Jordan, utilizing “traditional” sources, recounted a story about LeGrow’s wife as she worked the Windham farm and cared for their children during his absence.

Before there was a traffic circle, this intersection
was known as Morrell's Corner. This copy of an
old post card shows, left, the Pleasant River Grange
Hall before it was moved several yards up an
embankment to accommodate the straightening
of Route 302; center, the Seavey store (formerly
Morrell's grocery store); right, the Pleasant River 
House, a boarding house. During the 1800s and
even into the 20th century this corner was often
referred to as Windham Center.
COURTESY OF THE WINDHAM
HISTORICAL SOCIETY  
“...(she) must have depended for their daily bread largely upon corn which she raised herself. Tradition informs us that she (walked) to the mill with a grist (batch) of corn on her back. One time, getting short of food, she started off with a half bushel of corn for the far away mill (at ‘horse-beef’ or Mallison Falls). It was early winter and very cold; while she was gone a heavy snow came on and covered her forest pathway from sight, the snow nearly to her knees. She reached a spring and (drank furiously). Later, upon reaching home, she opened the door and fell completely exhausted.”

Mrs. LeGrow’s nearly six-mile journey “was performed by the aid of spotted (marked) trees,” and she often remarked that she hurried during the return trip because there was “most always a bear come to drink at (a certain) brook” along her path.

Commenting on his story, historian Jordan wrote, “(…these were) days that tried men’s souls, and women’s souls too.”

Jordan estimated the Kennard district covered about 1500 acres, and by the 1800s had “the wealthiest and best farms in town.”

One of the next settlers in the district was Samuel Kennard, for whom the early settlement was named. He came from Kittery to Falmouth (Portland). Unhappy with his new surroundings, Jordan says “…he loaded his house frame, which was already hewn, on an ox-team and moved to this place (Windham). His wife, on horseback, brought their child, Elijah, in her arms (about 1776). Like many of these early settlers, the Kennards were Quakers, so would not have served in the war. The Kennards would later have three more boys.

Around this time, a family named Varney had settled near Windham Hill on the road today named Hall Road, the only farm on the road at that time. They had four girls. And as was typical of the time, the four Kennard boys married the four Varney girls.

Apparently, the Varney farm was the jewel of the neighborhood. Jordan described its features this way: “(It) had a large and well-filled barn (and) frontage on the road for nearly a mile from his road to the Windham Hill road…nearly 100 acres. I have been informed that he used to keep two yokes of oxen, nearly the same number of steers, and a nice herd of cows, besides young stock, also two horses, and cut enough hay to keep them. This farm was a model of thrift and neatness. Fences and gates were all in trim order…they (also) were plough (plow) makers and were considered fine workmen.”

One of the best-known farmers in later years was Lott Morrell. His spread totaled nearly 200 acres and was located right where the Fosters Corner rotary is today. George Hall, who was born in the neighborhood in 1938 and is the proprietor of Hall Implements, knew the Morrell’s and recalls fondly their farming expertise. An astute historian, Hall has written a memoir of his knowledge and experiences in the Kennard neighborhood.

“I have memories of Lott and Annabelle who built a nice home with barn attached named Tri-Gon Farm. The buildings were taken down in the 1980s, which is now the location of Hancock Lumber (and) Mercy Hospital quick care and health services. In the area of the rotary’s location there were fields used for hay and (situated squarely inside today’s traffic circle) a blacksmith shop” operated by Lott Morrell. “I recall seeing the fields cut for hay with Lott’s 1936 John Deere tractor and an old homemade tractor used for pulling the hay rake. A neighbor, Warren Thomes drove the vintage tractor made from used automobile parts. The hay was hauled to the barn to feed Morrell’s animals.”

Old-timers still remember Annabelle’s spectacular flower garden of the ‘30s and 40’s directly across the road from the Morrell’s farmstead. The grounds were an ornamental landmark of the time; adding to its striking beauty were several used mill stones and a granite watering trough.

The family of Warren Thomes, the vintage tractor driver, operated a small store with gas pumps on the corner of (today’s) Lott’s Drive and route 302. After several owners, and now closed, it remains there today.

One of Hall’s tastiest memories involves Seavey’s Red & White Store, which opened in 1941 (The Windham Eagle – photo, page 10 – Dec. 18, 2020). Owners Clyde and Helen (Hall)

Seavey sold groceries….and ice cream cones. “My parents always gave me a few cents, knowing it would buy an ice cream. Us kids would wait until Clyde was busy at the counter so Helen would dip. (She) would always give us a larger scoop of ice cream.”

Kennard neighborhood dairy cows have contributed to Oakhurst Dairy since the 1940s, and farming continues in the area to this day. George Hall’s parents, Stanley V. and Mary (Libby) Hall, bought land and farmed in the area in the 1940s, and purchased land around the rotary from the heirs of Lott Morrell in the early 1950s. They built a large barn at their home across from Lott’s Drive and for many years raised Holsteins. In order to move his cows from the barn to a grazing field across route 202 on the rotary’s east side, an underground tunnel beneath the road was built. About 40 cows accessed the tunnel, often twice a day. The tunnel, unused, remains there today.

Stanley Hall farmed all his life and found time to represent Windham as both a selectman and state legislator. As a teen in the 1930s, he milked cows for a neighbor before school, earning $2.50 a week. The late Charles Legrow, local historian and one of the founding members of the Windham Historical Society once said of Hall, “In my opinion, he is one of Windham’s most successful businessmen.”

As referenced in our earlier installment, there may be more changes coming to the rotary. According to the transportation analysis division of the Maine Department of Transportation, due to lengthy rush-hour back-ups at both 302 rotary entrances, right turn “by-passes” will be built to accommodate traffic accessing route 202. Vehicles approaching the traffic circle from the north and headed west (toward South Windham) will simply take the by-pass road without having to enter the rotary. Vehicles traveling north and headed toward Gray could also access a by-pass road. Construction may begin later this year or in early 2022. <


Friday, January 8, 2021

Windham teacher wins big in Dunkin’ sweepstakes

A Windham teacher and her school received a huge surprise recently when Megan Juhase-Nehez was recently honored as a grand prize winner in the “Dunkin’ Raise a Cup to Teachers” sweepstakes. 

Juhase-Nehez, a special education teacher at Manchester School, was chosen from more than 6,000 sweepstakes nominations in Maine for Dunkin’s grand prize of $5,000, a new computer, free Dunkin’ coffee for a year, and $10 Dunkin’ gift cards for her students. Manchester School was also awarded $5,000 by Dunkin.’

 

Megan Juhase-Nehez has been
a teacher for 13 years and has
taught special education at
Manchester School for the past
three years. She has been honored
as one of two 'Dunkin' Raise a Cup
to Teachers' sweepstakes winners
in Maine this year. 
SUBMITTED PHOTO   

The promotion asked Mainers to nominate deserving teachers in their community to help shine a light on the invaluable role they play in children’s lives both in and out of the classroom. Juhase-Nehez was nominated by Casey Melanson of Windham whose son had the teacher in her class last year.

 

“She is the kind of teacher that figures out what works best for each student and then adapts her teaching to them,” Melanson said about Juhase-Nehez. “She gave him the confidence to know he could do anything he put his mind to. She always has her students’ well-being in mind and encourages them to aim high.”

 

Overall, Juhase-Nehez has been a teacher for 13 years and has taught special education at Manchester School for three years. She says the new computer will be used by her children for remote learning sessions.

 

As a vegan, she said that she loves Dunkin’s Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty and Dunkin’s new oatmilk latte.

 

Juhase-Nehez was one of two “Dunkin’ Raise a Cup to Teachers” grand prize winners in Maine. Dunkin’ also awarded more than 400 weekly $50 Dunkin’ gift card prizes to nominated Maine teachers and their nominators. And Dunkin’ also selected 20 different Maine teachers to receive free Dunkin’ coffee for a year on World Teachers’ Day in October.

 

Founded in 1950, Dunkin' is America's favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin' is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced regular/decaf/flavored coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories.

 

Dunkin' has earned a No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for 14 years running. The company has more than 12,600 restaurants in 40 countries worldwide. Dunkin' is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants.

 

Follow Dunkin’ on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to learn about other sweepstakes, holiday menu items, or promotions on the Dunkin’ app.

 

For more information, visit www.DunkinDonuts.com. <