Friday, February 26, 2016

At the Library - By Sally Holt

According to Gary Dekmezian, professional blogger, the first blogs were really glorified online journals, and in all likelihood, becoming a professional blogger and making money online wasn't the goal. Since then, the blogosphere has evolved, and now people blog for many different reasons. 
Express yourself and share your passions
Make a difference
Share your knowledge
Refine your writing skills
Learn how to make money online
Build your professional network
Earn more exposure
Become an authority in your industry
Build an online portfolio
Market your business

For four weeks from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on March 3, 10, 17 and 24, Leah Stetson who is a professional writer, blogger, editor, poet and environmental journalist will be teaching, “The Art of Blogging” at the library. Leah holds a master’s degree from College of the Atlantic and has worked as a writer for 15 years.

Her publications include over a dozen technical articles on wetland science and policy, a humor/parody creative nonfiction piece in Geek Monthly, a top-rated nature blog with over 50,000 words of creative nonfiction published online. Her WordPress blog, “Strange Wetlands,” was mentioned on Maine Public Radio in 2013, and her blog, “Adventures of Fen Fatale” is a member of the Northeast Bloggers Network.

In this particular series of workshops, participants will learn the art of blogging in this workshop. Each participant will choose a theme or main topic. Genres encouraged: Creative nonfiction, including science and nature writing, first-person narrative/memoir, travel narrative, first-person narrative advice, for example, personal finance, health and well-being, homeownership, or a DIY projects themed blog. The blogs created in this workshop will contain written content in addition to images. Bring a writing utensil, notebook and laptop computer. Participants should possess intermediate computer skills.

Free. Space is very limited. Please call the library at 655-4283 to reserve your spot or email

Student of the week - Lily Oldershaw

Jordan-Small Middle School sixth-grader Lily Oldershaw is The Windham Eagle student of the week. The 12-year-old loves English/language arts and wants to be an author when she grows up. 

She lives with her mom, dad and brother Lucas. She has two cats, Pepper and Night. 

“Lily Oldershaw wants to be a writer. She has a knack for understanding character, developing setting, and using language to express the most wonderful ideas- and what an amazing sense of humor she has. Whether it’s science, math, social studies, or another subject, Lily stands out. Perhaps this is because she is such a global thinker, looking at all sides, asking the right questions, and formulating unique, informed opinions. The kind of person who can sit at any lunch table, Lily not only strives to do well herself but also to help her peers achieve their best,” said the student of the week committee at JSMS. 

Education is important “because it helps you get a good job,” Lily said. When she’s not in school she enjoys skiing, playing softball, soccer or reading.

Favorite TV show:  Modern Family
Favorite Animal:  Cat
Favorite movie:  The Hunger Games
Hobbies:  Skiing, softball, soccer, reading

Bill to fight voter intimidation clears committee hurdle

AUGUSTA — Last Friday, a bill to fight voter intimidation by imposing reasonable limits on people video recording at polling places won the unanimous support of the 11 members present in the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. 
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, said the bill is a victory not only for voters, but for municipal election wardens who will now have clear direction about what activity is and is not allowed at the polling place. 

“This proactive approach gives our election wardens the authority to prevent activity that many voters feel is nothing more than intimidation,” said Sen. Diamond, who for eight years was Secretary of State and oversaw elections in Maine. “Polling places exist to facilitate the most core function of our democracy: The vote. We must be equipped to handle disruptions and keep our polls free from intimidation.”

The bill, which has the support of current Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, will not outlaw video recording at the polls. Instead, it establishes a 15-foot “minimum distance” between video recorders and the people they would record. 

On Election Day last year, voters raised concerns when political activists pointed their cameras at voters as they signed citizen initiative petitions. Those activists focused on people signing two petitions, one that would raise minimum wage and another to expand background checks for gun purchases. There were reports made to the Secretary of State that some of the activists were blocking voters paths, pointing cameras in their faces, and demanding they say their names for the camera.
Without any rules regarding video recording at the polls, election wardens felt unable to address the situation. 

The bill —LD 1574, “An Act To Protect Maine Voters from Intimidating Videotaping at the Polls” — will now head to the Senate with a bipartisan “ought to pass” report from the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee.

Windham PTA announces the 2015-2016 Reflections Arts Program winners

The Windham PTA announced the winners for the Reflections Arts Program this past week. There were approximately 100 entries according to the PTA.
“It was so wonderful to see all the hard work and dedication put into these pieces of art.  Great job to you all,” said PTA member Terri Marin. 

There will be a recognition night at Manchester School on Thursday, March 24, at an invitation only event. Participants receive certificates and winners receive awards and ribbons, according to Chelsea Sperry. 

The first place winners will have their work submitted to Augusta and the state Reflections competition.

They are as follows:

LITERATURE  grades 3-5  
1st place - Kaitlyn Farrin, "A World Without War"
2nd place - Lance Taquet, "Story of Rokio"
3rd place - Greta Paulding, "Imagination"

VISUAL ARTS  grades K-2
1st place - Karly Day, "The New & Improved Jumprope"
2nd place - Brooke Smith, "I Can Be Anything"
3rd place - Sydney Broadbent, "You Can Only Go So High"

VISUAL ARTS   grades 3-5
1st place - Evan Gilheany, "Me, Myself & Mr Imagination"
2nd place - Mia White, "Black Headed Guinea Bird"
3rd place - Lila Schrock, "A Swirl of Thought"

PHOTOGRAPHY  grades 6-8
1st place - Aiden Day, "Freeze"

PHOTOGRAPHY   grades 9-12
1st place - Gardner Reed, "Calm Ambiguity"

For more on the PTA, email

Friday, February 19, 2016

Flip to a Different Eagle Section 

Diamond’s bill to stop voter intimidation gets support at public hearing

AUGUSTA — A bill to protect Mainers from potentially intimidating behavior at the polling place received support Monday from the Maine’s Secretary of State and from the organization representing municipal election wardens during a public hearing at the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee.  

“This law is about ensuring that polling places can serve their most crucial function, which is to facilitate our democratic process,” said the bill’s sponsor Bill Diamond, a Democratic state senator from Windham who oversaw state elections for eight years as Secretary of State.“Those who want to video record at the polling place should be free to do so, as long as they don’t interfere with voters’ activities or needlessly intimidate them,” Sen. Diamond said. “This bill would set reasonable rules about what is and isn’t allowed.”

Last year, video recorders raised concerns when political activists pointed their cameras at voters as they signed citizen initiative petitions. Those activists focused on people signing two petitions, one that would raise minimum wage and another to expand background checks for gun purchases.  

Without any rules regarding video recording at the polls, election wardens were unable to address the situation. Sen. Diamond’s bill —LD 1574, “An Act To Protect Maine Voters from Intimidating Videotaping at the Polls” — would establish a 15-foot “minimum distance” between video recorders at the polls and the activity they were recording.  

Julie Flynn, Deputy Secretary of State, testified in favor of the bill. She described instances of video recorders behaving aggressively, including getting in voters faces and demanding they identify themselves. She called the bill a “reasonable regulation” to protect voters from intimidation.

“As long as the videotaping does not interfere with or intimidate people trying to vote or sign a petition, it can be accommodated at the voting place,” she said. “We believe the 15-foot distance provision addresses the issue of interference and intimidation.” bill also earned the support of the Maine Municipal Association, which represents election wardens, and wrote in its testimony that “the polling place should be entirely free of activities that cause voters to be embarrassed, feel uncomfortable or otherwise cause voter distress.”

No one spoke in opposition to the bill. The bill faces further action at the committee level in an upcoming work session.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Helping kindness spread at Windham Middle School

By Michelle Libby - The Windham Middle School student council under the direction of Shelly Cook hosted a Kindness week this past week to correspond with National Random Acts of Kindness Week. Each day teachers were asked to help engage the students in something that would remind them of kindness.

“There’s a need for kindness everywhere,” said Cook. “It’s important for kids to see kindness being modeled by staff, then they’ll extend the kindness further.”

The teachers were given a survival kit with objects to give out each day. On Monday the students were asked to think of something they could do to help show kindness. Suggestions were send a positive message to someone, hold the door open for someone, offer to help clear a lunch table or thank your parents. These were activities that anyone could be successful at.

“We want students to recognize what it looks like, sounds like and feels like to be kind, so it becomes part of our culture, part of our school and our community of learners,” Cook said. All week students were reading and writing about kindness in their classrooms. Teachers were excited to have a whole week to focus their lessons on kindness.

On Tuesday, the students were given a pencil to remind them to “Think about the words they write, before they are permanent.”

Wednesday students were given an eraser to remind them that “Everyone makes mistakes, it’s okay. You can erase away any unkindness and start each new day with a fresh, clean slate.” Wednesday was also custodial treat day, where everyone acknowledged the custodians at the school

Thursday teachers gave out gum to remind students to “stick to being kind.” Office staff and education technicians were celebrated as well.

On Friday, students were given a kindness sticker and anyone wearing their sticker could earn free prized during the day. Teachers were celebrated on Friday. They were given a special t-shirt that said “Proud to be a WMS teacher, keep calm and teach at Windham MS.”

“Let somebody impatient cut in front of you in the lunch line,” Cook suggested. “I’m hoping that students will pick up on this and extend it into the future.”

Cook is hoping that this will become a yearly event that the students will want to continue next year and every day.  

What kindness means to Windham Middle School students:

"Be the change you want to see in the world" —Gandhi
"Be kind out of respect not because it’s 'Kindness Week'" —Austin grade 7
"People should be kind to each other no matter what”—Tony  grade 7
“Kindness week means a favor, kind of like giving, a little thing that can makes someone’s day feel special” Desiree and Kiara grade 7
"Be kind to everyone” Emma grade 7
“If someone drops something, pick it up”—Jack
"When someone does nice things like carry your stuff” Sean
"Lots of people take things for granted without saying thank you. I want people to notice and say thank you.” Arianna grade 7
"Kindness week is a good thing because it reminds people what it means to be nice.” Kristen grade 7
"Being kind to someone that may not be having a great day so they can feel better.” Dakota grade 7
"A small act of kindness can make a big difference.” Autumn grade 7
“The little things make a big difference.” Madeline grade 7
“Be kind to everyone you know and meet; that will bring you success.” Brennan McGloin 8th grade
“Being kind to people.”  Kelsey
“To accept peoples differences and know that we are all different.” Denali
“To show people that being kind makes people feel better and if someone’s nice to you it makes you feel better.” Chris
“To do something kind or nice for someone else.” Kaila
“Being kind to others makes a difference in the world.” Roya
“To show that the school cares about kindness.” Lydia
“To be kind to everyone.” Becca
“Being nicer to people you don’t know” Alyssa
“While being kind you create a chain reaction of kindness.” Julia
“Kindness week is so people can feel good about themselves.” Rylee
“People like feeling good about themselves and being nice to others so they can feel good about themselves too.” Mikayla
“To show respect to everyone.” Matt
“Kindness week is to help others feel good about themselves.” Roscoe
“To be able to share kindness with other people even if they aren’t kind back. Maybe they’ll change their minds and become kinder.” Rylee
“Sharing and caring.” Cam
“To teach us to be kind.” Carissa
“Kindness week is about helping others” JP
“Kindness is good” Ryan
“It makes people happy to be kind.” Bria
“Kindness makes a difference in other’s lives and brings people up.” Olivia
“Being kind is kind because it makes people happy.” Eli
“Being kind: If you make somebody happy then they’ll probably try to make somebody else happy too. It just keeps on going.” Dalton
“Everyone wants to be treated kindly.” Dylan
“Treat people the way you want to be treated.”
“Kind is good.” James
“Show that we care about people.” Mollie“Kindness week makes me a better person.” Travis
“We do kindness week so people can respect us.” Nick
“Be kind to be kind” Dana
“Kindness week is about saying hi to someone or being nice to someone to make their day.” Gabe
“It brings me joy to have someone else have a smile on their face.” Jack
“Never look down on anybody unless you are helping them up.” Jesse Jackson
“Karma” Ethan