Friday, May 27, 2016

Relive childhood memories with Charlie Brown and the gang - By Lorraine Glowczak

Happiness. Who couldn’t use a little more of that in their life? Well, get your extra dose of happiness while supporting community theater by attending this weekend’s last performances of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at the Windham Center Stage Theater (WCST), 8 School Road in Windham.

Shelbi Wassick, in her directorial debut, brings together the various aspect of this musical production superbly. Additionally, the cast members’ extremely impressive and successful performance of this Broadway musical based upon Charles Schultz’s beloved classic comic is beyond remarkable.
The performance opens with each character introducing their peculiar personalities to the audience. 
Each “friend” bluntly reminds Charlie Brown of his shortcomings. But despite his imperfections, Charlie Brown has an enduring quality too. This is made known when the Peanuts gang burst into the first musical score, “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown”, accompanied by background piano music played by music director Patrick Martin. This begins a vignette of moments that capture instances of pure joy followed by flashes of utter hopelessness. In his attempt to find happiness, blunder ridden Charlie Brown wonders why he was even born. Lucy reminds him that although his life is full of missteps he’s not so bad, and “for what it’s worth….you’re you!” 

Experience laughter, awe, and sweetness as Charlie Brown (Anthony DeRice) and the rest of the Peanuts Gang live out their innocent childhood lives in the time span from Valentine’s Day to Beethoven Day. Witness bossy Lucy (Chloe Cyr) as she does her best to win the love of piano prodigy Schroeder (Sean Arsenault), who seems annoyed by her existence. Young Sally (Molly Calden) relentlessly teases blanket toting Linus (William Alexander Wheaton II) who turns out to be a very thoughtful lad. And, of course, there is Snoopy (Harmony Brown) who dreams of being anything other than a dog. Peppermint Patty (Emily Libby) says very little but remains a supporting character to “Chuck” and his quirky friends.

Scene after scene captures the phenomenal talent of every actor and actress. Each adult performer uniquely catches, gives life and remains true to Schultz’s eccentric 5- to 7-year-old characters. Through song, dance, and comedic expression, the audience is entertained fully and completely.
One must not forget that every stage performance is also made successful with the talent behind the scenes. Director and choreographer Shelbi Wassick has been a member with WCST since 1998 and it shows. Her ability to bring together all the complex aspects of this musical production that provides professional entertainment is astonishing. Music director Patrick Martin has been acting and music directing for WCST since 2009 and involved in theater since the sixth grade. He is the musical talent behind Schroeder’s piano playing genius. Other important contributors include Mary Wassick (producer and longtime board member), Darnell Stuart (props and costumes), Charlene Stewart and Angela Cyr (set painters), Giovan Corsetti and Timonty Burton (set builders.)
This is a must see small town performance by talented community performers. There are three shows remaining. Friday, May 27th and Saturday, May 28th at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 29th at 4 p.m. Reserve your tickets now at: Tickets can also be purchased at the door which opens one hour prior to the performance. Add a little happiness and laughter to your weekend and head down to 8 School Road in Windham. You will not regret it!

Students visit the statehouse

AUGUSTA – Fourth graders from Windham Middle School visited the State House last week. 

Sen. Bill Diamond, Rep. Mark Bryant, and Rep. Patrick Corey greeted the students, teachers and chaperones during their tour. The students had an opportunity to view the Senate and House chambers, ask their legislators questions, and learn more about the legislative process.

Local quilter receives Viewer's Choice award at quilt show

At the Calico Quilters Quilt Show in April, Marlee Carter of New Gloucester received the most Viewers' Choice votes of all 35 exhibitors. "Homage to Aunt Mamie" was the most popular of the five quilts she entered. This show attracts about 375 attendees and is held in Yarmouth in even-numbered years.

Marlee began stitching as a young girl, sitting with her great Aunt Mamie as they listened to the "soaps" of the day on the radio. She learned to embroider and hand sew and it has become a passion. A member of the Pine Tree Quilters Guild, she participates in two chapters: Calico Quilters and Crazty Quilters of Maine.

Marlee has taught quilting and stitching since 1975. Her main goal as a teacher is to teach upbeat and positive classes where the students not only learn the easiest way to get the job done but also have fun doing it.

She can be found in a log cabin in New Gloucester with her husband - and a needle will always be close by.

[photo taken by Mary Hodgkin]

The Tale of the Red Hat - By Sharon Ashley

There is always something light-hearted that occurs during a gathering of Cumberland County Extension Homemakers. 

This group of forty-nine intrepid ladies volunteered 5,474 hours in 2015 to the needs and joys of Cumberland County residents. The details of the Extension Homemakers programs were revealed at the recent Cumberland County Extension Homemakers Spring Meeting in Gray on May 17 by County Chairperson Marie Temm along with news that new Cumberland County Extension Homemaker groups are forming. On the state level, Maine Extension Homemakers volunteered 28,781 hours; donated $14,796.00 to organizations, agencies, groups and citizens; organizational service hours equal to $200,311. The 2016 beneficiary of Coins-for-Caring was EyeMax and ALS Northern New England for necessary technical upgrades to the Maine Extension Homemakers sponsored EyeMax computer used for communication by Mainers stricken by ALS. 

Cumberland County Extension Homemakers donated to food programs, and members assisted in the operation of several local programs. Extension Homemaker educational programs included updates to home-prepared convenience mixes and food preservation, gardening, scam alerts, and learning about other countries and cultures. Various crafts were taught with many beautiful creations donated to the smallest of newborns, to give a smile to a senior, or add some comfort to a person in need at a hospital or at a shelter. 
Back to the tale of the red hat - Cumberland County Extension Homemakers end their Spring Meeting with an auction. Auctioneer and Vice-Chair June O’Donnell often says something interesting about the item to be auctioned. The red hat was packaged carefully in its round box, not revealing its identity until the red felt came to light. So, there was not much that June could say ahead of time to build interest. She was encouraged to model the hat which brought a great smile to June. The bidding was lively. When it was over, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Educator Michaele Bailey did not hesitate to don her new red felt hat with a great contagious smile. A room of smiles is the lasting tale of the red hat.

New sustainability camp, one of the many unique offerings at Slovenski Camps in Raymond - By Elizabeth Richards

Tucked away on a peninsula that juts out into Panther Pond is a hidden treasure. Though the Lakes Region has no shortage of overnight summer camps for kids, Slovenki Camps offers unique programs and, unlike many others, more than 50 percent of the campers come from within the State of Maine.
Photo by Brian Beard
The camp, located on Betty’s Neck, has a waterfront on a mile of shoreline, a vast playing field, trails and plenty of opportunities for exploring and enjoying the Maine woods. Camps run in one-week sessions, allowing for flexibility to meet the needs of all families. Typical enrollment is between 60 and 120 campers each week. 

This year marks Slovenski Camps seventh year in operation, but a children’s camp has been run on the site since 1920. Owner/director Peter Slovenski has over 25 years of experience in summer camps. He is the founder of the Brunswick Day Camp program and co-founder of the Dick Fosbury Track Camp at Bowdoin, where is a track coach. 

Slovenski Camps is a family endeavor. Two of Peter’s children are educators who work summers at the camp, and his brother, an athletic director during the school year, is the waterfront director.
“A lot of the leadership is Slovenski family members who are working in education and have the summers to be working in camps,” said Slovenski. The camp employs a staff of 40 high school and college students as junior counselors and counselors. 

The education background of the leadership team is apparent in the structure and content of the programs offered at Slovenski Camps. Each camp week has a variety of specialty options to choose from – including A cappella, robotics, SAT prep, cross country, and dodgeball, among others. 

Photo by Brian Beard
These specialties were chosen based on interests Slovenski saw emerge in the Brunswick Day Camps and the expertise of their camp leaders. “We noticed that dodge ball is very popular, and we’re good at supervising dodge ball,” he said. “We love music and we’ve always had a lot of singing, dancing and music in our camp programs,” he added. 

This year, a Sustainability Camp is being offered for the first time. “Part of what we do at the camps is to keep the facility in harmony with the setting and environment of the Panther Pond shorefront,” Slovenski said. This includes projects like planting native flowers, putting down mulch, and building an anti-erosion wall. 

“As we do these things, the campers come by and they’re very interested in what we’re doing and often interested in helping, so we started to think of how it would be a good educational experience for campers to be here for a week learning about the Maine woods,” Slovenki said. 

Programming will include learning how to prevent erosion, buying and eating local food, identifying trees and plant species, and education on invasive species and how to combat these. 

The camp day is structured in blocks that provide a nice balance of scheduled activities and time for exploration and personal choice. The morning begins with a dip in Panther Pond and all campers meet for breakfast before breaking off into their first specialty period. Campers have free time before lunch, then an hour of reading followed by more free time before the afternoon specialty period.
After dinner, the whole camp gathers for field games and then a campfire, which features music, dance and limbo contests, and thoughts for the day. 

In addition to the wide variety of activities, being at camp allows children to experience the Maine woods and native wildlife, including geese, loons, porcupines, and a bald eagle that lives right off the shore. 

“We like to point out that summer camp is a great antidote to nature deficit disorder,” Slovenski said. “Maine families have this great opportunity to attend camps in Maine where there is a wonderful educational enrichment experience that is affordable.” 

Slovenski said they keep their costs down by offering experiences that don’t require a lot of expensive equipment. The cost of one week of camp is $595 to $695, varying due to staffing required for the program. 

Slovenski Camps is currently running a local special for readers in The Windham Eagle circulation area. “We appreciate the great support that the greater Windham community gives to our camp business,” said Slovenski. “It might be helpful to some families to use a camp session for day care, but we also want local children to have the kind of amazing Maine summer camp experience that so many campers come from Boston and New York to have in Raymond.” With a coupon found in the paper, there is a $100 discount available in the weeks beginning on June 2, August 7 or August 14th.
For more information or to register, visit