Friday, July 28, 2017

Gov. LePage vetoes Sen. Diamond’s ban on driving while using a handheld device

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday told reporters that he would veto a bill banning the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. The bill — L.D. 1089 — “An Act To Prohibit the Use of Handheld Phones and Devices While Driving,” — was sponsored by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham.

Sen. Diamond’s bill bans the use of handheld devices, except to communicate with law enforcement
or emergency responders, while allowing the use of hands-free devices, devices secured to the dashboard and cellphones set to a hands-free mode.

The legislation was endorsed by both the Maine State Police and the American Automobile Association. Research from AAA indicates that use of a handheld device quadruples the chance of an accident, that the recent spike in accidents is directly attributable to cell phone use.

Diamond has championed legislation to prohibit distracted driving in the past. In 2011 he successfully passed a law to texting while driving. However, law enforcement agencies have said the laws are difficult to enforce because other mobile devices uses are not explicitly prohibited. LD 1089 is designed to resolve that ambiguity.
“When drivers get pulled over for texting while driving, there is nothing preventing them from saying they weren’t texting, but doing something else – like dialing in a number or looking up directions. 

Those activities are just as distracting as texting but because there is no current law against them, they can drive off and continue to look at their devices instead of the road, without consequence,” said Sen. Diamond. “While I respect the governor's right to veto bills that get to his desk, I am deeply disappointed that he chose to veto this bill because I know it will save lives and prevent tragic accidents on our highways. I will urge my colleagues to override the veto and enact this law. This bill is necessary to save keep our roads safe and save lives.”

While the Legislature has yet to receive official notice of the veto, Diamond expects the Senate to consider whether to override the veto when it reconvenes on August 2.

Advice Chief – Eliminate clutter and change your life by Jeff “Chief” Urbaniak

When I was younger, I used to leave stuff lying around almost all the time. I’d pick it up or organize it only when I needed to. As a result, I felt overwhelmed almost every day, even when nothing else in my life was driving me to feel that way. It felt like my walls were moving in all around me, making me almost claustrophobic. My energy was virtually nonexistent.

Jeff "Chief" Urbaniak

This continued until I took the advice from a reliable mentor of mine: Joe Vitale. He basically told me: “The more clutter in your room, the more clutter in your mind.” And my mind certainly felt cluttered. He suggested that I pick up and organize my things and to clean out my closets, garage, office, car, and any other rooms or places I spent time in.

His overriding message was that energy moves when blocks are removed, and that clutter equals blocks. So, wanting desperately to remove my blocks, I gave it a try.

I began gradually picking up and organizing my stuff. I had to do it gradually because the thought of doing it all at once was too overwhelming. As I inched closer to getting my clutter situation under control, I noticed a different kind of feeling from within that gave me more motivation in life. started doing more outdoor activities like swimming and hiking. I stopped being a couch potato. I
didn’t feel like hiding from the world. I stopped worrying about trivial things. I was able to think more clearly. And I fell asleep much faster at night as my clutter-free life led to a clutter-free mind.

According to organizational expert Lynne Gilberg, clutter is bad for a person’s physical and mental health. Victims of clutter will often use terminology like “suffocating” and “I can’t breathe,” when they feel overwhelmed. They are more prone to having emotional meltdowns, feeling depressed, or suffering from unexplained weight gain. And medical doctors have concluded that clutter leads to higher amounts of dander and dust in the home; which has been proven to be a major contributing factor to allergies and asthma. can even give you a bad reputation. A human resource manager once told me his company did the oddest thing in determining whether new applicants would truly possess some organizational traits they were looking for in their employees. Hiring agents would walk by applicants’ cars and look inside them. If the inside was filled with tons of fast-food bags, empty soda bottles, stray shoes, clothes, and so on, it became a negative check-mark for that applicant. On the other hand, if the car was somewhat neat and clean, it resulted in a positive check-mark.

He claimed those who had neatly kept cars typically maintained or produced neatly kept office spaces, neatly kept files, well organized reports, and easy to follow presentations and they also seemed less stressed on a daily basis.

So if you feel bogged down, scatterbrained, overwhelmed, emotionally drained, or stressed out, try eliminating the clutter around you a little bit at a time and see if things in your life improve. I bet they do!

‘A diamond in the ocean’ – A story of a local man who finds his dad by Rachel Robles

This article, originally published in The Mountaineer, is reprinted by permission.

WAYNESVILLE, North Carolina - The last thing Henry “Jimmy” Ford Shade Jr. expected when he went to fight in Vietnam was to fall in love. Raised in Canton (North Carolina), this 1966 graduate of Reynolds High School joined the Army after graduation and served three tours with the 82nd Airborne.

Jimmy Shade
Shade said he was “a young guy running wild in Vietnam” in 1969 when he met a Vietnamese woman named Nhung Nguyen in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). Unable to correctly pronounce her name, he nicknamed her “Thu.”

“We formed a relationship, and I’d sneak off the base and go visit her and we’d stay with each other as much as we [could],” he said.

During the course of their relationship, they ended up saving each other’s lives. Nhung hid Shade under her bed when the Viet Cong came to her house and he rescued her from the Viet Cong when she was taken because she was out past curfew.

Their relationship ended on March 17, 1972 when Shade was shipped back to the States. Unbeknownst to Shade, Nhung was three months pregnant.

“She didn’t get to tell me and I didn’t get to say goodbye,” he said. “I had no idea I was going to be a father at all.”

Jimmy returned to Canton and after serving with the N.C. National Guard's 211th Military Police based in Clyde, he went to work for a paper mill. He met his current wife, Sarah, and they settled into a blissful domestic life, completely unaware that he had a Vietnamese son. They had two children together, Canton Police officer Tyler Shade and Anna Shade.

Across the world, Nhung gave birth to her son, Phuoc Minh Nguyen in 1972. His mixed-race heritage
Phuoc as an infant
earned him the distinction of being an Ameriasian, the child of a Vietnamese woman and a U.S. military father. As such, he faced difficulties growing up.

He was an outcast in his community and endured racial slurs and substandard treatment, and his mother faced persecution for having a child with an American soldier.

In 1989 when Phuoc was 17, he heard about the Ameriasian Homecoming Act on the radio, a U.S. law that gave preferential immigration status to children in Vietnam born of U.S. fathers. The law also allowed immediate relatives, like his mother, refugee benefits.

Phuoc was 18 when he and his mother arrived in the United States in 1990. He was encouraged to pick a nickname; by complete coincidence, he chose "Jimmy." They were sent to Portland, Maine, where he attended the local high school and worked as many jobs as he could to support his mother.

In 2000, Phuoc met his wife, Renee and the two were married in 2004. They have two daughters, Quynh and Tien, and reside in Casco, Maine with his mother. [Renee now works at Construction Consultants in Windham, ME.]

In 2003, Phuoc and Renee went to the American Red Cross because they were told the nonprofit might be able to help them locate his father.
The Red Cross was unable to help because, for safety reasons, his mother didn’t list the name of his father on his birth certificate. So Phuoc took the DNA test offered by

“For him, I knew we were only going to get the father’s side because they don’t send the test overseas (at the time), said Renee. “So I knew I would be getting the right results.” 

Phuoc said Renee “went a long way” to help him find his father, spending two to three hours almost every night on, combing through documents to find a connection.

“She wanted to find my father, but didn’t know how,” he said. “How do you find a diamond in the ocean?”

Renee searched for three years until last fall, when she found a cousin, Ashley McClelland, who connected her to Charles Hill, another cousin. He offered to put the picture of Nhung and Phuoc on the Shade Family Reunion Facebook page on Dec. 25, 2016.

Meanwhile, in Waynesville, Sarah Shade was scrolling through the Shade Family Reunion Facebook page in March 2017 when she came across the picture Renee had posted. According to her, Jimmy suddenly said, “I know her!”

"Thu", Jimmy and Phuoc reunited
Sarah sent a message to Renee, and before long Renee had the Shades’ phone number.
“One of the first things Jimmy asked was, where my mother-in-law was, and he asked to talk to her,” said Renee.

Before allowing the two to speak, Renee said she needed more information. She asked Jimmy what he called her mother-in-law. He replied, “Thu.”

The next day, Nhung confirmed that that was the name Jimmy called her, and Renee excitedly told Phuoc she had possibly located his father.

“I was shocked,” said Renee. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to get [Phouc’s] hopes up. I wanted to be 100 percent sure. I was happy, but I was shocked.”

According to Sarah, the next time the Shades spoke to Renee, Jimmy “jumped out of his chair” upon hearing that Renee’s mother-in-law’s nickname had been “Thu.”
“It was the connection,” said Sarah.

Confirmation and meeting

An old picture and anecdotal evidence, though strong, wasn’t enough to convince the Tyler and Anna Shade, Sarah and Jimmy’s children, that Phuoc was the real deal. Out of love and a sense of familial protection, they requested a legal paternity test in April.

“Within two business days, we had the results,” said Renee. “It was a 99.9997 percent chance they were father and son.”

To raise enough money to make the trip to Waynesville, Phuoc, who works in the construction field, took on a second job. He worked night and day for two weeks. The family left Casco, Maine on June 9 and arrived in Haywood County on Saturday, June 10.

 “It was just like a miracle,” said Jimmy, “All this time, and to finally be able to touch him. It was deeply felt. I didn’t think I’d ever see her again, either.”

“I don’t think we could have asked for a better outcome,” said Renee. “Everyone has been so accepting of it. [Phuoc’s] new stepmom Sarah, his stepsisters, his uncles, they’ve taken him in. We came and within a number of hours, we’re like family.”

Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer in Maine - Taiwanese families get a tour of New England by Jeremy Bennett

The Bennett family of Windham is the host to another crew of Taiwanese families for several weeks this summer. Aside from touring Maine and going to Portland Headlight, Old Orchard Beach, L.L. Bean in Freeport and Little Sebago Lake, the children are participating in summer camps offered through Waynflete and Cheverus.

The Bennetts keep the children busy. Troy (14) is involved in Cheverus Basketball Camp. Brian (9) enjoys Legos and Science at Waynflete's camp. Brothers Ho-Ping (10) and Ho-An (12) are involved in a Broadway Drama at Waynflete. The youngest of the crew, Raven (5) and Miranda (8) enjoy Art and Expo at Waynflete. 

Enjoying the waters of Little Sebago Lake
These families are from the city of Taipei, Taiwan, an urban city of 2.7 million people in an area the
size of Windham and Raymond. Imagine twice the population of the state of Maine fit into that area, and you can begin to see how difficult it might be to enjoy the kind of life we have here in Maine.

They don’t get much of a chance to kayak or fish in Taipei, and the only swimming they’ve done is at YMCAs. The parents, on the other hand, have been enjoying the retail stores here in Maine such as Marshalls and TJ Maxx; finding brand-name merchandise at great prices. They also love the food, especially the barbecued meats and steamed lobster.

After a few weeks here, we spoke with the parents about their experiences. One of the parents, who had previously lived in New York City for a time, described Maine as, “A fantastic place to raise kids.” Another parent thoroughly enjoyed watching Windham Center Stage’s performance of “Aladdin Jr” and Waynflete’s “Annie”. “There’s so much to see and to learn,” she shared. Another parent observed how kids here seem to build relationships so quickly. She went on to say, “Everyone encourages, and the teachers always say good job!” She feels that kids are so encouraged by teachers here and that inspiration is one of the biggest differences she sees between here and the education system in Taiwan. 

Overall, the crew is impressed with how local Windham is and how convenient it’s been having nature so close to the stores and shops. On the first fishing trip in kayaks, the kids spotted a baby fawn on the lakeside and saw fish jumping in the pond on our second fishing trip.

Additional trips include those to Boston, Montreal and North Conway. In the end, they leave with a unique Maine/New England experience that they will cherish when they return to the busy, industrial city-life of Taipei, Taiwan.

“My child thinks he’s learned a lot here and has made many friends. We love everything in Maine, and we also welcome you to come to Taiwan,”

Jeremy Bennett is a 2017 Windham High graduate who will be attending Bates College this fall.

Ben Manning travels the world to return home, to grow roots and give back to the community by Elizabeth Richards

Windham High School (WHS) graduate Ben Manning had an opportunity to see the world during his time as a Navy Seal. Now, he’s returned to the Windham community to put down roots and settle with his own family in the area where he grew up.  
Manning has always had an ambitious streak. After attending Windham Christian Academy through the eighth grade, he chose to attend WHS because of the academic opportunities available there. 

Academics came easy for him, he said and at WHS, he had the chance to take AP and other advanced classes such as, a college calculus class, earning him college credit before even leaving high school.  

Manning graduated third in his class at WHS and was offered a full scholarship at the University of Maine. Although he’d thought about joining the military, he said the scholarship was too good to turn down. The credits he had earned in high school, combined with a heavy class load, allowed him to graduate from the University with a degree in Construction Management in three and a half years. After graduating, Manning joined the Navy.

The sole reason he went in was to become a Navy SEAL. When he joined, he had a contract that guaranteed him a spot in the training program; but after that it was up to him to prove that he could make it through. He wanted to be a SEAL because from his perspective - both before joining and after being a SEAL - they are the best of the best. Being a part of that elite unit was what he was after.
In his eight and a half years in the Navy, not only did Manning travel the globe, from Europe to the Middle East to South America and beyond, he gained essential skills in leadership, decision making, and stress management that he said he could not have learned in such a brief period of time anywhere else. “It’s high paced. It’s going nonstop the whole time. But for me, it was awesome, because of how much I could learn in that short amount of time,” he said.  

The scope of work is broad and demanding and SEALs must be able to perform at a high level under high stress. “They require a lot out of you and you have to perform at the highest level because there are such high stakes,” he reports. That’s why there is such a difficult screening process to become a Navy SEAL. Few people can handle the high stress levels and make the right decisions quickly enough to keep people safe, Manning said.  “If you don’t have all that, that’s when people will get hurt - when the stakes are high, when the risk is high,” he said.

Manning’s time as a Navy SEAL helped shape who he has become. Those life experiences have helped him mature and develop as a person. Growth in all aspects of his life: marriage, parenting, physical fitness and health, leadership skills, mental, emotional and spiritual are all very important to Manning. Working as a Navy SEAL allowed him access to vast resources that he could use to learn and grow. “Now, it’s kind of ingrained in me and I’m able to pull those resources, and hopefully be able to help out other people with those resources,” he said.

Manning and his wife, Kelley, moved to Windham a few short weeks ago with their two young daughters, Hazel and Violet. They are building a home in Windham and are ready to put down roots.  “We’re looking at getting invested in the local community and hopefully being able to add some value,” Manning said.  

At thirty, Manning has plenty of time to make an impact in the community. He has joined the family business, MGM Builders, as their Special Projects Manager. Manning says he believes he has a lot to offer to the Windham community. He would like to work with the local police department in any way they see fit. His experiences as a Navy SEAL included training many police squads have experienced, and he has worked as a dog handler for the past few years.  After settling in, he would also like to reach out to the high school and possibly work with students interested in strength conditioning and fitness programs.  

Manning said he has a passion for seeing people succeed, and for mentorship. “Over the years one of the biggest ways I’ve learned, is having good mentors that have helped me grow and learn. That’s one of the areas I would like to contribute back to,” he said. His experience at WHS was a great one, and he hopes for the same kind of experience for his own children. He likes to lead by example, he said, especially for his girls. “As I go forward I want to be living a life that they want to emulate. I think Windham is a great place to do that,” he said.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Trees and severe weather by Robert Fogg

It was Friday afternoon June 30 and the beginning of the July 4th weekend. Our crews had just signed out and left for the week when the first call came in. A lightning strike at a residence in Point Sebago had left a large pine tree in splinters and lying on top of an automobile. Aaron, one of our three job estimators/crew supervisors, immediately called in three of our crew leaders (Tommy, Darren & Nicholas) to remedy the situation. At that point, we had no idea of the scope of things to come.
First thing Saturday morning my cell phone rang. It was our Emergency Line. Wind from the previous night’s thunder storm had blown a tree down on a house on Little Sebago Lake in Windham. I drove to the scene and found that a very large pine tree had fallen across the front deck of a home, tearing the deck from the house, but miraculously doing very little damage to the house itself. After assessing the situation, the property owner and I decided the tree could wait until Monday morning to be removed. As I left the scene, I observed multiple properties with trees down and strewn about and knew we would be getting more calls soon.  Sure enough, all that day non-emergency calls came in to our office voicemail, asking to be “put on the list” for storm-damage cleanup the following week. 

It wasn’t until later that afternoon that reports started coming in of severe winds and possible tornados in Bridgton, Denmark and Harrison. When Adam, who manages the Bridgton Region, started getting calls from his customers that afternoon, he knew we were in for a busy week. He immediately contacted our team and put them on notice that we would likely be working the next morning. 

By Sunday morning, multiple calls had come in: Trees on a house near the Highland Lake Beach in Bridgton, a tree on a house at Highland Pines, multiple trees on a house on Coveside Road, a tree tore through a camp nearby, a tree flattened a garage on Highland Road, a leaning tree threatening to fall on a house near the Moose Pond Causeway, more tree damage on Mountain Road in Denmark and Cape Monday Road in Harrison. Where do you start?

By 8 a.m. most of our crew had turned out and were converging on the storm zone. Our plan of attack was to: remove the trees that had fallen, or threatened to fall, on houses and automobiles first and focus on the cleanup later. We split our team up into four crews. Two crews went to Highland Road in Bridgton, one crew went to Highland Pines across the lake and another crew went to Moose pond.
It didn’t take long for word to get out about the storm damage. Highland Road soon became a steady parade of curiosity seekers which hampered our effort for a safe tree removal. The buzz of chainsaws filled the air and neighbors were all out, milling about and talking - no doubt trading stories about the previous night’s events. Miraculously, the only injury we heard about was 3 stitches to a girl’s face from flying glass.
By 8 p.m., we had only made a slight dent in the most severe locations, so we sent our crews home to rest up for a busy week. Calls continued to come in as the week progressed. Many of our team sacrificed their 4th of July holiday to keep up the effort. Some even continued to work through the following Saturday. I personally would like to publicly thank our many team members for their dedication and hard work, and their family members for their understanding during a holiday week.  

During this time, we’ve seen many tree defects, some of which were previously undetected, exploited by the wind. In some cases, even perfectly strong and healthy trees have been twisted and broken.

When it comes to tornados, no tree is safe.

“Why did that healthy hemlock tree split in two while that dying pine stood 30 feet away undamaged?” one of my clients had asked. The reason for this is wind resistance. The hemlock had much more surface area for the wind to push against.  

Observing the effects that severe weather has on trees gives us arborists experience and foresight and makes us better able to identify “problem trees” in the future. After years in the business, and a few storms under our belts, we are much better at predicting future failure than we used to be.

What can you do to prepare your trees for the next big storm? Basically, pay attention to your trees. Rotten trees and trees with multiple tops are usually the first to go. If you have questions or concerns, contact a professional arborist to help you assess the situation. Most arborists offer free advice and the benefit of years of experience and better yet, a recent week’s worth of experience. Like 4th of July week, 2017.

The author is General Manager of Q-Team Tree Service in Naples and is also a licensed Arborist. He can be reached at or 207-693-3831.

Rest in peace, Fred Collins by Michelle Libby

One of my first phone calls as the editor of The Windham Eagle was from a man who wanted to speak to the editor, the real editor. I assured him I was the editor. After he explained who he was and that he liked to write about history, I told him that we welcomed letters to the editor. 

Fred Collins will be greatly missed
After that, the paper and I received close to 200 letters from Fred Collins. Some were personal to me and others we printed in the paper on everything from his childhood growing up in Windham, to his adventures as a Marine in the South Pacific during WWII. All were addressed as “Editor Libby” or “Chief Editor Libby”. 

Fred’s letters to The Windham Eagle were full of patriotism, pride and sage advice. They were always typewritten in all capital letters on an old manual typewriter. Each letter had pictures photocopied on to it and were written in a rhyming pattern that could be heard when the letter was read out loud. 

“Collins was born in 1926. When he was four years old, he was given up for adoption due to family health issues and financial concerns. He became a ward of the town, and lived with the Libby family on a small farm in Windham,” wrote reporter Elizabeth Richards after her May 2014 interview with him. 

Fred was a Boy Scout and then a volunteer for 77 years. He joined the Scouts when he was 12 and put his skills learned to good use. He saved a girl from drowning at a Sunday school picnic by the Pleasant River when he was a boy. 

“That was a highlight of a life, saving somebody’s life,” said Fred. “You do a good turn, it will return to you.”

Everything he did had meaning in his life. His room was filled with memories of a lifetime spent serving, be it in the Marines, as a Freemason or as a Scout. 

It was a time in my life when a youngster needed guidelines to living. Most everything at the time - a mystery. How could a young boy handle situations that seemed so unrealistic? (The work horse died on our farm, the well went dry, a friend couldn’t walk and spent her life in a wheelchair),” he wrote in one letter to the paper when his Scoutmaster, Mac Lyons, died. “Truly, it was the formative years - lessons learned had a tendency to cling to one for a life time. This is why I have held the ‘Boy Scout Program’ in high esteem. ‘Be prepared’ is our motto! Today as I live my life, I spend a great deal of attention on being prepared.” 

I looked forward to receiving his weekly letters and if we didn’t hear from him for a while, I got concerned, but then another letter would arrive and he’d have a new address. 

His last letter came to my home a month or so ago, to tell me that his stories were going to be published in a local history book. He loved to see his work in print. Through the letters in The Windham Eagle, he was asked to speak to local students on his experiences in the military and he shared freely. He often spoke about being on the beach at Iwo Jima as a 16 year old, because his birth certificate had been lost and he told the Marines he was 18. 

“You can hear all kinds of stories, but if you’ve got somebody that was there, it means a lot more,” he said. Fred was one of many WWII veterans featured in “Neighborhood Heroes: Life Lessons from Maine’s Greatest Generation”, written by 18-year-old former Westbrook High School student Morgan Rielly. Fred was also a member of the American Legion Post 148 in Windham. 

Fred was a believer that God was what protected him and comforted him throughout his life. He often
wrote about his faith in his letters as well.

When he no longer could live with his wife, Geneva, who he was married to for 67 years, he was very upset, traveling to visit her as often as he could until she passed away last year. They had six children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Fred always had a pad of paper beside his bed to capture inspiration when it came to him. “I have a great feeling for the Constitution and trying to keep America on track. In a subtle way, I like to put that on paper,” Collins said. 

Collins passed away at his daughter Martha’s house after having a full day making his own meals, going for a walk and then sitting down to watch TV. He fell asleep and never woke up. 

A graveside service with military honors will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 17, at Woodlawn Cemetery, Westbrook. Fred Collins was 91 years old.

Raymond Hill Community Center offers another evening of music

The Raymond Hill Community Center (RHCC) wishes to invite you to the second Evening of Music on Saturday, July 22 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the newly restored Riverside Hall located at 7 Raymond Hill Road in Raymond.
There will be a number of musical performers for the evening. They include David Young, a 2017 Windham High graduate from Raymond and winner of The Maine Academy of Modern Music Best High School Guitarist Award.

Holden Willard
Holden Willard will also be available to perform. He is another young talented musician/guitarist/song writer from Raymond.

The band, The Disclaimers, who are based in the Lakes Region include musicians: Mark Accuosti, Craig Trend and Scott Davis. They have been playing pop and rock and roll music from the 1960s, 70s and 80s since they first got together in 1975 as high school friends. More like brothers than band mates, their longtime friendships come through in their music. The Disclaimers are excited to be able to close the night with some classic rock that will have listeners on their feet.

Also performing during the evening is Dos Canosos; comprised of Raymond residents Raul Freyre, Gary Wittner and Rafael Freyre. Dos Canosos performs throughout Maine and Northern New England. Raul Freyre’s professional vocal and percussion music career began in Miami and Boston before coming to Maine’s music scene. Wittner is an internationally known guitarist and recording artist and Kennedy Center Jazz Ambassador. Rafael Freyre completes the trio and provides “bottom” for many of Maine’s premier Latin and World Beat bands.

The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and light snacks will be available. Please join us for a night of good music, conversation and fun.

The RHCC’s mission is to provide an open and welcoming space for people of all ages to come together, share thoughts, ideas and/or creative projects; and to promote community connections.
Donations gratefully accepted. All proceeds to benefit the Raymond Hill Community Center. For more information contact Raul Freyre at 207- 655-7355 or at e-mail at