Saturday, September 30, 2017

Fall Preparations. Three articles. By Christina O'Brien, Chris McDonald and Michelle Libby

Snowblower pre-season tune up
By Chris McDonald, Owner of Windham Powersports

It’s never too early to prepare for winter and provision can begin today. None of us want to be stuck in the cold with a broken or non-working machine. Being prepared is essential for success in this area. Finding a local shop to handle your pre-season tune up on your machine is recommended, however some feel confident enough to do these items themselves. Below you will find a typical tune up list of what is included with a pre-season tune up like the one offered at Windham Powersports, 646 Roosevelt Trail in Windham

-Check ignition system, carburetor, throttle, shear pins and choke controls. Clean engine cooling fins. Change oil.
-Check manual starter and electric starter if so equipped.
-Replace spark plug.
Lubricate Machinery:
-Lubricate moving parts: pivot points, cables, auger shaft, and drive plate zerk.
-Lubricate, inspect, and adjust drive belts and/or chains as applicable.
Test Equipment:
-Test overall operation of equipment and ensure that all safety features are fully operational at the time of service.
-Oil is typically included. Replacement parts, repair service, labor for repairs and tax are additional.
Be sure to use and keep fresh fuel available for your machine. Higher octane levels will help reduce ethanol consumption and improve overall performance of your snow blower as well; use of fuel additives can create problems for small engines unless specifically designed for that use. K100 is a great product to use to extend the life of your fuel.
Starting will be easier if the spark plug is in good condition. If in doubt, replace it. A new spark plug will be able to better ignite the fuel air mixture within the engine. You should also make sure the spark plug wire securely attaches to the spark plug.
Review the starting procedures outlined in the operator’s manual, including the proper operation of the safety features on your unit.
Annual Inspection:
Before each season, inspect the rotor blades for wear. When a rotor blade edge has worn down to the wear indicator hole, both rotor blades and the scraper should be replaced.  Inspect the drive belt for fraying, cracking or signs of stretching. Replace the drive belt if any of these conditions occur. It is recommended to have an extra belt on hand in the event the belt breaks while operating. Check for any loose fasteners and tighten as necessary. Missing fasteners should be replaced immediately.

Raymond Village Library - recipient of Ezra Keats’ Foundation Grant By Allison Griffin, Library Director

The Raymond Village Library was selected as a recipient of a 2017 Ezra Keats’ Foundation mini-grant. The Keats’ grant provided funds to support a children’s monarch butterfly rearing and release program. anticipation of the monarch’s arrival, children’s librarian Karen Perry and kids from the Raymond community spent a sunny afternoon this past spring planting butterfly-friendly plants in the community garden adjacent to the library. Through late August and early September, the children’s department was home to monarch caterpillars and young patrons were able to track the life cycle of the monarchs from caterpillar to butterfly stage.  

As the butterflies emerged from chrysalis, visitors to the children’s department were invited to release a total of 22 butterflies into the butterfly garden they had helped to plant and tend.  

The library is grateful to the Ezra Keats Foundation and to Linda Pankewicz and Mark’s Lawn and Garden for their expertise and assistance in selecting monarch friendly plants for the new garden, along with all of the children and parents who aided in planting, feeding and releasing the monarchs!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Local legendary musician, Al Hawkes, to perform his last concert for Music with a Mission

On Saturday, September 16 at 7:00 p.m., Music with a Mission is proud to present Al Hawkes and the Nitehawks for an evening of bluegrass and country music. Al Hawkes is a local legend and widely recognized as a pioneer of bluegrass and old time country music, which he has been performing for decades.  

Hawkes has lived in Westbrook since he was 10 years old and has been playing guitar since he was 12. Over the years, he has been recognized with over 30 national and regional awards, and has performed and recorded music with many different groups. Hawkes recorded with the Nitehawks back in 1991 and his most recent CD is from 2014 titled “I Love the State of Maine”.  

When Hawkes met recently with the Music with a Mission production staff, he handed them the following quote to share:

 “All of a sudden I’m old. Eighty-six to be exact. How did I get here so fast? I was just twenty-five a few days ago, or at least I thought I was, and I’ve acted that age most of the time through all of my years of playing music, being an electronic technician and running three businesses. But the recent occurrence that landed me in the emergency division of the Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine made it clear: I’m eighty-six years old. I was told to slow down, and that I must do [it] if I want to live long enough to finish some very important projects. So, this two hour concert with my Bluegrass Nitehawks on September 16 will be my last concert. I don’t plan on disappearing completely but I’ll be out playing less frequently. It has been a wonderful life and I appreciate the support from my family, wife, friends, fans, business associates and God.”  

“We are honored to have Al Hawkes return to Music with a Mission,” said Dr. Richard Nickerson, Minister of Music for NWUC. “Al is a legendary performer who has influenced and inspired countless musicians. This will be a historical event and a night to remember.”

This concert is the 48th in the Music with a Mission series sponsored by the North Windham Union Church. The church donates a portion of the proceeds to area non-profits and to date we have raised almost $50,000 for mission support to the church and other community organizations. Al Hawkes and the Nitehawks have chosen to support the Highland Lake Congregational Church, UCC. 

Tickets are available online at or at the door. Prices are $12 for adults and $10 for students, children, and seniors. The box office opens at 6 p.m. and the doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The North Windham Union Church is located at 723 Roosevelt Trail in Windham. For more information please call 892-7149 or email

Connie Baxter Marlow and Andrew Cameron Bailey open interfaith intercultural season at Unity of Greater Portland By Elizabeth Richards

Unity of Greater Portland will usher in their Interfaith Intercultural Season with a series of films, multi-media talks and forums with Connie Baxter Marlow and Andrew Cameron Bailey, authors, filmmakers and futurists.

The weekend’s events are centered on the theme, “Become the promise America made to the World.”  Central to this theme is the connection to the Indigenous values embodied by Marlow’s great, great grandfather, James Phinney Baxter and his son, Percival Baxter, both prominent Maine politicians. 

Native American cosmology, their way of life and belief systems are connected to the heart, spirit and oneness of all life, honoring the animals, the earth, and the water, said Marlow. “This is what James Phinney Baxter and Percy Baxter did in their public and private lives; they honored the women, the animals, the earth and the water,” she added. These values inspired action: The Baxters gave the people of Maine, Baxter State Park, Baxter Woods, and Mackworth Island. James Phinney Baxter, six-time Mayor of Portland, formed the Portland city park system. All of these acts were designed to allow people to get close to nature and access those aspects of themselves, Marlow said. 

Understanding these indigenous values that were so important to her ancestors is of critical importance, Marlow said, to finding a new perspective that can move us from old ways of being into new realities. “Without that, we’re stuck,” she said, “separated from the true nature of the universe.”
On Friday, September 22, the pair will screen their film, “SEEDS OF FREEDOM: A Vision for America,” which highlights the belief held by James Phinney Baxter that America must embody the high ideals of New England’s original settlers. The film also includes a link that is often missing: the role of the American Indian in the evolution of democracy and the American mind and spirit.

The screening will be followed by a multi-media talk and discussion titled, “Thoreau, the Pope and the Indian: A Shared Vision.”

On Sunday, September 24, the two will present their message, “The Baxter Legacy – Alignment with Indigenous Values,” at the 10 a.m. service. This will be followed by a multi-media presentation and discussion at noon, titled, “Civil Disobedience, Spiritual Activism and Higher Law: A Vision of the Individual’s Role in Creating a Just World.”

The intent of these presentations is, “giving people hope and courage for what to do right here, right now, given the current situation in this country and in the world around our birthrights of liberty, justice, equality and abundance,” said Marlow. 

On Sunday, they will track the evolution of social activism, from civil disobedience and non-violent non-cooperation through to spiritual activism; which is aligned with higher law, Marlow said. “As we’ve unfolded our understanding of the nature of the universe and humanity’s place in it, quantum science has shown us that our thinking actually affects the collective,” she said. “What we’re showing is this evolution of consciousness and our ability to affect change through supporting something positive.”  The hope is that people will come away with an idea of their own personal power, along with some tools for understanding their place in a conscious, loving, abundant universe, she said.

Bailey added that asking questions about core beliefs isn’t something typically done in today’s society, but it’s critical to do so. Bringing these beliefs to the surface, he said often allow for change, allowing people to see their circumstances from a different perspective. “It changes perspective. It gives people a more accepting attitude toward existence. It’s literally the difference between a fear based existence and a trust based existence,” he said.

Marlow and Bailey are also the authors of, “The Trust Frequency”; a book that Bailey said sets out to ask the question, “What do we believe?” and examines unconscious assumptions

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Senators Collins, King Announce More Than $1.7 Million for Maine DHHS

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced today that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will receive a total of $1,776,038 for the Ryan White Part B Supplemental Program. This funding was awarded through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to improve the quality, availability, and organization of HIV health care and support services. 

“The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is a lifeline for those living with HIV/AIDS across our state,” Senators Collins and King said in a joint statement. “This investment will provide invaluable assistance to individuals who are underinsured or uninsured, connecting them to medical professionals and health services and making HIV/AIDS care more accessible and convenient.”

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program provides a comprehensive system of care that includes primary medical care and essential support services for people living with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured. The Program works with cities, states, and local community-based organizations to provide HIV care and treatment services to more than half a million people each year. The Program reaches approximately 52 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV in the United States.