Friday, October 27, 2017

Maine IDs will remain valid for domestic flights this January

Passage of Sen. Diamond’s Real ID compliance bill halts action by federal government, TSA

An official with the US Department of Homeland Security has alerted state officials that the federal government will not bring enforcement action against the State of Maine for noncompliance with federal ID standards, thanks to legislation sponsored by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, and enacted by the Legislature earlier this year.

Had the legislation, LD 306, not passed, a Maine driver’s license or ID card would no longer have been considered valid by the federal government. In January, the federal government had planned to stop accepting state IDs, leaving Mainers without a valid US Passport or other federal identification unable to board domestic flights.

“Mainers need to know that their current drivers licenses and state ID cards are valid forms of identification, and will continue to be until the state adopts the new security standards dictated by the law we enacted this year,” said Sen. Diamond. “Mainers should have no trouble boarding planes, entering federal facilities or proving their identity to public safety officials.”

Some news outlets are still erroneously reporting that Mainers will need a passport to board a plane in January. But that’s not the case. Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke has granted Maine a waiver through October 10, 2018, to implement the new Real ID law without any enforcement action against the state by the federal government.

“These days, we need to be more careful than ever with information we find online, and have to be vigilant to the facts,” said Sen. Diamond. “While inaction would have caused a real logistical nightmare for Maine families, the Legislature acted to avoid such a scenario. Mainers should be able to go about their business, no questions asked.”

BACKGROUND: Ten years ago, Maine passed a law prohibiting the Secretary of State’s Office from complying with more stringent identification provisions of the federal Real ID Act, enacted by Congress in 2005 following the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Over the past decade, Maine received waivers from the federal government, essentially protecting Mainers from the repercussions of noncompliance with federal law. In 2016, however, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security denied Maine’s waiver application.

As a result of Maine’s noncompliance, Maine driver’s licenses and ID cards were no longer seen as legitimate by the federal government. Because of this new enforcement action, Mainers were unable to use their state-issued IDs to enter federal facilities. Maine veterans were barred from entering Veterans Administration hospitals. Maine companies and workers that do business with the U.S. government were barred from access to federal building. Firefighters and police officers had been stymied in efforts to obtain federal certifications.

LD 306, “An Act to Require State Compliance with Federal Real ID Guidelines,” was enacted by the Legislature and signed by the governor in April 2017, ending the short-term crisis and setting Maine on a path toward compliance with Real ID.

Raymond Community Garden gains shed

On Saturday, October 21, a rumble announced the delivery of a garden shed to the Raymond Community Garden. The shed journeyed from Raymond Hill Road to the Community Garden on a beautiful fall day. the shed settled into place the community gardeners raised a cheer! “She’s a well-worn girl but a blessing to the garden” said Leigh Walker, garden coordinator. “A few minor repairs and a new coat of paint and she will be as good as new!”

Walker went on to explain that the Community Garden has stored its tools and supplies in and around Raymond in gardener’s homes for many years. “Having this shed will allow us to store on-site, saving us time and protecting our tools from the elements.” The Community Garden and the library explored buying or building a shed over the last year, but “the cost was beyond our means” said Sheila Bourque, Library Board President.

Library Board member Kim Allen had a shed she was willing to donate. The shed was only made possible when Mike Doherty, President of Shed Happens, offered to donate the move of this existing structure to the Community Garden site. 

Shed Happens located in Saco and Portland is a well-known company in the shed business. The Community Garden was thrilled that the dream of a shed was going to happen.

The Shed Happens crew removed the shed from Raymond Hill then prepped the site and delivered the shed in its new home. 

“The community, the Children’s Garden and all those who benefit from fresh vegetables through the Raymond Food Pantry thank Shed Happens” said Bourque. “Once again the power of community accomplished a small miracle.”

Windham High School Presents "The Sound of Music"

The Sound of Music is a heartwarming story set in 1930’s Austria about a young woman named Maria who is failing miserably in her attempts to become a nun. When the widowed Navy Captain Georg von Trapp needs governess that can handle his seven mischievous children, Maria is given the job.

Although the children initially resent her, she soon wins them over with her kindness, understanding and sense of fun and brings much-needed joy to the Von Trapp family’s lives – even the Captain’s.
He and Maria find themselves falling in love even though he is engaged to a Baroness and Maria is still a postulate. Their personal conflicts are soon overshadowed by world events as Austria is about to fall under the control of Germany and the Captain may be drafted into the German Navy and find himself forced to fight against his own country.

Performances are November 10-19 Friday and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
Reserved Seats $14 all ages. For reservations, call 207-893-1742.

General admission at the door is $12 adults, $10 students, seniors, children. Performed at the Windham Performing Arts Center at Windham High School 406 Gray Road, Windham 


Friday, October 20, 2017

Author shares her artistic twist on the “50 Shades of Grey” series and creates her own set of books for women by Matt Pascarella

When author Marty Martin Miller read “50 Shades of Grey”, she thought, “I could do this [write a book]; this is not rocket science.” It was at that point she thought about writing a similar book and entitling it, “50 Shades of White” – about a book for the older woman.

Miller was available on Wednesday, October 11 at the Windham Public Library to discuss her books in the Janet series and the process of how she became a writer.

Miller, originally from Indiana, has lived in Gorham for 24 years and retired from teaching at the Portland School Department in 2011. Once retired, she had a lot of time on her hands and was always a big reader. She loved to write, but never saw herself as a writer. Storytelling came naturally to her but writing did not. Miller had written before, but it was more oriented towards children. She always saw herself writing children’s stories.

“I guess I thought if I’d ever be a writer, it’d be in children’s literature,” Miller explained.

However, she soon discovered her love for children’s writing changed. “I felt like I was drawn more to adult fiction,” Miller began. “I feel there is kind of a drought for literature for the older female. So often I would read a really great book and the characters were...30 and 40-year-old women. I read this one book and the mother was only 70, I’m 71, and they made her like, she had a broken hip and [it was very exaggerated]. I was like ‘really?’ We’re not dead yet. So that’s part of what I wanted to write to. We truly always stay young in our heads, regardless of what we look like.”

She also discovered that she couldn’t write about explicit sex. “I could imply the heck out of it, but to write it, I couldn’t,” joked Miller. As a result, her book originally entitled “50 Shades of White” became “Next to the Last Act” (the first in the Janet Book series)
Miller explained how she choose the topic of her first book. “A lot of my friends were finding themselves widows and this book is about a widow, [which I am not]. I started thinking about what would I do if I became a widow and I felt guilty; I didn’t want to think that with my husband living. Well I could imagine it through writing and that’s really how “Next to the Last Act” happened.”

“Next to the Last Act” is the story of Janet Stewart, who after losing her husband of forty years, wonders if she’ll be able to find happiness and fulfillment as a single senior. She discovers she may have jumped in too soon.

The book started after Miller had been talking with a woman over Words With Friends, an online app game similar to scrabble, who had written and published a book. The woman offered to connect Miller with her publisher. Approximately three years later “Next to the Last Act” was born. Miller states that her books dive into the subtle passion of the 30-year-old mind stuck in a 60-year-old body.

Is the author in any way similar to the protagonist in the Janet series? It didn’t start out that way.

“[When] I started out, Janet was nicer than I am…and then Marty creeped into Janet big time,” Miller said. “Everyone, including my daughter, will say, ‘that is so you.’ And of course, it’s my voice.

Miller shared some of her knowledge and discoveries as an author. “[My favorite part is] making people feel like they are reading about someone real,” she began. “Every day is an adventure. It’s been a learning experience.”

A quiet beauty dressed all in white - A poem by Bob Beane

Summer time is ending.
The air starts to become dryer.
The days begin to shorten.
The blue colors of the sky become brilliant.

One morning we find that there is a quiet joy in the inhalations
Of the now crisp air.
The trees are welcoming you Old Grandfather,
With waving boughs of brilliant colors.

A sudden surprise one morning.
The view is all white snow,
Illuminating the trees and fields.
Oh, Grandfather Winter you have returned.

You bring us such gifts of beauty when you return each year.
Though we grumble and mumble with the cold,
We feel that quiet hushed joy
At the scenes of the snow on the trees.

The softly falling snow flakes
Gently changing our world.
Bringing to us the quiet beauty
That you give as a Homecoming gift each year.

American Chestnut Trees may be in our backyards and forests again by Robert Fogg

I recently read an interesting article in the Portland paper about the return of the American Chestnut Tree. This reminded me of the time, a few years ago, when I took a ride with a local (Bridgton) member of the American Chestnut Foundation, so I could show him any remaining American Chestnut Trees I had found.
When we took off, he was concerned that I may be taking him to see Horse Chestnut Trees (aka Buckeye Trees), but he was pleasantly surprised when he realized that I did indeed know the difference. 

We visited numerous locations around the area and he carefully documented their locations on a Maine Gazetteer. It turns out that New England used to be home to millions of American Chestnut Trees, which can grow to be a few feet in diameter. 

In the early 1900s, a blight was somehow introduced that would eventually wipe out almost all of these majestic trees. The American Chestnut Foundation, as I remember it, started a program in Maine (and possibly other states too), to breed blight-resistance into the trees. They would plant a few hundred trees in each of a few locations around the state and after a few years, they would introduce the blight to each lot. About 98 percent of the trees would die, but two or three would live. 

They would take the seeds from these few surviving trees and reproduce the experiment over and over until blight-resistance was bred into them. This is a process that takes many years, but it sounds like there has been some success. 

In case you’ve never seen an American Chestnut Tree, it is similar to a Beech Tree; only the leaves are narrower but more conspicuously toothed, and the bark is furrowed. The nuts are also similar to a Beech Nut but much larger and the spines are long and much sharper. This is in contrast to the much shorter, less pointed and more sparsely, spaced spines on a nut from a Horse Chestnut Tree. American Chestnut wood is a hardwood that has many uses, including furniture making.
Who knows, maybe we will eventually be graced again by their presence in our yards and in our forests. Thank you, American Chestnut Foundation.  As far as I’m concerned, we can never have too many trees.

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.

Land for Maine's Future Program continues with PRLT

Last week, Presumpscot Regional Land Trust (PRLT) hosted a tour of legislators at Randall Orchards to showcase our nearly 500-acre agricultural conservation easement; making Randall Orchards one of the largest forever farms in the Greater Portland Area.  

The Randall Orchards Conservation Project and the Black Brook Preserve in Windham (the flagship project that started Windham Land Trust) were possible due to the Land for Maine’s Future Program. 

Thirty years ago, Maine voters overwhelmingly approved a bond to purchase lands of significance for recreation and conservation. Since then, Land for Maine’s Future Program has helped to protect more than 600,000 acres of land in Maine for us — forever. PRLT expects that in the coming years there will be more significant land protection projects in our region that will be possible with support from the
Land for Maine’s Future Program

The PRLT is constantly assessing new prospective land protection projects in our region and this is only possible due to member support. We want to take a minute now to thank each of you who are a member of our land trust, for supporting land protection for wildlife and the community. 

For more information or to make a donation to support PRLT, call the main office at (207) 839-4633 or email