Friday, October 26, 2018

Playing it safe on Halloween

Halloween is coming and now is a great time to remind people how to remain safe during the holiday.

“Unfortunately, we see an increase in child fatalities on Halloween,” stated Windham State Farm Agent, Tricia Zwirner.  “Kids are twice as likely to be hit and killed by a vehicle on Halloween night compared to other nights.” 

Statistics show 23% of fatalities occur with children between the ages of five and eight; and 70% of accidents occur away from an intersection or crosswalk.

“Whether you’re trick-or-treating, driving or passing out treats at home, it’s important to remember these simple, but important safety tips,” Zwirner said:

If you’re going door-to-door
Always accompany young children.

Use caution during the “scariest” hours: between 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Studies show the hour between 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. is especially dangerous for pedestrian accidents.

Stick to neighborhoods with sidewalks.  If you must walk on the street, keep to the far left, facing traffic.

Practice safe crossing procedures: Use crosswalk; wait for corners; and look left, right and left again before crossing. reflective tape onto costumes to make your child more visible. Also have him/her carry a flashlight.

Make sure costumes and shoes are the correct size to prevent tripping. Use face paint and leave masks at home. Masks can obstruct vision.

If an older child is venturing out without supervision, ask him/her to go with a group. Discuss the route and agree on a curfew. Give older kids cell phones so they can stay in touch.

If you’re driving

Be alert for children and eliminate in-car distractions.

Drive slowly.

Practice extra caution at intersections and corners.

Pull in and out of driveways carefully.

If you’re handing out treats

Keep your home brightly lit.

Clear debris and other obstacles from your lawn, sidewalks and steps.

Opt for battery-operated candles in jack-o’-lanterns instead of candles.

Keep pets kenneled or in another room.

Now let’s have fun and stay safe out there!

Calling all student artists: PTA Reflections program now accepting submissions

By Elizabeth Richards

The Windham PTA has kicked off the annual Reflections program. They are currently accepting artistic submissions from students in grades K-12 in the following four categories: Photography, Visual Arts, Literature, and Music Composition.

Reflections is a program of the National PTA. Winners of the local competition will be submitted to the state level, and from there, state winners will be submitted to the national competition. Last year Windham student Lydia Marden, a fifth grader at the time, received national recognition with an Award of Merit for her piano/vocal composition.

While the national competition offers two additional categories, the local PTA has chosen to limit their competition to the four listed due to the time it takes and number of volunteers they have available. “We are hopeful in the future, with more manpower, that we might be able to include the other two categories as well,” said Windham PTA Reflections Chair, Katharine Slomczynski. The PTA is seeking volunteers to help with every aspect of the competition. year marks the National PTA’s 50th anniversary of the Reflections program. It is the third consecutive year that Windham has participated, Slomczynski said.  The theme this year is “Heroes Around Me.”  Artwork is judged by local artists recognized in their field, who donate their time to help in this endeavor, Slomczynski said.

The Reflections program gives students an opportunity to showcase their artistic talent and gain recognition at various levels. “I think that art is a wonderful outlet for our students, and I think that it’s not celebrated enough,” Slomczynski said. “It’s something that people don’t necessarily often think about, but a place where our students really shine and show quite a lot of talent. It gives them an opportunity to get their work out there and to get noticed for the things that they’re good at.”

To enter, a student should choose a category and create a piece based on their interpretation of the theme.  An entry form should be completed and submitted along with the artwork at the main office of the student’s school by November 16, 2018.  Submission envelopes should include the category, division, full student name, and teacher’s name. All official rules must be followed to qualify for prizes.  A link to rules can be found on the PTA website,  Anyone with questions should also refer to the website.

Windham Center Stage presents lively interpretation of “Sister Act”

By Elizabeth Richards

Fans of community theater and feel good musicals shouldn’t miss Windham Center Stage’s production of “Sister Act”, which opened on Friday, October 19 to a large, appreciative crowd.
“Sister Act” tells the hilarious, high energy tale of an aspiring singer on the run from her sinister married lover. Hidden in a convent, her infectious personality can’t be contained, and she transforms their lackluster choir into a glitzy, showstopping group that just might save the failing church.

What always strikes me most about Windham Center Stage is the true feeling of community in the room. This company knows what community theater should be, and support from the community is clear. The program is filled with expressions of gratitude – from the show’s sponsor, Erik’s Church, to the volunteers and local businesses who donated goods and services. The love of theater and putting on a great show shines through in every detail of the production. 

http://votesahrbeck.comThis show had a large cast, but the stage never seemed too crowded, and the cast made good use of all available space. The pace and flow were just right from the very first number. On opening night, the sound system seemed to have a few issues, with some static and popping from the speakers, and mics that appeared not to be working properly at times. But despite those technical issues, the energy of the cast kept the show moving forward and the audience engaged.

Musical numbers were lively and engaging, and there was a wealth of talent on stage. Large ensemble numbers were well coordinated and fun to watch, with choreography that added energy and fun to each scene.  Vocally, the cast blended well, though at times lyrics were difficult to make out clearly. 

Solo and small ensemble numbers offered both insight into these characters and a chance for individual cast members to shine. Characters were well developed, and each cast member seemed to make his or her character – no matter how big or small - their own. 

Sister Act runs through October 28, with performances on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15, $10 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the door prior to the show.

Boots, Band and BBQ fundraiser exceeds goal

By Colby Willis
Local Windham charity, Riding to the Top held its annual Boots, Band and Barbecue fundraiser on October the 13 for its 11th year in a row. This fundraising Triple B event is the largest of the year for the organization which provides therapeutic horse riding for those with disabilities or who are at risk.
The guest speaker, Corey McAllister, whose son attends Riding to the Top classes, said that each visit was the highlight of his week.

I sat down with former board member and current volunteer Cindy Elder and we talked about Riding to the Top and the Triple B event. Riding to the Top provides more than just fun according to Elder; it provides “Amazing Equine services for individuals with a wide range of disabilities.” This includes increasing coordination, reducing muscle spasms and seizures and helping struggling children to open up emotionally. The fleet of horses and ponies they have had over their years have provided comfort, fun and training to thousands of people from Maine and beyond.

The event itself was a special one as it also celebrated the nonprofit's 25th year of service to the community of Windham and Maine at large.

Riding to the Top partnered with many Maine businesses including DennyMike's BBQ, who catered the event with the titular barbeque, 99.9 The Wolf, IDEXX, St. Joseph's College, the Gorham Police Department, Portland Volvo and Norway Savings Bank as well as many more. A few of the businesses even matched donation goals if goals were met. Live music was also provided by local band, Under The Covers. The goal of the event was to bring the Boots, Band, and BBQ total funds raised in its eleven year run to over one million dollars.
One of the many ways in which the money was raised began with Auctioneer Allie Byers having guests raise cards in a descending level of donations from five thousand to fifty dollars. Each individual was provided a card to raise to assign themselves a promised donation, and cards began to shoot out as people donated for horse care, sponsoring people to be able to attend courses, and much more. Over the course of just a few minutes thousands upon thousands of dollars had been raised for the Riding to the Top community. With over 800 hours from all the contributors and over 400 guests attending the event  a total of $165,000 dollars was raised with seven of the donations at the $5,000-dollar mark, exceeding their million dollar lifetime goal.

The goal was also met through various other donations, raffle tickets and even a football helmet signed by New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady. While the event was a success, the non-profit is still planning to go full steam ahead into 2019. Though there are many volunteers, there is always more room for individuals who want to have a meaningful impact to help.

The organization will be hosting more events throughout the year, as well as providing meaningful courses to those in need from children to retirees. If you would like to contribute to the cause or learn more visit or call 892-2813.

A matter of historical record: Windham’s tales from the crypt

By Walter Lunt

Stories of paranormal activity in Windham’s oldest burial ground are nothing new. A great many residents say they believe the Anderson Cemetery is haunted by the spirits of the town’s earliest settlers. Located off River Road near the Parson Smith House, the ancient family style graveyard cradles the remains of numerous early founders including Smith, Hunnewell and Anderson.

The Anderson Crypt at the Anderson Cemetary
Distinctive among the many monuments and headstones is the ominous, yet dignified Anderson crypt. The historian Frederick Dole writes that its front “is said to be a facsimile of the Washington tomb at Mount Vernon.” The door, once secured by a combination lock, is now sealed with angular slate-like stone, fitted together like pieces of a jig-saw puzzle. On either side are door-sized tablets, engraved with the names of several descendants of Abraham and Lucy Anderson who are interred there.

This was the setting when two Windham town councilors (one former, one current) and several companions decided to explore the historic burial ground. Carol Waig, Dennis Welch, Welch’s son, Shawn and four others entered the cemetery one chilly afternoon in the fall of 2013.

“We’d heard all the (ghost) stories, but that’s not why we were there,” recalled Waig, a Windham town councilor from 2010 – 2015, “…we were taking in the history.”

As dusk settled in, the first hint of something awry became evident.  There was a “chill” in some spots, Waig said. They encountered “ice-cold spots” as they walked the paths between headstones and monuments. “Then, we’d go back (to those spots) and they were not cold.” The group stopped to inspect the so-called “den,” A three-sided mound, open in front, and topped with grass, once a receiving tomb that stored bodies until warmer weather permitted digging. “There was (no unusual activity) there.”

Their final stop was the front of the Anderson crypt. Welch (a current town councilor), explained how Shawn began reading aloud the names of the Andersons listed on the tablets. As he read, the group heard low-level “knocks,” seemingly from within the crypt. Dismissed as environmental noise, Shawn continued. And so did the knocking – only louder, and almost in cadence with the reading. Finally, there came a very loud noise, definitely from within the tomb.

According to Waig, “it sounded like a car door slamming shut.”

At this point, Welch said he looked into the faces of his six companions. They all suggested the same thing: time to leave. And according to both Welch and Waig, who shared identical stories in two separate interviews, they lost no time returning to their vehicle.

As stated earlier, the story is not unusual. Scores of visitors to the Anderson Cemetery claim to have had similar experiences. In addition to the cold pockets and the mysterious knocking, paranormal investigators have reported other shuddery activity, such as the presence of orbs (light-emitting disks), strange mists, apparitions and dark figures lurking among trees. One report, unsubstantiated, involved a visitor who claimed to have been frightened out of the cemetery by a “spirit” that followed him home and trashed some of his furniture. He is said to have hired an exorcist.

A humorous reminder. No admittance to cemeteries after dark
Maine Ghost Hunters, a paranormal investigation team, reports a similar experience at the Anderson crypt several years ago. Noting animals had burrowed into the grass covered roof, the lead investigator concluded, “While we were all quite entertained by the possibility that these knocks may have been in response to our (attempts to communicate), the more likely and far more reasonable explanation would be “animal related.” The team also observed that the origin of some “pretty eerie howls” and other noises might be the natural and physical environment in and around the cemetery – “the wind can grab the trees and react with the dips and hills of the cemetery.”

Polls conducted by the Associated Press and Gallop reveal that just 34% of Americans believe in ghosts. The National Science Foundation calls the practice of paranormal investigation “pseudoscientific.” And science historian Brian Regal describes ghost hunting as “an unorganized exercise in futility.”

Still, cemetery “victims” insist that, despite the lack of scientific evidence, what they experienced was real.

Asked if they had theories on the origin of the knocks at the Anderson crypt, Waig and Welch were both circumspect.

“I’m not really a believer,” said Welch, “but that really happened – not just to me but (to my companions). I can’t explain it and do not try to explain it.”

Waig, who experienced yet another unusual encounter at Anderson about a year later, speculated “There may be things out there…sitting in purgatory, crying out for attention. I have a strong faith in God (and) I don’t believe in demons. People are afraid of what they don’t know. I regret not staying (at the crypt). We might have found an answer.  

Friday, October 19, 2018

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife enacts emergency rules to protect deer and moose populations

With Chronic Wasting Disease discovered in bordering Quebec, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife implemented emergency rules designed to protect Maine's deer and moose herds, and keep Maine CWD free.

"Chronic Wasting Disease is the most serious threat facing our deer and moose populations in modern times," said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. "Unchecked, this disease could devastate Maine's Deer and Moose populations, and ravage Maine's hunting and wildlife watching economy."

CWD is an always fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, moose and other cervids such as elk and caribou. CWD is caused by a mutant protein called a prion, which causes lesions in the brain. Research shows prions can be shed in saliva, blood, urine, feces, antler velvet, and body fat. Prions bind to soil where they can remain infectious for years. CWD is always fatal, there is no treatment, vaccine or resistance, and once present in the state, it is nearly impossible to eradicate.

In order to halt the spread of CWD and keep this devastating disease out of Maine, the Department has implemented the following rules regarding the importation of deer and other cervids into the state of Maine. It is now illegal to bring cervid carcasses or parts except in the following manner:
boned-out meat; properly identified and labeled. hardened antlers; skull caps with or without antlers attached that have been cleaned free of brain and other tissues;capes and hides with no skull attached; teeth; and finished taxidermy mounts.
In addition, the rule also prohibits the temporary importation of cervid carcasses and parts that are in-transit through Maine to another jurisdiction. These rules apply to all states and provinces with the exception of New Hampshire.

In addition, the Department urges all hunters to help halt the spread of CWD by following these guidelines:

Do not use urine-based deer lures or scents. CWD can be introduced into the soil with these scents and lures and lay dormant for years before infecting a deer herd. Many, if not all these products are derived from CAPTIVE deer, where the risk of CWD is greatest. While currently legal, avoid using these products in order to protect Maines moose and deer herd.

Please follow the laws and rules regarding the importation of harvested deer, moose, or elk from any state or provinces (other than New Hampshire). CWD carried in the brain and spinal cord of infected deer. It is vitally important that these parts are not transported across state and provincial boundaries.
Report deer that appear sick, weak, or starving to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife so that the animal can be tested for CWD. Early detection is the key in stopping the spread of CWD.

Avoid feeding deer and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. Feeding artificially concentrates deer, creating conditions increase the risk of CWD transmission. Feeding also attracts deer from long distances, increasing the likelihood of the disease becoming established in Maine.
Following these guidelines will help prevent the spread of CWD as Deer shed prions in urine, feces, and saliva and Infected animals can start shedding prions nearly a year before showing clinical signs of the disease.

"We hope that all hunters take an active role in keeping CWD out of Maine by doing their part to prevent the spread of CWD," said Woodcock.

Senior corps programs build relationships and strengthen communities

By Elizabeth Richards

When people retire, they often find themselves with time on their hands and a desire to give back. But sometimes, the cost of volunteering can be a barrier. For these people, Senior Corps
could be just what they need.

Senior Corps is federally funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.  The Opportunity Alliance is the local sponsor for two Senior Corps programs: The Foster Grandparent Program and the Senior Companion program.

Director Susan Lavigne calls the programs a “win-win-win” because they benefit the volunteer, the person or people they are serving, and the greater community. 

Lavigne said both programs were founded to engage older adults who had time and resources available to benefit their community. The Foster Grandparents program began in 1965, and the Senior Companion program in 1974. A nontaxable stipend ensures that low income people ages 55 and over who fall within the generous income guidelines can volunteer in these programs without it costing them anything. The programs are also open to non-stipend volunteers.

In addition to the federal funding, local organizations help keep the programs sustainable, including: United Way of Greater Portland, United Way of York County, State of Maine Office of Adult and Disability Services, Cumberland County Commissioners, and the schools and sites where volunteers are placed. “It’s quite a complex package and it enables us to really be sustainable because we don’t just have one funding source,” said Lavigne, adding that the programs also hold fundraising events.

Volunteers for the Senior Companions or Foster Grandparent programs are asked to commit at least 15 hours per week in order to build the appropriate relationships with clients. The average, Lavigne said, is 24 hours per week, but some volunteers do up to 40 hours. In exchange for their time, volunteers receive the nontaxable stipend, generous mileage reimbursement, meal reimbursement if no meal is available, regular training and recognition.

Coordinator Erica Lovejoy said that in the Foster Grandparent program, volunteers are placed in classrooms to work with children from infants through high school. The intent is for these volunteers to fill a nurturing role, helping children who need a little extra support, she said. This may include rocking infants, sharing snack and conversation with preschoolers or reading one on one with older students. No education background is necessary, Lovejoy said. All they need is a desire to help children, compassion, and a willingness to learn and try new things.
“[The volunteers] do everything, really, they’re just amazing,” said coordinator Samantha Getchell. “People talk long term about these foster grandparents, the lasting impression that the foster grandparent makes. It’s incredible, absolutely incredible.”

In the Senior Companion program, volunteers are helping their neighbors continue to live independently, Lavigne said.  Getchell added that they also can provide respite care for caregivers, allowing an opportunity for these caregivers to get out and take care of themselves. Senior Companions are also placed in adult day centers, often working with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

Volunteers are matched with opportunities in the communities in which they live as often as possible, Lavigne said.  Often, the volunteers are getting as much as the clients out of their participation. Lovejoy said they hear time and again how the program combats loneliness in the volunteers themselves, giving them a peer group to socialize with.

Windham resident Liz Paige volunteers as a Senior Companion five days a week.  “It keeps me physically and mentally healthy,” she said. “Just because I’m retired doesn’t mean that I still don’t have a lot to give back to the community.”

She assists clients by taking them shopping, to doctor’s appointments, and sometimes just out for coffee and a doughnut. “We don’t think of those things when we think of somebody who no longer has a driver’s license and can’t get to the store themselves. Many agencies cannot drive their clients, but that’s one of the wonderful things as a volunteer that we can do,” she said. 

Paige has been volunteering for the program for twelve years. At age 77, she says she hopes to have 20 more years to serve. “It’s definitely something that keeps me involved, keeps me healthy, and keeps a smile on my face most days,” Paige said.

On October 25, the programs are holding what Lavigne called a Snack & Chat Blitz.  In four locations throughout Cumberland and York Counties, all at the same time, volunteers and staff will hosting events to spread the word on these volunteer programs. “It’s an opportunity for people to come and hear directly from our volunteers what volunteering for our program is, ask any questions, and have a face to face with us,” said Lavigne. potential volunteers can also call the office any time for information, these events are intended let people in these individual communities what specific needs exist in that community. The communities were chosen because they represent areas where clients are waiting to be matched with a Senior Companion, or schools are asking for volunteers. The events will be held from 10-11 am on Thursday, October 25th at the South Portland Community Center, Westbrook Community Center, Gray Public Library, and York County Community Action Corporation. For more information, call 207-773-0202 or email

Jason Jacobe: A man who contributed to others in a positive way passes at 34 from ALS

By Matt Pascarella

Jason Jacobe, a 2002 graduate of Windham High School, was a stellar athlete and valedictorian of his
Jason Jacabe
class. Jacobe was a kind, caring individual who liked helping others. Tragically, he passed away from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) on Thursday, September 6.

ALS is a disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons eventually leads to their demise and loss of muscle movement. It is a disease that only affects body movement and does not hinder intellectual health. There are approximately 5,000 new diagnosed patients a year.

Jacobe’s mother, Diana, remembers her son as someone with a tremendous amount of character. In high school, other parents of younger students would tell her how much they appreciated Jason helping their son with a sport without putting him down. Jason even took time out of his schedule to play with his niece, Emma. “He played store and made meatballs out of Playdoh with her. Jason loved life and people,” Diana explained.

Jason with niece, Emma
Jacobe attended the University of Maine at Orono obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering. Upon graduation, he worked for Woodward and Curran, earning his professional engineering license.
In 2008, he moved but continued working for Woodward and Curran in their Georgia office. His former supervisor and friend, Carlos Ayala-Diaz, described Jacobe as a role model, a passionate worker, and someone who you could count on to get things done. Ayala-Diaz said what he misses the most about Jacobe are the many fun and inspiring conversations they had with one another.

Jacobe’s college roommate and former coworker, Daniel Florez, recalls him being a good friend who liked to help others. He admired Jacobe a lot.

Jacobe met Elizabeth Myers in 2011 on a beach vacation they both took with a mutual friend. At the time, Jacobe lived in Atlanta and Myers in North Carolina. They dated long distance until Myers moved to Georgia. After receiving his ALS diagnosis in February 2016, Jacobe married Myers in April 2016.

Jacobe wanted to live a life full of things he loved: camping, hikes, his dog Jackson, small trips with family or friends and sports.
Jason with his wife, Elizabeth

“Jason never said ‘why me?’” recounts Myers. “He managed the best he could. He was always trying to help me help him. He never fought what he needed, but he fought the disease like hell.” 

When asked by a friend if he was angry about ALS, Jacobe expressed that he didn’t feel sorry for himself, but felt bad about the toll it was taking on others.

Two of his best friends, Josh Taylor and Derrick Roma were friends with Jacobe since they were eight. Taylor remembers his friend as “humble, but a leader who always looked out for others. He had an impact on a lot of people, including me.” 

“I’ll forever remember Jason’s unique personality, his goofy sense of humor, his drive, and his integrity. We will all miss him,” says Roma.

There was an unknown with ALS,” explained Myers. “We were committed to tackling it together. He was able to give me the greatest gift, our daughter Annalise Margaret, born June 7, 2018. Jason’s legacy will live on.”

Jacobe had sporadic ALS, which in approximately 90% of cases the cause is unknown, and support is crucial after a diagnosis. Local ALS Association chapters have experts who can provide resources from support groups to financial aid to respite.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

LearningWorks Seeks AmeriCorps team members to empower southern Maine students

LearningWorks has received a $497,646 AmeriCorps grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The grant will support 101 AmeriCorps members who will provide tutoring, mentoring, and extracurricular enrichment for students who are not yet meeting literacy and math benchmarks.  In the 2017-2018 school year, AIMS HIGH provided individual and small group support to 550 students. We championed even more learners through afterschool activities and whole-classroom support. Our members have provided over 20,000 hours of direct service.

This grant will fund LearningWorks' AIMS HIGH program to recruit, train, and support AmeriCorps members at five elementary schools with School Turnaround initiatives that include Windham Primary School, among others. Each school's team of AmeriCorps members will provide critical support to these school communities by working directly with students during the 2018-2019 school year."AmeriCorps members are an indispensable source of positive impact and energy in our communities and nation," said Heather Davis, executive director of LearningWorks and a former AmeriCorps Member. "We're thrilled that the Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized the value of AmeriCorps members serving with LearningWorks in Southern Maine schools for the sixth straight year." 

Our members also see the importance of the work as it plays a positive role in both their communities and their own lives. Paula Webster, third-year member at Windham Primary School said, “I have had a post-retirement dream to volunteer at a school for a very long time. Both of my daughters attended Windham Primary School, and AIMS HIGH allows me to give back to a school that offered so much to my family.” 

In addition to the grant funding, CNCS will make available $221,000 in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for the LearningWorks AmeriCorps members to pay higher education costs or student loans. The grant will generate an additional $400,470 in local matching support and other outside resources from businesses, foundations, and other organizations.

AIMS HIGH is actively seeking AmeriCorps members both locally and nationally to join their team and empower Southern Maine students. Full-time members earn $13,732 annual living allowance, $6,095 education award, and health insurance. Half-time members serve 25 hours per week and earn a $5,500 living allowance and $3,047 education award. Minimum-time members serve 7 hours per week and receive a $1,290 education award. AmeriCorps members over the age of 55 can gift their education award to their children or grandchildren. To apply, email or call (207) 517-3137.

Saint Joseph’s College celebrates Campus Sustainability Month

Saint Joseph’s College joins campuses nationwide in celebrating Campus Sustainability Month throughout October 2018. This annual event, hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), highlights achievements and raises awareness of the value of higher education sustainability. The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Saint Joseph’s College has earned a STARS Silver rating from AASHE for its efforts.

The College’s Center for Sustainable Communities will partner with several departments throughout October for inspirational and fun events. The Center’s overarching goals include: achieve carbon neutrality by 2036; promote a culture of sustainability among students, faculty, staff, administration, and surrounding communities; establish the campus as a living laboratory for sustainable solutions; inform effective and inclusive sustainability-focused decision making on campus and in the community; and lead through innovation.
Campus Sustainability Month events have begun. The events established for the rest of the month include the following: 

October 12, 12:15 p.m., Tour of ecomaine
October 13, 9 a.m.: Trip to Portland Farmers Market
October 15, SJC Gets Lit 2.0
October 19, 9 a.m., Heffernan Courtyard: Waste Audit
October 19, 1 p.m., Viola George Auditorium: ecomaine presentation
October 21, 1 p.m. to -3 p.m., “Fishbowl”: Student Clothing Exchange
October 22, 6 p.m., Heffernan Lounge: Make Your Own Journal
October 23, 3 p.m., Viola George Auditorium, Maine Standard Biofuels presentation
October 26, 2:15 p.m.: Garbage to Garden Tour
October 29, 1-3 p.m., 2nd Floor of Alfond: Adopt a Plant
October 31, 11 a.m.: The Grotto, Prayer for Earth: Our Common Home

Ongoing events include Meatless Mondays in which members of the college community are encouraged to be mindful of meat consumption and weekly walks on Thursdays to promote exercise.

The College will also participate in the nationwide EcoChallenge, statewide Way 2 Go Maine Commuter Challenge, and everyone is encouraged to sign the pledge for #PlasticFreeSJC by incorporating reusable containers into daily routines.

For more information about Sustainability Month activities, contact Energy Efficiency Coordinator Heather Craig at or 207-893-7783. more information about the Center for Sustainable Communities, contact CSC Engagement Coordinator Kimberly Post at or 207-893-7789.

About Sustainability at Saint Joseph’s College
Sustainability at Saint Joseph’s College encompasses human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for future generations. It is expressed as a deep and holistic respect for the earth through daily practices, decision-making, and stewardship in a healthy and equitable way so that communities now and in the future can thrive. Learn more.
About the Center for Sustainable Communities
The Center for Sustainable Communities fosters innovation and leadership through the intersection of social justice and sustainability by integrating principles of social, environmental, and economic sustainability into campus operations, academics, engagement, and policy and administration.
About Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. They work with and for higher education to ensure that our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit

Self-care and healing highlighted at fall holistic fair in Windham

The Fall Holistic Fair in Windham

By Elizabeth Richards

Perfect fall weather accompanied the Fall Holistic Fair on Saturday, September 29th at the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham. A wide range of booths inside and out offered up products and services all centered around healing, mindfulness, inner peace and spiritual health.

The force behind the fair was Jennifer Joy Klein of Tangible Tarot. Singlehandedly organizing the fair was an immense task that Klein felt led to do. She’d begun doing more communal events such as open houses and self-care days. “I’m all about that. Let’s not wait until all the bottom falls out, let’s take care of ourselves now,” Klein said. “We’re all learning slowly that to be productive in the world, to want to help other people to make this world a productive place, we have to start taking care of ourselves.”

markbryantwindham@gmail.comAs more people asked Klein about events, she began to work on organizing something small, with perhaps six practitioners.  After some issues with her original location, she found herself driving right by where it was supposed to be held and ending up in the parking lot of the Microtel. She decided to go in and find out what could be done there.  When she saw the space available, she was astounded.  Everything fell into place, and she gathered vendors for her first fair held last March.  “Within a week, I was full,” she said.

For the fall fair, vendors approached Klein asking to be involved. “People drove two hours to come to this event,” she said. And afterwards, “they were ecstatic.”

There was no admission to get into the holistic fair, and that was by design. People have told Klein she should charge, but she doesn’t want to do that. “I’m offering this to the community,” she said. “So many people were offering free things,” she said. “It was a true gift to have to have all these people together and to offer this.”

The atmosphere at the fair was peaceful and welcoming. The sun was shining as I browsed the outdoor booths, examining the wealth of self-care and healing items for sale. I happened upon a booth in the corner offering information and a trial of Sahaja Yoga. Windham resident Jerry Mayfield was operating this booth, along with his son. After offering up a brief history and information about the practice, Mayfield led another woman and me through a meditation.  He was quick to emphasize that the practice of Sahaja Yoga is always free, because “the energy is yours.” informational brochure on the practice states, “there can be immediate benefits in stress relief and a feeling of peace and contentment.”  That perfectly describes the experience I had with that one trial session. Though there was noise and activity all around me, I was able to focus on Mayfield’s voice and find a quiet place within. For a busy mom with three different jobs and a number of volunteering responsibilities, that’s a rare and wonderful thing.

After my meditation experience, I ventured inside to discover additional vendors and healing opportunities. Again, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming, with almost palpable positive energy. Some vendors were offering services for sale, others a free look at what they had to offer. As I walked by a sound and energy healing booth, and heard the tones from the crystal bowls, tears sprang to my eyes and I felt a sense of release. Since breaking down in public wasn’t of interest to me, I walked on by – but returned later to learn more. 

I wish there had been time for me to experience all the healing modalities present. The fair certainly reminded me how important self-care and healing are, and how many different practitioners and vendors exist nearby. “There’s huge things going on in Windham that people aren’t realizing we’ve started,” Klein said. “We’re really groundbreaking with what’s going on.”

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a group of practitioners is working on putting together a free “give to yourself” day at Ways to Wellness in Windham ( offering breathing, readings, stretching, yoga meditations, reiki and more.

Klein has a healing and reading practice for one on one readings, offers her services at a range of events, and has been a guest on radio broadcasts. She can be reached on Facebook at

A matter of historical record: History on the Hill tour to feature historic homes and storied tales of Windham’s past

The Edward Anderson House - first stop on the tour

By Walter Lunt

The latest in a series of Windham history tours conducted by the Windham Historical Society will be held on Saturday, October 13. Dubbed History on the Hill, it features several stops at addresses on historic Windham Hill, a neighborhood with a fascinating and storied past, at the corner of Pope and Ward Roads.

Included in each of four tours that day will be the Federal period style Moses Little House and the United Church of Christ, once featured in National Geographic magazine as one of the most picturesque old-style churches in New England.

The first stop on the tour will be the 2 ½ story Edward Anderson House, the oldest residence on Windham Hill, located across from the public works facility on Windham Center Road. Built of post and beam construction in the early 1790s, the mainly Georgian architectural style house retains many original features, including a slight mix of Federal period characteristics.

Edward Anderson built his first home on River Road, the beginnings of what would become the Anderson-Lord, or Maplewood Farm with its distinctive gothic appearance. The Windham Hill house would be his second dwelling and include many of the same features. historian Linda Griffin points out the importance of symmetry to early house builders. “Notice the center door with paired windows on each side…pleasing to the eye.”

Entering through the front door, the room on the right was a formal parlor used mainly for weddings, funerals or special visitors (children were often barred). Wide board wainscoting, wide pine floors and thin raised-panel doors with thumb latches and H and L hinges are original features. Ripples snaking across the flat surfaces of the woodwork and paneling reveal the craftsmanship of early hand planers.

In most Georgian homes of the time a sitting room, or informal parlor, would be located to the left of the entry-way. But in what Griffin describes as a “hall and parlor” layout, this is the kitchen. Twelve over eight pane windows (at least one original remains) admit the light of a southern exposure. Hand-hewn beams line the ceiling and an old brick lined fireplace with a side bake oven are preserved from a much earlier time. Three fireplaces on the first floor linked to a central chimney remind us that these wood burners were the sole source of heat and cooked food.

A back-room on the first floor, commonly referred to as a “borning room” was used to care for the sick, for storage and occasionally as office space, according to Griffin.

In addition to the acquisition of the property at Windham Hill, Edward Anderson also gained mill rights on the near-by Pleasant River. He built a saw mill. To increase water power to the mill, Anderson tapped the waters of Collin’s Pond, creating added water energy to the river via Smith Brook. In June of 1814, strained by the water pressure of spring rains, the mill dam gave way. The resulting flood took out mills and bridges from Windham Hill to Gambo and Mallison’s Falls in South Windham. Subsequent law suits and the loss of his lumber business apparently left him destitute.

Bette Davis and Gary Merrill 
Fast forward to 1947 – the house was purchased by the Sanborn family. According to daughter Ann (Sanborn) Clark, her father bought the place from a descendant of the Anderson family. For several months, the family used an ice box. “My dad had to buy ice every two days.” Ann’s brother, Lee, remembers his father installing the first plumbing and electricity.

The family moved to California around 1950; the house was put up for rent and was vacant for a while.

No one knows why Bette Davis’ eyes fell on Windham in the early 50s, but the legendary film actress and her movie star husband Gary Merrill rented the aged house. As far as anyone can remember, Davis and Merrill never lived there, but did move their furniture into the house for storage.

According to Lee Sanborn, “My father knew of Davis’ reputation as a (heavy) drinker and being concerned about the narrow stairway to the second floor with its treads worn dangerously thin by over 150 years of foot traffic, decided to purchase $20,000 additional liability insurance.” Family and friends told his father the move was unnecessary and tried to no avail to talk him out of it. Davis and Merrill ended up building an estate in Cape Elizabeth, having spent little time at the Windham house.
Later, in the 1960s, the Sanborn’s learned (although they cannot recall where the incident occurred) that Davis had indeed tumbled down a flight of stairs. And sued. “My dad said the (incident) proved he was clairvoyant,” recalled Lee.

The current owners of the Anderson House, Steve Woodward and Jenna Shank, will open their home and share its unique architectural features and its stories this Saturday, October, 13 for four tours beginning at 10 a.m.

Of their participation in the History on the Hill tours, Shank says, “Part of the responsibility of owning a piece of local history is to share it with your community.”