Friday, November 30, 2018

How to handle ice dams and attic condensation

While stopping a leak or repairing a washing machine hose down in the basement might be fairly straightforward, ice dams and attic condensation, two forms of water damage typical to our cold Maine winters, are a little more complicated and a little trickier to fix. And since many homeowners aren't frequent visitors to their own attics in the frigid winter months, water damage on the top floor might catch you off guard.

What are ice dams? What causes attic condensation? And if you've got either, what can you do?

Ice dams

When the temperature in your attic is above freezing, snow on the roof will likely melt. When the snowmelt runs down the roof and hits the colder eaves, it refreezes.

If this cycle repeats over several days, the freezing snowmelt builds up and forms a dam of ice, behind which water pools up into large puddles, or 'ponds'. The ponding water can then back up under the roof covering and leak into the attic or along exterior walls.

The right weather conditions for ice dams are usually when outside air temperatures are in the low 20s (°F) for several days with several inches of snow on the roof.

Attic condensation

Condensation of water vapor on cold surfaces in attics can cause wood to rot, which can lead to costly repairs.

Condensation typically occurs when warm, moist air migrates or is directed into the attic from living spaces below. Research indicates unusually high humidity in the home's living spaces is strongly associated with attic condensation problems.


Building codes have some requirements that attempt to prevent the problems of ice dams and attic condensation. But codes don't address all the issues, and many houses are built without following building codes. First and foremost, it's your builder or designer's job to understand the relationship of humidity and air movement when designing and constructing the house so these problems don't occur.

Nevertheless, there's more you can do. Here are a few simple steps that can help prevent ice dams and condensation in your attic:

Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, as well as dryer vents, should never be discharged into the attic space, always discharge outside. You may have an adequately ventilated attic, but this won't matter if the bathroom exhaust fan dumps warm moist air directly into the attic space. This will result in condensed water vapor freezing onto cold attic materials, which will eventually thaw creating wet attic materials resulting in damage in the attic and inside the home.

Minimize ceiling mounted fixtures below the attic that create the need for holes in the drywall or plaster ceiling. Properly seal ceiling penetrations to make them airtight, taking care to follow manufacturer clearance requirements for flues, chimneys, and recessed light fixtures.

Research shows keeping the attic air temperature below freezing when the outside air temperature is in the low 20s can reduce the occurrence of ice dams. Proper attic ventilation is key to keeping the attic cool, while adequate and properly installed insulation is key to keeping your house warm. It is critical to keep soffit vents free from obstructions to allow the natural flow of cool outside air into the attic space to replace the warmer attic air that rises and flows outside ridge and/or roof vents. This flow of air will keep the attic cool and free of moisture build-up.

Consult a professional for the best way to avoid ice dams and water damage in your home.

What not to do

While it might be tempting to try a quick-fix to break up that ice dam, don't get too eager; not only is it dangerous on your roof, but you can also cause a lot of damage, especially in the colder months. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Do not attempt to "chip away" the ice of an ice dam. It will likely lead to shingle damage.

Do not install large mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics, especially in cold climates. Not only do they present an unwelcome fire hazard, but they'll also increase the temperature in your attic.

Do not routinely use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow on a roof. These chemicals are very corrosive and can shorten the life of metal gutters, downspouts, and flashings. Runoff that contains high concentrations of these chemicals can damage nearby grass and plants.

What to do

Follow up with your new home or home-improvement contractor to be sure that insulation in the attic space is adequate for your location.

Verify soffit and roof or ridge venting exists for all roof planes and that soffit vents are neither blocked by attic insulation nor covered by newly installed maintenance free finishes outside the home.

Verify all penetrations, access panels, and electrical fixtures are properly sealed and insulated to prevent heat and moisture from entering the attic space, while maintaining manufacturer's required clearances.

Verify all exhaust fans and dryer vents are discharged to the outside.

Keep gutters clean of leaves and other debris. This will not necessarily prevent ice dams, but clean gutters can help drain ice melt away as it makes its way to the gutters during a thaw.

Follow up a short-term ice dam remedy with determining and fixing the actual cause to your ice dam problem. Consult a trusted and competent professional.

Article courtesy of Tricia Zwirner of State Farm in Windham

Presumpscot Regional Land Trust announces Nelson Preserve and Trail

As a donation from the late Jane Nelson, we are appreciative to receive the 37 acres in Gorham that make up the new Nelson Preserve.  This summer we successfully completed the project fundraising, thanks to individuals and the Town of Gorham. As a result, we were able to accept the land donation and have the stewardship funds to build a public access trail. 

We have now completed the new trail and trail head with the help of dozens of volunteers.
Nelson Preserve is our 16th Preserve with trails and water access free and open to the public - bringing our total conserved land to 1650 acres that includes Black Brook Preserve and Pringle Wildlife Preserve, both in Windham.

The forest within the Nelson Preserve is varied and beautiful - especially notable are large old growth red oaks throughout the uplands. Looking beyond the immediate boundaries, the Preserve is part of a 300+ acre undeveloped block of mature forest and wetlands. It also includes signs of history going back to colonial times with the remnants of a stagecoach road that was a main route for travelers between Maine and New Hampshire.

The trail is a 1.5 mile easy-moderate loop, beginning at the trail head on Flaggy Meadow Road, just a few short miles west of downtown Gorham. 

The Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for the Nelson Preserve and trail will be this Sunday, December 2nd at 1pm. The event is free, but parking is limited - registration is required. If you are interested in participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony, please register at All are welcomed.

Land Trust holds information session on new project

Loon Echo Land Trust’s staff will be holding an information session about the Land Trust’s proposed Peabody-Fitch Woods project. The session will be held on Thursday, December 6 at 6:30 pm at the Loon Echo Office, 8 Depot St, Suite 4 in Bridgton. Residents and visitors are invited to attend to learn about the project and to hear about the plans for the property.

Staff from Loon Echo will also lead an informational snowshoe walk of the property on Saturday, December 8 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., with a weather date of Saturday December 15. Meet at Narramissic Farm, 46 Narramissic Rd, Bridgton, ME. Please bring your own snowshoes. Snowshoes will be available, free of charge, by request for those needing them. Email or call 207-647-4352.

Loon Echo currently protects nearly 6,700 acres of land and manages 31 miles of multi-use trails in the northern Sebago Lake region. Its mission is to work with the local residents to conserve the region’s natural resources and character for current and future generations. Loon Echo serves seven towns including Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago with an area of 320 square miles located directly north of Sebago Lake.  Loon Echo works within its service area to safeguard water quality, preserve scenic locations such as Bald Pate Mountain, Hacker’s Hill and Pleasant Mountain, and provide outreach and fun educational programs to the public. Loon Echo assists landowners to take steps to ensure future generations will benefit from the preservation of their lands. Member support is what enables Loon Echo to carry out their mission and provides funding for their land conservation and stewardship endeavors. 

For more information about upcoming events or ways you can support Loon Echo Land Trust, visit their website, call 207-647-4352 or visit their office, 8 Depot Street, Suite 4, Bridgton, ME Monday – Thursday, 8:30 – 4:30.

A review of “The Nutcracker” as Raymond resident makes her prima ballerina debut this weekend

By Lorraine Glowczak

For many families in Maine, it’s an annual holiday tradition to attend the Maine State Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker”. Wishing to see the local dancers, Adrienne and Rhiannon Pelletier perform, I attended the Christmas ritual for the very first time on Saturday, November 24 and now understand the reason for its popularity.

Sisters Adrienne (left) and Rhiannon Pelletier perform together on stage. Photo courtesy of Maine State Ballet
It is true that the choreography is impeccable, the stage is filled with magnificently stunning sets and the costumes are among the most fiercely impressive I have ever seen. However, the ballet performances of Adrienne from Raymond (who played Clara last weekend) and her older sister, Rhiannon of Casco (the Sugar Plum Fairy) were just as impressive, if not more. If you have not yet seen the two of them perform, I would highly recommend that you do so.

Both sisters have performed and danced with the Maine State Ballet since they were young. “I have performed in shows all of my life and have played Sugar Plum Fairy the past couple of years,” Rhiannon stated of the prima ballerina position. “This is the first time that my sister and I will share a role – and share the same partner.” Rhiannon admitted she is very excited that her sister will make her debut in the most sought-after role in “The Nutcracker”.

Adrienne will be the Sugar Plum Fairy in this weekend’s performances and is happy to give up her role as Clara. “For years the Sugar Plum Fairy handed me her wand at the beginning of Act II as I sat on the throne as Clara, and this year I get to hand the wand to a new Clara,” she stated in a recent press release.

If Adrienne receives the roaring applause that her sister was met with last Saturday evening, she will be on top of the world. Rhiannon shared what it’s like to receive that level of appreciation from the audience. “It’s my favorite feeling in the world,” she began. “Before you step out on to the stage, you have ‘jelly legs’ but once you hear that applause you know everyone is on your side. You begin to relax and step into your role with reassurance.”

There is still plenty of time left to see the Pelletier sisters perform as there are two weekends left. Adrienne’s debut as the Sugar Plum Fairy will be this Friday, November 30 at 7 p.m., Saturday, December 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. as well as Sunday, December 2 at 2 p.m. The last performances are Saturday, December 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 9 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors & children, and are available through Porttix at 207-842-0800,, and at the Merrill Auditorium Box Office located on Myrtle Street in Portland. Friday, November 30 is Student Night for High School and College Students with valid ID. These $10 tickets can only be purchased by calling or visiting the Merrill Auditorium Box Office.

A matter of historical record: Before the memory fades - Windham's remarkable country Doctor, Sidney Branson

Dr. Branson
By Walter Lunt

He healed and comforted the sick; he made house calls, established free clinics for children and expectant mothers, was an active member of numerous local civic and fraternal organizations, marched proudly in Veterans’ and Memorial Day parades. And in his spare time, Dr. Sidney R. Branson donned a striped engineer’s cap and operated elaborate model train systems in the basement of his South Windham home.

Before the memory fades, in this first of a multi-part historical record series, I will highlight the life and times of a beloved country doctor who cared for up to five generations of Windham residents, principally baby boomers following World War II.

Today, Dr. Branson would be called a general practitioner, but during the middle decades of the 20th century, his family medical practice might be the only care anyone would have.

“The overwhelming thought I have when thinking about my father is his abiding love and respect for his patients and for the town of Windham.” recalls his son, John, “(His) highest calling was service to the men, women and children under his care.” Born Sidney R. Abramsohn in Brooklyn, New York in 1912 and raised in New Jersey, he later changed his name to Branson.

“I always wanted to be a doctor.” he once told an interviewer, “…it came from within me from almost childhood. In fact, my nickname in high school was ‘Doc.’”

Branson graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1937 at age 28 and soon after came to Windham. In addition to his practice as a family doctor and obstetrician, he was also the Windham school doctor, the town’s public health officer (which included issuing restaurant and food stand permits), county medical examiner, visiting physician to Pineland Mental Hospital, staff physician at St. Joseph’s College and doctor for the Men’s Reformatory (now Maine Correctional Center). Regarding his service with the inmates, Branson indicated the need for emotional, as well as physical healing – “I tried to improve the morale of the patients through a cheery word and smile as well as cure them of their boils, colds and what-not.”

At Pineland, Branson met Nora Baker, a registered nurse at the institution. They would marry and raise three children.

World War II interrupted Branson’s service to Windham. From 1942 to early 1946 he served in a M-A-S-H  (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit and in the Pacific theater. He later said he considered service to his country one of his greatest accomplishments. a letter to the editor of a local paper following the war, Branson wrote, “Hats off to (the letter writer) defending the use of atom bombs on Japan. I too get upset when I hear people blame America for using these weapons. The Pentagon estimated at least 250,000 American casualties would result (from an American invasion of the Japanese mainland). Our unit was destined to invade a heavily armed Japanese naval base.” After the Japanese surrender, Branson said, “That night our people started shooting their guns in celebration and we had 27 casualties from spent bullets. Fortunately, no fatalities.”

Branson returned to his family medical practice in 1946, just in time to deliver the first-born baby boomers. He estimated that in his 45-year practice, he delivered over 1500 babies.

Branson and wife opened their first office at Little Falls (Gorham, but traditionally referred to as South Windham) in 1941. Branson made house-calls in the morning and held office hours in the afternoon, including evening hours from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. three nights a week. From here, he would serve Windham and surrounding towns.

Son John recalls “(One time) he got up three times in one night to answer emergency situations. Many nights he would be called out to deliver babies at the old Westbrook Hospital, Maine General or Mercy hospitals.”

In 1990, looking back over a long medical career, Branson told Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Caldwell, “I charged $35 for delivering babies at home. Took out tonsils for $35. Asked $3 for an office visit and $5 for a house call. Saw every kind of illness. In a pinch, I’d even pull out teeth with a pair of ‘universal pliers’.”

But the doctor’s most unforgettable house call occurred in Standish with a mother and her daughter. In his own words, Branson told the story this way: “I told my wife I would be back for supper, but it wasn’t until two days later I returned. The shack had no phone. The daughter went in and out of labor, so I just had to wait. Throughout the day flies were buzzing around, so we had to put a net over her. At night the mice came out.” For two days, the mother served coffee and doughnuts. Finally, after a prolonged and difficult labor, “We had a nice baby girl – so it worked out all right.” time, again in Standish, a distressed mother called for him to drive out to see what was wrong with her very sick daughter. “I kept two black bags at the ready – a medical bag and an obstetrical bag. I grabbed the medical bag and went. But the girl wasn’t sick, she was having a baby. Because I hadn’t brought the obstetrics bag, I had nothing to tie off the umbilical cord. I saw a sneaker on the floor and told the mother to pull out the laces and soak them in alcohol. I tied the cord with shoe laces. Didn’t hurt any. That baby is now a big strapping man.”

In an interview following Dr. Branson’s retirement in 1982, he was asked if he had any students who would pretend to be sick to avoid school. “We had a few of those,” he replied.

Windham resident Carol Taylor tells about the time she feigned sickness to avoid going to school. Her parents called Doc Branson. After an examination that failed to show any signs of illness, he told the parents “there may be some redness in the back of her throat,” whereupon he turned back to Carol, and winked.

Susan Atwood says, “Doc Branson took excellent care of five generations of my family from my great-grandparents down to my children. (I) loved to hear him say, “Oh yeah” (because he) said it like ‘Oh yarrah,’ like a New Yorker.”

Life-long resident Gary Plummer said he considers Dr. Branson to be one of the greatest people he has known, citing the doctor’s support for kids and his extensive involvement in town affairs.

Few who knew the good doctor fail to remember his undying interest in trains and the elaborate model rail system that he built up over many years. The layout included an extensive track scheme, over 40 engines, hundreds of freight and passenger cars, and dozens of railroad memorabilia. He worked his hobby after office hours, between 10 p.m. and midnight. He named the HO scale model village the Windham & Gorham Railroad. Two of the passenger cars were dubbed The Pill and The Scalpel. In 1958, Dr. Branson rode the last (real) passenger train over the Mountain Division line.
His long-time friend and fellow rail enthusiast Al Wellman speculated “I suspect part of the reason for the location of his home on Rt. 202 was its proximity to the Maine Central Mountain Division line.”

Dr. Sidney Branson passed away in 2002, age 90. In retirement he had continued to reach out to people. He was known for his smile and friendly hello and as he put it, “A little banter – that’s healthy. People these days are too tense and avoid eye contact. It takes just as much effort to frown as it does smile – so smile.”  

In the next installment of “Before the memory fades”, The Apple Man of River Road

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Student of the Week: Noah Mains

Noah Mains, a seventh-grade student at Jordan-Small Middle School, is The Windham Eagle’s Student of the Week. Mains states that his favorite subjects are physical education and math.

Mains was chosen by his teachers as student of the week for the following reasons.  He is:

Cheerful and respectful.
Can work with all learners – a tremendous group member.
Compassionate and genuinely cares about his own work as well as that of others.
Has a balanced perspective.

Mains believes that working on projects is what makes learning fun. During his free time, he enjoys watching movies.

Book Review: “Cat’s Eye” by Margaret Atwood

By Jennifer Dupree, Circulation Manager of the Windham Public Library

“Cat’s Eye” is only the second Margaret Atwood novel I’ve read, and I wouldn’t know how to accurately compare it to “The Handmaid’s Tale”. I loved both books, but where “The Handmaid’s Tale” is creepy and frightening and futuristic, “Cat’s Eye” feels slower, more real, and deeply rooted in time and place.

Elaine, a fifty-year-old artist, returns home to her native Toronto for a retrospective of her work. The novel moves between Elaine’s present—her anxieties about the show, a meeting with a journalist, her complicated feelings about ex-husband, and the changes to her home town—and her growing-up years.

The scenes that encompass Elaine’s childhood are richly textured and beautifully rendered. She and her brother travel with their parents during the summer because her father’s work as an entomologist demands it. After they settle in Toronto, Elaine makes friends, or, she becomes part of a group of girls who are sometimes her friends and sometimes not, in the way adolescent girls can be. The scenes with Elaine’s friends, most notably Cordelia, are haunting in their sharp loneliness, in the accuracy of what it is like to be a child and teenager, to be on the fringe of acceptance. 

This book tackles big subjects—marriage, infidelity, terrorism, death, sex, grief. Yet, it’s a quiet novel with a steady pace. It isn’t rushed. Largely it is a novel about insecurity, about finding one’s footing in the world. About finding it over and over again.

Keep Raymond warm: Volunteers needed

Window inserts will be made at RVCC
A group of community organizations got together to help their neighbors stay warm this winter and the magic is about to happen!

The Raymond Village Library, Raymond Village Community Church and the AmeriCorps volunteer based at Saint Joseph’s College got together with Window Dressers to help their neighbors stay warm and save on energy costs. Eligible families are being provided with free custom window inserts and the group also picked up some paying customers.

State Representative Jessica Fay said "Helping people save money on their heating bills, especially as we head into another cold winter, makes sense. After the heating crisis last winter, we need to make sure that older people and everyone in our community stay warm. Do to the generosity of the Raymond Village Community Church, United Church of Christ and the Window Dressers project the standard five inserts per eligible family has been increased to ten!”

“We all knew that our neighbors could use a helping hand staying warm and decided we could do something about it together” said Reverend Nancy Foran with the Raymond Village Community Church, United Church of Christ. “When the library and AmeriCorps approached us to partner on this project, we were excited to participate.” group will build 250 window inserts Tuesday, December 4 to Friday, December 7 at the Raymond Village Community Church. “The inserts act like interior storm windows and save a gallon of heating oil for every square foot of insert. The Town of Raymond helped us spread the word and the Raymond Lions Club made sure that every family that came into our food pantry heard about the program” said Sheila Bourque the coordinator for the Raymond Village Library.

“Raymond is a town that believes in helping each other. I have experienced the heart the community has for all of its residents and the willingness of people to come together to make a difference. The challenge we have is now we have to build 250 inserts!” said Heather Craig, AmeriCorps volunteer.
The effort needs volunteers to work in shifts to complete the window inserts and also has a need for volunteers to feed those working on the windows. Shifts are for three hours and all materials and training will be provided.

You can sign up by visiting: or by calling Heather Craig at 207-893-7783. For more information on Window Dressers visit

A big thank you from the Raymond Arts Alliance

Well, we are quite astounded.  From our shy venture into a local performance, recruiting for team members in October, to our first concert in January, The Raymond Arts Alliance is now celebrating it’s one-year anniversary!  We have grown from a team of two to four and now there are seven of us, each donating their skills and ingenuity to collaboration and connection within the Raymond community. 

It is hard to single out any one event as a highlight.  There was juggling and magic (with a 12-year-old magician!), inspiring music from Cuba, Ireland and India, award winning poets and captivating published authors, lively Community Sings, sweet Open Mic Nights, and so much more!

See: for a more complete listing; you won’t believe it, we sure couldn’t! There was also the exceptional New England Jazz Band who performed at our fundraiser on Hacker’s Hill through the generosity of the Loon Echo Land Trust.  These talented musicians not only increased our exposure to the community, they accelerated the meeting of our goals in helping to fund the development of local artists. 

Many, many thanks to Sheila Bourque of the Raymond Village Library, Reverend Nancy Foran, and the Raymond Village Community Church for their support, ideas and venue donation.  Although, we can’t possibly thank every artist, musician, baker, benefactor, merchant, (not a one overlooked us), and all-around enthusiasts for our work, please know, we are, indeed, deeply grateful.  And most of all, we thank you: you came, you supported, you gave us your ideas, and donated money, baked goods, time, talent, and encouragement.

You contacted us and others with your kindness and generosity to help spread the word. As Lorraine Glowczak, editor of the Windham Eagle, has noted, this is indeed, a special kind of community! 
Keep staying in touch, keep letting us know your ideas, and join us!  We are excited as we enter our second year celebrating the arts, our community and the magic that happens when this brings us together!

Old fashioned caroling and readers’ theater to capture Christmas magic and support Project Grad

Sipping hot chocolate, eating holiday cookies and sitting around the warmth of a fireplace while singing your favorite carols invokes heart-felt images of Christmases past. Young and old alike yearn for long-ago traditions that inspire the true meaning of Christmas. There is nothing more to set the mood for the holiday season than to celebrate the old-fashioned way with caroling and a readers’ theater.

Faith Lutheran Church, 988 Roosevelt Trail in Windham, invites the community for an evening of Christmas carols followed by a special readers’ theater performance of Truman Capote’s, “A Christmas Memory” starring Laura Morris (Director of Be The Influence) and Tom Nash (Director of Windham/Raymond Adult Education).

The event will occur on Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2, to begin at 4 p.m. on both
days and will include Christmas cookies, pastries, hot chocolate, coffee and tea. The cost of the fundraising event, desserts and warm drinks are on a donation basis. A portion of the proceeds will go toward Project Grad 2019. Raffle items donated by various community businesses will also be available and will be auctioned off during intermission.

“A Christmas Memory” is a holiday classic that is an autobiographical tale of Capote’s young life and takes place in the 1930s. It describes a period in the lives of the seven-year-old narrator (played by Nash) and an elderly woman who is his distant cousin and best friend (played by Morris). The story focuses on country life, friendship and the joy of giving during the Christmas season. It’s also about loving one another despite differences in age, income, perceptions and more.

"For Christians, the Christmas message is one of incarnated love,” explained Pastor of Faith Lutheran, Jane Field. “The wonderful members of Faith Lutheran Church live out their love of neighbor all year long. At Christmas time, they want to give the Windham community a gift that expresses that love through joyful singing together of beloved carols, feeding our neighbors home baked goodies, and listening together to a story about loving one another as God loves us, all while raising money for a good cause. We hope this gift will be received by the community in the spirit in which it is given: the merry and glorious Spirit of Christmas.”

The early two-evening event will begin with a 45-minute traditional and modern community caroling followed by the readers’ theater with an intermission between the two performances. The Music Director of Faith Lutheran Church, David Hansen, has worked hard in pulling the celebration together.

“In preparation for our old-fashioned Christmas celebration, I administered a survey among our Faith Lutheran members, asking for a personal favorite as well as the least favorite Christmas carol,” explained Hansen. “As a musician, the first thing that can set off my inner Scrooge is hearing Christmas music way too early, especially Christmas tunes that are so annoying they don't deserve air time any time of the year. The survey revealed many surprising results and on December 1 and 2, we’ll discover together what the favorites and least favorites were among those surveyed. Come sing a very eclectic compilation of carols through the years.”

Hansen also stated that the reading of Truman Capote's simple and humble recollection of “A Christmas Memory” shares a heart wrenching story, so subtle that it can't help but stir and revive the Christmas spirit and bring joy to your soul. “No humbug guaranteed,” Hansen joked.

For more information about this community Christmas event, contact the church at For more information about Project Grad 2019, go to:

Second annual Festival of Trees begins Christmas season

The Second Annual Christmas Festival of Trees will be held at Fellowship Hall, Windham Hill United Church of Christ, 140 Windham Center Road in Windham from Friday, November 30 to Sunday, December 2. This much anticipated event for the community of Windham is a showcase for local merchants and organizations as well as a fundraiser for Windham Hill United Church of Christ, the founding church of Windham and a historic landmark for the town.

The festival hours on November 30 are 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. The hours on December 1 are 10 a.m. to until 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 2 from noon until 4 p.m. The grand drawing of winners will be at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Winners do not have to be present at the time of the drawing as calls will be made to the winners unable to attend.

Fellowship Hall will be decorated for the holiday season and refreshments will be available. There will be 20 decorated Christmas trees with lights, each one donated by one of our local businesses or individuals. The donor will decorate the tree and then put gifts on and around the tree, many from their store or organization. Winners will receive the tree itself, with its lights and ornaments, all the gifts on and under the tree.

Last year the winners took home everything from toys and gift items to kitchen supplies and jewelry. There was great excitement at the grand grawing. This year there will be several new trees added along with popular donors from last year.

Admission to the Festival of Trees is free, everyone is welcome to visit to see these beautiful trees and the products from our local restaurants, gifts stores, specialty companies, automotive businesses and construction companies. There will be tickets on sale for 50c each or 10 for $5.

A bucket will be in front of each display. One ticket will be drawn for each tree at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The winners will need to claim their tree and gifts by 5 p.m.on Tuesday, December 4.
Robert Turner, chair of the Festival of Trees says “Raffle tickets will be available for sale so that the viewers may enter their tickets in the hopes of winning a beautiful tree. Each tree's winner gets to take it home, fully decorated and all ready for the holidays.”

This event is a fund-raising activity of Windham Hill United Church of Christ to benefit their mission program: local, national and international missions including: Heifer International, the Root Cellar, Windham Food Pantry, Church World Service, SERRV, and many other organizations. Funds will also benefit continued maintenance and programming for this church which hosts Food and Fellowship’s Monday Meals, Boy Scout Troop 51, TOPS, Windham Lion’s Club, and other civic events. Windham Hill United Church of Christ is an open and affirming church, welcoming all who would come. The church was founded in 1743 and has been central to the life of Windham throughout Windham’s history as a town.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Student of the Week: Chase Wescott

Chase Wescott, an eighth-grade student at Jordan-Small Middle School, is The Windham Eagle’s Student of the Week. Wescott states that his favorite subject is social studies.

Through both words and actions, Chase Wescott demonstrates all the qualities and characteristics of a model student and citizen, that among these are honesty, courage and compassion,” stated his teachers. “Not only does he consistently have a positive attitude but he also possesses a strength of character not always seen in someone so young. Chase fully participates in every endeavor he undertakes, whether it be on the field or court, on the stage or in the classroom. He is a high achiever, often going above and beyond the expectation. Perhaps most importantly, Chase Wescott has the courage to do what is right, even when faced with the evaluative scrutiny of others.”

Wescott believes that having good teachers is one of the ways that makes learning fun. During his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, baseball and basketball.

Wescott lives at home with his four dogs and really nice parents.

Calling all bow makers for the Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program

By Lorraine Glowczak

Veterans Day is now behind us but that should not stop us from showing our gratitude for all veterans, including those who have passed. The American Legion Post and Legion Auxiliary will provide an opportunity to show veteran appreciation through their Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program and bow making workshop on Monday, November 19 at 9 a.m. The workshop will continue throughout the day until all 900 bows are completed.

“In the past, depending upon the number of volunteers, we are usually done within 3 and a half
hours,” stated Pam Whynot, President of Auxiliary 148.

Founded by Libby Jordan of Studio Flora, the Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program began in 2013. It is now coordinated and funded by the American Legion Field-Allen Post and continues to work in collaboration with Studio Flora.

For those who may hesitate to volunteer due to inexperience in bow making, one should not fear. Studio Flora staff will provide the training needed.

The Bow making workshop is also a time to meet new people and to give back to those who risked their lives. “There will be veterans, Auxiliary members, family, friends and lots of community members,” Whynot explained. “It is a time to meet a lot of new friends, have many laughs while making bows, drinking coffee and eating snacks. The experience is very casual and friendly and it is a way to show love, respect and honor for our veterans.”

Once completed, the bow adorned evergreen wreaths will be placed on the graves of each Veteran in the cemeteries of the Town of Windham.

This year, the wreaths will be placed on the veterans’ cemeteries Saturday, December 1 beginning at 9 a.m. The wreaths will be delivered by Studio Flora to Arlington and Smith cemeteries. Other cemeteries will be covered in late November by Legion and Veterans of Foreign War Post members.

The December date at Arlington is also open for the community who wish to participate in this annual event. The Smith cemetery distribution will be coordinated by the Windham High School Jr. Cadets.

For more information regarding the placing of the wreaths, contact David Tanguay, Post Adjutant, at 892-1306. For more information about volunteering at the bow making workshop, contact Whynot at

Maine State Ballet stars two sisters from Raymond

It's not often that you get to dance the role of Sugar Plum Fairy in Maine State Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” (in the last 42 years there have been a little over a dozen ballerinas who have done it). It’s an even rarer event when sisters get to share the role. Meet Adrienne and Rhiannon Pelletier of Raymond and Casco: Sugar Plum Sisters!

Both sisters grew up in Raymond and danced at Maine State Ballet since they were young. “Older sister” Rhiannon is in her 6th year playing the Sugar Plum Fairy. She is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College and now balances her dancing career with being artistic director/owner of Maine Dance Center in Raymond. “What I like about “The Nutcracker” is that you just get submerged into this fantasy world and forget about real world things”.

Adrienne is excited to debut this year as the Sugar Plum Fairy, after having danced the lead role of Clara for the last five. She currently is a teacher at Maine State Ballet, a recent graduate of Southern Maine Community College with a degree in Culinary Arts and is pursuing a degree in Business. “I am very excited to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy. For years the Sugar Plum Fairy handed me her wand at the beginning of Act II as I sat on the throne as Clara, and this year I get to hand the wand to a new Clara.”

Maine State Ballet  will kick off the holiday season with eleven performances over three weekends of its classic production of “The Nutcracker”  Friday, November 23 through Sunday, December 9 at Portland’s Merrill Auditorium.

Set in the early 19th century Germany, the ballet features well-known characters such as Clara, Uncle Drosselmeyer, the Nutcracker Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. This year the role of Clara is shared by Emma Davis and Laura Moskevich, both of whom will be making their debuts. Arie Eiten and Trevor Seymour will share the role of Nutcracker Prince. Principal Rhiannon Pelletier, and First Soloists Julia Lopez and Adrienne Pelletier split the role of Sugar Plum Fairy. They will be partnered by Michael Hamilton. Jonathan Miele plays the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer, and Principals Glenn and Janet Davis appear as Judge and Mrs. Stahlbalm.

Choreography is by former New York City Ballet member and Artistic Director Linda MacArthur Miele, with three pieces of original choreography by world-renowned choreographer George Balanchine, Ms. Miele’s protégé. Performances feature the Maine State Ballet Orchestra and Choir, under the direction of Karla M. Kelley Brenner. Associate Director Gail Csoboth designed the colorful costumes and scenery. Performers include over 30 professional Company members and an additional 300 dancers of all ages.
Performances of “The Nutcracker” will run three weekends - Friday, November 23 at 2 p.m.; Saturday, November 24 at 2:00 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, November 25 at 2 p.m.; Friday, November 30 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, December 2 at 2 p.m.; Saturday, December 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, December 9 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors & children, and are available through Porttix at 207-842-0800,, and at the Merrill Auditorium Box Office located on Myrtle Street in Portland. Friday, November 30 is Student Night for High School and College Students with valid ID. These $10 tickets can only be purchased by calling or visiting the Merrill Auditorium Box Office.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Veterans Day Celebration

A Veterans Day Ceremony and open house, hosted by Windham Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10643, will be held at the Windham Veterans Center on Sunday, November 11 at 11 a.m., announced VFW Commander Willie Goodman.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony and refreshments will be provided. Mr. Lee Humiston, founder, director and curator of the Maine Military Museum, will be the keynote speaker and patriotic songs will be performed by the Windham Chamber Singers.

Boy Scout Troop 805 will be in attendance and will assist with the ceremonies. The Winners of this year’s VFW sponsored essay competitions will be introduced, and the winners will read their essays. The theme for this year’s Patriot’s Pen, grades 6-8, is “Why I Honor the American Flag” and the Voice of Democracy theme, grades 9-12, is “Why My Vote Matters.”

 Following the program, the VFW will have a wreath laying on the Vietnam Memorial in their Memorial Garden. The Windham Veterans Center is located at 35 Veterans Memorial Drive. Turn right just before Friendly’s Restaurant and follow Memorial Drive to the end.

Happy Veterans Day: Get a poppy and donate to the America Legion

The men and women who defend the liberties and freedoms of the countries they represent hold a special place in people's hearts and an eternal spot in their countries' histories. Any opportunity is a good time to commemorate the bravery and selfless deeds of military personnel, but Veterans Day is an especially important time to thank veterans for their service.

The American Legion Field-Allen Post and Auxiliary Unit 148 will be doing their part again this year. They will be handing out the traditional Legion Poppy flower over this Veterans Day weekend at local area stores and the post office as a remembrance of all those veterans that did not return from the great conflicts. Although the poppies are free, the Legion will gladly accept donations to support the Legion’s Poppy Program. Funds raised are used to support veterans and their families as well as active duty service personnel and their families. Locally, the funds have been used to support homeless veterans as well as veteran's causes.

Many places around the world pause and remember fallen veterans on November 11, but a good majority of Veterans Day and Remembrance Day commemorative events focus on past and current veterans who are still alive. There are many ways to honor the military at home and abroad in time for the November festivities. In addition to donating to the American Legion this weekend, the following are just a handful of ways to show appreciation for military men and women.

· When dining out, ask your server if you can pay the tab for a soldier or veteran you see in the restaurant.

· Draft letters and send care packages to soldiers currently in service far away from home.
· Ask your company if Veterans Day can be an observed holiday at your place of business each year to pay homage to servicemen and women.

· Visit a military memorial in a city near you. Your town also may have its own memorial.
· Volunteer time at a veterans' hospital. You may be able to read with veterans or engage in other activities.

· Get involved with a military support charity that can provide much-needed funds to struggling families or disabled veterans.

· Have children speak with veterans in your family, including grandparents, uncles and aunts or even their own parents. It can help them gain perspective on the important roles the military plays.
· Support a local VFW organization.

· Create a scrapbook for a veteran in your life.

· Cheer for or thank military personnel each time you see them.

· Visit the veterans' portion of a nearby cemetery and place poppies or other flowers on the graves.

· Always keep the military on your mind and never forget those who have served and didn't return home.

Veterans Day are great ways to honor past and current military for their service and sacrifice.
If you’d like to make donation to the American Legion Poppy Program, send it to The American Legion Post 148, P.O. Box 1776, Windham, ME 04062.

Family Literacy Fun Day inspires the fun of reading for young and old alike

By Briana Bizier

On a cold and rainy Saturday morning, children and their parents came together at the Windham Primary School to celebrate the written word. Hosted by Windham/Raymond Adult Education, the twelfth annual Family Literacy Fun Day showcased Maine authors and illustrators with stories to please readers, or pre-readers, of all ages. Three local authors presented their work to eager and appreciative audiences while the cafeteria offered snacks and a wide range of arts and crafts activities, including creating a miniature book, decorating a bookmark, and making a pine cone bird feeder. There was also a free swap for gently used books and a raffle with prizes that had been generously donated by local businesses and organizations.

We want to help spread the joy of literacy,” Cathy Giuffre-Renaud of Windham Adult Education said, explaining the motivation behind hosting the popular event. “Holding a book in your hand, there’s just nothing that compares to that!”

A book swap was among many of the activities
When my two little assistants and I arrived on the scene, Gorham author Cathryn Falwell was just beginning her presentation. First, Falwell used a page from her bookFeast for 10” to demonstrate the four colors used in printing - cyan, magenta, yellow and black. When she pulled each colored layer away from her picture, the crowd responded with appreciative “ohs” and “ahs.” Falwell also shared pictures of her studio and “treehouse” beside Frog Song Pond in Gorham. My little assistants were especially impressed by the pictures of turkeys. “The turkeys don’t go in the water” Falwell explained. “But sometimes, they go on the water!”

She shared a picture of an ice-covered Frog Song Pond hosting a flock of skating turkeys which made children and adults alike laugh. In addition to sharing pictures and explaining the printing process, Falwell invited the children in the crowd to participate in two interactive puppet shows as she read her books “Pond Babies” and “Turtle Splash!” both of which were selected to be part of Maine’s Raising Readers program. Falwell published her first book in 1991 and is currently working on her twenty-seventh work.

Maine author Tim Caverly also offered a presentation at Family Literacy Fun Day. A former Park Ranger, Caverly now lives in Millinocket. He has published nine books about Maine’s northern forest for children and adults and he travels widely to help spread the joy of reading and his love for the New England woods. In addition to his speaking engagements, Caverly and his Allagash Tails team has donated over 1,750 books to 145 schools in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Mary Morton Cowan, the author of over eighty articles for children, presented her latest adventure biography for middle grade readers, “Cyrus Field’s Big Dream: The Daring Effort to Lay the First Transatlantic Telegraph Cable.” Cowan specializes in telling exciting biographies and making history come to life for younger readers. My four-year-old assistant was especially delighted with the Morse code machine Cowan brought to the Family Literacy Fun Day. While he giggled manically as he sent out Morse code messages, I marveled at the size and weight of the transatlantic telegraph cable. For a generation raised with the convenience of satellites and cell phones, the magnitude of laying a telegraph cable on the ocean floor is quite impressive.

Local writer Sandy Warren had a table in the cafeteria to discuss her multi-sensory approach to memorizing the times tables. Developed when she was teaching her own children, Warren’s “Times to Remember” includes a CD, a workbook, and a storybook to help children learn multiplication. “They see the pictures, sing the songs, and do the exercises,” Warren explained. “It’s a fun way to learn multiplication.”

Rachel Church, a local “book artist,” also had a table in the cafeteria where she showed children and their parents several different ways to fold a single piece of paper into a multi-page book. My eight-year-old assistant was especially impressed when Church revealed these one-page books can hold a secret message when completely unfolded. She spent the next thirty minutes at the craft table making a book for her little brother while he returned to the Morse code machine to tap out further messages. By the time I finally rounded up both assistants, they’d chosen several new books, made books of their own, and discovered a new love for the antiquated technology of Morse code. Not bad for a rainy Saturday morning!

Free and open to the public, Windham Adult Education’s Family Literacy Fun Day was intended to help inspire a love of reading for all ages, from the smallest children to parents and grandparents who attended the event. Many local companies and organizations graciously donated supplies or raffle prizes to help make the event a success, including Lowe’s, Amato’s, Hannaford, Americorps, Bull Moose Music, Metayer Family Eye Care, People’s United Bank, BJ’s, the Windham Economic Development Corporation and the Maine Romance Writers.