Friday, October 25, 2019

Student of the Week: Kaleb Fitch

Kaleb Fitch, a third-grade student at Raymond Elementary School, is The Windham Eagle’s Student of the Week. Fitch, who is eight years old, states that he enjoys art and playing hockey.

“Kaleb Fitch was chosen for the Student of the Week for many reasons,” his teacher said. “Kaleb is hard-working, genuine, and is thoughtful. He exuberates ambition and perseverance inside and outside of the classroom.”

Fitch said that his greatest accomplishment is winning a hockey tournament and states that his grandmother, who teaches him to be a better artist, is the person who has meant the most to his education. His favorite subject is art and during his free time, Fitch enjoys playing outside or going to his grandparents’ house.

Fitch lives at home with his mom, dad, a brother named Brandon along with three fish and one dog.

College plans: To be an artist or chef
Favorite TV show: “Master Chef Junior”
Favorite animal: Shark
Favorite Movie: “Christmas Vacation”
Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving

Tiff Theriault has a love of field hockey to pass on to others

Tiffany Theriault
By Matt Pascarella

Tiffany Theriault has always loved field hockey. She played goalie during her days at Lake Region High School and since then, has wanted to pass her passion for the sport onto others. Theriault has coached field hockey at Windham Middle School and has been the junior varsity coach for the past two years.

“My high school coach had a major impact on who I became as an adult,” Theriault stated. “My hopes in coaching is that I can make a positive impact. I want the girls to develop self-confidence, learn to be resilient in face of adversity and believe in themselves.”

Theriault’s love of the sport is what drew her to coaching, giving her the opportunity to have field hockey in her life again. She really enjoys working with the kids.

cstlouis@spurwink.orgTheriault didn’t realize how much she would love coaching until she did it for a year. The benefits of seeing the athletes grow and learn the sport was an added bonus for her. And when she got the opportunity to come up to the JV level, and meet a whole new group of girls, it was awesome.

Coaching gave her a chance to get out of her comfort zone. What Theriault wasn’t expecting was the player’s eagerness to learn and the connection she would make with the team. They loved the sport as much as she did.

There is a lot of talk about mindset on the junior varsity team. And Theriault wants it to be a positive one. It’s easy to make a mistake and get really down on yourself, for example, ‘I should have gotten that’ or ‘this drill is too hard,’ or ‘I can’t do it.’ She’s worked a lot with the young athletes to change their mentality. ‘This drill may be hard, but it’s giving me good practice;’ ‘I could have gotten that, I’ll get it next time,’ are examples of the simple rephrasing. Her hope is that her players can have a more positive attitude. One of the things Theriault has done to help with this is start a group text with her three goalies where they have to text her one thing their thankful for each day. It created an incredible connection with them and gave her insight into their lives.

The girls are Theriault’s favorite part about being a coach. “We have a great team, both JV and varsity this year, they really are incredible. I love the connection with them, I love being a part of it again. Win or lose...watching them grow throughout the season has been more of a rewarding experience than I ever thought it could be. My hope is coach DiDonato and I are playing some small role in their lives to making them better humans and I want to be a part of that – I want them to be successful. This is what drives me to be a better coach each season.”

A Raymond resident, Theriault grew up in Casco and has five children. She got her bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Southern Maine. “The fact that I get to have my daughters on the team is only icing on the cake. It has been fun to watch them develop friendships, and a positive mindset,” she adds. In her free time, she is working on her master’s in biology. She enjoys skiing with her husband and children, lazy rainy/snow days at home, watching her kids play sports and spending time with her family.

Call for candy at Raymond Village Library

What would Halloween be without trick-or-treating? Yet, for many of the children in the mostly rural town of Raymond, trick-or-treating is a difficult proposition when the houses are located on dark roads without sidewalks, and there can be hundreds of feet of dark forest between the jack o’ lanterns sitting on doorsteps.

Happily, the town of Raymond has adopted a tradition of Halloween trick-or-treating on Main Street. The street will be officially closed on Halloween evening as costumed children from Raymond and the surrounding areas flood the area for an evening of festivities.

Of course, this means the residents of Raymond’s Main Street will have hundreds of children knocking on their door on October 31 and asking for candy. If that sounds like a daunting prospect, the Raymond Village Library is here to help!

From now until Halloween, the Raymond Village Library is accepting donations of candy for children. The library distributes candy to the residents of Main Street to help ensure a happy Halloween night for both the little monsters and the neighbors who distribute the treats.

Candy donations can be delivered to the Raymond Village Library at 3 Meadow Road on Monday or Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon, or Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

WHS senior develops middle school tennis team as her Capstone Project

Sydney Nangle
By Lanet Hane

“The very first time I played tennis was in my freshman year of high school, and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” stated Sydney Nangle, a Senior at Windham High School.

Sydney is grateful for the chance she has had to participate in the sport, but also knows how valuable it could be to the tennis program to have students start learning before they hit high school.

“I wanted to pass down my love for tennis to the middle schoolers because I would’ve played tennis in middle school if I had the option,” she said.

With this in mind, Sydney decided to make starting a middle school tennis program her Capstone Project.

As she worked on developing the program, Sydney became aware of the many behind-the-scenes pieces that come into play. The process included getting practice time and access to supplies, finding willing co-coaches and adult support, permission slips and advertising to middle school students.

But Sydney pulled it off.

With the help of Kevin Roy, a teacher and tennis coach at the high school, and her friend Danielle Jones, a fellow tennis player, Sydney was able to make the program come to life. The middle school tennis program met twice a week for 8 weeks. Sydney has only good things to say about the program; “In the few weeks that I’ve been coaching these kids, I already see so much potential and progress in each one of them.”

“I think it’s been a great opportunity for middle school students. Sydney has done a great job of combining drills that teach with games that keep the kids involved and moving including various target practice style games and more traditional tennis matches. She really has a wonderful rapport with the kids that have come out and she’s been very inclusive towards kids that haven’t been able to make it to every session but still want to try it out a bit. I think this could be the beginning of a middle school tennis program that wasn’t in existence before and even benefit the high school program in the future.” stated Roy.

Preparing for a Katahdin hiking and camping adventure

By Craig Bailey

This is the second article in a three-part series covering Mount Katahdin and the adventure experience one group recently had.

A Katahdin hiking / camping adventure involves a great deal of advance preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable excursion. The recommended starting point is the Baxter State Park website ( which offers a wealth of information in this regard.

The preparation outlined here results from a group I led as we hiked Katahdin, spending two nights in the Chimney Pond bunkhouse.

The first step (after the group has agreed to the challenge) is to make reservations with Baxter State Park, which can be done 120 days in advance. Since the Chimney Pond bunkhouse is in high demand one must be proactive to lock-in the desired date(s).

Once reservations are made each hiker must ensure they are ready, from a physical standpoint, taking steps to minimize or eliminate common pains that may be experienced, which could hamper the journey.

To avoid foot pain, one should acquire a pair of lightweight, waterproof hiking boots offering excellent ankle support. That said, don’t try to break in a new pair of boots on a hike like this. Instead, wear them for many weeks in advance on practice hikes. Add to this a pair of thick wool socks for additional cushion. Finally, just prior to the trip it is important to cut one’s toenails to avoid chafing that could otherwise occur.

Another common pain to avoid is in the knees, which occurs primarily on the descent when the knees take the most abuse. Following are several recommendations, from professionals, proven effective with the test of time.

For those previously experiencing knee pain, doctors recommend Glucosomine Chondroiton (but, of course, check with your doctor). In addition, personal trainers recommend two exercises: glute bridges and quad stretches, for which information can be found online.

In addition to obtaining high-end hiking boots, a pair of trekking poles and knee braces provides a great deal of relief. And, finally, if knee pain is experienced on the trail, it is helpful to have on hand an anti-inflammatory like Advil or Aleve.

The final common pain to avoid is in the back and/or shoulders. This can result from a heavily loaded backpack (think 30-45 pounds) which will be lugged up and back down the 3.3-mile trail. To address this hiker should obtain a backpack with the proper support, where most of the weight is carried on the hips: not on the back or shoulders. Here, it is suggested the hiker visits an outfitter such as LL Bean to get specific recommendations on fit and function.

The final step is to do practice hikes, to try out new gear and confirm no foot, knee, shoulder or back pain is experienced.

In parallel with getting ready physically, one must determine the necessary equipment and provisions. The first consideration is Baxter State Park is a carry in / carry out park. As such, anything not consumed must be lugged back down the mountain.

Secondly, consider the bunkhouse has no electricity or running water. There are 10 wooden bunks (no mattresses), a wood stove, food preparation area, a picnic table and gas lanterns, with outhouses nearby.

Given the itinerary (three days and two nights) each person needs to “pack in” two dinners, one lunch, two breakfasts and lots of nutritional snacks. To minimize the weight and bulk, bring nothing requiring refrigeration, or in bulky containers, and acquire freeze dried food for most meals. To maintain energy levels, foods should consist of high amounts of carbs, fats and proteins. This is NOT the time to go on a diet.

Fortunately, there is a plentiful supply of water along the trail and Chimney Pond serves as a water source, all of which must be treated prior to consuming. As a result, each person should bring their own water bottle and treatment method.

Per Baxter State Park’s guidelines, those climbing to the summit of Katahdin must have a headlamp, space blanket, food and water in their day pack.

While there are other items to consider (change of clothes, personal hygiene, sleeping bag and pad, knife, firestarter, trail stove, etc.) the above areas require the most advance preparation.

Upon finalizing the list of equipment and provisions each hiker should pack their backpack well in advance. Then, reduce and repack again, until each feels comfortable, they have what is absolutely required - and nothing more.

Final considerations, prior to embarking, include reviewing the trails planned to be hiked, confirming the status of each on the Baxter State Park webpage. And, it is important to arrive at the trailhead with plenty of time to get started before the cutoff time. For example, in late September Park Rangers require hikers to begin their climb into Chimney Pond by 2pm. In addition, each member of the group must realize there is no rush up or down the mountain, acknowledging most injuries occur during the descent.

In closing, the best advice to prepare for such an excursion is to make a list of necessities, then repeatedly walk through the days on the trail and at camp thinking of all the things that are (absolutely) required for a pleasant journey.

Forensic science expert visits Windham High School

By Lanet Hane

Windham High School recently had the pleasure of hosting forensic psychologist and Thomas College professor Tracey Horton, who came in to speak to students participating in the high school’s ‘Inside the Criminal Mind’ course.

Ms. Horton teaches classes in psychology, criminal behavior, and criminal justice at Thomas and
before that spent 15 years as a forensic psychologist with the criminal justice system of North Carolina. Before sharing in class, Ms. Horton took time to meet with students interested in forensic psychology and answer their questions about programs, various certifications, and other aspects of the career.

"I always love meeting with professors, and meeting with Dr. Horton was no different,” said Emily Shaffer, a student interested in forensic psychology; “it's refreshing to talk to someone who understands what you want to do and can direct you down the right path.”

Inside the Criminal Mind is an elective course geared toward upperclassmen and taught by Jennie Shapiro. This very popular course is a mixture of psychology and English and encourages students to consider the situations and experiences that impact criminal behavior. Ms. Horton’s expertise was a perfect way to add real-life awareness to the course.

Students in Inside the Criminal Mind enjoyed Dr. Horton's visit. They learned about the Risk-Need-Responsivity Model for offender assessment and found Dr. Horton's expertise, as well as her personal experiences working as a forensic psychologist, particularly engaging,” says Ms. Shapiro.

Ms. Horton’s visit comes as one of many guest speakers the high school will be inviting this year to participate in various classes and bring real-world expertise to topics that can often seem disconnected from life outside school walls.

A big thank you to Ms. Horton and Thomas College for so generously sharing their time and expertise with our local students!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Student of the Week: Jacob "Jake" Goslant

Jake Goslant, an eighth-grade student at Jordan-Small Middle School, is The Windham Eagle’s Student of the Week. Goslant states that he enjoys playing football, basketball, wrestling and baseball.

“Jacob is perseverant,” stated one of Goslant’s teachers. “He tries his best, asks questions, and works to understand the material covered in class. He often helps his classmates and reminds them of important procedures and values.  Jake is kind and compassionate, he is respectful to the school staff and his classmates.”

Goslant’s favorite subject is social studies and his favorite movie is “Star Wars.” In his free time, Goslant likes to watch Netflix and Youtube or play with his dogs.

Goslant lives at home with his mom, dad, a brother who is in high school and two dogs.

Mentoring program between Windham High School and Windham Middle School is in its second year

A group of 20 Windham High School students congregated in the entrance of Windham Middle School a few weeks ago on their way to meet the students they will be mentoring this school year.

“We found the first few mentoring sessions were pretty uncomfortable for everyone last year,” said Lanet Hane, Director Community Connections for RSU14, “So we designed an initial full-group interaction to help change that and make everyone more comfortable from the start.”

Akillian Muhiddin on Windham Middle School’s high ropes course. The course was a part of the activities to help students get to know one another.

This big gathering included a variety of games and activities, including high ropes, designed to help everyone get excited for their first one-on-one interactions. By the end of the afternoon, people knew each other’s names, fun facts about each other and were comfortable simply hanging out together having a good time.

This familiarity is essential for the mentoring program to function successfully.

Mentoring is a weekly event and includes one high schooler and one middle schooler who get together to talk, play games, do homework and just spend time together. These pairs stay together for a full school year, and over time develop strong relationships that are of mutual benefit.

Molly McAllister stated, “Last year we were very individual. This year, instead of having just our mentee, we are talking with multiple middle school students. I think that’s a great chance for students to get multiple perspectives.”

Last year’s pilot program included eight pairs, but the program was such a success that it has more than doubled in size.

The importance of volunteerism to small-town community success

By Elizabeth Richards

Volunteers are at the heart of strong communities, especially small ones with fewer resources than large urban areas.  Volunteers keep children’s sports leagues, local theatre groups, town government, scout troops, and small nonprofit organizations operating smoothly. And yet, it seems to be getting more and more difficult to find qualified volunteers who are committed to giving their time back to the community.

Rolf Olsen, a town selectman in Raymond, said that people have so many commitments that it’s hard
for them to find the time to volunteer.  “People say it will only take a little time, but it usually ends up bigger than what you thought it was,” he said. 

In addition, Olsen added, increased requirements, such as background checks, and the costs associated with those requirements, can be daunting.  Windham Town Councilor Tim Nangle agreed, saying he has seen a drop in volunteering for EMS and Fire due to additional training requirements.

Other factors in a decrease in volunteerism, according to Olsen, include the fact that people are working, and are not in their communities during the day, or they have young families and can’t spare the time.
Sheila Borque, an active volunteer in many initiatives in Raymond, says that one of the big challenges she sees is that whatever she’s involved in, she runs into the same people. “If you look around, what are you seeing? The aging of that volunteer population. A lot of people are retired and getting older, so a lot of the initiatives that were started a long time ago are hurting,” she said.

Olsen also said that the way that volunteers are sometimes treated can dissuade people from wanting to volunteer. In the past, he said, people recognized that volunteers were giving up their time and appreciated that. Now, it seems, they often jump all over the volunteers if things don’t turn out the way they wanted it to. “People volunteer because they get something out of it – if all they get is grief, then what has that done for them?” he asked. 

Still, the need for volunteers is great, particularly in small communities. In Raymond, for instance, there is no recreation department, no social services, no community center, and even the library is an independent nonprofit.  “If we want certain things, volunteers are going to have to step up and provide them,” Borque said. 

Windham is fortunate, Nangle said, with good responsiveness to public committees, and people with a lot of expertise willing to be involved. “We could never afford to do all this work that these committees do,” he said.  “All of the town’s needs can’t be met by just staff alone. That’s why I think we’re very lucky.” 

While there aren’t a lot of vacancies on Windham’s committees, that doesn’t mean people can’t express interest, he said. Applications are kept for when a vacancy does open up. Vacancies are announced in the newspaper and on the town website ( Each committee is different, Nangle added, and not all of them take a lot of time.
Pat Moody, a Windham resident who currently volunteers as the president of Windham Youth Basketball, Chair of the Recreation Advisory Committee and a member of the Community Center Planning committee, said he’s been volunteering all his life.

“I see areas for opportunity in the community, and instead of just telling people how to fix things and make them better, I’ll step in and provide some time to see what I can do to improve upon things,” Moody said.

Moody said he found inspiration in a book, “For the Love of Cities”. “The author talks about the emotional connection that some communities have and the relationship to the well-being of the citizens and the well-being of the local economy,” he said.

“When we love something it thrives, whether you are talking about children, a garden, or an object like a car...the more you love it the more success it has. I think about volunteering as a way to love Windham and help it grow and succeed,” Moody said.

As far as declining volunteerism, Moody said he thinks that how well organized a group is makes a difference. With Windham Youth Basketball, for instance, they don’t have a hard time finding board members or coaches. “It comes down to making sure everybody understands that the support structure is there and it’s about having a good experience for our community, and the more people who step up and help out, the better it’s going to be.”

Sometimes people may not realize that what they have to offer is important. For instance, Moody said, the committee working on the community center needs people with financial expertise to help them define the financial structure of the center. This may mean more analytical people who are less extroverted than those who typically volunteer. 

“Everybody’s got something to offer,” Moody said.  “In a Town like Windham there are so many different opportunities that you can get involved in, and help improve, and it’s going to add quality of life not only for yourself but other people as well.”

Bourque said that it’s also important to realize that one person can make a difference, especially in Maine. In large metropolitan areas, you can work really hard and barely make a dent because the government controls so much, but here, individuals can have an impact, she said.

“I have a basic philosophy of why are we here? If we’re not here to make it better, what’s the point? That’s kind of how I look at the world and I honestly feel that volunteers who get involved – you get more out of it than what you are giving. It’s an amazing feeling that you can actually see a difference,” Borque said.

It’s important to recognize that things don’t happen overnight, Borque added.  “It takes patience. When you are addressing things that are part of the fabric and the way things have always been done in your community, that takes time,” she said.

What can be done about declining volunteerism?  Borque believes collaboration is the only way forward.  “We have to work together. Maybe existing groups have existed in their own little silo, and they’re suffering. One of the things I do all the time is pull people together,” she said.

Opportunities for collaboration are everywhere, Borque said. “You just have to keep your mind and your ears open for those opportunities. They’re really everywhere. You just have to look at the world a certain way. It’s just phenomenal when you get all these groups working together, what we can accomplish.”

Before the memory fades: A haunting tale from Windham’s Parson Smith House

By Walter Lunt

Roger Barto bolted upright in his bed. Sleep had almost taken him, but something, a noise in the hallway outside his upstairs bedroom, brought him back to full wakefulness. Now his senses were on full alert as he stared across the darkened room at his bedroom door. On the other side, in the hallway, came the sound again: a thump – then another – and another, becoming more pronounced as it seemingly approached his bedroom door.

“It was like the sound of a (heavy) shoe or boot. But just one. It was like (whatever it was) only had a sock on the other foot.” recalled Roger.

Former caretakers of the Parson Smith House recall
a haunting night in the early 1960s that may involve
this boot
The sounds continued: thump – pause – thump – pause…

“(I remember) it grew louder until I knew it was just outside my door. I grabbed my bee-bee gun and sat wide-eyed and unblinking for over an hour.”

But the hallway, and the whole house, became quiet for the rest of the night. Eventually, Roger slept.

This incident, we’ll call the haunted hallway, took place in 1961. Roger and his brother and sister, all in their teens had moved into the historic Parson Smith House on River Road in Windham with their parents, Malcom and Betty Barto. They would be caretakers of the nearly 200-year old mansion, which was owned by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, based in Boston.

The family loved the big old house. Spacious and homey, Roger and his sister, Sue, recalls how great it was to finally have their own rooms. Outside, there were open spaces - fields and woods, and across the road swimming and fishing in the Presumpscot River. Their mom, Betty, was attracted to the house’s architecture and history. It was the home of Windham’s (New Marblehead’s) first settled minister, Parson Peter Thatcher Smith. Initial construction began after the Indian wars in 1764 but was not finished until the early 1800s. As a result, the ancient structure exhibit features of Georgian, Federal and Greek Revival architectural styles.

There were no incidents of paranormal activity right after the family’s move into the house. But within the first couple of years, both Betty and Roger became aware of an unseen presence.
There were times, especially when alone in the evening, Betty would later recall, when one would experience an omnipresence; more than once she would be startled by unexplainable sounds coming from various parts of the house. One time, footsteps, another the rattling of chains.

It was Roger who found an old boot tucked away in a basement crevice. Obviously not modern footwear, it was a man’s large-sized black leather galosh with wooden pegs in the sole, well-worn and very old.

Speculation at the time was that it may have belonged to either Parson Smith or to Edward Anderson who later lived in the house. The boot soon became a conversation piece. Displayed prominently on a shelf in the original colonial kitchen, it fit in well with the historic ambience of the old house.

Fast forward to the 1970s or ‘80s and an altered version of Roger’s haunted hallway story emerged. This one incorporated the old boot and a search for deceased children.

As told to legions of Windham school children and to visitors on a tour of the Parson Smith House, it went something like this: One June night a young boy in his upstairs bedroom awoke to the sound of a footstep descending the stairs. Knowing that his family was all tucked into their beds, the frightened young lad took refuge under his covers for the rest of the night. The next morning the boot was found at the top of the stairway, ostensibly having moved by itself from its display perch in the downstairs kitchen.

Research later revealed that one or more of Edward Anderson’s children had died very young in the month of June. And so, as the story goes, the long-dead father wearing the single boot walks in search of his young offspring every June.

Asked recently about the veracity of the updated version of his haunted hallway experience, Roger Barto responded firmly, “Never happened!” The earlier hallway story did happen, he insists, and retells it like it happened to him only yesterday.

Like the old parlor game ‘whisper circle,’ a group of players can change or embellish a word or phrase with each new telling around the circle. So, before the memory fades, it’s often worthwhile to return to the source of a story. In this case, Roger Barto. Perhaps his haunted hallway story will start around the whisper circle again. And perhaps that’s okay because when it comes back, it tends to be more fun and entertaining. At the very least, such stories tend to generate an interest in history.

Asked if they believe the unusual events at the Parson Smith House were the result of a haunting,  or if they feel there is a reasonable explanation behind them, most of the people who have actually lived in the house agree that spirits, though benign, do reside there. Elaine Dickinson, who has lived in the Parson Smith House with her late husband, Don, for over a quarter century has a more pragmatic take on the question:

“Once, I had to move a lot of heavy boxes from one end of the attic to the other. I asked that boot spirit to help me. And you know what? Those boxes never moved!” 

Friday, October 11, 2019

It’s almost heating season: Let's keep our community warm

By Bill Diamond

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing; the air is getting cooler and the nights are getting longer. Fall is here and with it comes the start of heating season, that is, the time of year when you have to heat your house.

Heating a home can be a significant burden for many people in our community. Most people use oil to heat their homes, the price of which can rise and fall based on a number of different factors, and it often doesn’t take much for heating costs to get out of hand unexpectedly. This issue is especially bad for seniors on fixed incomes, because while their costs might go up, their income doesn’t change.

This is a tough spot to be in. I have heard stories of folks wearing extra layers to stretch a tank of oil to its limits, buying small quantities of fuel at a time, or cutting back on other necessities just to keep their house warm.

There are a few options available to help people who are having trouble paying their heating bills. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal program that provides money to low-income homeowners and renters to help pay heating costs. It generally doesn’t cover all heating costs, but it does provide temporary assistance to those most in need. In Cumberland County, the Opportunity Alliance in Portland administers this program. Applications are taken by appointment (phone or in person) from September through March.  For more information or to make an appointment, call (207) 553-5900, or email

LIHEAP helps a lot of people, but it is somewhat limited, and every year there are people who don’t end up getting the help they need. In that case, there’s Windham Neighbor Helping Neighbors. 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is an organization I, along with Windham Reps. Mark Bryant and Gary Plummer, founded in 2007. That year, heating fuel prices hit record highs, and folks were calling our State House offices looking for help heating their homes. In our first year of operation, we served 17 families. Now we serve up to 100 families a year.

The organization is completely volunteer-run and funded by generous donations from individuals,
local businesses and other organizations. Our annual gala each year is a big part of our fundraising efforts, and this year's event, held on Sept. 27 at the Stone Barn at St. Joseph’s College, was our largest turnout ever. I am so grateful for the continuing support of community members, who help us serve neighbors in need. To donate, volunteer or find out how you or someone you know can get help, visit or call me at (207) 892-8941.

Finally, for folks who are looking for a long-term solution to high heating costs, Efficiency Maine has several programs and incentives that can help you increase your home’s insulation or buy a more energy efficient heating system, such as a heat pump. In fact, this year the Legislature passed and the Governor signed a new law to increase incentives for heat pumps, so that hopefully, we will have fewer people who need help paying their heating bills in the winter.

As always, please feel free to contact me or my office with any questions, comments or concerns. You can call (207) 287-1515 or email me at It’s a pleasure to serve as your state senator.

Kirtan coming to Raymond's Clyde Bailey Drop-In Center

A special Kirtan (call and response chant) will take place on Friday, October 18 at 7 p.m.
This event is for the recovery community and sponsored by the Call and Response Foundation. It is open to anyone in recovery, their families, friends, or allies. It will be hosted by the Clyde Bailey Drop-in Center at 1311 Roosevelt Trail, Raymond.

Leading this kirtan will be Susannah and Francesco Sanfilippo. Susannah, who provides harmonium and vocals, and Francesco, who performs with percussion and vocals, have been leading kirtan in the Portland area for over 10 years. They love vocalizing with others and sharing this sacred peace practice with all willing souls.

Kirtan is a call and response singing meditation, which helps quiet the mind and cultivate peace. The roots of kirtan are in the Hindu tradition, but the practice does not require belief in any religion or tradition. The spiritual experience and benefits of singing meditation are available to all who participate! This is a family friendly event. No previous experiences in this practice are necessary.

This event is family friendly and offered by donation to all who feel called to attend! Donations in support of bringing kirtan to recovery and other communities will be accepted with gratitude.

The Clyde Bailey Drop-In Center provides a place where persons recovering from alcohol or drug-related problems may participate in activities in an alcohol and drug free environment through a safe and effective support system. Our membership is made up of people in recovery from alcoholism and other addictions, plus affected others. We are self-supporting through membership dues, contributions and fundraisers. We are not affiliated with any 12 step recovery programs although we do accommodate AA, Al-anon NA and other related meetings.

Senators Collins, King announce more than $1.2 million to prevent domestic violence and protect survivors

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Safe Voices of Auburn have been awarded a total of $1,249,486 to support domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programs and protect survivors throughout Maine.

“As we continue to work to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault, we must also ensure that all survivors receive the resources they need to ensure their safety and wellbeing,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement.  “This funding will help strengthen our state’s response to these crimes and allow the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Safe Voices of Auburn to continue to protect victims in their communities.” 

The funding is allocated as follows: 

The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault received $624,545 to increase accessibility, awareness, and effective responses and referrals to sexual assault services in northern and eastern Maine.  The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault works in collaboration with Aroostook Mental Health Center, Rape Response Services, and Sexual Assault Support of Midcoast Maine.

Safe Voices of Auburn received $624,941 to improve safety and the criminal justice response for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in Oxford County.  Safe Voices works in collaboration with Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services and Maine Prosecutorial District Three.

This funding was awarded through the Office on Violence Against Women’s (OVW) Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Program, an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice.

Meaningful approaches to death and dying: A free panel discussion series offered at Unity in Windham

By Lorraine Glowczak

As a culture, we prepare and think very carefully about birth and how to bring a child into the world. There are a number of options we can choose that include a home birth, water birth, the Bradley method, the Lamaze method – the choices are endless. But most importantly, parents get to make the choice that is the best fit for their comfort, physical makeup and belief systems.

On the other hand, our culture offers very little alternatives for how we face and embrace the death of a loved one or of our own. As a result, Unity Center for Spiritual Growth (Unity), 54 River Road in Windham, is presently offering a seven-week series to educate people on the opportunity to be involved with death in an intimate and personal way.

Jody Fein
“The medical system, the funeral industry and our own denial of death all have impacted our ability to take death into our own hands and hearts,” stated Rev. Pat Bessey of Unity. “This course is designed with the idea of opening the door to a relationship with death and dying and to understand how it could profoundly change the way we live.”

The idea to offer this educational series came as a result of a personal experience of Jody Fein. Fein had shared some of the details with Rev. Bessey and Bessy believed it would be a good learning experience for others.

Fein’s husband of many years recently passed away from lymphoma. “He was diagnosed 15 years ago, and he didn’t let the diagnosis stop him from living fully,” explained Fein. “He approached his death as he approached his life – with presence, curiosity and courage.”

We all can comprehend the concept of living life fully – but what does dying fully look like? As his death approached, Fein stated that her husband was moved from the hospital to Gosnell Memorial Hospice House. “It was such a good option for us because it allowed our family to be with him at all times.”

Fein stated that some people may not know that one can pass away at home – and even spend time with body after the person passes, giving the family time to say goodbye on their own terms. People may not know that they can attend a cremation as part of the experience. The important thing is, there are just as many personal options one can make during the death process as in birth.

One of the many books that inspired Fein after the death of her husband, and while she faced her own mortality during a bout with breast cancer, was “Being with Dying” by Joan Halifax.

According to, Halifax’s work is a source of wisdom for all those who are charged with a dying person's care, who are facing their own death, or who are wishing to explore and contemplate the transformative power of the dying process.

The website states, “Halifax offers lessons from dying people and caregivers, as well as guided meditations to help readers contemplate death without fear, develop a commitment to helping others, and transform suffering and resistance into courage. She says, "Why wait until we are actually dying to explore what it may mean to die with awareness?" A world-renowned pioneer in care of the dying, Joan Halifax founded the Project on Being with Dying, which helps dying people to face death with courage…”

Although the workshop has begun, there are three more sessions open to the public. The first one will be on Thursday, October 24 with the showing of the film, “Holding Our Own and Embracing the End of Life”. A second film will be held on Wednesday, October 30, “POV – A Family Undertaking”. Lastly, a panel of experts will be available for questions, answers and discussions on Thursday, November 14. All three events will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Unity. There is a suggested donation of $5.

To learn more, visit the Unity Website at or call the church at 207-893-1233.

This workshop is made possible in part by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Student of the Week: Natasha "Tasha" Pongratz

Tasha Pongratz, an eighth-grade student at Jordan-Small Middle School, is The Windham Eagle’s Student of the Week. Pongratz states that she enjoys field hockey, horseback riding and drama.

“Through her words and actions, Tasha Pongratz demonstrates all the qualities and characteristics of a model student and citizen,” stated her teacher. “Tasha craves challenge and can always be counted on to ask thought-provoking questions. A team player as well as a leader, Tasha excels in collaborative work while listening to her peers, offering ideas, and staying focused. Her positive attitude is contagious, and it is evident that Tasha is self-motivated and ambitious.”

Pongratz’s favorite subject is Language Arts and what makes learning fun for her is doing activities. She lives at home with her two weird brothers and a beagle named, Will.

Windham Eagle Reporter Craig Bailey shares tale of becoming a Registered Maine Guide

Craig Bailey (photo by Tom Roth)
Many can relate to the allure of spending time, better yet, earning a primary or secondary living, while adventuring in the woods and on the waters of Maine. The reality is that to receive any form of remuneration, for leading Maine-based adventures, the State of Maine requires that person to be a Registered Maine Guide.

Recently, The Windham Eagle Reporter and Registered Maine Guide, Craig Bailey, upgraded his Guide License, adding Fishing to his pre-existing Recreational Guide License. This article shares his experience in doing so.

After earning his Recreational Guide License earlier this year, Bailey began preparing for the test to earn his Fishing Guide License. Here, Bailey indicated, “I’ll preface with: in the spirit of full disclosure…”

That is, his original Fishing Guide test took place in June, on the Monday after he had returned from an adventure on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Bailey emphasized, “unfortunately, I did NOT sufficiently prepare for one area covered in the test. And, I failed…”, stressing further, “that was humbling…”

You see, when testing for a guide license, there are two major segments, which are based on the nature of the license being pursued. First, a written test, which Bailey indicated he passed with flying colors. Second, an oral test, in which the applicant meets with a panel consisting of Game Wardens and Master Registered Maine Guides.
Bailey shared, “during the oral exam you are literally hammered with questions and scenarios covering fishing laws and techniques (hook and worm, lures, fly fishing, trolling and ice fishing) as well as the safe and efficient operation of watercraft and related regulations, the identification of species of flora (trees and plants: edible and otherwise) and fauna (birds, mammals and fish), and finally, handling situations you may encounter with clients (illness, injury and/or behavior).”

Bailey stated, “What makes this part of the exam most interesting is the panel of interviewers are quite coy, in true Mainer fashion!”

As an example, Bailey shared, “one of the questions asked was: ‘How do you adjust the freeboard on your canoe?’ Here, the interviewers are determining if you understand the anatomy of a canoe, and if you don’t - will you try to B.S. your way through it. Fortunately, I do know the anatomy of a canoe, so I responded with ‘Well, I suppose that would be based upon how much you put in the canoe.’ You see, the freeboard is the amount of a canoe’s side which is above the waterline. The more you put in the canoe, the less the freeboard.”

At the end of the test the scrupulous interviewers indicated Bailey had demonstrated significant knowledge in the area being tested but had missed on an important item. He wasn’t able to identify a sufficient number of flies. And, since Maine is well known for its fly fishing, they felt this was an important area to demonstrate significant competency.

cstlouis@spurwink.orgBailey indicated his annoyance, “especially given that I used to tie flies as a kid. And, I am quite good at fly fishing. I simply didn’t take the time to refresh my memory banks and prepare for the identification of a sufficient number of flies.”

Upon humbly, yet wholeheartedly, agreeing with their decision, Bailey graciously thanked them for their time and promptly put in his request for a re-test.

“At this point”, Bailey mentioned, “I went into cram mode, which included preparing flashcards covering a number of flies. I studied these at least weekly, awaiting my retest, increasing to multiple times daily, leading up to test day.”

Example flashcards prepared for fly identification:

The re-test was scheduled for September 6 and, Bailey was happy to report, “I passed. I am now a Registered Maine Guide with Specialized licenses in both Recreation and Fishing!”

What is next? Bailey responded with, “Later this month I'll be guiding a group (upwards of 10) on a hiking / camping expedition on Mt. Katahdin.”

In addition, Bailey indicated, “I'll be updating the website for my guide business to include Fishing Guide services.”

In closing, Bailey stated, “never give up on your goals and dreams. And, when (not if) you have a setback, get up, dust yourself off and give it another go.”

Rep. Bryant earns highest score for supporting state employees

AUGUSTA – Rep. Mark Bryant, D-Windham, has received a 100% rating on votes to support state workers, according to a recent scorecard released by the Maine State Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union (MSEA-SEIU).

“I support unions,” said Bryant. “Having spent most of my career at Sappi Fine Paper, I know firsthand that unions help middle class families get by.”

The member-run union group took into account five key bills from the first session of the 129th Legislature. The bills focused on pay parity for adult protective caseworkers, strengthening collective bargaining through binding arbitration, funding a compensation and classification study, excluding collectively bargained salary increases from earnable compensation limits for retirement and supporting the state budget.

Rep. Bryant represents part of Windham in the Maine House of Representatives. He serves on the Taxation Committee and the State and Local Government Committee.

VFW Announces kickoff of annual scholarship competitions

Commander Willie Goodman of the Windham Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10643
announced the kickoff of this year’s VFW Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy essay competitions. The Patriot’s Pen competition is open to middle school students, including home schoolers, in grades sixth to eighth in the Windham area.

Students are invited to write a 300 to 400-word essay on this year’s theme, “What Makes America Great.”

The Voice of Democracy competition is open to the high school students, grades nine through twelve, include those home schooled, in the Windham area. Students are to write and record a three to five-minute essay (on an audio CD) on this year’s theme, also, “What Makes America Great.”

Students have the opportunity to compete in these VFW annual essay competitions and win thousands of dollars in scholarships in either competition. Students begin by competing at the local Post level. Post winners advance to district and district winners compete in the state competition.
The first-place state winner of both competitions receives a four-day trip to Washington, DC. The first-place winner on the national level will received $5,000 for the Patriot’s Pen winning essay and the first-place winning essay national for the Voice of Democracy will receive a $30,000 college scholarship.

Deadline for student entries is October 31st. Interested students and/or teachers should contact VFW Post 10643 by phone at 207-228-4329 or write to the Post at PO Box 1776, Windham 04062 for more information.

Broadway veteran Norm Lewis to perform with Windham Chamber Singers at An American Family Holiday

Norm Lewis

The Windham Chamber Singers are excited to announce plans for the 2019 edition of An American Family Holiday.  According to Dr. Richard Nickerson, the conductor, the concerts will take place on December 7, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Windham Performing Arts Center. Tickets will go on sale Monday, October 7 at 8 a.m.   

The Windham Chamber Singers are pleased to welcome back Daniel Strange. Strange is a WCS alumnus and on the faculty at the University of Miami.  Also returning will be violinist Ashley Liberty.

This year’s headliner will be Norm Lewis. Lewis is a Broadway veteran who was recently seen in NBC’s live broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar. He made history as The Phantom of the Opera’s first African American Phantom on Broadway.   “We are excited to welcome back Norm Lewis and continue our tradition of bringing the highest quality performers to Windham," said Nickerson.  This will be the third time Norm Lewis has appeared at An American Family Holiday and, according to Nickerson, he is always a crowd favorite.  

Tickets are $10 to $32 reserved seating and can be purchased by calling (207) 892-1810 ext. 2875 or online at

Protect the Protectors campaign by State Farm to be presented at Public Safety Day on Saturday

First responders are the first people called into action when public safety is threatened, especially
during catastrophic events. State Farm and Canary recognize the safety of their families is a significant concern for first responders.

To show our appreciation, State Farm and Canary created the Protect the Protectors campaign. The goal is to provide access to technology for these dedicated public servants to stay connected while they are protecting their local communities. Since the launch of the campaign in December 2015, nearly 20,000 Canary home monitoring devices have been donated by State Farm and Canary to first responders across the country.

State Farm Agent Tricia Zwirner will present the Windham Police and Fire Departments with 133 innovative Canary home monitoring devices during Public Safety Day.

The device alerts the user to monitor motion, air quality and temperature changes through the use of an app.   

What:    Protect the Protectors
Who:     Windham Police and Fire Departments
When:   Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 1 p.m.
Where:  Public Safety Day at the Public Safety Building, 375 Gray Road, Windham, ME

RAA to display new art exhibition at Raymond Village Library: Meet and Greet on Wednesday

Raymond Arts Alliance sponsors a rotating artist display at the Raymond Village library.

Beginning the month of October, Bruce Small, a local freelance photographer with a focus on nature, and particularly birds, is currently on display. There will be a meet and greet on Wednesday October 9th at the library from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Light refreshments served.

Bruce Small is a freelance photographer based in Maine's Sebago Lake Region. He has lived on Raymond Cape for the last 23 years. Raised in Falmouth on the coast, his interest in photography started at a young age, when his grandparents gave him a Kodak Brownie camera.  Since then he has has taken photos throughout his entire life. 

“My photographs include birds, other wildlife, flowers, natural landscapes and coastal scenes,” Small stated. “Since retirement in 2017, I have had a special focus on loons, migratory birds and Sebago sunsets.  My wife, Gail, is a big supporter of my photographic endeavors and joins me often on when I want to venture away from Raymond.  She usually takes a book, from the Raymond Village Library, when I spend a “little” extra time absorbed in my passion.

Small has a grown son, a daughter and a three-year-old granddaughter, who is a favorite subject.