Friday, February 28, 2020

2020 Sebago Lake and Cumberland County Ice Fishing Derby announce winners

Joe Donnelly
It was a beautiful weekend on the lakes of Cumberland County for the annual Ice Fishing Derby. Many people of all ages turned out to compete for the biggest catch. After two days of fishing, these were the final results:

Terrence Daigle
And the winners are

#1 Togue- Joe Donnelly pictured here. 9.42 lbs. 31 inches

#2 Togue- Cody Marean -8.62 lbs. 32.75 inches
#3 Togue- Joshua Bryant- 7.66 lbs. 29 1/8 inches

Only 1 Pike winner pictured here: Terrence Daigle 16.20 lbs. 39.5 inches

#1 Pickerel- Mike Chamberlain 3.96 lb. 24.75 inches
#2 Pickerel- Mike Chamberlain 3.78 lb. 24.75 inches
#3 Pickerel- Mike Chamberlain 3.60 lb. 23.75 inches

#1 Perch- Pat Woodbrey- 1.52 lb 14 inches
#2 Perch -Jim Hawkes-1.5 lb 13.25 inches
#3 Perch -Steve Berton 1.46 lb 13 inches

ATV Coleman 500 winner- Daniel Pratt

Tree Talk: The Emerald Ash Borer

By Robert Fogg

As you may or may not know, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an ash-tree-killing-insect, accidentally imported from Asia in 2002, is slowly working its way in our direction with a hunger for our ash trees. It no longer appears to be a question of if EAB will arrive, but when.  EAB has been detected in extreme southern Maine and extreme northern Maine, but more recently a single EAB was found in the Portland area.

I think it’s important to prepare people mentally for the loss of many shade trees once EAB does arrive in our area. None among us are old enough to remember the devastation brought on by the American Chestnut Blight of the early 1900s, but many people are old enough to remember the devastation the Dutch Elm Disease brought to the state in the mid to late 1960s. 

I was just a young boy at the time, but I still remember losing the very tall and very huge elm tree at the end of our driveway. The stump eventually rotted, and nothing but a small mound of soil remains, as a reminder, to this day.

When EAB arrives, our ash trees will be under attack and many, if not most, will die.  Yes, it is possible to inject individual trees with insecticide to prolong, or maybe even save their lives, and we, and others are gearing up to do just that, but it is not practical or economically feasible to protect even a small fraction of our ash trees, especially those in the forest.

This coming spring will be a good time to survey your property, identify any ash trees, and start thinking about which ones you can, or cannot bear to lose, so you can start planning your strategy.  It makes sense to remove low value ash trees before they die and become a safety hazard.  Higher value ash may be able to be saved with preemptive and ongoing insecticide applications. 

If you need help identifying your ash trees, contact a competent arborist (or forester, if it’s a woodlot) for help.  You may be surprised how many ash trees we have.

The Author is General Manager of Naples-based Q-Team Tree Service and is a Licensed Arborist. He can be contacted at 207-693-3831 or at

Book Review: “This Poison Will Remain” by Fred Vargas

Reviewed by Jennifer Dupree, Circulation Supervisor of the Windham Public Library

After I read “This Poison Will Remain” by Fred Vargas, I read a review that said no one should start with this book. I didn’t know when I started it that it was part of a series. While it might be best to start at the beginning, I did not find it confusing. For those interested in reading the books in order, the first is “Have Mercy on Us All”. All the books are translated from French.

“This Poison Will Remain” opens with Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg being recalled to Paris to work one case and then another. The first he solves quickly and rather cleverly. The second case is the main thrust of the story. Three elderly men have died from recluse spider bites and the Commissaire thinks it is murder. His team widely and vocally disagrees—it would take some forty recluse spider bites to kill a person and recluse spiders don’t bite all that much (they’re pretty reclusive, after all).

His investigation leads him to an orphanage, then to a group of boys called the Recluse Gang, then to an even sadder, more troubling story. It’s rare that I’m emotionally moved by a mystery, but I cried at the end of this one. The characters are incredibly well-drawn, distinct, human and relatable. The story is not exactly fast paced, but it’s twisty and well-plotted. I was pretty sure I knew where this was going, and then it went somewhere else.

Why does my pet need testing if they’re healthy?

By Andrine Belliveau DVM

A common question at the vet is why a seemingly healthy pet requires any testing. At a “routine” veterinary appointment, we will often discuss heartworm/lyme testing for dogs, leukemia/FIV testing for cats, bloodwork, and fecal testing. The honest answer is that animals instinctually try to hide their illness or discomfort from others – it is a survival tactic. Since your dog or cat is not going to be as forthcoming as you are at the doctor, testing can help us determine if your pet is sick or painful long before they let us know. 

The first and most important part of an annual visit is the exam itself. We look for dental tartar on teeth, signs of an early ear infection or eye inflammation, evaluate the joints, and listen for any arrhythmias or heart murmurs. With a thorough physical exam, we can often identify many issues before the pet “acts” sick. 

One of the most common issues would be arthritic joint changes which we can palpate on examination before the dog or cat starts limping at home. Early identification and treatment allow us to minimize further joint damage and hopefully prevent the pet from becoming lame at home.

When we perform a fecal test, we are looking for internal parasites – many of these can affect people too! With high levels of worms, dogs will often develop diarrhea – an obvious sign to look for. But early in the infection, with lower levels of worms, dogs are often asymptomatic.  With annual fecal testing we can identify the problem before the pet – or their human family – gets sick.

Bloodwork allows us to look at red cell and white cell counts, as well as evaluate kidney and liver function. We also look at electrolyte levels and blood sugar. Statistics show that one-third of cats over the age of ten will develop kidney failure – we can identify this on bloodwork months before the cat acts sick.  By changing the diet (one of the components of kidney failure treatment) before the cat is symptomatic, we can often add months or years onto their lifespan!

Wellness testing is a very important cornerstone of veterinary medicine. If you are not sure if your pet needs an exam or testing – ask us.

Veterinarians are always happy to discuss what would be recommended for your pet based on their age and lifestyle factors.

Middle Schoolers follow Windham history trail: A photo essay

Junior Historians: Delia Thomkus, Sophie Villanueva,
Liam Holivan, Braydon Bean, Ty Stahle
at Babb's Bridge
By Walter Lunt
Photos by: Brian Brigham
Several Windham school students spent part of their recent February break visiting history. All are members of Windham’s Junior Historical Society, an after-school club sponsored by the Windham Historical Society and supported by Windham Middle School.

The five junior historians were participating in the town’s photo scavenger hunt – a history challenge created by the Windham Bicentennial Committee. Called the Maine 200 Scavenger Hunt – A Windham Bicentennial Event, teams of more than two residents registered to explore and locate up to 18 historical objects and sites in the town of Windham.

Bicentennial co-chair Linda Brooks said nine teams registered for the ‘search and photograph’ challenge, which concludes today, February 28. a recent day, under cloudy and, at times, snowy conditions, the junior historians traveled several miles over three hours with their volunteer leader Paula Sparks and photographer Brian Brigham visiting historical places located mainly in the southern part of town. Stops included an early schoolhouse, the town’s first library building (the first libraries over one hundred years ago were in the homes of local residents), the grave of a Civil War soldier, Babb’s Covered Bridge, the Gambo Gunpowder Mills and two separate sections of the 19th century  Cumberland and Oxford Canal (one which still holds water – the other is dry).

Commenting on the 17th century battle site of the New Marblehead settlers and a local band of Wabanaki Natives, student Sophie Villanueva said, “I was super-surprised (to) hear about Chief Polin and where he died.”

Delia Tomkus suggested her group do further research on the sites, then create posters to hang in the middle school.

Another junior historian commented, “…(this was) a fun way to celebrate Maine’s birthday (and) I want to learn more about the covered bridge.”

Group leader Sparks applauded and thanked the Bicentennial Committee for creating the photo challenge, and observed, “The photo scavenger hunt was a fun opportunity to explore our community (and to) learn more about its rich history.”

Corner stone of Windham's Lot #1, 1735.
The rock that 'must never be moved.'
Jennifer Alvino, the other co-chair of the Committee, said the scavenger photos of the junior historians and those of the other eight teams will be displayed at a signature event on Saturday, March 14 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Little Meeting House in North Windham. The Bicentennial event will also feature photos of Windham farms and craft activities. Tea, cake and other snacks will be served.

Site of final battle between the settlers and Sebago band of Wabanaki Natives

An early schoolhouse, later the town office, currently Windham Historical Society Museum & Research library

Friday, February 21, 2020

North Yarmouth Academy Honor Roll for first semester 2019-20

The following students who live in the Windham Eagle’s coverage area attained honor roll status for the first semester:

Highest Honors       
Grade 9:
          Emily Greene of Windham     

High Honors
Grade 7:
          Timothy Taylor of Raymond
Grade 10:
Emma Rothrock of Naples
Grade 9:
          Jonah Donnelly of Raymond
Grade 11:
          Reese Merritt of Raymond”
Grade 10:
          Samantha Babbitt of Windham
Grade 12:
          Emily Beisel-Bolen of Raymond                                            
Marley Boettcher of Windham
Pierce Manchester of Raymond
North Yarmouth Academy is an independent, college preparatory, coeducational school for toddlers to students in grade twelve. Since 1814, NYA has fostered integrity, character and intellect in its students. For more information, please contact NYA at 207-847-5423 or visit our website at

Student of the week: Caedyn Lipson

Caedyn Lipson, a fifth-grade student from Jordan-Small Middle School is The Windham Eagle’s Student of the Week.

“Caedyn Lipson, is a wonderful student, always smiling and always willing to share a positive thought,” her teachers state. “She is curious and inquisitive. Caedyn makes sure she fully understands a concept and uses her questions to create strong work. Caedyn is thoughtful and empathetic toward her classmates, often offering help to others when needed.”

Windham High School receives National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School Award for the second time.

Windham High School (WHS) is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School award. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment.

“Windham High School is honored to receive this recognition from NATA, for the second time.” said Casey Sinclair, Athletic Trainer.  “We remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during team practices and games, so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship, and good health. Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players.”

This award shows how important it is to have an athletic trainer in every high school. According to Korey Stringer Institute, in the state of Maine only 92 out of 147 high school have an athletic trainer, with only 53 schools having a full-time athletic trainer. Windham is one of the few schools that has a full-time athletic trainer. Casey has been at Windham high school for 13 years. Casey graduated from the University of New England with a bachelor’s in athletic training and Secondary Education. Casey is responsible for over 700 athletes that participate in the 28 sports offered at WHS, across three tiers of competition (varsity, junior varsity and first team). So far this year she has completed over 400 evaluations and 2400 treatments. These evaluations range from concussion, strain/sprain, fractures, blister/wound care, heat illness, cold/flu and mental health conditions. Casey is also the liaison between the student athletes, parents, coaches, school nurse, doctors, administrations, guidance/social workers and teachers. 

In order to achieve Safe Sports School status, the athletic programs must achieve the following:

Create a positive athletic health care administrative system
Provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations
Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
Plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes
Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions
Provide or facilitate injury intervention
Create and rehearse a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education
Be sure athletes and parents are educated about the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities

To apply, schools complete an in-depth questionnaire that assesses adherence to best practice standards and recommendations. For more information about the Safe Sports School Award, please visit

Do not forget March is National Athletic Training Month!

Annual Boys State and Girls State Programs announced

By Dave Tanguay

The American Legion Field-Allen Post and Auxiliary takes great pleasure in offering this highly visible education opportunity for our community youth. For the 72nd consecutive year, the American Legion is hosting the traditional Boys State Convention to be held at Thomas College, Waterville from June 21 through 25.

The exciting news! The Legion Auxiliary is making plans to host the Girls State Convention at Thomas Collage during the same period. This will afford both high school junior boys and girls an opportunity to share some of their experiences this year with a goal of full integration of the programs in the future.

The Boys and Girls State Programs provides an opportunity to participate in a program that supplements the students’ high school courses in government and how it functions. In this program, our young adults role-play as they learn to campaign for local, county and state offices and then organize and carry out the functions of the state government.

Any high school junior interested in learning about town and state government qualifies for Boys and Girls State. Information pertaining to the program is made available for all juniors at their school guidance office. All students at all scholastic levels may apply. Additionally, the Legion Field-Allen Post family will host an information session open to all juniors on Wednesday, March 18 to brief them on the programs. Additional application forms for both programs will be available at that time.   

There will be a follow-up interview session by the Legion Family on Tuesday, April 14th for those interested students. All forms must be completed at time of interview. For more info on Boys State, please go to: Girls State Information is pending and will be available by the end of February. Contact Pam Whynot for additional information at 892- 4720 or

The tuition of $320.00 is covered by the sponsors, the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 and Unit 148. If you want to become a cosponsor, contact Dave Tanguay, 892-1306 for additional information.

Last year nearly 200 high school juniors attended each of these outstanding programs. This year, the American Legion is attempting to expand that number and appreciate any assistance to attain this goal. There is no limit to the number of boys or girls a school may send. Currently, the Field-Allen Post and Unit have budgeted funding for four delegates and would welcome additional interest from organizations to support the funding needs.

At the Boys State Convention this year, three scholarships will be offered to attendees. Two of the scholarships are for $500 sponsored by The American Legion, Department of Maine. The third is the Samsung Scholarship offered through our National HQ for $1250 (please  Additional scholarships from the Alumni Association will be offered year to year depending upon funding. Information on Girls Sate Scholarship is pending.

To our high school junior boys and girls, if you are civic minded and desire to learn more about government, then please apply through your guidance office. Tell them you want to attend Boys or Girls State!  This can be a life altering opportunity! Deadline for application to the American Legion Post is May 1st

Bill to make technical changes to “hands-free” distracted driving law passes Senate unanimously

A bill introduced by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, to make technical changes to Maine’s new “hands free” distracted driving law received unanimous support from the Maine Senate last Thursday.  The bill, LD 1901, “An Act To Amend the Laws Prohibiting the Use of Handheld Phones and Devices While Driving," would amend the language of the law to clarify the intended fine amount and exempt ham radio operators.

“Maine’s new distracted driving law is already keeping our roads safer,” said Sen. Diamond. “The technical changes in LD 1901 will clarify the Legislature’s intent for law enforcement and the courts. I appreciate my Senate colleagues’ strong support for this bill, and swift action to move it through the process.”

Last year, Sen. Diamond’s bill, LD 165, “An Act To Prohibit the Use of Handheld Phones and Devices While Driving,” became law. The new law prohibits the use of handheld electronic devices while driving, and while it set a fine of “not less than $50” for the first offense and “not less than $250” for second and subsequent offenses, the courts initially decided to set the fines at much higher rates. This was not consistent with the intent of the law.

Sen. Diamond spoke with Maine Supreme Court Chief Justice Saufley about this discrepancy and, after that conversation, the Judicial Branch announced that it would honor the intent of the law and lower the fine amount. LD 1901 would provide the necessary legislative fix to clarify the law’s original intent going forward.

LD 1901 faces further votes in the Maine Senate and House.

Maine's Craft Apprentice Program: 2020 apprenticeships announced to include Windham artist

Anne Alexander of Windham
The Maine Crafts Association, in partnership with the Maine Arts Commission, is proud to announce and support seven master/apprentice pairs selected for the 2020 Craft Apprentice Program (CAP), including Anne Alexander of Windham.

Alexander will apprentice with Master Thomas Berger in his Kittery workshop to learn to carve
granite. Anne, an experienced sculptor, currently makes indoor and seasonal outdoor sculpture; by learning to carve granite she will be able to make and sell outdoor sculpture that can stay outside year-round and require little maintenance. Tom will also support her goals to scale-up her small ceramic, wood and alabaster designs into larger sculptures and help her set up a new outdoor granite carving studio.

The 2020 Craft Apprentice Program is supported by generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maine Arts Commission, media/magazine sponsorship from Maine Home & Design and program support from MCA organizational partner, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.

The Craft Apprentice Program began in 2016 to provide an in-studio educational opportunity for apprentices who demonstrate a commitment to further their abilities as craft artists; they accomplish this through a significant relationship with a master artist.

Applicants apply jointly, providing clear goals, a plan for how goals will be achieved, and a budget for the apprentice’s honorarium. Both must also submit resumes and images of current work. The apprenticeship is centered on the apprentice's goals for their studio practice and craft career over 100 hours of one-on-one in-studio learning with a master craft artist result in meeting those goals. Both master and apprentice are awarded funding. To close the program, all artists participate in an alumni gathering and a public exhibition of works created during the apprenticeship period. The 2020 exhibition will take place at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, with a public opening reception sponsored by Maine Home & Design on October 2, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m..

Friday, February 14, 2020

Windham woman shares personal experience of congestive heart failure diagnosis at the age of 35

By Elizabeth Richards

Shelly Afthim is a wife, mother, community volunteer, and heart failure patient.  Her story is one all women should hear.

Heart disease causes one in three deaths in women each year. Forty-five percent of women over the age of 20 have some kind of cardiovascular disease.  More women die from heart disease than from all types of cancer combined. These are startling statistics that Afthim didn’t know before her journey with heart failure began.

Shelly Afthim
In 2006, Afthim thought she had a bad case of bronchitis. She had a cough that wouldn’t go away, extreme fatigue, and shortness of breath. One night, as she fell asleep, she startled awake and found herself gasping for air.

She drove herself to the hospital, something she has since learned you should never do when having trouble breathing or heart-related symptoms. Once there, she had a chest x-ray and they found something she’d never expected: she had congestive heart failure. She was 35 years old.

“You would have never thought that it was my heart,” she said. There was no known family history of heart disease, although several years later her older sister died in her sleep at the age of 50 from cardiomyopathy.

After about a week in the hospital, Afthim was sent home, with a visiting nurse checking in on her every other day. She’d been home less than two weeks when her blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels were so low the nurse called the doctor, who told her she had to immediately get to the hospital.  The numbers were so low, her doctor said, that she was at risk of sudden death or stroke. 

Afthim went to Mercy Hospital, but they couldn’t do what she needed, so they planned to transfer her to Maine Medical Center. As she waited to be transferred, a nurse practitioner discovered that the blood work from her first visit had showed a positive test for Lyme disease.  She was put on an antibiotic to treat the Lyme disease, which is assumed to be the cause of her heart problems. After being treated at Mercy for a week, she was transferred to Maine Medical Center where a defibrillator was implanted. 

After that, Afthim said, she thought life would be back to normal. “I kind of looked at it like my security blanket, like ‘I have this defibrillator, my heart’s going to be okay’,” she said. But the Lyme disease became a chronic condition that caused other problems such as pain throughout her body and severe memory issues that impacted her job. 

At the same time, Afthim received more bad news: her defibrillator had been recalled.  Since removing it required a risky surgery, the unit was reprogrammed to send a warning signal if it was, indeed, defective.  A year later, that alarm sounded.

Afthim went to Brigham and Women’s hospital, where the surgeons had more experience with that type of surgery, and the defibrillator was removed and replaced. Once again, she thought all was well.
Unfortunately, her difficulties weren’t over yet. After beginning a new medication to help with her Lyme disease, an interaction with her heart caused enough irregular heartbeats that she needed a heart ablation.

Finally, Afthim started to recover. She began volunteering for the American Heart Association, was the Heart Walk Survivor Story in 2007, and in 2016 she was one of the spokeswomen for Go Red for Women.  She then decided to go back to work, taking a position at the American Heart Association. 
Within six to eight months of returning to work, she began having symptoms again. Her ejection fraction, which describes the amount of blood pumped back into your system with each beat, was below 15%.  The typical ejection fraction for a healthy heart is 60-70%.  In 2006, Afthim’s had been 18%, and she’d brought it back to 40% by the time she returned to work.  “Now, I had made it even worse,” she said. “Instead of focusing on my health, I decided to focus on a job again and that wasn’t the right thing for me to do.” 

Her doctors began discussing a heart transplant, but she asked for time to improve the numbers on her own.  With the help of a new prescription that wasn’t available before, her heart has rebounded to 40% again.  “I’ve learned to accept my limitations now,” Afthim said.  She says she has a great support network, including friends in the community as well as other survivors.  She volunteers for the American Heart Association, Windham Boosters, and other community outreach efforts, and has hobbies that keep her busy.  “I just try to balance my life now and realize that having a job doesn’t define who you are as a person,” she said. “Taking care of myself and being here for my kids is the biggest thing for me.”

Afthim has been asked to be the keynote survivor speaker at the Go Red for Women luncheon in Portland on March 19th, to share her story and help people understand that heart disease doesn’t always mean a heart attack or stroke. “Sometimes there are things like heart failure that is just something that people have to live with,” she said. The luncheon is an annual event that often has 600 people in attendance, with speakers and breakout sessions to learn about heart disease. 

For women, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms, which may be different than symptoms in men, Afthim said.  Often women are too busy taking care of others to recognize the signs, she added.

Although she lives with two chronic conditions, neither is obvious from the outside.  “I think It’s really important to have people that you trust, and people who support you through it because you don’t look sick,” Afthim said.  “People see me, and they think I’m fine, but they don’t understand that if I was having a bad day, you wouldn’t see me at all. I’d be staying at home and I wouldn’t be out in public.”        

“I really feel like we need to do a better job, especially with women, to make sure that they do know that their greatest health threat is their heart,” Afthim said. Although women find it difficult to take time for themselves, she said, there are things they can do in their daily lives to prevent heart disease, including not smoking, eating right, and knowing important numbers like blood pressure and cholesterol levels. “There are things that you can do yourself to lower your risks,” she said.  

Although Afthim is no longer the director of the Southern Maine Heart Walk, she’ll be walking with a team of family and friends on May 17, 2020.  On her fundraising page, she wrote “I walk because I know that with every step, I’m making a difference in someone’s life. I know that I am alive today because someone walked for me, so that I could survive.”

Donations to the team can be made through the website by clicking the Heart Walk page and searching Afthim’s name.

How veterans keep giving back and invite you to join them in their yearly fundraisers

What do you think when you see someone wearing a veteran's cap or jacket? As members of the Windham Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), we really do not know what you think. However, for those of you who, when you encounter us, say, " Thanks for your service",  “we appreciate your effort or the words such as, "Welcome Home" said to our Vietnam Veterans, often  instill in us a sense of  pride and an emotional response which we often conceal.

These important words of gratitude, along with your financial support enable us to help all veterans
and their families right here in the Windham area. Accordingly, we want you to know how we make money and something about our programs.

Basically, we only raise money three times a year. The exception is when one of you contacts us with a donation we did not expect, but very much appreciate. 

The three fundraisers are as follows:

First, in winter we offer our Chili Cook Off/Silent Auction. This year, we are taking advantage of leap year with our Sixth Annual Cook Off on Saturday, February 29th.

Second is our more recognizable fundraiser known as the Buddy Poppy event held on Memorial Weekend at locations generously provided by Wal Mart, Tractor Supply, and Shaw's.

The third, and maybe most difficult, is our Labor Day/End of Summer raffle. Normally, we offer the winners sizable gift cards to local businesses, which drastically reduces our profit. And, that is it.

These fundraisers provide most of our funding as very little money comes from dues or our meetings. Below is where a substantial amount of your donations goes. Some of your money goes toward housekeeping of our Veterans Center and our community programs. The following are examples of our programs: 

Veterans and their family support is paramount; with hospital visits, food donations, fuel purchases, temporary lodging, support of doctor appointments, home visits, just talking and listening , building ramps and safety modifications, shopping, funeral support, flags and wreaths at grave sites, donation of needed items, our annual Veterans Day Program.

Community/educational programs include: classroom visits, school lectures, Patriotism Programs such as Voice of Democracy and Patriots Pen our Teacher of the Year (State winners), sponsorship and donation of blood to the Red Cross.

We may not always know what you think. We know how we think, "to keep giving back until Taps is played."

Submitted by Post 10643 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars

Free public forum on Maine Equal Rights Amendment to be held at Coolidge Family Farm

Members of the Greater Lakes Region community are invited to a free forum called “Maine Equal Rights Amendment: What it is – Why we need it!” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26. This event, sponsored by Equal Rights Maine, League of Women Voters Portland, and Rural Maine Rising will take place at Coolidge Family Farm, 1084 Lewiston Road. Light refreshments will be served.

Rep. Lois Reckitt will be leading a discussion of the Maine Equal Rights Amendment (LD 433). This legislative bill, referred to as the “Maine ERA,” would amend the Maine constitution to prohibit discrimination based on gender, which would benefit men as well as women. 

Despite being introduced in the legislature every year since the 1980s, Maine has never added such language to our state constitution. This means that the only constitutionally protected right women have is the right to vote. Every other right they have has been won through statute or regulation, both of which are easier to undo than constitutional protections. Because LD 433 would amend the state constitution, ratification would require it to be approved by a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the legislature and passed by a majority of the voters approving the referendum question.

For more information, contact Anne Gass at 657-4935 or Attendees are asked to park across the street at the AmVets Hall, 1095 Lewiston Road.

Windham joins statewide events and celebrations for Maine’s bicentennial year

By Walter Lunt

“It’s going to be spectacular.” That’s the prediction and the promise of Windham’s own Bill Diamond, who is the chair of the Maine Bicentennial Commission.

The official kick-off was last July in celebration of Maine’s vote to secede from Massachusetts in 1819. Statehood was realized the following March 15, 1820.

Observances throughout nearly all of 2020 will include parades, history programs, conferences, art
and music, bell ringing and an exploration of Maine’s future.

“We’re going to have fun with this,” said Diamond, “…we’ll explore the past, celebrate who we are now, and establish a vision for our future.”

Citizens are encouraged to be involved by participating in the many and varied observances.  Some are happening locally, others throughout Maine.

In Windham, a five-member Bicentennial Committee, co-chaired by Parks and Recreation director Linda Brooks and Windham Library Director Jen Alvino have announced several signature events:

Now Through February 28 – Windham/Maine200 photo scavenger hunt. Teams are challenged to locate and take pictures of historical sites in the community. Details at, or call 892-1905.

Saturday, March 14 – A Bicentennial Tea from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Little Meetinghouse, 719 Roosevelt Trail consisting of craft and trivia activities, cake and tea, and special recognition of participants in the photo scavenger hunt.

Sunday, March 15 – Church bells will ring in Statehood Day at noon in Windham and throughout the state.

Saturday, June 6 – An Old-Fashioned Bicentennial Bazaar from noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Village Green living history park on Windham Center Road (parking behind the Windham Historical Society’s Town House Museum). Described as an authentic country fair, the event will feature a number of game and food booths and special entertainment by Windham’s third grade chorus and musician Dave Rowe singing historical songs in the gazebo. Local well-known artist Rick Charette is expected to perform a specially composed song about Windham’s past. Greeters in period costumes will welcome guests who can browse the Village Schoolhouse, watch a blacksmith at work and view historic displays in the museum.

Saturday, June 20 – Windham Summerfest. This year’s theme is the Bicentennial, ‘bringing unity to the community.’ Appearing on stage will be Cousin ITT (Rick Nickerson, Tom Noonan and Jeff Neal). Also, from noon to 3:00 p.m. a bus tour and presentation of historic sites in Windham (see Windham Raymond Adult Education 2020 catalog).

Statewide events and observances include, but are not limited to:

Sunday, March 15 – Statehood Day celebration in Augusta will feature special events, speeches and the unveiling by the U.S. Postal Service of a commemorative stamp in honor of Maine200.

Monday, May 18 – Bicentennial Parade in Lewiston-Auburn. Fashioned after the grand centennial parade in Portland in 1920, the Bicentennial Parade will feature bands, floats and numerous other participants that will honor various peoples and cultures of Maine’s past, present and future. Gov. Mills will serve as grand marshal, along with all living former governors. A unique part of the parade will feature what Diamond described as an intergenerational marching band that will include musicians from all over the state, ages 13 and up.

June 26 to July 19 – Tall Ships Festival with dock stops in Boothbay, Rockland, Bangor, Bucksport, Castine, Searsport, Belfast and Portland. Portland will host a Parade of Sail on July 16. Vessels will conduct sail-away excursions through July 19.

October 10-12 – The Maine Innovation Expo in Bangor is intended to spotlight Maine’s future and will showcase the state’s world-class ingenuity and expertise. Displays will highlight innovation, research and technology from all sectors of the Maine economy. One astounding creation crafted by the University of Maine Composite Department in Orono will be a 5-pointed star standing six feet tall. A time-capsule will be sealed within each point of the star representing 25-year increments. It will be kept on display at the Maine State Library.

Fall, 2020 – Diamond says Maine200 organizers are also anticipating a bicentennial concert featuring the Bangor and Portland Symphony Orchestras to be performed somewhere in central Maine.

Due in part to Maine’s extensive plans to celebrate its 200th birthday, one website has ranked the state as the fourth most desirable place to visit in 2020. As a result, says Diamond, “…one of our more subtle goals is to increase tourism and hope that some will even stay.”

“We’ve been planning this for two years,” he continued, “we’re trying to discover all we can about Maine’s past, appreciate who we are today, and influence who we will be in the future.” 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Student of the week: Geovanni Mateo

Geovanni Mateo, a fifth-grade student from Jordan-Small Middle School is The Windham Eagle’s student of the week.

“Geo is a great student! He is kind, helpful and hardworking,” stated his teacher. “Every day, Geo enters the classroom with a smile on his face and a ‘let’s go’ attitude. He is proud of his educational risk-taking ways. He has the ability to show what he knows by solving math problems in front of the class. In ELA, he is a great group leader and is known for his positive attitude.”

When interviewed, Geo shared that his favorite school lunch includes pizza, his favorite class is science, he likes to play soccer at recess, and that he cares about his friends.

Outside of class, Geo likes to build with Legos and play soccer. His favorite book is “Sidetracked” by Diana Asher. He has several pets including a bunny, an iguana named Shilo, a snake named Gretchen, and several chickens. Congratulations to Geovanni Mateo!

Sen. Diamond welcomes Senate pages from Windham to State House

Addison Shanholtz with Sen. Diamond

On Thursday, Jan. 30, Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, welcomed Windham Middle School students Addison Shanholtz and Francesa Lomonte to serve as honorary pages in the Maine Senate.

The program gives students a unique chance to participate in and observe the State's legislative process. As honorary pages, students deliver messages, distribute documents within the Senate Chamber, interact with the senators, and most importantly take part in a real world, legislative learning experience.

To learn more about the honorary page program, please contact Sen. Diamond’s office at (207) 287-1515.

Francesa Lomonte with Sen. Diamond

Raymond Elementary students partner again with the Heifer International “Read to Feed” program

Congratulations to the RES Readers
By Briana Bizier

Thanks to the students at Raymond Elementary School (RES), the world looks a little brighter this year for struggling families across the globe. This winter, Raymond Elementary partnered once again with Heifer International to create a “Read to Feed” challenge. Students paired with local businesses to find reading sponsors and then tracked the amount of time they spent reading outside of school. As a special bonus, any time spent reading over the holiday break was doubled.

As RES principal Randy Crockett announced at a school-wide assembly this past Wednesday, the “Read to Feed” challenge was a tremendous success. Students raised a total of $1,535.

“Sebago Lake Rotary Club partnered with the project this year with a $1,000 contribution,” Assistant Principal Beth Peavey explained. “Cyndy Bell was instrumental in sending out donation letters to local businesses. Their organization fully embraced the importance of establishing a love of reading.” program also received support from local businesses such as Sebago Storage, Ultimate Hair Salon, the Raymond Village Community Church, and the Raymond Lion’s Club.

“The rest of the funds came right from this room,” Randy Crockett announced, referring to the many generous donations from the families, friends, and teachers at Raymond Elementary School.
The funds raised through Raymond Elementary’ s “Read to Feed” challenge will be donated directly to Heifer International, a charitable organization dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger by providing families and farmers in twenty one countries around the world with training and livestock.
What livestock exactly? Well, that decision was made by the elementary school students themselves.

As the reading challenge ended, the top readers in each class had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Peavey, the assistant principal at Raymond Elementary school, and decide exactly what they would like to donate to Heifer International.

“Giving an animal is like giving someone a small business,” according to Heifer International’s website. “Animal donations can provide families a hand up, increasing access to medicine, school, food and a sustainable livelihood.” Ms. Peavey explained the options available through Heifer International, the children decided to donate a solar-powered well to provide clean water, a water buffalo, an alpaca, a pig, one goat and one ‘share a goat’, a trio of rabbits, two orders of honeybees, and a flock of chicks. All of these animals will be given to struggling families around the world, along with training and support to help
the family make full use of their gift. In exchange, the families are asked to “pass on the gift” by sharing their training and, eventually, the offspring of their livestock with other families.

While it might seem obvious that a water buffalo, who can provide both labor and milk, will be a tremendous asset to a struggling family, even the smallest of the gifts that Raymond Elementary’s top readers selected will change lives.

“On a small farm,” explains Heifer’s website, “goats are often the key to a family’s survival. Goats are known for providing delicious milk, which can be used to create cheese that can be sold for income, in turn providing a family's children the opportunity to go to school.”

The trio of rabbits and the pig donated by the Raymond Elementary will also multiply quickly, allowing their families to pass on the gift to another struggling neighbor. The two orders of honeybees will allow farmers to collect and sell honey during times when crops are not available to harvest, and even the flock of chicks will help to lift a family out of poverty.“Chickens require little space and can thrive on readily available scraps,” says the Heifer International website. “This allows families to make money from the birds without spending much. And since a good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year, your flock of chickens gift provides a steady source of nutrition and income.”

Finally, Raymond Elementary School’s top readers chose a valuable gift which will be very close to
their hearts: They will send two girls to school for a year. This gift, explains the Heifer International website, includes girl’s entire family. In order to send a girl to school, Heifer International uses this gift to provide a family with training and livestock so that they can earn the income they will need to pay for their daughter’s school fees and supplies.

“Mom, can you believe there are parts of the world where girls don’t go to school?” my Raymond Elementary insider Sage Bizier asked me.

I explained that, thanks to the combined efforts of Raymond Elementary School students, faculty, staff, and local organizations, there were now two more girls in those parts of the world who would be attending school.

A special thanks to the top readers in each Raymond Elementary School class: Bryson Storey, Maevelyn Armstrong, Carter St. Amand, Chase Street, Franklin Murray, Paige Leveille, Emma Horowitz, Madelyn Mulkern, Adalynn Madsen, Sage Bizier, Charlie Martin, Ashling Feeney, and Luna Martin.