Friday, September 29, 2023

Grant helps Windham create new picnic area

By Nicole Levine

A picnic may very well be a metaphor for life, and if that’s true, Windham residents are about to enjoy a new favorite picnic spot close to home.

A Community Challenge Grant from AARP has helped
the Town of Windham create a new picnic table area at 
Community Park on Gray Road. Once finished, the site
will have a stone dust foundation and path from the 
parking lot to the park pavilion and picnic area.
Thanks to a Community Challenge Grant from AARP, the Town of Windham is creating a new picnic area which will be available starting this fall. AARP’s Community Challenge Program was launched a decade ago to provide small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages and create vibrant public places that improve open spaces, parks, and access to other amenities.

Windham is one of 14 recipients of the Community Challenge Grant for 2023 and funding will be administered through the Windham Parks and Recreation Department. A new shaded picnic addition will be added to the existing Windham Community Park, adjacent to the Windham Public Safety Building on Route 202.

The new picnic table area will be located under the Community Park’s pavilion between the basketball and volleyball courts. The picnic pavilion was built last year by a group of volunteers who are associated with the Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing and PowerServe.

According to Windham Parks and Recreation Department Director Linda Brooks, the town is also hoping to include a self-guided walking trail at the park, which will be specifically designed to be accessible for older adults.

Brooks said that the town’s Parks Maintenance Foreman will be collaborating with Windham Public Works to prepare a stone dust surface to go under the pavilion, and a stone dust path which leads from the parking lot toward the picnic area. There will also be three ADA compliant picnic tables installed under the pavilion at the park later in the summer.

Construction for this project will take place throughout the summer, and there will be a grand opening barbecue held at the park in the early fall.

The Windham Parks and Recreation Director, Linda Brooks, originally applied for this grant as a way to act upon recommendations that were raised in the Age Friendly Windham Action Plan. The AARP Community Challenge Grant will provide residents of the Town of Windham with the opportunity to spend more time outdoors, in a community driven environment.

“We were quite pleased that our project stood out among the 3,600-plus applications nationwide, and we were among 310 projects that received funding,” Brooks said. “This project is intended to increase social connections between older adults and all residents of the community and provide permanent physical improvements and amenities in our outdoor public spaces, encouraging increased visits to these locations.”

“Once the project is completed, members of the public will also be able to rent out the pavilion for birthday parties and other events, much like the Windham Parks and Recreation Department currently offers at both Dundee Park and Donnabeth Lippman Park, Brooks said.

The AARP Community Challenge Grant program is part of the nationwide AARP Livable Communities initiative, which helps cities, towns, villages, and rural areas in all 50 states become great places to live for residents of all ages. The overall goal of the program focuses on providing adults over the age of 50 with accessible ways to spend time outdoors and is intended to help communities make immediate improvements and jump-start long-term progress in support of residents of all ages.

Since the program's debut in 2017, AARP has awarded $12.7 million through more than 1,060 grants in nearly 700 communities reaching 100 million people. The projects have been completed across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“AARP Maine is committed to working with local communities and their leaders to improve residents’ quality of life through tangible changes,” says Noël Bonam, the AARP Maine State Director. <

Friday, September 22, 2023

Nonprofit Spotlight: Cornerstone Assembly of God

Why Attend Church?

By Linda M. Page

Are you lonely, even when surrounded by people?

Cornerstone Assembly of God Church is located at 48 Cottage
Road in Windham. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Do you feel unfulfilled in your job, marriage or family?

Are you dissatisfied with your life- always wanting more money, or a better house, car, toys, spouse and kids?

Have you reached the end of your limits and don’t know who to turn to for help?

You certainly are not alone! Covid and the resulting isolation exacerbated all these negative thoughts and emotions and has either morphed into depression and anxiety or has caused us to rethink our lives. We may feel like there’s a deep hole inside us that never seems to be filled. Something is missing that we can’t put our finger on.

Some of us have started searching for a new life purpose and/or a higher power to find answers or give meaning to our earthly existence. For those who are unsatisfied and wanting something more beyond their daily routines, hurts and struggles, have you considered attending a church and joining Christians in hearing and exploring the Word of God, finding community and opportunities for serving others, building strength to persevere in life’s trials, and bringing new meaning and depth into your lives?

There are many churches of various denominations in the area that are waiting to welcome new members and we are one of them. The people here at Cornerstone Assembly of God come from diverse backgrounds and religious affiliations or no past history of church attendance. We strive to care for and love one another as we are able, and recognize that we are not perfect - that’s why we are here too. Hearing and reading God’s word in the bible has a way of making us recognize and deal with our faults instead of blaming others for our own failures and misdeeds. It doesn’t happen in a day, it’s a lifelong journey taken intentionally and it becomes a way of life.

At Cornerstone Assembly of God you will find a family that serves a God of hope, peace and love and in the process build faith and trust in Jesus, God’s son, who sacrificed His life (on a cross) to make a way for us to be with Him in Heaven one day. His death covered all our sins and no matter where the road of life has taken you, what mistakes you have made, and what pain you may carry from your past - He is ready to accept, forgive, and heal you.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”- John 3:16. You just need to be willing to take the first step, accept His free offer of salvation and make a fresh new start! It’s never been easy to follow Christ and learn from His example but it’s rewarding to be His hands and feet in service to others while on this earth.

Maybe you are NOT lonely, NOT unsatisfied, NOT unfulfilled but already living a highly blessed life. What better way to show your thankfulness than to visit the church and join in worship and praise to the Almighty God who made it all possible. We are a small but welcoming group of people who are eager to get to know and embrace you as part of their congregation.

Several members have been with the church for over 30 years and can remember times when the seats were filled with multiple generations. Many were younger married couples with children, some were homeschooling their kids and/or nursing or pregnant moms eager to get together with a common purpose, needing support and fellowship, and finding it amongst themselves and in an older generation who was there to guide and direct them. We weren’t without struggles or misunderstandings at home or within the church but stayed and brought up their children there, forged lifelong friendships, volunteered, and served faithfully in many capacities in church ministries and in the community. The children have long since grown, many have moved away and are now married and having kids of their own.

Now we are in a new season of this church’s life and some things are different and some are still the same. In the words of our current Pastor, Ben Adler:

“We are a group of Bible-believers and Jesus followers. We are not perfect people, but we believe we worship a perfect God who came to earth as Jesus Christ and lived a perfect life. We open our arms to anyone who walks into our building. At Cornerstone, we want to build healthy relationships with God and each other. Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We know that life won’t always be roses and butterflies. If you come to visit, you’ll notice we won’t be preaching that everyone will have happiness, wealth, and fame for all their days. What you will notice though is that we preach that even on the worst days and through every hardship, God loves us, we love each other, and God has a plan, he is still on the throne and we have hope and peace through His Son.”

Over time, as in many churches today, we have seen a decline in attendance and in the way the church is viewed with a growing sense of irrelevance. If you would like to be a part of rebuilding our membership, growing and serving within a community of believers, and bringing up the next generation with traditional morals and values then please join us here at 10 a.m. for Sunday Services and Children’s Church where we welcome kids of all abilities. Our Men’s and Women’s Small Group Bible Studies meet every Wednesday morning. We also participate in Operation Christmas Child, which provides gifts and supplies to needy children worldwide to introduce the love of God. For details and to build your own OCC box visit:

Cornerstone Assembly of God Church is located at 48 Cottage Road in Windham. Pastor Ben Adler and the members welcome you with open arms. For more info call 207-892-5980 email or visit <

Friday, September 15, 2023

It Takes a Village 207 makes difference in lives of homeless veterans and local families in need

Beloved children’s television host Fred Rogers once said that we live in a world in which we need to share responsibility.

“It’s easy to say it’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem, then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes,” Rogers said.

For many homeless veterans here in Maine, their heroes are a mother and daughter team, Journey and Becky, who founded the nonprofit organization It Takes a Village 207 in 2020. Joining forces with the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance, It Takes a Village 207 continues to be a beacon of light for local families in need and a resource for those who put their lives on the line for all of us while wearing the uniform of the United States military but have since fallen on hard times back home.

As a member of the board of directors for the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance, Journey saw first-hand the difficulties that homelessness, poverty, food insecurity and domestic violence can cause and how isolated it left those who suffered as a result of these difficult and trying situations in Maine. She thought joining forces with the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance could address those in desperate need of help and for those who felt isolated and alone with nowhere to turn to for assistance.

It Takes a Village 207 strives to make a difference by helping one struggling Mainer at a time. They provide resources for families struggling with financial hardship, work to reduce homelessness, food insecurity, substance abuse, domestic violence and the day-to-day challenges life throws at those in need.

They offer clothing, warm winter jackets and a range of other essentials for those who are struggling to survive and help raise money for local families in Maine who need home appliances, heating assistance, home repairs or school supplies.

The actual goal of It Takes a Village 207 is to be the village that helps struggling families get on their feet, while making them feel loved, respected, and understood.

The It Takes a Village organization is manned strictly by volunteers and is funded entirely by donations. All contributions are 100 percent tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

Volunteer opportunities are available and plentiful. Duries include a variety of tasks such as event staffing, home drop-offs of items, donation pick-ups, receiving, organizing, and stocking items, contacting businesses in person, on the phone or by email to secure various sponsorships and donations. The volunteers are the backbone of everything that It Takes a Village and the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance does.

Fundraisers are conducted throughout the year with the next one to be held being a Veterans Day Spaghetti Dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 at the Standish Municipal Hall. The cost is $14 for adults, and $8 for children over age 3. At that same event, It Takes a Village organizers are hoping to receive donations which can be used by homeless veterans including backpacks; men’s and women’s socks; sleeping bags; bug spray; tarps; hand warmers; and new shoes or boots for both men and women.

Cash donations can be mailed throughout the year to It Takes a Village, 907 Ossipee Trail West, Steep Falls, Maine 04085 or to the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance at P.O. Box 1895, Portland, Maine 04101. The public can also assist It Takes a Village 207 in helping make Christmas merry this year by participating in raffles and silent auctions at events. Please message them on Facebook to learn what toys and donation items are being requested for the program’s annual gift giving for the holidays for families in need or see the lists on their website. You will also find an Amazon wish list if you would like to purchase gifts to be sent directly to the organizations.

Thanks to the generosity of participating business advertisers in this week’s The Windham Eagle, a total of $1,000 was raised for the It Takes a Village 207 Christmas Fund. Please see Pages 14 to 22 to see the close to 100 businesses that supported this cause. As always, we encourage you to support these businesses as a way of saying thank you for their contributions to the community.

The It Takes a Village program is currently collecting names of families that will need help this holiday season. Organizers say identifying these families sooner this year will make it easier to obtain help and assistance for them.

To recommend assistance for a homeless veteran or family in need, call It Takes a Village 207 at 207-322-7065 or email

For more information or to make a donation about It Takes a Village 207, go to For more information about the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance, visit They accept cash or check donations via mail or you can contribute through PayPal and Venmo.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Raymond ground observers kept town safe during World War II

By Ernest H. Knight

After the entry of the United States into World War II following Pearl Harbor, both civilian and military believed that any part of our country was subject to attack by our enemies to the east and west even though airborne carrier of destruction were of relatively limited range and capability.

Local civilian Ground Observers kept
a watchful eye on the Raymond skies 
looking for enemy aircraft during
Very early in 1942, the Ground Observer Corps was organized as a branch of the United States Army Air Corps. An observation post on Raymond Hill was one of 800 similar sites in New England with 50,000 participating volunteers nationwide whose purpose was to watch and report any aircraft coming within their sight and hearing.

The Raymond Observation Post was located on the property of Roy Raynor near the junction of Raymond Hill Road and Valley Road, in an open field where there was good visibility in all directions and accessible to the observers, helpful characteristics which were not available at higher elevations such as Tenney Hill or Pismire Mountain.

This post was code named 86B, a classified designation, with Roy Raynor as Chief Observer and the other observers mostly from nearby East Raymond to North Raymond, although there were some from Raymond Village or other sections of town.

The site of operations of 86B were no plush country club. Yet it was much superior to the first tiny shack that was the Ground Observers first post provided by Willard Libby as a donation to the effort.

All time and materials involved in the program were volunteer and free, except for the telephone for reporting and the paper forms provided by the government. As the post was manned 24 hours a day throughout the year, there was a stove for winter heat, and it was lighted at night by kerosene lamp. It had a large window set into the roof for use when the weather was bad outside.

Equipment used by Ground Observers consisted of pencils for detailing activity and the telephone with which to make collect calls to the next higher Ground Observer headquarters in Portland, from which decisions were made and action taken. The function of Post 86B was to watch, listen, and report.

The observation post schedule was every hour of the day and every day of the year which was continued throughout the wartime years with few occasions when there was no observer on duty due to weather or other reasons.

The observers took their responsibilities seriously, doing their part in the war effort to which the whole country was dedicated. This meant considerable sacrifices and strength of will by these volunteers who served their scheduled time periods along with their regular occupations and home activities.

From higher headquarters it was stressed that an observer’s first priority was to this duty above all other civilian activities and to a greater extent they abided by this maxim. Weekly rosters were made up with duty periods usually of two to four hours, sometimes longer if a relief observer was late or complications interfered, with night shift workers and women taking daytime hours and day workers putting in the dreary hours at night.

There was little time to relax, read or otherwise make it more pleasant as there was considerable air activity to report with all the training flights from military bases, commercial flights and special purpose flying nearby, not to overlook frequent snooper flights initiated by Ground Observer Corps headquarters itself to check on the efficiency and dedication of posts.

There was paperwork to keep up with, memos and bulletins to read and absorb, letters to answer questions and inquiries, visitations by inspectors, and supervisors and sightseers out on outings. Then to fill in off-duty times there were local and regional training sessions intended to maintain efficiency and bolster morale.

But there were some perks for Ground Observers other than the feeling of being of some help to the country and their community. There were increases in gasoline rations for travel to duty and meetings and eligibility for recapped tires when many vehicles were of little use to their owners for lack of these vital items.

Though the ground observers were out of the public eye when functioning in isolated country areas such as Raymond Hill and they did not have uniforms as Air Raid Wardens in cities or Red Cross personnel engaged in service work with military members, they were entitled to wear armbands when qualified by meeting standards of hours per month or total hours since Dec. 7, 1941. <

This article was written by the late Ernest H. Knight, one of the founders of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and contained in his book “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco.” It was submitted by the Raymond-Casco Historical Society and articles about Raymond history from the historical society will appear regularly in The Windham Eagle newspaper. To find out more about the Raymond-Casco Historical Society, call Frank McDermott at 207-655-4646.