Friday, May 31, 2024

WHS National Honor Society to conduct bottle drive

By Jolene Bailey

An upcoming bottle drive will help fund activities and scholarships for National Honor Society students at Windham High School.

The bottle drive collection will take place between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, June 8 under the canopy at Windham High.

The National Honor Society is an organization that recognizes high school students for both their academic integrity and respectable identities. Students are considered for induction as they have proven themselves to be strong individuals in their freshman and sophomore years of high school. Once inducted into NHS, students are expected to withhold their responsibilities of demonstrating their leadership skills, maintaining good character, and committing to serve their community.

“Students have the opportunity to demonstrate qualities by participating in volunteer opportunities both within the society and outside of it, said WHS National Honor Society President Jordyn Davis-Belanger. “Overall, being a member of the National Honor Society is both a huge accomplishment and a responsibility for those involved. Our society recognizes outstanding students and gives us a chance to make a difference in our school and community.”

NHS members have hosted numerous fundraising events throughout each and every school year. Some they have done in the past include several food drives, a blood drive done in the fall, and the spring and the winter clothing drive from which the items collected were donated to the Preble Street Homeless Shelter in Portland.

“We have drives that we do yearly, but we are also always willing to find new ideas and opportunities. This bottle drive, as I mentioned before, has become almost a tradition in our society,” said Davis-Belanger.

The bottles donated and collected by NHS supervisor Brandon Champion will be redeemed at Patmans for money. A significant amount of the proceeds raised throughout the school year including this drive will go to grant two $800 scholarships to students at WHS.

“As of right now, this will be our last fundraiser of the school year. But starting back up with the next school year, we will have fundraisers or opportunities to volunteer at least once a month” said Davis-Belanger.

When students are involved in the NHS, volunteering gives them service hours which goes toward the required 24 hours each member needs per year. It is also just a great way for them to get involved, and demonstrate their leadership skills, which had nominated them in the first place.

“We already have our blood drive scheduled for November 20, as well as our annual poinsettia fundraiser that raises money for our scholarships. Other fundraisers are in the works, but we are continuously finding ways for students to get involved in the community and in our school,” said Davis-Belanger. “For those in the community, the bottle drive is a way to get rid of your empty bottles, but you are also a part of giving away two huge scholarships to help out students outside of high school.”

Davis-Belanger said this is important as it makes a difference in the community and allows kids to take part in this activity.”

For more details about the bottle drive, send an email to NHS President Jordyn Davis-Belanger at <

Rhubarb season offers a wealth of opportunities

By Kendra Raymond

Late spring in Maine can only mean one thing: rhubarb season has arrived. For some, this is a much-anticipated rite of passage into summer, while for others it may not even be on their radar. Whether you are a fan or not, why not embrace the season and take advantage of this quirky early season crop?

Two varieties of rhubarb are shown growing
outside a home in the Town of Raymond.
Rhubarb is a perennial plant which returns yearly and is classified as a vegetable in the buckwheat family. Rhubarb needs to live in areas where winter temperatures dip below 40 degrees which encompasses USDA hardiness zones 3-8; Our area is classified as 5a to 5b.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension bulletin #2514 entitled “Growing Rhubarb in Maine” provides some great background education, growing tips, and uses. The publication says that early records of rhubarb in America identify an unnamed Maine gardener as having obtained seed or rootstock from Europe in the period between 1790 to 1800. He introduced it to growers in Massachusetts where its popularity spread and by 1822 it was sold in produce markets.

In Judith M. Fertig’s book, “The Memory of Lemon,” the main character who is a baker says, “I loved rhubarb, that hardy, underappreciated garden survivor that leafed out just as the worst of winter melted away.”

Think of rhubarb as one of the first crops of spring, coming in a close second to fiddleheads. Full of many vitamins and fiber, rhubarb is a nutritious and low-maintenance addition to the home landscape, providing interesting texture, serving as a border, or a quick area filler.

As a horticulturist, I am always looking for opportunities to obtain plants for cheap or free, and especially heritage varieties belonging to family or those that hold sentimental value. When my in-law’s house in Fort Kent was listed for sale, you better believe I was out in the garden, axe in hand to chip away a piece of my husband’s childhood rhubarb patch. Yearly, I make my mother-in-law’s rhubarb jelly with her rhubarb.

The New England Vegetable guide says that: In New England, the most common rhubarb variety grown is Macdonald, also known as Macdonald's Canadian Red or Macdonald Crimson. This cultivar has large stalks and a vigorous and upright growing habit and is resistant to wilt and root rot. It is probably the most common variety available. It is excellent for pies, canning, and freezing.


It’s not difficult to get part of a rhubarb plant, either at a garden center, or by dividing a small section from a friend or neighbor’s plant. Dividing rhubarb is best done in early spring when the crowns emerge from the soil. This will give the new plant a long growing season to become established in its new site. Next, dig a trench around the desired section of the plant to expose the crown. Plan to obtain at least two buds and a decent section of root, but don’t worry if you lose some deep roots – they will do just fine. An axe or sharp tipped shovel works well for this task. Keep your root ball moist and transplant as soon as possible. Choose a sunny location with lots of space for expansion. Make sure the crown is a couple inches above the soil level to ensure proper growing.

Flowers and Harvesting

As the plants mature for the season, a large flower may emerge from the stalks. Removal of the flowers can stimulate healthy growth, but leaving the flowers is also an option if you like them. When the stalks appear mature, simply cut them at the base to harvest. Do not cut immature stalks, and never remove more than half of the plant. Remove the leaves (they are toxic), wash the stalks and cut as desired for various uses. Rhubarb leaves make a great addition to the home compost pile. Fresh rhubarb stalks can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

I’ve got ‘em, now what?

This is the fun part: time to get creative with preparation methods for your fresh rhubarb. In my recipe book, I have a section entitled “rhubarb,” which comes in handy for this application. My gold standard is old fashioned rhubarb coffee cake, a recipe handed to me by my mother. I also like making crisps, jelly, pie, and relish. The internet is filled with creative and healthy ways to use rhubarb.

Read more about Rhubarb in the University of Maine Cooperative Extension bulletin here:

Here is a great bulletin about the health benefits of rhubarb including storage options and recipes:

Taste of Home provides 10 great rhubarb recipes here: <

Friday, May 24, 2024

Party marks 100th birthday for history-making mother

By Ed Pierce

From a business career to serving as a town treasurer, becoming a wife and a mother, to making history as the first elected selectwoman of Weld, Maine, Dorothy “Dot” Weld Reynolds Skolfield has led quite a life, but now she’s added another accomplishment to her life story – reaching the milestone of turning 100 years old.

Dorothy 'Dot' Weld Reynolds Skolfield 
celebrated her 100th birthday on May 14
with family members at her daughter Sharon
Bickford's home in Windham. She made 
history when she was the first woman elected
to serve on the Town of Weld's Board of
Skolfield passed the century mark and celebrated her birthday May 14 with her family at her daughter Sharon Bickford’s home in Windham. She was born May 14, 1924 in Boston, Massachusetts to Howard G. and Lottie Wetmore Reynolds.

The Reynolds children included Florence Barber, Edith McDaniel, Howard E. Reynolds, Caroline Rackliffe and Dot who is the only one still alive.

After completing school in Newtonville, Mass., Dot went on to attend Fisher College in Boston. She spent many summers growing up in Weld, Maine and that’s where she met someone who would change the direction of her life, her future husband, Stanley Skolfield.

Stanley and Dot were married in Scarborough on March 5, 1948, and had two children. Thomas, who lives in Weld, and Sharon who lives in Windham with her husband Charlie. Thomas Skolfield represents Weld as a State Representative in the Maine Legislature.

Through the years, Dot worked as a clerk at Jordan Marsh in Boston, then she went on to be a store manager, a realty researcher, and she also worked for a time at a shop in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She also was the Weld Town Treasurer and was the first woman ever elected to serve on the Weld Board of Selectmen.

“What I remember most about growing up was she was always an easy going, gentle, supportive, creative, and fun-loving mother,” her daughter said. “We loved everything she cooked for us, that is, anything except liver. In those days, much was grown in the big family garden, and we weren't picky.”

For anyone who would ask, Dot would tell them that she grew up in a barn and that’s literally the truth.

“Her parents renovated an old barn into a lovely home for five active children,” her daughter Sharon said. “After she and her husband were married, they were homesteaders who cleared their land, one on each end of a crosscut saw, milled the lumber, and built a home.”

Sadly, her husband Stanley passed away in 1991. Stanley had earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and Technology and was employed by Edison Electric in New Jersey. He moved the family back to Weld where he was a highway supervisor in charge of construction and maintenance of highways in that section of Maine.

These days Dot lives with the Bickfords in Windham and she’s a little hard of hearing but says the greatest invention of the 20th century is without a doubt the airplane.

For fun, Dorothy says she loves spending time with and enjoying her family. She has four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild and one great-great-great-grandchild.

Right now, she’s the current holder of the Boston Post Gold Cane for longevity in Weld and an official "Rosie the Riveter” and collective recipient of the civilian Congressional Medal of Honor.

To honor her birthday, the Bickfords hosted an open house for Dot at their home in Windham on May 11. <

Friday, May 17, 2024

Time has arrived to get your spring bedding plants

By Kendra Raymond

Most everyone in our area can agree, it has been a tough winter. From early to late-season storms and the damage that ensued, it is time to recoup our losses and move forward with yard beautification.

A mother and her daughter select plants for a
window box in Raymond at a local greenhouse.
The storm damage clean up continues in our area and neighbors are coming together to help each other regain some sense of normalcy on their property. The Town of Windham brush disposal area on Enterprise Drive has extended their closing until 6 p.m. June 9.

Now it’s time to think about adding some color and pizzazz to your yard with flowering annuals, vegetables, and perennials. The chance of frost has passed, and local garden centers and big box stores are brimming with colorful options ready to plant.

As a horticulturist, I have spent plenty of time in greenhouses during the spring season. Most customers arrive, list in hand with a laser focused expression on their face. They wander through the rows of colorful annuals, fulfilling the “mandatory” bucket list.

I am pondering the question, why does this seasonal rite of passage hold such reverence for us Mainers? To look for answers, I spoke to a couple customers at a local greenhouse who were purchasing contents for planters which are often located on steps or decks.

The two said that they plant the same annuals every year and they wouldn’t consider changing up their yearly purchases. Both explained that there is no need to deviate as the planters have always flourished.

Another group had a different opinion, telling me that they are willing to try anything new, and that they “like surprises.” The shoppers also expressed interest in the new farm to table trend, as well as untraditional container plantings like herbs or vegetables.

The Mid-Maine Greenhouse Growers Association reminds home gardeners to stay connected, listing their mission as: “Our goal is to help you find the right plants to get the most out of every flower bed, vegetable patch and patio pot - because we grow the plants we sell.”

Containers or gardens

For container planting, that is anything being placed in a hanging basket, plant pot, window box, or other receptacle – it is important to think ahead. Most seedlings are sold in 4- or 6-packs and are often root bound and still immature. Most of these plants will expand substantially when transplanted into a larger space, so make sure to allow room for expansion. I learned a little trick, which I will share here: mix up a bucket of fertilizer, remove the seedlings from the packs, dip the roots into the solution, and then plant into new soil. This gives the plants a boost of energy.

If your bedding plants are being moved into a garden, the fertilizer dip can also be used in this application. You may also want to consider a soil test just to make sure the garden will provide the necessary conditions for growth, including the proper pH and nutrient content. Before planting, it is a good idea to turn over your soil with a rototiller or pitchfork, amend with manure and peat, and rake flat.

Sun or shade

Before purchasing annuals, I would recommend considering the destination for the plants. Once this is determined, simply ask an employee at the greenhouse which plants like sunny or shady locations. There are also many plants that thrive in both sun and shade.


Another important factor to keep in mind is the time you are willing to invest in caring for your annuals. Most container plantings are quite low maintenance, and only need watering about once a week. Gardens are usually watered by the rain, with just a bit of supplementation during dry spells or when the plants are first moved.

The University of Maine’s “The Garden Pro Answer Book” by Dr. Lois Berg Stack, is filled with copious amounts of information for home gardeners, landscapers, and garden center owners. It provides information on challenging sites, gardening, and many tables and charts.

Check out the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association website at:

The University of Maine bulletin, “Annual Flowers for Special Uses” is a great resource and can be visited at:

The Real Maine website provides a useful directory of greenhouses and nurseries here: <

Friday, May 10, 2024

Raymond Village Library to host presentation by Maine crime novelist

By Kendra Raymond

Whether you’re an outdoorsperson, bookworm, or just interested in a night out, a presentation by a noted crime novelist may be just the ticket. “A Night with Paul Doiron” will be offered at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 15 at the Raymond Village Library.

Sponsored by Friends of the Raymond Village Library partnering with Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops, the groups are pleased to offer this rare opportunity to the community. The event is free and pre-registration is required.

Don’t jump in the car just yet; Librarian Rachel Holden says that there is a lot of interest in the event. In fact, Holden says there has been so much hype that the house is already full. As a backup plan, she has started a wait list in case of cancellations.

Doiron enthusiasts are encouraged to call the library to be added to the list.

The hour-long event will feature a reading by Doiron from his upcoming novel, “Pitch Dark,” the 15th book in his Mike Bowditch series.

Following the reading, Doiron will accept some questions from attendees.

“The reading will be followed by a Q&A and a book signing. Sherman's Maine Coast Bookshop of Windham has agreed to partner with us and will send a representative for onsite sales of Mr. Doiron's currently published books and to take pre-orders for Pitch Dark before and after the event and these sales will be cashless for simplicity's sake,” said Holden. “Additionally, Mr. Doiron will bring an advanced reader copy of “Pitch Dark,” which one lucky attendee will win.”

Holden explained that an advanced reader copy, or an ARC, is a copy of the book that publishers send out for free to booksellers, librarians, book reviewers, before the book is printed for mass publication and distribution.

According to the Goodreads website, Paul Doiron is the best-selling author of the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels set in the Maine woods.

His first book, “The Poacher’s Son,” won the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award and was nominated for an Edgar for Best First Novel. His second, “Trespasser,” won the 2012 Maine Literary Award.

His novelette “Rabid” was a finalist for the 2019 Edgar in the Best Short Story category. Paul’s 12th book, “Dead by Dawn” won the New England Society’s 2022 Book Award for Fiction, as well as his second Maine Literary Award. It was also a finalist for the Barry Award.

His books have been translated into 11 languages. He is the former chair of the Maine Humanities Council, Editor Emeritus of Down East: The Magazine of Maine, and a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing.

Doiron attended Yale University, earning a degree in English. He also earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Emerson College. He resides in coastal Maine with his wife, Kristen Lindquist.

Doiron has been featured in stories by News Center Maine, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, Maine Voices Live, and the Portland Press Herald, to name a few. He’s also been interviewed by numerous library representatives and bookstores, and many of Doiron’s recordings are available on You Tube.

A prolific author, Doiron manages to keep fans engaged by releasing a new book most years, usually in the early summer. He has also been known to publish two in a year’s time.

The prestigious Kirkus Reviews heralds “Pitch Dark” as “A perfect beach read that will make you hug yourself in pleasure and excitement and search for a little more warmth.” It follows Warden Service Investigator Mike Bowditch as he embarks on his next adventure that is sure to have you on the edge of your seat.

"Pitch Dark" goes on sale June 25 from Minotaur Books and MacMillan Audio.

The Raymond Village Library is at 3 Meadow Road in Raymond. Visit the website at:

Registration for the free event is required by calling the library at 207-655-4283. Fans are reminded that the event is presently full. However, people can be added to a waitlist by calling the library. <

Friday, May 3, 2024

Lake Region Community Chorus spring concert nears

It is concert time again for the members of the Lake Region Community Chorus. Performances of the group’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” spring concert will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 17 and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 19 at the Bridgton Academy’s Twitchell Chapel in North Bridgton.

The Lake Region Community Chorus will perform its spring
concert 'Sing, Sing, Sing' at 7 p.m. Friday, May 17 and at
3 p.m. Sunday, May 19 at Bridgton Academy's Twitchell
Chapel in North Bridgton. SUBMITTED PHOTO
This enthusiastic singing group is made up of 60 members from 12 surrounding towns who will present a varied program made up of traditional Classical pieces, folk songs, show tunes, medleys of hits by The Beatles and John Denver and lots more.

The Lakes Region Community Chorus is directed by Jan Jukkola and Susan Stockwell and accompanied by Patrick Speckamp. The program will also include accompaniments by these very talented musicians, Rusty Wiltjer, percussion, Mark Priola, electric bass, Ian Smith, trumpet, Liz Rounds, flute, Glen Jukkola, violin, Pam Ward, guitar, Brian Sprunger, guitar and Jacob Kuvaya, bass.

The chorus is a vibrant and dynamic non-profit organization providing choral programs for the Lakes Region of Maine community.

Its history is short because it’s a relatively new organization.

The chorus had its first meeting in February 2013 to discuss the possibility of forming a choral group in the Lakes Region.

It was amazing how quickly everything seemed to come together, and with Laurie Turley as its original conductor, chorus members performed their first concert in June 2013.

Since then, the original group of 36 singers has grown with each season, and now has 58 members from 14 communities, including Bridgton, North Bridgton, Naples, Sebago, Harrison, Waterford, Stoneham, Raymond, Casco, Windham, Denmark, Lovell, Hiram and Fryeburg.

The LRCC is a community of voices joined together in song.

Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for individuals with an interest in singing to share their love of choral music through regularly scheduled rehearsals that will culminate in community and outreach performances. It also strives to enhance each member’s ability to sing by teaching vocal exercises and techniques and to enrich their choral experience by providing a wide variety of musical selections that will increase their knowledge and appreciation of choral literature.
Lakes Region Community Chorus performs two concerts each year. One falls in early December and features holiday music. The other is a springtime concert generally falling in mid-May.
With the generous support of Bridgton Academy, concerts are performed in the Twitchell Chapel on the Bridgton Academy campus in North Bridgton. Rehearsals are held on Monday nights at Twitchell Chapel. For the December concert, rehearsals start around Labor Day, and for the Spring concert, they start around the end of January.

Chorus members would like to thank the Bridgton Academy for all their help and support and providing them with rehearsal space and a concert venue. They would also like to thank their enthusiastic audiences and local sponsors.

Each concert is free but donations to help cover the expense of music and operating costs will be gratefully accepted.

If interested, come and join the Lake Region Community Chorus as they lift their voices and sing, sing, sing. This year’s concert is sure to be remembered long after the final chords are sounded.

Please visit the Lake Region Community Chorus website for more details or call 207-647-2584. <