July 30, 2021

Hayes joins newspaper staff as writer, columnist

Retired educator, accomplished baker and
author Collette Hayes has joined the staff 
of The Windham Eagle and will report about
events and issues affecting the community
of Windham and Raymond. She will also
create a new recipe column which launches 
this week in the print edition of the newspaper.
By Melissa Carter

The Windham Eagle

As someone who believes that everyone can learn to cook and bake, accomplished writer and baking enthusiast Collette Hayes is hoping to make a difference in the lives of readers of The Windham Eagle.

Hayes, a retired educator who moved permanently to the Lakes Region of Maine in May, has joined the staff of writers for The Windham Eagle to report about events and issues affecting the Windham and Raymond community. She will also create a new recipe column for readers called “Cooking Corner,” which is featured in this week’s edition of the newspaper.

Recipes from Hayes will appear every other week and she said they will be easy to prepare and delicious to eat.

“People have the misconception that cooking, and baking is like being an artist and that’s totally not true,” Hayes said. “Anybody can learn the skills to cook and bake, it’s like learning math or chemistry. Everyone enjoys good food and I believe everyone can develop the skills required to prepare and cook a good meal.”

After spending summers in Maine for the past 30 years, Hayes chose to relocate here permanently in May coming from Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in education from Utah State University.

Along with a lengthy career as a classroom educator, Hayes also served as a mentor and advisor at the college level for new teachers and has extensive writing experience.

She has authored children’s stories for renowned watercolor artist Eric Mohn and has been a contributor to the Simply Bake blog for some time.

According to Hayes, she enjoys baking because it’s a creative pursuit for her.

“I like the idea of how food brings people together,” Hayes said. “Sunday dinner is a bonding time for families. I like not only the creative aspect of creating a meal, but also the bonding when people sit down together to eat it.”

The most challenging aspect of cooking and baking for Hayes is precisely the reason she wanted to create a new regular recipe column for The Windham Eagle.

“The hardest thing for me is finding a recipe and then perfecting it,” she said. “These recipes are ones I’ve come up with and taken the guesswork out of them for everyone.”

Besides her recipe column, Hayes says she can’t wait to begin reporting on stories that matter to her and for readers of the newspaper.

“My main focus is to get to know people in the community and become a part of it and contribute to this community,” she said. “Writing is my passion and it’s a perfect way to get to know this community.”

Managing Editor Ed Pierce of The Windham Eagle says that Hayes is a welcome addition to the newspaper staff.

“Collette is serious about writing and is enthusiastic about covering topics that matter,” he said. “She’s highly intelligent and a very capable person who can chronicle events, people and issues in Windham and Raymond with accuracy and objectively.”

Pierce said he’s looking forward to sampling some of the recipes Hayes will include in future columns.

“We’re happy to be able to liven up the Entertainment Page for readers with Collette’s new column,” Pierce said. “Movie reviews will still appear every other week, but anyone who has an interest in cooking and baking will now find valuable tips and instructions for preparing simple and easy recipes in The Windham Eagle twice a month. And I plan on trying out some of her recipes myself.” <   

Path International honors Riding To The Top volunteer

2021 PATH International Volunteer of
the Year Pat Niboli works with a horse
named Flynn during a recent session at
Riding To The Top in Windham.

WINDHAM – PATH International, an international voice in the equine-assisted services industry, annually celebrates individuals who symbolize the celebration of ability, optimism, diversity and a shared love of equines. Nominations are called for to recognize reliable volunteers who to commit their time and talents and are “essential to the success of therapeutic horsemanship centers” and this year PATH International agreed that Pat Niboli is an outstanding representative of the volunteer community and has named her the 2021 PATH International Volunteer of the Year.  

In the words of Janis Childs, a fellow volunteer and RTT Board member, “Pat and I both began volunteering in 2011. Over the years, I have marveled at Pat’s work ethic, her dedication and passion in supporting the Center. I am sure that there is not anything she has not done at the farm! She mucks, she feeds, she invents, she is a horse leader in lessons, and she is the “driving” force behind the carriage driving team! Those are just a few of her gifts that she offers on a weekly basis!”

“We are so very fortunate to count Pat as a member of the RTT family,” said Riding To The Top Executive Director Sarah Bronson. “She is always thinking about how to help out with friend- and fund-raising ideas—bringing new people to the farm and raising important funds to keep our programs strong, our horses happy and fit and our clients happy. There is no one more deserving of this award and we are thrilled that she has been recognized for her efforts, not only by RTT, but internationally by PATH International.” 

A virtual awards ceremony will be held to recognize Niboli by PATH International on Nov. 5. 

About PATH Int’l 

The mission of Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International is to lead the advancement of professional equine-assisted services by supporting its members and stakeholders through rigorously developed standards, credentialing and education. 

PATH International was founded in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) to promote safe and effective therapeutic horseback riding throughout the United States and Canada. Today, PATH International has 873 member centers and nearly 8,000 individual members in countries all over the world, who help and support almost 69,000 men, women and children--including more than 6,700 veterans--with special needs each year through a variety of equine-assisted services programs. 

About Riding To The Top 

Founded in 1993, Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center’s (RTT) mission is enhancing health and wellness through equine-assisted services. RTT is a PATH International Premier Accredited Center (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International).  Located in Windham, RTT is the state’s only year- round PATH International. Premier Accredited Center solely dedicated to serving people with disabilities through equine-assisted services.  For more information about client services, volunteering or making a gift, please visit www.ridingtothetop.org or call 207-892-2813. <

In the public eye: Longtime Windham Town Clerk Linda Morrell makes tough job seem easy

Linda S. Morrell has served as Town Clerk for 
Windham for 27 years and spent seven years
prior to that as the Deputy Town Clerk. In her
current role she oversees elections in Windham,
manages the clerk's office and is the secretary
for the Windham Town Council.
Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Ed Pierce

Each day that Windham’s Town Clerk Linda S. Morrell arrives for work she’s wearing a smile and the veteran administrator is the first to admit she loves her job and everything about it.

Morrell moved with her parents to Windham at 14 in her freshman year in high school and graduated from Windham High School in 1978. She started working as a deputy clerk for the Town of Windham and following seven years of serving in that position, she has spent the last 27 years as the Windham Town Clerk, a role she doesn’t take for granted.

“I’ve never regretted taking this job, I love doing this,” Morrell said. “I really enjoy this job and like everything I do and meeting the people. It’s such a variety of different tasks and is constantly changing. You can never be bored doing this job.”

In her duties as Town Clerk, Morrell serves as Windham’s Supervisor of Elections, be it municipal, county, state or presidential elections. She also oversees two full-time and one part-time town clerk’s office staff members and she’s responsible for the town’s dog registrations; the sales of hunting and fishing licenses; officiating weddings; maintaining  the town’s vital statistics; state boat and automobile registrations; providing notary service; swearing elected municipal officials into office; helping collect tax payments for the town; and serving as the secretary for the Windham Town Council.

Before coming to work for the town, Morrell spent eight years as a ballot clerk during elections and was a stay-at-home mother. Her husband was a shift worker and when she was offered the job as deputy clerk over the phone, she eagerly accepted, launching a lengthy career of service to the public.

According to Morrell, her greatest accomplishment as Windham Town Clerk through the years has been that the elections she oversees have run smoothly and been without controversy.

“Knock on wood, but there have been no issues ever with elections since I’ve been here,” Morrell said. “So far every election has run smoothly with only one recount in which a challenger lost by five votes to the incumbent and asked for a recount. When we recounted the votes, the challenger was defeated by that same total of five votes. I really feel good about how I run an election, you always want things to go smoothly, and they have.”

Her greatest challenge as Windham Town Clerk is staying knowledgeable about updated rules and regulations and being able to educate the public and training staff members about those changes, she said.

“We don’t make the rules, we’re just an agent of the state,” Morrell said.

In 2007, Morrell was awarded lifetime certification for her duties from the state of Maine at Maine Municipal Association. That meant she served the association in various capacities and continued her education  to stay current on laws and procedures and completing all lifetime certification requirements. She also met all qualifications and requirements to be enrolled as a member of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks allowing her to use the title of Certified Municipal Clerk in all 50 states.

With all her duties, Morrell puts in many long hours and late nights especially during election season and attending every Windham Town council meeting every other week.

“I truly enjoy working with the people we serve and helping somebody just about every day,” she said. “Or at the very least if we’re not able to help them, pointing them in the right direction to where they can find help.”

Happily married for 42 years and the mother of two grown sons, Morrell lives on a farm in town and says she loves to go on walks with friends, going to the movies with her husband, and reading.

Although much of her time is spent overseeing the Windham Town Clerk’s office and despite the variety of tasks she handles daily, Morrell says that her work remains as meaningful to her now as it was the day she started.

“I want everyone to know that we are here for them whenever they need us,” Morrell said. “We all enjoy our jobs here and we try to be friendly all of the time. We’re fortunate to have a great staff here and the public really seems to like them. I love my job and it is a privilege to serve this community as the Town Clerk.” <

Bald Pate Mountain in Bridgton a perfect hike for everyone

Loon Echo Land Trust manages Bald
Pate Mountain Preserve featuring an
extensive network of clearly labeled
trails that allow hikers to choose a
different path to the top of the
mountain each time they visit.
By Briana Bizier

Whether you’re entertaining out-of-town guests, trying to keep children from climbing the walls during the last month of vacation, or just looking for a new perspective on our little corner of the world, taking a hike is a great way to enjoy the Pine Tree State’s glorious summer. And Bald Pate Mountain in Bridgton just might be the perfect place for a hike.

Protected by Loon Echo Land Trust, Bald Pate Mountain Preserve contains 486 acres of forest, mountains, streams, and several dozen breathtaking views. Loon Echo maintains an extensive network of clearly labeled trails that thread through 6.7 miles, allowing visitors to choose a different path to the top of the mountain every time they visit. These trails are accessed via two different parking areas; the main parking lot is found off of Route 107, while a smaller lot off Moose Pond Cove Road allows access to the Micah Trail.

The first time our family visited Bald Pate, I let the children choose our route. This is a strategy that most experienced outdoor leaders would probably discourage. My two hiking assistants looked at the map on Loon Echo’s website and promptly chose the shortest, steepest route, the Pate Trail, which is only 0.2 miles long. While the Pate Trail appears to be a smooth, green line on the map, Loon Echo’s website advises that route is “steep, use caution.” I warned the children that their chosen trail would be quite a climb. My small hiking partners, equipped with Jolly Ranchers and beef jerky, were not deterred.

To access the Pate Trail, we parked at the smaller lot off Moose Pond Cove Road and followed the Micah Trail through a half-mile of lovely beech forest. The trail crosses a small stream and features a boardwalk over parts that could become muddy. This early section of the trail was smooth enough to lull me into a false sense of confidence about allowing small children to determine our route.The Micah Trail branches at a clearly labeled intersection where it connects to the South Face Loop Trail. A left here brought us to the beginning of the Pate Trail, which leads directly up the face of the mountain. Directly up. Fortunately, this trail is short, and it offers plenty of spots to stop and admire the views while gasping for air. Also, after scrambling up the Pate Trail to the 1,150-foot summit of Bald Pate, we all truly felt like we’d earned the views from the top.

And those views are spectacular. From the summit, the White Mountains stretch off into the north and west while Sebago Lake sparkles in the south. My daughter and I tried to pinpoint the location of our house while my son insisted that we take him swimming in every lake we could see.

In addition to the jaw-dropping views, the mountaintop is also quite fascinating in its own right. Bald Pate’s summit is home to a unique and ancient pitch pine habitat, which gives the mountain’s top a distinctly different feel from the gentle birch forests that surround the Micah Trail.

For our descent, I decided to give my creaky adult knees a break by leading the family down the South Face Loop Trail, which offers a much gentler route than the Pate Trail. For half a mile, the eastern arm of the South Face Loop meanders down the mountain, through wildflowers, blueberries, and pitch pines, offering glimpses of the lakes and forest below until it rejoins the Micah Trail. This section is smooth and gentle, a welcome respite from the strenuous Pate Trail, and it would be delightful even for the youngest hikers.

The Bob Chase Loop Trail, which begins at the main parking lot off of Route 107, offers an even smoother route to the top of Bald Pate. It begins on a wide dirt road and leads to the spectacular summit with a modicum of effort. The Bob Chase Loop connects to several other trails, so experienced hikers, or those hiking without small children, could easily travel every route through the nature preserve in a day.

We’ve since returned to Bald Pate Mountain Preserve several times, and we’ve hiked the entire South Face Loop from the Micah Trail. This trail is my new must-do for visitors from out of state. It’s an unforgettable introduction to the woods and mountains of Maine as it leads hikers through a young beech forest, past craggy glacial erratic boulders, through wild blueberry bushes on the mountain’s shoulders, and finally, gently, to the summit with its amazing views. At just under two miles, the South Face Loop Trail can be enjoyed in an afternoon while still leaving plenty of time for ice cream and a swim afterward.

If you are considering hiking any trails, please prepare accordingly. Make sure you bring water and snacks, be aware of the weather forecast, stick to the trails, and carry out everything you brought in, trash and children included. The main parking area for Bald Pate Mountain is located off of Route 107 in South Bridgton, 0.4 miles from Five Fields Farm if you are headed south on 107. The Micah trailhead is accessed from a small parking area located on Moose Pond Cove Road, also off of Route 107. Maps, directions, and more information can be found on the Loon Echo Land Trust’s website:
https://www.loonecholandtrust.org. <

National Night Out offers community a glimpse into Windham law enforcement

By Ed Pierce

After being unable to host its National Night Out event last year because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, members of the Windham Police Department are ready to resume the popular community gathering next week. 

Held annually on the first Tuesday evening in August, National Night Out is an opportunity for the residents of Windham to meet with local law enforcement and public safety personnel in a casual setting and learning more about the important work that they’re doing protecting the town.

This year’s event in Windham is scheduled to be conducted from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3 in the parking lot of Windham High School at 406 Gray Road in Windham. National Night Out is open to the public and will include food, and an array of fun activities for the entire family.

Representatives of the Windham Police Department, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Windham Fire Department and Windham Parks and Recreation will be on hand and participants will be able to view police and fire equipment and vehicles up close.

The original National Night Out was established in 1984 with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the U.S. Department of Justice. The program is administered by the National Association of Town Watch, a nationwide organization dedicated to the development, maintenance, and protection of community-based, law enforcement-affiliated crime prevention activities.

Through the years, National Night Out has developed into an effective crime prevention program that emphasizes building a partnership between the police and the community.

Windham Police say that community involvement in crime prevention is generated through a multitude of local activities and National Night Out events help bring prominent attention to crime prevention programs offered by police and disseminating information about successful strategies used by law enforcement agencies for thwarting crime in the town.

Along with grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone, there will be active demonstrations at the National Night Out event by a Windham Police K-9 dog and handler, drone flights, and specialized equipment and law enforcement programs.

All National Night Out activities are entirely free and generate a true sense of community under positive circumstances.

For more information about National Night Out, call 892-2525. <

July 23, 2021

Sebago Mineral Spring Association observes 100th anniversary

Jane Shaw, Tom Shaw and Bill Simpson enjoy festivities
during the Sebago Mineral Spring Association 100th
anniversary lobster bake and celebration on July 10 in Windham.
The association was founded in 1921 as a social club and today
includes members from the Mineral Spring Road neighborhood.
By Ed Pierce

Author Janice Thompson once observed that “there are good ships and there are wood ships and the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.” Thompson may not have had the Sebago Mineral Spring Association in mind when she came up with that, but it does describe the Windham organization perfectly.

Founded as a social club in 1921, the Sebago Mineral Spring Association celebrated its 100th anniversary July 10 and its members remain as friendly and neighborly today as they were a century ago. The association has a total membership of 33 individuals representing nearly three dozen homes surrounding the Mineral Spring Road neighborhood in Windham.

Current membership is drawn from 22 homes on Mineral Spring Road, three homes on Wellhouse Way and eight homes on Wintergreen Circle. 

According to association member Jane Shaw, the group traditionally gathers every year on the second Saturday in July for its annual meeting, which is then followed by a picnic. Members also gather the second Saturday of June and again in September for road clean-up chores.

This year, in honor of the association’s 100th anniversary, members met July 10 for their annual meeting and followed that with a lobster bake celebration and party.

Steeped in history, the Mineral Spring neighborhood sprang up in the 19th century from property having been originally part of Samuel Freeman’s farm.

Early geological surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior in Maine had determined that surrounding Sebago Lake there was an abundance of water contained beneath the ground surface in granite, slate, and other rocks and some of this high-quality water also was rich in mineral content, thought to be of substantial medicinal benefit.     

A natural spring was discovered in the Mineral Spring neighborhood and in April 1883, F. L. Bartlett, Maine’s state chemist and a college professor, tested the water from the spring and proclaimed it to be “very pure.” Bartlett’s published report indicated that the water from the spring was “beyond doubt very beneficial in many diseases."

Today, 138 years after Bartlett’s pronouncement, the Sebago Mineral Spring Wellhouse over the spring still stands and can be found near the corner of Mineral Spring Road and Wellhouse Way in Windham.

Through the years, the Sebago Mineral Spring Association constructed tennis courts which are now grown over and used for boat storage, and a clubhouse, where dances were held along with potluck dinners every Saturday evening during the summer for the members. The clubhouse is long gone and is now an open field in the neighborhood where this year’s party was held.

Shaw said that at one time the association also featured a community garden for its members. 

The association continues to manage several rights of way in the neighborhood as well as maintaining a beach reserved exclusively for association members.

“For the 100th Anniversary a lobster bake was held after the meeting with 44 members and guests in attendance,” Shaw said. “It included lobsters, steamers, corn on the cob, and baked potato, all steamed over a fire in the association field. For those not having lobster, there was steak, corn on the cob, potato salad and macaroni salad.”

The 100th anniversary party also featured several door prizes and a special anniversary cake commemorating the milestone occasion. 

“It was a great deal of fun to socialize with other members, some of which we had not yet met as they moved here during Covid time,” Shaw said.

This actually was the first in-person meeting for the association after pandemic restrictions forced last year’s annual gathering to be canceled.

All of the food for the 100th anniversary celebration event was prepared and cooked by Tom Shaw, Mike Smith, John Thomes and Bill Simpson.

For the next year, the Sebago Mineral Spring Association will be led by President Tom Shaw; Vice President Ed Francoeur; Secretary Tim Skehan; and Treasurer Patti Thomes.

Serving on the Board of Directors for the next year as Bill Simpson; Jerry Shaw; Mike Smith; and Beverly Campochiaro. <

Windham establishes grant program for drug education using marijuana license fees

The Town of Windham will use fee collected from
adult retail and medical marijuana facilities locally
to fund drug education programs and also create a
scholarship for a student pursuing a drug counseling
or addictions treatment career.
By Ed Pierce

Starting back when voters in Maine first approved a statewide referendum in 2016 to legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21, the Windham Town Council has remained committed to using licensing fees imposed by the town for retail and medical marijuana facilities for drug education and drug prevention programs. That priority is about to be realized next month as councilors have approved a plan and a process to award grants to applicants and create a scholarship for a deserving Windham student seeking to earn a degree in drug counseling or addiction treatment.

During the July 13 Windham Town Council meeting, councilors approved a proposal to amend the ordinance regarding Marijuana License Fee Fund Educational Grant Program. Under the measure, the Windham Marijuana License Committee has developed an application process and established criteria for distribution of designated funds to public health and safety programs that service Windham residents.

According to Marge Govoni, a member of the Marijuana License Committee, grants will be made to applicants after seeking input from staff, local experts and stakeholders, such as Be The Influence, D.A.R.E. and others, with fund disbursements issued following approval by the Windham Town Council.

Govoni said that along with the grants, which can be made to educators, community groups, scout troops and others, town councilors also have approved using marijuana license fees to fund an annual scholarship program for a Windham student who is planning on a career in drug counseling, addiction treatment or a similar field.

Councilors approved a web page for applicants to apply for grants digitally and the application form, which was also reviewed by the town attorney.

The committee is hoping to award grants monthly possibly starting by mid-September if there are applicants for funding, Govoni said.

“It’s a win-win for the community as a whole and for the children living here,” she said. “This is going to help those who will look at issues of drug prevention from a different angle.”

The grant process also includes a reapplication process for those who do not receive grants the first time they apply for funding.

Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said councilors should be commended for their approach to dealing with this issue.

“The council supports the educational aspect of having marijuana licensing fees to be applied toward informing our youth about drug education,” Tibbetts said. “The education of our youth about drugs will support them in making good decisions throughout their youth and beyond.” 

Tammy Hodgman, the Town of Windham’s executive assistant and website coordinator, said that the town will have all information regarding the grant along with an application posted on its website by mid-August and will promote the program extensively. 

“We will place an ad in the paper, as well as advertise on Facebook,” Hodgman said. “The link to the page will be on the bottom of our homepage initially to draw attention to the program, beneath the ‘Community’ subheading and cross-posted beneath ‘How Do I… - Apply’ subheading on our website.”

She said the educational program grant applications will be submitted to the Town Manager’s office and then be reviewed by the Marijuana License Fee Committee for their review and deliberation.

“They plan to meet once a month to review applications received,” Hodgman said. “The committee will then let us know when they would like to have the council hear their recommendations and approve funds at a regularly scheduled meeting.”

Govoni said a similar process will be conducted once a scholarship has been set up by Windham High School for applicants. She said at a minimum, the scholarship will be at least $1,000.

Because marijuana licensing fees are collected throughout the year on a staggered basis, available funding for grants and the scholarship will be on a continuing basis, Govoni said.

When Windham first implemented its Marijuana Ordinance in September 2020, a fee schedule was created by councilors specifically to fund substance misuse and drug educational programs for community members and children.

Those annual licensing fees include Adult-Use Marijuana Store $2,500; Marijuana Cultivation Facility $1,000; Marijuana Manufacturing Facility $1,000; Medical Marijuana Registered Caregiver On-site cultivation $300; Medical Marijuana Registered Caregiver (Home Occupation) with cultivation not conducted on site $150; Medical Marijuana Caregiver Retail Store $2,500; Marijuana Testing Facility $1,000. <