February 21, 2020

Maine’s longest and continuous-running 3-on-3 charity basketball tournament seeks teams

The C-U Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge, presented by Town & Country FCU, is in full pursuit of teams to participate in this year’s tournament. This year marks the 26th Annual event, building upon its previous distinction as Maine’s longest, continuous-running, 3-on-3, co-ed, charity basketball tournament. The event takes place on Sunday, March 8, at USM in Gorham, and features adult and youth divisions including a new High School Division.

“Over the next few weeks, we’re really focused on getting more teams registered in all of the divisions.  There are three adult divisions (Elite, Just For Fun – our most popular, and Forever Young – for 40 and over) and three junior divisions (fifth-sixth grade, middle school, and a new high school division). It only takes three players to get a team together, as long as one of them is a member of the opposite sex,” explained Jon Paradise, Vice President of Public Relations and Communications at Town & Country FCU, and the founder of the tournament. Paradise said registration is off to a solid start but he’s hoping to see an influx of registrations in the next few weeks. The deadline for team registrations is Sunday, March 1.

“This event continues to grow and happen because of the great support of sponsors and participants. I am hopeful that this will be another special year of support.  We have had teams come from all over Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. A team can be whatever people want it to be – co-workers, relatives, friends, classmates, etc.  It’s a great team-building event so we get a number of businesses involved,” he added.

The Swish-Out began in 1994 and had seven teams and raised $575 the first year. Last year, the tournament had nearly 60 teams (a sold-out field) participate and, most importantly, raised nearly $50,000 for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.  Since it started, the tournament has raised $525,000 for children with cancer and their families.

One hundred percent of all money raised through registration, sponsorships and contributions will go directly to the cause.

To register a team or to find out more information, email jon.paradise@tcfcu.com; call 207-553-5335; or go to the Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge page on Facebook. 
“This event happens because of people, so we want to get a full field of teams again this year,” Paradise stated.

The event is presented by Town & Country FCU, with additional major sponsorship support from Tyler Technologies, PCH Media, WEX, Next Level Solutions, M.R. Brewer, Bancvue, Enterprise, Tricorp FCU, Hannaford Supermarkets, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Risbara Bros. Construction, Martin’s Point Healthcare and USM Athletics.

Builders and homeowners learn principals of new residential energy code enacted by Maine Legislature

By Lorraine Glowczak

For the past three weeks, professional home builders, construction experts, Realtors® and homeowners have been attending a series of residential construction workshops entitled Build a Better House, at Saint Joseph’s College to learn about the newly updated 2015 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) Residential Energy Code.  

The Build a Better House workshop series is presented by Bill Turner and David Johnston annually
by the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council. The last of the workshop series will be held next Friday, February 28 in the college’s Xavier Hall from 7:30 a.m. till 3:30 p.m. The workshop will include information for homeowners who are in the process of repairing and updating their home. This class will also benefit professional home builders, Realtors®, home inspectors and others in the home building industry.

“The changes made by the Maine State Legislature in 2019 will impact two key areas of energy efficiency and air quality in home construction: significantly reducing the expected overall energy bill and providing both healthy ventilation and radon control,” stated Turner, in reference to the 2015 IECC Residential Energy Code.

https://jobs.spectrum.com/Turner went on to explain that before the 2015 prescriptive changes, the 2009 minimum insulation and air leakage levels meant that a new looking home would not likely perform well in cold and windy weather, causing significant upsizing of both the installation and operating cost of the heating
system. Meeting the new standard will result in drastically lower overall energy bills and much better occupant comfort in cold and windy weather, potentially a 50% reduction compared to the 2009 minimums. All this with an increased construction cost typically in the range of 3% to 4% that usually results in a net annually savings of over $300 starting in the first year.

Turner used an analogy to compare the difference between the 2009 and 2015 IECC Code. “Buying a new home that only meets the 2009 IECC Code would be like buying a 2020 truck and finding out that it only gets 12 miles per gallon versus the more efficient 20 miles per gallon that you would expect of a brand new truck today.”

The point is, he continued, if a home is built or remodeled to the 2015 IECC standards, the energy efficiency should be such that one should not feel drafts or be cold in a home during the freezing winter months. The house should be built well enough to hold in the heat, while at the same time allowing for high air quality (i.e., not trapping dangerous gases such as radon).

“If houses are built, repaired and maintained at the 2015 IECC standards, then the yearly cost for
heating and cooling should be in the range of $500 to $900 per year,” stated Turner. “That’s a significant improvement over the 2009 IECC minimum standards – which could cost a homeowner up to $2000 per year for heating and cooling costs. This newly adopted code represents the fact that Maine is finally catching up with the rest of New England.”
Turner also suggested those who are in the process of building a new home make sure their builders and contractors are following the new 2015 IECC standards.

These new standards apply to single-family homes and multi-family structures of three stories or less. Many of the standard’s core provisions are already common modern building practices today, however, the 2015 IECC adoption means that builders must incorporate them. Core provisions of the code now require local exhaust of kitchen and bathrooms along with whole building ventilation with a small mechanical exhaust system as well as air sealing of any attached garage and at least one carbon monoxide detector.

For more information about healthy, energy-efficient homes or about the last class at Saint Joseph’s College, visit  or contact the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council at 207-626-8115 or www.maineindoorair.org/residential-construction-trainings/

Sebago Lakes Region Chamber announces the Frank Koenig - Business Person of the Year for 2019

The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Meeting in January at Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine.  There they announced the 2019 Frank Koenig – Businessperson of the Year recipient, Charles Hawkins.  “Will” as he is commonly known by many, is the owner of Maine’s Alternative Caring and the newly opened Bio Organic Market and Juice Bar both in Windham. He is heavily involved in the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber, local community giving and the Windham political scene. Congratulations to Mr. Hawkins on a much-deserved award.

About the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce: The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, representing the towns of Casco, Gray, Limerick, Limington, Naples, New Gloucester, Raymond, Sebago, Standish and Windham, is one of the most active chambers in the State of Maine. It is comprised of business members ranging from young entrepreneurs and ‘mom & pop’ shops to the largest employers in our region.

For more information contact Robin Mullins, Executive Director, at director@sebagolakeschamber.com or 207-892-8265.

REAL ID public forum provided an opportunity for questions and answers

By Lorraine Glowczak

Last Thursday evening, February 12, the Windham Delegation consisting of Sen. Bill Diamond, Rep. Patrick Corey and Rep. Mark Bryant invited Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to Windham Town Hall to educate area residents and clarify some confusion surrounding the REAL ID Driver’s License.

With a deadline of October 1, 2020, Mainers will be required to update their Maine State Driver’s License in order to adhere to the mandatory minimum-security standards set by the Department of Homeland Security. Briefly, The REAL ID Act establishes security standards for state licenses in order to access federal facilities, to enter nuclear power plants, and to board federally regulated commercial aircraft. Maine is one of the last states to implement the REAL ID standards.

Sec. Dunlap explained the concept surrounding the REAL ID was to establish a uniform standard of identification across the U.S. The question and answer session provided more clarification on the following:

1)    You are not required to obtain a REAL ID unless you do not have a passport and plan to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building. A current Maine driver’s license is all you need (and a REAL ID is NOT REQUIRED) for the following: to drive, to vote or register to vote, to apply for or receive federal benefits, to make financial transactions, to rent a vehicle, to enter a federal facility that does not require an ID (such as the U.S. Post Office), to purchase alcohol or tobacco or to access health services.
2)     A child under the age of 18 is not required to have a REAL ID when flying with an adult who has one.

3)     The REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards can be obtained now with a deadline of October 1, 2020 if you plan to board a commercial airline or enter a federal secure building. Again, you do not need to obtain a REAL ID if you have a passport.

To apply for a REAL ID driver’s license or identification cards, you must do so in person at a Bureau of Motor Vehicle branch office in order to process your initial application. You will need a proof of identification, a valid Social Security Number (or proof of eligibility) as well as proof of U.S. status and Maine residency.

Some forms of documentation needed includes the following: One original document to include a certified copy of a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, certificate of naturalization, social security card, W-2 Form, or pay stub. To prove Maine residency, two documents are required and they include: Property tax bill or deed, Maine vehicle registration, utility bill, financial statement, tax return, or Maine hunting/fishing license.

For a full list of documents that can be used for identity, lawful status in the U.S. and proof of Maine residency or for more information, contact the BMV at 207-624-9000 or peruse the website at www.maine.gov/realid.

Windham Town Councilors tour public safety building and town hall before council workshop

By Lorraine Glowczak

The Windham Town Council met on Tuesday, February 18 at the Windham Town Council Chamber Room at 6:30 p.m. for their biweekly workshop meeting. Prior to the scheduled gathering, Council Members Nick Kalogerakis, David Nadeau, David Douglass, Tim Nangle, Jarrod Maxfield and Town Manager, Barry Tibbetts toured the public safety building and town hall, beginning at 5 p.m. The purpose of the tour was to investigate and see where current issues and challenges exist in both facilities.

Police Chief Kevin Schofield and Fire Chief Brent Libby led tours at the public safety building, while
Police Chief Kevin Schofield speaks to Councilors
Nick Kalogerakis, Tim Nangle and Jarrod Maxfield
Tibbetts provided the tour at Town Hall. Areas of concern and needs for improvement identified for both facilities included, but were not limited to, the following:

Poor or non-existent insulation in sections of the buildings.
Poor sleeping quarters for overnight fire and EMS staff.
Elevators and restrooms do not meet ADA standards.
Locker rooms overcrowded and inadequate showers for emergency staff
Inadequate kitchen facilities
Office space inadequate for optimum staff efficiency
Lack of workspace
Heating and cooling systems inefficiencies (with up to 20-degree differences in office spaces – often requiring space heaters).
Very limited closet storage (using stairwells as closets).
Lack of training and conference room space.
Improper circulation in IT rooms.

Upon completion of the tour, the Council returned to the Chamber Room for their workshop. The first topic of discussion focused on fees for town services, comparing the town’s scheduled fees (i.e. town permit fees, assessing fees, food service establishments with liquor license fees, etc.) to other surrounding towns. The purpose was to identify where such fees may be lacking in comparison and may need to be considered for an increase. Of those identified as potential fee increases included the code enforcement office, of which will be discussed, and possibly voted on, at the Tuesday, February 25 Council meeting.

The second topic of discussion was building space and renovation based upon past assessment studies and space needs analysis that occurred in 2013 and 2014 (of which was also identified during the tour). Tibbetts offered the following recommendations and timelines:

Town Hall and Public Safety Building (central location) to be renovated in order to rectify some of the issues mentioned above - with a timeline of work during the years 2020 and 2021.

It was suggested that The North Windham Fire station, Windham Resource Center and Loan Closet may require more studies and analysis. Suggested timeline for possible improvement is in the years 2023 and 2024

The new Community Center specifics and timeline to be determined.

Suggested funding options for the Town Hall and Public Safety renovations include debt retirement (i.e. road bond, etc.), new revenue permit fees, capitol improvement program, police and fire impact fees and existing budget.

Council members were all in agreement to the suggested renovations and improvements and discussion for implementation will continue in the next couple of months.

To learn more about these agenda topics and other issues discussed at this Council workshop or previous meetings and workshops, go to the town website at www.windhammaine.us/ where one can find the minutes and recorded video version of the meetings. All meetings are televised live on the local cable channel as well as on Facebook live.

February 14, 2020

Riding To The Top to host research study on the benefits of Therapeutic Riding

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz) in Aurora, Colorado, in collaboration with the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant to study why therapeutic horseback riding benefits children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), particularly children who have co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses. 

A previous study by Principal Investigator Robin Gabriels, PsyD, a CU Anschutz researcher and
Children’s Hospital Colorado psychologist, showed that a 10-week therapeutic horseback riding intervention reduced irritability and hyperactivity while improving the social and communication skills of youth diagnosed with ASD. To learn why, Gabriels is now teaming up with MMCRI Faculty Scientist Mathew Siegel, M.D., the study’s co-investigator and leader of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Service of Maine Behavioral Healthcare.

 “This study is exciting because it’s not often we have a chance to try to understand why something works,” Siegel said. “Learning why will hopefully help us create other interventions that could address challenges that children with ASD face.”
The five-year-study is the largest of its kind and will include roughly 142 children between the ages of six and 16 with ASD. 

The Maine connection
The Maine portion of the study will be conducted at Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center (RTT) in Windham, a PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Premier Accredited Center providing year round equine assisted activities and therapies for people with disabilities. The research will begin this summer at Riding To The Top.  After going through an eligibility screening at MMCRI, children will be randomly assigned to the therapeutic horseback riding group or a barn group (non-riding) for 10-week interventions. Both groups will wear heart rate monitors and wrist bands that record changes in electrodermal activity during each visit. Saliva samples will also be taken before and 20 minutes after the interventions to measure levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Sarah Bronson, PT, Executive Director at RTT said “We are honored be involved in this groundbreaking research. It will provide essential data as to the specific physiological changes that occur during therapeutic riding lending further understanding about the impact of therapeutic riding on social and emotional regulation.” Bronson noted that they are in the process of recruiting volunteers to assist with the research.

Reducing medication use and hospital stays
“This current study will focus on looking at the physiological mechanisms that may explain our previously observed benefits of (therapeutic riding), particularly in a high-risk subset of youth with ASD and co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses,” said Gabriels. This study will investigate how therapeutic horseback riding can help these children regulate their emotions, so they don’t overreact in a dangerous manner. Gabriels noted, “If we can show horseback riding is emotionally regulating, perhaps we can reduce the need for so much medication and help keep them out of the hospital.” 
Those interested in potentially participating or volunteering in this study should call RTT at 207-892-2813, X22 and ask to speak to Kate Jeton, Program Director. 
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 activities and therapies.  Located in Windham, RTT is the Maine’s only year round PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Premier Accredited Center solely dedicated to serving people with disabilities through equine assisted activities and therapies. Annually, more than 250 clients participate in programs, assisted by PATH Intl certified instructors, over 250 volunteers, and a herd of 18 horses, all specially trained to assist with therapeutic riding, carriage driving, equine assisted learning and hippotherapy. RTT is a community-based nonprofit, receives no federal or state funding and provides scholarships to over 60% of its clients.  For more information about client services, volunteering, or making a gift, please visit us at www.ridingtothetop.org or call 892-2813.

About the Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI)
MMCRI is the research arm of Maine Medical Center and seeks to enhance the health of our population through excellence in research across the spectrum of the biomedical and health sciences. For more information, visit http://mmcri.org/ns/

About Maine Behavioral Healthcare
Maine Behavioral Healthcare is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving more than 20,000 children, adolescents and adults at over 30 locations throughout southern, western, and mid-coast Maine, providing a continuum of coordinated mental healthcare from outpatient community offices to inpatient acute care at Spring Harbor Hospital. For more information, please visit mainebehavioralhealthcare.org.

About the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is a world-class medical destination at the forefront of transformative science, medicine, education, and patient care. For more information, visit https://www.cuanschutz.edu/

Raymond Community Garden honored for role in Maine’s Harvest for Hunger Program

By Briana Bizier

If you’ve visited the Raymond Village Library in the summer or fall, you’ve probably noticed the colorful flowers and lush vegetables in the Raymond Community Garden next door to the library. Although the beds are now covered by a blanket of snow, the garden is still being honored for the impact it made last year.

As 2019 drew to a close, the Raymond Village Library received a letter from the Maine Harvest for
Community garden member, Linda Pankewicz
cleans carrots to be donated
Hunger, a program coordinated by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Last summer, the Raymond Community Garden donated 200 pounds of food to Maine families struggling with hunger.
Raymond’s donations were in good company. According to the Harvest for Hunger website, over 120 farms in the state of Maine donated 193,000 pounds of food.

Every little bit helps,” wrote Pamela Hargest, a Horticulture Professional at the University of Maine. “In total, Cumberland County residents, farmers, community gardeners, business owners, and school staff and students grew and donated over 32,000 pounds of fresh produce this year.”

The Raymond Community Garden is totally organic, and plots are available to all members of the community. Every member of the Raymond Community Garden pledges to plant one row of fruits or vegetables to donate to the Raymond Food Pantry, which is staffed by the Lions Club.

A well-documented national issue is the ability of the poor and food insecure to eat a healthy diet,” explains Sheila Bourque, Director of Raymond Village Library’s Board of Trustees. “The cost of fresh vegetables is often higher than processed food. The garden's donations increase the ability of people to eat a healthier diet.”

I have seen firsthand the difference fresh vegetables make to those who receive them through the food pantry,” Bourque continued. “Boxes are made up by the Lions and people line up an hour before the pantry opens. Those that receive the produce are excited when they come into the food pantry during our short growing season. It is an unexpected and wonderful treat!”

Raymond’s food pantry is open year-round, and donations are welcome at any time. Donations may be dropped off at Lake Region Baptist Church on 1273 Roosevelt Trail.

If you’d like to contribute fresh vegetables during our short and sweet summer, the Raymond Community Garden does have plots available. The community plots are approximately 10 feet by 16 feet, and there is a recommended donation of $15 a plot. The fees cover shared gardening tools and equipment.

Claiming your own garden plot isn’t the only way to get involved with the Community Garden. If you’re intimidated by the thought of taking on an entire garden bed by yourself, the Raymond Community Garden is always looking for volunteers to help weed and water! Contact Leigh Walker at 207-310-0741 or visit the Raymond Village Library to request more information or to reserve your spot.