September 30, 2022

Windham council sends contract zone request to town’s planning board

By Ed Pierce

The owners of the Northeastern Motel at 322 Roosevelt Trail in Windham have asked the town for a contract zone so the property of the existing motel can be redeveloped into residential dwelling units.

The Windham Town Council has sent a contract zone request
to change the zoning of the Northeastern Motel at 322
Roosevelt Trail in Windham to the Windham Planning Board
for review. Motel owners are seeking to convert motel rooms
into efficiency apartments. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE 
The 3.8-acre site is located on Route 302 and the northwest corner of Nash Road in Windham and the owners, 322 Roosevelt Trail LLC, say to achieve their vision for the property zoning changes will need to be made. The property is currently zoned as “F” for farming zone district.

Owners are asking that zoning for the site be changed to allow Dwelling, Multifamily as a permitted use. Under current “F” zoning requirements multifamily dwellings are only allowed for the conversion of an existing dwelling or accessory building that was in existence prior to May 13, 1986, and no more than three dwelling units may be created per lot.

A zoning change would allow the property owners up to 23 dwelling units on the property, which differs from the only two dwellings currently allowed there.

The nine-unit motel with an attached owner’s unit building existed prior to Windham’s adoption of zoning ordinances on July 8, 1976. On Nov. 5, 1987, the town’s Board of Appeals granted permission to expand the non-conforming use “Suburban Pines Motel” to double the size and a 13-unit adjacent building was constructed on the property in 1988. Windham’s Planning Board approved a subdivision of the property into five lots on April 23, 1990, and over the past 32 years has been further reduced to its current 3.8 acre configuration.

The zoning change request is the second time that a contract zone has been requested for this property.

In 2016, the previous property owner requested a contract zone to permit Motels and Multifamily Dwellings and increase density there. On July 12, 2016, a vote by the Windham Town Council failed to send the application to the Planning Board for review and recommendation.

As outlined in Windham’s Land Use Ordinance, a request for a contract zone, like other proposed ordinance changes, would require sending the request to the Planning Board for a public hearing and a recommendation would be sent back to the Town Council.

According to Shawn M. Frank, project engineer and Senior Vice President, Commercial and Development, for Sebago Technics representing the owners, the applicant proposes that the entire property be rezoned as an overlay to the underlying Farm District.

Frank said that no easements are proposed and restrictions on the property will limit the overall unit count as it currently exists. The applicants, who purchased the site in 2017, propose expansion in square footage to the existing motel room units to provide individual kitchen facilities to create efficiency dwelling units. Proposed improvements also including removal of the existing boulders along the parking lot perimeter shown on the Contract Zone Plan.

Frank said if the Planning Board and the town eventually approve the project, the motel rooms would be converted into affordable one-bedroom apartments.

During a discussion of the matter, town councilors were enthusiastic about the project.

“I’m in favor of this also,” Councilor Bill Reiner said. “It’s in existing usage in this zone and it makes it

more suitable for the area.”

Councilor Jarrod Maxfield expressed support for the project saying he has faith that if approved, it will be a quality project.

Windham Councilor Mark Morrison said he likes what the owners are proposing for the property.

“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for the town,” Morrison said. “We’re upgrading a facility that is currently here.”

Councilor Brett Jones said he thinks the contract zone is a good idea, but his concern would be that the longer-term rentals could turn into homeless shelters.

Frank said the new efficiencies would rent for about $1,000 and designed for stable individuals and couples.

By a general consensus of approval, town councilors sent the contract zone request to the Windham Planning Board for review. <

In the public eye: WHS Spanish teacher fosters welcoming environment

Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Masha Yurkevich

Everybody has their place; a place where they know that they are welcome, where they know that they can serve those around them, where they feel like in a second home. The most important part is to find this place, to find this welcoming community where each laugh and smile never ends. For some, this place is harder to find than it is for others. But for Tianna Burton, this place found itself and never left her.

Tianna Burton has been teaching at Windham
High School for 15 years and says she loves her
job, especially making connections with her
Burton is the World Language Department Co-Chair, a Spanish teacher, Co-Advisor of Student Council, and Co-Advisor of the Social Justice League (SJL) at Windham High School. She is also a member of the district Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee (DEI) and a member of WHS’s Equity Response Team.

As department co-chair she attends weekly meetings with building administration and leads department work on curriculum design, goal setting, and standards-based assessment design. As advisor for student council and SJL, she works closely with students helping connect them with resources that they need to get their many initiatives off the ground. These initiatives include a prom attire drive, student spirit weeks, school community building activities and professional development presentations for district staff and students.

As a member of the DEI committee and the Equity Response Team, she attends professional development conferences and meetings with both building and district administration working towards various goals in their strategic plan and supporting fellow teachers in this important work.

Burton was born in Akron, Ohio and moved to northern Maine at the age of 9. She graduated from Presque Isle High School, then graduated with honors from Boston College with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, and she earned her Master's in Education from the University of Southern Maine. In the middle of all that schooling she also was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, South America.

“In my work as a volunteer in South America I taught English, health, and nutrition at my local high school,” says Burton. “I worked with a group of farmers on crop rotation, the importance of green manures, switching to sustainable farming practices, and beekeeping. I formed a women’s group to study small animal husbandry and gardening and connect women with area resources to help make their farms and ranches more self-sustaining. I also formed a youth group that tackled health, nutrition and safety issues in their village and surrounding communities. They created vaccination clinics for pets to stop the spread of a deadly virus killing cats and dogs throughout their country. They learned about hygiene and nutritional practices to improve the lives of area youth and taught throughout their village. This experience made me consider teaching for the first time.”

When she returned stateside after nearly two and a half years, she entered the Elementary Teacher Education Program (ETEP) at USM and devoted herself to becoming a teacher full time. She did her student teaching at Windham High School 15 years ago and never left.

“I think many people think we come here, and our job begins and ends with teaching our subject,” says

Burton. “It’s kind of funny to me because students don’t want to - and won’t - learn from someone they don’t think cares about them. Like the motto ‘connect before you correct’ students are more engaged in their learning and more successful when they know that their teacher cares about them and their learning.”

Recently, there have been some negative narratives about teachers making the rounds. Burton says that this has been the most challenging part of her job.

“We went from being heroes at the start of the pandemic to being vilified in the past year for a multitude of perceived reasons,” she says. “Teaching is a challenging job. I have 23 kids in a class and no two of them learn best the same way. I have to be a 100 different people in a day to meet the needs of my 100-plus students. It is an exhausting and often thankless profession that people do because they love kids, education and hope to have a lasting and positive impact on future generations.”

Throughout her years of teaching, Burton says that the most important thing she has learned is to foster an environment where every child feels welcome and safe enough to devote themselves to their education.

“I want my classroom to be a space that students are wholly themselves, curious and eager to learn, share ideas and interact with their peers in a way that is respectful and builds community,” says Burton. “I love being able to see all my students faces and recognize them when I see them around town! I have been working with a lot of other teachers in the district on various projects and there is an overwhelmingly positive and hopeful spirit throughout our district. We are all excited for a little more normalcy in this school year and more frequent opportunities to cheer each other on from the sidelines, do more group focused and hands on learning, and just generally celebrate each other's wins.” <

New Balance Foundation donates $1 million gift to Camp Sunshine

CASCO – Camp Sunshine has announced a $1 million gift from the New Balance Foundation.

This donation will endow one entire session at Camp Sunshine in perpetuity. The funds will forever provide families with the opportunity to meet others on similar journeys and to re-group, re-energize and restore hope for the future. Camp Sunshine is a free, year-round retreat in Casco for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

New Balance Foundation has given a $1 million gift to
Camp Sunshine in Casco, a free, year-round retreat for
children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
The gift will endow one entire session at Camp Sunshine 
for as many as 40 families or up to 170 people.
Each New Balance Foundation session will host as many as 40 families, which equates to about 80 to 100 children and 150 to 170 total family members. This year's New Balance Foundation session at Camp Sunshine was hosted from Sept. 2 to Sept. 5.

This generous gift is the latest in what has been a longstanding relationship between Camp Sunshine and the New Balance Foundation that began two decades ago.

This is one of Camp Sunshine's longest-standing collaborative efforts and it continues to be a motivator for all of us here at Camp to be aligned with a corporate foundation that is so invested in giving back," said Anna Gould, Camp Sunshine's Founder & Board Chair.

The Foundation's support of Camp Sunshine began in 2000 when it sponsored two families to attend the program as part of the Miracle Marathon and grand opening of Camp Sunshine's Anna & Larry Gould Campus. Soon after, factory and outlet store associates began to volunteer at Camp on an annual basis. In 2006, the Foundation committed $250,000 to Camp Sunshine's Endowment and in 2009, an additional $250,000 Brick Walkway Matching Challenge was completed, and the walkway named in the New Balance Foundation's honor. The New Balance Foundation later matched donations up to $300,000 to celebrate Camp Sunshine's 30th Anniversary in 2014.

To date, the New Balance Foundation has donated nearly $2,000,000 to Camp Sunshine.

"Our goal at Camp Sunshine is to create communities of support for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, and the continued support of the New Balance Foundation ensures that families will be able to experience the magic of Camp Sunshine for years to come," said Michael Katz, Camp Sunshine's Executive Director.

"Camp Sunshine is a pillar of strength in our Maine communities. The Camp's commitment to families, patients and communities is unprecedented and New Balance and New Balance Foundation is proud to stand by Camp Sunshine's vision. The Camp's programs continue to grow, and their ability to host families facing a wide range of serious illnesses is tremendous. New Balance Foundation is proud to invest in Camp Sunshine's future with a meaningful gift that will benefit families for years to come," said Anne Davis, managing trustee, New Balance Foundation. <

About Camp Sunshine

Founded in 1984, Camp Sunshine provides retreats combining respite, recreation and support, while enabling hope and promoting joy, for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families through the various stages of a child's illness.

About The New Balance Foundation

The New Balance Foundation mission is to drive change in our global communities with an enduring commitment to preventing childhood obesity and championing the future success of today's youth. Since 1981, New Balance Foundation has granted more than $120M to charity, investing in research, and clinical, educational and community programs that promote healthy lifestyles, children's fitness and nutrition, and overall community wellness.

Volunteer receives Melvin Jones Fellowship Award from Raymond Lions Club

Caryl Gilman, a tireless volunteer in the Raymond-Casco area, was presented with the Lions Club International’s Melvin Jones Fellowship Award during a recent Raymond Lions Club meeting.

Raymond Lions Club President Laurie Wallace,
left, presents the Melvin Jones Fellowship
Award to Caryl Gilman, a volunteer in the
Raymond-Casco area. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Gilman, who has served as secretary for the Raymond Lions Club for quite a few years, is active in many Raymond and Casco organizations, including not only the Raymond Lions Club, but also the Raymond Food Pantry, the Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing, and the Raymond Village Church.

During tax season, Gilman volunteers to help prepare taxes at no charge for senior residents needing tax guidance and assistance.

Lions Clubs across the world recognize outstanding individuals by bestowing on them an award that is named after the club’s founder, Melvin Jones. This award is the highest form of recognition and embodies humanitarian ideas consistent with the nature and purpose of the club.

According to Raymond Lions Club President Laurie Wallace the award shows that Gilman has gone above and beyond in serving both the local club and the community in general.

"The Raymond Lions Club is honored to have Caryl as its secretary and as a very active, engaged member of the club,” Wallace said. “Lions Club International’s mission is to empower Lions clubs, volunteers, and partners to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, and support those in need through humanitarian services and grants that impact lives locally and globally, and encourage peace and international understanding.”

The club was formed in 1995 and is an active group of service minded men and women who want to make Raymond a better place to live by serving the community in a variety of ways. It is a part of the world's largest, and most active service club organization, Lions Club International.

Along with the more than 1.4 million members, they work with their fellow Lions in more than 170 countries and geographical areas to seek out and help the needy in their own communities, their
country, and the world, Wallace said.

The club meets monthly and is active in many worthwhile community service projects in the Raymond and Casco areas.

For further information about the Raymond Lions Club, or to join, call Wallace at 207-655-2222. <

September 23, 2022

Windham Historical Society to provide first Village Green concert

By Lorraine Glowczak

When Europeans immigrated and settled in North America, the nation formed into pockets of rural communities. Most people lived on farms or in small towns and villages. Windham was no exception. So, how did the Windham residents spend their time at the turn of the 20th century when they were not working at their jobs or in the fields?

The public can tour a completely restored Old Grocery Store
during a free open house and concert on the grounds of the 
Windham Historical Society's Village Green off Windham
Center Road from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. 
The Windham Historical Society will give a glimpse into those years gone by, by hosting an open house and concert on their Village Green from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the recently renovated Village Green, 234 Windham Center Road. Attendees will enjoy music provided by the Generations Barbershop Quartet as they perform old-fashion harmonies on the gazebo in the ‘town center.’

“We invite everyone to bring their lawn chairs, relax and enjoy the musical entertainment as well as the baked goods that will be available in the Old Grocery Store,” Haley Pal, a local historian and volunteer member of the historical society, said.

Pal said that this will be the first concert on the green, giving people the experience of Windham’s early years.

“Attendees can explore what life was like years ago while being introduced to the historical society’s newest buildings; the gazebo, the grocery store and the blacksmith shop,” Pal said. “We’re hoping to give people a feel of what life was like back when gazebos were used for a variety of reasons that included being a gathering and entertainment spot for the community."

Pal said the historical society is looking forward to introducing a refurbished Windham grocery store to the public.

“People can experience the Old Grocery Store as it would have looked when it served as the town’s mercantile and learn a bit about the trade of blacksmithing from the Society’s resident blacksmith, Sam Simonson. The store now reflects the way it looked at the turn of the 20th century. Every nook and cranny is utilized. Items sold would have included toys, vegetables, fruits, and candies. They also sold jewelry, china, sewing notions, school supplies and personal products. There were bags of flour, crocks of pickles, canning supplies, tools, you name it, it was sold in the store. It was sort of like the Walmart of its day.”

To celebrate the building’s even earlier times, there is a cobbler and a tailor shop display. There is also a telephone exhibit complete with a switchboard that is exactly like the one that served Windham at one time.

According to the Windham Historical Society website, Windham was originally settled primarily by farmers who came here in the middle of the 1700s.

“The agricultural lifestyle continued through most of the town’s history until the industrial age,” the website continues. “Several wars and many societal changes have created the town we know today, which is primarily residential and includes a large commercial center.”

Windham Historical Society was organized in 1967 for the purpose of preserving the town’s rich historical past and providing opportunities for members of the public to learn about their heritage.

Besides the grocery store, the blacksmith shop and gazebo, the Windham Historical Society’s Village Green includes a one-room schoolhouse, the former Windham Circulating Library, and the Old Town House Museum, which was not only the original Town Hall but also served as one of the many schoolhouses in Windham.

Additionally, the South Windham Library, which was moved from the Little Falls section of Gorham will soon become a museum featuring information about South Windham and the railroad that was an essential part of public transportation during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Lastly, the historical society also owns a house that they currently rent.

“The Village Green will take you to the past, providing both entertainment and a lesson in American small-town life from long ago,” Pal said. "We hope the community will join us this Saturday. If not, please visit us soon. We’re open on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon or by appointment.”

For more information, peruse the historical society’s website at or call 207-892-1433. <

Windham to make decision soon regarding new trash contract

By Ed Pierce

Members of the Windham Town Council met to discuss the particulars of a new sold waste contract for the town during a workshop on Tuesday evening.

If Windham converts to a new trash collection system,
the town would scrap its longtime system of roadside bins
and having to purchase blue bags to dispose of waste
picked up by refuse collectors and instead use new carts
and an automated system. COURTESY PHOTO
In February 2020, Windham entered a three-year contract starting in July 2020 that runs through June 2023 with Pine Tree Waste, Inc. also known as Casella Waste. Under the current system, trash and recyclables are manually collected at the roadside which requires a driver and a laborer and services about 5,400 stops.

Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts told councilors that Casella Waste does not intend to continue business with the town under terms of the current contract because of extended labor shortages and manpower issues. Casella is advocating for an automated program for Windham which consists of using trucks with mechanical arms that lift and dump wheeled carts and fewer laborers are required.

During the workshop Tibbetts and Assistant Windham Town Manager Bob Burns that said if a new trash system is implemented under a new contract, it would mean scrapping the town’s longtime system of roadside bins and having to purchase blue bags to dispose of waste picked up by refuse collectors.

Casella says it has incurred rising operational costs and feels this is its only option for refuse collection in future contracts in this region and according to Tibbetts five other nearby towns are in negotiations with Casella for conversion to an automated collection system at this time. Burns said no other refuse firms have said they are interested in a contract with Windham for solid waste removal.

Scrapping the Pay As You Throw (PAYT) system also would mean losing associated revenue from sales of the blue bags and increased tipping fees incurred by the town for EcoMaine if residents place improperly bagged waste items in carts that is picked up when the trash truck operator is unable to see what is in the cart below the top. Burns said having an automated program in Windham will require effort and manpower from the town to ensure that abuse to the system is limited.

Tibbetts said a new automated system would require new totes for residents and said that is another issue requiring study because if the town purchases the totes, manpower would be required for tote maintenance as needed. However, Casella could purchase and maintain the totes under negotiated terms of a new contract. Tibbetts said that he and Burns recently met with town managers of five other towns and it might be possible for the towns to pool resources to lower the cost of having to purchase totes for residents if necessary.

The size of the new totes could be determined by the size of the household or amount of trash being generated by a residence, he said.

During the Annual Windham Town Meeting in June, voters approved the town budget which included $600,000 for the purchase of new trash and recycle receptacles and bins for town residents if needed and should a new town trash collection system be implemented.

Burns said a new contract with Casella would be for five years and would come with a three-year extension.

According to Burns, Casella has driven through Windham and is expecting to service about 7,500 stops in the town and will purchase a new 6-wheeled platform truck to access some private roads here.

Councilors Nick Kalogerakis and Brett Jones expressed concerns during the workshop about Casella’s willingness and ability to service private roads in town with the new contract. Councilor Bill Reiner said he thinks Windham needs to be firm on this issue and not let Casella be the primary driver of the terms of a new solid waste contract.

Town Council Chair Jarrod Maxfield said he’s concerned by the logistics of how trash pickup would work for residents of roads Casella won’t go down and roads which could be flowing with trash bins on collection days near the end of the road.

Maxfield said he does believe converting to a new system will take some getting used to, but residents will be happy with getting rid of the town’s blue bags if that’s what eventually happens.

“The devil’s going to be in the details and the logistics of how this is going to work,” he said.

Negotiations with Casella are continuing, and town councilors will take up the issue again once a new contract is presented to them. <

Land Trust completes fundraising for East Windham Conservation Project

By Ed Pierce

The Presumpscot Regional Land Trust has sufficiently raised enough funding to complete the East Windham Conservation Project.

A scenic viewpoint looks west on woods Road from the new
East Windham Conservation Project, expected to be open
by next fall to the public. 
According to a newsletter issued by the organization, the land trust received nearly 400 gifts for the East Windham Conservation Project, with 150 of those being first-time gifts to the land trust. The Land Trust spent much of the summer fundraising for the project, which when completed will be the largest block of unfragmented forest in Windham, and one of the largest in the Greater Portland area.

“A huge thank you to everyone who supported the project and to all ongoing Land Trust members and business partners who make conservation, clean water, and trails possible,” said Rachelle Curran Apse, executive director of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust. “Special thanks to Gorham Savings Bank, who provided a $50,000 matching challenge gift.”

Curran Apse said that a complete the list of project sponsors, foundations, businesses, and organizations that supported the project is on the East Windham Conservation Project webpage.

“We are working with the Town of Windham to complete Land for Maine’s Future grant requirements this fall, in order to conserve the land by year's end,” Curran Apse said. “Once we conserve the land, we will begin building out the trailhead and 10 miles of trails. We are planning for a grand opening next fall. We will continue to share updates on the project throughout the year.”

In June, Windham residents voted during the Annual Town Meeting to allow the town to enter a partnership with Presumpscot Regional Land Trust to purchase and conserve 661 acres near Little Duck Pond in East Windham.

The East Windham Conservation Project would acquire the forested acreage for recreational opportunities in Windham while also adding 1,545 feet of undeveloped water frontage on Little Duck Pond, the 150-acre Deer Wintering Area for hunting, and the 580-foot Atherton Hill, the tallest hill in Windham.

This spring the Lands for Maine’s Future organization awarded the East Windham Conservation project $998,000 to help fund the initiative. The project will directly abut more than 1,000 acres of other conserved land in Windham and Falmouth, including Lowell Preserve, North Falmouth Community Forest, and Blackstrap Hill Preserve, providing 20 miles of interconnected trails and five trailheads for public access, and amounting to one of the largest unfragmented forests in the Greater Portland region.

Voters approved a bond to match the LMF award with open space impact fees so there will be no impact upon the mil rate for local homeowners. The project will preserve a part of Windham that residents have identified is an important area to conserve during increasing concerns about local development, offers scenic views of the western mountains and offers a place for outdoor recreation.

Prior to the town meeting, Amanda Lessard, Town of Windham Planning Director, said that in the latest Open Space Plan, Windham identified this area of East Windham as important to conserve for its large undeveloped habitat blocks, preservation of rural character and water quality protection. Lessard said that Windham has been collaborating with the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust over the past six months to engage the community on developing a vision for this property.

“With guidance from the steering committee, we held two community meetings, site walks of the property, and put out a town-wide survey that had 900 responses,” she said. “The top-ranked community benefit identified by the survey was to conserve the land to remain undeveloped for wildlife habitat, water quality protection and rural character. The second-highest ranked community benefit was to provide multiple-use outdoor recreation and create access for the whole community. Finally, the top four highest-ranked activities that will bring respondents to this land once it is conserved are walking, hiking, visiting an observation tower with 360-degree views, and experiencing scenic views of the White Mountains.”

The plan envisions a year-round trail head parking area, multi-use trails, access to fishing, hunting and wildlife observation area, a universal access trail connecting from Falmouth Road to Little Duck Pond and Atherton Hill, an observation tower that will provide scenic views to Casco Bay and Mount Washington, and destinations with scenic views of the western mountains and the pond. <