October 13, 2017

Windham and Raymond taking action during Domestic Violence Awareness Month By Matthew I. Perry

October has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) for the past 30 years. It is a month that provides the opportunity to mourn those who have lost their lives; as 16 percent of all U.S. murder victims are killed by an intimate partner or former partner.1 DVAM is a month to celebrate our neighbors who have or are surviving abusive behaviors; as intimate partner violence affects more than 12 million people each year.2   
This month is a time to for us to come together as communities to organize, strategize and take action to end violence in all relationships. Anyone can be abused, as all it takes is to fall in love with someone who feels they have the right to use intimidating and violent behavior to get what they want. That can happen in any relationship - regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, gender identity, age or ethnicity.  

Abuse is always wrong, and it is always the fault of the person using power tactics to gain control over their partner. Fearing your partner is not part of a healthy relationship. 

Though awareness is an important part of change, awareness alone will not affect the current rates and severity of abuse in relationships. Awareness plus action is the formula for change and safety for all. Not just action by a few advocates and police officers, but community action at every level. We need support and accountability to be built into every facet of our community - whether that is, on your street, in our schools, at our places of employment or in our house of worship; the support and accountability need to be within service providers’ protocols at the municipal level, and in the Maine Legislature. 

We have been improving our collective understanding and actions to domestic violence happening in our communities. For 20 years, Cumberland County has been convening community members, service providers, law enforcement personnel, policy makers and representatives of the judicial system, to achieve this exact goal. The Violence Intervention Partnership meets monthly, to learn from one another and to hone our County’s coordinated community response to domestic violence. It is our communities’ responsibility to end domestic violence in our neighborhoods. It is unrealistic to think it would be the responsibility of the person suffering abuse, to hold their batterer accountable for the violence they are inflicting on their loved ones. 

Windham has taken action to improve the safety in relationships of its residents. Windham Police recently shared on their Facebook page, “In 2016 we had just over 50 reports of domestic violence in a town of approx.18,000 people. We believe domestic violence continues to be grossly underreported.”  The Windham PD has been a driving force on how domestic violence is viewed and responded to in Windham. They work collaboratively with our Enhanced Police Intervention Program (EPIP), who advocates, facilitates and assists survivors by connecting them with community supports and resources. Both Windham High and Windham Middle School have been scheduling our Young Adult Abuse Prevention Program (YAAPP) for over a decade, to come in throughout the year, to offer prevention education on dating violence and gender stereotyping. The Town of Windham has shown their appreciation of our collaborations by providing yearly municipal funding for the services provided in Windham. The Windham Eagle is part of the solution by providing this space to continue the dialogue with Windham residents. Windham is an active participant in eradicating domestic violence in Cumberland County. 

We ask you to join us in taking action this October, and all year round. Action from all of us is needed to bring safety and peace to our neighborhoods. Action steps are different for all of us.  For some, it may be attending our 40-hour volunteer training, for others it may be donating their cell phone to help victims of abuse, or it may be asking your employer if there is a workplace policy pertaining to domestic violence. All of these actions, and more, are needed.  For more information, resource and action steps, please visit www.familycrisis.org or call our 24/7 free hotline 1-800-537-6066.

1 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Nov. 2011
2. www.ncdsv.org , Oct. 2014

Matthew Perry is the Community Education and Prevention Coordinator of Family Crisis Services

Raymond Board of Selectmen Meeting update by Lorraine Glowczak

The Raymond Board of Selectmen met on Tuesday, October 10 at 6:30 p.m. at 401 Webbs Mills Road in Raymond, as part of their regularly scheduled meeting.

The meeting began with the appointment and welcoming of the new Town of Raymond Code
Scott Dvorak
Enforcement Officer, Scott Dvorak of Bridgton. Dvorak’s appointment start date will begin on Tuesday, October 24. He comes to his new position with over 30 years of construction experience, as well as three and a half years’ experience in his role as Assistant Code Enforcement officer with the Town of Gorham.

A discussion and update on various educational programs and building repairs were provided by the RSU#14 Board of Directors. The discussion also included the new bus garage referendum question that will be voted on in Windham on November 7. Concerns were expressed by the Board of Selectman regarding the increased costs that will occur if the referendum is passed. 

Allison Griffin, Director of the Raymond Village Library provided financial and program updates that included child and adult programming as well as community partnerships and fundraising endeavors.

A unanimous vote was taken to appoint and confirm Suzanne M. Carr as the Warden for the November 7, 2017, Referendum Election.

For more information on this meeting contact the Town of Raymond at 207-655-4742.

Windham Town Council considers several agenda items by Lorraine Glowczak

The Windham Town Council meeting was held at its usual time of 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 10. This week’s agenda included many votes on various issues that brought many community members to the chamber room.

The topics that prompted public discussion included the Highland Lake watershed emergency moratorium ordinance that was adopted at the Council’s meeting on September 12. To remain in effect beyond sixty (60) days, the Council was required to hold a public hearing and vote on the ordinance again within that time frame. A public hearing and vote were discussed and voted. Upon hearing all comments, the Council voted unanimously to keep the emergency ordinance active for 180 days.

The second subject of concern included the vote and approval to the amendments to Sections 300, 500, and 900 of the Land Use Ordinance, Chapter 140 of the Code of the Town of Windham, regarding private roads and private ways, both as part of subdivision approval and outside of subdivision approval.

Public comments were expressed to the Town Council on both sides of the issues. After hearing the comments, the Council voted to approve the above stated amendments 4 – 2.

Public comment was also available for a proposed Property Tax Assistance Program Ordinance.
The program established by the ordinance would, beginning in fiscal 2018-2019, provide benefits of up to $500 per year to qualifying persons aged 65 or older who have a homestead and subject to income and property tax limits. No public comment. Town Council voted unanimously for the Property Tax Assistance Program Ordinance.

For more information and details regarding this meeting and/or future meetings, one can view a recorded version on the Town of Windham website at www.windhammaine.us or call 207-892-1900.