May 15, 2020

Saving lives: Be The Influence offers free virtual Narcan training

By Ed Pierce

A community coalition dedicated to raising awareness and addressing concerns resulting from substance use and misuse in Windham and Raymond will offer free virtual training in the use of Narcan to the community on May 18 and May 27.

The training is sponsored by Be The Influence and the city of Portland, and can help prevent death from overdoses by reversing the effects of opiates. Because it is a virtual presentation, training can be completed from home and takes about an hour from start to finish.

https://jobs.spectrum.com/According to Laura, Morris, executive director of Be The Influence, a community collaborative designed to educate and help prevent substance misuse in Windham and Raymond, learning how to safely administer Narcan can mean the difference between life and death.

“Everybody should be equipped for this because you never know,” Morris said. “You could possibly save a life. Wherever people can help, this training can help reduce overdose deaths.”

Although it is usually administered by paramedics and emergency responders, Narcan can be administered by anyone who has been properly trained in its use. Those attending the virtual training sessions will receive instruction about risk factors for an opioid overdose, as well as how to recognize and respond by administering Narcan.

Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, works by blocking opioids from attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and only works on those overdosing from opiates such as heroin and morphine.

Morris said that residents wishing to participate in the virtual Narcan training must register at zop@portlandmaine.gov. Names and email addresses of participants will not be shared with others and training can be done confidentially. Free samples of Narcan will also be available at a local site to be announced soon.

Along with co-sponsoring the virtual Narcan training, Be The Influence is continuing to work with and encourage students to become involved and learn about the dangers of drugs and how to make healthy decisions despite being away from classrooms during the pandemic, Morris said.

“The BTI Youth Public Service Announcement Contest that targeted the dangers of vaping and alternatives to self-medication is currently on our website and BTI Facebook page as well as the American Cancer Society website,” she said. “Please encourage other youth to submit by sending their 30- or 60-second video to director@betheinfluencewrw.org.”

Windham Middle School students that have submitted PSAs so far include Zocia LaWind, Sophia Gugliuzza, Dominic Cataldi and Daphne Cyr.
Other local students also were part of a focus group on May 7 to create a PSA about how to cope with the coronavirus without substances.

“It is intended to raise awareness of children experiencing trauma who are self-medicating,” Morris said. “The student PSAs show how to overcome trauma and anxiety without medications.”

RSU14 students also partnered with peers in Yarmouth, Bath and Gorham to enter a PSA contest sponsored by the American Cancer Society in conjunction with SEED, or Students Empowered to End Dependency.

Morris said PSA contests in general that are promoted by Be The Influence try to teach the concept of resilience to students.






Ready to go: Windham Farmers’ Market to open next weekend amid the new reality

By Lorraine Glowczak

In its third successful year, the Windham Farmer’s Market will be at it again this summer at the same location on Turning Leaf Drive in Windham (intersection of Route 302 and River Road) beginning on Saturday, May 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Vendors who will provide fresh, local foods and hand crafted products at this year’s market include: Baker Brook Farm, Cates Cache, Fox Run Gifts, Hailey’s Kitchen, Mains Made, Mulberry Farms, PH & Hidden Falls Farms, Siochanta Farm, Small Wood Farm, and Churchill Events.

There will be slight changes from previous years, because of the need for added personal distance and safety.

“The only modifications that will take place for this year’s Farmers’ Market will be to adjust to the new reality,” said Tom Bartell, Director of the Windham Economic Development Corporation. “The plan is to maintain the continued health and safety of the market and community and to comply with the State of Maine Governor’s Orders. The plan will be evaluated and amended throughout the summer for continued effectiveness.”

The Farmers’ Market will be set up to maintain the state mandated safety precautions. This will include the following:

·       Increased booth separation.  Each booth will have a line established for waiting customers and that line will be marked in 6-foot increments to maintain personal distancing.  
·       There will be two hand sanitizer stations for customer use, each located at either end of the market, and labeled with visible signage. 
·       Trash cans will be provided for the customer areas with step-on lids.
·       There will be signage reminding us to observe appropriate procedures. 
·       Frequently touched areas will be sanitized regularly.
·       Use of face masks is strongly encouraged for everyone’s protection.

“One of the additions to this year’s market is that shopping from 8:30 to 9 a.m. will be reserved for customers 55 and over or for those at risk,” said Bartell. “There will still be a welcome booth open with staff to greet customers and to process SNAP/EBT and MHB purchases.”

“To further keep our community members safe by avoiding direct personal contact, the market made the difficult decision to skip the popular children’s attractions, special events, and entertainment for this summer.  We do remain committed to supporting our customers and vendors with a great shopping experience,” said Market Coordinator Lisa Fisher.

Be sure to make a Farmer’s Market visit every Saturday morning this summer and support your local farmers and artisans.

For more information about this year’s market or to inquire about becoming a vendor, contact Lisa Fisher at 207-894-4097.




Saluting those who make it look easy: Sebago Lakes Region Chamber News

By Zack Conley, Board President

During difficult times it can be easy to overlook the hard work of those who make it look easy and flawless. Therefore, on behalf of the Board of Directors for the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, I would like to publicly recognize the tireless efforts of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber staff, Robin Mullins (Executive Director) and Denise Dyer (Office Manager), during this extremely challenging time.

Sebago Lakes Region Chamber Director
Robin Mullins and Board President Zack Conley
along with the board of directors
collaborate with businesses and the town to
support economic stability during these uncertain times. 
Countless hours have been spent on Zoom meetings with the Maine Department of Economic Community Development, the Department of Labor, Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, and the Maine State Chamber to gather information (that seems to change by the hour) on unemployment insurance, available loan programs, such as the PPP and EIDL, the CARES Act, essential vs. non-essential businesses, and re-opening plans and checklists. This information is then packaged in easy to read and useful newsletters that are sent as needed to all Chamber members, posted on the Chamber website, and shared via Facebook for non-members and the public.

An entire day was spent, with the help of board Directors, calling all three hundred Chamber businesses to check in and see how they were doing and how the Chamber could assist them, a Zoom meeting with the leaders of the ten towns the Chamber serves (Casco, Gray, Limerick, Limington, Naples, New Gloucester, Raymond, Sebago, Standish, and Windham) was set up as a way for the towns to share information with each other and let the Chamber know how it could best support each of them, and hours have been spent answering member and non-member questions about everything from available loans and assistance to when can businesses start to reopen.

Robin and Denise have been the voice of business in the region during calls with Maine’s Congressional Delegation, they have partnered with the Windham Economic Development Corporation, Windham Parks and Recreation and local restaurants to set up a Friday Free Meal Program for Senior Citizens in Windham, oversaw a $4,500 donation to 13 local food pantries in the region from the Chamber’s Charitable Trust, have given access to the Chamber Zoom account for members, set up the support local business campaign, #slrccsupportlocal, and held a virtual job fair for eight local companies in partnership with Bonney Staffing and the Maine Career Center. They have also brought on nine new members and are making plans for three major upcoming events, a Scholarship Golf Open on August 27th, the Sebago Spirits Festival on Sep. 19, and the revival of the Sebago Lake Polar Dip, in partnership with the Sebago Lakes Rotary for 2021.

They have done all of these things (and so much more), and with less hours. Like all businesses they have been affected by COVID-19, having to close the office, work from home, do more with less, and look for ways to save money while still bringing in revenues to pay for rent, utilities, and payroll expenses. Unlike other businesses and 501(c)3 non-profits, however, the Chamber has not been eligible for the same forgivable loan programs, such as the PPP or EDIL. The Chamber is a non-profit, but its 501(c)6 status (which allows them to lobby, although they do very little of it) negates them from these loan programs. Please keep this in mind as you, “support local.” 


A huge “thank you” to Robin Mullins and Denise Dyer for their commitment to the Chamber and the businesses in the Sebago Lakes region. Their work is important and greatly appreciated. Thank you, too, to the businesses who continue to support Robin and Denise and the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce as a whole. 

Together we will prosper, One Region, Limitless Possibilities! #Chambersarelocaltoo <





Coming to a neighborhood near you: 'Rolling Parade' to mark Memorial Day in Windham, Raymond

By Dave Tanguay

It’s Victory in Europe (VE Day, May 8), the 75th anniversary of the end of hostilities from World War II in the European theater.

Each Memorial Day the Town in coordination with the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 has taken every opportunity to honor those WWII heroes still with us. The Post currently list five in its membership. Over half the Post membership was WWII vets 25 years ago. It’s been more than 75 years since these vets went off to war.

Today, with the Covid-19 situation foremost in our collect minds, I contacted the Town Manager with the thought of reluctantly, cancelling the Memorial Day events for 2020 due to the current and projected restriction on large gatherings.

I received a pleasant counter proposal by Town Manager Barry Tibbetts. “Why don’t we bring the parade to the Windham community?”

After a Zoom meeting with the Town Manager Tibbetts, Police Chief Kevin Schofield, Fire Chief Brent Libby, the Town’s Economic Development chair Tom Bartlett, and members of the Legion Post 148 Eric Bickford and Dave Tanguay, a plan was developed and placed in the works. The plan is to hold a “Rolling Parade” through the neighborhoods of the town and bring the Parade to the Community.

The details for this novel approach to Memorial Day are still being worked out by the Fire Chief Libby and Police Chief Schofield as to security issues and the route. In general, it will look something like the “Easter Bunny” Route from last month.

Staring at the north end of the town (Raymond Line) and progress south along Route 302 the parade would run through as many subdivisions and neighborhoods based on accessibility.  The “Rolling Parade” would start at 9 a.m. and run for about two hours along the 302 corridor, then turn easterly along Route 202 to South Windham.

The Grand Marshal for this year’s Parade will be WWII veteran and P-51 pilot, Carroll MacDonald, now residing in North Windham. Other veterans from all our wars and conflicts will also be involved in the parade.

The Town and Legion Post are asking our community to come out to honor these and all of our veterans.  You can enjoy the parade from the comfort of your home and maintain the social distancing mandates. Or, you can park in the parking lots that front Route 302 in North Windham and watch the parade go by from the comfort of your vehicle.

The other event that the community may help with is the annual placement of flags of the Veteran’s graves in Arlington Cemetery. North Windham.  This is an event where social distancing can safely take place.  For those with a concern, masks and nitrile gloves will be available. The flag placement will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 16. Other cemeteries will be covered by our veterans the week before.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Town Manager Barry Tibbetts for his “outside the box” thinking that will allow the veteran community to salvage some elements of Memorial Day.

These are also opportunities to make memorable events for your family during this challenging time. Please join us.


May 8, 2020

Alexandra Hammond wins SMAA Citizenship Award

By Matt Pascarella

Windham resident and Cheverus senior Alexandra Hammond has worked hard to be a leader both during games or meets as well as within the community. Aside from playing a variety of sports, she dedicated over 200 hours of her time to community service. Last month, Hammond was awarded Cheverus High School’s Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAA) Citizenship Award.

Alexandra Hammond (photo by Shelly Rose
Photography
Cheverus Athletic Director, Amy Ashley, said Hammond was chosen because of her multi-sport participation and being a great citizen of the school. She always competed with an emphasis on sportsmanship and represented Cheverus positively. Academically, she was a top-notch student and was always willing to help out and volunteer.

“She does what you would hope all kids would do…a serious student and a serious athlete; kind, compassionate, very easy to cheer for. Cheverus was very lucky to have her,” said Vice Principal Dan Costigan.

“Receiving this award felt like a perfect summation to a career that was cut short with Cheverus High School Athletics. I worked hard...to be a leader on and off the court, field, or runway,” said Hammond. “This award made me feel like all the dedication had not gone unseen and that I have been able to leave a mark on my community.”

Hammond played varsity soccer, indoor track, varsity basketball, varsity volleyball, and varsity softball (and was planning on participating in outdoor track this season on top of softball). Outside of Cheverus, she has played Thunder Softball, Velocity Soccer, Thunder Basketball, and Maine Juniors Volleyball.

The ways Hammond has given back to the Cheverus and Windham communities are multi-faceted. At Cheverus, she has been a community read leader, a summer reading program, for two years. She has helped lead the freshman retreat, orientation, and reunion. She has volunteered at the Special Olympics basketball tournament at the University of Southern Maine; and she has helped to encourage independence and to teach the different sports individuals may compete in for Special Olympics at Windham Primary School.

Hammond says community involvement is important to her because she has grown up in a very connected world and there are many people she depends on. “This community has given me so many role-models that I wanted to become one myself and give to others what I was fortunate enough to have.”

Her softball coach agrees.

“Alex as an athlete goes beyond any stat. Her passion for softball is shown through her commitment and hard work on and off the field. All it takes is to watch her play one game to know that she plays with more than just skill, but also with heart and integrity,” said softball coach Theresa Hendrix.

During this time, Hammond is working to be a role model for the freshmen and dwell on things that will happen, rather than things that won’t. Her softball team stays in touch via weekly Zooms and fitness challenges are posted by Coach Hendrix daily. Hammond is looking forward to what is coming by doing cardio exercises and strength workouts. She also hits 60 to 100 balls off a tee daily and has a throwing routine with her dad.

“I do everything I can to be the best teammate, captain, supporter, student, and athlete I can be. I think part of being a student athlete is definitely keeping the grades before the sports.”

Hammond added, “The credit is not mine for this award, it belongs to those that supported me through Windham schools and onto Cheverus, my parents and family for the emphasis on community, my coaches that understood my academic needs, and all my friends that understand me and support me.”

Next year, Hammond will attend Stonehill College in Massachusetts to play softball. She will be majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Biochemistry on a Pre-Optometry route.





Celebrating National Drinking Water Week

Each May, the Portland Water District invites the public to celebrate the vital role water plays in our lives during National Drinking Water Week that opened May 3 and ends Saturday, May 9.
Planned public events were cancelled because of the pandemic, so the water district has shifted gears and are offering an online photo contest and encouraging the pubic to visit local breweries for takeout, delivery, and curbside services.

Photo Contest: From Sebago Lake to My Face 

We invite our customers to share pictures of their favorite ways to drink PWD tap water through a photo contest on the Portland Water District Facebook page. Enter the contest any time during May 3 to 9 by commenting on our Contest Kickoff post with your photo submission. The five submissions with the highest number of “likes” by 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 9 will be selected as winners! For details and rules visit our web site: https://www.pwd.org/celebrate-national-drinking-water-week-may-3-9-2020

Local Breweries: Show Your Support 

Dozens of local breweries rely on PWD water to produce their outstanding draughts. The breweries listed on our web site had committed to participate in our original 2020 Drinking Water Week plans. Raise a glass – it’s 90 percent water – and support these local businesses. Many offer delivery or curbside pick-up services for beer, other beverages, snacks, and necessities like toilet paper, as well as gift cards.



Remote learning through the eyes of teachers and specialists

By Elizabeth Richards

In RSU14, the staff interacting with children, including classroom teachers; special education teachers; occupational therapists; and speech therapists, have worked hard to find creative, flexible ways to approach remote learning.

Zoom meetings, email, phone calls and online assignments are all part of the comprehensive support
Kristen Inman, Occupational Therapist for
RSU14 tries to accommodate her services
to fit the current family life
that staff has set up. The way teachers and specialists communicate is often based on the needs of the individual student.

Caitlin Plain, a speech language pathologist at Windham Primary School, said she is conducting teletherapy speech sessions, which allows her to work directly with students to target their speech and language goals. She also posts resources on students’ Google Classroom, and communicates with parents via email, she said.

Kristen Inman, a pediatric occupational therapist said she is not doing traditional telehealth services because families are already overbooked. “I am trying to provide OT services in a way that fits into the current family lifestyle by providing activities that meet the needs of the child yet are fun for the child to do or fit into their academics or playtime,” she said.

Inman also has live video chats with the students ed-tech; offers pre-taped videos of individualized OT activities; mails assignments; and checks in by phone. “It really just depends on what works for the family. It makes my day when I hear from my students in whatever form,” Inman said.

Emily Stokes is a sixth grade ELA/Social Studies teacher at Windham Middle School. She has shared the work with others using the same curriculum. “We came up with rotations for planning and creating lessons, in order to keep ourselves in a good place and not overwhelmed. It’s definitely been a team effort.”

They try to keep as connected as they can to their curriculum, but a main goal, she said, is the social and emotional piece for kids.

Remote learning has required many changes, since things like the “Heart of Courage” program that Stokes typically does with her students in the spring to teach them about veterans through classroom activities and community service aren’t possible. 

“It’s something that I’m grappling with because it is something that the kids learn so much from,” Stokes said.  She hopes to set up a schedule of people who can help place flags and clean up the cemeteries. “That’s one small way that we could help out,” she said. Anyone wishing to help can contact Stokes via email (estokes@rsu14.org).

Teachers in special education are using a variety of methods to connect with their students as well.
Kristina Fitzgerald, who co-teaches seventh and eighth grade classes with a general education teacher meets individually with students who need more accommodations or explanation beyond Google Classroom or Google Meets. For executive functioning skills, she said, she provides websites and links, as well as time with the social worker and herself on Google Meets. “I also have two amazing ed techs who help with student work and follow through for IEP goals or accommodations,” she added. 

Lauren Gale, a special education teacher at Raymond Elementary School, said remote learning was a big adjustment because of how closely she works with kids based on their academic and social/emotional needs. “My first thought was worry and sadness that I wasn’t going to be a consistent person for them anymore,” she said, but has found that families are very responsive to her communication.

All staff know that families and students are doing the best they can. “Right now, my district’s greatest concern is with the emotional well-being of our families and staff. We, as staff, will provide what we can, and families will do what they can. We cannot expect more than that right now.”
There have certainly been challenges with switching to remote learning.

“I am limited by what the family has time for, the resources for, or is capable of,” Inman said. Students in K-2 usually aren’t independent in the use of technology, especially live video chats, she said. Being able to get devices set up so she can see the student’s whole body, and they can see what she is doing, can be difficult and frustrating. Children who have differing abilities have their own unique challenges as well.   

My heart goes out to those families that have three or four kids,” Stokes said. There are also families who need to be at work all day and then come home and help students with schooling, she said, so the key is finding balance without overwhelming anyone.

Gale said that because she’s not the student’s primary teacher, she let them know she was available for support then left it up to them to decide what would work for their situation.

Fitzgerald said the biggest challenge is time. “I work with some students who have difficulty initiating tasks and to not be right there with them to assist with that skill is difficult. I wish I could work with all of them, one on one, every day. I have formed relationships with each of my students, but these are connections you make face to face, not in a virtual world,” she said.

There are some silver linings to remote learning. Inman said she has discovered many new OT activities. “Sometimes you get in a rut of doing the same activities,” she said. “I am sometimes finding new areas that I wasn't aware the child needed help with and new ways to work with or help the child,” she added.

Working closely with parents has been a positive, Plain said. “Parents are able to see strategies used in therapy sessions and carry this over throughout the week with their children at home.”
“I think for some students, this is a great fit,” said Stokes. “A lot of kids get to sleep in and get up and do the work at their own pace.”  Another benefit is that kids are able to get outside more and get more fresh air, she said.

“Overall, it has been pretty positive!” said Plain. “Most students are excited to see you and this platform has resulted in me having to get more creative, which has led to some very fun sessions.”
Though children are struggling with so many things throughout this remote learning, Inman said, “they are slowly adapting and moving forward a little bit more. Each day this becomes their new normal. Kids are pretty cool that way.”

It’s important to be positive and optimistic, and it’s all about the kids,” Gale said. “At the end of the day as long as you’re helping them in any way, even if just saying hello, that’s what most important.”