September 17, 2021

State salutes Windham officer for keeping impaired drivers off roads

Windham Police Department Patrol Captain
Raymond Williams received the DRE
Lifetime Achievement Award during the
annual Drug Recognition Expert training
in Cape Elizabeth on Tuesday, Sept. 14.
SUBMITTED PHOTO
By Ed Pierce

Through the years, Windham Police Patrol Captain Raymond Williams has been instrumental in training hundreds of police officers across the state in the techniques of detection and processing alcohol and drug impaired drivers. For his diligence at protecting Maine motorists and keen ability to recognize impaired drivers before they harm others, Williams has been recognized by the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy for his lifetime contribution as a Drug Recognition Expert and his devotion to keeping Maine highways safe.

Williams received the DRE Lifetime Achievement Award during the annual DRE training held in Cape Elizabeth on Tuesday Sept. 14.    

James A. Lyman, State DEC Coordinator and Jamie Dionne, Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, Impaired Driving Programs Coordinator, presented Williams with the award and they said that the honor is well-deserved.

“He has been part of a core group of instructors that are passionately teaching these skills in the Basic Law Enforcement Training Program as well as regional classes and within his own agency,” Lyman said. “Ray has taught in most all the DRE schools since 2003 and has taken on a mentorship role helping new DREs as they learn new skills. For his years of dedicated service and overall contributions in removing impaired drivers from Maine roadways, in addition to his leadership and support for the Maine Drug Recognition Expert program, Raymond S. Williams has been presented with this DRE Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Williams is a native of Cumberland and following graduation from Greely High School, he attended Southern Maine Community College and earned an associate of science degree in law enforcement technology. 

His first job in law enforcement was as a reserve officer for the Windham Police Department and he was hired as a full-time police officer by Windham on Sept. 4, 1986. 

In March 1987, Williams graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, and he went on to successfully complete the Drug Recognition Expert School in 1991. At this time, Williams is the last active member   of that first DRE School in 1991 still serving with his department.

He’s worked for the Windham Police Patrol Division for 20 years, 13 of those as a motorcycle officer.  In June 2010, he accepted an interim detective’s assignment to the Criminal Investigations Division and was awarded the position permanently the following summer. 

Williams worked investigations until November 2014, when he was promoted to Sergeant by the police department and was reassigned to the Patrol Division as one of two Evening Shift Commanders. He was promoted to the position of Patrol Captain in December 2020.

As a certified instructor for the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, Williams teaches Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and is also teaching Active Firearms and Urban Rifle Instruction there. He is a Drug Recognition Expert, skilled in the use of the Intoxilyzer 5000ES equipment to detect alcohol impairment and in firearms. 

He’s run the Windham Police Department’s firearms program since 2006 and has been the department’s armorer since 1993. Williams also launched the department’s first Motorcycle Unit using forfeited assets he seized in a traffic stop from a drug courier transporting drugs from Connecticut to Maine. Enough money was seized to fund the Motor Unit, K-9 program and purchase other equipment not in the normal budget.

Windham Police Chief Kevin Schofield said that Williams has been part of a core group of instructors that are passionately teaching these skills in the Basic Law Enforcement Training Program as well as regional classes and within his own agency.

“Ray has taught in most all the DRE schools since 2003 and has taken on a mentorship role helping new DREs as they learn new skills,” he said.

Williams plans on finishing his career with the Windham Police Department and will have racked up more the 35 years on the job when he does retire. < 

Refuge Church hosting ‘Shop and Hop’ to give back to community

The new 'Shop and Hop' sponsored by the Refuge Church
will be held on Sept. 25 in Windham and includes a thrift
store, a fun bounce house for kids, Gaga ball, hot dogs,
cotton candy and popcorn, all for free. 
SIBMITTED PHOTO
By Collette Hayes

A new event sponsored by the Refuge Church in Windham includes something for everyone in the family and is intended to show the church’s appreciation for the community. The “Shop and Hop” event will be held at the Refuge Church’s new location on Roosevelt Trail in Windham on Sept. 25 and will include a thrift store, a fun bounce house for kids, Gaga ball, hot dogs, cotton candy and popcorn, all provided at no cost.

According to the Rev. Adam Herald, the pastor of The Refuge Church, over the last several months the church has received many donated items for the new event.

“We would like to give back to the community of Windham by sponsoring a Shop and Hop. Everything at the event will be free,” Herald said. “We are hoping that people will come and shop at the sidewalk thrift store as well as enjoy good food and fun entertainment for the kids. This is our way of giving back to the Windham community that welcomed us over four years ago.”

On March 5, 2017, the Refuge Church first opened its doors to a congregation of about 150 people in the Fine Arts auditorium of Windham High School. After four years, the church has found a new home in the heart of Windham and currently the new location is under construction and the congregation has been holding services outside on the church lawn. 

“Construction on our new building should be completed soon,” Herald said. “Due to the challenges of the pandemic, for the last 15 months we have been holding our services online. We believe we were blessed, and we are definitely excited to find a permanent meeting place. One of the cultural values of The Refuge is to empower people to be dreamers and not to settle for those dreams to just remain dreams.”

To that end, Herald said that a member of the church’s congregation, Caitlin Burrell, has had a dream to open and run a coffee shop.

“The Refuge is supporting her dream by including a coffee shop, Milk and Honey, in a large welcoming area in our building,” he said. “Although the coffee shop will remain separate and not provide funding for the church, the main focus will be to provide an informal gathering place where our members can come to socialize, network and build community.

“Community is an amazing thing. When you get people together as a community, dreams come to life,” Herald said. “To support dreams, we do something called small groups. Anyone that comes to church for a while and has a dream in their heart can start a group and watch their dream come to life. People weren’t created to travel life alone.”

According to Herald, there will be three classrooms for kids in the new church building. The classroom addition supports the focus that every child deserves a champion, an adult that will never give up on them. Sunday should be kids’ favorite day of the week. They should be having fun and learning about Jesus in a way they can relate.

Herald said that the RefugeKids experience worship, age-specific lessons, and a variety of exciting activities. All of the classes are staffed with a highly trained team of leaders who are background checked and committed to ministering to children.

If you would like to stop by Shop and Hop, bring a bag to shop, enjoy great food and entertainment for the kids. Shop and Hop will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 at The Refuge Church’s new location at 765 Roosevelt Trail in Windham. <

Windham librarian Alvino to be honored with Greenaway Award

Jenn Alvino, Windham Public Library
director, is this year's recipient of the
Emerson Greenaway Award for
distinguished library service awarded
by the New England Library Association.
COURTESY PHOTO 
 By Ed Pierce

Patrons of the Windham Public Library have known for a while that their librarian is among the best in the business and soon many in New England are about to learn that too. Jenn Alvino, who’s led the Windham Public Library for more than seven years, is this year’s recipient of the Emerson Greenaway Award for distinguished library service.

As the library’s top staff member, Alvino has guided the Windham library through some difficult challenges, including a significant renovation in 2017-2018, finding solutions to be relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic and exploring new ways to connect with the community based upon the needs of Windham residents.    

She was nominated for the honor by a friend who also is a librarian and members of her staff in Windham.

“I was nominated by one of my colleagues that I’ve worked closely with over the last few years in the Maine Library Association,” Alvino said. “She received letters of support from a few other individuals that I’ve worked with as well.”

The Greenaway Award is the New England Library Association’s top annual award for distinguished service in librarianship. In 1988, the association’s president, Christine Kardokas, established the “Great Librarian Award” and intended for the distinction to recognize the contributions of exceptional librarians.

The very first recipient to be honored for his outstanding achievements was Emerson Greenaway, an innovator in library organization and practice in the 20th century. As the director of the American Library Association in the 1950s, Greenaway championed access to library’s nationwide for all races, despite living in an age of segregation.

Several years after the award’s creation by the New England Library Association, this regional tribute was renamed the Emerson Greenaway Award to honor the memory of its first recipient.

“It is really special to me to not only be receiving the award but to have the support of some amazing individuals that I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Alvino said. “What I like most about leading the staff at the Windham Public Library is to be able to support the ideas and work that they do each day to meet the needs of the community. The staff does a phenomenal job listening and responding to our library patrons with programming, resources, information, and materials of all types.”

She’s extremely proud of the library’s staff, telling The Windham Eagle in March that those who work at the library are highly approachable and dedicated to helping library patrons.

“My staff is really, really amazing in terms of being flexible, especially this last year. They’ve really done an outstanding job keeping things running. I’m very proud of that,” she said. “I think we do strive to be all things to all people. When people walk through that door, they have a certain expectation of what they’re going to find. We’re always trying to meet that need. As expectations change, we need to make sure we’re flexible enough to do that.”

The Emerson Greenaway Award is presented annually, whenever there is a worthy candidate, at New England Library Association’s Annual Conference.

Alvino was honored for her achievement during Tuesday’s Windham Town Council meeting and will be presented with the award during the upcoming New England Library Association Conference at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts on Oct. 18. <

Sticky Bud Farms earns 'Best Medical Dispensary' for 2021

Sticky Bud Farms of Windham won "Best Medical Dispensary" for all of New England for 2021 by NCCANN, one of the largest cannabis conventions in the country.

The highly coveted award was presented to Dave Whitten, the owner of Sticky Bud Farms on Friday, Sept. 10.

This highly respectable award is given after thousands of patients from across the nation and out of more than 1,000 dispensaries nominated.

"I am proud and humbled by this win as it comes from my peers and patients," Whitten said. "I really strive to be the best in customer service, customer satisfaction, pricing, quality and variety, but at the end of the day, I just want my patients to feel the best and be treated like the best. My staff is phenomenal and unlike other shops, we listen and educate." SUBMITTED PHOTO   

September 10, 2021

In the public eye: Raymond’s new Parks Foreman a trusted neighbor

Longtime Raymond resident Eric Richmond is the town's new
Parks Foreman and will split his time between working for the
Raymond Public Works Department in the winter and Raymond's
Parks and Recreation Department in the summer.
PHOTO BY JOE CROCKER
Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles .

By Briana Bizier

This coming winter, Raymond’s roads will be in the hands of a longtime local resident. Eric Richmond, who has lived in the town of Raymond for 25 years, is the town’s new Parks Foreman. 

“It’s a split position between Public Works and Parks and Recreation,” explained Joe Crocker, Raymond’s Recreation Director. “Eric works for Parks and Recreation during the summer and then transitions fully to Public Works in the winter for plowing and whatever else they may need.”

This is a new position for both the Town of Raymond and for Richmond himself. 

“I’ll be basically taking care of the athletic fields, the soccer fields, the baseball field, Sheri Gagnon Memorial Park, Tassel Top park, and anything and everything in between,” Richmond said. “And I’ll be plowing the roads of Raymond during the winter months.”

As a longtime Maine resident, Richmond is familiar with the importance of plowing and the demands our long winters make on our rural roads. 

“I’ve had a plowing business for the last seven years,” he explained. “I’ve plowed residential driveways, and we were subcontracted to plow some of the roads in Gray.” Richmond, however, laughed when I asked if he was a plowing expert. “I just know how to run a plow,” he said.

Even before opening his plowing business, Richmond was familiar with heavy machinery. His previous career was operating a log forwarder in the forestry industry. 

"It basically carries wood out of the woods,” Richmond said. “I’d make eight to 15 trips a day back and forth, carrying wood to the landing.” It’s a job that took him all over southern Maine, from Jay, Eliot, and Kittery to as far away as Newcastle.

However, the 2020 explosion in the Androscoggin Mill in Jay caused Richmond’s employer to rethink his entire operation. 

“We produced a lot of 8-foot pine pulp, and that was primarily our profit for the year,” Richmond said. “When you can’t make your profit for the year due to that explosion, well, my boss decided to pursue a different track.”

This different track ultimately led Richmond back to his own backyard and to the places where he had raised his three children. 

“This is a great place to raise your family,” Richmond said. “Our kids were all raised on Raymond Rec sports from the time they could dribble a soccer ball or throw a softball.”

One of his children is now a teacher in Oxford, one is a CNA for Maine Medical, and his youngest is currently attending Gray-New Gloucester High School.

“We were hugely invested in the community with our kids,” Richmond said. “My wife was in charge of the soccer program and I coached baseball and softball, so I’m very familiar with the soccer fields we use and Sheri Gagnon Memorial Park. I’ve coached or been involved with the recreations part of Raymond for probably 20 years.”

Richmond admits that his long history with Raymond’s recreation programs did give him an edge during the hiring process. 

“It’s the only job interview I ever went to and I knew all the answers,” he said. 

He also has long-standing relationships with many of his current coworkers. 

“It’s a pretty tight knit community,” Richmond said. “So if your kids go to school and they’re around the same age, you know a lot of the people. And for a couple of them, I even plow their driveways.”

With his long history in the town of Raymond and his ability to navigate logging equipment, you might be forgiven for thinking Richmond must be a native Mainer. 

“No, I’m originally from South Jersey,” Richmond said. “I went to UMaine in Orono and studied wildlife management and criminal justice. That career path didn’t come to fruition,” he said. “I met my wife in Orono, and she’s a registered nurse at Maine Medical. We settled in Raymond and raised our family.”

It was the beginning of a strong connection to a small town that has anchored Richmond for most of his adult life. Now, as a year-round caretaker for Raymond’s athletic fields, parks, beaches, and roads, it’s a connection that will help maintain the town’s facilities for all residents, including the next generation of young Raymond Recreation athletes. <

Social service organizations grateful for support of Windham residents

 By Ed Pierce

Agencies and social service organizations that provide valuable assistance when needed to residents of Windham want to recognize the town for its continued support and generosity.

The town of Windham has donated $2,000 to
LifeFlight of Maine as a charitable grant to
help the organization to continue to offer critical
care and medical transport services when required
for Maine residents. COURTESY PHOTO
Each year the town of Windham sets aside funding in its budget approved by town residents during the annual town meeting in June for deserving community agencies and the Windham Town Council makes funding awards based upon need and applications it receives. During the Windham Town Council meeting last month, Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts shared three letters that the town has received thanking Windham residents for their support.

Colleen Hilton, the president of Northern Light Home Care & Hospice, sent a letter to the town thanking Windham residents for their donation of $1,000.

“Rest assured that the funds you have awarded us will be used to care for patients who lack sufficient health insurance or require our telehealth program for daily monitoring,” Hilton wrote. “As you know, our patients are primarily the frail elderly, and all are homebound. Some are recovering from illness or surgery or may be managing one or more chronic illnesses while others have elected to spend their remaining days at home under hospice care.”

Hilton said many people that they assist are lonely and isolated who look forward to their visit by a clinician.

“Indeed, sometimes for some, their only visitor is their nurse,” she wrote. “We thank you once again for your continued support and generosity.”

Northern Light Home Care & Hospice is a non-profit organization providing direct, personalized care throughout Maine. It is committed to making visits to those at home who are recovering from illness and surgery and offers hospice and other programs to help those who prefer to spend their remaining days in the comfort of their own home. It addresses public health nursing by offering immunization clinics, adult health clinics, and education and awareness events for all ages.

Megan M. Walton, Chief Executive Officer for the Southern Maine Agency on Aging, also wrote to Tibbetts expressing gratitude for a $5,000 donation made on behalf of the town to the agency.

“For more than 40 years, the Southern Maine Agency on Aging has provided residents of York and Cumberland counties with resources and assistance to address the issues and concerns of aging,” Walton wrote. “The agency serves 20,000 individuals each year on our efforts to improve the physical, social, and emotional well-being of Maine’s older population. Thank you for support of SMAA, and for helping to create better days for Windham residents.”

SMAA is a non-profit organization dedicated to planning and implementing social services for adults ages 60 and older, prioritizing those with the greatest economic and social need, including low-income individuals, BIPOC communities, and individuals residing in rural areas. It provides many services and programs for seniors on a variety of issues, be they financial, medical, or personal. SMAA offers seminars to help navigate the array of insurance and Medicare options, delivers important dietary and fitness practices, and provides older adults with the opportunity to stay active in the community via participation or volunteerism.

Kate O’Halloran, Executive Director for LifeFlight of Maine, expressed her organization’s appreciation for Windham’s donation of $2,000 to their vital life-saving mission.

“We hope you take great pride in knowing what a difference your support makes,” O’Halloran said. “We are incredibly grateful. For your support and belief in LifeFlight’s vision for Maine in which every person in every community has access to critical care and medical transport when they need it.”

LifeFlight of Maine offers critical care and medical transport services when required for Maine residents. It achieves its mission by working with EMS partners such as Windham Fire/Rescue to transform the critical care transport medicine system into an integrated, high quality, patient-centered system worthy of the public’s trust.

The Little Sebago Lake Association’s Board of Directors also wrote to the town to thank residents for Windham’s grant of $10,000 to the association.

“Little Sebago Lake Association thanks you for your generous support of our fundraising efforts,” LSLA board members wrote. “Member contributions like yours help us raise the funds necessary to maintain the dam, control invasive plants, monitor water quality, and promote safe boating on our lake.”

The association is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that owns and operates Hopkins Dam. Its mission is to protect, restore, and improve Little Sebago Lake’s water quality and fragile ecosystem. It aims to create and nurture a community of lake stewards, educate users on lake safety, and always be mindful that human needs must be balanced with the needs of the natural environment.

The LSLA board thanked Windham for partnering with them in the commitment to safeguard Little Sebago Lake’s environment and to be advocates for all Little Sebago property owners.

“Our goals could not be achieved without the generous support of devoted friends like you,” the board wrote. <                 

Windham Pack 805 opens world of adventure for new Cub Scouts

By Ed Pierce

Joining the Cub Scouts will open a world of adventure, make new friends, gain a sense of confidence and is an opportunity to learn new skills in an environment designed to help them succeed for boys in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Windham Cub Scout Pack 805 will conduct a registration
night at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13 at Donnabeth Lippman
Park in Windham. COURTESY PHOTO
In Windham, Cub Scout Pack 805 is always welcoming new scouts and new parents that hopefully turn into new pack volunteers. On Monday, Sept. 13, Pack 805 will conduct a registration night at Donnabeth Lippman Park at 6 p.m. and pack leaders are hoping for a great turnout of boys looking to take the first step to become Cub Scouts. 

“Scouting teaches kids positive character traits, helps foster relationships, and to be part of the community,” said Windham Pack 805 Den Leader Casey Melanson. “It helps them take their best self, work on self-growth, and try new things. The scout motto is ‘Do Your Best’ and that’s what the kids learn.”

Melanson said that Cub Scout Pack 805 dens meet one night a week for about an hour. The whole Pack gets together once a month, usually for special meetings, like for Trunk or Treat in Windham, a holiday party, or for the Blue and Gold Banquet or other special events.

Joining the Cub Scouts is almost a rite of passage for boys in Windham.

“Our pack is a great group of scouts and parents.  We care about each other, push each other, and just all around have fun,” Melanson said. “We want our scouts to learn what is means to be part of something important, what is means to help their community, make new friends, build relationships, and most importantly grow as a young man.” 

According to Melanson, Pack 805 currently has about three dozen scouts who work on several community projects each year. 

“We have assisted in celebrating the grand opening of a retirement home, picking up trash after Summerfest, and we will usually host a toy drive for a family for Christmas,” Melanson said. “We also participate in Scouting for Food each November to collect needed goods for the Windham Food Pantry.”

Pack 805’s dues are $100 per scout for the year, half of which is due at sign up and the other in December.  Of that $100, most of it covers national registrations, insurance, and other expenses.  The rest stays with the pack to help toward achievements by local members.

“During the year, the pack does fundraisers to help with the cost of awards and to pay for some of our activities, like camping and overnights at EVO,” Melanson said. “We do pizza sales, popcorn sales, and bottle drives.  Our last bottle drive raised over $1,200.”

According to Melanson, Cub Scout uniforms consist of a shirt, a rank neckerchief, and a rank slide. Pants and rank hats are optional. Scouts are encouraged to have a belt (not necessarily a scout belt) to be able to display their beltloop achievements. 

“There is also a handbook for each rank that the scout will need to be able to learn, perform, and complete each achievement,” Melanson said.  “Prices for these items start at around $6 and go up from there. There is a Scout Shop right in South Portland by the Jetport that carries everything that a budding scout would need.” 

She said that Cub Scout activities emphasize having fun and learning useful life skills.     

“Cub Scouts can do anything they put their minds to. We have gone winter camping, hiking, ice fishing, and built lean-tos in the winter woods,” Melanson said. “We also have our annual Pinewood Derby where the boys design and build their own cars and then compete against one another.  As a pack we have had beach outings, cookouts, movie nights, and EVO Rock Gym overnights.”

Serving as Pack 805’s Den Leader, Melanson said that she became involved with the Cub Scouts when her son joined as a Tiger in first grade. He’s now in sixth grade and will be crossing over to participating in the Boy Scouts this fall, she said.

“I was just a scout mom, but soon became part of and then Chair for the Fundraising Committee.  I am also now the Den leader for this year’s second-graders, the Wolves,” Melanson said.

Over the summer, members of Cub Scout Pack 805 worked on completing their achievements so that the scouts could move up in rank. 

These included First Aid, safety, teamwork, nutrition, and other topics, Melanson said. 

For Pack 805’s registration night on Sept. 13, the registration table will be staffed by Scout leaders who can answer any questions that parents of boys interested in participating may have.

“If someone has a new potential scout who is interested, they may come with the parent,” Melanson said. “If someone is interested in joining but is unable to make the registration event, they can reach out to us through Facebook or email.”

For more information about Cub Scout Pack 805, visit their Pack 805 Windham Maine Facebook page or send an email to scoutpack805me@gmail.com <