September 23, 2016

First ever Windham Safety Day, Oct. 1

WINDHAM - Join the Windham Police Department for Windham Safety Day on October 1, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Windham Public Safety building and Family Resource Center/Food Pantry on Route 202/Gray Road.

AARP Maine will be offering free document shredding to help protect your identity and a seminar on scam awareness - especially scams directed toward the elderly.

The Windham Police Department will have K9 demonstrations, provide tours of the Public Safety Building and take-back prescription drugs for proper disposal. 

Windham's Fire/Rescue Department will be on hand to give tours, have a touch-a-truck event, and make people aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

There will also be a drive for the Windham Food Pantry. Please consider donating goods that the pantry cannot purchase like toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, shampoo, crème rinse, laundry detergent, dish detergent, tooth paste and feminine needs.

Windham's Legislative delegation—Sen. Diamond, Rep. Bryant, and Rep. Corey—will be on hand to explain and answer questions about new Maine laws pertaining to safety and other issues.

Windham Safety Day will be fun and informative offering something for people of all ages. Light refreshments will be available.

Consumer fireworks discussed at Windham Town Council - By Stephen Signor

Three days ago Windham Town Council met for the purpose of examining the current issue surrounding the use of consumer fireworks. This has been a sore spot for numerous residents since the legalization went into effect in 2012. During the session a petition for action containing over 100 signatures was presented to council members.  Residents cited examples of the noise by explaining, “The explosions are so loud is like being in Afghanistan. Clearly these particular fireworks are commercial rather than consumer grade.” 

The issue of damage from fireworks was presented by residents who stated they live on Sebago Lake. “I have had scorch marks on my boat cover and other property damage.”  

“Noise from fireworks is one thing, but when damage occurs this is more disconcerting,” said town manager Tony Plante.

Additional testimony by residents who spoke publicly was enough to convince members that something needed to be done. The point of enforcing the current law was also presented. 

“The majority of our calls complaining about the noise created by fireworks have been received prior to 10 p.m, making it impossible to respond because the current law allows usage up to that time,” said Windham Police chief Kevin Schofield.

It was unanimously agreed that something needs to be done and at the next meeting on October 4th steps will be taken to put something in place and voted on at the October 25th meeting.

The public is always invited to attend these meetings and videos can be viewed at

Loon Echo Land Trust's 16th Annual Trek a huge success

BRIDGTON - A cool, foggy early fall morning turned into a day perfect for hiking and cycling for the nearly 250 enthusiastic trekkers who participated in the 16th annual Loon Echo Trek held on Saturday, September 17 at Shawnee Peak Ski Area in Bridgton to benefit Loon Echo Land Trust.  

Organizers and trekkers alike were thrilled with the sunny skies and comfortable temperatures for the organization’s primary fundraising event of the year.  “The weather was perfect for today’s trek,” said event coordinator Tracy Burk. “Once the fog burned off, hikers enjoyed spectacular views while traversing Pleasant Mountain and bikers enjoyed views along the scenic bicycle routes.”

Loon Echo Land Trust currently protects over 2,000 acres of land on Pleasant Mountain, land that hikers were able to enjoy during Saturday’s trek. The trek continues to be a great way for people to support land conservation in the Lakes Region of Southern Maine.

Nearly 200 cyclists were registered for the trek, and chose between 25-, 50-, 80- and 100-mile routes through some of Maine’s most beautiful scenery. Century and 80 mile riders had a challenging ride through Evans Notch with a 1,200 foot vertical descent. Cyclists raved about the course and loved riding on all the backroads where the traffic was minimal. They enjoyed the well-stocked rest stops, the helpful and friendly volunteers, and the all new post-trek taco bar, massages and Allagash beer, free to all trekkers.

Over sixty hikers participated in either the 4.5- or 6-mile hike trek over Pleasant Mountain and Loon Echo’s conservation land. Hikers were treated to three rest stops along the way, each stocked with gourmet treats.

Nearly a dozen hearty people participated in the third year of the Hike and Bike Combo, which includes completing either the 4.5- or 6-mile hike, followed by the 25- or 50-mile bike ride.

Over $60,000 was raised from the event, including entry fees, pledges raised by participants, and business cash and in-kind sponsorships. Top individual fundraisers were Jill Rogers (Byfield, MA) who raised $1,750 and Wendy Newcomb (Sebago, ME) who brought in $800. They were rewarded their choice of a season pass to Shawnee Peak Ski Area, a season pass to Five Fields Farm, a weekend getaway at Migis Lodge, a weekend stay at Camp Wigwam’s Alumni House, or an overnight retreat at The Oxford House Inn.

Proceeds help Loon Echo Land Trust protect land in the northern Sebago Lake region to conserve its natural resources and character for current and future generations.  Currently, Loon Echo protects over 6,600 acres of land and 28 miles of trails open for public use.

The Loon Echo Trek would not be possible without its generous sponsors. Platinum sponsors include Magic 104 FM, 98.9 WCLZ, 93.5 WMWV and Shawnee Peak Ski Area; Gold sponsors include Migis Lodge and Norway Savings Bank; Silver sponsors include Allagash Brewing Company, AMC, The Bridgton News, Ernie’s Cycle Shop, Hancock Lumber, Macdonald Motors, Richard Bader Physical Therapy and Yankee Amateur Radio Emergency Service; Bronze sponsors include Anthem, Inc, Bridgton Hospital, Cabot Creamery, Camp Wigwam, Cardinal Printing, Chalmers Insurance, DLD, Downeast Bicycle Specialists, Five Fields Farm, Food City, John Khiel & Sons Logging, Jones & Matthews, PA, Junco, Kurt Christensen Custom Homes, Lake Living, Maine-ly Foam, Oxford House Inn, Pearl Izumi Factory Store, Rejuvenation Wellness Center, Squeaky Clean Laundromat and Whole Foods. The 2016 Loon Echo Trek’s other business and community supporters include Barker Mountain Bikes, Beth’s Cafe, Bridgton Books, Bridgton Police and Fire, Camp Wyonegonic, Darn Tough Socks, Evans Notch Lodge and Cabins, Grandy Oats, Hannaford Supermarket, Pleasant Mountain Camping Area, The Riley Parkhurst Project, Road ID, Saco Valley Fire Association, Town of Bridgton, Town of Stoneham, United Ambulance, US Forest Service and Waterford Sandlot Ballfields.

The date for the 17th Annual Loon Echo Trek has already been set and will take place on Saturday, September 16, 2017. For information, visit or call 207-647-4352.

September 15, 2016

Pocket change goes a long way for MSAD 15 schools

GRAY— Every day, community members pass through the Gray Branch of Norway Savings Bank putting their spare change to good use supporting the Gray/New Gloucester schools.  Through the Bank’s “Pocket Change for Patriots” program, Norway Savings Bank was able to present a check for $1,000 to support the Ignite Program, for incoming fifth graders; the Boost program, for incoming first graders; and the Kindergarten JumpStart program.

The three recipient programs have been put into place over the past two summers at GNG Middle School, James W. Russell School in Gray and at Memorial School in New Gloucester to provide opportunities for students to receive instruction to remediate their math and literacy skills.“Thanks to the generous donation from Norway Savings Bank, we will be able to buy much-needed supplies for the programs, and we will be able to send every student home with a brand new book that is appropriate for his or her age and reading level! Thank you to Norway Savings Bank for being a valued partner in this endeavor!” said Amanda Hennessey, principal of Memorial School.

Mary Martell, Financial Solutions Specialist of the Gray branch is thrilled to see the growth in donations the coin machine has brought in for the “Pocket Change for Patriots” program.
“We take such pride in our partnership with SAD15- from sharing our LED sign to donating to worthwhile programs through our “Pocket Change for Patriots” program. Norway Savings Bank donates the entire fee from our coin counter at the Gray branch to the district and that feels great!  Since we opened in December of 2014, we have donated close to $2,000 to our schools,” said Martell.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Norway Savings Bank check presentation.
L-R: Tina Martell- School Board Chair SAD 15, Mary Martell FSS – Norway Savings Bank, Lynn Montgomery- Kindergarten teacher, Karen Caprio- Curriculum Director SAD 15, Amanda Hennessey- Memorial School Principal, and a few of the children from Memorial School summer programs.

Grant funds WorkReady Training through adult ed - By Elizabeth Richards

Windham Raymond Adult Education and Gray-New Gloucester Adult Education are joining forces to offer a WorkReady training program for new Mainers seeking jobs. This program is funded by a WorkReady training grant awarded by Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. two adult education programs have a great working relationship, said Tina Christophersen, Career Pathways coordinator for Windham Raymond Adult Education. In the case of the WorkReady training grant, the programs will share an instructor and technology resources to provide the training in both districts. An instructor will lead the course live in one location, while students in the other location can participate through an interactive television system, Christophersen said.

The program targets new Mainers, which in this case can mean either new to the country or new to Maine from other regions in the US. The purpose of the program is to give job seekers the skills they need before they hit the work force. “This grant offers the basic training on how to be a good employee,” Christophersen said. “It’s not industry specific, it is employee specific,” she added.
WorkReady is a state recognized employment skills training program that consists of 60 hours of well-rounded, interactive instruction. By the end of the program, participants will be familiar with local, regional and national work cultures. Students will gain understanding of their own differences, and how these differences can complement others in the workplace. 

Each student will leave the program with a portfolio that includes a cover letter, resume, references and work samples. They will gain interview skills and be well prepared to enter the work force. 

Christophersen said “The training is going to be a wonderful opportunity to educate yourself on how to be a great employee.”  Because it is an interactive program based on the needs of the students, she said, the program can be customized depending on the group that enrolls. “We can tweak the components of the program to fit everybody,” she said. 

Registration for the WorkReady program is currently open, and Christophersen hopes that members of the community will help spread the word.  The program will run on Mondays and Wednesdays at 1 p.m, beginning on Wednesday, October 12 and concluding on Wednesday, December 21, 2016. To register, contact Matt Hayden at WorkForce Solutions, 207-775-5891 or email matthew.hayden@goodwill

Community responds to Toby Pennels blood drive - By Stephen Signor

Last Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Red Cross was busy taking care of donors. American Legion Adjutant Dave Tanguay explained, “When doors opened at 9am, 11 eager contributors were waiting to do their part. Toby’s wife Brenda also made an appearance and was actually there most of the day. She was very pleased with the response and thankful to those who were involved in organizing the drive.” 

Every quarter there has been a blood drive here for two years. “This drive was moved up from the regular quarterly date to accommodate this cause,” said Tanguay. 
During the course of the day the flow of donors continued. The cause was obvious, the response, well received. In reflection, Tanguay reiterated the impact Toby Pennels had on the community. From his military service to his work on the RSU14 School Board and his devotion to the Windham Veterans Association, Toby made his mark on Windham and Raymond. 

Windham Planning Director Ben Smith said he was “using his lunch hour to donate and was glad to do it”. Jokingly he added, “I’m not here in an official capacity.”  When all was said and done 28 units were collected. Although the hope was for 40 to 50 Tanguay said, “I still consider this a success.”