March 24, 2017

Free film screening to provide hope, raise funds and awareness for ALS by Lorraine Glowczak

As the daylight hours increase and we leap into spring, it is time to shake away the cobwebs of the winter months by preparing for outdoor activities. With that in mind, St. Joseph’s College’s Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC) invites the public to view a free screening of the film, “Hope on the Horizon”. The film event will occur on Thursday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Alford Hall Auditorium at St. Joseph’s College, 278 White Bridge Road in Standish. 

The film is a documentary about three hikers who set out to summit the 48 highest peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in a single trip on foot, reaching the 48th summit in 25 days. They did so with the intention to raise awareness of and funding for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The producers of the film, the New Jersey based ALS organization HARK, state on their website: “Through this film HARK will change the way the world views ALS, increase awareness of this fatal disease and raise funding to provide financial assistance to ALS patients and their families, as they face a challenge far greater than the White Mountains.” www.hark-als.org.

http://www.windhampowersports.com/Although the screening of the film is free, donations are accepted and will be contributed to The Hope-JG Foundation a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation. Funds raised from donations will go towards the purchase of portable wheelchair ramps, which are not covered by insurance,to individuals in Maine who have ALS. Portable “suitcase” ramps provide wheelchair-bound individuals’ access to homes or older businesses with an entry step or two, enabling the patient to remain socially  
 connected.

Donations of any amount are accepted and every $175 raised equals the purchase of one ramp. 

The Hope-JG Foundation was co-founded by John Gregoire and his wife Linda, both of Windham. The foundation’s mission is threefold, “to provide practical help, guidance and insight to families with ALS, to inspire and promote innovative technologies which enrich the lives of families living with ALS and other neuromuscular diseases and to establish a world class ALS/MS Residence in Maine, similar to the first of its kind facility founded by Steve Saling and Barry Berman at the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, MA.” www.hope-jg.org.
 
John Gregoire was diagnosed with ALS in 2007.

Thursday’s event will be emceed by Jeff Ryan, an avid hiker and author of, “Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America’s Trail.”

http://www.downeastsharpening.com/“I have had the privilege to hike throughout the United States and a few other parts of the world,” Ryan stated. “The older I get, the more I appreciate how fortunate I am - for the people that made these great trails possible, those that continue to maintain and support them and for my own health. Hiking has given me so much: Better health, improved observational skills, greater independence, lessons in perseverance, an appreciation of self…the list goes on and on. Sadly, not everyone is physically able to make the same journey. My childhood friend, John Gregoire, is one. ALS has mostly robbed him of that opportunity. (I say “mostly” because a dedicated group of friends carried him up Bradbury Mountain last year so he could see the view and feel the sun on his face.) ALS is an insidious affliction. Offering a hand is one way I can help.”

Autumn Zubricki, President of the Outdoor Adventure Club, states that hiking is a means of relaxation and escape. “Although hiking can be a wonderful time for personal thought, it is also a time in which people can come together in community to share nature and common passions,” Zubricki explained. “It is therefore important for the OAC to participate in events such as the showing of ‘Hope on the Horizon’ to join with another community in support. I think it is wonderful that hikers were able to use their passions to help members of their own community, and my hope is that the club, by hosting this event, can act in a similar fashion.

Those interested in attending the event can purchase a free ticket to reserve their seat at www.hope-jg.org. Although it is highly encouraged to purchase a free ticket to guarantee a seat, everyone is welcomed to attend.

For more information about the film visit: www.hark-als.org


Fundraiser takes on a whole different “spin” by Lorraine Glowczak


What began as a personal bucket list to pedal a bike across the U.S. morphed into biking for a cause with The Fuller Center for Housing. William Turner, who attends Faith Lutheran Church in Windham, will embark on a 1700-mile cycling adventure from San Francisco, CA to Santa Fe, NM, to raise funds for the construction of replacement homes for a family in Haiti. Turner’s month long biking excursion will begin on June 2, 2017 
 
What’s different about this fundraising effort is that it comes with a surprising and motivating curveball. 

Turner’s original goal was to raise enough funds to fund one home. However, two months after sending out an email to every contact he had on his mailing list, to invite people to give a donation; the amount raised was very close to the $6,000 goal. This generous response clearly indicated that the amount needed for the construction of one home would be achieved. 

It was at this point that a friend made a dare. “Go for two homes,” the close friend said. Turner accepted the challenge and is now trying to raise funds for two homes instead of one.

“We have raised just over $7,400 with only $3,600 to go in order to fund two homes,” Turner exclaimed. “We even have a pledge for a donation of $500 if we make it to $10,000.”

After considerable research and long discussions with his wife, Lily, Turner chose The Fuller Center for Housing to bike for a cause. “One hundred percent of the funds donated to the organization for this cause are used for the intended purpose,” Turner explained.

The Fuller Center for Housing is a 501(c3) non-profit organization based out of Americus, GA. Its mission is to “promote collaborative and innovative partnerships with individuals and organizations in an unrelenting quest to provide adequate shelter for all people in need worldwide.” www.fullercenter.org/

Although a Christian based organization, The Fuller Center for Housing accepts any volunteer from any background or faith who wishes to promote dignity for others by helping them own a home. The organization serves people of all faiths including those who are Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims. Per the website, “We believe Jesus would not want us to place religious requirements on beneficiaries, so we don’t.”

It is Turner’s intention to continue raising funds until he meets the magnified goal. However, he hopes most of his donations arrive within the next week. “The week of March 27 to March 31 would be a great time to make a donation of $25 or more,” Turner began. “An offer of $1,000 to The Fuller Center will be contributed to the athlete who raises the most amount of $25 or greater donations during that five day stretch.”

As for his personal goal of a cross country peddling excursion? “I want to see how well I do with the 1700 miles first,” Turner explained. If all goes well, he will soon check that goal off his bucket list.

Those who may be interested in donating to Turner’s fundraising effort may do so by visiting his web page at: www.fullercenter.donorpages.com/BikeAdventure/WilliamTurner. Or one can send a check to: The Fuller Center for Housing, Attention Bike Adventure, 701 S. MLK Jr. Blvd, Americus, GA 31709, placing FCBA: Bill Turner in the memo line.

For more information, visit www.fullercenter.org

March 17, 2017

Student of the week: Sarah Penna. Congratulations!



Sarah Penna, third grade student from Raymond Elementary School, is The Windham Eagle’s student of the week. The 9-year-old enjoys softball, soccer, swimming, guitar and Dragon Vale.

“Sarah is a determined and dedicated student,” stated her teacher, Mrs. Cyr. “When she is unsure of something, she asks questions, and perseveres until the task is done. Sarah looks for the good in others and herself- she makes connections with friends every day, by checking in and asking how they are. She contributes to classroom learning. She is excited about school and her classmates. I can count on Sarah to do her best always, she is a passionate student.”

Penna states that her favorite subjects are math, P.E. and art and she believes playing games are one of the best ways to learn. Her favorite movie is “Zootopia.”

Penna lives with her mom, Regan, two cats, one parrot, three fish and two dogs.

Local student crowned Miss Maine Sweetheart



Madelyn Demmons, daughter of David and Lisa Demmons of Windham, was crowned in the Maine Sweetheart pageant on February 11th in Portland. The Maine Sweetheart Pageant is the official preliminary of the Maine Academic Scholarship Pageant. 

The contestants competed in: Interview, talent, runway, casual wear, evening gown, photogenic and hospitality. Madelyn won the title of Miss Jr Teen as well as Miss Photogenic. She will now move on to compete in the state pageant in Saco, in August

Winners of the State Pageant will compete in the USA National Miss Maine Pageant to be held in Boca Raton, Florida in 2018. 

Deadline announcement for the Joseph A DiPietro Scholarship



Deadline for the Joseph A DiPietro Scholarship

The deadline to apply for the Joseph A. DiPietro Scholarship is May 15.    The scholarship serves students in the Portland Water District’s member communities who will attend college and strive towards the same mission as PWD – protect public health and the environment. 

The Joseph A. DiPietro Scholarship was established in 2003 in memory of respected businessman and longtime Portland Water District Trustee, Joe DiPietro. 

To apply or for more information on eligibility and criteria, visit WWW.PWD.ORG

Protecting Maine’s seniors - even when no one’s looking by Senator Bill Diamond


Sometimes, the work of an elected official is eye-catching. News reporters and activists will latch onto it, pushing the issue onto the front page of the newspaper or the top of the 6 o’clock news.

Other work we do is less glamorous but, nevertheless, important. As members of the Legislature, we research, consider and vote on issues that have a real impact on our constituents’ lives - even when they don’t earn much media coverage.

I want to let you know about a couple of bills I’m working on that will protect and honor our seniors; those Mainers who have worked hard their entire lives and contributed to our society in countless ways.

First, I’ve introduced a bill to protect seniors from age discrimination in the auto insurance industry. The legislation has earned bipartisan support and a ringing endorsement from the Legislature's Insurance and Financial Services Committee.

This consumer-protection measure was prompted last summer when Progressive Insurance Company asked the state to allow it to charge seniors more for car insurance simply because they were older than other customers. While this proposal was offensive on its face, it was also based on a myth: Data shows that seniors are no more dangerous than any other age group of drivers. In fact, they are often less risky than younger motorists.

The proposal drew swift condemnation and Progressive ultimately pulled its request. Still, I felt we needed to pass a law to ensure that no other insurance company would seek to enact such a discriminatory scheme. The bill will be heard by the full Legislature soon, and I expect it to pass easily.

The second bill would exempt veterans with permanent and 100 percent service-related disabilities from paying property taxes, starting on April 1, 2018. Obviously, not all veterans are seniors. But just as is true with every demographic in our aging state, seniors make up the majority of Maine’s veterans.

Every veteran signs up to give their lives, if necessary, in defense of our country. Some of those servicemen and women will return to civilian life with disabilities earned during their service -disabilities both seen and unseen, that may affect their ability to enter the workforce.

The property tax is in many ways, the most unforgiving tax. Unlike the income tax, which rises and falls along with earnings, or the sales tax, which is levied depending on consumption, the property tax can increase dramatically, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. In the worst-case scenarios, it can rise so much and so quickly that it jeopardizes a Mainer’s ability to stay in their home.

No veteran should live in fear of being kicked out of their home because of property taxes. I believe that exempting disabled veterans, who may have difficulty earning a living, from the property tax is the very least we can do to ensure their stability at home.

These are just two small things we can do to protect and help our seniors. I’ll continue supporting policies that make life a little easier for our elders. They deserve nothing less.

I'll keep you informed as my bill moves through the legislative process. And as always, I'm ready and willing to listen to my constituents. Please feel free to contact me at: diamondholly@aol.com or (207) 287-1515, if you have questions or comments.

ometimes, the work of an elected official is eye-catching. News reporters and activists will latch onto it, pushing the issue onto the front page of the newspaper or the top of the 6 o’clock news.

March 10, 2017

Student of the week - Anna DiMartino. Congratulations!



Anna DiMartino, fifth grade student from Jordan-Small Middle School, is The Windham Eagle’s student of the week. The 11-year-old enjoys participating in soccer, softball, basketball and diving into to her favorite arts and crafts projects during her free time.

“Anna DiMartino is a very responsible and respectful young person,” her teacher stated. “She is always prepared for class and participates fully. Her work is complete and it is obvious through her work she is a diligent student. She is friendly with a positive attitude and gets along well with her classmates.”  

DiMartino states that her favorite subject is math and learns best when she works in a group, going at her own pace.

Her favorite show is the History Channel.

DiMartino lives at home with her mom, dad, little sister and one brother.