November 9, 2018

Windham Skate Park revamp update

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Skate Park is getting a new look. The skate park was originally opened in 1999 and was first located at Windham High School until it was moved the following year to where it currently is located between the public safety building and the Community Garden on Gray Road.

Old Skate Park
In the Spring of 2016, the park needed to be closed for safety reasons. The Windham Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee felt strongly that the community still needed a skate park. The Parks and Recreation Committee decided it was time to update the skate park’s current wooden structures to be made of concrete. “It has been determined that intensity of use and longtime exposure to the elements did result in a limited lifespan for the park. Essentially, although regular maintenance was done on the park, structures ultimately were worn out,” explained Linda Brooks, Director of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Latest concept design
The town has received a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant which will be applied toward the community park and skate park construction. There are a few other funds currently dedicated to the construction of the concrete skate park: the LWCF grant, funds from the Recreational Impact Fee Account and funds from the sale of the Gambo property to the Windham Youth Soccer Association.

The grant funding and funds from the Recreational Impact Fee Account are a huge boost to making this a reality but further funding is expected to be needed and fundraising efforts are underway. Earlier this summer, Windham Youth Basketball hosted their annual tournament and donated the proceeds to the community park basketball courts.

The “main goal of the Parks and Recreation Committee is to build excitement about the project and encourage participation in the process and ownership of the park by the skate park users,” continued Brooks.

“Developing a community park has been a topic of discussion for the last ten years or so and there has been a number of designs over the years for the parcel located next to the public safety building. It wasn't until Linda Brooks suggested applying for the Land and Water Conservation grant (the same grant Windham was awarded back in the 1970s to build Dundee Park) and Windham being awarded the grant....did it become a reality,” clarifies Pat Moody, Chair of the Windham Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

How will the two skate parks differ? The skate park is only one element of the comprehensive plan for this community park. The plan calls for a skate park, basketball courts, beach volleyball courts, a playground and walking paths with mile marker signs and suggested exercises. The walking paths will loop around the park that is designed to offer something for everyone.

http://www.hallimplementco.com/The Parks and Recreation Committee hopes to hold a fundraiser community event in the spring to promote plans for the new park. Citizens and community groups will be key in raising the remaining funds to complete all phases of the park.

Construction should begin in late winter/early spring, and the grant requires that we complete this first phase by September 2019.

For more information on how you or your organization can help with the community park please contract Windham Parks & Recreation at 892-1905. 

Catherine’s Cupboard refocuses efforts on regional food pantry approach


Catherine’s Cupboard will operate its weekly food pantry operations out of the Standish Municipal Center until December 19, 2018. Following that date, Catherine’s Cupboard will take the next step forward in its longstanding commitment to supporting sustainable communities and combating food insecurity by investing its dedicated financial resources and volunteerism in other local pantries.

Following statewide and regional recommendations, this change seeks to increase effectiveness and reduce redundancies in hunger relief food distribution system.

Matthew Goodwin, Dean of Campus Life at Saint Joseph’s College and member of the Catherine’s Cupboard Board said, “Saint Joseph’s College Mercy Center Director Kathryn Cody and I remain committed to addressing food insecurity through this new direction for Catherine’s Cupboard. We are still maintaining the nonprofit status of Catherine’s Cupboard and keeping the Board in place. We will still run fundraising Clynk campaigns, conduct food drives, and assemble our much beloved annual Thanksgiving baskets. Our service to the community continues, but in a different way. We welcome meetings or correspondence with anyone who would like to participate in the creation of our new collaborations.”

For the past ten years, Catherine’s Cupboard weekly food pantry has served hundreds of families from several towns. Despite this, Maine’s food insecurity overall remains above the national average and has yet to return to pre-recession levels, according to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

https://jobs.spectrum.com/Saint Joseph’s College’s President James Dlugos said, “For many years, Saint Joseph’s College has been examining how to address food insecurity as part of its long-standing Mercy mission. Food insecurity remains at unacceptable levels in Maine overall and in the Lakes Region, in particular. We need to do better. The new direction for Catherine’s Cupboard follows state and regional recommendations and pursues what we hope will be a more sustainable approach. We are tackling systemic and proactive change, in addition to direct assistance.”

Saint Joseph’s College’s overall approach to food insecurity will now include:

1) ongoing use of Catherine’s Cupboard financial resources and College volunteerism to support emergency food distribution using a regional food distribution approach;

2) increased collaboration with external partner agencies who generate offer direct emergency food services, e.g. Wayside Food Programs and Good Shepherd Food Bank;

3) creating systemic change through innovative partnerships with the Center for Sustainable Communities and the Institute for Local Food System Innovation at the College.

President Dlugos said, “We appreciate how the Town of Standish has been a longstanding partner with us in assisting our neighbors who need help the most. We look forward to working with town leadership on future initiatives.”

Until December 19th, Catherine’s Cupboard volunteers will be assisting food pantry clients in understanding how to access Lakes Region food pantry support in Windham, Steep Falls, Limington, and other towns.

About Catherine’s Cupboard
Catherine’s Cupboard Food Pantry was founded in April 2008 as a collaboration between Saint Joseph’s College’s Mercy Center, the Town of Standish, and the Bon App├ętit Management Company. Later, Catherine’s Cupboard was run as a 501c3 with its own Board of Trustees and operated with funding from: the Town of Standish, the annual yield from an endowment established by Andrew & Helen McSween, and additional donations raised by Saint Joseph’s College. Initially operated out of the Steep Falls fire station, the pantry moved its operations to the Town of Standish’s new municipal center.

For more information, please contact Mercy Center Director Kathryn Cody at kcody@sjcme.edu or Dean of Campus Life Matthew Goodwin mgoodwin@sjcme.edu.


District seeks community involvement for WHS Senior Capstone Projects

By Elizabeth Richards

Seniors at Windham High School have a new graduation requirement this year that is intended to help them find their path after high school and show young people it’s not impossible to stay in Maine. 
The Senior Capstone project replaces the previous requirement of 40 hours of volunteering.  Lanet Hane, Director of Community Connections for RSU#14, said the district discovered that they were missing an opportunity to help students be better prepared for their careers.

“Maine has a big push to have students thinking about having a path after high school, and we really want to be part of that and be thinking intentionally about that, so that’s where the Capstone project came from,” Hane said. 
http://www.windhammaine.us/
Now, instead of simply doing 40 hours of service at random, students have to put together a project, complete with a final presentation, that better connects them to the community. The Capstone project is intended to take the same amount of time in a more coordinated and intentional way. 

Hane said students need to find someone in the community who will help them through the process of researching a topic that is of personal interest.  “It can be career related. It doesn’t have to be, but most students are choosing something that’s in the career realm,” Hane said. For instance, a student interested in law enforcement is connecting with local officers, will conduct research on requirements to be an officer and schools that might be a good fit, and could do a ride along. 

The Capstone Project has minimal basic requirements. Students will need to write a proposal, complete some short reflection papers, obtain mentor agreements and conduct a presentation to a panel of teachers and students for graduation credit. The presentation can be any format the student chooses – a paper that they discuss, a video, a play or another creative format. “It can be a lot of things, based on what makes sense for the project and the student,” Hane said.

The project is open ended, so while most will make their big push in their senior year, students can start it as early as they would like, Hane said. Because this is the first year the Capstone is required for graduation, the current goal is to be sure seniors, their families and community members know about it.

Seniors need to choose a teacher to advise them, and there is an optional quarter-long capstone preparation course available.  “It’s designed to be as independent as students want it to be,” said Hane.

Hane said she wants local businesses and members of the community to be aware that students may be reaching out to ask if they can shadow them, or request that they act as a mentor. She also said they don’t need to be scared by the idea of mentoring. “It’s not the huge commitment you often assume comes with a mentorship. It’s really being able to point them in the right direction,” she said, since they will also have a school advisor.

“Students are really going to be looking for people in different fields and might not know where to look,” said Hane.  Anyone willing to be engaged in the process can contact Hane or other school staff so they can build a list of those open to the idea.

 “It’s going to be interesting this year because there is so much learning, and such a process of figuring out how to make this work because it’s the first year,” Hane said.  There are more than 230 seniors to connect with community members who can help them find those resources. While finding people within the communities of Windham and Raymond is great, Hane said it’s more about helping students find their path, so they will go outside the immediate community if needed.

This kind of project for graduation credit is becoming more common, Hane said, especially in Maine where there’s a push for students to think about their future, whether or not that includes college.  The project is also meant to remind students that whatever career they want, there are local people who do it. 

November 2, 2018

Veterans Day ceremony and open house on November 11


A Veterans Day Ceremony and open house, hosted by Windham Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10643, will be held at the Windham Veterans Center on Sunday, November 11 at 11 a.m., announced VFW Commander Willie Goodman.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony and refreshments will be provided. Mr. Lee Humiston, founder, director and curator of the Maine Military Museum, will be the keynote speaker and patriotic songs will be performed by the Windham Chamber Singers.

https://www.egcu.org/rec
Boy Scout Troop 805 will be in attendance and will assist with the ceremonies. The Winners of this year’s VFW sponsored essay competitions will be introduced, and the winners will read their essays. The theme for this year’s Patriot’s Pen, grades 6-8, is “Why I Honor the American Flag” and the Voice of Democracy theme, grades 9-12, is “Why My Vote Matters.”

 Following the program, the VFW will have a wreath laying on the Vietnam Memorial in their Memorial Garden. The Windham Veterans Center is located at 35 Veterans Memorial Drive. Turn right just before Friendly’s Restaurant and follow Memorial Drive to the end.

People’s United Bank partnering with Boy Scouts to fight food insecurity

On Saturday, November 3, Boy Scouts from all over Southern Maine will canvas Southern Maine door to door, delivering flyers that ask Mainers to support this year’s People’s United Bank Scouting for Food Drive.  A week later, on November 10, Scouts will return to these same homes in hopes of  collecting non-perishable items for the Good Shepherd Food Bank and its partner agencies.

“We are pleased to partner with the Boy Scouts for a second year to secure food for our neighbors in need in Maine,” says Daniel Thornton, Maine Market President for People's United Bank. “Many of us take for granted that we can walk into a grocery store and purchase what we need on a daily basis.” 

https://www.jenniebutlerwindham.com/Thousands of Scouts and adult volunteers annually participate in this two-weekend food drive which spans the 10 Maine counties within the Pine Tree Council, the Boy Scouts of America.  According to Scout Executive/CEO Eric Tarbox, “over 20 tons of food were collected last year. This year our goal is 25 tons, which breaks down to about 25 pounds collected per Scout. This is one of the most rewarding activities our Scouts participate in each Fall. We are grateful to People’s United Bank for stepping up to sponsor this year’s food drive.”

Maine ranks 16th in the nation and 1st in New England in food insecurity, and more than 208,000 Mainers are food insecure. “People’s United Bank is pleased to be involved in Scouting for Food this year,” said Katie Shorey, Community Relations Director for People’s United Bank.  “Food insecurity is an issue that is very important within our organization.  We look forward to involving our staff in this effort by offering our branches as collection points again this year.”

Judy McKula, Assistant Scout Director for the Pine Tree Council, BSA, summed it up like this: “Scouting for Food not only helps fellow Mainers who suffer from food insecurity, but more importantly our Scouts have the opportunity to practice the principles of Scouting which help them become better citizens in their communities.”

About the Pine Tree Council, Boy Scouts of America
Serving more than 6000 coed youth and 2500 registered volunteers, the Pine Tree Council, Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s foremost youth programs of character development and values-based leadership training.  For more information on Scouting, please contact The Pine Tree Council, BSA, at 207-797-5252.

Maine CDC offers free vaccines to those at highest risk as a precaution following confirmed hepatitis A case in Portland shelter

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has identified one case of
hepatitis A in an individual who has stayed in two shelters in Portland, Maine. The case stayed overnight at Oxford Street Shelter and Florence House and spent time during the day at Preble Street Resource Center during their infectious period, which was October 1 through October 21.

This case is of concern because several states in the U.S. are experiencing outbreaks of hepatitis A infections, especially among persons experiencing homelessness and persons who use drugs.

http://www.thewindhameagle.com/ads/jongale.jpgIn response to this situation, Maine CDC is holding a free hepatitis A vaccination clinic at the Preble Street Resource Center located at 38 Preble Street in Portland for anyone who stayed at one of these shelters or used the Resource Center during this time. Maine CDC’s Public Health Nursing Program will be administering hepatitis A vaccine at Preble Street on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, from 8:00am to 1:00pm, and on Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.

“Although we only have a single case at this time, we are proactively holding this clinic to protect those who might have been exposed,” says Maine CDC Director Dr. Bruce Bates. “We want to prevent the spread of this disease and hopefully avoid an outbreak situation like several US states are currently experiencing, such as Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Utah, and California. ”

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, contagious liver disease that is caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms can range from mild illness to a severe sickness that requires hospitalization and can last several months. Most adults with hepatitis A have a sudden onset of symptoms such as tiredness, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Most children younger than six years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated.

Hepatitis A can be spread person-to-person through the sharing of personal items such as cups, utensils, towels, toothbrushes, cigarettes, pipes, syringes, and sexual contact. Hepatitis A virus is easily spread from person-to-person in areas where sanitary conditions and personal hygiene practices are poor. Hepatitis A can also be spread through contaminated food or water, especially in food prepared by a person who is infected. In the United States, hepatitis A is responsible for approximately 100 deaths annually.

People who have been in contact with someone who has hepatitis A should consult a doctor for advice as treatment may be possible. Examples of close contacts are household members, sexual partners, and anyone who ate food that was prepared by an infectious person with diarrhea and/or poor hand hygiene.

To protect yourself from hepatitis A:

Get vaccinated, especially if you are homeless, use drugs (injection or non-injection), are a man who has sex with men, have chronic liver disease such as cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis B or C, or travel to areas overseas where hepatitis A is common.

Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or engaging in sexual activity. Always wash your hands before preparing or eating food.

Talk to a healthcare provider if you think you may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

If you are homeless, use drugs, a man who has sex with men, have chronic liver disease, or travel overseas to areas where hepatitis is common, you should also consider getting vaccinated for hepatitis B.

For more information on hepatitis A visit: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm


A closer look at Windham Town Council Candidates running for the "At Large" position





DAVID NADEAU:

Background and personal information to include family, professional memberships, volunteer efforts, etc.

­David Nadeau significant other Marge Govoni, the love of my life for 38 years, 4 children, 19 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Retired as an Electronic Engineer.

Why are you qualified to represent the citizens of Windham and what inspired you to run?

I was a Town Councilor for six years, on the Planning Board for ten years. We were making great progress moving forward, a strategic plan (Town first), a 5-year budget plan. These plans all went out the window over the last year. We have to get back on track with long term planning and get away from knee jerk reactions. Creating ideas like the elderly tax assistance program that I put in front of the council when I was there which is now in place. Backing revenue sharing out of the budget as revenue, over three years, and using it to fund elderly tax relief and start to fund the million dollar plus short fall in capital funding.

What do you feel are the most important challenges facing the Town of Windham? What positive steps forward do you believe will help overcome those challenges.

The most important challenge to Windham is its growth. To deal with this growth we have to put long term plans in place, along with how they are going to be funded. Windham has had two moratoriums put in place recently both due to growth and this is due to poor planning. The town has done a lot of the planning but hasn’t come up with funding, this can be accomplished with long term budgeting not year to year.

What is your perspective on Broadband internet?

Broadband now looks like one of your standard utilities which is what creates the problem Windham has. The state only wants to look at broadband in the rural areas and refuses to look at a town like Windham. Our cable provider has a large investment in copper wires as does our phone service. They will not upgrade any time soon. We all know the need is starting to hit all of us, especially those who try to work at home. The question becomes do we wait for someone else to deal with it or do we go the route of many other towns and create our own. Windham, Gray, Raymond, along with Saint Joseph’s College are looking at this problem. The need is already there.

What course of actions do you think should be taken to balance the growth of Windham and how that growth affects taxes?

Number one in the comp plan is to “Keep Windham Rural”, sadly two acre lots in the farm zone will prevent this. Cluster subdivisions will not create this. We have to set up a program to buy development right on large parcels and allow greater density in planned growth areas. The problem with this theory is the only place in Windham that would support higher density is South Windham, due to sewer. To use this theory in other growth areas, high tech septic or satellite sewer systems would need to be mandated.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? AND/OR - If you’d like to comment on other Town issues not mentioned above, please feel free to add them here.

We need to put differences aside and Put Windham First. The old Windham sadly has gone and only long-term planning and budgeting will allow us to do this. To do nothing and keep being reactive will only put the burden on our children and grandchildren. Help me help Windham move forward. If you have any questions, please contact me at 892-7192. It is hard to give details in such a short forum.

CHARLES HAWKINS


Please provide a little background/personal information to include family, professional memberships, volunteer efforts, etc.

My wife, two daughters (2 and 7) and I moved to Maine from Virginia to pursue my dream of owning a medical marijuana dispensary. I have a fairly extensive collage background in several disciplines. I have and currently still do own several successful businesses, two of which are located in Windham and employ over 15 people and growing. I have also worked with business and towns in both Colorado and Oregon to find common ground in developing tasteful cannabis business regulations, an issue at the forefront of the town’s issues. 

Why are you qualified to represent the citizens of Windham and what inspired you to run?

I’m not sure “qualified” is the correct term. My personal background, my educational and professional backgrounds, my desire to live in a town where the representatives actually listen, respect and get something done on behalf of the citizens they represent, my age allowing me to be in touch with the heart of this community, my love for this community and my personal drive for success are what make me capable of representing the citizens of Windham. My business and personal interactions, since being a part of Windham, have given me the opportunity to experience unprofessional Town Council leaders and their bullying tactics and hear from many other business owners and concerned citizens that feel they are not having their voices heard and are not being properly represented. I’m just not the type to sit around and have myself or others treated unfairly, especially when they receive this treatment from some of the same council members that they elected into office.

What do you feel are the most important challenges facing the Town of Windham? What positive steps forward do you believe will help overcome those challenges.

 I think Windham is facing several challenges. Among the biggest of those is lack of professional leadership amongst some within our current Town Council. I think having a majority of “get ‘er done” types amongst the council might inspire everyone to work a little harder and more efficiently for the people of Windham.

We are the fastest growing community in the state and the three-year plan put together by Tony Plante has hardly been addressed by the council and now we have to wait longer for action while we find a new town manager and catch them up to speed. Hiring a new town manager that understands and comes prepared to quickly fall into Mr. Plante’s role is essential, and I encourage everyone in the town to be active in the selection process.

Our town leadership dropped the ball on medical marijuana storefront definitions and tried to sneak in a moratorium under a different name. What we have now is a free for all where caregivers can open up stores and/or other industry related businesses nearly anywhere in town without any regulation or code definitions by the town. Social responsibility has been left uncontrolled and only in the hands of these business owners, such as myself. Quickly adopting definitions and regulations via code amendments is necessary to keep this industry tasteful within our community.

We just extended a moratorium on mineral rights extraction, which myself and many others see as a lazy attempt towards a solution which, given a little effort and creativity, could have already had a solution that worked well for all interested parties. Instead investments on unrelated operations are being held hostage.

I am concerned with the thought of class sizes within our elementary school growing to unattractive numbers in the years to come and would like to see a serious discussion addressing this sooner rather than later. With Windham already being an attractive community, I would like to see our growth account for maximum tax dollars. This starts with attractive schools. Windham schools are great and among some of the best in the state. I would hate to see growth diminish that and would instead prefer to see ideas being generated to make our schools even better in the face of this growth.

In addition to schools I am concerned that our town infrastructure lacks the ability to attract the type of business to Windham needed to provide for this growth. A solution to town sewer has to be generated ASAP. This is just an issue that is silly to even have to address. It’s common sense and has me shaking my head. Residentially, town sewer would benefit the protection of our lakes greatly.
    
What is your perspective on Broadband internet?
    
I believe that in this day and age Broadband internet is an essential utility and a service that has to be offered to all of our residents and businesses. Businesses rely on fast internet speeds to be competitive and children are often required to complete homework assignments and projects via the internet. Again, this is another issue that seems like a no brainer to me.

What course of actions do you think should be taken to balance the growth of Windham and how that growth affects taxes?

Growth, if handled properly, should bring about more taxes for the town, providing the resources necessary to balance said growth. I would like to see North Windham have sewer installed to at least provide better opportunities for businesses to move into town. Again, I think a serious discussion needs to be had regarding the size of our school classrooms as we grow. I think that we need to take a hard look at current zoning and see how we can change existing zones to allow development in certain areas while protecting our more rural areas and lakes.


Why should voters cast their ballots for you? AND/OR - If you’d like to comment on other Town issues not mentioned above, please feel free to add them here.

I am a 35-year-old, hardworking, intelligent and driven individual. I own two businesses in town, a commercial rental building and have chosen Windham as the place to raise my family. I am well vested in the success of Windham as a town and would love the opportunity to represent others in this community that also have their lives vested here. I am a common-sense candidate, not swinging any direction on an issue other than the one that presents the best results for everyone. I am not the type to drop the ball or sit around. I like to listen to and gain insight from all sides, try not to see issues as only black or white and work on forming solutions that are pleasing to all interested parties. I am willing to vote against my own personal beliefs should the majority of the people I represent request that of me. I’d like the opportunity to take some of these roadblocks we see in town progression and turn them into hurdles that we are able to make it over. God willing, I am going to be here for a while, giving me an opportunity to have years to work towards progression on behalf of the Town of Windham.

DENNIS WELCH

Please provide a little background/personal information to include family, professional memberships, volunteer efforts, etc.

Age: 49
Family: Single, one adult son
Occupation: Corrections officer, Cumberland County Sherriff’s Office
Education: Windham High School, Maine Criminal Justice Academy
Political/civic experience: Town Council since 2011, appointed by governor Lepage to the Maine Labor Relations board, member of the Maine Municipal Association’s Legislative Policy Committee, past president of the local chapter of the National Correctional Employee Union.

Why are you qualified to represent the citizens of Windham and what inspired you to run?

I have been a counselor in the town of Windham since 2011. I am a conservative when it comes to the town’s budget. I am very respectful of other elected officials as well as the citizens who come up to the podium and voice their concerns.

I tend to do research of both sides of an issue before I make a final decision.

What do you feel are the most important challenges facing the Town of Windham? What positive steps forward do you believe will help overcome those challenges.

I feel that growth is a major concern for the town of Windham. I would like to limit building permits in the town of Windham. Some people might feel that growth is an economic development, I do Not! With more growth of the town of Windham we need to spend more money on police, fire, rescues, and schools. Our comp plan has growth and non-growth areas. I would like to get an adhoc committee started to look at the growth issues. They may be able to come up with a better Solution to the growth issues of the town.

What is your perspective on Broadband internet?

I feel that municipalities should not get into the internet business. The cost, I believe, is about 3 million dollars. We would then have to sell it to businesses to get our money back. I feel that businesses aren’t interested. I feel we should leave it up to the other internet businesses.

What course of actions do you think should be taken to balance the growth of Windham and how that growth affects taxes?

I would love to have an adhoc committee look at our growth in the town of Windham. I believe we need waste water to attract businesses to offset our tax base.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? AND/OR - If you’d like to comment on other Town issues not mentioned above, please feel free to add them here.

I feel that I work very hard for the people of the town of Windham. I feel we need to look back at our ordinances and would also like to keep the town of Windham moving forward in a positive way.


Raymond and Windham legislative candidates and their thoughts on the Citizen Initiative, known as Question 1


We have received requests recently to clarify the candidates running for election in the Windham and Raymond areas and to highlight Question 1 – the citizen initiative regarding Universal Home Care Program. To honor those requests, we have asked the candidates to give their perspective on the question.

Briefly, a citizen initiative is a proposed law that any Maine registered voter can initiate. The voter must submit an application and it must be approved by the Secretary of State. Once approved, a petition is created and must be signed by a certain number of valid signatures. (In this case, the required number of valid signatures were 61,123 – 10% of the total votes for governor in the 2014 election.) Before the initiative is placed on the ballot, the Maine legislature has the chance to pass the proposed law. If the legislature does not pass the law, the initiative is placed on the ballot and Maine voters have the opportunity to vote for or against it.

Question 1 is: “Do you want to create the Universal Home Care Program to provide home-based assistance to people with disabilities and senior citizens, regardless of income, funded by a new 3.8% tax on individuals and families with Maine wage and adjusted gross income above the amount subject to Social Security taxes, which is $128,400 in 2018?”

The following are the responses of the candidates (listed in alphabetical and numerical order):

Raymond (parts of Casco and Poland). District 66. Maine House of Representative

Jessica Fay versus Greg Foster






FAY: Question one is the beginning of a long overdue conversation about how older people will age in Maine. Unfortunately, because of the process model in the referendum and concerns over the funding mechanism, I can’t support it. There are Federal programs that Maine might take better advantage of or look to as a model as we develop policy and use the regular legislative process to work through the details.
As an advocate for Age-Friendly Communities, I realize how critically important this topic is and I am looking forward to continuing to work on the issue.








FOSTER: I have already voted no on Question #1. This thirty-six-page citizens’ initiative creates a fourth branch of government with a board that has no oversight from the legislature, the only avenue of accountability to the taxpayer. If passed, it will likely make Maine the highest taxed state in the Nation. What a terrible thing to do to the citizens, when over the last eight years Maine finally has achieved a fiscal responsibility that has improved every measurable performance of the state’s economy. There are other aspects to this referendum that earns its designation as a Scam.




Raymond (parts of Gray, New Gloucester, and all of Frye Island). District 67 Maine House of Representative

Sue Austin versus Anne Gass

AUSTIN: Question One is possibly the most aggressively destructive pieces that we have had to consider in the list of recent referendums. As usual the question is worded to sound so innocent and equitable for all Maine people.

However, it would place one of the highest taxes in the country on a combined household income of $128,000 and above. It would have a tremendous burden on small family owned businesses. Many of whom are the life blood of our small communities.

This piece touts a home health care benefit to all seniors with no means testing and no Maine state residency requirement. This program would be governed by a nine-member board that would work independently outside the realm of the state’s administration, and the Maine State Legislature with open access to this targeted tax revenue to spend with no taxpayer accountability.

If we really feel that we want our young people to be able to stay Home in Maine to start families, invest in our communities and add to our trained, skilled workforce, the vote on this question is very,
very simple - “NO”!

GASS: I'm voting "no" on Question 1. 
I'm sympathetic to the need to raise wages but am concerned this isn't the right way to fund it. Maine is already a high tax state, and this would have an additional impact on businesses coming on the heels of the increase in the minimum wage that voters also passed recently. Finally, I think that people receiving public assistance ought to demonstrate a financial need for it.



Windham. District 24. Maine House of Representatives

Mark Bryant versus Tom Tyler







BRYANT: Do you encourage a “yes” or “no” answer on Question 1?  I do not encourage a "yes or no" answer.

Why? It is a citizens’ initiative and the finer details of the language haven't been vetted. I will respect the decision of the people.







TYLER: This one is easy. A big emphatic NO on One.   This would affect middle income families, small businesses and companies that have staff who earn over the limit. The bill also creates a commission to run the program that once the group is established they have no oversight by anyone. There are no criteria as to who is eligible to receive benefits. Wealthy people could qualify. This bill is such a mess and if you read it carefully it may also have unconstitutional provisions. The Maine Peoples Alliance trying again to push garbage legislation that hurt Maine citizens.





Windham. District 25. Maine House of Representatives

Jennie Butler versus Patrick Corey






BUTLER: Although Maine needs to do a better job at supporting senior citizens in their homes and it is significantly cheaper to help them in their homes instead of placing them in facilities, I am concerned about making tax policies via referendum. I will be voting against Question 1.










COREY: I urge a "no" vote on Question 1. With Maine’s aging population I believe it is worthwhile to have a real conversation surrounding access to home healthcare. That said, the proposal in front of us creates one of the highest tax rates in the country. The self-employed and small businesses will be hit hardest, and both are vital for our economy. Maine has to remain competitive with other states to keep families and professionals here. In the legislature we work incredibly hard in a bipartisan and thoughtful manner to strike a balance that works for everyone.







Senate District 26 (Windham, Raymond as well as Baldwin, Casco, Frye Island, Standish).

Bill Diamond (unopposed)

I DEFINITELY ENCOURAGE A NO VOTE.
Who can disagree with the intent of Question One. However, the details reveal significant problems. My biggest concern is the negative impact the referendum will have on small businesses. Most small businesses in Maine are not major corporations and most of the money they get from sales, with the exception of allowed deductions, is counted as "income" and will be used to measure if they meet the new tax threshold - most will.  
The problem is most small businesses in Maine have to hold a lot of their "income" in a separate account to pay for an occasional stall in accounts receivable and must save money to pay their employees even in bad weeks.  

Also, saving income for expansion or securing new accounts also require money on hand, money that will be considered as "income" by Question One. Therefore, from a small business perspective Question One could be devastating to them because they will be taxed at nearly 11% on income they will not be able to use as income.

There are also several other issues with Question One to be concerned about including what the former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court, Daniel Wathen, has publicly stated - Question One is, in his opinion, UNCONSTITUTIONAL.  Question One is a 14-page bill that will become law - I strongly urge every voter to read the14 pages before you vote.  Once you see the many radical proposals contained in the bill you may be concerned as well.