July 29, 2022
In the public eye: Raymond Fire Department’s Jordan commits to protecting lives on daily basis
There’s no denying that being a firefighter is one of the most heroic jobs there is. Firefighters face serious risks on the job and work long hours, never give up, are incredibly smart, and most importantly, they inspire others. In Raymond, someone who’s been fighting fires and inspiring many people in the community is Andrew Jordan.
He still lives in Raymond and has worked for the Raymond Fire Department for 16 years. It all started back when he joined the crew as an explorer thanks to encouragement from his grandmother, Jane Jordan, who served on the department for many years.
After starting out as a fire explorer, Jordan was selected as a live-in firefighting student in Raymond. He went to attend Southern Maine Community College where he graduated with an associate of science degree in 2010.
Following graduation from college, Jordan worked his way up to the rank of captain in the fire department. As a captain, he oversees many aspects of the fire department, from issuing and inspecting gear and radios to driver training. He’s also the live-in student advisor, and he oversees four students who attend SMCC for both fire sciences and paramedics.
Firefighting is an extremely dangerous job, and Jordan often faces difficult challenges and problems to overcome on a daily basis. However, when it comes to what he views as the most challenging aspect of his job and profession, he didn’t even have to think twice.
“It’s hard to see people that work, live, and vacation in our community having the worst day of their lives,” said Jordan. “It’s also tough when people don’t call 911 when they’re in true need of help,
because being able to make a change in someone’s life is far more rewarding than anything else.”
Jordan also said he thinks there are a lot of misconceptions people have about firefighters, with the biggest being just the public’s view of what they do every day.
“The public doesn’t get to see all of the extra work we do because most of the day we spend checking our equipment and cleaning the station as it’s our home away from home,” he said. “We spend hundreds of hours just completing mandatory training set forth by the state in order to keep our EMS licenses and our fire skills sharp.”
Despite all the challenges and the misconceptions of being a firefighter, Jordan said he still loves his job and one thing about it stands out above the rest.
“I like helping others and seeing that their worst day be a little better, but what I enjoy most is challenging myself to overcome whatever is thrown at us,” said Jordan. “As a team we work to mitigate problems that take out of the box thinking, and this is why the fire service is a family.”
After being with the Raymond Fire Department for more than two decades, Jordan says he’s learned so many important lessons, but the biggest one he’s learned as a firefighter applies to all facets of life.
“The most important thing I have learned from work at the fire department is teamwork,” said Jordan. “That, as well as communication and empathy, will solve a lot more than you would think.”
And when it comes to being a firefighter, not only is it important to have courage and all of the other qualities one must need to do the job, but they also must have the support from their family, and Jordan luckily has that support.
“My family is very supportive of the work I do and think it’s fitting that I follow in the steps of family members before me,” said Jordan. “My wife and son keep my drive to learn more and do better, and they truly are my support system for the good and the bad.” <
New ‘Mrs. Worldwide 2022’ focuses on food insecurity issues
If Misty Coolidge keeps acquiring pageant titles, soon she’ll have no place left to put all her crowns.
|Misty Coolidge of New Gloucester was|
crowned the 2022 Mrs. Worldwide
on July 7. Coolidge, who also is the
reigning Mrs. USA, says she hopes to
use her title to promote public
awareness of food insecurity worldwide.
Even before she was involved in pageantry, Coolidge’s passion for fighting hunger has been evident for more than two decades in every community that she’s lived in, from Bangor to Portland, and now through her volunteer efforts on behalf of the Good Shepherd Food Bank. She said that her mission is a personal one having grown up with a single mom who worked three jobs to put food on the table and relied upon food stamps and the WIC program to survive.
Before assuming the duties as the Mrs. USA title holder in July 2021, Coolidge says she knew she needed to formulate a plan to bring her passion nationwide, so she created her “Helping Hands for Hunger” campaign.
“The 19 states for Feed America that I’ve visited thus far is just the beginning,” she said. “Now, with an international title, I’ve set a goal of visiting at least 10 countries in this next year in hopes of reaching a worldwide audience.”
Coolidge says that food insecurity is greater than ever as a result of the pandemic.
“So many families are feeling the results of losing jobs, the cost of gas and groceries, and struggling to pay their utility bills. The numbers I’ve seen across the country in my travels are astounding and heart breaking,” Coolidge said. “Having little ones at home myself, I cannot imagine not being able to give them the food they need. There are people visiting food banks now that have never needed to utilize their services before. People need to know that there is help out there and it's ok to get help."
She was born in Waterville, grew up in Norridgewock and went to Skowhegan Area High School. After graduation, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-Law and was planning to attend law school after college but became a paralegal instead, working as an intellectual property paralegal at Preti Flaherty for seven years and then as a real estate paralegal for Dead River Company for 15 years.
This past year the Good Shepherd Food Bank created an Ambassadorship program and made Coolidge their very first Ambassador.
“I was so honored and touched that such a huge organization would recognize my efforts and hard
work,” she said. “My life for the past five years since moving to New Gloucester has been spreading the good word and mission of the Good Shepherd Food Bank. After all, we share the same goal.”
She volunteers at the Good Shepherd facility in Auburn in her spare time, and hosts annual fundraising events at her wedding venue business, the Coolidge Family Farm, on Lewiston Road in New Gloucester. She launched her own “Running of the Brides 5K for Hunger” several years ago where runners wear vintage wedding dresses. She also hosted a Quilt Auction at her venue, Coolidge Chapel, in Gray where she and her friend Abby, raised more than $3,000 to benefit Good Shepherd.
If that wasn’t enough, Coolidge co-produced her first annual “Flowers that Feed” Art & Runway show in June with her pageant sister Whitley, is now writing her first children’s book under Paw Prints Publishing called “We All Stir The Pot” (an effort to end hunger) and just collaborated with New Gloucester’s NU Brewery on their first philanthropic beer called “Feed ME” which will benefit the Good Shepherd as well.
Her latest pageant success is in addition to the time she devotes to being a wife and a mother, her business career, and her volunteering to assist the community at the food bank.
“Pageantry is such a huge part of the State of Maine that most people have no idea about,” Coolidge said. “Before my love of pageantry bloomed, I didn't think there was any pageantry in Maine, but once I started competing, I'm constantly running into people who know someone who held a title here or elsewhere but are from here. It's exciting and I have so many people following my journey and I hope to constantly inspire others.”
Follow Misty’s journey across the country, and now worldwide, on the Good Shepherd’s website by visiting gsfb.org and searching for Misty Coolidge. <
Town of Raymond putting donated school bus to good use
When a school bus has exhausted its service to a school district it doesn’t always mean it’s the end of the road for the vehicle and a great example of that will benefit generations of Raymond residents in the future.
Last fall, RSU 14 donated a 2012 International school bus from its fleet to the Raymond Parks and Recreation Department and it’s a substantial gift that town residents should take pride in.
|RSU 14 has donated a 2012 International school bus to|
Raymond which will be used by the town's Parks and
Recreation Department and for other community
initiatives. PHOTO BY GERRY COLLINS
“We looked into renting a bus, but the quotes we received were very high,” Crocker said. “That’s when we started looking into obtaining an old school bus to lower the costs.”
Crocker said Raymond’s Public Works Director Nathan White spoke with RSU 14 transportation officials and rather than send the aging bus to salvage, the school district chose to donate it to the town.
“They were pushing out some old buses and the timing was perfect,” Crocker said.
Once acquired, the vehicle was repainted in Gorham and then earlier this summer, Raymond Parks and Recreation graphics were applied by Time4Printing of Windham.
“It didn’t take very long at all for them to do that, in fact, we probably got it back in about a day,” Crocker said. “They did an amazing job.”
He said that the converted school bus has plenty of life left in it and will be put to good use by the Raymond Parks and Recreation Department.
“It has about 120,000 miles on it and the bus itself is probably worth between $10,000 and $20,000,” Crocker said.
According to Crocker, the bus gives the town many different options for community programs.
“Obtaining this vehicle gives the Raymond Parks and Recreation Department plenty of flexibility,” he
said. “Since the bus was donated, it has allowed us to keep expenses down. We perform all the exterior and mechanical maintenance on it, so we don’t pass the costs on.”
The community will see almost immediate results from the bus.
“We’ve been able to partner with the Windham Raymond School Age Child Care Program to help out with after school transportation needs in Raymond,” Crocker said. “We’ve also been using the bus over at Tassel Top Park this summer.”
As the season changes into fall, Crocker said the town’s Parks and Recreation Department is planning to team up with Age Friendly Raymond to take seniors to the Fryeburg Fair in October.
“Just having this bus now opens up many different possibilities for the Parks and Recreation department,” he said. “We can plan ski trips, shopping trips and use the bus for so many events that we couldn’t offer previously.”
Crocker says Raymond residents are grateful to RSU 14 for the bus donation and it demonstrates how successfully that the school district and the town can work together on behalf of the entire community.
“This donation will benefit Raymond residents for a long time,” Crocker said. “We can’t thank them enough for doing this.” <
Johnston shares award as ‘2022 GNAC athletic trainer of the year’
We only live once; we only have one body. Every decision we make, whether we like it or not, directly affects our body. What we eat, what we think, what we do, how we act – it all takes its toll on our body. Brianna Johnston, ATC Assistant Athletic Trainer at St. Joseph’s College, has recognized this and has made it her goal to help athletes with their physical well-being.
|Brianna Johnston of Windham has been|
honored as one of three athletic trainers
at St. Joseph's College to be presented the
'2022 GNAC Athletic Trainer of the
Year' award. COURTESY PHOTO
It’s their job to make sure that athletes stay healthy and competing in their respective sports. If an injury occurs, they are the first ones there. On a typical day, Johnston starts her day by going to the gym to get her own workout in and makes sure she has coffee before heading to her office on campus.
“We have athletes that come in to do some rehab exercises if they have any long-term injuries. Pre-practice and pre games we tape them and stretch them,” she says. “Whether they need their ankles taped for a basketball game, or need their shoulder stretched before pitching, they come into the training room, and we get them prepared for their sport.”
According to Johnston, her favorite part is covering the athletes’ practices or games.
“We’re on the sidelines prepared for all types of injuries that may occur. Of course, we want them all to stay healthy and injury free but for when they need us, we’re there and ready.”
Johnston is 30 years old and has lived in Windham her whole life. She has six brothers and sisters, and she is the middle child. Growing up around sports, she loved every minute of it. She played softball, basketball, field hockey and a little bit of indoor track. She graduated from Windham High School in 2010 but says that she had no idea what she wanted to do for a career.
One thing she did know was that she wanted to be in healthcare at some capacity. Because she grew up playing sports, and eventually started coaching, she loved being on the field and around athletes wanted to somehow do both.
“I’m a big New York Yankees fan, with Derek Jeter being my favorite all-time player. I was watching a game one night, and he broke his ankle on a play. I remember seeing the athletic trainer run out to him and help him off the field and in that moment, I knew that that was exactly what I wanted to do.”
After doing some research on the profession, Johnston completely fell in love with the idea of helping athletes as a trainer.
“I went to the University of Maine in Orono for a couple of years and then transferred back home,” says Johnston. “In that time of trying to decide what I wanted to do for a career, I came back to Windham High School as an assistant coach for the softball team for a couple of years. Once I realized I wanted to be an Athletic Trainer I applied for the AT program at the University of Southern Maine, and I’ve been focused and driven to be the best AT I can be since then.”
And this is exactly that which got her named as one of the 2022 GNAC (Great Northeast Athletic
Conference) athletic trainers of the year.
There are three athletic trainers at Saint Joe’s; Tiffany Miller-Gagnon is the head athletic trainer, and Aaron Rice is an assistant athletic trainer like Johnston.
“The three of us have a great working relationship,” says Johnston. “This award wouldn’t be possible without all of us working together like we did. The coaches and the rest of the athletic department are a fantastic group of people that I’m lucky to be around every day. I love the sense of community that we have, and I really enjoy going to work every day because of the atmosphere that my colleagues and athletes create.”
Being named 2022 GNAC athletic trainers of the year is no easy task. There are 14 schools in the conference all over New England and each of those schools has an athletic training staff, so at the end of the year all of the athletic trainers in the conference vote for which staff they think is most deserving of the award.
“I was excited for our whole staff,” said Johnston. “We all worked really hard to give our athletes the best care and keep them in the game. This award means a lot to all three of us and we’re so happy for each other. It makes you feel like you’re making a difference in your athletes’ collegiate careers, and you know you’re doing something important.”
Johnston says that she is motivated by her athletes every day and says that there is nothing better than watching them succeed.
“Especially if they’ve had an injury that kept them sidelined for any period of time, it’s amazing to work with them and see them improve and feel better every day,” she said. “I love being around athletes, you get to know them on a personal level. They make me laugh and make me excited to come work with them every day.” <
July 22, 2022
'Operation Summer Snacks' in Windham hopes for continued success
|'Operation Summer Snacks' is an initiative led by Our Lady|
of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Windham and collects
snack items to donate to the Windham Food Pantry for
children in need in the area this summer.
“This is the seventh year we will be collecting snacks for the Windham Food Pantry,” said Jill Russell-Morey, who helped launch the program in 2016. “As many families still continue to struggle, especially with the pandemic's impact over the past few years, it's crucial we continue to support our neighbors and help fight food insecurity in the community.”
One thing the pandemic did not impact was the incredible generosity shown toward “Operation Summer Snacks” by the wider community. In fact, it’s doubled.
“In 2019, the initiative collected over 2,500 snack items, but in 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, over 5,600 snacks were donated,” said Russell-Morey. “Last year, the total was again around 5,000 snacks. We were able to help support those receiving food for the senior drive-ins at the pantry as well. So, in helping to feed our youngest friends in town, we were able to help feed our older friends.”
If you are able, “Operation Summer Snacks” is requesting the following items for donation this summer (listed below). Donations can be dropped off at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on 919 Roosevelt Trail in Windham through August. You can also have items picked up from your house by calling Russell-Morey at 207-317-0383 or emailing her at email@example.com. Organizers can arrange the pickup to be contactless if you prefer.
Cash, checks, and Venmo are also accepted by “Operation Summer Snacks” which continues to grow in size, scope and impact each summer.
“The community we live in is amazing and the parishioners and supporters always help when needed,” Russell-Morey said. “The Holy Spirit continues to touch and work through people which provides great hope.”
Requested Donations for Summer 2022
cracker packs (Nabisco, Ritz, Goldfish, etc.)
fruit cups (Dole, etc.)
juice pouches/boxes (Minute Maid, Capri Sun, etc.)
cereal bars, breakfast biscuits (Nutri-Grain, Belvita, etc.)
non-perishable pudding cups (Hunt's, etc.)
popcorn/snack puffs (SkinnyPop, Smartfood, Pirate's Booty, etc.)
gluten-free and/or nut-free snacks for those with food sensitivities. <
MDOT to work on Route 302 Rotary in August
Relief for motorists using the Route 302 Rotary in Windham may finally be within sight. A crew from the Maine Department of Transportation will be in town next month to perform paving work on the heavily traveled roadway.
Earlier this year, MDOT had included complete Route 302 Rotary repaving funding in its Three-Year Work Plan with a project supposed to start in June 2023. But that paving project, which included paving work extending north 2.85 miles on Route 302 from the rotary, was pushed back by MDOT to late 2023 or in 2024.
As pavement conditions have slowly deteriorated for the rotary surface since the winter months and into the spring and summer this year, motorist complaints about the area have increased.
State Senator Bill Diamond said that he had called the MDOT and requested department representatives come out and inspect the rotary’s existing pavement and determine whether the surface could withstand another winter and sustained heavy traffic until late 2023 or in 2024.
That inspection was performed earlier this month and emergency funding for maintenance was deemed necessary to bring the rotary pavement back into MDOT standards.
What is known today as the Route 302 Rotary was first created in the 19th century as a thoroughfare for farmers to points north and south. Later the area was nicknamed “Foster’s Corner” after a nearby business called Foster Bros. & Co.
The state reconfigured the roadway in 1951 to intersect both Route 202 and Route 302 and added the rotary feature at that time.
Traffic studies conducted in recent years have shown that the Route 302 Rotary is among the most heavily traveled roadways in the Lakes Region of Maine, handling thousands of vehicles each day.
“I want to say that I’m very pleased with the response from DOT Commissioner, Bruce Van Note, who acted immediately to my request to initiate needed repairs,” Diamond said. “Work will begin next month thanks to the cooperation and leadership of Commissioner Van Note.”
The rotary repaving work in August will address current and significant road surfacing issues but complete roadway repaving for the Route 302 Rotary and resurfacing for Route 302 north of that area remain in MDOT’s Three-Year Work Plan and could be put out to bid next winter.
Motorists using the Route 302 Rotary could experience some temporary delays while the repaving work is being performed and should take this into account when traveling in the area. <
Windham fire calls trend down slightly in second quarter
|Windham firefighters and rescue personnel responded to|
308 calls for assistance in June and handled a total of
848 calls for help during the second quarter of 2022.
PHOTO BY ED PIERCE
Members of the Windham Town Council reviewed Windham Fire and Rescue Department statistics for the second quarter of 2022 during the town meeting on July 12.
According to a report complied by Windham Fire Chief Brent Libby, Windham fire and rescue personnel responded to a total of 848 calls for assistance during April, May, and June of this year.
The breakdown by month included 278 calls in April, 262 calls in May and 308 calls in June.
Second quarter calls were categorized as 30 calls reporting fires; 611 calls for rescue and emergency medical services; 36 hazardous condition calls (no fire); 38 service calls; 61 good intention calls; 70 false alarm and false calls; one severe weather or natural disaster call; and one special incident call.
During the first quarter of 2022, Windham firefighters and rescue personnel responded to 879 calls for assistance.
Halfway through the year, Windham crews have responded to a total of 1,727 calls. In 2021, Windham responded 3,420 calls throughout the entire year, while in 2020, Windham Fire and Rescue responded to 3,301 calls overall.
Libby reported that Windham Fire and Rescue’s average turnaround time, which measure the length of time between dispatch receiving a call for assistance to a crew being enroute to the emergency, was 1.02 minutes.
He said Windham Fire and Rescue’s average response time, which measure the length of time between dispatch receiving a call for help to arrival at an emergency destination was 6.11 minutes.
According to Libby, Windham firefighters and emergency personnel spent a total of 919.75 hours training for emergency situations during the second quarter this year.
In his report, Chief Libby also mentioned that during the second quarter, Deputy Chief John Kooistra was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Maine EMS.
He said that Kooistra received the award for extensive involvement with EMS in Maine of at least 10 years, and consistently performing above and beyond expectations in system development, patient care, service involvement and/or community involvement.
Libby said that during the second quarter, firefighter Matt Howe completed Pro Board firefighter 1 and 2 certification, firefighter Mike Mullin completed Pro Board fire officer 1 and 2 certification, and firefighter Noah Guidi completed Maine Basic Firefighter certification. <
July 15, 2022
In the public eye: Burns makes immediate impact as Windham's first assistant town manager
|Robert 'Bob" Burns, Jr. is the first Assistant|
Town Manager in Windham history. He joined
the town in December 2021 after serving 18
years as Public Works Director and Town
Engineer for the Town of Gorham.
By Andrew Wing
The list of duties for a town manager is very long. While the Town Manager Barry Tibbetts oversees the town’s administration offices and government operations and the job responsibilities include coordinating activities across multiple departments, communicating with the public and managing internal affairs to planning the town’s budget, the workload for Tibbetts is extensive. To alleviate some of that, the town council thought Windham needed an assistant town manager and that’s where Robert Burns, Jr. entered the picture.
In the fall of 2021, the town of Windham announced that Burns had been selected as Windham’s first Assistant Town Manager. This new position was funded in the 2021-2022 town budget and approved by the residents of Windham at the annual town meeting that was held in June last year.
Burns officially started his new job as Windham Assistant Town Manager in early December 2021, and for the past seven months, he has not looked back.
When it comes to what Burns’ specific duties and responsibilities are for his job, they quite literally revolve around assisting the Town Manager in all aspects of that position. Specifically, Burns has been focused on various projects involving the Planning Department, Code Enforcement Office, Information Technology and Tax Assessing. In addition, he has been working on the town’s Trash Collection contract negotiation with New England waste management company, Casella Waste Systems.
Burns graduated from Yarmouth High School before he went on to attend the University of Maine at Orono where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Engineering. Following graduation, Burns worked both in Maryland in Public Works and in Florida as a consulting environmental engineer. After that, he found his way back home to Maine and served as the Public Works Director and Town Engineer in Gorham for 18 years.
However, a strong interest and desire to transition from Public Works and Engineering to Town Management led him to Windham where he has already experienced some memorable moments in his new position.
“The most memorable moment I can recall while being here would have to be the annual town meeting,” said Burns. “It was the first experience I had as a government employee and it was a very interesting proceeding that I took a lot away from.”
Burns said he knew what to expect when he took the job, and one of the things he expected was some challenges. And he said the toughest aspect of his new job is adjusting priorities on a daily basis.
“The most challenging aspect of my job is adjusting to the shifting priority of projects day to day,” said Burns. “That’s a challenge because I have to do that while also staying on schedule with some of our other longer-range projects.”
But despite the job’s challenges, Burns is glad to be where he is, and just like he has already experienced some memorable moments in his new job, he has also come to realize what the best part of his job is.
“The best thing about what I do as Assistant Town Manager is being able to help our Windham residents,” said Burns. “I really love being able to help the residents by solving problems that affect them.”
He says he pays attention to how Tibbetts and his other coworkers resolve problems and the issues Windham residents face on a daily basis.
“I have learned a lot in my first seven months as Windham Assistant Town Manager,” said Burns. “More specifically, I have learned that the devil truly is in the details.”
Getting a new job is not only a big change in the individual’s life, but if they have a family like Burns does, it is a big change for them too and it’s important what they think of your work. And luckily for Burns, his family thinks very highly of his job.
“My family appreciates my job,” said Burns. “They enjoy hearing about the various projects and issues being worked on.” <
Windham schedules public hearing about marijuana license fee revisions
Members of the Windham Town Council have scheduled a public hearing for next month to discuss significant revisions to its current marijuana fee licensing schedule.
During a council meeting Tuesday night, councilors reviewed proposed revisions to the existing fee schedule suggested by Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts. The topic of revising the fees was a result of objections to fee increases for marijuana license renewals adopted by the council last fall.
|Windham's Town Council has scheduled a public hearing for|
Aug. 16 to discuss significant revisions to the town's
marijuana licensing fees. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE
At a council meeting in May, Tibbetts said he thought the fee increase was warranted because town staff members and many town departments become involved in the licensing stemming from the complexity of the town’s marijuana ordinance and ensuring businesses are complying with rules and regulations set forth in the ordinance.
Lauren Beatrice, a medical caregiver who operates Seed Sound Herbal Apothecary, questioned why the fees were raised and how the 40 percent education fee imposed by the town’s marijuana ordinance is being spent.
Tibbetts presented an overview chart of proposed marijuana license fee revisions to councilors, and they scheduled a public hearing for Aug. 16 prior to a final vote about the new revisions following the hearing.
At the Aug. 16 meeting, councilors will also discuss the possibility of Windham adding more adult retail marijuana licenses. The town’s existing marijuana ordinance only allows for two adult retain licenses and several medical marijuana shop owners in Windham say that limitation creates is an uneven playing field and they would like an opportunity to obtain an adult retail license too.
Councilors asked Tibbetts to include an agenda item for the Aug. 16 meeting regarding Windham adding more adult retail marijuana licenses.
For an adult use marijuana store, the current fee for a renewal is $10,000, but Tibbetts is proposing to reduce that fee to $2,500, with new licenses set at $10,000. Prior to last fall, the original fee for an adult use marijuana store was $2,500.
The proposed fees for a Tier 1 marijuana cultivation facility up to 500-square-feet would remain at $1,000, while a Tier 2 marijuana cultivation facility up to 2,000-square-feet would see fees drop to $1,500 for renewals from its current rate of $5,000. New licenses for a Tier 2 cultivation facility would be $5,000.
For Tier 3 cultivation facilities more than 2,000-square-feet, the renewal fee would decrease from $7,500 to $2,000 with new licenses for Tier 3 set at $10,000. Tier 4 cultivation facilities would drop to $2,500 from $10,000 with new Tier 4 licenses established at $10,000.
At a prior council meeting there was a lengthy discussion about fees for marijuana caregivers, but Tibbets’ proposal for on-site cultivation for medical marijuana caregivers would be $300 from its current rate of $500. New on-site cultivation for medical marijuana caregiver licenses would be set at $500.
Council members Mark Morrison and Nick Kalogerakis said they supported Tibbetts’ proposal to cap the town’s marijuana education fee required for all license renewals at $1,000 maximum, with all new licenses capped at $2,000.
There is currently $20,930 in the town’s marijuana education fund.
According to Tibbetts, preliminary discussions with the town attorney indicate that the council does have the ability to impose educational fees for licensees in Windham who sell alcohol and e-cigarettes. He said an ordinance change would be required to be able to do that, but it is possible. <
Fireworks violations in Windham result in steep fines
By Ed Pierce
|Violating Windham's fireworks ordinance can lead to steep |
fines and forfeiture of explosive materials. COURTESY PHOTO
The Windham Town Council established a fireworks ordinance in 2016 and it applies to both commercial and residential use of fireworks.
Councilors enacted the ordinance citing fire safety protection and to prohibit fireworks use at all hours of the day and night while standardizing which types of fireworks can be used in the town.
The ordinance specifies that an individual may use consumer fireworks only on their own property or on the property of a person who has consented, in writing, to the use of consumer fireworks there.
It also spells out the days and times when fireworks may be set off. Those days and times are as follows:
** Noon to 10 p.m. July 3
** Noon to 11 p.m. July 4
** Noon to 12:30 a.m. the following day December 31
** Noon to 10 p.m. January 1
According to the ordinance, no person shall use, display, discharge, fire, or cause to be exploded consumer fireworks within 150 feet of any buildings or structures.
Any person who uses consumer fireworks in the Town of Windham in violation of the provisions of the established ordinance shall be punished by a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $400, plus costs. For second and subsequent offenses, a fine of not less than $300 and not more than $600 per violation, plus costs, shall be imposed.
Each incident shall constitute a separate violation.
The ordnance is enforced by the Windham Police Department.
The Town of Windham may seize fireworks or consumer fireworks that the town has probable cause to believe are used in violation of this chapter or in violation of state law and shall forfeit the seized consumer fireworks to the state for disposal. <
July 8, 2022
Windham Public Safety Building ready for dedication next week
|Expansion and renovation work on Windham's Public Safety|
Building on Gray Road has been finished and the town will
host a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony and open
house from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 13.
PHOTO BY ED PIERCE
A year in the making, the expansion work at Windham’s Public Safety Building on Gray Road has been completed and the public is invited to attend a special ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the revamped facility from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday July 13.
The renovation project includes a two-story 5,840-square-foot addition that houses five apparatus bays, a new public safety decontamination space, bunk rooms, kitchen and offices for the Windham Fire Department, adding a new 1,305-square-foot standalone three-bay space for vehicle and evidence storage for the Windham Police Department, and the installation of a new second elevator for the building.
To accommodate the renovation project, Windham firefighters were temporarily moved out of the building during the upstairs construction work, while the Windham Police Department continued to use the facility as the work progressed.
In 2020, Windham residents approved up to $4.9 million in bonds during the Annual Town Meeting for capital improvement projects, including funding the expansion for the town’s public safety building. Additional funding for the building renovation was derived from town impact fees for new town residential developments and new commercial buildings.
Windham’s Public Safety Building at 375 Gray Road in Windham was originally built in 1988 at a time when none of the town’s firefighters were full-time staff members and Windham only had about 15 or so police officers on duty. Through the decades as Windham has grown, and the town now employs eight professional firefighters while the town’s police force has doubled in size to 30 officers.
Windham Fire Chief Brent Libby has said previously that firefighters have adapted the best they could to the old public safety facility, but welcome and are grateful for the new expansion.
“There was no room in the current building for future expansion and now we’ll have more space and room to grow. It will provide us with a classroom for training and bathrooms,” Libby said. “This project is huge for us, and this location is very important for us allowing us to reach wherever we are needed in the town in a short period of time.”
Windham Police Chief Kevin L. Schofield said in 2021 that police officers are grateful for the extra room created from the expansion.
“It’s nice to see that the town and the community has invested in itself,” Schofield said. “It will result in a more modern professional workspace for us as our staffing has doubled in size. It will be adequate space for them for the foreseeable future.”
Schofield said that Windham Police officers first started using the existing Windham Public Safety Building in April 1990.
To RSVP to attend the ribbon-cutting and dedication event, call 207-777-3514 by Friday, July 8. <
Windham High graduate earns Mitchell Institute scholarship
“The 2022 Mitchell Scholars spent much of their high school years facing upheaval related to the pandemic, and they have demonstrated remarkable resilience,” said Mitchell Institute President and CEO Jared Cash.
He said that The Mitchell Institute is honored to offer the scholars a $10,000 scholarship along with signature events and resources that are designed to meet scholars where they are and support them in college and well into their careers.
“Each Scholar represents the best of our great state and reflects Senator Mitchell’s vision of investing in young people so they, in turn, can strengthen their communities.” Cash said.
Class of 2022 Mitchell Scholars graduated in June from high schools across the state and will soon pursue their academic goals and career aspirations in higher education. They will do so with the support of the broader Mitchell Institute community, which includes more than 2,800 alumni who mentor Scholars and hundreds of donors whose philanthropic investments continue to sustain the Institute’s ability to fund the scholars.
The new class of Mitchell Scholars will join 450 currently enrolled scholars who collectively will receive more than $5 million in awards from the Mitchell Institute during their college careers, Cash said.
All of the college-bound students in the 2022 scholar class, including Potter, have distinguished themselves through academic excellence and community involvement.
With financial and programmatic support from the Mitchell Institute, some 88 percent of Mitchell Scholars complete college and achieve a degree, compared with 58 percent nationally, and more than 90 percent earn all As and Bs in their college courses.
Potter will attend the University of New Hampshire in the fall and is undecided on a major but is leaning toward Wildlife Conservation with a minor in Animal Behavior.
“I’ve always had a passion for animals and hope one day to have a career that allows me to help them in any way I can,” she said. “These past 13 years have been a ride and I thank the RSU 14 district for the countless memories that I have accumulated throughout the years.”
Potter says she would also like to thank all of the wonderful teachers that have motivated her and allowed her to succeed in her education.
“Most importantly I want to thank my family for being my rock and guiding me through some of the most important years of my life,” she said. <
Windham Public Library offering American Sign Language classes
|Tristan Petersen is leading a free sign language course at the|
Windham Public Library. Classes meet at 6 p.m. on the last
Monday of every month at the library. SUBMITTED PHOTO
At some point, most of us have learned – or at least attempted to learn – a second language. We twist our tongues and sound out every syllable in attempt to utter a new word in a new language. On top of using sound and words to tell others something, we also often use our hands. These help us express how we feel, and we know that without them, our daily communication with people would be very different. But what about people who can’t use their mouth to communicate, or whose other senses make it difficult for them to use sound to get their message along? That’s where American sign language (ASL) comes in.
ASL started in 1817, in Hartford, Connecticut, at the American School for the Deaf (ASD). The school was originally known as The American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and was founded by the Yale graduate and divinity student Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. It was later renamed The American School for the Deaf, and it was the first American school dedicated entirely to the education of the deaf.
As technology and different forms of communication are evolving, sign language is becoming not as common. Luckily, Tristan Petersen has made sure that does not happen.
“Although it is very hard to tell with me, I am actually more deaf than I can hear, and verbal communication has always been a struggle for me,” said Petersen. “When I went to RIT, I was immersed in an entirely new culture and language I had never experienced before - and it helped me realize I was missing a big chunk of “human connection.”
Petersen has taken the reigns in establishing the class and teaching it every month.
“Because of my deafness, and experience in deaf culture, I am able to provide much more than just the basics of sign language - I can provide reasoning and rationale behind signs, I can provide insight on variations on signs, and so much more that you just won’t learn from a YouTube video or a book,” he said.
The class meets at the meeting room in the Windham Public Library which is quite large, a rough estimate would be that the room could fit about 50 people, so there is plenty of room to join. There is no age restriction, and everyone is welcome to attend.
“We typically sit around a circular table so everyone can see everyone else, and we practice signs at the pace of the class,” said Petersen.
According to Petersen, the class is absolutely free and he said that he can’t point to any one specific experience or inspiration behind his motivation to offer the class other than he wanted to give back to the community, and this is his contribution to the community.
The only requirement to join the class is to have an interest in learning sign language at all, whether that is from being late deafened, hard of hearing, have a deaf family member, or just out of pure interest.
Petersen said that the class will continue as long as people are interested.
“Even if one person shows up, I’m happy to teach them!” said Petersen.
He says that if someone is interested but feel like they would be overwhelmed, that’s completely natural and exactly how he felt when he first started learning sign language 20-plus years ago.
“Like any language or skill in life, it takes time to pick up, so please don’t feel like you have to arrive knowing anything at all. Just an eagerness to learn, it doesn’t matter from what level you are starting, or if you don’t know a single sign. We are all there to learn and have fun.” <
FMI, please visit http://www.windham.lib.me.us/ <
Maine Audubon’s Annual Loon Count nears
|The state's Annual Loon Count conducted by Maine Audubon|
will be from 7 to 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 16 and volunteers
are needed to help count at Sebago Lake locations.
For nearly four decades, Maine Audubon has been studying loon behavior and engaging volunteers across Maine in conservation efforts to bolster the loon population. One of its most powerful and popular tools is the Annual Loon Count, scheduled this year from 7 to 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 16.
This event has engaged more than a thousand volunteers since 1983. On the third Saturday of July, participants head out in skiffs, kayaks, and pontoon boats to tally the Common Loons they see. Last year, volunteers of all ages counted loons on 328 lakes.
Maine Audubon uses the statewide snapshot to estimate the annual population and track population trends across the decades. The information helps biologists, state officials, and Maine lake users understand more about the loons’ status and the health of Maine’s lakes.
This is thanks in part to conservation efforts like the Maine lead tackle ban and the Fish Lead Free Initiative (fishleadfree.org/me) which have helped reduce the number of adult loons that die from swallowing lead tackle.
There’s still much more to learn about Maine’s loon population. That’s why Hart says she is particularly excited about the expansion of loon conservation and outreach programs, thanks to new funding sources.
Last year, Maine Audubon received a five-year grant to significantly expand the Maine Loon Project, and to partner with Maine Lakes, Lakes Environmental Association, and the Penobscot Indian Nation to work to improve loon productivity and reduce mortality in the state.
Loon chick estimates were down from 414 last year to 224 in 2021. Hart said it’s not known if this was a temporary dip or a new trend for loon chicks, but that similar and even more pronounced dips have been noticed multiple times in the 38 years of the Maine Audubon loon count and the chick population has rebounded each time.
The new partnership, the Loon Restoration Project, is an exciting opportunity to work with local volunteers to start documenting loon nesting successes and failures in more depth. Key components include placing artificial nesting rafts where appropriate and creating a robust volunteer loon monitoring program.
More information, including Maine Audubon’s “Living in Loon Territory” brochure, is available at maineaudubon.org/loons.
This will be the first year that Sebago Lake will be counted and more volunteers are needed to participate. o volunteer to count loons on Sebago Lake, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org <
July 1, 2022
Summerfest honors 2022 Grand Marshal, ‘Hometown Hero’
|Windham Summerfest Grand Marshal David Tobin, left,|
and Modern Woodmen 'Hometown Hero' Gary Plummer,
ride in the 2022 Summerfest Parade in a classic 1965
Ford Mustang. PHOTO BY SHANNON BRINER,
Two residents with a long history of distinguished service to the community were honored by Windham Summerfest as Grand Marshal for the annual parade and the Modern Woodmen “Hometown Hero.” Former state legislator David Tobin was recognized as this year’s Grand Marshal while his friend and former legislator Gary Plummer was chosen as this year’s “Hometown Hero.”
Windham Summerfest Chair Deb Matthews said that Plummer was a clear choice to be honored as the 2022 Modern Woodmen “Hometown Hero.”
Plummer graduated from Windham High School in 1964 and is a teacher who went on to represent Windham in the Maine State Senate and the Maine House of Representatives. She said he is supportive of Windham’s military veterans and is involved in many organizations and committees that serve to make Windham a great place to live.
As this year’s “Hometown Hero,” Plummer received a plaque and a $100 donation to the charity of his choice.
“When I got the call to tell me about this award, my first thought was, ‘What, me the Windham Hometown Hero? How can that be? I am just a regular guy who tries to be kind and help out people in need,” Plummer said. “Then my thoughts quickly turned to the heroes in my life. I thought of Dr. Sidney Branson. He delivered me and hundreds of other babies into this world. He was a World War II veteran. I marched in Memorial Day Parades with Dr. Branson and many other veterans.”
He said that World War II veteran, Don Rogers and his wife Norma were people that he has always admired, along with Bob Miele, Caroll McDonald, Frank Hawkes, Ralph MacDonald and other World War II veterans.
“I thought about Jerry Black, Don Swander, Walter Braley and other Korean War veterans. They are also people that I consider heroes,” Plummer said. “I think of my high school classmates. Many went into military service and ended up serving in Vietnam. Since that time many have defended our country and our freedoms. God bless them and the many who defend “Her” today.”
Plummer also said he thought about his mother and father, who taught him about the importance of giving back to our town, our state and our country and of David Tobin, who was the Grand Marshal of the Summerfest Parade.
“He and his wife, Joan, have always been model citizens,” he said. “I thought about the Chutes, the Manchesters, and all those who came here in the 1700s and settled this town. These are just a few of the thoughts that flooded my mind in the minutes after that call.”
He said that since that night he’s reminded about a quote from the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, who said, "Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes, they just don't know where to look" and Plummer believes he knows where to look.
“Just look around you,” he said. “They are our teachers, EMTs, 911 dispatchers, firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses and nurse's aides, plow drivers and so many more. Just look and you will find them.”
Tobin, 90, said he couldn’t believe it when told he was going to be the Grand Marshal for the Summerfest Parade.
“I haven’t been very active the past few years and I don’t know who nominated me for this honor but I’m very grateful, it’s quite an honor,” he said.
He worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 39 years and served on the Windham Town Council from 1997 to 2007 and was a State Representative representing Windham in the Maine Legislature from 1998 to 2004.
Matthew said that Tobin is a man of few words but when he does speak, he conveys a very important message.
“His priority has been to always do what is best for our community,” she said. “He has served the citizens of Windham with devotion and purpose for decades and we have benefited greatly from his wide range of knowledge of government from the local to state levels. He exemplifies the heart and soul of Windham.”
Tobin said he enjoyed riding in the Summerfest Parade with his friend Gary Plummer in a classic red Ford Mustang convertible and shared what he considered to be the best thing about being honored as this year’s Grand Marshal.
“I got to see people I haven’t seen in years,” Tobin said. “It was such a great honor.” <
In the public eye: Raymond teacher Bloom influences students across different platforms
|Teacher Jed Bloom wears many hats in his|
position at Jordan-Small Middle School in
Raymond, including STEM instructor,
Project Based Learning Coordinator and
assistant basketball coach.
By Andrew Wing
There are many critical steps that are taken by children while they’re in middle school. Mainly though, middle school is the time in a child’s life that’s so important in developing an appreciation for learning and to value education in general. For the past three years at Jordan-Small Middle School in Raymond, Jed Bloom has helped show children just how important education is in today’s world.
Jed Bloom of Saco wears many hats at JSMS. He’s mainly a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teacher, as he spends a lot of time in the shop and STEM space helping students create and use hand tools, power tools, 3-D printers, and other tools/technology. More than that though, Bloom is also a Project Based Learning Coordinator where he designs and implements projects to allow students to learn diverse concepts, skills and standards and as an Assistant Basketball Coach where he gives his players confidence and keeps them active.
He also serves as the school’s Civil Rights Team Advisor. He works with students who choose to be a part of the after-school club to make the school a safer and more welcoming place where all students can feel respected.
Despite his many different job titles, after being there for three years Bloom knows that all of his roles are still going for the same big idea.
“Basically all my roles have the same big idea, which is to build relationships with middle schoolers so that we can effectively do good work together,” said Bloom. “Whether that work is creating iMovies, launching homemade rockets, running a give and go, or making a presentation about equal rights for all students.”
Bloom grew up in a small town in Central New York, just south of Syracuse, and went to undergrad at Plattsburgh State where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. After graduating, he got his first teaching position in Sanford where he taught fifth grade and was also the school’s Service Learning Coordinator. While in Sanford, Bloom also got his master’s degree in education at Antioch New England, which he credits for giving him the knowledge to do what he does now at JSMS with the STEM program.
“That was a great program that showed me a lot,” said Bloom. “It showed me how to make school the hands-on, dynamic, integrated place we’re creating at Jordan-Small.”
Following his work in Sanford, Bloom went on to be a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at Breakwater School in Portland, before he eventually applied to RSU 14 because he saw something special there.
“I applied to RSU 14 because I liked the vision,” said Bloom. “I liked the vision I saw around Project Based Learning, as well as the growing commitment to Equal Rights.”
A big selling point for Bloom was definitely the Project Based Learning because it is more of a unique job that just didn’t exist a couple years ago. He thinks the general public doesn’t know enough about the Project Based Learning work they are doing at JSMS.
“I think people remember their middle school years as taking notes, listening to lectures, and reading books, but here we use the shop and STEM tools to integrate with all the other subjects to ensure kids are creating and learning while doing,” said Bloom. “I think education has come a long way since I was a kid, because kids nowadays for example are launching rockets to learn physical science and learning geometry by building in the wood shop.”
Bloom comes to work every day with a smile on his face hoping to have a great day with his students, and when asked what the best thing about his job was, Bloom gave two responses.
“Working with master educators who want to give students the best school experience possible is a treat,” said Bloom. “And helping students increase their knowledge, skills and confidence, and just getting to watch them grow over their four years at JSMS is really special.”
And as much as Bloom loves his job, he loves even more that his family is proud of his work.
“My son loves that I get to work with so many tools at my job as he loves to build and create himself,” said Bloom. “My daughter too is in sixth grade, just like many of my students, so she often rolls her eyes at me for the same things my students roll their eyes at me for. And lastly, my wife is happy that my work makes me feel fulfilled.” <
Universities recognize top Windham High juniors with awards
Before the 2021-2022 school year ended at Windham High School, an assembly paid tribute to outstanding members of the junior class for their focus on academics and community involvement.
|The University of Rochester presented four Windham High|
School juniors with academic awards that include renewable
yearly scholarships during the annual WHS Book Awards
assembly last month. COURTESY PHOTO
Rossetti said that each year universities and colleges in America partner with secondary schools such as Windham High School to recognize exceptional high school juniors. Each Junior Book Award focuses on a specific area of academic achievement and excellence, such as service to the community, music and the arts, distinction for academics and community advocacy.
“The awards honor distinguished juniors at Windham High, giving them a chance to gain a wider look at the world they live in, and to connect outstanding students with schools of higher learning,” Rossetti said. “Collegiate Book Awards are given annually to top-achieving students in the junior class. Each college or university establishes rigorous criteria and seeks feedback from high school faculty and administration to identify the worthy recipient of each award.”
Each Junior Book Award recipient is presented with a book from the university or college sponsoring the award and is intended to foster the recipient’s continued willingness to grow and learn.
Here are this year’s Windham, High School 2022 University Book Award recipients:
Grace Paiement and Ella Wilcox, Clarkson University Achievement Awards. These awards are presented in recognition of outstanding leadership qualities and academic promise and are given to two juniors in the top 15 percent of their class with an academic interest in Engineering, Business, Science or Liberal Arts. These awards include a renewable yearly scholarship.
Alexander Momot and Noelle Denslow, Elmira College Key Awards. These awards are presented to two juniors who have maintained a 3.0 GPA in high school, and who demonstrate outstanding school and community leadership. These awards include a renewable yearly scholarship.
Alexander Potter, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Rensselaer Medal Award. This award goes to a junior in the top 10 percent of their class who has demonstrated academic excellence in advanced math and sciences courses while in high school, and who has exhibited significant involvement in extracurricular activities. It includes a renewable yearly scholarship.
Rylee Prescott and Emma Theriault, Sage Colleges’ Student Sage Awards. These awards go to top juniors in the top 25 percent of their class who are actively involved in the community, able to balance numerous activities with enthusiasm and leadership, devoted to the improvement of the community’s well-being, and motivated to serve and inspire others to grow. The awards include a renewable yearly scholarship.
George Voinea and Lauren Broadbent, Saint Michael's College Book Award for Academic Achievement with a Social Conscience. The Saint Michael’s College Book Award for Academic Achievement & Social Conscience is awarded each year to high school juniors throughout the United States as well as internationally. The Book Award recognizes students’ academic success and exemplary community service involvement.
Odessa Files, University of Rochester’s Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award. This award recognizes a junior who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement and superior intellectual promise in the field of science. The recipient has been a positive contributor to the school and in the larger community. It includes a renewable yearly scholarship.
Hannah Heanssler, University of Rochester’s Frederick Douglas & Susan B. Anthony Award. This award recognizes a junior who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to understanding and addressing difficult social issues. The recipient shows strong leadership and dedication to community action. It includes a renewable yearly scholarship.
Madelyne Hancock, University of Rochester’s George Eastman Young Leaders Award. This award recognizes a junior who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement and leadership at school and in the community. The recipient has extensive involvement in extracurricular activities and has earned high grades in challenging courses throughout high school. It includes a renewable yearly scholarship.
Victoria Lin, University of Rochester’s Xerox Award for Innovation and Information Technology. This award recognizes a junior who demonstrates outstanding achievement in the pursuit of innovative approaches, and an appreciation for the possibilities of technology. It includes a renewable yearly scholarship.
Emma Morrison and Delana Perkins, Wells College, 21st Century Leadership Awards. These awards recognize two juniors who have maintained a 3.0 GPA throughout high school, and who demonstrate leadership abilities through school and community activities. The awards include a renewable yearly scholarship.
Breeauna Bonin, Bowdoin College’s Bowdoin Book Award. Recognizes young people who are making valuable contributions to their communities and celebrates the immense promise among high school students today.
Annie Jackson, Brandeis University Book Award for Social Action and Civic Engagement. The Brandeis book award is presented to a junior who has demonstrated a commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence as well as a healthy respect for intellectual inquiry.
Maria Yurkevich, College of the Atlantic Book Award. The College of the Atlantic Book Award is given to a student who is an adventurous junior who is invested in creating positive change in the world and is engaged in their learning and their community.
Madelyne Hancock, Harvard Club in Maine’s Harvard Prize Book. This award recognizes an outstanding student in the junior class who displays excellence in scholarship and high character, combined with achievements in other fields.
Al Potter, University of Maine Orono’s UMaine Book Award. This award recognizes a high achieving junior who has been a positive contributor to the school community, and who demonstrates a great interest in Engineering.
Allona Popova, Maine College of Art’s MECA Book Award. This award recognizes students who have an interest and passion for visual art, digital media, and/or design who have demonstrated academic achievement.
Reagan McDougall, Phi Beta Kappa Association of Maine’s Academic Achievement Award. This award recognizes a junior who is going on to higher education and demonstrates intellectual curiosity and achievement in (and beyond) the classroom.
Emily Greene, Smith College Book Award. This award recognizes a junior girl in the top 10 percent of the class who demonstrates outstanding scholarship and community service. The recipient exemplifies academic achievement, leadership qualities, and concern for others.
Ashley Clark, Suffolk University Book Award. This award recognizes a junior who shows great dedication to learning in the classroom, as well as to their school community through extracurricular involvement and volunteer positions.
Elise Schultz and Victoria Leavitt, University of Southern Maine Book Awards, The awards recognize the aspirations and achievements of two juniors who exemplify academic promise and humane understanding. The recipients are students who regard others with openness, consideration, and good will, and who brighten the world around them.
Abigail Thornton, Williams College Book Award. This award recognizes a junior who has demonstrated intellectual leadership and has made a significant contribution to the extracurricular life of the school. <