April 12, 2024

Raymond budget heads to voters at Annual Town Meeting

By Ed Pierce

The Raymond Select Board has forwarded a series of warrant articles regarding the 2024-2025 budget for including on the ballot at the Annual Town Meeting on June 11, but the $19.178 million budget proposal itself is not without controversy.

This fiscal year's proposed Municipal
Appropriations budget for Raymond is
$7,371,051. Last year's budget approved 
by voters at the Annual Town Meeting
was $6,685,997. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE
During a meeting of the Raymond Budget Finance Committee on April 2, members unanimously rejected recommending a warrant article for an $8.1 million bond to construct a new Public Works facility. However, when the Select Board met on April 8, it voted to include the Public Works construction bond for voter approval.

Select Board Chair Joe Bruno said he believed Budget Finance Committee members were misinformed about the Public Works proposal and did not follow parliamentary procedure in voting the way they did.

“All our town committees follow Roberts Rules of Parliamentary Procedure,” he said. “The vote they took was illegal. This is a well thought out plan for a new Public Works Building that has been in the works for years.”

Bruno said the new Public Works facility is badly needed and will be of great benefit to the town if the warrant article is approved.

Denis Morse, a Budget Finance member, said that committee members are not opposed to building a new Public Works facility per se, but wanted an opportunity to review schematics, blueprints, cost estimates and other pertinent documents before recommending the warrant article for a public vote.

“That never happened,” Morse said. “There needs to be a neutral needs assessment to see what our needs actually are,” he said.

According to Morse, after a first vote on the Public Works construction warrant article was held, a question arose if it was taken properly and committee members asked Town Manager Susan Look for guidance about how to take a proper vote. Once given, committee members voted again and once more unanimously rejected recommending the warrant article.

That vote was illegal, Bruno said.

“They needed to rescind that vote and not approve it,” he said. “I really do think the people of Raymond should know the town has an excellent AAA bond rating and we are retiring $285,000 debt payment. In funding this, we will still stay financially strong.”

Morse pointed out that during the Budget Finance Committee meeting Bruno was in attendance and could have advised them that their vote was improper.

In formulating her proposal, Look said it is her first try at putting together an extensive town budget.

“This being my first go-round with the full Town of Raymond budget, I wanted to see the whole budget, the way it has been put together, and then meet with each department head to get a better understanding of each piece before I attempted to summarize,” she said. “On the revenue side we have an estimated $9,000,000 in new valuation.”

Look said Auto Excise Tax, CEO/Planning Fees, Public Safety/Rescue and Investment Income are projected to increase by a total of $213,000.

“Our valuation certified ratio is currently at 62 percent, so the Homestead Exemption is expected to be reduced by $34,726,” Look said. “The revaluation process will begin this fall and should be completed for the 2025 Commitment. This is reflected in the Assessing request to have more hours for the administrative assistant. Codes will be adding the Street and Sub-Division Ordinances to the General Code software this year. This software allows homeowners, builders, appraisers, other municipalities, etc. to search through the ordinances, will standardize the formatting, and will give us a list of inconsistencies or discrepancies that we need to address.”

Look said the town has already added the Land Use and Shoreland Zoning Ordinances and in future years they will continue until all similar ordinances have been added including the new Building Code, Flood Plain, and the Business License Ordinances.

“I have met with the Town Managers of Casco and Naples several times recently and we are working to rewrite the memorandum of understanding and the job description for the regional Animal Control Officer,” she said. “We are also talking with the Town Manager of Harrison and are considering hiring a part-time ACO so we will have seven-day coverage while allowing regular days off for the employees. As an update, Public Safety has had word that their new rescue/pumper truck approved at the 2022 Town Meeting should be ready in 2025.”

She said that Fire Chief Bruce Tupper has been talking with Sebago Fiber about using the broadband initiative to increase radio coverage.

“There are still areas of Raymond that have no coverage,” Look said. “Their budget request includes money to cover overtime due to medical leaves, vacation, etc. coverage and the unpredictability of emergency calls. As you know there has been a committee looking at bringing broadband access to Raymond.”

Look also said she’s been in discussions with the town attorney about the possibility of using TIF monies for some of the cost and hope to have more information about what that entails soon.

“For Debt Services, there have not yet been any expenses paid from the bond that was approved at last year’s Town Meeting,” Look said. “The work done thus far at Tassel Top on the Snack Shack replacement has been covered by ARPA monies, once these have been expended the project will rely on the bond. The improvements to Shari Gagnon Park are scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2024. The tipping fees and contract prices have increased this year by a total of $42,605.”

Public Works also had to go back out to bid for a mowing contract as the previous company decided to stop doing mowing altogether, Look said.

“All indications thus far are that the mowing will be significantly more than in past years. Parks & Rec is looking to delete the half position that was in budget last year and add a full-time position of Assistant Parks & Rec Director who will work with the Director, in particular running the Summer Camp program,” she said. “The year-round variety of programs has been gaining in popularity each year, especially in the summer season.”

The Raymond Village Library only requested a 1.86 percent increase.

They have been awarded grants, the Friends of RVL have been very generous with their efforts, and they could not continue without the support of their many volunteers.

“The end result is we are proposing an overall increase of 10.69 percent or $714,536 and $276,000 of which is the bond payment approved at last year’s Town Meeting,” Look said. “The rest of the budget increased by 6.56 percent.”

The Raymond budget warrant articles do not include Cumberland County or RSU 14 warrant articles. <

Windham Council approves substance prevention grants for student programs

By Ed Pierce

Members of the Windham Town Council have unanimously approved substance prevention grants for two programs that are intended to keep students off drugs.

Members of the Windham Town Council have authorized
grants of $1,800 for Summerfest Mobile Escape Rooms
and $2,640 for the Windham Middle School Guitar Club.
The Substance Prevention Grants are derived from cannabis
licensing fees. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE
During an April 9 meeting, the council authorized spending $1,800 for Mobile Escape Rooms for students attending Summerfest this year and $2,640.47 for the Windham Middle School Guitar Club.

Town council Chair Mark Morrison said he serves on the Substance Prevention Grant Committee and both applications were enthusiastically approved by committee members before forwarding them to the council for a vote.

Back in July 2021, members of the Windham Town Council committed to using cannabis licensing fees imposed by the town for retail and medical marijuana facilities for drug education and drug prevention programs. The fund grows with each license renewal fee paid to the town and members of the Substance Prevention Grant Committee process grant applications and make recommendations to the council for disbursement for worthwhile programs.

The Mobile Escape Rooms project for Summerfest is a project between Be The Influence coalition and Windham Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program.

Morrison said the WMS Guitar Club project is deserving of help and the grant will help students to obtain guitars and receive lessons in how to play them.

During the council meeting, Windham Town Manager also briefed councilors about the status and funding for the town’s sewer installation project.

Tibbetts said originally, Windham was able to obtain $2 million in funding from the federal government for the creation of a new wastewater treatment plant and that the town is now seeking additional funding to help connect it to Windham High School and close the treatment plant there, which is one of only two school districts located east of the Mississippi River with its own wastewater treatment system.

He says Windham will be seeking even more than the original funding for that initiative.

“We’re looking to get them hooked up and closing the school wastewater plant which empties into the Pleasant River,” Tibbetts said.

The public will also be able to learn more about another significant upcoming town project in June, Tibbetts told councilors.

“On June 4 at Windham Town Hall, the public will be able to participate in a Windham Mobility Moves discussion with Maine Department of Transportation engineers about the creation of rear access roads,” Tibbetts said.

According to Tibbetts, residents attending that informal gathering from 4 to 6 p.m. will be able to review drafts and blueprints of design plans and speak with MDOT staff and engineers about the project, which is intended to relieve congestion along the Route 302 corridor in Windham.

In addition to that gathering, Tibbetts said a televised meeting and discussion will be aired from 6 to 8 p.m. including a question-and-answer session for the public regarding the characteristics of traffic movement here in North Windham.

Councilors also received notification that the speed limit for Swett Road extending north 1.61 miles from Chute Road to U.S. Route 202/Route 4 has been lowered from 35 mph to 30 mph following an official request for a review of the speed limit there by Windham Police Chief Kevin Schofield.

In a letter to the town, Caty DeSouza, MDOT Southern Regional Assistant Traffic engineer, reminded councilors that the roadway is considered a “town way” and it is the responsibility of Windham to install and maintain all roadway signage reflecting the new speed limit of 30 mph in that area.

During the meeting, the council also held public hearings seeking public comments about proposed amendments to the 2016 Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map, to comply with the requirements of State Law LD 2003, to reduce the Growth Areas and expand the Rural Areas and the Route 302 Transitional Areas, proposed amendments to the Land Use Ordinance related to affordable housing developments and an amendment to the Official Land Use Map to align zoning district boundaries with the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map growth area boundaries. Public hearings were also conducted for a proposed Moratorium Ordinance for Non-Residential Uses in the Shoreland Zoning Districts, and proposed amendments to the Town of Windham Land Use Ordinance regarding mural signage. <

In the public eye: Lifetime learning empowering for Windham/Raymond Adult Education Enrichment Program coordinator

Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Ed Pierce

No two days are ever the same for RSU 14’s Enrichment Program/Marketing Coordinator Susan Garvin Colley and that’s exactly what she likes the most about her work.

RSU 14's Enrichment Program/Marketing Coordinator is
Susan Garvin Colley, who has worked for the district
since September 2022. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Colley has been with RSU 14 since September 2022 and is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the Windham/Raymond Adult Education (WRAE) Enrichment Program including creating classes, hiring contracted instructors, scheduling dates, times, and locations of classes offered. She also edits course descriptions for clear content and inclusion in WRAE’s twice-annual printed publications and creates print catalogs and digital media for promotion to the public.

It’s no small task as WRAE currently offers about 600 individual sessions of classes each year.

“I also am responsible for marketing aspects of Windham Raymond Adult Education as a whole, to include our academic learning including HiSET, high school completion, and English Language Learning, and career and college planning programming, as well as our active enrichment program,” Colley said.

According to Colley, she loves embracing the creativity of her work.

“I get to work with amazing, creative teachers, a highly devoted and inspired staff at WRAE, and I get to interact with folks in these two communities and beyond about the many ways we can bring enrichment opportunities to their lives,” she said. “It is especially rewarding when a community member brings the challenge of an idea for a class to us. Finding ways to make that class happen is a joy.”

She’s found that the greatest challenge in her duties is finding available space to offer classes.

“The WRAE building has two decent-sized classrooms that are almost always occupied with classes morning, afternoon, and evening. Because of our small night-time staff, we try to keep as many of our evening classes right on campus so that we can support our teachers and students. The lack of gym space on campus is by far the greatest challenge. We have so many folks who want to offer and/or attend recreational, exercise and other classes that require a larger, gym-type space and we have been unable to regularly schedule the gyms on campus. We’re very grateful to Windham Parks & Recreation for the gym time they allow us at the Town Hall for our ongoing Line Dance classes and to the North Windham Union Church, UCC for working with us to provide classes in both Yoga and Cardio Exercise.”

One of the biggest misconceptions people may have about her work with WRAE is the type and amount of programming that they offer, Colley said.

“We’ve almost doubled our offerings in the past couple of years and have added many high-quality certificate programs in a variety of high demand business topics,” she said. “The other big misconception about WRAE is that WRAE classes are only available to residents of Windham and Raymond. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any adult from anywhere can register and enjoy classes at WRAE. The more, the merrier.”

Born in Sanford and living most of her life in Springvale, Colley attended Bay Path College in Springfield, Massachusetts, studying Business with a focus on tourism and travel planning. After earning her degree, she returned to Southern Maine.

“After a few experiments with customer service and financial jobs, I stumbled across adult education and began my joyful participation as an enrichment instructor for MSAD #57 at Massabesic Adult and Community Education in Waterboro,” Colley said. “I took on a more permanent role as their evening receptionist, became involved in the creation of the enrichment calendar, and learned how to create and publish the catalogs, and the rest is history.”

When the Enrichment Coordinator position opened at RSU 14, Colleye she was drawn to apply because she had been very fortunate to work with WRAE’s Director Tom Nash twice before in her career.

“We both ‘got our start’ in adult education at MSAD #57, and years later worked together at Sanford Community Adult Education,” she said. “I know and appreciate Tom’s commitment to adult education, his creativity, and his support of his staff, and I was very excited at the prospect of partnering with him again with enrichment programming. We’ve always been a good team.”

Of everything she’s learned since joining RSU 14, Colleye said she finds the support of the RSU 14 Administration to be incredibly positive and supportive in providing Lifelong Learning programming including academic instruction, career training, self-help topics, recreational activities, and general fun to residents.

“This is a very diverse and committed community, hard-working and supportive of each other,” Colley said. “We have great resources and opportunities and it’s empowering to be part of it.” <

Pride’s Corner could soon be site of treasure hunt

By Ed Pierce

It’s a complicated tale not many people know about, but it might result in the discovery of a long-lost treasure beyond anyone’s wildest imagination and resolve one of the greatest mysteries in British history. And it could be found right here in Windham.

One English Civil War silver coin recently sold for $80,000.
A Windham man believes a treasure containing 3,700 
English Civil War coins may be buried in Pride's Corner
near Highland Lake. COURTESY PHOTO  
Sometime in the mid-1960s, reportedly two hunters from Windham found a 50-pound lump of half-melted silver coins from the British Civil War era in Suckfish Brook near Highland Lake. Now six decades later, Dan Pride of Windham is searching for answers about that discovery and the remainder of a little-known treasure that changed the course of the British monarchy.

Here’s how it all started.

On Dec. 6, 1648, at the conclusion of the English Civil War, Colonel Thomas Pride and a contingent of soldiers stood outside the entrance to St. Stephen's Chapel in the House of Commons of England and as the Commons convened that morning, they arrested 45 members and excluded a further 186 Royalists. It became known as “Pride’s Purge” and eventually led to the trial of English King Charles I for high treason. Found guilty by an English court, King Charles was executed in public at Whitehall before thousands including English statesman Oliver Cromwell.

The identity of the executioner, hidden in a hood, wig, and fake beard, is officially unknown but a local family legend has now been confirmed by a riddle left by Oliver Cromwell before his death, six Massachusetts baptismal records from 1686, a direct statement by King Charles II which reveals the crown’s reasons for hiding the executioner’s identity for three centuries, and new revealing datasets from Ancestry.com show that Joseph Pride, the founder of Prides Corner, Maine, was the executioner of King Charles I.

A decade after the purge in 1658, General Thomas Pride, the Knighted Grandee of Oliver Cromwell's victorious New Model Army, and member of the English House of Lords, died. Two years later, after the English Restoration of King Charles’ son, King Charles II in 1660, the body of Thomas Pride was ordered dug up and posthumously executed, suspended on the gallows at Tyburn along with those of Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton and John Bradshaw, although it is said that the sentence was never carried out because his corpse was too far decayed. The Royalists then attempted to hang his son, Joseph Pride, who barely escaped.

“According to Pride family legend, the escape from the king’s men had a dramatic and ironic twist,” said Dan Pride, a descendant of Jospeh Pride. “With Red Coats hot on his heels, Joseph ran down a hill, out a dock, and dove into the sea and swam to a longboat that had already departed the dock. Purely by luck, it was the last longboat to a ship which was setting sail to the New World, and he got away.”

Upon the death of his father, Joseph Pride had inherited 4,000 silver coins from his father and is thought to have brought them with him to America.

Joseph Pride thereafter hid in Prides Corner in Maine for 26 years as the King of England and the entire British Empire sought him to kill him. He then emerged to baptize the six children he and his wife, Jane Pride, successfully raised on the shores of Highland Lake in the wilderness of Maine. They traveled with six small children on empty winter roads, avoiding the Red Coats, to the First Church in Beverly Mass. on Dec 12, 1686, one year after his pursuer, King Charles II, had died, and the fury of the manhunt for him had lessened.

His son, also known as Joseph Pride, registered a parcel of land in Falmouth/Westbrook area now known as Prides Corner and 65 years later in 1726, land registrations began in Maine.

The remains of his cabin, depicted on an early painted plate, circa 1725, are located at Mast and Pride Farm Road, and neighbor to the Puringtons. The area was plowed several years ago but was carefully examined beforehand. The painted plate was handed down through the generations, along with the story, and is missing today, Dan Pride says. The site of the farm depicted on the plate is against a gentle hill in a field, possibly covered with trees now.

According to Dan Pride, Joseph Pride would have been unable to spend the coins for himself, at any point during his lifetime. Circulating distinctive and uncommon New Model Army minted silver would have led the British Red Coats to his door in short order in the small and confined colonial economy. The coins were a mortal threat to him, not a source of wealth. It wouldn't matter if he spent them or someone else did, he would be dead either way, and it’s probably why he apparently never even told his kids about the coins.

Dan Pride suspects that to possibly conceal the silver coins, Joseph Pride partially melted 300 of them into the 50-pound silver lump found by the hunters near Highland Lake in the 1960s. He believes the other 3,700 coins were buried on or near his property and they remain there to this day. Recently one coin from the same period was auctioned for $80,000. That would make the missing coins worth $234 million in today’s currency.

Joseph Pride's refuge in the Mast Road area was no accident and it was not random, Dan Pride says. His father, Lord Thomas Pride, had become fabulously wealthy as a supplier of lumber and building materials used to build the British Fleet and the supplies used to sustain it throughout the 1650s. With an abundant supply of lumber, the Mast Road area served as a plentiful resource to build British sailing vessels. Whomever cut it, Highland Lake Masting created safe, extremely remote, and cleared land of the finest farming quality, functional transport both out for lumber and masts and in for supplies, not to mention for hiding 4,000 silver coins by burying them there.

The story of the coins was passed down through generations of Prides and now Dan Pride is about to embark upon a search to try and find the missing silver coins in conjunction with current property owners in the area. If he succeeds, the identity of the executioner of King Charles I will be confirmed, and the legend of the missing treasure will become a reality. <

April 5, 2024

Lessard joins Royal River Conservation Trust as Conservation Director

By Ed Pierce

Decades from now, the legacy that Amanda Lessard has left for future generations of Windham residents will still be felt.

Amanda Lessard has served as Windham
Planning Director since 2019 and has been
with the town's planning department since
2014. She is leaving to become the Conservation
Director of the Royal River Conservation
Trust in Yarmouth. COURTESY PHOTO 
Lessard, who has served as Windham’s Planning Director since 2019, has accepted the position as Conservation Director of the Royal River Conservation Trust in Yarmouth and will be leaving her job with the town this week. She has spent the past 10 years working for Windham, the first five as a planner before her promotion to Planning Director. During that time, Lessard has been a stalwart and tireless worker behind the scenes for town government, involved in everything from the creation of Windham’s Comprehensive Plan, handling zoning issues, reviewing subdivision and commercial building plans to the development of the town’s Open Space Master Plan.

She remains a champion for land stewardship and retaining Windham’s rural atmosphere while ensuring town policies and practices focus on recreation and open space in Windham for the future.

“Rural character is central to Windham’s identity as a community,” Lessard said during a 2020 interview. “Being proactive about open space in the face of strong residential growth pressures will help preserve community character and ensure that Windham’s most important open spaces will remain available for future Windham residents. Building partnerships with organizations that value conservation and outdoor recreation will help the town meet its own open space goals.”

Among her achievements as Planning Director for Windham are a partnership with Presumpscot Regional Land Trust to purchase and conserve 661 acres near Little Duck Pond in East Windham. The project acquired the forested acreage for recreational opportunities in Windham while also adding 1,545 feet of undeveloped water frontage on Little Duck Pond, the 150-acre Deer Wintering Area for hunting, and Atherton Hill. She helped Windham obtain a $1 million grant from the Land for Maine’s Future initiative for the project. In 2021, voters from Windham approved a $1.8 million conservation bond using open space impact fees and another $400,000 raised privately from public donations. A Land and Water Conservation Fund federal grant of $500,000 also was obtained to pay for the infrastructure improvements at the site which will have its grand opening in May and will become one of largest unfragmented forests in the Greater Portland region.

As Planning Director, Lessard was instrumental and played a key role in the town’s creation of a new $40.4 million sewer and wastewater treatment project for North Windham. Voters passed a 2023 referendum authorizing the project after decades of proposals, studies, and ballot failures and once completed, a new wastewater treatment facility is under construction on the grounds of Manchester School, which will address environmental issues in North Windham by removing 25,000 pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants each year being dumped by septic systems into the aquifer and watershed.

The installation of sewers is expected to stimulate significant economic growth in Windham going forward and lead to development in the area by industries and businesses not willing to locate here because of associated septic system issues and costs. Through a special agreement between RSU 14 and the Town of Windham, in exchange for locating the new wastewater treatment site at Manchester School, the town will construct four new playing fields for youth sports at the school this year.

She’s also been part of the development of a master plan for the South Windham/Little Falls Village area to bring more focus on what that area will look like in the future. That includes adding more available parking in South Windham, the sale of the old South Windham Fire Station and bringing a new restaurant to that site, road improvements and new sidewalks.

Lessard became interested in community planning after working for the Maine Department of Transportation. She has a degree in geography and her skill in GIS mapping led to her first job with MDOT. While working there, she took community planning classes at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, and it ignited her interest in working for a municipality. She lives in Westbrook and is married and the mother of a son.

During her tenure as Planning Director, she added a mapping function for the town planning department’s web page and that allows the public to view where projects are under review. As a result, the Windham Planning Department has become more transparent as residents can stay informed about new construction or how they may be impacted by a proposed development near them.

“I think it is in everyone’s best interest to be able to have residents be able to understand what the process is and how to participate in a meaningful way to shape what a development will look like,” Lessard said in 2021. “This includes engagement in the big picture topics as well as site specific development.”

In assisting in the formulation of Windham’s Open Space Master Plan, Lessard said effective planning aligns with the desire of Windham residents and the Windham Town Council to encourage compatible growth in the future by managing aspects of growth and development while providing significant long term economic benefits and helping the town avoid costly mistakes of misusing available open-space resources.

She said the plan provides the criteria needed for the town to make smart and strategic decisions when identifying properties that would fulfill the needs of the community with goals that include enhanced protections for surface waters and wetlands( especially in the watersheds most at risk of development) and for streams and rivers and the purchase of development rights to keep properties in private ownership, most applicable in situations where the land is used for production, like farming, pasture and hay fields, and woodlots.

Her last day working for Windham will be April 9.

“She will be very much missed for sure,” said Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts. <

Parks & Recreation Deputy Director receives Dr. Bill Eckart Young Professional of the Year Award

By Masha Yurkevich

On Monday, March 18 during the Maine Recreation & Parks Conference, Kelsey Crowe, Deputy Director for Windham Parks & Recreation, received the Dr. Bill Eckart Young Professional of the Year Award.

Kelsey Crowe, the Deputy Director 
for Windham Parks and Recreation,
is the 2024 recipient of the Dr.
Bill Eckhart Young Professional
of the Year Award.
Eckart retired from the University of Maine at Machias in 2011 after 31 years as Professor of Recreation Management. During his tenure, he built the program into one of the most respected ones in the country, and it was Maine’s only nationally accredited recreation degree program. He was an active member of MRPA, serving as Treasurer on the Board of Directors, spearheading the professional certification program, and managing membership.

The requirements and qualifications to be awarded the Dr. Bill Eckart Young Professional of the Year Award consist of a review of Employment History and Experience, Education, Professional Affiliation, Program Development, and Professional Involvement.

Crowe is from Gorham, graduating from Gorham High School in 2009 and going on to attend Thomas College where she earned a bachelor's degree in sport management and a master's degree in business administration. During college, Crowe worked for Gorham Parks and Recreation in the summer and after graduating college, she worked part time for them as the Before and After the Bell Supervisor.

A few years later, she became the Administrative Assistant for Windham Parks & Recreation and was promoted to Deputy Director and now has three years of working for the Town of Windham.

“As the Deputy Director, my hand is in almost everything our department does, but some of my larger roles are coordinating our summer day camps, coordination for our community events, stepping in for the Director when the director is out of the office, and overall, just making sure the office is running smoothly,” says Crowe. “On the side, I also do CPR/AED/First Aid training for the department, I coach eighth grade softball for Gorham and have a small training and consulting business with a friend where we go to different towns to help train their summer camp staff.”

She has served as the Deputy Director of Windham’s Parks & Recreation Department since 2020.

“Although I spend a lot of time on the computer replying to emails, setting up programs and planning events, I get out of the office as much as I can,” says Crowe. “Helping with programs, going shopping for events, or going to visit our parks. When I do have to spend my day in our office, there is usually a lot of laughter because we do like to have fun throughout the day, which makes me love my job and coming into the office every day.”

A popular adage says that “If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life” and this is true for Crowe.

“My favorite part of my job is being part of our large community events, February Formal, Holiday Celebration, Trunk or Treat, Summerfest and seeing everyone come together as a community. Summer camp is also another reason I love my job,” Crowe says. “Although there are many moving pieces coordinating summer camp, I have joy just knowing the kids have a fun and safe place to spend their summer. During the summer, if I am not in my office, I am at one of our camps playing games or having lunch with the kids.”

Knowing that the child at summer camp who has a hard home life is having an amazing time at camp, or the student in the after-school karate class finally found a friend, or a senior citizen who just lost their significant other finally leaves their house to go on a senior outing and is able to laugh again are what Crowe says that she wants to accomplish while working for Windham Parks & Recreation.

Crowe had no idea that she was receiving this award until she walked into the event hall at the Samoset Resort for dinner and her parents, co-workers, and close friends were all sitting at the table.

“It was definitely a surprise,” she says. “I am a behind the scenes type of person, meaning I don't often get recognized for doing my job, but knowing that my co-workers and bosses notice and want to recognize all of the hard work I do for the department, I am very appreciative and grateful for that.” <

Raymond-Casco Historical Society looks to add document to town’s comprehensive plan

By Kendra Raymond

If you’ve been a resident of Raymond for any period, you have probably heard of the work of historian Ernest Knight.

The Old Cooper Mill on Dingley Brook is located on
Raymond Cape in Raymond and is one of the most
historic sites in the town. PHOTO BY KENDRA RAYMOND
He was the author of several books including “The Origin and History of Raymondtown,” and “Raymond Then and Now” (Vol. I and II), and “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco,” and “A Guide to the Cumberland and Oxford Canal.”

Knight founded the Raymond-Casco Historical Society along with his sister, Carol Hartley. He was a wealth of knowledge and served as historian and president for many years. Current Historical Society President Frank McDermott says that since Knight died at the age of 101 in 2007, no one is really taking up the slack and we are losing a lot of history. He hopes that volunteers will consider stepping up to help out.

A document called, "History and Historical and Archaeological Resources” by Ernest Knight was published as part of the town of Raymond’s 2005 Comprehensive Plan. It chronicled the town’s history beginning with the first settlers and described the development of the town.

The publication further outlines historic structures and sites including the home of Dominicus Jordan (Raymond’s first settler), Ye Old House, the Hawthorne House, Fulton’s Store/Pleasant View House (corner of Routes 302 and 85), Raymond Hill Church, and Raymond Village Church, as well as several small stores and schools throughout town.

Several archaeological sites were also notated in the book. These include the first dam, Frye’s Leap, The Images, Hawthorne’s cave, Hawthorne’s rock, Swan’s Island, Old gold mine, Pulpit rock, and Dingley Dam.

The list also includes a map with the various sites labeled and numbered.

Michael Goebel-Bain, Historic Preservation Coordinator with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, says that there are two Raymond properties on the National Register of Historic Places, the Hawthorne House, and East Raymond Union Chapel.

It has been surmised that up to six town properties were listed, many with educational or religious importance. However, Goebel-Bain was unable to confirm this through the MHPC database.

Some residents have mentioned that they have boxes of pictures and documents from former homes and relatives in town. It is easy to forget about these treasures, and “leave it for someone else to deal with.” But perhaps this may not be the best choice. However, it might make for an interesting project out of sorting and perhaps sharing with family, scouts, or even a historical group.

McDermott said he thinks there is a real need for a town historian.

“We need to be taking care to make sure Raymond history is kept alive.” said McDermott.

With the new Comprehensive Plan well under way, McDermott says he is hoping to have an updated historical document to add to the plan.

The Raymond Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan website says, “A comprehensive plan is a document with a long-range view that guides municipal policy, growth, and investment over the next 10-20 years. The plan incorporates community vision, values, and data analysis on existing conditions in areas like housing, transportation, population, and public facilities.”

But because of a lack of volunteers, McDermott said that a revised list of historical properties to be included in the plan will most likely not be possible at this time. The Raymond-Casco Historical Society is a volunteer community and relies on the generosity of donors, visitors, and volunteers.

RCHS hosted a record number of visitors last summer and members hope to see even more this year. McDermott said that they plan to have the blacksmith shop open every weekend, which is a big draw. The website will be updated as summer approaches and events are planned.

The museum will be open on weekends from 12:30 to 3 p.m. starting Memorial Day. Meetings are held the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at the museum from May through October.

To learn more about RCHS, visit their website at: https://raymondcascohistoricalsociety.org/about

Here is a link to the 2005 Historical Resources document:

https://www.raymondmaine.org/sites/default/files/webfm/town_office/code_enforcement/Comprehensive%20Plan/1.%20%20History.pdf <