May 28, 2013

Insights by Michelle Libby

Hope can change the world

We hear the word hope all the time. People toss it around…”I hope I get that promotion.” “I hope that my mail has arrived.” “I hope that my parents bought me the new game for my gaming system.”

I’ve been thinking about the word. It started when I spoke with John and Linda Gregoire. John is afflicted with ALS, a debilitating disease, but he hasn’t lost hope. He has a Facebook page set up that is hope-focused. People from all over the world send the words “Hope JG” written with everything from twigs to markers. The friends and family of John are hoping for a cure for ALS.

The tragic tornados in Oklahoma might cause people to lose hope, and for good reason. There were slabs of concrete where houses used to be, but people didn’t lose hope. They have hope for the future, which gives them the courage to rebuild, much like they did the last time a tornado tore through Moore in 1999.

Hope is more than religion, more than one person. Hope is a collective body working as a unit to keep spirits alive and energized. Hope is watching a smile spread across the face of a mother who has just given birth, holding the next generation tight to her chest. Hope is taking the leap into marriage for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health and expecting that’s what marriage is.

Hope is the belief that there is something out there in the big, wide world that makes life worth living and keeps man-kind moving forward day in and day out.

So think about what the word “hope” means to you.

Now, make it happen.

Letters to the Editor

Thank You!

I want to thank all of those who have sent their condolences after the passing of Windham Police (Officer) K-9 Max. These condolences have come in by the thousands over the last two weeks via cards, email, Facebook postings, text messages and in person. K-9 Max was the Windham Police Department’s first police canine and will long be remembered by those who worked with him. All of the support shown has reminded me of the thousands of people he had the privilege to come in contact with over the 8 years that he served. K-9 Max was able to show this community and communities throughout Maine and New Hampshire the professional officers that the Town of Windham employs.

The outpouring of support from everyone throughout the community and his fellow officers reminds me how many lives Max touched and had such a positive impact on.

Sgt. Bill Andrew


Freedom of Speech vs. Public Decency

There is a particular business sign in the Town of Raymond that, although usually adorned with right wing political rants, has recently been the proud bearer of the word "sodomized" used to describe a governmental proposal that the owner is opposed to.

A call to the town office indicated that this type of business advertisement was protected under the First Amendment and that there was nothing to be done.  As a tax payer of Raymond and a grandparent to a young child I take offense to the use of obscenity in a public forum and am appalled by the lack of simply civility and moral decency shown by this business owner. 

I take no issue with this person's political views, and find most of his musings either funny or unintelligible in their infantile fanaticism, but I strongly feel that a line has been crossed by the use of a tawdry lurid description of a sexual act as a form of attention getting. With approximately 171,476 words in the English language you would think that there are many alternatives available for his use.  Obviously this person cares little for the Town of Raymond, its citizens of all ages, or its reliance on a healthy dose of tourism revenue for the continued growth of its economy.  It is a sad commentary on our town and its citizens that this type of cheap exploitive advertising is at best dismissed and ignored, and at worst accepted and tolerated. With so much hate and intolerance globally, it is disheartening to see this complete lack of common courtesy and respect for others locally. 

If this business owner had taken the time to read the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, and the history surrounding these amazing documents, he would better understand why they were written, the spirit with which they were intended, and the integrity and humanity of its authors.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This, the first Amendment in our Bill of Rights, the freedom of speech clause, has been interpreted in various ways. Some people believe it protects all forms of speech in any form at any time, while others believe there can be reasonable restrictions, such as not yelling "Fire!" on an airplane or in a crowded theater. The Supreme Court has agreed that not all speech is protected. Some of the common types of non-protected speech are; slander or libel, treason, lying in court, profanity and obscenity. 

The definition of obscenity is - "the portrayal or description of sexual matters that are offensive or disgusting according to accepted standards of morality or decency".

While this business owner does not appear to care for or follow the same standards of morality or decency as the majority of the population, I feel it is a shame that we, as citizens and taxpayers, especially our children, are subject to whatever he wishes to display in public view claiming some unalienable right under the First Amendment.   

Robert Heron Bork (1927 – 2012) the American legal scholar, Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General, and judge of the Unites States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sums it up well with,  " The First Amendment is about how we govern ourselves - not about how we titillate ourselves sexually."

I would request that this business owner stick to politics, have the decency to self police his own actions and keep his sexual predilections private.

Plan aimes to strengthen Windham Economy by Jon Bolduc

Last Thursday, the Economic Development Strategic Plan was presented to the public by Economic Development Director Tom Bartell. The plan focuses on developing a business friendly environment in the Town of Windham, and will eventually be incorporated into the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.

Discussion and critique of the plan has been ongoing, and at the meeting last Thursday, members of the community were led through the mission statement and core values of the plan.

The plan states that its vision is to “create a business friendly environment that provides a high-quality of life, a vibrant economy and a welcoming atmosphere.” The plan’s mission is to “encourage economic growth and development in a manner that supports increased prosperity in the Town of Windham.”

Public input from previous meetings was compiled into a list of strengths, weaknesses and threats that benefited and afflicted the community.

“Weaknesses and threats were a much bigger topic than strengths and opportunities,” said Matthew Eddy, the strategic planning consultant.

“I saw that as a positive thing, because I thought people were willing to be critical of what was going on, and really try to get that handle on what was going on,” he said.

Central threats and topics of discussion included Windham’s status as a “bedroom” community, or gateway community, the lack of a village or town center, and a lack of places for college graduates to work and develop personal careers.

While Windham is regarded by the public and economic council as an “agricultural hub” of southern Maine, much of the town’s tourist potential remains untapped. Gateways to tourist destinations are abundant in Windham, and those gateways lead to potential opportunities for other communities.

“We should be recognized as a major community in this state,” said Bartell.

Instead, the public perceives Windham as a way to get somewhere else.

“A lot of people talk about Windham as a drive-through community,” said Eddy. “Tourists stop here, pick up what they want and they keep going,” he continued.

The plan addresses that perception, and aims to “promote Windham as the retail service center for the Sebago Lake’s Region,” according to the draft. The draft also plans to “capitalize on the strengths of Windham’s agriculture industry to encourage continued growth.”
“Windham economic development statistics” were also presented. The statistics were meant to shed some light on and provide context to the plan.

The statistics pointed to a migratory trend in Windham’s workforce.

“A lot of folks are commuting out of the community, and not necessarily to where we thought,” said Eddy.

According to the study, over 70 percent of Windham’s residents work in other towns, while less than 10 percent of Windham’s workers are employed in Windham. Retail services are the second largest employment industry, behind educational, health and social services.

The draft has already been discussed at a council meeting in March, and a business roundtable meeting in April.

The council meeting in March was described by Bartell as “very productive,” and although previous meetings saw a low attendance rate, the draft will be moved forward.

“We’re going to update the draft for May and June, and have it on the agenda for June 11th,” said Bartell.

The public is invited to attend the meeting, and provide comments. A draft of the plan has been posted online. For those who wish to provide input, an online forum has been established at

Windham Hign on its way up by Michelle Libby

Only a few weeks after receiving a C grade from Governor Paul LePage’s office, Windham High School was named as one of Newsweek’s top 2,000 high schools in the country.

Coming in at 1,828, there were only nine schools from Maine that made the list, according to Windham High School principal Chris Howell.

Newsweek partnered with The Daily Beast to determine high schools that do a good job of getting students prepared for college.

How they determined this was by collecting data on six components: graduation rate (25 percent), college acceptance rate (25 percent), AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent), and percent of students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course (5 percent).

All public high schools are eligible and 5,000 schools were invited to take part. Students and staff were encouraged to post the news on Facebook, Twitter (#besthighschools) and share in their morning announcements.

Chamber open house kicks off the summer season

Open House successful in some ways
Chamber open house proves that the doors are always open
Chamber open house kicks off the summer season

Last Thursday, the Sebago Lakes Chamber of Commerce held its first ever open house at their building on Roosevelt Trail in Windham. Discounts on memberships, business tables and educational “speed sessions” were highlights of the event. The chamber also rolled out its new re-designed website, which includes a member’s only section, upcoming events and a link to the new chamber blog.
“It was successful in that we had 10 people sign up to be members. It was good, but definitely not as many people as we had hoped,” said Chamber Executive Director Aimee Senatore. “We raised awareness that we’re here. Our door’s always open. Any time you do something new you just have to do it, and see how it goes.”

May 20, 2013

Insights by Michelle Libby

Social media, websites, blogs. They can be both a blessing and a curse as it was pointed out to me this week when my son told me that I needed to update my website.

Getting information out there about events, businesses and services is important. We have a community calendar that we put together every week with items the community might find interesting. The one thing we can’t control is when the event is cancelled or the date is off.

The best advice we can give is to call ahead before little Johnny is wrapped up in his snowsuit or thinks he’s going to a great event at the beach. Call and make sure the event is happening.

As the owner of the business or the person running the event, please update your social media. Tweet, Facebook or blog that the event is no longer happening. From a business standpoint, it will make your customers happy that they didn’t show up only to discover that Hector P. Valente was not coming to the library.

This past weekend, my family received an email from my son’s soccer coach informing us that no, soccer had not been cancelled due to rain as of 10 a.m. This email, short and sweet, was just enough for me to know that the coach was on top of what was going on and I knew he would email us back should the rain continue and the fields get closed.

I guess that most of this boils down to common courtesy for our customers, friends and families. A quick email blast takes no time. We are all quick to check Facebook if something happens around town. 

(Remember the earthquake?) Why not say, “Hey, I’m running late, be there in 10 minutes.”?

And, those of you who know that I don’t always make it places on time, this time I have an excuse…I’m off to update my website. 

2013 Junior-Senior Prom

The 2013 Junior-Senior Prom was held last Saturday night at The Ocean Gateway in Portland. The event was successful, according to one RSU 14 board member, with no incidents. The prom was well attended and most attendees made a day out of the preparations. The following are some submitted photos from friends of The Windham Eagle. 






RSU 14 board discusses transportation by Leah Hoenen

The Board of Directors of RSU 14 met Wednesday, May 8, to hear committee reports and vote on personnel matters. The board continued its discussion of a plan to find volunteers to send children from Windham to Raymond Elementary School (RES) to ease crowding. Board members also addressed funding for improvements to the Windham Primary School and heard a brief report about state funding.

WPS bus loop funding

The district has already earmarked $150,000 of unallocated funds to pay for improvements at Windham Primary School, where a project is planned for a bus loop to ease drop-off congestion and to install new playground equipment after grading the current playground.

“We’ve tried to put it away each year, knowing this will be an expensive project,” said Assistant Superintendent Donn Davis.

The board approved a warrant article to designate a further $250,000 of unallocated funds for the same project. If approved by the public, the move would bring the total set aside for the WPS projects to $400,000, Davis said.

Transportation discussion continues

Board members discussed reception to a letter sent earlier in the year, asking Windham parents if they would be willing to send their students to RES to help ease crowding. The district proposed picking students up from designated drop-off locations and driving them to Raymond in district vehicles.

“There was not a great deal of interest,” said Catriona Sangster, board chairwoman.

Superintendent Sandy Prince said parents of two children expressed interest. Transportation for those two children would cost the district $11,000 to run a van between the towns.

Board member Kate Brix said, “I like the concept, but I’m not willing to do it for two students.” Board members discussed identifying a number of students which would make the operation cost-effective, and decided to send a second letter offering parents more detailed information about drop-off points and bus routes to further gauge interest.

State curtailment

The district expects to feel no ill-effects from a state curtailment of $198,900, said Davis. He said the state plans to reduce its June payment to the district by a third, before making a full July payment, then supplying the amount left out of the June payment.

Davis said this should not be a problem for RSU 14, but noted other, smaller districts might have issues. The Windham-Raymond district has already been effectively operating under a spending freeze for the year, he said.

Manchester family reunion

August 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Joseph K. Manchester, Civil War ancestral relative of many area Manchesters. It seems fitting to honor this anniversary with a Manchester family gathering. With this commemorative event in mind a get-together of Manchester family members is in the planning stages for August 3, 2013, to be held at the Little Meetinghouse in North Windham, Maine.

The event will begin around 11 a.m. and will include a presentation about Joseph based on his letters found in the North Windham farmhouse, a luncheon buffet, outdoor and field games for the young and young at heart. Of necessity there will be a charge. It will be determined by expenses to cover cost of food, rental and set-up items, and similar costs and will be provided in later information. 

There are many Manchester descendants in the Windham, Gorham, Westbrook, Bridgton region and it is hoped that this occasion will prompt many to attend and to share family stories and genealogical information; guests are invited to bring information and photos.

If you are interested in this August family gathering please do send an e-mail to David or Carol Manchester at At this time we are trying to determine interest and welcome an e-mail and/or note from you.  Our mailing address is PO Box 218, Windham, Maine, 04062.

May 13, 2013

Insight by Michelle Libby

Help create a summer playlist for The Windham Eagle

Have you ever heard the phrase “music soothes the savage beast?” Music can sooth, ramp you up, make you pensive and put you in a good mood. Why is this and how do we know which songs have that effect on us?

When creating a playlist, what do you look for? My music library looks like an eclectic collection ranging from Pitbull to Barry Manilow, Toby Keith to relaxation music with no words. Does a thumping bass make a song or is it the words that speak to your soul.

Music is such an individual pastime. No one will like every type of music or even every song on their playlist depending on the time of day and what’s going on.

I married a country music lover. At that point I had listened to a little Garth Brooks, but I couldn’t and still can’t listen to the twangy country music. I heard something someone said about country music and that has stuck with me since. Country music tells a story. You can understand the words and it’s not the same thing repeated over and over. As an author, I get that now. Melissa Lawson’s “What if it all Goes Right” was from the television show “Nashville Star” and Toby Keith’s “How do you Like Me Now” always make me think about success and making decisions that can change your life.

Every summer, I think about what I want on my playlist to listen to on the beach, on the boat or blasting in the car as I drive with the windows rolled down. Just scrolling through my library, I’m realizing I need some new tunes to jam to. Any suggestions? I’m looking for feel good, upbeat summer music to create a new playlist. Go to our website at or on Facebook to chime in with your favorite summer songs.    

Historical House tour: Moses Little Home by Linda Griffin

At the top of Windham Hill sits an elegant mansion built by wealthy merchant Moses Little in the late 1790s. Moses was a merchant and a money lender and also ran his farm. It is a large hipped roof Federal that has been well taken care of and his barn is one of the best around as it is well built. This home will be open Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Windham Historical Society’s tour of four antique homes and two barns and the 1833 brick town house, where the historical society resides. Tickets of $15 for one and $25 for two may be purchased at the brick town house at 234 Windham Center Road and the proceeds will go to funding the projects at the village green. Eventually 12 historic buildings will be moved or rebuilt in a village setting to create a museum of the post Civil War era. Call 650-7484 or 892-5381 for reservations.

The tour will start at the 1833 brick town house at 234 Windham Center Road and displays of early Windham artifacts, Civil War mementoes and a large genealogy library are available. This building was built as a two room school house, used as a high school and then became the Windham town office for over 100 years. It was given to the Windham Historical Society in 1983. The tour guide booklet may be purchased here and it will be the ticket for entrance to the other four homes.

Moses Little’s legal papers are on the historical society’s web site and the elegance of his home and the sturdy barn attest to his wealth. Four of his six children died young. His daughter, Abby, was a school teacher and never married. His son, Moses H. Little lived here until the 1920s. Moses H. Little did finally marry when he was 67. All of the family are buried across the street in the old church cemetery. A mixture of architectural styles and many fireplaces will be seen. There are folding shutters for insulating the windows.
An early Georgian center chimney colonial can be seen at 11 Brick Hill. This is the first time this home has been opened for a house tour and research shows that it was built by Ichabod Hanson c. 1667. Three generations of Quakers lived here and they all had large families: 10 children, 11 children and 10 children! Inside are four working fireplaces. The deep kitchen fireplace and crane was uncovered when three newer shallow fireplaces were removed. There are wide pine floors and the attic shows the sturdy post and beam frame. Oliver Winslow who lived here in the 1820’s was a brick maker and he used clay from the nearby Colley Wright brook. The historical society has some of his hand-made bricks.

At 73 Chute Road rests the c. 1809 Bodge house after it was moved twice from the River Road to Gray Road c. 1840s. This post and beam cape was built by Hugh Craig for his bride and he died a year later leaving a young son. In an upstairs bedroom is an unusual cove ceiling usually seen in churches, ballrooms and large town buildings. When this house was going to be demolished in 1969 to make way for the new South Windham Post Office, the Windham Historical Society put it on cribwork for a year and then moved it to the Chute Road and for 14 years fixed it up slowly. When they were given the old town house in 1983 they sold this cape. This is the first time this house has been open to the public.

The c. 1764 Parson Smith House at 93 River Road was a museum for over 40 years run by Historic New England, until it was sold to a private family, Don and Elaine Dickinson. Don is a retired Baptist minister so he is the second minister to live here. Peter Thatcher Smith, the second settled minister was going to bring his new wife up to the “Wilds of Maine” and so her wealthy parents sent money and maybe workmen up to build a suitable home for their daughter Elizabeth Wendell. The Parson ran out of money so the house was finished in stages so you will see four different architectural styles: Georgian, Federal, Greek revival and Victorian in the large house. Most of the homes of the early settlers were log cabins built near the Presumpscot River and the river was the “road” at that time. Parson Smith chose to build his hose near the large fort as that was where he held his church services and it was a safe haven for Indian attacks. Visitors will see fireplaces in every room and Parson Smith’s diary states that 45 to 60 cord of wood were used a year to keep the house warm. There were servants and one bride Louisa Anderson etched her name on a wavy pane of glass.

2013 "Welcome to Raymond" brochure project in production

The Raymond Revitalization Committee has headed the Welcome to Raymond brochure project for its second year. The 2012 Brochure was well received. The 2013 project is now in production and well underway. In the 2012 brochure, the intent was to include all Raymond businesses with either an ad or listing.  If your business was not included in last year's brochure, please contact project coordinator Ellie Stengel of Custom Designed Graphics no later than May 15, if you would like to be included this year. For more information call 207-892-5994 or e-mail

Windham home to two 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholars by Michelle Libby

Out of 141students from across the country who were named 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholars, the two from Maine both live in Windham. Jameson McBride, who attends Windham High School, was selected, as was Taylor Church, who attends Catherine McAuley High School.

"Congratulations to Taylor and Jameson on receiving this very prestigious honor.  With only 141 out of 3 million students in the country being selected this year, they have distinguished themselves not only in academic excellence but as young, passionate leaders," said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. "I think this honor also represents all the great support these two students have received from their parents, teachers and community. The town of Windham should be very proud."

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on Monday the 49th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars. “Presidential Scholars demonstrate the accomplishments that can be made when students challenge themselves, set the highest standards, and commit themselves to excellence,” Duncan said.

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. To date there are only 6,000 student who have received this award since its inception in 1964. The program was expanded to recognize students in visual, literary and performing arts in 1979.

The 2013 ceremony will be held June 16, when each honoree will receive a Presidential Scholar Medallion.

RSU 14 grades explained by Michelle Libby

The six schools that are a part of RSU 14 earned a C grade overall in the first report card received by the Maine Department of Education and Governor Paul LaPage. Each school except for Windham Primary received letter grades based on data collected over the last three years. The schools were scored on a bell curve. All principals were invited to a webinar to explain the grading process. Schools housing grades kindergarten to third did not receive grades since third-graders are the only ones who take standardized tests.

“We will use the information to continue to move our grades forward,” said WPS Principal Dr. Kyle Rhoads. He also mentioned that when graded on a bell curve, some schools have to be in the middle of the curve. “Not that we want to settle for that,” he said.

Windham High School received a C. Their grades were calculated on the percentage of students meeting the standard on the SAT in math and reading, the average percentage of who meet the standard on the Maine High School Assessment for the past three years in math and reading and the most recent graduation rates. Schools are required to have 95 percent of its students participating in the state assessment or risk an automatic F.

Windham Middle School received a C. Its grade was based on student proficiencies in math and reading on the NAEP test given in the fall of 2012. Growth was also measured by students below the 25th percentile.
“Without even considering the report card value, we remain committed to improving achievement and learning opportunities for all students,” said WMS Principal Charlie Haddock.

Manchester School received a D. Its grade was based on math and reading proficiency of all students, growth factors that compare test results from multiple years as well as growth in the 25 percent lowest performing students, according to Manchester Principal Cynthia Curtis. 

“Our letter grade…shows areas in which we are doing well, and it highlights areas in which we need to improve. Of course, we all understand that one grade doesn’t tell the whole story,” said Curtis.

Jordan-Small Middle School and Raymond Elementary Schools also received C grades. RES was given a grade because the school also houses fourth grade.

May 5, 2013

Insights by Michelle Libby

I’ve been back from my romance writing conference less than a week and one of the big things that helped me learn at the conference was lists of items about a presentation. Whether the topic was promotion, writing great characters or how to get a novel published, a list of topics was a great way to catch the ears of overtired attendees. 

Maybe it’s because I like lists. I like to make them and I love to cross things off them. Every Wednesday I start the day with a list of items that must be completed before the paper wings off to the printer. I take great delight in crossing off the finished stories. 

So, I thought a list of reasons to read The Windham Eagle was in order…just in case you needed more reasons. 

10. Find a new recipe. Our Foodie Fare column comes out every other week (this is an other week). If you missed any of the great treats Brian Rounds has written about, check out 

9. Test your mind with Sudoku! Studies show that when you do activities like Sudoku and crossword puzzles you keep your brain fit and firing on all cylinders.

8. Community calendar. Want to know what’s going on and who to support while having a yummy dinner? Also, find out about obscure holidays for a good chuckle. 

7. Classifieds. Need a pool table? A Big Foot toenail collection? We might have that. Personal for sale listings and yards sale listings are free.

6. Look to see if you know anyone in the newspaper. (Other than in the Cop Shop.) 

5. Check out the awesomely designed advertisements by our own in-house designers and see who’s offering what services and discounts. 

4. Keep up to date on all Windham High School sports. 

3. Read columns from professionals and citizens from around our community. They will educate and entertain readers of all ages.

2. Where else can you get a weekly dose of good, positive news and entertainment?

1. Read The Windham Eagle because it is your local community newspaper that cares about the people in Windham and Raymond, and cares enough to have it delivered right to you on Fridays. No one else can say that.

P.S. Thanks to Tiffanie for her top ten reasons that helped compile my list.


Letters to the editor

Dental hygiene therapists, the time is now

Dear Editor,
For far too long, rural Maine has suffered from the lack of access to oral health care. Nearly two- thirds of Mainers live in a rural areas but only 13.5 percent of dentists practice in areas falling into the rural category. Worse yet, within the next five years 23.7 percent of dentists in Maine plan to retire and an additional 16.1 percent expect to reduce their hours of operation. Most recently, according to the Maine Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, there is a shortage of dentists in every Maine county.

A study commissioned by the 125th Maine Legislature and partly funded by the MDA found that 55 percent of children in Maine had no access to dental care in 2010. In this day and age, this is completely unacceptable. Oral health is a vital part of a child's overall health. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that we will be facing a tidal wave of skilled care needs at all levels including dental. Dental Hygiene Therapists (DHT) could be utilized safely and effectively in group living situations to acts as adjuncts to overall dental care. Oral health issues are whole body issues; they are a matter of systemic health. Left untreated, infection  can spread to other parts of the body which can lead to much larger problems, even death.

Allowing the profession of the DHT, to help serve Maine citizens is a healthy, safe, common sense first step in addressing the oral health care access problem in our state. A 2012 report reviewed more than 1,100 studies and analyses worldwide of Dental Hygiene Therapists and found NO evidence that patients' safety or quality of care was compromised. A DHT, under the general supervision of a dentist, would perform only 24 procedures compared to dentists’ nearly 370.

The DHT will serve as a highly trained, skilled and educated professional who would be an adjunct to care to meet the dental needs of Maine's citizens.  DHT are now being utilized safely and effectively in other states. Maine's curriculum would be based on the best of these states. In addition to the four-year educational requirement to become a registered dental hygienist, the DHT program is a rigorous 18-month classroom curriculum focused on those 24 limited procedures the DHT's will be authorized to perform. DHT will also be required to have over 500 hours of clinical training. Once training is complete, the DHT is licensed to practice under a the general supervision of a dentist in the following health settings: a hospital, a clinic, a health center reimbursed as a federally qualified health center, a health center that serves under-served populations or a private dental practice.

Dental Hygiene Therapists will be expert providers of those basic procedures that Mainers desperately need."Dirigo", the state motto for Maine means "I lead". Let Maine continue to lead the way in oral health.

I am proud to join Senator Gary Plummer and over 40 other Legislators in supporting the dental hygiene therapist profession.

Please let your legislators know that you support the profession of the dental hygiene therapist.

This is a quality of life issue.

Ann-Marie Grenier

Drug disposal a success

Last Saturday, DARE officer Matt Cyr in conjunction with Windham Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency, collected 215.2 pounds of medications in Windham alone. The medications, everything from Tylenol to prescription drugs were brought to an incinerator and burned. 

“I was quite impressed by the public’s efforts to get the drugs properly disposed of. In years past Windham has only done 100 or less pounds. This collection was very impressive. I'd love to us double it again next time!” said Cyr.

“We have successfully and appropriately disposed of a lot of medications thus preventing them ending up in the wrong hands or in our environment.”

Statewide 22,260 pounds of medications were collected. According to Cyr the drugs were transported in two box trucks to the incinerators in Massachusetts.

RSU 14 gets first report card by Michelle Libby

Grades arrived on Wednesday, but not for the students, for the schools. RSU 14 received its first report card from the Maine Department of Education and Governor Paul LePage. The grades were determined by compiling data from the last three years. Each school had different criteria that went into figuring out grades.

Overall, RSU 14 schools received a C. Windham Primary School did not receive a grade, but Jordan-Small Middle School, Raymond Elementary School, Windham Middle School and Windham High School all received Cs. Manchester School was given a D. For more information, visit

RSU 14 board approves budget by Leah Hoenen

The Board of Directors of RSU 14 has approved the district’s budget for the next fiscal year. The final budget was $149,700 less than the previous proposed version.

At $39,691,000, the budget the board accepted at its Wednesday, April 24 meeting is up 1.87 percent over the current budget and will lead to school tax increases of 4.74 percent in Windham and 1.44 percent in Raymond. At its previous meeting, the board had instructed district administrators to try to take $150,000 off the budget as proposed at that time, as many board members expressed concern over the effect of the budget on tax rates. 

Discussion of the budget included a debate about the disparity between student costs in Windham versus Raymond. Board member Toby Pennels cast the lone vote against the budget.

Changes in expenditures
Prior to voting on the budget, the board unanimously approved a measure to provide a financial incentive to staff members who have already reached retirement age. Nine teachers have taken the offer, giving the district a savings of $131,129 for the coming year, said Assistant Superintendent Donn Davis. 

Davis said some expenditures increased, as the high school restored a family and consumer science position and health insurance rates went up. But, dental insurance did not increase and the district reduced non-union pay increases from three percent to two percent and eliminated some redundancies in the budget, Davis said. The district found further savings by removing a portable classroom from the budget and examining tuition, he said. 

Board member Diana Froisland said she had been concerned about the tax increases, but had no suggestions of where else to reduce expenditures.
Board Vice Chairman Marge Govoni said she would also have liked to see greater reductions, but that she believed district administrators were sincere when they said they had done all they could to reduce spending.

Debate about Raymond spending
As board members discussed changes that had taken place in the budget since they last met, board member Toby Pennels gave the board a paper showing spending disparities between Windham and Raymond.

“I am not going to support this budget at the levels it’s at,” he said, saying some items are alarming and disappointing. He said Windham residents have seen their taxes go up by 20 percent over three years, while Raymond residents are paying 0.5 percent more over the same time period. Pennels said the union of the two towns’ schools is “a bad business relationship.”

“We’ve got huge discrepancies in what Windham is paying in tax increases versus Raymond,” he said, noting that Jordan Small Middle School is an under-utilized building. 

Pennels said the budget as proposed has the district pay 41 percent more for a student in Raymond than for a student in Windham.

Board Chairman Catriona Sangster said she didn’t know the board would receive the handout, so she didn’t have a response prepared, but that enrollment in Raymond buildings is lower. She also said that the district has tried to balance enrollment between schools in the two towns. “There was an initiative taken and that was voted down by this board,” she said. 

Board member Kate Brix said she appreciated the information, but questioned the timing. “This came out of left field and we have a vote here on a budget. The timing is inappropriate,” she said. “I’m not contesting the importance of this,” said Brix, “I’m questioning the process.”

Brix said the district has been working on a budget since October, and the numbers presented were something the board should have talked about before.
Board member Mike Duffy said the differences in costs between the two towns are not surprising because the district provides services to a fewer number of students in Raymond. “We do have to look out for the students. As of right now, I think it’s a very responsible budget that’s been presented,” he said.

Govoni responded to the handout saying the board has already discussed ways to equalize costs. “It didn’t set well with staff and people in the district. We’ve talked about sending Windham kids to Raymond,” she said. “We’ve done this. The board voted the last one down.”

Duffy said perhaps the suggestions already discussed were not the right solution.

Pennels said the numbers come across as Windham subsidizing Raymond, but board member Jeri Keane said she thought the numbers would show Raymond pays its fair share. 

Sangster said, “I’m voted [for] by the Raymond public and I represent their district, but I represent the interests of Windham-Raymond.” She said the discussion over spending was a much larger issue than the budget being voted on. “This is finance, facilities, governmental relationships. We can’t begin to tackle those issues tonight,” she said.

Uncertainty about state action
Board member Mike Duffy noted that the state education committee had voted that retirement costs should not be shifted to local school districts – the RSU 14 budget contains $500,000 for those expenses, should the state decide to shift a portion of retirement costs to the local districts.

Davis said money in the budget that was not needed is normally put into a separate account and could be used to reduce taxation later or to ameliorate the effect of a bigger budget in coming years. The money would not be spent without board authorization, he said.

Because the legislature has not yet approved the state budget, Davis said the district would present new financial information to the board as it becomes available later in the year.

RSU 14 approves 2013-12 calendar by Leah Hoenen

The Board of Directors has approved the 2013-2014 school calendar for Windham-Raymond schools, which features a shortened Thanksgiving week break. The change resulted from a state law requiring synchronized calendars between districts and technological or career schools.

“The district shortened the Thanksgiving break in order to be aligned with the other schools in the Sebago Alliance who send students to Westbrook Vocational Center,” said Christine Hesler, curriculum director. “We were the only district having the full week off so the change needed to occur. We are required by law to align our calendars with the other sending schools and we are only allowed to have five dissimilar days as a group,” she said.

Superintendent Sandy Prince said developing the calendar took more time than usual because of the requirement that the calendars match to within five days and the meetings necessary to meet that stipulation. 

School will open before Labor Day and the first two days of the year are in-service days, Prince said. 

The calendar includes an in-service day in March, Hesler said, noting it is helpful to have professional-development time in the middle of the year.