June 26, 2013

Insights by Michelle Libby

Being a member of a community

What does one get from being a part of a community? What does a community give to its citizens? What makes a community?

With Summerfest on Saturday, our community will come together to celebrate and show off what it means to be a part of Windham. None of the festivities, from the parade, to the booths, to the entertainment and fireworks can take place without organizations and community members stepping forward to say, “I want to be a part of this.” Whether it’s marching in the parade or sitting on the lawn waiting for the fireworks to be set off by the high school principal, eating fries from the athletic boosters waving a glow-in-the-dark toy from the snowmobile club, it all counts.

As Ron Eby, one of the coordinators of Summerfest, said in an interview, the people organizing this don’t do it for themselves, they can’t. They have to do it for the betterment of the community.

I was reading in a book last night that creating a community means putting yourself out there. You can’t be part of the community from your living room, you have to get out, meet people, share common experiences.
Every year my family attends Summerfest and every year we sit in the same spot for the fireworks. The reason? We have friends that we found one year and asked to sit with them and every year, there they are waiting to see if we’ll show up for the pyrotechnics.

Knowing that you’re sharing the same things as other citizens brings us all closer together, and when you look at Facebook in the morning, there will be pictures from the event and you will see community from a different perspective.

So from The Windham Eagle, we thank those who stepped forward to be on the committee and those businesses and individuals who contributed time and sponsorships to have the opportunity to allow us to come together as a community, giving us shared experiences and expressing through actions what makes a community.

Windham Fire/Rescue History by Ernie Nichols

The town’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS)has been in place since the early seventies. The service started out as a group of volunteers who would respond to calls on an as needed basis. This remained in effect until the middle of the 1980’s, when the demand exceeded the capacity to deliver the service on a regular basis. As the town grew in population so did the demand for service. The rescue would expand with the town’s growth.  Presently the department staffs the ambulance around the clock with a fulltime Paramedic /Firefighter and a partner, who will be a staff member from the call force. The fire-rescue department has four Firefighter/EMT’s that work from 7 AM until 7 PM, we commonly call this the day shift. They are assigned to fire apparatus in the North Windham Station and at Windham Center Station. The Chief and Deputy work the day shift Monday through Friday and hold EMS license’s as well. The current delivery system for EMS is a fire based system. This system is used nationwide and the fire service is on the front line for the delivery of medical response for the sick and critically injured. This system allows a community to respond to calls for aid in a reasonable amount of time out of Fire Stations; we have four stations, North, South, East, and Central. Currently both of Windham’s rescues are out of Windham Center Station located at 375 Gray Road. Outlying stations have response vehicles with lifesaving EMS equipment. On occasion members get asked the question why the fire truck is present if they called for an ambulance. Our mission is to help people as soon as possible with the closest resource the department can deploy; time is a very important component in the life saving business. Seventy percent of the Windham Fire-Rescue calls for service are now emergency medical in nature. The department has and will continue to evolve to meet the growing needs of the community for emergency medical services in the Town of Windham. In the 2013-2014 budget the department has requested two additional  per diem personnel for North Windham Station from 7 PM to 7 AM.

Budget passed, but controversy ensued by Jon Bolduc

Last Saturday Windham voters sacrificed a beautiful morning for the sake of politics, and ultimately approved the municipal budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Voters passed each article presented to them, and agreed on a municipal budget of $14,346,348 for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Although each article passed, there was lively, and at times fiery, conversation ranging from debate over the proposed Donnabeth Lippman Park, to outrage over the Town Council’s suggestion to termination the skate park’s attendant position.

The skatepark was given $5,000 in the budget. Though some seemed to be concerned over funding for the park, the town council was adamant that there was no intention of shutting it down.

“Nobody is talking about closing the skatepark,” said councilor Peter Anania.

Anania affirmed the skate park's place in the town’s budget, but said that cuts would have to come from the attendant position.

“We have money allocated in the budget for the skatepark,” said Anania. “We’re talking about not having an attendant in the skatepark, like every other town, locally. We feel that kids can police themselves, and be good citizens down there. If there are issues at the skatepark, the town council can decide what to do.”
However, some citizens did not agree with Anania’s, and the council’s perspective.

“We have an issue in town with alcohol and drugs,” said former councilwoman Donna Chapman. “I think we are making a big mistake by not having someone there,” she said.

Diane Loring, a Windham resident, also expressed her displeasure at the proposition.

“The kids were here, saying that they need our supervision,” said Loring. “That should speak volumes to all of us.”

It seems as if the changes have already been made. The Windham Parks and Recreation website reads “As of July 1 the Windham skatepark will be an unsupervised facility.”

Citizens also addressed the future of the Donnabeth Lippman Park. Although Council members were not certain of the overall cost to construct and maintain the park during the meeting, the cost stated in the budget amounts to $468,975.

Although voters approved the overall budget, some were concerned with the future of the park, citing the town’s previous shortcomings in the development of public places.

Donna Chapman used the unfinished bike park as a potential example for Donnabeth Lippman Park’s future.
“I drive by the bike park, and it bothers me,” said Donna Chapman. “If we’re going to cut the attendant for the skate park, I’m assuming we’re never going to finish the bike park that was approved by prior councils,” she said.

“I’m concerned with the Lippman Park Funding. Do we have goals? To start it, build it, and finish it? Because we haven’t finished a bike park across the road,” said Chapman.

Chairman Matthew Noel addressed Chapman’s concern, stating that the bike park initiative was lead by a group of volunteers, and although the abandonment of the project was unfortunate, he invited a group to continue the project.

“There were no monies, other than a fence appropriated to the bike park from the town council, other than the use of the land. The town council never listed this as a town priority, it was a community priority,” he said. “Unfortunately, it hasn’t been well formed or executed.”

“If there’s a group of people out there who want to restart that effort, we’re all in favor of it,” he said.
Noel also addressed Chapman’s concern for the Donnabeth Lippman Park.

“Lippman Park does have a master plan,” he stated. “A well-thought out, well-presented, and well-detailed plan. It does list items that are required to be built and maintained,” he said.

“There have been several meetings and discussions that focus on that,” he said.

Also of concern was the balancing the construction of the new park, and the maintenance of established public spaces.

“We have walking paths in our town already that people are not using because they need maintenance,” said Diane Loring. “We already have space here that people aren’t using.”

“I don’t understand how we can have a $469,000 park, and how we can support it,” she said.

“It is a challenge,” Noel responded. “What we have done this year, as part of this budget, we created a new capital fund, land and building improvement fund, very similar to the fund that we created for capital equipment. We’ve established that fund, we’ve funded it with $100,000 this year,” he said. “We have an established plan.”

Group aims for Montessori charter school in Windham by Leah Hoenen

Three local parents have teamed up to campaign for a Montessori charter school in Windham. If approved, Many Hands Montessori School could start serving elementary school students as early as 2014, but the plan needs state approval since the local school district has said it cannot authorize the charter.

A charter school must be authorized by a local school district or by the state commission on charter schools. Many Hands Montessori School organizers first asked RSU 14 if it would authorize the proposed school’s charter, which would have the district oversee the charter school’s obligations under state regulations. They held two meetings prior to the Wednesday, June 12 meeting of the RSU 14 Board of Directors, where board members said the district cannot take on the responsibility of a charter school.

Jennifer Benham, who is spearheading the development of Many Hands Montessori School along with Elicia Boatman and Karen Lane, is working on an application for non-profit tax status and another for the state charter school commission.

“Our first choice was to work locally because of the benefits to us and to them,” said Benham. She said the group is moving forward with its plans. “I am a firm believer that if we can come to be, if we can exist, the community will embrace us,” she said.

Based on the philosophy developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Montessori education uses a specially prepared environment to educate children. Materials specific to the Montessori program emphasize a child's sensorial discovery of the classroom. Teachers encourage students to participate in taking care of the classroom and themselves to foster independence. 

At the RSU 14 board meeting, board Chairman Catriona Sangster said the group had approached district Superintendent Sandy Prince with the concept of a public charter school within the district. “They are very passionate about their experience there and want their kids to go into elementary school in that philosophy,” said Sangster.

Benham said she discovered the Montessori education philosophy when her oldest daughter, now four years old, began attending Little Log Cabin Montessori School at 18 months of age. The group’s Facebook page says it favors choice in public education.

Sangster said a public charter school would be bound by the same obligations RSU 14 is. She said its creation would lead to a reduced per-pupil allocation to the district, but would require additional administrative duties for district staff, who would oversee the paperwork due from the charter school to the state.

Board member Jeri Keane-Dryer said the board needed to have a workshop before deciding whether to act as an authorizer. “My general sense is they have another route to go and it is way too short notice,” she said.
Sangster said, “It’s not that we don’t support this concept or this school, but it is something we can’t take on right now.” Other board members agreed that the district already has many obligations of its own, and can’t take on the authorization of another entity.

Benham said the school would initially serve kindergarten through grade 3, later expanding to grade 8 and eventually grade 12. A location for the school has not been established. The charter school commission may authorize 10 charter schools in 10 years, said Benham, and two are operating already.

Many Hands Montessori School wants to be a public school to make the philosophy accessible, she said. “If it was private, tuition would be $7,000 per student per year to operate. That’s a lot of money, especially if you have more than one kid. We believe Montessori education should be available to everyone regardless of money,” said Benham.

For more information, find Many Hands Montessori School on Facebook, or email manyhandsmontessori@gmail.com

RSU 14 board discusses Primary School project by Leah Hoenen

The Board of Directors of RSU 14 met Wednesday, June 12 and discussed the district’s facilities, the recent budget vote and a reconfiguration of special-education staff.

Primary School Project
The district has received bids for the new bus loop and playground site work at Windham Primary School. Facilities director Bill Hansen said bids came in about 20 percent higher than expected. The district has been saving money toward the project, but it is still short of the amount that will be needed to complete the project, he said.
Hansen said he would present the bids for the board at its June 26 meeting, by which time the district hopes to have a permit in hand from the Department of Environmental Protection.

Special education reconfiguration
Outgoing special education supervisor Linda Powell said the district is moving toward fostering more student independence by shifting the way its special-education programs are staffed. Two education technician positions are being eliminated, as two students with one-to-one support are ageing out of the district. Instead of having four technicians, the district will hire two special-education teachers, Powell said. She said the cost to the district would not be substantially higher.

Consolidated middle school consideration

Board chairman Catriona Sangster reported that the facilities committee had raised the idea of a consolidated middle school as a topic for future consideration. She said the committee would look at using a new building or modifying an existing one. “Those are some of our older and less efficient buildings,” she said of the current middle schools.

Board comments on budget vote turnout

Voters in Windham and Raymond approved the district’s budget for the coming fiscal year and voted to continue a two-step process which gives voters a chance to change the budget in a meeting ahead of the referendum on the plan.

Board members said turnout was scant. Sangster said this year’s meeting, in which $12,600 was added back to the budget, is an example of a case in which a few people were able to make measurable changes.
Board member Kate Brix said many people told her they were unaware of the vote, and she suggested the board investigate ways to increase public knowledge of the referendum for the next vote.

June 11, 2013

Windham High salutatorian wins National Honor Society scholarship by Michelle Libby

Windham High School class of 2013 salutatorian Joseph Mycock gains another accolade as the winner of a scholarship from the National Honor Society from the State of Maine.  As a member of the Windham High School National Honor Society he has been named one of 53 State Winners in the National Honor Society scholarship from the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). 200 NHS state Finalists were first chosen from over 4,000 applicants. From the 200 Finalists, 53 State Winners were selected. Each State Winner receives a $1,500 scholarship.
Finalists were selected on the basis of their leadership skills, participation in service organizations, clubs and other students groups at school and in the community, and their academic record.

We are proud to recognize Joseph for his outstanding achievements and contributions to his school,” said David Cordts, associate director of NHS. “Students nominated for the NHS scholarship not only demonstrate academic excellence, but also extraordinary performance in service, leadership, and character - traits that are more important today than ever before. In recognizing leadership and involvement in student activities as well as strong academic performance, the NHS scholarship acknowledges the importance of a well-rounded education.”

While at Windham High School (WHS), Mycock has been president of the National Honor Society, treasurer of his class, treasurer of Spanish Honor Society and a captain of the Science Olympiad team. He is also a member of the Windham Chamber Singers and the varsity swim team. During his high school career, Mycock has also been a member of the Westbrook Seals Swim Club and Prom Committee. His volunteer experience includes tutoring Spanish at WHS, teaching Spanish to K-3 students at Windham Primary School, mentoring younger swimmers on the Westbrook Seals, and volunteering at numerous WHS-sponsored car shows, basketball games, and craft fairs.
Mycock will be attending the Georgia Institute of Technology in the Fall, majoring in Aeronautical Engineering.

For the Love of Loons by Jon Bolduc

Little Sebago Lake, the younger sibling of Sebago Lake, (nicknamed "Big Sebago") has been my home for the past five years. From my front window, I see a cove that opens up to a sparkling expanse of water. Trees coat the shoreline, patches of lilypads hover on the placid surface. Boats gently rocked by the mid-morning breeze cradle back and forth.

I’m privileged to have a front row seat in the many minor happenings that make up nature like painted turtles sunbathing on a partly submerged log. This is my home.

According to the organization Audubon that conducts yearly "loon counts" on Maine lakes, 21 adult Loons also called Little Sebago home in 2011. But in late April, one loon in particular caught the attention of local residents.

“We had a loon that was challenged with fishing line around its beak, and around its head,” said Pam Wilkinson, head of the Little Sebago Lake Association.

“People noticed it for a week or two, but really felt kind of helpless about what to do. Finally, there was a gentleman called T.J. Goth who found the bird close to shore, and obviously weak. He waded out into the cold water and grabbed the loon.”

“He untied the fishing line, this great big round ball of line. The loon swam off, and was free,” said Wilkinson.

According to a local resident, it wasn’t long before the loon was healthy again; soon after the rescue, the loon was observed gobbling up the catch of the day.

“The loon is healthy, and he is flourishing,” said Wilkinson.

“It is a success story, for sure,” said Wilkinson.

Although this situation had a happy ending, many situations involving loons and tackle do not. Lead poisoning from jigs and tackle are the leading cause of death, and a bill entitled “LD 730 An Act to Protect Maine Loons by Banning Lead Sinkers and Jigs,” is currently circulating in legislature.

A combination of their striking appearance and presence most likely contributes to the loon’s status as a cultural icon. On Little Sebago, sometimes it seems like the loons are as interested in us as we are in them.

"Even if your kayaking, they'll pop up beside you. They're not threatened, it doesn't feel like they're threatened at all. They've gotten acclimated to the people and as long as the people respect them, give them their distance, and don't challenge them, we can co-exist pretty well," said Wilkinson.

Long before the loon is seen, his call is heard. For most Mainers, the mere mention of the loon conjures a deeply embedded sensory memory. The memory of a night shattering, shrill, ethereal cry that is as haunting as it is beautiful and as ingrained in Maine's culture as lobster, or L.L Bean.

“I think that the call of the loon at night is embedded in people’s memories,” said Wilkinson.

As a native Mainer, it's hard to pinpoint exactly when I first heard the call of the loon. My grandparents live on Little Sebago Lake, and as a child I spent many summer days and nights on the water. I could never figure out how to do loon calls with my hand, so I settled for a snorkel. It was realistic enough to laugh about.

One day, a loon called back. I made contact.

The iconic long, haunting cry- the wail- is the loon's way of asking "where are you?" I inadvertently asked this prehistoric animal where he was, and he responded, assuming I was one of his kind, perhaps a life-mate.

In that moment, like many Mainer’s before me, I had fallen in love with the loon, and his call.
“It’s just a calming type message we all get in the summertime,” said Wilkinson.

Raymond library wins Stephen and Tabitha King grant by Leah Hoenen

With a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, the Raymond Village Library is expanding access to computers, the Internet and other technology essential for the library to provide important services to the community.

Library director Sally Holt said the funding will give a big boost to the library, which is working hard to maximize its space and offer the resources community members need from their local library.
“Technology is extremely important in today’s libraries. It’s right on top with what libraries need to pay attention to as far as getting patrons what they need,” she said.

While people still enjoy libraries for their atmosphere, books and magazines, more and more are turning to libraries to use computers, go online and print documents while searching and applying for jobs or doing school work, said Holt. Many do not have access to these types of technology at home, she said.

“Where else are people going to go to use a computer? They’re looking for jobs and helping children do research,” she said. Library staff and volunteers are on hand to guide those who are not computer savvy or who are unfamiliar with the Internet, as well, she said, and that assistance is another important resource for the community.

“To be able to find information on your own allows you to advocate for yourself. At the library, someone can assist you there,” said Holt.

The $10,000 grant will provide a printer, three new computers, a projector that people can use for presentations during programs, a film screen and extra hours for a staff member to use to train people to use a new automated system, said Holt. She expects the new equipment to be ordered in the next four to six weeks.

The library currently has one computer with Internet access and plans to add a second. Another computer will be at the desk and hooked up to the new automated system, while the third will be used by those looking up what books are available in the library, Holt said.

“Libraries are as important as they ever were. Where else can you come in for no reason and stay all day? All people are treated equally here and we’re always happy to see them,” said Holt.

She said the Raymond Village Library is thrilled to have received the grant and to be able to provide more services to patrons.

The library, located at 3 Meadow Road, is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. For more information, call 655-4283 or visit raymondvillagelibrary.org.

Insights by David Field

It takes a village

A few weeks ago, I started reflecting on the experiences my children have had in this town. My son is graduating from Windham High this year and it was quite an interesting reflection.

My wife and I built a house here in 1990. We had two children. After Jen was born, we decided that we would use a day care. Children’s Discovery Center was our choice. So, from the age of twelve weeks until the age of twelve, our kids attended CDC.

I also remember the many teachers we met through the years. Windham Primary School, Manchester School, Windham Middle School and finally Windham High School were the educational pillars. I have probably forgotten the majority of the teacher’s names, unfortunately.

Additionally, our kids were involved in several sports from a young age. Baseball, softball, soccer, swimming, basketball, football and track were the sports they were involved in. From age five to age 18, how many coaches has each kid played for? One of the best memories I have is now town councilor Matt Noel, yelling “Alamo!” to his basketball team at several games. We didn’t understand then what he meant, but Matt’s booming scratchy voice is forever seared into my mind. That one word was to encourage the players on the court to fall back on defense and defend the basket.

My final reflection overwhelmed me. How does one thank the village? There have been so many wonderful people who have volunteered their time and some that have been paid that have influenced my children’s lives. To the people of Windham, thank you very much for being a great place to raise children.

Letters to the editor

Dear Editor
I usually don’t get too worked up about what I read in letters to the editor, but I just read the unsigned letter to the editor chastising a Raymond business owner for using the word “sodomized” on a public sign. Really? In this day and age when you hear and see explicit crude language, if not see the visuals, in every type of media and in all sorts of public places, this person is whining about the use of the word “sodomized”?

The insult of the sign owner in the last paragraph is a hint of his/her real reason for writing – I am guessing but I'd say she doesn’t agree with the sign owner’s points of view and wants him silenced. It is easy to defend the rights of those we agree with. Not as easy to defend the rights of those we don’t. I say shame on this letter writer for attacking one of our citizen's constitutional freedoms.

Signed proudly in the spirit of the First Amendment,
Rene Noel, Jr.

Dear Editor,
This June 21-23 marks a very special milestone in our community- the 25th anniversary of the Windham Chamber Singers. Alumni will be attending from all over the country to celebrate 25 years of friends and beautiful music.

As a former Windham Chamber Singer, I am assisting in the coordination of the 25th anniversary festivities.  There are more than 300 WCS alumni to locate in preparation for reunion weekend. I invite anyone interested in attending to contact me at Janelle.losciuto@gmail.com.

There will be a WCS Alumni concert on Saturday, June 22nd at the Windham Performing Arts Center. Please join us as we celebrate 25 years of music making in a community that has always supported us.

Janelle LoSciuto
Windham High School Class of 2002

Primary School Playground penny drive a huge sucess

Now Open: Sebago Trails Paddeling Company

A Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting was held at Sebago Trails Paddling Company, 4 White's Bridge Rd., Windham on May 23. Owner Bill Allen invites you to stop by and see his complete line of kayaks and paddling supplies. Plus, he is a wealth of knowledge about where to go paddling in our region! If you like to paddle in a group, either with your own gear or renting what you need from Bill, ask about upcoming "Flash Paddles".

A show of Chamber support flanking Bill Allen: Aimee Senatore, Chamber Executive Director, Ruth York, Point Sebago, Dan Hancock, Gorham Savings Bank, Ed Powell, Peoples United Bank, Cheryle Nielsen-Pesce, BONNEY Staffing Center and Julie Arsenault, WGME-TV 13.

Dentist Dr. Leslie A. Elston is open for business by Michelle Libby

In this day and age when people want more and they want it immediately, Dr. Leslie A. Elston, a new to Windham dentist, gives the public what they want. In an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 30, the public was invited in to see the “state of the art” facility. 

What was once a “garage-like interior,” has been transformed into an office with the patient’s comfort in mind. They make many dental products right on site making them faster and more efficient.
Dr. Elston does paraffin wax hand dips and offers patients MP3 movie glasses during their treatment.
“We try to be fun with competitive pricing,” Elston said. “I love what I do. It’s kind of like coming home.”

The company has recently started accepting Delta Dental insurance and also has a care credit program.

Attending the ribbon-cutting, L to R: Chamber Executive Director Aimee Senatore; Dwayne Harris, Blossoms of Windham; Iva Carroll, Norway Savings Bank; Cheryle Nielsen-Pesce, Bonney Staffing Ctr.; Leeann Sanborn and Susan Pope, Key Bank; Al Brown, Buck’s Naked Barbecue; Kim Newton, Dr. Elston’s Bridgton Office Manager; Ed Powell, Peoples United Bank; Jessica Grover, Dr. Elston’s Assistant; Dr. Leslie Elston; Heather Linnie, Dr. Elston’s Hygienist; Alex Elston, Windham Office Manager; Tom Bartell, Windham Economic Development; Chamber President Dan Hancock, Gorham Savings Bank; Heather Adams, Cross Insurance; Mary Sawyer, Gowen, Sawyer & Co.; Julie Arsenault, WGME-TV 13.

Chipman Farms opens new stand in Raymond

Chipman Farms held a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 23 to celebrate its opening in a new location, its newly built farm stand on Route 302 just over the Windham/Raymond town line. The plans are to have fresh produce from the farm in Gray as well as plants and baked goods.
Those in attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony were Raymond Fire/Rescue Chief Bruce Tupper, code enforcement officer Chris Hanson, Raymond Town Manager Don Willard and David Greep, property owner. In the front row are Elaine, Tomi and Doug Chipman.

June 2, 2013

Insights by Michelle Libby

Reality TV, real drama that reels you in

What is the fascination with reality TV and where does it go from here. The first reality show I watched was Road Rules on MTV, where six strangers were chosen to spend time together in an RV and do challenges. Awesome fun. Then I started watching Real World, now I’m addicted to most of what’s on. Biggest Loser, The Voice, The Bachelorette and The Amazing Race are all shows I watch. Not necessarily when they air, but when I need a break from reality.
Sounds odd, right?

My break from reality is reality TV. The Bachelorette started Monday night. I missed it and caught up yesterday and today. They say it’s reality TV, but who lives like this and gets wooed and whisked away for exotic lands by not one, but 17 handsome, chiseled jaw men. That’s not the reality I know.
What about a show where the bachelor is a dirt poor cowboy who works long hours on the range and the women…real women who shop at Walmart and their idea of a date is dinner at The Olive Garden and then a movie or bowling.

I guess that’s too much reality for TV.

Escapism is a much needed form of stress relief. Some, like our athlete of the week Ben Breton, turns to running to relieve the stress of school and some practice deep breathing. Taking a moment for yourself to read, run or watch an hour of reality fluff TV, can be a great way to recharge and remind yourself that sometimes reality is nothing like reality.

Letters to the editor

Dear Editor,

As a Windham resident who drives through Raymond frequently, I’d like to thank last week’s author of your Letter to the Editor. As the writer correctly pointed out, the First Amendment certainly protects the business owner’s right to display partisan political rants on their business signage for all the world to see.

At the same time, I’ve often wondered how others are reacting to these radical diatribes. Personally, I am not so much offended as I am amused by a business owner’s utter disregard for civility, especially when their signage invokes analogies like “sodomized” to make some twisted political point. First of all, that is not what’s happening. Secondly, the analogy is discourteous in general to the public at large.

Does the owner have the right to express their opinions? Of course. But the First Amendment right to free speech is not all that’s at work here. Also on display are a disrespect for common courtesy, an often shocking illiteracy, a disregard for actual facts, and an absence of fundamental business sense. Why would a business owner willfully do everything in their power to offend anyone and everyone with a different point of view? Why not try to cultivate them as a customer instead?

The business sign sends a negative signal to much of the community and anyone else who uses this busy roadway. Amazingly, it’s almost like a KEEP OUT sign! But I suppose there’s one saving grace. Anyone with common sense, even if they share this ideology, would have to be embarrassed by it.

Andrew Pal


Dear Editor,

We loved the article on CATCH Healthy Habits! Thank you so much.
I thought you might like some feedback on the article.

My director from the OASIS Institute e-mailed. “Thanks, Sharon, and great job fitting in so much information, including citing the funder!"

My supervisor wrote: "Great article."

I haven't heard yet from our funder. She is usually so excited when she sees recognition for Anthem BCBS Foundation.

I received an e-mail today from a potential volunteer.
Thank you so much

CATCH Healthy Habits is the winner of the 2012 Maine Fitness Award in the Adult Category from the Governor's Council on Physical Activity. They received the Anthem Community Angels Award in 2013.

Sharon Schulberger
CATCH Healthy Habits Coordinator
Southern Maine Agency on Aging


Dear Editor,
On behalf of all the folks and patrons of the Schoolhouse Arts Center, I want to say THANK YOU for the excellent coverage you gave our Black Box Teens in the latest issue of the Eagle. The Teens just started up in the past couple of months and are preparing for their first show. This kind of support will really put the wind in their sails and help raise their enthusiasm. They have been working so hard to get their project off the ground and this will be a real boost for them.

Thanks for your support ...

Neil Ruecker
Schoolhouse Arts Center Communications Team

$1,000 Scholarship

Dentist Dr. Leslie Elston has created a scholarship for a female graduating senior who is entering into a four-year degree program for a medical profession. The $1,000 one-time scholarship is awarded after the student earns a 2.5 GPA or higher in her first semester at college.
This year’s recipient has not yet been chosen by the student services department, according to Alex Elston, Dr. Elston’s assistant. It will be an annual scholarship, Alex said.
Dr. Elston graduated from Windham High School in the early 1980s and wanted to give back to her school and community. “She wanted to give something. Every little bit helps,” said Alex.
Dr. Elston will present the scholarship on June 6, at the senior awards banquet.
The Dental Office of Dr. Leslie A. Elston has just opened at 713 Roosevelt Trail in Windham.  

RSU 14 to begin security upgrades at school entrances by Leah Hoenen

The Windham-Raymond School District will begin work this summer to change the entrances to four schools in Windham, bringing security features in those schools in line with security at the entrances of Raymond schools.

Work on the project should begin soon after school ends this year and be complete in time for the start of next school year, said Bill Hansen, facilities director for RSU 14.
Hansen said this work will bring consistency to the visitor-entrance process in all six schools in the district.

The new entrances will feature cameras and airphones, Hansen said, and have people enter a vestibule before being directed into the office or into the school buildings themselves through separate locked entrances.

“People will have a way to enter the building and connect with staff without coming directly into the building,” Hansen said. “This is normal best practice if you’re going into a school today, but it was not thought of when the Windham schools were built,” he said.

The Field Allen School will not have a similar system on its entrance because it does not have an office, said Hansen. Instead, an audio and video station at the door will allow a person locked out of the building to communicate with staff in the middle school, he said.

The plans have been submitted to and approved by Windham Police, the Fire Marshall and Cumberland County Emergency Services, Hansen said.

The upgrades were initially mentioned during a risk assessment conducted for the district last year, but the speed of the project was accelerated in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut earlier this year, Hansen said.

Since that event, RSU 14 schools have locked their doors, which are watched by attendants who let in visitors, he said.

The upgrades will offer an additional level of security, said Hansen. “We live in a wonderful community of great people,” he said. “This is us controlling visitor access to our schools when kids are in the building.”

Three contractors submitted bids for the $253,000 project, said Hansen.