September 27, 2013

From the Statehouse - By Thomas Tyler

Well, fall is here or at least it is after Labor Day. The legislature’s staff and committees are starting to gear up for the second regular session of the 126th Maine Legislature. My committee will have met on the 25th of this month by the time you read this article. 

Committees are doing work on the carry over bills from the first session to prepare for the shorter time frame in the second session. Most committees carry over several bills due mostly to a couple of reasons. Either the time table late in the session was too short for the group to feel comfortable regarding information on the bill, or more research was needed by members to make decisions. Some bills may have required a special study group over the summer to get much more feedback and recommendations to reach a final decision by the committee. 

One such bill on our committee (Criminal Justice and Public Safety) was LD297 “An Act to Require Forest Rangers to be Trained in Order to Allow Them to Carry Firearms.” We had a lot of discussion on this topic. The Governor has had a task force over the summer study the issue. My personal opinion is if we are going to require rangers too participate in arrests and do such tasks like searches, follow up warrants, etc. Then, yes, we arm them. If the State wants the rangers to go back 20 years to the way they used to operate as just firefighters and forest protection, firearms are not necessary. 

Other carry over bills for our group were LD662, “An Act Regarding Sexually Explicit Text Messaging by Minors”; LD111 “An Act to Restrict the Sale, Purchase and Use of Fireworks in the State” along with LD168 also on fireworks. LD111 would take us back to the pre-fireworks days when all personal use of those items were banned except sparklers. LD168 was in regarding the use of fireworks such as restricting distance from farm animals, times of use, etc. With the money generated in taxes, the very few instances of problems that have come to my attention lead me to say that I am not prepared to stop the commercial sale of fireworks at this time. Early next year the state fire marshal will have his annual report on fireworks, giving us a great deal more information to discuss. This would be his second report on the subject allowing for a broader perspective on the issue.

The second session is for carry over and emergency bills, like a supplemental budget to adjust what has happened with the State income either good or bad over the year since the close of the first session. We have four months to do the work and hopefully we can get done by the end of April. We start back in session on January 8, 2014 obviously with a lot of work to get done. 

If I can be of service to anyone or you would like to express your opinions please contact me. You can find my contact information at the legislature website. Thank you, it is my honor to serve the citizens of district 110.

Mechanics Savings Bank hires a business banking specialist to serve local market

WINDHAM – Mechanics Savings Bank, a mutual savings bank founded in Maine in 1875, announced today the appointment of Steven Davis to business banking specialist for the Windham and lakes region markets. Davis is responsible for business and commercial loan development, as well as providing high-touch deposit and loan solutions for small business clients, focusing on cash management, merchant services, and secured loans. He will be based out of the Windham branch, located at 3 Drive In Lane—just off Route 302.

"We are pleased to bring this level of service and expertise to the Windham and Lakes Region business community,” said Mechanics Savings Bank Vice President Ray Teixeira. “With Steve’s background in finance and banking, including his knowledge of merchant services, he has already proven to be an exceptional asset to the bank and its customers.” 

Davis studied business management at University of Maine and is a 1992 graduate of Edward Little High School in Auburn. Davis is a supporter of the (MSSPA) Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals, a non-profit equine rescue and rehabilitation facility located in South Windham. He currently resides in Poland with his wife Michelle and their daughter Haley.

Best place to work honor

In addition to a new business banking specialist, The Maine State Council of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) has announced that Mechanics Savings Bank has been named one of the "Best Places to Work in Maine". Mechanics Savings Bank is a mutual savings bank with branches in Auburn, Brunswick, Lewiston, and Windham. The bank employs 75 people, with total assets of $338,294,000. The official ranking will be announced on October 10.

September 21, 2013

Haitian Boys' Choir to perform at St. Ann's - By Elizabeth Richards

On Friday, September 27th, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church will present a concert by Les Petits Chanteurs, a 30-voice boys’ choir and seven piece string ensemble from Haiti. Two weeks ago, St. Ann’s learned that the group from Port-au-Prince, Haiti was touring the United States. They were scheduled to perform at a church in Newcastle, Maine. Knowing of a partnership between St. Barnabus church in Treille, Haiti, and St. Ann’s, members from the Newcastle congregation called to try to set up another concert, said Wendy Rozene, a deacon at St. Ann’s. The concert will include choral and instrumental works of Haitian folk and sacred music.

Les Petits Chanteurs is the boys’ choir of Holy Trinity Music School of the Episcopal Church, Anglican Communion in Port-au-Prince. The choir was founded in 1960 by Episcopalian priest Reverend Barry Borrows. It is now under the direction of former student and member of the choir Jean-Bernard Desinat. Boys may join the choir by audition at age 7, and students come from elementary schools throughout the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. Les Petits Chanteurs has toured in the United States several times since their first visit in 1984.

Admission to the show is by a free will offering. The concert is a fundraiser, said Rozene, with the money going towards rebuilding the music school which was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. “They are in temporary structures right now, after the earthquake, which means that they have a roof over their head, but no walls on the side,” she said. “It’s a fresh air school.”

Rozene had an opportunity to see the group perform in Haiti last April. “They have wonderful voices. They’re just outstanding,” she said. “They are very gifted musicians.” The singers and their ensemble will be hosted in the homes of members of the St. Ann’s congregation, and there will be a potluck supper for the group on Friday night, as well as a breakfast Saturday morning. The choir has a very full weekend schedule, with the performance on Friday evening at St. Ann’s, performances in Newcastle on both Saturday afternoon and Sunday in church, and a Sunday evening performance in York.

The concert at St. Ann’s is Friday, September 27th at 7 pm. Admission is by offering. All are welcome.

One-on-one with new Windham librarian Jennifer Alvino Leo - By Becky Longacre

There’s a new Librarian in town. Jennifer Alvino Leo, or Jen Leo for short will start at the Windham Public Library on October 9 as the library director, replacing Inese Gruber, who retired in May.  Leo is currently the deputy director at the Walker Memorial Library in Westbrook.  She has a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, is very upbeat and expresses enthusiasm for benefitting the Windham people through a community partnership.

The Windham Eagle (TWE): What brought you to Windham?

Leo: It’s a really exciting opportunity for me.  I started [working as a librarian] at the Portland Public in 1994.  It was my first job.  I came to Westbrook when I got my master’s degree.

TWE: So you are very well qualified.

Leo: I think so.

TWE: What do you love most about being a librarian?

Leo: The interaction with the people in the community.  I think the library brings people together.

TWE:  Have you seen a decline in the amount of people visiting the library?

Leo: I don’t think there has ever been a decline.  I think what they use the library for has changed.

TWE: Do you feel that the library levels the playing field in terms of giving people resources?

Leo: Absolutely.  Even now with our digital services.  With the affordable care act librarians are being asked to help people register to get services. 

TWE: Wow, I had no idea.

 Leo: Yeah, it’s been a call to action.

TWE: What are a few books you’d recommend?

Leo: Right now I’m reading “And The Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini.  Another one of my favorite authors is Lisa Genova.  I like Jodi Picoult and Janet Evanovich.

Leo will be on board and ready to direct the library in October and looks forward to working with the community to enhance the Windham area.  Her experience, expertise and attitude are sure to be of benefit.

Windham Primary School produces ... veggies

Garden beds were planted at Windham Primary School last spring by several different classes grades 1 through 3 and they took care of their beds until the end of the school year. Elaine Hawthorne’s class harvested the crops last week. All classes in the school were invited to explore the vegetable garden this fall to see how things have changed since June and the harvest. The tossed salad was served as part of hot lunch in the cafeteria the day after the produce was harvested. Submitted Photo.

September 15, 2013

Proper etiquette for events - Elizabeth Richards

School is back in session and soon there will be plenty of concerts, plays and other performances to attend.  There are some common guidelines for behavior at events like this, to ensure both enjoyment for those attending and respect for the performers.  Following are some quick tips, with insight from Falmouth resident Dorothea Johnson, who founded The Protocol School of Washington® and is a nationally known etiquette expert.  Johnson’s sixth book, Modern Manners, will be available in late October.
Arrive early 

Showing up at the last minute can make finding an appropriate seat difficult, as well as creating undue stress.  Johnson suggests arriving at least 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the show.  This allows you to settle in and get ready for the performance to begin, and promotes a calm demeanor, Johnson said.  

Know the guidelines

Most venues have guidelines that are made known to those in attendance, and many also have ushers or attendants who can assist patrons in following those guidelines.  With student performances, Johnson said, it’s up to the school to set and publicize the guidelines.  “People want guidelines.  If there are no guidelines, people will act any old way they please,” she said.  As a patron, knowing the expectations ahead of time allows you to follow the protocol of the event you are attending.  

Keep movement to a minimum 

Moving around during live performances is distracting not only to the performers, but to other audience members.  Arrive early enough to be settled in your seat well before the lights go down.  In many professional venues, said Johnson, intermission is the only time you are allowed to enter or exit.   At school performances, the guidelines may differ, but it’s important to be courteous to other attendees.  Getting up and down several times blocks the view of others, and can be distracting to those on stage.   

Leave electronics home

Although some electronics are now being used for photographs and videotaping, it can be simply too tempting to do other things if the device is there.  The ringing of a cell phone that hasn’t been set to silent disrupts a performance, and having a telephone conversation is a definite faux pas.  Texting, even when the sound is off, is not acceptable, since the light from the device can be distracting to others, said Johnson.  Although phones, tablets and laptops seem to show up everywhere, when attending a performance it is best to leave them at home or in the car.  At the very least, leave them turned off in a pocketbook or bag, and use them only at intermission.  

Quiet, please

When the lights go down, that’s a signal for quiet.  A concert or play is not the place to catch up with a neighbor or friend.  Conversation between audience members is not only disrespectful to the performers, but can be very frustrating for others who are trying to focus on the show.  “The minute that performance starts, that is when the conversation should stop,” said Johnson. 
Teach your children well

Attending school performances often means bringing along younger siblings, who might not sit still well.  Parents should know their child’s capabilities, and plan accordingly.  Johnson suggests explaining to the child what they can expect, and why they must behave a certain way, prior to the event.  “It is better if the child knows what is going to happen,” she said.  After doing so, arrive early enough to secure an appropriate seat.  Johnson suggests an aisle seat in the middle of the theater – not down front, where you have to move through the whole theater or auditorium if the child becomes restless.  

Parents should be aware of how long young children are able to sit, and remove them immediately if they become disruptive, as it isn’t fair to other attendees to be distracted by restless behavior.

The Windham Fire-Rescue apparatus

The Windham Fire-Rescue Department is made up of fifteen vehicles. The vehicle use ranges from tanker-pumpers to aerial platforms. This article is designed to give you and understanding of the vehicles, types and uses.


The first type we will discuss is our ambulances. These vehicles are also referred to in our region as rescues. Windham has two 2010 ambulances that were manufactured by Horton Ambulances. They serve the purpose of providing emergency medical responses and transports to the regional hospitals of Bridgton, Portland and Lewiston. The service provided in medical terms range from basic services for basic illness or lesser type injuries to life sustaining systems for the very serious illness or injuries. They are set up to operate from the basic level to the very advanced paramedic level. Our apparatus also carry some basic firefighting equipment for the personnel that staff the apparatus. They have a self-contained breathing apparatus for the two crew members as well as some very basic hand tools.

Squad 1

Another type that we will discuss is Windham Squad 1. This is the firefighter’s toolbox. It carries our tools that are useful at fires as well as motor vehicle crashes. It carries no water and has pump capacity. The vehicle is 2003 HME chassis made by PL Custom in New Jersey. It contains our heavy duty equipment for lifting tons or cutting apart vehicles. It carries a winch which can secure a vehicle that may be in a dangerous situation so further actions do not follow. In addition it carries an assortment of saws for cutting wood, metals, steel or concrete. Other equipment to be found are materials for dealing with hazardous materials, and removal of fumes or smoke from areas. It also contains a light tower which can be raised from the roof to light up a large accident area or a fire scene. This is a tremendous asset when working in the night time hours.  The vehicle also carries self-contained breathing apparatus and hand tools for the riding personnel which can be up to six people. As you can see from the assortment of tools why we call this the fireman’s toolbox.


A special vehicle that we have in the fleet is our pumper-tanker. This is a 2007 International that carries about 3000 gallons of water. It also has a pump that is capable of pumping water at or above 1500 gallons per minute. The apparatus carries over 2,000 feet of large diameter hose, the hose size is a combination of four and five inch hose.  It has tools and breathing apparatus to accommodate the two people that will respond with this vehicle to emergencies. This vehicle also has a folding tank on the side of the vehicle that will hold the capacity of the truck so it may leave and reload. Use of this vehicle is required when there are no fire hydrants available, which is about 60 percent of the area in our community. This vehicle in combination with other vehicles of this type can make up what is known as a tanker shuttle operation for moving large quantities of water.


The department has a range of pumpers that are used to supply water, deliver personnel and equipment to an emergency. A pumpers function is to put pressure behind the water that is either brought to the emergency or add pressure behind the water that is coming from the hydrant and needed at the emergency. Our fleet is comprised up of four vehicles of this type. They are referred to as Windham Engine 1, which is a 1981 Mack pumper, Windham Engine 5, which is a 2000 Ferrara pumper, Windham Engine 6 which is a 1995 Ferrara International, and Windham Engine 7, which is a 2007 E-One. Each of these vehicles carry 1,200 feet of large diameter hose, 1000 gallons of water and can have a pump capacity of between 1,000 and 1,500 gallons per minute. They also carry six self-contained breathing apparatus and the tools for six personnel to complete their tasks. These apparatus also contain the medical equipment to deal medical emergencies prior to the ambulances arrival. Each of the Windham stations has one pumper for service emergencies. 

Ladder trucks

Windham has two ladder trucks. Both of the ladder trucks carry water in lesser amounts than the pumpers. Ladder 4 carries five hundred gallons of water and Windham-Gorham Tower 3 carries 300 gallons of water. Windham-Tower 3 is a piece of apparatus that was purchased jointly by the towns of Windham and Gorham. Ladder 4 has an aerial reach of 75 feet and a pumping capacity of 1,500 gallons per minute. Tower 3 has an aerial height of 95 feet and a pumping capacity of 2,000 gallons per minute. In addition, it carries a supply of ladders that can placed at strategic areas around the building. The vehicles will carry from 4-6 people, self-contained breathing apparatus for each, and the necessary tools and lights for the personnel to begin working. 

Pickup trucks

A recent addition to the fleet has been two new pickups. The pickups are four wheel drive units that can be used to tow some of the trailers we use within the department. These trailers are only needed once in a while, but are critical when needed. In addition we are using the pickups for responses such as wires down, bark mulch fires, grass and woods fires and other calls that do not require a response of a major fire unit. One of the more important uses of the pickups is responding to medical calls. The primary purpose is to get medical personnel on scene for the patient in the outlying areas before the ambulance arrives with the equipment to transport the patient to the hospital. 

Business vehicles

The final two units are vehicles that are used to conduct business of the department. The Chief’s vehicle is a four wheel drive unit that carries the radios and equipment that is used at a larger scale incident. Also in the vehicle are some basic maintenance equipment, first aid equipment, and special materials for unique incidents. The Deputy Chief’s vehicle is a retired police cruiser that is outfitted with response equipment for incidents and medical calls as well.