December 26, 2014

Representative Patrick Corey gets to know his constituents

Representative Patrick Corey (District 25) stopped by Women, Work, and Community's New Ventures graduation on Wednesday in South Portland to congratulate his constituent Karen Hickey, owner of Trillium Tote, based in Windham. New Ventures is a 12-week entrepreneurship training class, and Hickey was among 12 participants who gave their business plan presentations. Pictured here are (left to right) WWC regional manager and microenterprise specialist Gigi Guyton, Representative Patrick Corey and Karen Hickey.

In the stacks at the Windham Public Library - By Jen Alvino

Our first deliveries from the Minerva consortium began rolling in to the library last week. It is exciting to see the community already taking advantage of all that the consortium has to offer. If you haven’t taken a look at the catalog, visit our website or stop in and talk with a staff person for a quick tutorial. This week we will be connected to the MaineCat catalog which includes items from Portland Public, Bangor Public, the University of Maine system libraries as well as Colby, Bates and Bowdoin. This allows for even greater access to library items throughout the state.
Staff members are continuing to familiarize themselves with the new software and work processes. They are doing a great job learning while still providing the wonderful service that you have always received. I’m so proud of all the library staff members and how they worked as a team to accomplish the goal of joining the consortium. The transition went very well! 

You may remember that we held a fine amnesty in November. I would like to extend my thanks to those of you that visited us during our Food for Fines week. We sent out many letters and publicized this fine amnesty week widely. Many of you responded by bringing back long overdue items and giving us non-perishable items in lieu of fines on your account. This was so helpful to clear up our records before our software transition. We were able to make a sizable donation to the Windham Food Pantry. Thank you!

We have some exciting new monthly programs that have either recently begun or will be starting in 2015. We host a knitting group and beginning in January will hold a monthly genealogy program. Thanks to the support of our Friends group we have purchased a movie license and now show a tween/teen movie and a movie geared toward an adult audience once a month. In addition, in the Children’s Room on Monday, December 29th at 1 p.m. children’s performer Buster B (a.k.a Shawn Hennessy) will lead us through song, dance and movement.  Join us! All programs are free and open to the public. Be sure to visit our website and Facebook page for the most up to date news and information about all our programs or call 207-892-1908.

 I hope to see you in the library soon!

~Jen Alvino
Library Director

Local broadway singer Chelsea Williams mentors students

Chelsea Williams is well known in our community. A native of Windham, Chelsea is currently starring as Sophie in the touring company of Mamma Mia. After touring with Mamma Mia throughout the United States from September 2013 through June 2014,Chelsea was re-signed for the 2014 - 2015 touring Season. During her summer "break", she was called to take over the role of Sophie in the Las Vegas cast of Mamma Mia for two months due to an injury to the lead in the Las Vegas cast. While she was there, Chelsea earned enough points to earn her Actors' Equity card. 

Chelsea grew up in Windham and began taking voice lessons from Suzy Cropper. According to Cropper, "Chelsea came to me with a tremendous amount of natural vocal talent. I knew early on that she had the potential to make it on the big stage. She worked hard and was very dedicated to her training.  She became an incredibly versatile singer, quickly learning to ‘belt’, an advanced vocal technique essential for today's Broadway performer."  

Musical theater became Chelsea's passion. She performed locally at Point Sebago Resort and Windham High School musicals including the title role in "Thoroughly Modern Millie." Chelsea went on to graduate from Emerson College's prestigious musical theater program. She performed in many productions in the Boston area while commuting to New York City to pursue her Broadway dreams. Shortly after arriving in New York, she was cast as the leading role in the touring production of Mamma Mia. 

Chelsea will be back in Windham over the holidays, and she will be busy during her visit.  She will be performing with current and former Windham Chamber Singers in the Richard Nickerson Scholarship concert. She has also been working with Suzy Cropper, owner of Main Stage Academy, to develop a "Voice and Acting Masterclass" for local youth, which will take place on January 2 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Chelsea will also perform in a small solo concert for on January 2 at 7 p.m. at Main Stage Academy right here in Windham.  For more on Chelsea visit

Bill Diamond sworn in to Maine Senate

AUGUSTA – Democratic State Senator Bill Diamond of Windham was sworn in on December 3, 2014 as a member of the Maine Senate. He will be representing Senate District 26, which includes the municipalities of Baldwin, Casco, Frye Island, Raymond, Standish and Windham.

“It is an honor to serve in the Senate and it is a job I will work tirelessly at,” said Diamond. “I am proud of the hard working people and businesses that make our community a great place to call home, and I look forward to working together to provide greater opportunities.” 

Diamond is beginning his seventh term in the Maine Senate. He also served as Secretary of State from 1989 to 1997 and for three terms in the Maine House of Representatives. In addition to Diamond’s public service, he has a career as a small business owner for over 34 year as well as 20 years in education as a teacher, principal and superintendent. 

The 127th Legislature will begin its session work on January 7, 2015. 

Senator Diamond can be reached by phone (207) 892-8941 or email

Season of Gratitude honors Windham PD and RSU14 administration - By Michelle Libby

After the threats made against the RSU14 community last week, seven friends from the Windham Mom’s Facebook group decided that they needed to do something to say thank you to the law enforcement and administration at RSU14 for their quick actions that potentially saved lives. 
“We first thought about doing lunch, donuts and coffe, but we’re just a small group of moms in Windham. How wasteful it would be if we all showed up with the same thing,” said coordinator Shelly Afthim. “We wanted something more meaningful.” 

That’s when Season of Gratitude was born. Afthim set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for three programs in the community with the help of moms Kate Anderson, Amy Bilodeau, Amy Cunniffe, Jami Glicos, Kim Hartwell and Laura Heckman. The programs are Windham Social Services, the backpack lunch program and Feeding Friends, a program at Windham High School. The goal is to fund all three programs through April vacation. 

“Something tragic was going to happen and how do you say thank you for stopping that?” Afthim asked.
The GoFundMe page will be open until January 31 for donations at the www.GoFundMe/RSU14.
“I have so much respect for Sandy Price. He handled this perfectly,” she said. 

Afthim is hoping that this good will toward the Windham Police Department will last indefinitely. “People need to show respect and gratitude for those who protect and served us,” she said. She hopes that this shows that good can come from a sad chapter in our community.  There are so many positive things about living in Windham, she added. “We didn’t want this thing to define our town because our town is so much more than that.”

When Glen Halliday heard about Afthim’s efforts, he decided that he could help send a message to the community and a thank you to Windham Police Department. 

He decided to do this, “Because I was so impressed by how the PD and RSU14 handled themselves, and our kids during this entire week. I thought that my gratitude could extend beyond a simple Facebook "shout out".”

With Halliday’s company 207 Brand, he has done fundraisers before, but this time it was personal. “All the profits will be donated to the Windham PD, or town if that’s what they choose,” said Halliday. He hopes to hit a minimum of $1,000 in donations and profits, but realizes that with a short time frame and the time of year, that it could be a stretch. “Then again, maybe our local Windhamites might feel like giving and we exceed it,” he added. 

Halliday started 207 Brand back in 2012. He felt like exploring the edgy side of his design capabilities. At his other company, Kids Crooked House, he said he mainly draws unicorns and rainbows all day.
“I also think that there is a massive music and art community in Maine that people don’t get to see. I want people locally and "from away" to realize that Maine is much more than moose and lobster. And I hope thru my design abilities and products we can achieve that,” Halliday said. 

Halliday’s three children attend Windham Schools, two boys in ninth grade and his daughter is in fifth.
“My kids never think I'm cool, but all their friends do. When all this went down the boys were just happy to get early release...but Madison was really upset and it tore me up. No kids should be scared to go to school. No kids should be put through that kinda fear,” he said. 

The shirts are on sale online at through December 24, then will be available and mailed on December 30. Some people choose to pick the shirts up a Buck’s Naked BBQ in Windham on December 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Afthim and Halliday hope that the town comes together to say thank you to those who helped keep our children of all ages safe. 

“There is nothing negative about what we’re trying to do. We’re not making it about the event,” said Afthim.

Gray's thrid annual Day of Giving another success - By Tracy Scheckel

Joe Bedard and B.J. Carter, both of Gray, hosted the third annual Day of Giving at the Spring Meadows Golf Club banquet facility, and for the third year running have met their fundraising goal which was $15,000 for this year.  In addition to the cash, gifts and clothing are also collected and donated to Caring Community of Gray and New Gloucester (CCGNG) to insure that area families in need can enjoy a great Christmas.
In addition to the collection of gifts and clothing, the Day of Giving event was filled with fun and good cheer. Folks who attended the event enjoyed some great food and Christmas music while the children were entertained with holiday arts and crafts.

In addition to the gifts that go to these families, the volunteers at CCGNG also provide gift baskets complete with everything for the holiday dinner. As of Sunday when the event was held, CCGNG volunteer Christina Foster shared that there are 162 families currently being sponsored, and that the organization will do its best to fulfill requests for assistance right up to the last minute.  Foster can be reached at 233-0828. For anyone wishing to donate to the cause, visit BJ and Joe Day of Giving on Facebook and use the donation link in the about us section of the page.  Donations will be accepted right up to Christmas Day.