April 29, 2016


Ribbon Cutting at CenterStage for the Performing Arts in Raymond

On Friday, April 15th the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce conducted a ribbon cutting at CenterStage for the Performing Arts in Raymond. 

http://www.arkierogersseptic.com/The dance and fitness studio has grown exponentially in recent months to over 250 dancers. Several SLRCC Directors, Raymond Town Manager Don Willard and several current students were on hand to congratulate owner Beth Gaudet on her growth and success.

MSSPA celebrates ASPCA Help A Horse Day - By Alana Thornton

The Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals celebrated the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) national Help A Horse Day on April 24th and is competing for a chance to win up to $25,000 in grant prizes to assist with their efforts to protect Maine horses who have been abused or neglected.

The Maine Horse Jubilee was an exposition of many aspects of horse appreciation and responsible horse keeping. During the family-friendly, free and open to the public event, there were several ongoing demonstrations including farrier Corey Austin trimming MSSPA horses, an equine veterinarian, Dr. Rachel Flaherty, doing a show and tell on equine dentistry, and a horse trainer, Debbie Little, performing groundwork with Rita, an MSSPA rescue horse. In addition, the Jubilee featured an equine photographer, Peter Armstrong of New Equine Photography, and author Vince Bruni displaying his work while signing posters and promoting his book “The TearDrop Garden” released that day. 

http://www.bluesealstores.com/?id=10&changeStore=1#.VwalU0e_a9wAlso on-site was display of technical emergency equipment needed to rescue large animals from hazards or accidents. A lively crew of enthusiastic volunteers staffed the official registration table, the donation stall, and the kids’ stall where colorful equine art was created to help decorate the barn. The pleasant weather allowed the hundreds of visitors to comfortably stroll about the farm observing horses in paddocks and pastures and hanging out with MSSPA mascot, Baxter.

The event was free and took place at the MSSPA farm at 279 River Road in Windham. Hundreds attended the event and are responsible for helping to raise $25,127 in donations to support MSSPA horses. In honor of the ASPCA’s 150th anniversary celebration this year, the contest has been expanded to include a total of $100,000 in grant prizes, including a grand prize of $25,000.

This nationwide competition is for equine rescues and sanctuaries to raise awareness about the lifesaving work they do year-round to care for at-risk horses in their community who have often been abused or neglected. Horses have been central to the ASPCA’s work since its founding 150 years ago, when Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for the mistreatment of a horse on April 26, 1866.

Gambo vote postponed - By Michelle Libby

Tuesday night after much discussion, the vote to sell Windham Youth Soccer Association (WYSA) land recently purchased by the Town of Windham from the Portland Water District was postponed for a month so that all interested parties can discuss the future use of the land. Representatives from WYSA were in attendance, but other organizations were not. 

“We put more time into selling a condemned building on Main Street than we have for this,” said one town counselor. Another called the quick sale short-sighted on the part of the town.

“We know there is a problem with field space,” said chairwoman Donna Chapman. It was also pointed out that if a new middle school is built on the site of the existing one, that more fields will be inaccessible causing more need in other locations. 

WYSA has been preparing for the purchase of the land for five years, they said. Although they have been using and maintaining the fields for almost 30 years, they have never owned the property. 

If WYSA no longer continues the maintenance of the property, then the town will have to pick up the tab, which could be close to $100,000, according to Dan Hancock. “What’s your plan to pay for that if it’s not WYSA?” he asked. 

https://www.egcu.org/loans/loan-center/home-equity-loans-lines-of-credit.htmlThe council plans to meet with all interested parties before the 30 days are up to come to some sort of use agreement. 

“We’re sorry we couldn’t work this out tonight,” said Chapman.

Hardypond Construction awarded fire station bid

At Tuesday night’s Windham Town Council meeting, the contract to construct and renovate the buildings located at 33 Main Street for the South Windham fire station was awarded to Hardypond Construction. The bid was for $1,007,366. 

The bid was over what was initially budgeted for the project, but if the town makes changes to the scope of work, they hope to cut costs. 

The project was approved by voters last winter and will hopefully be completed before the end of the year, according to town council chairperson Donna Chapman. 

http://www.lisafriedlander.comOne of the architects on the project explained that in the last 18 months the cost of inflation for construction has gone up creating the discrepancy between the budgeted amount and the bid amounts. 

“The cost to build is substantially more,” he said at the workshop meeting last week. “It’s still a good deal versus building a new station.”

Outstanding Teacher of the Year at Windham Adult Education - By Michelle Libby

Last fall, Shelli Pride was awarded the 2015 Adult Education Outstanding Teacher award at a symposium. The honor went almost completely unknown, but Pride’s work at Windham-Raymond Adult Education speaks for itself.

“I was totally blown away,” Pride said. “I was very surprised and overwhelmed by the nomination and award!” 

Pride has been an adult education teacher for 20 years.

“After receiving that award, not that I needed an award to validate me, I found my passion 20 years ago, it gave me that validation from my peers. They recognized the time and effort put into being a teacher,” Pride said. Pride has been teaching vocational classes like accounting, Microsoft office, computer science and QuickBooks for years. 

For Pride, students in adult education are different from those who are still in high school. “In the classes I’ve taught, students have a desire to be there and want to be a part of the class.” She added that quality teachers make the content relevant for the students. Many of them are paying to be in the class and they want to get the most out of it. Some are upgrading for their jobs and others are looking for a change. There’s more engagement between the students and teachers in adult education, Pride said. 

“Shelli comes to the adult education learning center every day with a smile on her face and a genuine eagerness to support each of her colleagues and students in any way she can. She is the epitome of a dedicated teacher, a loyal, motivated and conscientious employee and an unselfish team player. The success of a director is determined by the quality of people one surrounds themselves with; I am very fortunate to have added Shelli to a stellar group of adult educators in Windham/Raymond,” said director of adult education Tom Nash. 
Right now, Pride is the college transitions coordinator and currently prepares students to be ready for their freshman year in college. 

When asked what makes a good adult education teacher, Pride answered, “Passion for their subject that comes across and the desire to pass on their knowledge. You can tell the ones who have the true passion.”

PowerServe Saturday invites communities to come together - By Elizabeth Richards

Care Boldly. Serve Strong. These two phrases illustrate the philosophy behind PowerServe, a morning of service designed to bring communities together to make a difference. 
The event goes beyond simply being about community service. The idea began as a way to honor the life of Shane Donnelly. Donnelly was a 10th grader at Windham High School when he tragically took his own life last year. PowerServe is dedicated to the life of Shane Donnelly.

Genevieve Delano, one of the two youth leaders for the event, said “We didn’t want to do just a memorial or a bench or something, because it wasn’t his death we wanted to celebrate. It was his life and how much he cared for other people and his impact on the community that we wanted to celebrate.”   

The other student leader, Libby McBride, added “After his passing our community was really shaken up. I think this is a great opportunity for us all to come together and do some good in his name.”

Kristine Delano, one of the overall event leads, said Shane’s passing had a big impact on the school. From that arose the idea that people could be more intentional about caring for each other and working together, because you may not know how much people are suffering from the outside, she said. 

PowerServe allows many different people an opportunity to serve together.  “There are teens and there is the community, but it feels like there’s not a lot that brings everyone together to work alongside each other,” said Kristine.

Young Life Sebago is sponsoring the event, and inviting the communities of Gorham, Raymond and Windham to come together at Windham High School on Saturday, May 14th, to participate in a variety of hands-on service projects. 

Young Life Sebago is a Christian based outreach to teenagers that provides three basic things to kids, according to area director Kati King. 

First, they provide positive adult role models to spend time with young people. They provide fun and positive ways to spend time through weekly programs and a summer camp. And finally, they provide the basics of the Christian faith in a way that allows students of any background to hear about faith and then make their own decisions about what to do with that information. 

“We’re really excited about the opportunity to engage students with the idea of giving back and seeing something that’s bigger than themselves that they want to give their time to,” King said.
Genevieve said “It’s been really cool to see how fast this can grow, and how many people are getting involved.”  The planning team has more than 40 people working to make the event a success.

McBride said she is learning a lot from being a lead on a big project like this. “It’s been a really great opportunity to give back to the community and to come together,” she said. 

The goal is to have 200 people attend the event. As of their last planning meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 152 people had registered. All ages and abilities are welcome. 

A wide range of projects will take place, including a birdhouse assembly and painting project designed specifically for children under 12. Other projects will include planting and mulching, trash clean up, building projects and other grounds work. 

The event begins on the Windham High School campus, with check-in at 8 a.m. Most projects will be on campus, with a few off-site projects helping veterans and others who need assistance with outdoor home projects.            

Participants are asked to select their areas of interest, and each project will have a team leader to guide the work. Lunch will be served to celebrate the work efforts at 12:30 p.m.

The gold sponsor for the event is Gorham Savings Bank. Benson Farm will donate compost and soil to the project.  Other area businesses are also stepping up to help, with donations of products and services, including Windham Hannaford and Corsetti’s.

The committee is asking for pre-registration in order to better organize tasks into teams. The first 200 registrants will receive a free event T-shirt. Walk-ins will be accomodated as possible. 

For more information or to register for the event, visit the PowerServe Saturday Facebook page or www.sebago.younglife.org.

April 22, 2016


Town of Windham receives offer from Windham Youth soccer Association - By Michelle Libby

http://mainelyticks.com/Windham Youth Soccer representatives attended the Windham Town Council workshop Tuesday
night to present an offer of $80,000 to purchase the land the town recently acquired from the Portland Water District at Gambo Fields. 

For 38 years, WYSA has been running soccer programs at the field and spending between $25,000 and $30,000 per year for maintenance and upkeep of the property. 

The councilors agreed that WYSA had put a lot of time and money into the land, but were hesitant to hand the property over to them, suggesting a five year lease with the option of first refusal should the town want to sell it. 

“It’s a gem for the town. I wouldn’t give it up. We don’t own any fields,” said Dave Nadeau. 

Donna Chapman broached the question of if the town can maintain those fields on top of what they already have. “I don’t see us taking care of it the way it should be,” she added. 

“It’s a great facility. They put the money in and they did the work,” one council member said. 

WSYA representatives acknowledged the partnership with the town for as long as they’re had it, but are also concerned about putting more money into something they don’t own or have a say over. With 800 youths serviced by the WYSA program, they are looking to expand and invest more in infrastructure at the site. 

“For use to keep maintaining it for five years at $150,000 to $250,000 for something that could be taken away don’t make sense for us,” said Dan Hancock. 

Next week, the town council will put forth a proposal for a vote. At the time of press, there was no word on what the exact proposal would be.

Celebrating volunteer month - locals recognized

http://www.lisafriedlander.comVolunteers recognized for outstanding service at RTT
WINDHAM - On Sunday April 10th, Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center recognized the work of its volunteers at their annual volunteer appreciation event.

Nick Doria, volunteer coordinator at Riding To The Top, welcomed the group and reported that “in 2015 135 RTT volunteers contributed a record 11,495 hours of service in support of rider lessons, horse care, barn chores, administration and events.”  He noted “their collective contribution is valued at over $234,127.” 

Executive director Sarah Bronson thanked the group and remarked that “RTT volunteers contribute time, talent and skills which increases our capacity to serve greater numbers of children and adults with disabilities.” Bronson went on to add that “Riding To The Top would have to hire four or five full time staff to replace the work that volunteers contributed last year”.

This year The President’s Volunteer Service Award, for those volunteers contributing over 100 hours in 2015, was presented to 21 individuals including:

Bronze Level Awardees (Adult 100-249 hours/Young Adult 100-174 hours):
Jo Blinick, Cindy Elder, Trish Friant, Margi Huber, Hannah Jud, Fran Maxwell, Ellen Ward and Donna Warren.
Silver Level Awardees  (250 to 499 hours/Yound Adult* 175-249 hours):
Janis Childs, Elizabeth Elcock, Barbara Foster, Alissa Lovley, Jodi Peasley, Clayton Peters and Bryony Urquhart.
Gold Level Awardees (500 or more hours/Young Adult 250 or more hours):
Mark Fuller, Julia Hamilton, Dan Morabito, Pat Niboli, Patty Shaw and Paulette Shepard.
The Governor’s Volunteer Service Award (Maine residents who volunteered 500 hours or more in the past twelve months) recipients included: Mark Fuller, Dan Morabito, Pat Niboli, Patty Shaw and Paulette Shepard. 

Special recognition of outstanding service to RTT included: Mark Fuller (Volunteer of the Year); Nicole McFrland (Youth Volunteer of the Year); Jodi Peasley (Administrative Volunteer of the Year); Barbara Foster (Rookie of the Year Award); Hannah Jud (Volunteer Schooler Award) and Clayton Peters (Barn Volunteer of the Year).  

Linda Baker , Riding To The Top board member,  thanked the volunteers and also recognized Riding To The Top’s corporate partners of the year: Norway Savings Bank, Paris Farmers Union and Windham Automotive.

Town of Windham thanks volunteers

Last Wednesday night volunteers for the Town of Windham gathered at the Deck House to celebrate the hard work they do for the many departments and committees in town. Volunteers from the Windham Food Pantry, public library, clothes closet, Human Services Advisory board, parks and recreation, planning board and zoning board. 
Shown are Windham Food Pantry volunteers. From left to right: Rene Daniel, Jim MacDonald, Bruce Gove, Judy MacDonald, John Legere, Bruce Raeburn, Barbara Muir, Leo Daniel, Shari Morin, Jenessa Morin, Brian Morin, Colette Gagnon, Jay Cummings, Joe Cummings, Jeannette Cummings, Matt Kluchnik, Ray Emerson, Lisa Cummings, Alice Cobb, Donna Emerson, Carolyn Daniel, Harrison Wood, Allan Phinney, James Cummings, Mary Emerson and Jan Campana.

Marilyn Goodreau Receives Governor’s Award for Service and Volunteerism

WINDHAM – Marilyn L. Goodreau, president of the non-profit Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals in Windham, has been named an Exemplary Honoree by Governor Paul LePage for her tireless efforts to eliminate equine abuse and neglect.

Ms. Goodreau was honored, along with other award-winning volunteers, in a State House ceremony hosted by First Lady Ann LePage on Tuesday, April 12.

The mission of the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals is to provide refuge, rehabilitation, and placement of seized horses; support the placement of surrendered animals; and educate the public. The vision is to strive toward the elimination of equine abuse and neglect.

The society uses its resources to provide direct care to horses who have suffered abuse. The MSSPA promotes humane treatment, training and use of horses through education and hands-on experiences. It collaborates with other animal serving agencies to maximize the resources of all. 

One of Ms. Goodreau’s greatest contributions is a lifetime of service; she epitomizes the concept of volunteerism in Maine. Working without pay or vacation, she has logged more than 89,000 hours of volunteer service with the MSSPA. A testament to the power and pleasure of volunteer service, hers has been a labor of love for the animals and a very generous gift to Maine taxpayers. In part, as a result of Marilyn’s dedication, the society continues to provide Maine with more than a million dollars a year in donated animal shelter services. Absent Marilyn’s devotion to the society, it is unlikely that the organization would exist today.

Learn more about New England’s largest horse shelter by visiting its River Road farm, which is open each day from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  During June, July, and August the farm is open until 6 p.m. No admission is charged and visitors are welcomed!

On April 24th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in conjunction with the ASPCA, the society will be celebrating National Help A Horse Day by hosting the second Annual Maine Horse Jubilee. “The ASPCA Help A Horse Day contest and Maine Horse Jubilee are wonderful opportunities for the society to welcome the residents and businesses of the local area into the barn to help raise awareness about the horses in our community who are in need of loving homes,” said Meris J. Bickford, CEO of the MSSPA. 
http://www.thegoodlifemarket.com/ “Horses are majestic, social animals, and we hope our local supporters will turn out on April 24th to help the society win a $25,000 grant to continue its lifesaving efforts." 

To celebrate the day, the MSSPA will host the Second Annual Maine Horse Jubilee featuring an array of fantastic activities, including a horse training demo by horse expert Debbie Little, a presentation by New Equine Photography, discussions with author and artist Vince Bruni, farrier demos, equine veterinarian exposition, children’s activities, a visit from Baxter, the MSSPA mascot and much more! The event is free and family friendly.