June 23, 2016

Student of the week - Sean Michael LeBel

Sean Michael LeBel is a six year old at Raymond Elementary School. His teacher was Mrs. Allen and he already has plans to attend UNC-Chapel Hill to study science. He does admit that he’s very successful in reading and math class. 
“Sean was selected for this honor because of his respect for teachers, other students and learning. He is a very attentive listener and worker. Sean loves to learn new things and share his knowledge with others. He always performs his best with written, verbal and performance in our AE classes. 

He loves challenges and is always asking to do more, whether it is working in his workbooks, computer programs or just reading for fun!  Sean is well liked by his peers because he is fun and respectful. He is a wonderful role model for others through his behavior and work effort at school!” said kindergarten teacher Mrs. Allen.

In his free time, Sean likes “reading and playing with my friends.”

Sean credits his Papa for helping with his education. “He knows everything,” Sean said. 

“I like to learning new things,” Sean said.

When asked what the most important thing in his life is, he responded, “My family because I like spending time with them.”

Sean lives with his parents Mike and Deb and his little brother Ben.

Favorite movie: Minions
Favorite music group: Beetles
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Hobbies and extracurricular activities: Playing sports

Local Veteran Chuck Whynot honored at state convention

American Legion Field-Allen Post 148, Windham Service Officer Chuck Whynot received an award as the State Service Officer of the Year at the annual American Legion State Convention this past weekend at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. He was honored as Post Service Officer of the year for the American Legion for his support of veterans. His wife Pam was on hand to share in his accomplishments. Chuck started a Wednesday morning social time for local veterans at the Windham Veteran’s Center. As Chuck and Pam left the center, they found a picture of Pam’s father as a basketball player with the 1947 More High School state championship team.

Senator Bill Diamond received recognition as Legislator of the Year at the same conference.

Annual town meeting over quickly with low attendance - By Michelle Libby

On Saturday, 23 registered voters passed Windham’s $16,802,027 municipal budget at the annual Windham Town Meeting. Most of those in attendance were Windham town employees. The meeting concluded at 10:12 a.m. Twelve minutes after it was officially called to order.

Representative Mark Bryant acted as moderator. 

“I think the finance committee did a wonderful job,” said council chairperson Donna Chapman. She expressed the need for increased service needs for the rapidly growing community. 

“Thank you for the work they’ve done this year and the budget process,” said town manager Tony Plante. This year is the first time the town council is attempting to follow a strategic plan when creating the budget. “We’re increasing focus on our mission and what we’re here to accomplish,” said Plante. “This is a community that has gone through significant growth.” The town has been growing for 40 or 50 years and the needs of the community have also grown along with it. Windham has one of the largest populations in the state, Plante said. It runs around number 10 or 12 for population. 

The tax implications for this year are not yet known for sure. “We won’t know the actual amount until the assessor’s office has completed its work of picking up new value over the last year, and other changes to exemptions, etc., but we anticipate the town portion of the tax rate to increase by about 3 percent, which would contribute a little over a 1 percent increase to the current total tax rate of $15.15,” said Plante. 

Obviously missing from this year’s town meeting was councilor Tommy Gleason, who passed away last month. 

“We appreciate all Tommy did and this was a budget he supported,” said Chapman. 

A survey went out last year and the town wanted to continue to have the town meeting despite the lack of attendance, Chapman said.

Bryant said that not hearing any complaints on the budget “is a testament to the town council, town manager and school board.”

And the dig goes on... By Walter Lunt

The traditional location of Windham’s old Province Fort just moved tens of feet to the west, directly opposite the driveway of the historic Parson Smith House on River Road.
Three weeks into an archeological examination, a team of archeologists from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission is uncovering details of the wall(s) surrounding the blockhouse (fort) that served as a protective retreat for the early settlers during the 18th century Indian wars. As reported earlier (The Windham Eagle – June 17, 2016), the fort may have been surrounded by two walls: An outer palisade fence and an inner wall of stacked logs constructed on a stone foundation.

“Think of a log cabin without the roof,” explained lead archeologist Leith Smith, “It appears we have located that wall.”

Smith said the evidence is quite revealing. “We uncovered a layer of dark colored earth characteristic of organic matter in the soil that is likely the decomposition of the log wall.” Below that, set in light colored dirt, the archeologists found the line of stones used to support the stacked log fence.
A few feet away they found another line of stones running parallel with the fence line. Smith speculated these were “sleeper stones,” that is, a support base for wooden planks that lined the area between the fences.

“Any activity carried on there, such as guard duty, could have occurred without trekking through mud” or tripping in darkness. Further evidence of the possible planking of the area between the two walls is the location of fresh discoveries of artifacts.

“Virtually all the artifacts found this week were located at a point where the planks would have joined the outer wall,” Smith explained.” Thus, small objects could have “fallen through the cracks”, so to speak, the result of foot traffic or sweeping.

Smith said the newly found artifacts were typical of the time period during which the fort stood. Among the finds: Nails, bottle glass and Staffordshire slipware, a type of ceramic kitchenware, English in origin, like cups, mugs or dishes used in cooking or serving.

Historic records indicate the fort enclosure measured 50 feet square. Smith believes his team has uncovered the full length of the south (inner) wall, which faces the wooded area directly across River Road from the Parson Smith House.
“The front gate was likely located on this side,” said Smith, pointing out that the river road of the old dominion was located further south in the now wooded area.

As reported last week in the Eagle, the blockhouse (or fort) would have been situated on the travel lanes of the current River Road.

With only about three weeks remaining in the archeological dig, the team will be searching for the corners of the ancient enclosure and for the location of the outer palisade wall.

WMS teacher recognized for his innovative teaching - By Michelle Libby

Jason Lanoie was recognized recently for his work in the STEM program at Windham Middle School. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math and at WMS has taken the place of industrial technology. Over the years, Lanoie has added a lot of science and technology to the program. “It was built to try to be a stronger class,” Lanoie said. 
After 11 years at WMS he received the Maine STEM Teacher of the Year Award from the Perloff Foundation, which works closely with STEM teachers from all over Maine. “Windham is one of the top,” said Lanoie. David and Sandy Perloff have visited his classroom two or three times a year for the past six or seven years, he said. They interact with the students and take pictures of them working with the equipment and designing projects. Mr. Perloff will often times come with ideas from other labs and classrooms and ask how he can help Lanoie implement it.

The award was mailed to Lanoie at school and he thought perhaps it was a book about STEM, but when he opened it he was surprised. The Perloff’s had emailed him saying there was a package arriving soon, he didn’t expect the award. 
“It completely took me by surprise. It’s a complete honor,” Lanoie said. “They wanted to start to recognize the teachers who have done so much for STEM.”  

http://www.bluesealstores.com/?id=10&changeStore=1#.VwalU0e_a9w“The award is great. They thanked me up and down for what I’d done for my children,” he said. One girl in seventh grade has decided that she wants to be an engineer after taking Lanoie’s class. She signed up for STEM for next year, too. “If I get the students, it makes me feel like I’ve done my job,” he said. “The most important thing is to engage my students. What they will learn will actually benefit them. Not necessarily today, but there will be a time,” Lanoie said.  

The Perloff Foundation donates money to the STEM program to keep the class going and the learning happening. “David wants to make sure his passion gets passed down to the students,” said Lanoie. “Sandy loves interacting with the students,” he added. 

“This is a true testament to the work you have done with providing WMS students a stellar program,” Superintendent Sandy Prince said in a letter to Lanoie. “Unquestionably, you have been instrumental with building this strong partnership and I thank you for such. Your willingness to go the extra mile on behalf of your students is highly regarded by the wider school community.”

With the use of the 3D printers and other innovative projects, Lanoie, who is following in his father’s footsteps as a teacher in industrial technology, never wants to stop looking for something new. 

“Jason has been at the forefront of new technologies within the STEM program.  His work and dedication to his program and students has allowed the school to gain access to resources that are cutting edge and only dreamed of in other districts.  This access to current technologies for our students allows them to use tools like 3D printers to solve problems and create,” said WMS principal Drew Patin.   

Lanoie’s teaching partner, Joe Boudreau, just finished his first year at WMS. They work together to teach the students what they are best at often switching classrooms to play to their strengths. 

“I’ve had to go in front of the board to save our program two or three times. We have to do something to make this important,” Lanoie said. He has become adept at grant writing with his first grant was given eight Lego robotics kits to use in the classroom.  “It’s a long process. I have to prove it’s for the students and how many students will use them.” 

https://www.egcu.org/loans/loan-center/home-equity-loans-lines-of-credit.html“This access also opens students' minds to technologies used in current workplace environments.  Jason's accomplishment brings recognition to an area of schools we need to expand and a style of teaching we also need to expand in order to better meet the needs of our learners.  I am looking forward to seeing the work of his students this coming school year!” said Patin.

Lanoie is looking forward to a long career in the STEM lab. “I want to be interacting with the students. That’s where my passion is. Someday I’ll be hanging up my badge. I hope when I walk out the door, I can be proud of myself and what I’ve done,” he said. 

Lanoie will leave the award in the lab for everyone to see. He said that the students recognized that it was an important award.