January 27, 2017

Buy a brick from Windham-Raymond Athletic Boosters and preserve Eagle Pride!

The Windham-Raymond Athletic Boosters introduces their new “Preserve Eagle Pride” Engrave-a-Brick Program. This is a fundraising effort that offers individuals an opportunity to purchase a personalized, engraved brick that will be permanently and prominently displayed on the Windham High School (WHS) campus. The exact location for the bricks to be displayed on campus grounds has yet to be determined. The purchase will not only become a permanent part of the WHS grounds but it will help support Windham student athletes.

The Windham-Raymond Athletic Boosters is a group made up of parents and community. This group works hard to raise funds to support the athletic program, in efforts that are beyond what is available in the athletic director’s budget.

So far, for the 2016-17 school year, the Boosters have provided funds that include:  Hotel rooms for the cross country runners who advanced to the New England meet in Rhode Island/Swim jackets for the WHS swim team/Practice time for the indoor track team at the University of Southern Maine/Senior flowers for fall senior athletes and luncheons for all fall teams that advanced to state competitions. In addition, the Boosters have provided $11,000 in enrichment funds to WHS fall and winter teams. Those funds can be used at the coaches' discretion (with more enrichments to be disbursed in the spring and summer; each fall, winter and spring team receives a $500 stipend and all teams receive $250 for summer activities).

The Athletic Boosters run two large fundraising events annually:  The Windham Auto Show and the Windham Holiday Craft Fair. Other funding comes from donations and profits of the popular Windham High School Eagle's Nest Concession Stand. The “Preserve Eagle Pride” Engrave-a- Brick Program is their latest fundraising effort.
Current and former students, players, friends, families, parents, administrators and community leaders are invited to help pave the way to a successful Windham-Raymond Athletic Boosters’ achievement by purchasing a brick. When ordering a brick, one can honor their child or family member, recognize a graduation, remember a loved one or advertise a business.
An individual or business can customize their own brick with a personal message to include important dates and milestones.

The cost for each 4” x 8” brick is $50. Each brick can contain up to the maximum of 3 lines, with up to 18 characters per line (spaces & hyphens are considered characters). The deadline to order an engraved brick is March 1, 2017.

Please note that Windham-Raymond Athletic Boosters reserves the right to not accept messages deemed inappropriate for this project. Booster membership is free and open to all. Any time- commitments that people can provide is also welcomed. To get involved or for additional information and questions, send an email to: windhamboosters@yahoo.com

Windham High School Receives National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School Award

Windham/January, 2017 – Windham High School is the recipient of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), Safe Sports School award for its athletic department. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that provide safe environments for student athletes. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention and treatment.

“Windham High School is honored to receive this 1st Team recognition from NATA, and we remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices and games; so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship and good health. Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety
standards for our players,” said Casey Sinclair, Athletic Trainer. 

“We remain committed to the health and welfare of young athletes in competitive sports,” says NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC. “This award recognizes the contributions and commitment of schools across the country that are implementing safe sports policies and best practices to ensure athletes can do what they love best and have the appropriate care in place to prevent, manage and treat injuries should they occur.”

In order to achieve Safe Sport School status, as Windham High School did, athletic programs must do the following:

Create a positive athletic health care administrative system
Provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations
Promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
Plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
Provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes
Develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions
Provide or facilitate injury intervention
Create and rehearse a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan
Provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education
Be sure athletes and parents are educated of the potential benefits and risks in sports as well as their responsibilities
For more information please visit: www.athletictrainers.org.

About NATA: National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) – Health Care for Life & Sport
Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries. Athletic trainers offer a continuum of care that is unparalleled in health care. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 44,000 members of the athletic training profession. Visit www.nata.org.

DiSanto’s Restaurant on the Market but Open for Business by Elizabeth Richards

When Anna DiSanto purchased her restaurant in May of 2007, she had a ten-year plan. The end of that timeline is quickly approaching, and DiSanto is ready to focus on other ventures, so DiSanto’s Restaurant, located at 322 West Gray Road in Gray, is on the market.  

The property is listed with Getty Real Estate Services, and DiSanto, who has also been working in real estate for more than ten years, is the listing broker. “I don’t think there’s anyone else who can sell something better than the owner,” said DiSanto. “I know this place inside and out.” 

DiSanto's Restaurant is for sale but continue to operate as usual
The restaurant is listed at $585,000 and is a turnkey operation. DiSanto said the restaurant is popular year-round and has 140 seats, two dining rooms, a bar and lounge, and a large commercial kitchen. The property also has an office, full basement, electronic sign and 100+ car paved parking area.
The freestanding building is on a main road, just three miles from both Exit #63 in Gray and from the center of Windham. The location is a benefit, she said, because it is en route to residential areas, commercial areas and recreational activities in the Sebago Lake region. 

“The highest and best use for this property would be a restaurant but the possibilities are endless here,” said DiSanto. She said she’d love to see it continue to operate as a restaurant, but clearly it would be up to the buyer coming in to do what they wanted. The property has had a restaurant on it since the 1950s, and was expanded in 1976 as the Town Lyne restaurant. 

Since purchasing the property, DiSanto said, she has put over $150,000 into the restaurant to make it what it is now. “We have done a lot of work to this restaurant, so it’s ready,” she said.
DiSanto said she has a loyal staff that has been built over time. She intends to continue operating the restaurant until she finds a buyer for the property. “I will continue on and operate it just like it was the first day of the restaurant,” she said. “I owe that to my customers. I owe that to my employees. It’s business as usual!”

DiSanto’s grandparents opened a restaurant in 1957, and she has early memories of being in the kitchen with her grandmother; watching her make cavatelli and feeling the flour from the dough being rolled, spurting in her face. In 1980 she began working at the family business full time, and has been in the industry ever since.  She eventually decided to venture out on her own because she knew the business so well, and was confident that she could be successful. 

She also knew the amount of dedication she would need to have. “I knew what I was going to have to give to create a good restaurant,” she said. “Working in the restaurant business is certainly not a nine-to-five job. It is seven days a week, it’s weekends and it is holidays,” she said. Despite the long hours, sometimes as many as 70 per week, DiSanto said, “It will be bittersweet when I finally do sell because I’ve been doing this my whole life.”

There are certain ingredients you need to succeed in the restaurant business, DiSanto said, including being a people person and understanding that the restaurant industry is a marathon, not a sprint. “Building a business takes time. It’s important to balance your work and personal life and to be truly successful you must love what you do,” she added. 

She also has some advice for new owners. “Take educated risks. Hire slowly and create a family friendly environment where employees can work and still have fun. You must be prepared to remain focused as well as work long hours including weekends and holidays – it’s part of the business,” she said.

Riding To The Top Riding Center elects new board members and officers

The Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center’s Board of Directors welcomes their recently elected officers and board members. New Board Members include: Bo Bigelow of Murray Plumb & Murray, Mary Lynn Engel of Saint Joseph’s College and Allan Shepard of IBEW 567. 

Officers elected for 2017 are: Steve Flynn, President/ Kate Jeton, Vice President/Janis Childs, Secretary/David Shorette, Treasurer. Other members include: Linda Baker, Eileen Chretien, Cynthia Cyr and Emily Dickinson Leete.

About Riding To The Top:
Founded in 1993, Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center (RTT) helps people with disabilities reach their highest potential, through the healing power of horses. RTT is a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.)  Premier Accredited Center. Located just west of Portland in Windham, Maine, RTT is the state’s only year round PATH Intl. Accredited Program, solely dedicated to therapeutic riding. Over 250 clients visit annually. They are nurtured and assisted by horses, certified instructors and over 160 volunteers; all specially trained to help with equine assisted activities and therapies. Riding To The Top is community-based, nonprofit and receives no federal or state funding; they also provide scholarships to over 60% of their clients. For more information about client services, volunteering, making a referral or a gift, please visit them at: www.ridingtothetop.org  or call 892-2813.
 . . . Where horses heal the mind, body and spirit . . .

Windham Town Council seeks voter approval By Stephen Signor

At a Town Council meeting held in October 2016, another meeting was scheduled as a follow up to discuss the proposed new Public Works/School Transportation facility. At that time, council members expressed the need to get the public involved in determining if the building that has been shared with the school district for 30 years, needed to be replaced. In the meeting held this past Tuesday, the Council, staff, and representatives from RSU 14 were asked to discuss whether the proposed facility is designed to meet needs; and also to understand how best to team up with the RSU board and administration, so that both are on the same page about how a proposed facility will translate into benefits for the communities.

Town Manager Tony Plante prefaced the meeting by emphasizing the importance of establishing a sense of direction. “When this was discussed in October of 2016, the way we left the conversation that went to the voters on the November ballot was that, as soon as we could reasonably manage it, we would have another discussion; mainly for the purpose of reviewing the needs of the proposed facility and determine whether it is designed to meet the needs of both the Public Works Department and the school district and how to arrange a mutually agreed upon cost sharing.”
That being said, Doug Fortier simply inquired, “So where do we go from here?”  With the open houses that have already taken place at the current facility, the response has been favorable. “We have people come in that initially felt this was a want more than a need - only to walk away afterward and say - you really do need this,” continued Fortier.

Councilman Dennis Welch expressed his approval of the facility with his experience. “I was one of those who was there and took a look at it and it is definitely a need and not a want; and not just for today, but for the future. It needs to get done,” said Welch.

Reinforcement was provided by Councilman Tim Nangle. “In projections last week we are looking at 1,400 new builds over the next 13 years. We also had comments about public safety being a priority. Public Works is about safety. Without quality roads and infrastructure we’re not going to have safe roads and it is going to have an increased demand on fire and police as well,” said Nangle.
“I know we need it, but it’s not going to fly again,” replied Council Chair Donna Chapman. Before any response could be launched Chapman continued, “I’m concerned if we do not lower the cost we will never get this facility built. A lot of people feel this is a want and not a need.” 

With reductions on the minds of the council, one of the items in the drawings was earmarked for the cutting floor by Chapman. That was the elimination of a conference room that would serve as a meeting room. “I don’t think having a meeting room within this facility is a good idea. There’s too much going on with all the vehicle and personnel traffic,” expressed Chapman.

The higher priority was the thousands of dollars that are spent on vehicles that are sitting out in the elements, subject to rust and repair because of no interior room in the current facility; a key factor for elimination with a new building. This begged the question of how to education the public of the need for approving this project.

“We need to protect our assets. Our equipment is out there sitting on pallets. Consequently we are buying and repairing more vehicles then we should have to. This is an area we need to look at,” shared Chapman.

“So how do we get the people to get out there and see what we have, see what we need and make them understand how this translates to a benefit for cost conscience voters?” asked Fortier.
“I think we’re at a point where the majority of the people in this town did not actually get a chance to learn about it and form an opinion. I just don’t think 133 votes in such a small turnout is a loss, but I don’t think it is a resounding no from the town,” said Councilman Jarrod Maxwell.

The end result of the meeting was unanimous, that this proposal goes back out to the voters. With little time to get it out again, the town is also fighting against the communication gap and engaging the public. “We are going to have to hold several meetings, put it on social media like what was done with the Comprehensive Plan on YouTube, and also utilize list serve,” replied Chapman.
In addition to this Plante said, “We need to put together a team in the next 60 days to do a systematic review to see if there are areas that can be changed without compromising the integrity of the build and identify any tradeoffs and come back with that.”

FMI visit the town’s web site at http://windhammaine.us/

Field-Allen Legion Post to sponsor select high school juniors for government role-play program by David Tanguay

For 70 years the American Legion Department of Maine has been hosting the Boys State Americanism Program, this provides Maine junior boys the opportunity to participate in an emersion program of government role-play. Those juniors selected will learn how to campaign for state office and carry out the functions of state government. 

The 70th Annual American Legion Dirigo Boys State will be held at Thomas College in Waterville June 18-22, 2017.The Field-Allen Legion Post #148 of Windham is again sponsoring candidates for this unique program and will pay the tuition cost of $300 for each selected candidate. Candidates are, however, responsible for their own transportation to Waterville. Last year over 250 junior boys from all over the State attended Boys State. The goal this year is to have an even greater number. 

Boys State is looking for motivated juniors with priority given to attitude over scholastic abilities, although both qualities are desirable and will be considered. Junior boys desiring to attend should make their intentions known to their school Guidance Office. Individuals in private schools or those being homeschooled may submit their names to The Legion Post Commander at 892-7449 or mgreenier@myfairpoint.netThe following is the time-line for selection: Applicants should submit their names to their Guidance Office by the end of March. 

A general briefing will be held in early April for all candidates; followed a week later, by interviews by the Legion Post. All applicable forms must be completed and submitted by the interview date. Following the interview, those selected will be designated as either a primary or alternate candidates. If a primary candidate is unable to attend, then an alternate will take his place. Participants must commit to attending prior to their application being submitted to Dirigo Boys State.

Are you a band member? Boys State has a 40 to 50 piece band under the supervision of a qualified musical director. Candidates with band experience are required to bring their own instrumentsMore information and applications are available by going to www.mainelegion.org and going to FORM and APPLICATIONS or by contacting your guidance office.  See next week's paper for information on Girls State.