November 21, 2017

Windham Rescue Association to send care packages to soldiers by Lorraine Glowczak

The 40 packages to be sent to soldiers
The Windham Rescue Association collected donations, creating care packages to send to soldiers by the end of the year. Many of these soldiers are located in various parts of the world and won’t be able to make it home for the holidays.
Dena’s Lobster House and Tavern graciously donated their space and Flamin Raymin/Sizzlin Suzzan provided the line dancing activities and music on the Sunday, October 29 event organized by the Association. Those attending the event were asked to bring donations for care packages in lieu of purchasing a ticket. 

“We were overwhelmed by the turn out and donations,” stated Lynn Vajda, an active member of the association. “The American Legion of Naples provided 20 pre-packed boxes to be shipped. Nichols Manufacturing of Portland donated 20 pre-packed bins with toiletries, I-tune cards and snacks. The VFW Post 10643 donated over $300 in cash to assist with shipping. Through a dessert raffle and 2 large baskets donated by McDonalds, over $400 in cash to cover the postage.”

The Windham Rescue Association began about 20 years ago and consist of members who are either working or have worked in Fire/Rescue/Police departments. Its mission is to provide scholarships for high school students who choose to go into the police/fire or EMT fields as well as to raise funds to assist any equipment needs of the fire department., who presently serves in the 265th Maine Air National Guard in South Portland, states that the association chose to send care packages for the soldiers this year too, to honor not only her service to her country but to the other association members, including her son and husband, who have or are currently serving in the armed forces. 

On Thursday, November 16, Vajda hosted the packing party at her home. “We packed over 40 boxes to ship to the soldiers,” Vajda said. “Some are local Windham residents who will not be home for the holidays. The rescue association has done fundraisers to support purchasing extra equipment for the fire department, as well as providing two scholarships of $500 to Windham High School students going into the field of EMS or Police.”

For those who would like to make a donation to the Windham Rescue Association as they carry out their mission, contact Vajda at

Windham resident honored as a semifinalist for Maine’s 2017 Teacher of the Year by Linda Griffin

Nesrene Griffin
Windham resident and Androscoggin County Teacher of the Year, Nesrene Griffin, was honored recently at Thomas College in Waterville as a semifinalist for the Maine’s 2017 Teacher of the Year. She was nominated by a fellow colleague and teacher, Amy Favreau.

Nesrene is from Malaysia and graduated in the top 10 percent of her class at Northeastern College in
Boston, earning her degree in Business Administration.

She met and married her classmate, Daniel Griffin of Windham. Upon graduation, they both accepted jobs in and moved to Malaysia. After their daughter, Hanna, was three years old, they returned to Daniel’s home in Windham to raise her.

With few job openings for business majors, Nesrene was open to new possibilities. Hanna’s second grade teacher, Joyce Whidden, suggested that Nesrene return to college and receive a Master of Science Degree in Teaching and Learning from the University of Southern Maine. Taking Whidden’s advice, Nesrene returned to college and once again graduated in the top 10 percent of her class.

Nesrene has taught third grade for eight years in the Lewiston Public Schools in Androscoggin County. She teaches math, literacy, social studies and science. Nesrene is a creative teacher and has earned respect from her students, their families and her peers. collects warm clothing for her students as many of them are immigrants, like herself, and are not used to the Maine winters.
Nesrene also provides books in her classroom that students can take home to share with their families. While she faces many challenges as a teacher, balancing a wide learning gap among her creativity and hard work pay off.
students, her

Nesrene lives with her husband and daughter in their new home on Anthoine Road. She helps with her daughter’s high school activities which include the current play, “The Sound of Music” and the upcoming Chamber Singers’ concerts.

Surface Water Protection and its effect on the watershed community of Highland Lake by Rosie Hartzler, Highland Lake Association President

At the Tuesday, November 14 meeting of the Windham Town Council, an agenda item focused on proposed revisions to the Surface Water Protection Ordinances, a list generated as a result of the Moratorium Ordinance on development within the Windham Highland Lake Watershed. Moratorium on all development enacted on September 5, 2017 jolted the watershed community, and in fact caught a lot of people by surprise. What exactly led to implementing what seemed to some as a drastic measure?
Most of you have heard about the recurring Pico cyanobacteria bloom (also referred to as picoplankton bloom) in Highland Lake (HL.)  This summer, the lake experienced a fourth occurrence of this troubling phenomenon – a phenomenon that for about 4 weeks from mid- July through mid-August reduced water clarity to less than 2 meters.  

Even though repeated testing confirmed that the outbreak was not toxic – this was little comfort to lake residents.  Like one resident said, “When I stand in knee deep water, I can’t see my feet.”   
The reality is that HL has been a lake under stress for a very long time. Since 1998, the lake has been on Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) watch list and determined to be a “lake most at risk from over development”.  

Cyanobacteria is in every lake, and even in the oceans. But the way they are showing up as picoplankton blooms in freshwater lakes like HL, is extraordinary. Lakes where the blooms are exhibiting themselves, are also lakes that test for high nutrient loads – specifically the nutrients of phosphorus and nitrogen.  

It is well established that the total phosphorus in Highland Lake is caused by non-point source pollution (runoff) from the water shed. This runoff is directly related to over development.  

The most recent count enumerates 1,000 residences in the watershed and the negative impact of development on the lake is not just from shoreline properties. To live in the Highland Lake watershed means that residents are a part of this over development phenomenon. A watershed is basically a basin and, at some point, everything including excess phosphorus eventually ends up in the lake.  

Average total phosphorus readings have been gradually increasing in HL.  

Jeff Dennis of Maine DEP states, “There has been a progression of total phosphorus concentrations from around 8 ppb (parts per billion) in the mid-1970s to 10 ppb or more in recent years. The increasing eutrophication culminated in what is assumed to be picoplankton blooms from 2014 – 2017.” (“Highland Lake Summary”, Jeff Dennis and Linda Bacon, DEP, September 2017)
This summary is available at

Because this is a lake under stress from over development, it is imperative for change. The current ordinances are not sufficient to protect this lake.    

The more sobering truth is that the economy of Windham and Falmouth could be impacted by the crisis at HL. For example, the tax base is tied to the residences in the watershed. We are all in this together – not only those who live on Highland Lake, but others who live in watershed areas who can learn from what is occurring in HL. 

Together, we have the power to solve this issue. 

Here at HL, the Highland Lake Association (HLA) is a dedicated and energized group of volunteers committed to preserving and protecting this valuable resource. The HLA is open for new members and folks interested in helping with the effort to protect the lake.  

The HLA has organized a Science Roundtable for Friday, December 1. This will be a closed meeting of scientists, academics and water quality experts to focus on what is causing the Pico cyanobacteria blooms in the lake and what can we do about it.   

Following this roundtable, a public forum will be held where residents have the opportunity to learn more about cultivating an effective community response to this troubling phenomenon. 

The HLA has become an active participant with Windham and Falmouth in reviewing land use ordinances, to ensure that these ordinances are effectively protecting the lake. Given the status of the lake, there is considerable pressure to get it right.  

To learn more about how you can become involved in the process to review the Surface Water Protection Ordinances, contact the HLA or your town councilor.  

Reach out to the HLA to let your ideas be known for creating a climate where the protection of Highland Lake and the other valuable natural resources are balanced with economic progress.  For more information visit the HLA at

Windham Public Library to begin renovations to better serve community by Lorraine Glowczak

To expand and improve upon its services, the Windham Public Library will begin renovations in the very near future, with an expected start date in early December.
“This is a project the library staff has been working on for a few years,” stated Library Director, Jen Alvino. “The changes will better meet the needs of our growing community.”

As the project begins and continues throughout the winter, the changes that will better serve library patrons and community members will come with some growing pains. Although the library will remain open throughout most of the reconstruction and some weekly programs will continue, there will be a few modifications to programming, with an expected closure from time to time, of no more than a couple of days at a time. 

Closure at the beginning of the project is expected as the movers relocate items and furniture into a storage trailer and rearrange the remaining collection. Other closing days may occur and is to be expected as well. “The closures will be limited but necessary for safety and preparation of the space,” Alvino said.“Some programs will continue,” Alvino continued. “We will find either different spaces in the library or off-site locations, like the Town Hall Conference Room or Windham Hill UCC. Our Calendar of Events on our website is the best place to check for an updated location.”

Alvino also stated that event updates and renovation information will be posted their Facebook page as well as the Town of Windham Calendar of Events.

Seating and study space will be limited throughout the construction project. “The renovation is going to be completed in three stages so the space available will change throughout the process,” Alvino began. “I anticipate very limited seating and study space but will make as much available as I can. This will depend both on the stage of the project and the final numbers on the parts of the collection that will be available for check out.”

As for the reading material and other items that can be checked out, Alvino explained that only a portion of library’s collection will be available for check out. However, items can still be ordered from other libraries so patrons should still be able to get the book or item of their choice.
Although the library services and study spaces may be limited for a short time, Alvino stated that it will all be worth it upon completion. 

“There are so many exciting changes. Our two circulation desks will now be one desk on the first floor of the library across from the community meeting room. The children’s room will have new carpet, a new infant literacy space, and will be glassed in to separate it from the new circulation area. New carpet, fresh paint, shelving, and furniture will be found throughout the library. Also included are new built-in window study tables in the adult collection as well as two new study rooms, a quiet reading/computer room and an expanded teen space. I think we are really making great use of the rearranged space for the services that the community is seeking from us right now and addressing future growth as well.”

The expected completion of the project is late February. Once the renovations are finished, Alvino and her staff will host an event to welcome the community, introducing the new look and features offered. Until then, pictures and detailed updates will be posted on their website and Facebook page.

To keep abreast of the renovations updates, go to the Windham Public Library’s website at

November 17, 2017

Everlasting Gratitude Wreaths have been ordered and will be placed on graves thanks to community support

The Wreaths are ordered the bows have been made. Throughout the summer and fall, the Windham Community has responded to the request to support the Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program with financial donations. 

Next up for the program is the culmination of all the planning with the placement of a wreath on every Veteran’s Grave in all the cemeteries of Windham. Saturday, December 2 is the date the wreaths will be placed at Arlington and Smith Cemeteries. 

Studio Flora will deliver wreaths to Arlington Cemetery at 9 a.m. followed by a delivery at Smith Cemetery at the rotary on Route 202, near Windham Town Hall. 

As in previous years, the public, scout organizations and other youth groups are invited to support the Field-Allen Post and the VFW Post in the distribution and placement of the Everlasting Gratitude Wreaths.
Support is most welcome at both locations - Arlington and Smith cemeteries. The other 20 peripheral cemeteries in Windham will be covered by the Veterans Organizations the week prior to the December 2. 

For more information on this program or to volunteer, please contact Dave Tanguay at 892-1306.

A bold approach to fighting Alzheimer’s by Senator Susan Collins

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, first declared by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.  Just 11 years later, President Reagan himself was diagnosed with the terrible disease that eventually claimed his life, as it has claimed the lives of so many others.

This month is dedicated to those who have been stricken with Alzheimer’s, their family members and other devoted caregivers, and to the medical professionals and researchers who are working to advance our understanding of the disease, find an effective treatment, and, ultimately, discover a cure and a means of prevention.

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the greatest under-recognized public health threats of our time.  Five and a half million Americans are living with the disease, including 27,000 here in Maine, and that number is soaring as our overall population grows older and lives longer.

In addition to the human suffering it causes, Alzheimer’s is our nation’s costliest disease.  The United States spends more than $259 billion per year, including $175 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.  By 2050, if we continue along this trajectory, costs are projected to increase to more than $1.1 trillion, and the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s is expected to reach 16 million.  While Alzheimer’s is the only one of our nation’s most deadly diseases without an effective treatment or cure, new research is showing that there are actions we can take to promote prevention and improve treatment.

The first step we should take is to recognize Alzheimer’s as a public health crisis.  I have introduced bipartisan legislation, the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, to create a public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health through early detection and diagnosis as well as improved treatment and care.

It is because of public health advancements that we have safe water to drink, vaccines to prevent deadly diseases, and emergency preparedness tools to save lives.  Using a public health approach, there is potential to change the trajectory of Alzheimer’s.

The effort to overcome Alzheimer’s disease through a unified national effort is gaining traction.  In 1999, when I founded the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s, there was virtually no focus in Washington on this disease.  In fact, people were afraid to say the word “Alzheimer’s,” just as – years ago – people didn’t talk about cancer.  Seven years ago, I co-authored the bipartisan National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which set the primary goal of preventing and effectively treating the disease by 2025.  That legislation created an expert council, which has calculated that $2 billion per year is needed to achieve that goal.

On the Appropriations Committee, I worked to turn the words of that recommendation into action.  The proposed funding bill for the upcoming fiscal year provides a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health that includes a $414 million increase for Alzheimer’s research, the largest in history.  That brings the total for Alzheimer’s research to $1.8 billion – well within reach of our $2 billion goal.

While research is moving forward, we must also put in practice what we know about prevention, and enhance the quality of care and support for those living with Alzheimer’s and their families.    Alzheimer’s exacts a tremendous personal and economic toll on families and communities.

The BOLD Act, which I have introduced, would establish Centers of Excellence in Public Health Practice to promote better treatment and care for those living with Alzheimer’s.  The Centers would also educate the public on Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, and brain health.
My legislation would also help communities across America to combat Alzheimer’s.  The legislation would direct the CDC to establish and distribute awards of funding to local public health departments to support Americans living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.  The awards of funding would also be used to educate Americans about ways to reduce the risk of memory loss, and other symptoms that can happen before Alzheimer’s strikes.

Finally, at the heart of public health is data.  This legislation would direct CDC to collect data to help us better understand the trends in cognitive decline, cognitive impairment, and caregiving.  The data would be shared with the public and used to improve brain health.

For far too long we have viewed Alzheimer’s as an aging issue that plagues some seniors today and threatens to affect many more tomorrow.  New research finds that, in fact, Alzheimer’s is a public health issue with a course that we can change. 

The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act would create a new enlightened public policy out of promising research.  It would dramatically change the way we think of the disease, and ultimately, it has the potential to save millions of lives.