May 25, 2018

Volunteer services donated by Saint Joseph’s College in memory of Dr. Beth Auger

Faculty, staff and alumni volunteer at various locations including Camp Sunshine
Although colleges across Maine are wrapping up graduations, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine geared up for its annual Beth Auger Day of Service on Friday, May 18, deploying twelve teams of faculty, staff, and alumni to volunteer for eleven community partners across six towns in southern Maine. With a mission and a core value that place service and community at its center every day, the college commemorates this commitment by donating hundreds of hours of volunteer service in one day.

The list of Saint Joseph’s College’s Beth Auger Day of Service site locations include: Camp Sunshine (Casco), Catholic Charities-Threads of Hope (Portland), Habitat for Humanity ReStore (Portland), Maine Society for the Protection of Animals (Windham), November’s Harvest Farm (Limington), Pine Root Farms (Steep Falls), Preble Street Resource Center (Portland), Raymond Beautification Committee (Raymond), Riding to the Top Therapeutic Riding Center (Windham), Ronald McDonald House (Portland), Wayside Food Salvage (Portland).

https://www.egcu.orgThe annual day of service tradition took on a special meaning last year when a faculty member in the Department of Sciences–Dr. Beth Auger– passed away unexpectedly, and the day was renamed in her honor. Vice President & Chief Sponsorship and Mission Integration Officer Michael Sanderl said, “There was a powerful response by the college community last year in the days and weeks following the unexpected passing of Dr. Beth Auger; including many efforts to recognize the significant ways she impacted the college and local community. It was Saint Joseph’s College President, Dr. Jim Dlugos, who initiated the renaming of this year’s Day of Service to remember, honor, and celebrate Dr. Auger’s spirit of care, dedication, and service.”

Volunteers will wear t-shirts printed with “We must strive to do ordinary things extraordinarily well,” a quote attributed to Sisters of Mercy foundress Catherine McAuley.

Windham Town Council goes full steam ahead on mineral extraction moratorium by Lorraine Glowczak

The Windham Town Council had a full agenda Tuesday evening May 22, during the regularly scheduled meeting in the Council Chambers. The budget approval was moved up to the first item on the agenda and was completed within an hour, after many hours of meetings and discussions. The highlight of the evening, however, was the vote on the new mineral extraction operations moratorium.

As a result of a steady increase in residential and commercial development and its impact on watershed quality, due to nonpoint source pollution, a moratorium on mineral extractions have been placed to evaluate and re-examine the effect mineral extractions have on the watersheds.

During public comment on the moratorium the attorney representing the quarry owner stated that he had filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client. This announcement sparked other Windham residents to speak during the public comment session, encouraging the Council to move forward on the moratorium, despite the lawsuit. The Council approved the moratorium; four for it, one against it, with one councilman absent. 

For full details and the other agenda items discussed, go to the town website at The meetings are also available to view on Facebook Live as well as recorded and broadcasted on Channel 7.

Second annual Girls on the Run celebrated at Manchester School by Jennifer Davis

If you stopped by Manchester School last Thursday afternoon, May 17th, you likely saw a group of young girls participating in a practice 5K. These young girls are part of a group called Girls on the Run. Along with their coaches and some family members, the students began their practice 5K to prepare for the upcoming Celebratory 5K in June. The girls participating in this year’s practice 5K were very excited made evident by their smiles, requests for a silly face group picture and their group chant of, “Girls on the run is so much fun!”

Girls on the Run is an organization that was first created by Molly Barker in 1996. “Molly’s vision was to create a program to teach young girls about self-esteem, friendships, teamwork and strength (emotional and physical),” said Jessica Weatherbee, Girls on the Run Coach. What began as one team of girls back in 1996 has grown into over 200 councils in all 50 states 22 years later. 

Last year was the first year that Windham participated in Girls on the Run but interest in the program was strong and grew quickly. For some, this year will be the first 5K they will have ever participated in, while for others this is their second year. 

This year’s group of girls from Windham consists of 44 girls composed of two teams; one team of 4th and 5th graders from Manchester School and the second team of 3rd graders from Windham Primary School. “It is a great way to empower young girls,” said Robbin Alden, mom of Emma who is a 4th grader at Manchester School.
The practice 5K was comprised of a little over four laps around the school’s property. The race was not timed but everyone who participated completed the course. “As coaches we have enjoyed watching the girls set their running goals,” said Weatherbee. “We have also enjoyed seeing them come together as a team and having the opportunity to build friendships outside of their school classes.”

The girls will have their final Celebratory 5K on Sunday, June 3rd at the Cumberland Fairgrounds. The event is opened for the public’s participation or to just cheer on the girls.  For more information, you can visit 

Honoring our fallen veterans by Dave Tanguay

On Saturday May 19, local veterans’ organizations and their auxiliaries blanketed Arlington Cemetery with a field of red, white and blue. Members of Field-Allen Post 148 and the ALA Unit 148 and other volunteers, met at Arlington Cemetery at 9 a.m. to place over 300 flags on the graves on the veterans.

Earlier in the week, teams of veterans from the Legion and VFW Post covered approximately 30 cemeteries in Windham with over 875 flags to honor all the town’s veterans. Some cemeteries are in remote woodlots with only one or two veterans buried there. Other larger cemeteries such as Chase, Mayberry, Smith, and Windham Hill have dozens to over 100 veterans. Please thank a veteran for their service on this Memorial Day weekend.

Ranked-choice voting a first in state-wide election by Lorraine Glowczak

At the primary elections in June, voters will use a new system to choose the candidates of their choice through a method called Ranked-choice voting (RCV). Also known as instant-runoff, RCV has been under consideration in Maine for many years and was put to ballot referendum and adopted in the 2016 elections. After legal considerations including a recent Maine Supreme Court deliberation, RCV is the first state to use this voting system in a state-wide election.

RCV will apply to races for Congress, governor and the state Legislature, but will not be used to vote on municipal offices or for president. Portland has used RCV in their municipal elections.

How does RCV work? Voters will rank the candidates of their choice in order of preference (i.e., first choice, second choice, third choice, etc.). According the Ranked-Choice Voting-Maine website, “On election night, all the ballots are counted for voters’ first choices. If one candidate receives an outright majority, he or she wins. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated and voters who liked that candidate the best have their ballots instantly counted for their second choice. This process repeats, and last-place candidates lose until one candidate reaches a majority and wins. Your vote counts for your second choice only if your first choice has been eliminated.”

If your first choice is defeated, your ballot will count for your next highest choice. RCV will not hurt your favorite candidate by ranking other candidates and it will not help your favorite candidate by not ranking the others. You can rank as many candidates as you’d like, and you do not have to rank the candidate you do not wish to support.

As with all things, RCV has a history. According to the Ranked-choice Voting Resource Center website, RCV was invented in the 1850s in Europe, as a proportional representation system to be used in multi-winner elections. In the 1870s, it was adapted to the single-winner (or “instant runoff”) form by William Ware, an MIT professor., Ohio, became the first location in the United States to use RCV in 1915, using it to elect their city council. RCV spread through the rest of Ohio and across the country to places like Boulder, Colorado; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Sacramento, California; and West Hartford, Connecticut eventually making its way to Portland.

As with any new approach, fears of making a mistake in the new system may be experienced. If you have questions, you are free to ask for help from one of the poll staff members. If you make a mistake, simply ask for a new ballot.

Watershed survey completed at Highland Lake by Lorraine Glowczak

Example of clogged culvert
Over 30 Highland Lake residents volunteered to participate in a watershed survey on Saturday, May 19 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The purpose of the survey was to identify soil erosion sites within the Highland Lake watershed with the intention of learning more about the non-point sources of pollution that may be a factor in the phosphorus contribution to the lake.

Briefly, Highland Lake has experienced a gradual decline in water quality over the past four years as a result of an increase in algae; the cause is due to the excess input of phosphorus. This growth is referred to as Pico cyanobacteria bloom (also referred to as picoplankton bloom).

The lake has a high phosphorus level due to camp road runoff, soil erosion, fertilizer use, pet waste, septic issues and development. The watershed survey concentrated on non-point sources phosphorus, and in this case, soil erosion.

The morning began with a two-hour instructional session led by professionals from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Cumberland County Soil and Water District. The session included explanations on what to look for in soil erosion, how to document the sources, the various signs of erosion and ways to identify conservation practices for erosion prevention.

Upon completion of the morning session, the group separated into eight sectors, with each sector containing approximately three to five individuals. Each of the eight sectors were assigned specific areas to complete a portion of the watershed survey and led by technical leaders from DEP.

As a resident of Highland Lake, I volunteered to participate in the survey and was assigned to sector eight. This sector included the areas surrounding Little Duck Pond and the watershed portions on the west side of Falmouth and Babbidge Roads. a lay person in environmental science, I learned quite a bit about soil erosion. In my amateur observation, I discovered that the relatively untouched and non-manicured areas/residences of Little Duck Pond had very little soil erosion due to keeping the natural vegetation intact. Although the roads leading back to the camps experienced some soil erosion but where the road materials were used properly, the private and camp roads were in relatively good condition with minimal erosion.

Along the Falmouth and Babbidge Road portions of our survey, we discovered a little more soil erosion. Areas with gravel were faced with slightly more challenges in erosion than paved areas. 

Dennis Brown, a member of the Highland Lake Association and the Chair of the Highland Lake Leadership Team was also part of the sector eight survey and he shared his observations from the survey. “Paving on steep slopes can be an advantage over gravel.  However, if the right materials are used, with proper crown and water diversions, well-built gravel roads can result in much less erosion than we saw on Saturday.”

Example of soil erosion on a driveway
At the end of the day, all surveys were collected and will be examined to determine the high priority issues and to begin remediation of those issues. “We surely will know a lot more about the sources of phosphorus within the watershed and along with additional studies on potential alewife phosphorus contribution, if any, from their difficulties in easily leaving the lake,” Brown stated.

The results of the survey will be available within the next couple of months. If soil erosion is an issue on individual properties, there will be suggestions on possible ways to remediate the situation but there will not be a mandated remediation.

Brown was very impressed with Saturday’s survey. “I think the Survey was well run. Kudos to Kim White and Rosie Hartzler for pulling this all together, and invaluable in finding the most egregious phosphorus sources within the watershed.  It also helped create greater awareness to those within the watershed of the fragility of our natural resources and how almost everything we do to our environment has some impact.  This latter thought played out well with those we interacted with on Saturday, and hopefully more as we begin to address the more serious issues that we found.”

It is the hope that all residence in the Highland Lake watershed will take some form of responsible and active participation in remediation to prevent soil runoff. “We want to sow the seeds of collaboration and collective action to work together to do what needs to be done to reduce runoff into Highland Lake,” stated HLA President, Rosie Hartzler.

May 18, 2018

Ribbon Cutting Notice

Congratulations to Maggie Terry and Joanne Mattiace, owners of their new business, LEGAL LEAF, LLC at 4 Whites Bridge Road in Windham.
They were welcomed to the Windham business community with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Friday, May 11. The ceremony was attended by several Sebago Lakes Region Directors. 

Upcoming events with Presumpscot Regional Land Trust

Join the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust (PRLT) this Saturday, May 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a five-mile round trip, guided bicycle tour along the Sebago to the Sea Trail. The tour destination will be Orchard Ridge Farm, a family owned farm along the Sebago to the Sea Trail. Steven and Amy Bibula will guide us on a farm tour and provide a free tasting of cider and donuts from their market. This event is free, but registration is required due to limited space. Register online at

For the youngest nature enthusiasts, PRLT will hold a Family Fish Migration Program as part of their new family friendly programs initiative at Mill Brook Preserve in Westbrook. This program is designed for kids 4-12 years old, although families with kids of all ages are welcome. The program will be 90 minutes and will involve about one mile of walking with several stops for exploration. This event is free, but registration is required due to limited space. Register online for this event at

Denny Breau and Bruce Marshall to headline benefit concert for Loon Echo Land Trust

Enjoy the soulful harmonies of Denny Breau and Bruce Marshall as they support Loon Echo Land Trust’s local conservation efforts with a benefit concert at the Hayloft at Dragonfly Barn at 95 Sanborns Grove Road in Bridgton on Sunday, May 20th

A tireless performer, Bruce Marshall is armed with great originals, an expressive, soulful voice and a
commanding guitar style, both on electric acoustic and steel Dobro. He’s earned a reputation as one of New England’s best.

Denny Breau is a triple treat: a consummate picker, evocative songwriter, and a singer with a voice that is warm and inviting but completely unpretentious, much like the singer himself. 

The Hayloft’s renovated space, nestled on the beautiful historic Ingalls Farm, evokes a feeling of times gone by; this is a musical event not to be missed. is limited with tickets for $15 in advance at or $20 at the door. Seats can also be reserved by calling the Dragonfly at 207-749-6160 or emailing

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. A portion of proceeds from Marshall's CD
sales and 20 percent of Padruig Designs jewelry sales, the evening of the show, will be donated to Loon Echo and their conservation and stewardship efforts.

Loon Echo protects nearly 6,700 acres of land and manages 31 miles of multi-use trails in the northern Sebago Lake Region. Its mission is to work with the local residents to conserve the region’s natural resources and character for current and future generations. Loon Echo serves seven towns including Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago, with an area of 320 square miles located directly north of Sebago Lake.  
Loon Echo works within its service area to safeguard water quality, preserve scenic gems such as Bald Pate Mountain, and provide outreach and fun educational programs to the public.  Loon Echo
assists landowners to take steps to ensure future generations will benefit from the preservation of their lands.  Member support is what enables Loon Echo to carry out their mission and provides funding for their land conservation and stewardship endeavors. 

For more information about upcoming events or ways you can support Loon Echo Land Trust, go to their website or call 207-647-4352.

Evergreen adds hires as market expands to York County

Evergreen Credit Union is pleased to announce three new hires, effective immediately and sine its expansion into York County.

Jennifer Chamberlin is the new Commercial Portfolio Manager.  Previously, she worked at Boston Private Bank & Trust and American State Bank in Texas. 

Julie Littell, a new Commercial Loan Officer, brings with her experience at both Key Bank and Kennebunk Savings. 

Rebecca Lanefski is the new Mortgage Servicing Specialist. Most recently she worked at Birchwood Credit Services in Conway, NH.

Evergreen Credit Union is one of Maine’s largest credit unions, offering mortgage, consumer, and business services, with branches in Portland, South Portland, Windham and Naples.
Jennifer Chamberlin

Julie Littell
Rebecca Lanefski

Raymond Annual Town Meeting is scheduled by Lorraine Glowczak

The Raymond Annual Town Meeting will occur on Tuesday, June 5 at the Jordan-Small Middle School gym at 6 p.m. The meeting will consist of a 48-article warrant that includes, but is not limited to, business and dog barking ordinance changes, as well as budget, finance and cemetery ordinance revisions. The meeting will begin with the election of the town moderator.

The Town Meeting serves the same functions as the Legislature in Augusta and the Congress in Washington, passing laws and adopting budgets. Instead of elected officials acting in the legislative role, it is the Raymond residents themselves that are the legislative body, making decisions and voting upon important issues and needs facing the town.

“It is the purest form of democracy,” stated Town Manager Don Willard, “Anyone who lives in Raymond and is registered to vote gets a say in annual budgets, ordinances issues, etc.”

Continuing the Town Annual Meeting, a bifurcated meeting will take place a week later, on Tuesday, June 12 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the same location of Jordan-Small Middle School gym. This will be the location, time and place to participate in State and Municipal Elections. It is during this day-long election event that the Ranked-Choice Voting System will be implemented for the first time since the process was ruled a lawful voting method in April.

Please also note that there will be a public vote on the RSU14 Proposed Budget in a combined Windham and Raymond Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, May 23rd at 6:30 p.m. at the Windham High School Auditorium.

For more information, contact either the Town of Raymond at 655-4742 or the Town of Windham at 894-5960.

May 11, 2018

Raymond Fire and Rescue Awards recognitions

Glen Gisel (L) with Chief Tupper
The Raymond Fire and Recuse Department is pleased to announce the individuals who have been recognized for the exceptional contributions to the community and to the department in a recent annual awards banquet.

This year’s Chief’s Award has been awarded to Firefighter Wayne Jones. The award is presented to a member who demonstrates continuous excellence in service and support of the department in emergency and non-emergency function. Firefighter Jones was selected because of his dedication to the service, his professionalism and integrity.

Jones mentors others in the department and working to improve efficiency assuring equipment is always in order, ready to go and that members are challenged and armed with proper information. He does so with a unique ability and style. EMT of the Year Award was proudly presented to Taylor Duncanson, for her dedication to improve EMS services in Raymond. Exemplifying a “get it done attitude” and leadership qualities even through some of the most challenging situations.

The Firefighter of the Year Award was presented to Paramedic Firefighter Brian Pond, who also serves as a member of the department’s training team. Pond focuses on improving the department through modern methods of instruction, implementing training programs and furthering his own education so as to help others become better providers.

 Recognized with a Community Service Award for support of the department were Glen and Judy Gisel of Downeast Sharpening in Raymond, who often take in fire department equipment for repairs and parts.

The Chief Reginald Brown Community Service Award was presented to Great Northern Docks for their generous donation of a new dock for the fire rescue boat slip on Sebago Lake. Jane Jordan Community Service Award is presented to a citizen annually who exemplifies the spirit of Lt. Jane Jordan, in the spirit of her dedication in volunteering to make our community a better place for all. This year the award was presented to the Betty McDermott family for all their years of dedicated volunteerism in and with the town.

Thank you to all this year’s recipients and all who support the Raymond Fire and Rescue Department.

Making a bold difference with the third annual PowerServe Event by Lorraine Glowczak

One of the PowerServe projects from last year
Windham and Gorham high school students and faculty, as well as area community members will participate and volunteer in the third annual PowerServe Event, serving area organizations and individuals who need assistance with various tasks. The event will take place on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28 with the hands-on projects beginning at 1 p.m. and ending 5 p.m. alongside a BBQ for all involved.

The first PowerServe Event began initially as a one-time occurrence in the spring of 2016 to honor a high school student who had passed away. In a previous interview Genevieve Delano, student director of PowerServe and who is now a senior at Windham High School, said that there were many requests for the event to happen on an ongoing basis. “One hundred percent of the people we got survey results from [in the first year], wanted to do it again,” Delano said in that interview.

PowerServe is not a fundraising event. “It is not about raising funds,” Delano stated recently. “It is a tangible way to bring students and the community together. In 2016 we had 292 volunteers and 18 projects; in 2017 we exceeded our goals with 21 project teams serving the community.” year, those who participated in PowerServe provided yard work, painting, cleaning, small scale buildings projects, as well as lawn upkeep at area parks and at community schools. The following individuals and organizations were recipients of the PowerServe efforts: Windham Library, Windham Historical Society, the Karsten family, the Dickinson family, the Boucher family, Village Green, Windham Police Station, the Gregoire family, the Levigne family, Manchester School, Black Brook Preserve and local cemeteries.

Presently, PowerServe is no longer accepting additional projects for this year but they need more volunteers to complete all the tasks they have planned. “The more volunteers we have, means the more of a difference that we can make,” Delano said. “And the first 200 people, who sign up, get a free PowerServe T-shirt.” 

Not only will an individual experience the positive feelings that come from serving others but they will have the opportunity to make connections with others in the community. “One of the most amazing things to witness is how the students interact with community members,” stated Windham High math teacher and one of the founding members of PowerServe, Erin Abbott. “I love watching how everyone in the community comes together to do good. Everyone seems to find a connection in some way – with people they don’t know. It’s the coming together of a small-town community that makes PowerServe so special. Even spring sports teams like to take part. It is an amazing experience.”

Abbott appreciates the students’ efforts and their level of responsibility. “It’s cool to see the students accept this level of commitment and leadership in a cause that is greater than themselves,” she stated.
Although PowerServe has served the Windham High as well as the Windham Middle and Manchester School campuses, Raymond Elementary and Jordan-Small Middle School grounds are on the list in the future. “It is our goal to offer and expand services to the Raymond school campuses next year,” stated Abbott.

But, perhaps above all else, it is important to mention that one of the student co-founders of PowerServe, Delano, will be stepping down as student director. As a senior at Windham High, she must move on to greater and grander things.

“She has worked really hard with the help of her friends,” Abbott said of Delano’s PowerServe efforts. “She has reached out to local business, [to] recruit club members and other organizations to make PowerServe a success.”

PowerServe is sponsored by Young Life Sebago; a Christian based outreach to teenagers. To be a sponsor of this event or to volunteer for PowerServe and make a difference in the community, sign up at no cost at

As the PowerServe mission suggests: “Care boldly. Serve strong.”

A “Thank you for your service” concert

On Tuesday, May 22 at 7 p.m., the Fanfare Concert Band will present a special community salute to
our local veterans and their families at the Lake Region High School Auditorium by providing patriotic music to honor those who have served or are serving. This event is free of charge to all and gives us a chance to show our respect and support for the men and women who have been so generous in giving of their time to keep us all safe in our local communities.

Fanfare Concert Band
This community event is supported by our local American Legion in Naples, students and staff of the Lake Region Vocational Center, the Lake Region High School Interact Club and young clarinet players from the SAD 61 Music Program.

This is an open invitation to all veterans in the Lake Region Area, including the towns of Windham and Raymond, to attend a special concert honoring our local veterans and currently serving military men and women; honoring them for their service to the community and our nation.

Please consider taking time out of your everyday schedule to honor those who have taken time out of their lives to keep us safe and our freedoms intact.

Windham Library's annual Star Wars Day a hit

Over 50 kids, teens and adults participated in Windham Public Library’s annual Star Wars Day Events which were held on Friday, May 4. A range of activities took place including a scavenger hunt with prizes donated from Casablanca Comics, Bull Moose and some anonymous donors. Local father and Star Wars enthusiast Rene Vancelette brought in a collection of memorabilia as well as an assortment of lightsabers that he designed himself, which he generously encouraged children (and adults) to try out - to the enjoyment of many. Several participants had fun appearing in costume, such as the children and librarian pictured here.

Recognizing Maine’s unsung heroes by Sen. Bill Diamond

Teaching is an incredibly challenging profession. Yet, teachers are known for going above and beyond the job description, on a regular basis, to reach their students and advocate on their behalf. They do this despite a substantial lack of resources, stagnant wages and, in some cases, underfunded schools.

It is important that we take the time this week (and the weeks to follow) to honor our teachers and start talking about how we can ensure that all teachers have the tools and the support they need to do their job.

Throughout the past few decades, the role of a public-school teacher has evolved tremendously, extending far beyond the confines of the classroom. To see this, look no further than Maine schools. 

Our teachers not only plan lessons, they plan practices serving as athletic coaches and club advisors. They encourage students to develop new interests, explore their passions and become well-rounded individuals. And these are just their official roles.

Many teachers often find themselves serving in unofficial capacities as well. With the growing number of students coming from food-insecure homes, living in poverty or dealing with trauma our educators are also serving as bridges to resources. All the while trying to keep attendance and test scores up.
As a former public-school teacher and school administrator, I’ve seen firsthand the growing pressure put on teachers without the necessary resources and support. Class size, particularly in elementary schools, has increased dramatically making it more difficult for the most seasoned teachers to manage a classroom. It also adversely influences student learning, as research shows that smaller class size is linked to educational attainment.

Another major change in education is the massive influx of standardized testing. Our students are now tested more than ever, and I believe to the detriment of their education. Test results have become the priority as opposed to the actual learning. It’s no wonder we are seeing high-rates of burnout and strikes across the country. Our teachers and children deserve better.

 A recent study from NPR found that most teachers have resorted to using their own funds to fill substantial resource gaps and purchase school supplies - all while maintaining second jobs to make ends meets. About 80 percent of teachers surveyed stated they routinely purchase materials for the classroom. In fact, the average teacher pours around $250 into their classroom each year - that’s money that could purchase groceries, pay bills or go to retirement. We can and should do better for our teachers and students. If we don’t, we will struggle to attract young people to this profession and retain quality educators. honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, let’s take a moment to recognize the work that Maine educators do each and every day to shape the next generation of Maine adults. I hope this week also marks the beginning of a larger conversation about investing in our public education system and teachers going forward.

As always, I am ready and willing to listen to my constituents. Please feel free to contact me at or (207) 287-1515, if you have questions or comments.

WHS Seniors gain valuable life skills through collaborative iBook project by Elizabeth Richards

In March 2018, “Discovering Water,” a book created by students at Windham High School in collaboration with teachers and the Portland Water District, was released in digital format. Windham High School seniors Libby McBride and Mandi O’Connor were the iBook Student Leaders for this venture.

“Discovering Water” was created in print form by students in Jeff Riddle’s Earth Science class a few years ago. The book was distributed to all 6th grade science teachers and middle school librarians in the Sebago Lake Watershed and within the Portland Water District service area in southern Maine.

In 2016, Mr. Riddle sent out a call looking for students interested in turning the book into a more interactive learning experience. Both McBride and O’Connor responded to that call – and were the only two students to see the project through to the end. Many other students were involved in the brainstorming process, but either graduated before the book was completed or dropped out along the way.

The girls both said they learned many important skills that went far beyond learning about the science of water. McBride said she didn’t initially see herself as someone who would be involved with a technology project. “I’m so glad I have stuck with it, because I feel much more comfortable with technology, and with joining things I don’t already know and stepping outside my comfort zone,” she said.’Connor said, while she thought you had to be science or art oriented to participate, she realized that commitment, persistence and perseverance proved to be more important skills than simply knowing the subject. And learning the art of collaboration was another valuable skill.  McBride added that they also learned a lot about working on a more adult level. “This project wasn’t just a school project that you turn in and move on,” she said.  Even after the iBook was complete, there was more to do, including creating list serves and learning how to market a product.

While there were many ambitious ideas during the brainstorming phase, O’Connor and McBrideended up keeping it a little simpler, adding videos and review questions to each chapter. “Less is more sometimes,” said O’Connor. “I think if we had done everything [we thought of] it would have been very overwhelming, especially because they have the book that was supposed to go along with it.”

McBride said the iBook provides teachers an opportunity to go more in-depth with the learning.  “It’s a very multifaceted approach towards education. It’s not just having a teacher read from a textbook, but it’s also being able to interact with technology,” she said.  The iBook has many attention-grabbing features, and students can quiz themselves and move at their own pace.

The adults involved allowed the students to take the lead, while being on hand to support and collaborate.  “It’s been a very student-led process,” said McBride, “but the teachers have been phenomenally helpful and supportive.”

“I think they figured out the balance between letting it be student led, students running it, and helping and being supportive,” O’Connor added.

Although the book is Maine focused, the information can be relevant to anyone. The iBook shows students how the information is relevant in their lives, particularly for those in Maine or New England, O’Connor said. “It brings them into the story and not only teaches them but encourages them to be active in a community they care about,” she said.

The girls did not earn credit or volunteer hours for their participation, but they both feel like working on it will help them in their future. “While this kind of project-based learning is a big thing in magnet schools or private schools, you don’t see a lot of it happening at public schools,” said McBride. “I think it’s worth noting that we’ll have graduated Windham High School already being published.”

O’Connor said she hopes that both Windham High School and other area schools can be inspired to work on similar projects that go beyond the local school community. And, she said, it doesn’t have to be science based; an iBook could be created for many subjects.

“There are so many opportunities for similar projects for middle school students - or whatever age range - to connect their learning to something in the real world,” McBride said.  “I think [that] is really important because that’s when they start to be involved with the rest of the world and understanding it.”

“Discovering Water” is available as a free iBook as well as an interactive flipbook. The book covers topics such as the water cycle, water pollution, water quality testing, and stewardship. The iBook can be downloaded for free on in the iBook’s Store on all Apple products or accessed as an interactive flipbook at

May 4, 2018

DHHS warns of individual impersonating Child Protective Services Caseworker

AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently received notice of an individual allegedly impersonating a DHHS Child Protective Services (CPS) Caseworker. This was an isolated incident in Southern Maine.

It is important to remember that all DHHS employees are issued an Identification Card (ID) when they are hired and are instructed to keep their card on them during work hours. When out in the field, CPS staff are instructed to present their ID cards to families they are working with. 

Employees are not allowed to refuse to show their ID card when asked. These ID cards contain the following information:

The Maine DHHS logo;
A picture of the DHHS employee;
The name of the DHHS employee;
The title of the DHHS employee; and
A number to contact if the ID card is lost.

If you are visited by someone claiming to work for DHHS, you may always request to see their ID card. You may also contact the Department at 1-800-452-1999 to ensure their credentials are authentic.