November 30, 2018

Raymond Village Library annual appeal: It can’t do it without you

This Thanksgiving, the Raymond Village Library kicked off its major fundraiser of the year. What an appropriate week to ask the community for their support!

The library’s annual appeal needs to raise $35,000 to continue to provide our many programs and services for the community. “The library is a vital part of the community in Raymond, serving as its community center and cultural focus,” stated Sheila Bourque, the Library Board President. “We are community focused. We are always looking for ways to make our community a better place to live. This past year has once again shown that by working together, collaborating with each other, we can create a special place.”

Under the leadership of Library Director, Allison Griffin, the Raymond Village Library continues to shine as they provide services to everyone in the community. In addition to expanding their print, audio, and DVD collection, the library has brought the Raymond Arts Alliance into its programming, adding art, music, poetry and many other cultural events to the Raymond community. The addition of Senior Hours every Tuesday morning offers yoga, games, reflexology, and monthly bus trips for our senior community. This popular service has filled a vital community need.
Collaboration with other community groups such as Age Friendly Raymond, the Raymond Village Community Church, United Church of Christ, Saint Josephs College, Windham/Raymond Adult Education, 4-H, Be the Influence and the Raymond Lions Club has brought the Raymond Village Library a traveling mural, Adult Education programming, and a grant funded intergenerational garden
next to the library’s parking lot.

The “Keeping Raymond Warm” insulating window program for our Raymond residents, a partnership between the Raymond Village Library, Raymond Village Community Church, the United Church of Christ, and an AmeriCorps volunteer based at Saint Joseph’s College demonstrates how neighbors can help neighbors to keep warm and save energy.

The positive energy in our library makes working here a joy. Our staff and volunteers are committed to serving the community and making Raymond a special place to live,” said Allison Griffin, Library Director.

Raymond Village Library continues to act as the community center for Raymond. The library collected and distributed candy up and down Main Street for Raymond’s annual Halloween on Main Street celebration. Over 500 children passed through our doors on October 31! The Annual Christmas Tree lighting, sponsored by the Raymond Lions Club and complete with cocoa, cookies, and a visit from Santa, continues to be a highlight of the year for Raymond residents. The library’s weekly baby and toddler story time, monthly reading time with the therapy dog Lucy, and monthly Maker programs for kids continue to be very popular. Our addition of a microscope DASH the robot, and additional science programming has opened new doors for our children.  Our continuing author series and book club remain strong. our activities are fun and entertaining, we have not lost sight of the important role we play in our community to fill some significant needs.  All of our programming and investments are done with
a purpose” said Leigh Walker, Library Treasurer.

With the successful completion of our Annual Appeal, the Raymond Village Library hopes to add 12 staff hours to our schedule in order to provide even more services to our community. But we can’t do it without you! Donations from our community are what allows the library to provide so many programs and services, and they are an important investment in a community organization which serves people of all ages and interests.

Very simply, the Library needs your financial support. We need to raise $35,000 with this appeal. Our challenges include the minimum wage increase and our goal to provide more services for our school age children. We are committed to our library and managing our dollars wisely. We can’t do it without you. Our library is worth your investment,” said Paul Cullinan, Board Vice President.

You can donate to this wonderful community resource on-line by visiting, dropping by the library during library hours or by mail by sending your donation to Raymond Village Library, PO Box 297, Raymond, ME, 04071.

The Library:
- Provides community for our seniors though our Senior Only Hours, delivering educational programs, helping forge new friendships and eliminating potential social isolation.
- Improves literacy, science, technology, engineering and math skills in our preschool children through early childhood programs.
- Provides access to technology and internet resources by updating our computers and providing laptops and Kindle readers.
- Helps expand access to reading through use of those same technologies to people with low vision issues.
- Builds partnerships with 4H, Raymond Community Garden, Age Friendly Raymond and Raymond Arts Alliance to help build a social, cultural, arts and community center.
- Expands educational opportunities by hosting Windham/Raymond Continuing Ed classes, and hosting other arts and literature programs.
- Promotes civil discourse but supporting the Makeshift Coffee House and Seeds of Peace programs.

The Lake Region Community Chorus presents “Can You Hear the Angels?”

The Lake Region Community Chorus is proud to present its sixth annual holiday concert which will take place at the Twitchell Chapel at the Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton. The concerts are scheduled for Friday, December 7 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 9 at 3 p.m. This amazing choral group is made up of fifty-five singers from fourteen surrounding towns including Windham and Raymond. They will present an exciting program that is made up of songs of many different styles and genres.

Come and hear these energetic singers perform the perfect blend of holiday and winter songs includingO Holy Night”, “What Child is This?”, “Can You Hear the Angels?” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” with audience participation. The program will include accompaniments by percussionist, Rusty Wiltjer and electric bassist, Mark Priola. Musicians from the chorus include Ginny Halligan, flute, Pam Ward, guitar, Jan Jukkola, clarinet and Glen Jukkola, violin.

The LRCC is directed by Jan Jukkola, Susan Stockwell and Dan Allen. The group is accompanied by Carolyn Stanhope and Sara-Sue Schreiber. The chorus would like to thank the Bridgton Academy for all their help and support and providing them with rehearsal space and a concert venue. They would also like to thank their enthusiastic audiences and local sponsors. Donations to help cover the purchasing of music and operating costs will be graciously accepted. Come and let the Lake Region Community Chorus sing in the season and fill your heart with their gift of music and song.

Beware of holiday scams - a presentation at Windham Public Library

Unfortunately, some people take advantage of the holiday cheer by either conning people into
purchasing items that do not exist or using other scam methods to steal money from the unsuspecting.

To help the community become aware of the variety of scams that are popular during the holidays, AARP Maine Communications Director Jane Margesson will be joined by Windham Chief of Police Kevin Schofield for an hour-long presentation on what to look out for and how to protect yourself from con artists.

Join them on Thursday, December 6 at the Windham Public Library from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. There will be a short presentation on common holiday scams and tips to keep you and your family safe. This will be followed by an opportunity for question and answers and free scam prevention resources will be provided.

Some topics of discussion will include “deals” that do not exist, gift card scams, online shopping safety, and genealogy, package delivery and charity scams.

The presentation will also provide information on prevention strategies, advising a number of things you can do to protect yourself from these crimes.

There is nothing festive about fraud. Make sure you keep the holiday cheer in your life by becoming informed and guarding yourself from a scam that could change your life. Join Margesson and Schofield next Thursday for this informative presentation.

For more information, contact Margesson at 207-776-6301 or at

Rick Charette and the Bubble Gum Band return for a free holiday concert

Children’s singer-songwriter Rick Charette and his Bubble Gum Band return to Saint Joseph’s College of Maine's Standish campus on Sunday, December 2 at 2:30 p.m. for the 28th Annual Holiday Benefit Concert.

The public is invited to join the College community for this family-friendly afternoon of music taking place in Pearson’s Café in Mercy Hall.

As in past years, concert-goers are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy as the price of admission. Additionally, donations are welcomed and encouraged. All items and money raised will go to benefit children of Sebago, Raymond, Standish, and Windham in need of some holiday cheer.

For more information about the concert or the Mercy Center at Saint Joseph’s College, contact Kathryn Cody at 207-893-7794 or

NESN Sportscaster Tom Caron speaks to athletes during Meet the Coaches Night

Tom Caron sports Windham Eagle apparel
By Matt Pascarella

Meet the Coaches Night was held Monday, November 26 at Windham High School. The evening included the keynote speaker, Tom Caron as well as coaches from the Windham Middle and High Schools, providing parents the opportunity to meet with their child’s coach and learn more about the sports season.

Athletic Director Rich Drummond began the evening by stating the number one goal of the athletic department was to improve communication.

Shelly Afthim, head of the Windham/Raymond Booster Program also spoke during the event, explaining the benefits of involvement with the program and that they are one team with one goal for every sport.

Caron, a Lewiston High graduate and NESN sportscaster, took the podium to expound the importance of being on a team and what that means. He illustrated the triangle approach with sports; with one side of the triangle representing parents, one side as the coaches and the third side, the athletes. “If each side is working together, it makes for a smoother season,” Caron stated.

He also told the athletes they will have a chance to write their season; to come together as a team for one goal. Athletes should ask themselves: “how can I help everyone around me be the best they can be?”
Caron added that it’s ok to be afraid of failure. “Preparation is the best way to avoid failure,” he began. “But it’s wise to learn to deal with rejection and be your biggest advocate.” Caron also stressed to be smart about posting on social media as athletes. “Whether you are a pro or high school athlete, students are role models to younger students and that’s very important to remember.” shared with the athletes and their parents regarding the road that took him to NESN. When he graduated from high school, Caron’s goal was to work for a newspaper as a sportswriter. He went to St. Michael’s College in Vermont and during his junior year, he received an internship at a television station. He fell in love right away with the teamwork aspect of working at the studio and thus his life began as a sportscaster.

Caron’s interest in sports stems largely from his dad, who was a huge sports fan and a great baseball player. Caron stated it was clear he wasn’t going to play a sport for a living, but he believes if you love something, try to find a career in that area of interest. “I never thought it’d be a lifelong thing, but I got the internship and that station hired me out of college” he said.

He worked for television station WGME as a sports anchor and station WPXT as a sports reporter. In 1993, he was looking to move away from TV and took a job doing play-by-play calls for Maine’s Portland Pirates hockey team. Although Caron says he was tired of TV, he fell in love with doing play-by-play and after two years with the Pirates, NESN took notice of him and offered him a job.

Caron hasn’t forgotten his roots as he writes a weekly column for the Portland Press Herald and appears weekly on radio station 102.9 WBLM. “Be true to who you are” says Caron. “I live in Massachusetts, but anybody who watches NESN knows I’m from Maine.”

Caron’s wife is also from Lewiston and they have a son who is a senior at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont and a son who is at Bridgton Academy, looking to play soccer next year in college.
“I’m a Mainer, I’m proud of it and that’s never going to change,” he exclaimed.
Good luck to all athletes during the winter season!

Cub Scout Pack 805 helps to make a difference in the community

Cub Scout Pack 805
By Matt Pascarella

Saturday, November 17 was no typical Saturday at Shaw’s supermarket in North Windham. On that day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Cub Scout Pack 805 collected over 1,200 community donated non-perishable food items. This included items like toiletries, shampoo and toothpaste as well as raising $364 for the Windham Food Pantry.

The cub scouts handed incoming customers a flyer with items the Windham Food Pantry was looking for and customers would drop off their donations on their way out. “We did more than what we anticipated we’d be doing; which is just amazing and shows the support of the community,” commented Sarah DiDonato, Tiger Den Leader.

Tony Sweet, Cub Master for Pack 805 explained that they did this last year and this year was more successful with more people giving. While they don’t set a goal, they do aim to do a little better than the previous year. In 2017, the pack filled six carts worth of non-perishable food items and toiletries. This year, they almost doubled that, filling 11 shopping carts with food and non-food items, along with raising $364 for the Windham Food Pantry.
“For Pack 805, this is really big for us,” explains Sweet. “It’s definitely a way for us to give back and we all love doing it.” This food will be able to help a lot of different people. When Sweet looks at all the boxes of food collected, he cannot believe it.

“I feel much better knowing I have as much as I do,” commented Colette Gagnon, Social Services Administrative Assistant in charge of the Windham Food Pantry and the Windham Clothes Closet. She explained she used a lot of the donation for Christmas dinners and some for Thanksgiving baskets which feed approximately 400 people. Gagnon also mentioned that the donations really helped families looking for last minute donations.

“This was a great opportunity for the food pantry to give families a really happy Thanksgiving,” remarks Gagnon.

“People who are less fortunate...should be able to get food and be able to feed their families. I feel like that makes their day when they get food from the food pantry,” said AJ Sweet, Bear Den member and third grader.

Next month, Pack 805 plans to do a toy drive, so stay tuned for details.

November 21, 2018

Reaching step eight in the RSU14 withdrawal process

By Lorraine Glowczak

The RSU14 Withdrawal Committee met on Wednesday evening, November 14 at the Broadcast Studio, 423 Mills Road in Raymond to examine the details of the next step in withdrawing from the district and to consider the ways to engage the community in the discussions. 

Educational Consultant, Mark Eastman and Lawyer Daniel Stockford were invited and present at the meeting along with committee members: Teresa Sadak, Rolf Olson, Joseph Bruno and Kate Leveille. This meeting is considered the eighth step in the 22-step withdrawal process.

Among the many topics discussed included but were not limited the following:

Bruno wanted to clarify that the final decision and step within the upcoming activities may develop into a negotiated compromise and withdrawal may or may not happen. Sadak concurred with Bruno’s statement adding that the 2015 withdrawal efforts were the outcome of a compromise and not a failed effort. “In 2015, we could have chosen to withdrawal from the RSU14 district but opted for the compromise,” Bruno added. “At that time, we didn’t have lawyers in that process and Windham took advantage of the loop holes in the contractual agreement,” Bruno continued, explaining the reason for the new withdrawal attempt and negotiations. stated that state law allows 90 days to complete a withdrawal and reach an agreement. Noting that the time frame is nearly impossible to reach, he informed the committee that an extension
can be requested and will most likely be accepted. Stockford advised the committee to set aside a meeting on high priorities which would most likely need to be done during an executive session.

The focus of an executive session would include a discussion on strategy, negotiations and proposal ideas.

Committee members were all in agreement and wish to seek the thoughts, concerns and priorities from the Raymond public. One suggestion to encourage public engagement is by holding a workshop in the near future.

The RSU14 committee’s next meeting will be an executive session.

For more information regarding the RSU14 withdrawal and the committee meeting or to obtain full details and other agenda items discussed, visit the town website at or call the town office at 655-4742.

November 16, 2018

Free Thanksgiving meal available on Monday

By Lorraine Glowczak

As part of the regular Free Monday Meals Program provided by area churches and social organizations, a free Thanksgiving dinner with all the traditional holiday fixings will occur on Monday, November 19 at 5:30 p.m.

North Windham Union Church, 723 Roosevelt Trail will be the host of this week’s event and will have their doors open at 4 p.m. for those who would like to gather early.

“We are expecting between 75 to 125 people who will come together and experience a free and healthy Thanksgiving meal,” stated Stephen Palmer, board member of the Monday Meals program. “There will be appetizers of celery, cream cheese and olives for those arriving early. We will also decorate the church hall with Thanksgiving themed decorations to provide a fun holiday atmosphere.”

Area churches who combine resources and offer the free Monday meals every week include not only North Windham Union Church but also St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Faith Lutheran Church, Windham Assembly of God, Windham Hill United Church of Christ and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Other social organizations and individuals offer assistance as well and the Thanksgiving meal on Monday will be no different. “The Girl Scouts, members from North Gorham United Church of Christ as well as the soccer team and nursing students from Saint Joseph’s College will help us from time to time as part of their community service program and will be joining us for this Thanksgiving preparation,” Palmer explained.

Palmer also stated that the purpose of the Monday Meals Program is to provide good food and fellowship free of charge for individuals in the Lakes Region. All are welcomed.

For more information about this Monday’s Thanksgiving dinner or any free Monday meal, contact Palmer at 207-221-0734.

Sen. Diamond: "Ranked-choice voting is the law. We have a responsibility to follow it."

AUGUSTA — Earlier this week, Congressman Bruce Poliquin filed a lawsuit against Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap regarding the implementation of ranked-choice voting in his tight congressional race with Jared Golden. In the complaint, Poliquin cited out-of-context remarks made by former Secretary of State and current State Senator Bill Diamond of Windham to support this complaint.

In response to the lawsuit, Sen. Diamond released the following statement:

“It has come to my attention that Congressman Poliquin has referenced me in an attempt to support his lawsuit against the Secretary of State. Having run statewide elections in Maine for eight years, I've had a unique experience with all aspects of voting and elections in general. Therefore, my experience told me that there was a potential for logistical problems with implementing RCV. Even though I have specific concerns with ranked-choice voting, I want to be very clear: Ranked-choice voting is now state law. It ought to be followed. Secretary Dunlap and his staff are doing a superb job following the law as written and the people of Maine can rest assured and be confident in the sanctity of their votes.”

Sen. Diamond served as the Maine Secretary of State from 1989-1997. In the Maine Senate, he currently represents the people of Windham, Raymond, Standish, Casco, Baldwin and Frye Island. Sen. Diamond also serves on the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and Government Oversight Committee.

Tony Plante becomes a part of the growing staff at GPCOG

Tony Plante

The Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) recently announced the addition of former Windham Town Manager, Tony Plante and Tom Bell to their growing staff.  Kristina Egan, Executive Director of GPCOG, said.

“We are so pleased to have both Tony and Tom joining our team,” stated Egan. “As GPCOG continues to grow, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to bring talented, experienced people together to serve our municipal members and our entire region, from Sebago Lake to Casco Bay. 

“Tony Plante’s experience as a Town Manager for over twenty years brings a wealth of insight and expertise to GPCOG as we work to expand our services to the communities we serve.  His specialized expertise in performance management will be a particularly valuable addition to our team.  His contributions to the region at GPCOG will make us all stronger.  We are lucky to have Tony as a colleague.”

“Tom Bell is one of Maine’s true communications professionals. His long tenure as a reporter covering the issues GPCOG works on every day gives him unique understanding of what we do.  

Tom’s accomplishments as a communications consultant demonstrate his ability to help people understand complex issues in clear, direct ways.  And Tom’s passion for our issues, and our mission, make him the perfect fit for GPCOG as we share the great work we do with our members, our region and our state.”

Tony Plante comes to GPCOG after serving for 22 years as the Town Manager of Windham, where he was recognized as the Manager of the Year by the Maine Town, City and County Management Association in 2016. 

Tom Bell comes to GPCOG after a career as a reporter, including 16 years at the Portland Press Herald.  More recently Bell has been an independent consultant at Tom Bell Media where he has worked on policy and political campaigns.

GPCOG is a non-profit organization serving 25 municipalities in Cumberland and Androscoggin Counties, providing planning, transportation, economic development and energy services and support to individual communities and the region as a whole.

Public forum held to begin the search for next Windham Town Manager

By Lorraine Glowczak

The multi-step process for the hiring of the next Windham Town Manager began with a public forum on Thursday, November 8 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall in the Council Chambers room. The purpose of the meeting was to offer the Windham community an opportunity to provide input regarding what they deem important qualities for the next town manager.

The meeting was facilitated by interim manager Don Gerrish and Richard Metivier, a consultant with Eaton-Peabody Consulting Group (along with Gerrish), which will be leading and assisting in the hiring process.

Approximately 12 citizens were in attendance, including four town council members, Clayton Haskell, Rebecca Cummings, Jarrod Maxfield and newly elected, Dave Nadeau.

Gerrish announced that he anticipates up to 30 applications will be submitted for the position and an ad has been placed in professional websites with a deadline of November 26. Once the search has been closed, a public meeting will be set for community members and business owners, etc. to have an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the applicants. Interviews with department heads will also take place with a final selection from the Town Council. The successful candidate will be known by mid-January and the expected start date will be February 1. “We are seeking the person who fits your community the best,” Gerrish said.

Various comments were expressed with the main concerns focused upon the growth of Windham and transparency in town government.

Other comments expressed by the public included but were not limited to the following:

“Our town is growing very fast, but we still have a measure of small-town mentality. We need a candidate who can pull this community and this town council together,” stated Pat Moody.

“We are becoming a suburb of Portland (but) that is not my plan for Windham.” We have to hold back growth. We need controlled growth while protecting the environment. We have five bodies of water that are impaired as a result of uncontrolled growth.” Jeanie Rhein

“Town officials need to understand the boundaries of their roles,” stated Allen Pollack. He also expressed hope that solutions to problems are presented to the council as a full range of options and not just a single recommendation.

“The town is bigger and busier and we need a collaborative approach to help us solve the problems. We need to follow our comprehensive plans. I’m not confident effective planning is taking place,” expressed Kyle Rhoades

“We need transparency and communication through all groups. The candidate needs previous experience and should not be a rookie. He or she should be an idea person who brings multiple options to the table and provides a good working environment for town employees,” stated Maxfield.

“The candidate should be competent in MUNIS software,” expressed Nadeau.

“We need to have increased acknowledgment and non-monetary support for local non-profits and civic organizations. Sometimes non-profits just need good advice or help navigating various town rules and ordinances. I highly recommend a more collaborative approach to town management rather than the “top-down” approach.” Walter Lunt said.

Other suggestions and comments included that consideration should also be given to candidates who are experienced in the private sector. It was also mentioned that town government should be “vigorously transparent”, stating that it seems like certain “unknown factions” make secret deals. Suggestions included that competing factions should collaborate through consensus building and the candidate should be able to help lead the council through conflicts.

The public forum ended at approximately 8 p.m. For full details of the public forum, one can view the recorded session on channel 7 which can be accessed on the Town of Windham webpage at

Windham Town Council discusses Windham’s growth and selects new chair

By Lorraine Glowczak

The Windham Town Council met on Tuesday evening, November 13 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall in the Council Chambers room. The evening began with Linda Morrill, Town Clerk administering the oath of office to newly elected Town Councilor, Dave Nadeau as well as to Tim Nangle, who was re-elected to his West District seat. Nadeau fills the At Large position previously held by Dennis Welch. Both Nadeau and Nangle will carry three-year terms.

Public comment followed the oath ceremony. Windham resident, Karen Lougee expressed concerns regarding the unprecedented growth happening in Windham. She outlined certain points that included but are not limited to the following:

*Too many homes being built
*Too much growth on schools
*Tax increases due to the growth
*The stresses placed on town staff as well as on fire, rescue and police departments
*The growth's affect on the environment and wildlife habitat
*Infrastructure unable to support the growth.
*Reasonable planning is needed

It is for these reasons she requested a temporary 180-day moratorium on building residential properties.

Others in attendance spoke on their concerns about the town’s growth and the management of such. All concurred with Lougee’s request for a moratorium.

Councilors offered feedback on the subject of growth and the public’s request for a moratorium. Councilor Nangle would consider a moratorium but stated that he had concern regarding a town-wide restriction.

Councilor Jarrod Maxfield stated that it is best to be proactive rather than reactive in terms of growth and spoke in favor of bonds to provide funding to expand infrastructure to support the growth. He also pointed out that newly elected Councilor Nadeau (who has served as a Town Councilor in previous years) has been speaking about efforts toward growth management since 2011, as an example of being proactive.

Nadeau and Nangle were sworn into office by Linda Morrill
Councilor Nadeau stated that he hears from the Windham community that transparency and compromise is what is needed. He emphasized the need for compromise.

Councilor Robert Muir stated that the topic and concern surrounding the exceptional growth Windham is experiencing will be one of the major focuses for the Council this year.

Councilor Rebecca Cumming is not opposed to discussing the possibility of a moratorium and Councilor Donna Chapman believes wastewater and sewer infrastructure should be addressed to support the current growth.

Councilor Clayton Haskell stated that the ordinances changed when new people arrived in Windham. He does not believe in moratoriums and will never support them.

Other councilor comments included but were not limited to the following:

Councilor Maxfield congratulated Councilor Nadeau for winning the election, pointing out that he received 51% of the vote. He also stated that 60 percent of the registered voters came out to the polls on election day. Maxfield also thanked the VFW for inviting him to partake in the Veterans Day ceremonies.

Councilor Nangle congratulated Tony Plante for his new role with the Greater Portland Council of Government and also expressed his gratitude to the VWF for inviting him to the ceremony as well.

Councilor Nadeau thanked the voters for coming out on election day and for those who voted for him.

Upon completion of the public comment and councilor comment sessions, the Town Council members held their yearly elections for a new chair, vice chair and parliamentarian. Councilor Haskell and Councilor Nangle were recommended to replace Councilor Chapman. Councilor Haskell was voted to be the new chair with four votes for Haskell and three votes for Nangle.

Councilor Maxfield and Councilor Cummings were recommended for the Vice Chair positions with Cummings elected with four votes and Maxfield, three votes.

Councilor Muir was recommended to fill the parliamentarian position. He was elected with four votes for with three opposing votes.

For full details of the meeting and 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.

*Councilor Cumming reached out to the Windham Eagle after the meeting to express her congratulations to David Nadeau on his election, Tim Nangle on his re-election and to Clayton Haskell on his appointment to Council Chair.

November 9, 2018

Windham Skate Park revamp update

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Skate Park is getting a new look. The skate park was originally opened in 1999 and was first located at Windham High School until it was moved the following year to where it currently is located between the public safety building and the Community Garden on Gray Road.

Old Skate Park
In the Spring of 2016, the park needed to be closed for safety reasons. The Windham Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee felt strongly that the community still needed a skate park. The Parks and Recreation Committee decided it was time to update the skate park’s current wooden structures to be made of concrete. “It has been determined that intensity of use and longtime exposure to the elements did result in a limited lifespan for the park. Essentially, although regular maintenance was done on the park, structures ultimately were worn out,” explained Linda Brooks, Director of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Latest concept design
The town has received a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant which will be applied toward the community park and skate park construction. There are a few other funds currently dedicated to the construction of the concrete skate park: the LWCF grant, funds from the Recreational Impact Fee Account and funds from the sale of the Gambo property to the Windham Youth Soccer Association.

The grant funding and funds from the Recreational Impact Fee Account are a huge boost to making this a reality but further funding is expected to be needed and fundraising efforts are underway. Earlier this summer, Windham Youth Basketball hosted their annual tournament and donated the proceeds to the community park basketball courts.

The “main goal of the Parks and Recreation Committee is to build excitement about the project and encourage participation in the process and ownership of the park by the skate park users,” continued Brooks.

“Developing a community park has been a topic of discussion for the last ten years or so and there has been a number of designs over the years for the parcel located next to the public safety building. It wasn't until Linda Brooks suggested applying for the Land and Water Conservation grant (the same grant Windham was awarded back in the 1970s to build Dundee Park) and Windham being awarded the grant....did it become a reality,” clarifies Pat Moody, Chair of the Windham Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

How will the two skate parks differ? The skate park is only one element of the comprehensive plan for this community park. The plan calls for a skate park, basketball courts, beach volleyball courts, a playground and walking paths with mile marker signs and suggested exercises. The walking paths will loop around the park that is designed to offer something for everyone. Parks and Recreation Committee hopes to hold a fundraiser community event in the spring to promote plans for the new park. Citizens and community groups will be key in raising the remaining funds to complete all phases of the park.

Construction should begin in late winter/early spring, and the grant requires that we complete this first phase by September 2019.

For more information on how you or your organization can help with the community park please contract Windham Parks & Recreation at 892-1905. 

Catherine’s Cupboard refocuses efforts on regional food pantry approach

Catherine’s Cupboard will operate its weekly food pantry operations out of the Standish Municipal Center until December 19, 2018. Following that date, Catherine’s Cupboard will take the next step forward in its longstanding commitment to supporting sustainable communities and combating food insecurity by investing its dedicated financial resources and volunteerism in other local pantries.

Following statewide and regional recommendations, this change seeks to increase effectiveness and reduce redundancies in hunger relief food distribution system.

Matthew Goodwin, Dean of Campus Life at Saint Joseph’s College and member of the Catherine’s Cupboard Board said, “Saint Joseph’s College Mercy Center Director Kathryn Cody and I remain committed to addressing food insecurity through this new direction for Catherine’s Cupboard. We are still maintaining the nonprofit status of Catherine’s Cupboard and keeping the Board in place. We will still run fundraising Clynk campaigns, conduct food drives, and assemble our much beloved annual Thanksgiving baskets. Our service to the community continues, but in a different way. We welcome meetings or correspondence with anyone who would like to participate in the creation of our new collaborations.”

For the past ten years, Catherine’s Cupboard weekly food pantry has served hundreds of families from several towns. Despite this, Maine’s food insecurity overall remains above the national average and has yet to return to pre-recession levels, according to the Good Shepherd Food Bank. Joseph’s College’s President James Dlugos said, “For many years, Saint Joseph’s College has been examining how to address food insecurity as part of its long-standing Mercy mission. Food insecurity remains at unacceptable levels in Maine overall and in the Lakes Region, in particular. We need to do better. The new direction for Catherine’s Cupboard follows state and regional recommendations and pursues what we hope will be a more sustainable approach. We are tackling systemic and proactive change, in addition to direct assistance.”

Saint Joseph’s College’s overall approach to food insecurity will now include:

1) ongoing use of Catherine’s Cupboard financial resources and College volunteerism to support emergency food distribution using a regional food distribution approach;

2) increased collaboration with external partner agencies who generate offer direct emergency food services, e.g. Wayside Food Programs and Good Shepherd Food Bank;

3) creating systemic change through innovative partnerships with the Center for Sustainable Communities and the Institute for Local Food System Innovation at the College.

President Dlugos said, “We appreciate how the Town of Standish has been a longstanding partner with us in assisting our neighbors who need help the most. We look forward to working with town leadership on future initiatives.”

Until December 19th, Catherine’s Cupboard volunteers will be assisting food pantry clients in understanding how to access Lakes Region food pantry support in Windham, Steep Falls, Limington, and other towns.

About Catherine’s Cupboard
Catherine’s Cupboard Food Pantry was founded in April 2008 as a collaboration between Saint Joseph’s College’s Mercy Center, the Town of Standish, and the Bon Appétit Management Company. Later, Catherine’s Cupboard was run as a 501c3 with its own Board of Trustees and operated with funding from: the Town of Standish, the annual yield from an endowment established by Andrew & Helen McSween, and additional donations raised by Saint Joseph’s College. Initially operated out of the Steep Falls fire station, the pantry moved its operations to the Town of Standish’s new municipal center.

For more information, please contact Mercy Center Director Kathryn Cody at or Dean of Campus Life Matthew Goodwin

District seeks community involvement for WHS Senior Capstone Projects

By Elizabeth Richards

Seniors at Windham High School have a new graduation requirement this year that is intended to help them find their path after high school and show young people it’s not impossible to stay in Maine. 
The Senior Capstone project replaces the previous requirement of 40 hours of volunteering.  Lanet Hane, Director of Community Connections for RSU#14, said the district discovered that they were missing an opportunity to help students be better prepared for their careers.

“Maine has a big push to have students thinking about having a path after high school, and we really want to be part of that and be thinking intentionally about that, so that’s where the Capstone project came from,” Hane said.
Now, instead of simply doing 40 hours of service at random, students have to put together a project, complete with a final presentation, that better connects them to the community. The Capstone project is intended to take the same amount of time in a more coordinated and intentional way. 

Hane said students need to find someone in the community who will help them through the process of researching a topic that is of personal interest.  “It can be career related. It doesn’t have to be, but most students are choosing something that’s in the career realm,” Hane said. For instance, a student interested in law enforcement is connecting with local officers, will conduct research on requirements to be an officer and schools that might be a good fit, and could do a ride along. 

The Capstone Project has minimal basic requirements. Students will need to write a proposal, complete some short reflection papers, obtain mentor agreements and conduct a presentation to a panel of teachers and students for graduation credit. The presentation can be any format the student chooses – a paper that they discuss, a video, a play or another creative format. “It can be a lot of things, based on what makes sense for the project and the student,” Hane said.

The project is open ended, so while most will make their big push in their senior year, students can start it as early as they would like, Hane said. Because this is the first year the Capstone is required for graduation, the current goal is to be sure seniors, their families and community members know about it.

Seniors need to choose a teacher to advise them, and there is an optional quarter-long capstone preparation course available.  “It’s designed to be as independent as students want it to be,” said Hane.

Hane said she wants local businesses and members of the community to be aware that students may be reaching out to ask if they can shadow them, or request that they act as a mentor. She also said they don’t need to be scared by the idea of mentoring. “It’s not the huge commitment you often assume comes with a mentorship. It’s really being able to point them in the right direction,” she said, since they will also have a school advisor.

“Students are really going to be looking for people in different fields and might not know where to look,” said Hane.  Anyone willing to be engaged in the process can contact Hane or other school staff so they can build a list of those open to the idea.

 “It’s going to be interesting this year because there is so much learning, and such a process of figuring out how to make this work because it’s the first year,” Hane said.  There are more than 230 seniors to connect with community members who can help them find those resources. While finding people within the communities of Windham and Raymond is great, Hane said it’s more about helping students find their path, so they will go outside the immediate community if needed.

This kind of project for graduation credit is becoming more common, Hane said, especially in Maine where there’s a push for students to think about their future, whether or not that includes college.  The project is also meant to remind students that whatever career they want, there are local people who do it.