December 20, 2019

Maine CDC releases student health survey results

Reported e-cigarette use among high school students nearly doubles since 2017

AUGUSTA — Results from the 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) show an increase in the number of Maine high school students who report e-cigarette use, commonly referred to as “vaping.”

Survey results for 2019 show that 28.7 percent of Maine high school students report currently using e-cigarettes (at least one time in the past 30 days), an increase from 15.3 percent in 2017. Maine’s 2019 MIYHS high school results align with the most recent data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, which show that 27.5 percent of high school students throughout the United States report having used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days, an increase from 11.7 percent in 2017.

The number of Maine high school students who report ever having used an e-cigarette product increased from 33.2 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2019.

The survey also shows that the number of high school students who reported current use of conventional cigarettes dropped from 8.8 percent in 2017 to 7.1 percent in 2019.

“Notably, the 2019 responses show a decrease in the percentage of Maine students who smoke or use other forms of conventional tobacco products,” said Nirav D. Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC). “Young people in Maine are getting the message that tobacco use is dangerous. But they need to realize that vaping also poses great risks to their health.”

The survey is a collaboration between Maine CDC and the Maine Department of Education (DOE), conducted biennially since 2009. Its purpose is to identify emerging trends facing youth by quantifying the health and related behaviors and attitudes of 5th through 12th graders using direct student surveys tailored to each age group. All public middle and high schools in Maine are invited to participate in the survey, which is administered during the spring of odd-numbered years.

The survey results show that e-cigarette use is also up among Maine middle school students. Current use (at least one time in the past 30 days) among middle school students rose from 3.8 percent in 2017 to 7 percent in 2019. The number of middle school respondents who reported ever having used an e-cigarette product rose from 10.4 percent in 2017 to 16.3 percent in 2019.

The 2019 survey results also indicate that fewer Maine high school students report buying e-cigarettes from stores, decreasing from 7.2 percent in 2017 to 4.8 percent in 2019. Most students reported receiving e-cigarettes from other people or giving money to others to buy the products.

Under a law that took effect in 2018, most individuals in Maine must be at least 21 years old to purchase tobacco products – including e-cigarettes. A clause in the law allows individuals who had turned 18 as of July 1, 2018, to continue to buy tobacco products lawfully.  

Maine CDC has worked with the Maine Office of the Attorney General to pursue increased compliance checks on e-cigarette purchases at retailers throughout Maine to prevent sales to youth. Maine already conducts these checks on both electronic and combustible cigarettes but has boosted the focus on e-cigarettes. Maine also already bans all online sales of e-cigarette products and licenses tobacco product sellers to ensure oversight.

The Maine CDC and Maine DOE have additionally promoted awareness of a September 2019 law that bans e-cigarette use on school property.

Maine CDC and Maine DOE continue to work with partners across the state to help prevent young people from initiating use of and exposure to e-cigarettes. A workgroup has met regularly to create educational resources and presentations to increase awareness.

For information on the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey: 

For information on tobacco cessation programs:
- Maine CDC Tobacco and Substance Use Prevention and Control Program: (207) 287-4627 or
- Local technical assistance for schools:
- Maine CDC educational guide about e-cigarettes/vaping-type devices:‌resources/ends-toolkit/
- Additional resources:
- The Maine Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-207-1230 or

- The Truth Initiative offers free text message programs for youth and young adults who want to quit vaping or smoking and is a resource for parents looking to help their children.
Text Quit to 202-804-9884 to quit JUUL or e-cigs.
Text QUITNOW to 202-759-6436 to quit cigarettes.

Students learn the reality of journalism

Belle Clapp, Ashlynn Moorehead, Ellie Szostalo
and Journalism Teacher Ryan Lowell in front of the Green Screen
 By Lanet Hane

Students in Windham High School’s Journalism course have been learning all about the process of writing great stories. In addition to learning the craft, they have a number of opportunities throughout the course to experience the real-life world of careers in journalism.

Last week students were provided the opportunity to tour WGME, experiencing everything from green screens to the feeling of being on-air. They had the chance to interact with people who have made a career out of journalism and were immersed in the real-life application of the work they have been doing in the class.

Later in the week, Lorraine Glowczak of The Windham Eagle joined the class to talk about her experiences as a writer and editor. They had the opportunity to ask questions about the process of writing articles, keeping deadlines, working for a newspaper, and much more.

RVCC brings beloved Christmas Operetta to Christmas Eve Worship

Taking a break from its traditional Christmas Nativity pageant this year, Raymond Village Community Church, 27 Main Street, will present selections from Gian Carlo Menotti’s famous operetta; “Amahl and the Night Visitors”; the wonderful and magical musical story of a young disabled boy (Amahl) and his encounter with the Three Kings on their way to Bethlehem to visit the Christ Child. The service will be on Tuesday, December 24 at 5 p.m.

Poland High School Junior and All-State vocalist, Amy Fryda, will play Amahl.  Raymond resident Erin Gurney will play the mother.  Members of the RVCC Senior Choir will play the other roles.  RVCC Music Director, Patrick Martin, is directing and will accompany the production on piano.

The cast of RVCC’s Christmas Eve operetta; “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at rehearsal: (l to r) Caryl Gilman, Brenda Olsen, RVCC Music Director Patrick Martin, Brenda McMackin, Jeri Keane, Amy Fryda (“Amahl”), Polly Dyer, Cheri Moore, Rolf Olsen, Nancy Yates, Lori Lambert, Erin Gurney (“Amahl’s Mother”) 

“Rev. Nancy (Foran) is always seeking to tell the story of Christmas in new and meaningful ways.  

We both thought that “Amahl” was the perfect way to do so this year.” said Mr. Martin.  “It’s a wonderful story about a young boy with a penchant for telling tall tales. When the three magi arrive at their door, Amahl and his mother offer them food and shelter and learn about the Christ Child they are seeking. Miracles occur, and, in the end Amahl leaves with the kings, carrying a very special gift for the Baby Jesus.”

Rev. Foran said, “We’ll focus on the Amahl story, but we’ll begin with a brief Call to Worship and an opening carol, and end with a candlelight singing of ‘Silent Night’.  As always in the past, this service is for the entire family. From the youngest to the oldest, everyone is welcome here. This is a great way to begin the Christmas holiday!”

December 13, 2019

Windham Interim Manager Gerrish offers recommendations to Town Council at his last meeting

By Lorraine Glowczak

Presenting to the Windham Town Council his last official Interim Manager’s report at the Council Meeting held on Tuesday December 11, Don Gerrish offered some thoughts about areas the Council could consider helping Windham to continue to move forward.

He discovered, with the help of Town Clerk, Linda Morrill, there were only 36 voting residents who attended the Town Hall meeting this past June. “In fact, in the last eleven years, the average attendance has been only 43 individuals who joined the town meetings to adopt the budget,” Gerrish stated. “Town meetings have served their purpose in the past, but it is no longer true representation with a population of approximately 17,000,” As a result, Gerrish recommended that the council consider a petition to vote on in the next Gubernatorial election to eliminate town hall meetings. suggested that the council also to take a closer look at the charter. Currently, the position of
Town Clerk is voted in every two years, and the Assessor who is appointed by the town council. “I think the process would work much better in a town of this size if these positions were appointed by the Town Manager.”

Gerrish also suggested an increase in borrowing power. “Under the charter today, if you do not do away with the town meeting, there are two things about the town meeting you need to consider…one is you can’t borrow anything under $25,000 without a vote and town approval but this is too low. Most communities have a limit, but it needs to be a higher number (up to $100,000) in order to offer a more expediate way to get things done.

Gerrish stated the charter needs to be revised for wording, processing and timing etc.
“and brought up to the 21st century.”

Additionally, Gerrish advised that the next town manager might consider an assistant and change the number of departments that directly report to the town manager. “Currently there are 13 different departments reporting to the Town Manager. Although this is doable – but the span of control to do all that work takes the time to manage that many departments is very time consuming in a town this size.”
Gerrish asked that the Council consider looking at council rules of procedure to streamline and clarify
some issues that have been brought up in the past year. Every year the rules need to be examined and adopted after each election - and changed as needed.

“Finally,” he continued, “I want to thank the Council for the opportunity for the past year. It has been a pleasure. It has had some challenges, but it has been a great please. I also want to think the citizens for welcoming me and making me a part of the community.”

December 6, 2019

Windham High School Katahdin Program chefs prepare another free community meal

The students of The Katahdin Program; Windham High School’s alternative learning initiative, had such a good time planning and preparing Raymond Village Community Church’s (RVCC) free community meal last month that they want to do it again. This time, they’re working with RVCC parishioner and Portland Firefighter Craig Messinger to put another memorable and delicious meal on the table at RVCC, located at 27 Main Street on Thursday, December 12 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“Craig makes a mean seafood chowder,” stated RVCC Pastor Nancy Foran. “His chowder will be paired with vegetarian minestrone, salad, homemade bread, and carrot cake prepared by the Katahdin Program students. Other members of our congregation are getting into the act, preparing even more desserts.”

Pastor Foran also reminded the public that these meals are completely free. “The whole point of these meals is to build community: everyone is encouraged to attend, to see old friends and meet new neighbors before the Winter closes in.”   

The Katahdin Program utilizes the classroom, the outdoors and the greater community to provide alternative education programming for students, grades nine through 12, in the RSU14 Windham/Raymond school district. The program recognizes that all learners have strengths, assets, and interests. Katahdin staff believe that every individual is an important part of the learning community, whose core values are integrity, safety, respect, responsibility, and kindness.

For further information about RVCC and Free Community Meals, email Rev. Foran at, or call the Church at 655-7749. 

To learn more about the Katahdin Program, go to their website at:

RVCC: Small Church, BIG Heart!
Raymond Village Community Church is a United Church of Christ congregation.  It is a diverse faith community embracing tolerance, committed to missions and outreach, singing joyfully, and welcoming all people no matter who they are, or where they are on their faith journey.  For more information about RVCC, contact Rev. Nancy Foran, Pastor, at 655-7749 or

Breakfast with Santa

The Windham Lions Club is hosting another Breakfast with Santa, a once a year event, where children can visit and eat with the jolly ol’ elf. Children of all ages are welcome to partake of the free breakfast of pancakes, sausages and beverages. Breakfast is served Saturday, December 14 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Donations to support the Lions Club will be accepted at the door.

There will be an opportunity to take pictures with Santa, so bringing a camera is recommended. 

The event will be at the Windham Veterans Center behind Hannaford on Toby Pennels Memorial Drive. The event is co-sponsored by the Windham Veterans Association, which is providing the usage of the center for this community event.

Legislative update: Protecting children requires vigilance

By Sen. Bill Diamond

Over the past two years, our child protection system has been under a microscope, and rightfully so.
The violent deaths of two young girls, Kendall Chick and Marissa Kennedy, at the hands of abusive family members, shocked us all and highlighted very real shortcomings within the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS). That OCFS did not properly intervene in those cases is as big a failure as there can be in state government.

This recent scrutiny has been damning. Thanks to investigative reporting from the Portland Press Herald, we now know that in the past 12 years at least 18 children died in homes that had been previously flagged for incidents of child abuse or neglect. And a report last year from the Legislature’s Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability, which was ordered after Kendall and Marissa’s deaths, indicated that OCFS was chronically understaffed.

cstlouis@spurwink.orgTo the credit of the current administration and the legislature, this scrutiny has spurred some well-intentioned efforts to fix the broken system. There have been press conferences and testimony to the legislature’s Government Oversight Committee, promising to make changes. The most recent budget includes a significant staff increase for OCFS.

But these good intentions and promises will not be enough, and we know that because we’ve been here before.

In 2001, five-year-old Logan Marr was found dead in her foster mother’s basement with more than
40 feet of duct tape wrapped around her little body. She had been left alone like that, asphyxiated, and died slowly and painfully. It was a horrible case, and the foster mother, Sally Schofield, was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

The case generated widespread outrage, and immediately following Logan’s murder, the state declared that they would fix the problem. Well-intentioned actions were taken, such as adding more supervisors and caseworkers, reducing the number of children in state care, increasing family training and prioritizing family placements.

Remember, this all happened in 2001. Here we are, almost 19 years later, right back where we started, if not worse than before. The good intentions and promises didn’t work.

Protecting children requires vigilance. We cannot continue to react in a knee-jerk fashion every time the public becomes outraged after a child is murdered. We must be proactive, and prevent the deaths from occurring in the first place.

This is not something OCFS can do on its own. We’ve been through seven DHHS commissioners and four gubernatorial administrations since Logan’s death, and children are still dying. Rigorous, ongoing oversight is absolutely necessary if we ever want to truly get a handle on this problem, as is input from the courts, the legislature, law enforcement and the public.

That’s why, earlier this year, I introduced a bill, LD 1554, “Resolve, Establishing a Commission to Reform Child Protective Services.” We will continue hammering out the details next year, but the idea is to move beyond good intentions and to truly fix our broken child protection system.

We cannot let this moment be a flash in the pan. Ten, 20 years from now, we should be able to look back and see that we solved this problem, and not wonder how we ended up right back where we started, again.

There should never be another Kendall, or Marissa, or Logan. Let’s make it happen.

If you have any ideas, questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my office at 287-1515 or send me an email at My line is always open to you.