May 15, 2020

Saving lives: Be The Influence offers free virtual Narcan training

By Ed Pierce

A community coalition dedicated to raising awareness and addressing concerns resulting from substance use and misuse in Windham and Raymond will offer free virtual training in the use of Narcan to the community on May 18 and May 27.

The training is sponsored by Be The Influence and the city of Portland, and can help prevent death from overdoses by reversing the effects of opiates. Because it is a virtual presentation, training can be completed from home and takes about an hour from start to finish. to Laura, Morris, executive director of Be The Influence, a community collaborative designed to educate and help prevent substance misuse in Windham and Raymond, learning how to safely administer Narcan can mean the difference between life and death.

“Everybody should be equipped for this because you never know,” Morris said. “You could possibly save a life. Wherever people can help, this training can help reduce overdose deaths.”

Although it is usually administered by paramedics and emergency responders, Narcan can be administered by anyone who has been properly trained in its use. Those attending the virtual training sessions will receive instruction about risk factors for an opioid overdose, as well as how to recognize and respond by administering Narcan.

Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, works by blocking opioids from attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and only works on those overdosing from opiates such as heroin and morphine.

Morris said that residents wishing to participate in the virtual Narcan training must register at Names and email addresses of participants will not be shared with others and training can be done confidentially. Free samples of Narcan will also be available at a local site to be announced soon.

Along with co-sponsoring the virtual Narcan training, Be The Influence is continuing to work with and encourage students to become involved and learn about the dangers of drugs and how to make healthy decisions despite being away from classrooms during the pandemic, Morris said.

“The BTI Youth Public Service Announcement Contest that targeted the dangers of vaping and alternatives to self-medication is currently on our website and BTI Facebook page as well as the American Cancer Society website,” she said. “Please encourage other youth to submit by sending their 30- or 60-second video to”

Windham Middle School students that have submitted PSAs so far include Zocia LaWind, Sophia Gugliuzza, Dominic Cataldi and Daphne Cyr.
Other local students also were part of a focus group on May 7 to create a PSA about how to cope with the coronavirus without substances.

“It is intended to raise awareness of children experiencing trauma who are self-medicating,” Morris said. “The student PSAs show how to overcome trauma and anxiety without medications.”

RSU14 students also partnered with peers in Yarmouth, Bath and Gorham to enter a PSA contest sponsored by the American Cancer Society in conjunction with SEED, or Students Empowered to End Dependency.

Morris said PSA contests in general that are promoted by Be The Influence try to teach the concept of resilience to students.

Ready to go: Windham Farmers’ Market to open next weekend amid the new reality

By Lorraine Glowczak

In its third successful year, the Windham Farmer’s Market will be at it again this summer at the same location on Turning Leaf Drive in Windham (intersection of Route 302 and River Road) beginning on Saturday, May 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Vendors who will provide fresh, local foods and hand crafted products at this year’s market include: Baker Brook Farm, Cates Cache, Fox Run Gifts, Hailey’s Kitchen, Mains Made, Mulberry Farms, PH & Hidden Falls Farms, Siochanta Farm, Small Wood Farm, and Churchill Events.

There will be slight changes from previous years, because of the need for added personal distance and safety.

“The only modifications that will take place for this year’s Farmers’ Market will be to adjust to the new reality,” said Tom Bartell, Director of the Windham Economic Development Corporation. “The plan is to maintain the continued health and safety of the market and community and to comply with the State of Maine Governor’s Orders. The plan will be evaluated and amended throughout the summer for continued effectiveness.”

The Farmers’ Market will be set up to maintain the state mandated safety precautions. This will include the following:

·       Increased booth separation.  Each booth will have a line established for waiting customers and that line will be marked in 6-foot increments to maintain personal distancing.  
·       There will be two hand sanitizer stations for customer use, each located at either end of the market, and labeled with visible signage. 
·       Trash cans will be provided for the customer areas with step-on lids.
·       There will be signage reminding us to observe appropriate procedures. 
·       Frequently touched areas will be sanitized regularly.
·       Use of face masks is strongly encouraged for everyone’s protection.

“One of the additions to this year’s market is that shopping from 8:30 to 9 a.m. will be reserved for customers 55 and over or for those at risk,” said Bartell. “There will still be a welcome booth open with staff to greet customers and to process SNAP/EBT and MHB purchases.”

“To further keep our community members safe by avoiding direct personal contact, the market made the difficult decision to skip the popular children’s attractions, special events, and entertainment for this summer.  We do remain committed to supporting our customers and vendors with a great shopping experience,” said Market Coordinator Lisa Fisher.

Be sure to make a Farmer’s Market visit every Saturday morning this summer and support your local farmers and artisans.

For more information about this year’s market or to inquire about becoming a vendor, contact Lisa Fisher at 207-894-4097.

Saluting those who make it look easy: Sebago Lakes Region Chamber News

By Zack Conley, Board President

During difficult times it can be easy to overlook the hard work of those who make it look easy and flawless. Therefore, on behalf of the Board of Directors for the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, I would like to publicly recognize the tireless efforts of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber staff, Robin Mullins (Executive Director) and Denise Dyer (Office Manager), during this extremely challenging time.

Sebago Lakes Region Chamber Director
Robin Mullins and Board President Zack Conley
along with the board of directors
collaborate with businesses and the town to
support economic stability during these uncertain times. 
Countless hours have been spent on Zoom meetings with the Maine Department of Economic Community Development, the Department of Labor, Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, and the Maine State Chamber to gather information (that seems to change by the hour) on unemployment insurance, available loan programs, such as the PPP and EIDL, the CARES Act, essential vs. non-essential businesses, and re-opening plans and checklists. This information is then packaged in easy to read and useful newsletters that are sent as needed to all Chamber members, posted on the Chamber website, and shared via Facebook for non-members and the public.

An entire day was spent, with the help of board Directors, calling all three hundred Chamber businesses to check in and see how they were doing and how the Chamber could assist them, a Zoom meeting with the leaders of the ten towns the Chamber serves (Casco, Gray, Limerick, Limington, Naples, New Gloucester, Raymond, Sebago, Standish, and Windham) was set up as a way for the towns to share information with each other and let the Chamber know how it could best support each of them, and hours have been spent answering member and non-member questions about everything from available loans and assistance to when can businesses start to reopen.

Robin and Denise have been the voice of business in the region during calls with Maine’s Congressional Delegation, they have partnered with the Windham Economic Development Corporation, Windham Parks and Recreation and local restaurants to set up a Friday Free Meal Program for Senior Citizens in Windham, oversaw a $4,500 donation to 13 local food pantries in the region from the Chamber’s Charitable Trust, have given access to the Chamber Zoom account for members, set up the support local business campaign, #slrccsupportlocal, and held a virtual job fair for eight local companies in partnership with Bonney Staffing and the Maine Career Center. They have also brought on nine new members and are making plans for three major upcoming events, a Scholarship Golf Open on August 27th, the Sebago Spirits Festival on Sep. 19, and the revival of the Sebago Lake Polar Dip, in partnership with the Sebago Lakes Rotary for 2021.

They have done all of these things (and so much more), and with less hours. Like all businesses they have been affected by COVID-19, having to close the office, work from home, do more with less, and look for ways to save money while still bringing in revenues to pay for rent, utilities, and payroll expenses. Unlike other businesses and 501(c)3 non-profits, however, the Chamber has not been eligible for the same forgivable loan programs, such as the PPP or EDIL. The Chamber is a non-profit, but its 501(c)6 status (which allows them to lobby, although they do very little of it) negates them from these loan programs. Please keep this in mind as you, “support local.” 

A huge “thank you” to Robin Mullins and Denise Dyer for their commitment to the Chamber and the businesses in the Sebago Lakes region. Their work is important and greatly appreciated. Thank you, too, to the businesses who continue to support Robin and Denise and the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce as a whole. 

Together we will prosper, One Region, Limitless Possibilities! #Chambersarelocaltoo <

Coming to a neighborhood near you: 'Rolling Parade' to mark Memorial Day in Windham, Raymond

By Dave Tanguay

It’s Victory in Europe (VE Day, May 8), the 75th anniversary of the end of hostilities from World War II in the European theater.

Each Memorial Day the Town in coordination with the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 has taken every opportunity to honor those WWII heroes still with us. The Post currently list five in its membership. Over half the Post membership was WWII vets 25 years ago. It’s been more than 75 years since these vets went off to war.

Today, with the Covid-19 situation foremost in our collect minds, I contacted the Town Manager with the thought of reluctantly, cancelling the Memorial Day events for 2020 due to the current and projected restriction on large gatherings.

I received a pleasant counter proposal by Town Manager Barry Tibbetts. “Why don’t we bring the parade to the Windham community?”

After a Zoom meeting with the Town Manager Tibbetts, Police Chief Kevin Schofield, Fire Chief Brent Libby, the Town’s Economic Development chair Tom Bartlett, and members of the Legion Post 148 Eric Bickford and Dave Tanguay, a plan was developed and placed in the works. The plan is to hold a “Rolling Parade” through the neighborhoods of the town and bring the Parade to the Community.

The details for this novel approach to Memorial Day are still being worked out by the Fire Chief Libby and Police Chief Schofield as to security issues and the route. In general, it will look something like the “Easter Bunny” Route from last month.

Staring at the north end of the town (Raymond Line) and progress south along Route 302 the parade would run through as many subdivisions and neighborhoods based on accessibility.  The “Rolling Parade” would start at 9 a.m. and run for about two hours along the 302 corridor, then turn easterly along Route 202 to South Windham.

The Grand Marshal for this year’s Parade will be WWII veteran and P-51 pilot, Carroll MacDonald, now residing in North Windham. Other veterans from all our wars and conflicts will also be involved in the parade.

The Town and Legion Post are asking our community to come out to honor these and all of our veterans.  You can enjoy the parade from the comfort of your home and maintain the social distancing mandates. Or, you can park in the parking lots that front Route 302 in North Windham and watch the parade go by from the comfort of your vehicle.

The other event that the community may help with is the annual placement of flags of the Veteran’s graves in Arlington Cemetery. North Windham.  This is an event where social distancing can safely take place.  For those with a concern, masks and nitrile gloves will be available. The flag placement will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 16. Other cemeteries will be covered by our veterans the week before.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Town Manager Barry Tibbetts for his “outside the box” thinking that will allow the veteran community to salvage some elements of Memorial Day.

These are also opportunities to make memorable events for your family during this challenging time. Please join us.

May 8, 2020

Alexandra Hammond wins SMAA Citizenship Award

By Matt Pascarella

Windham resident and Cheverus senior Alexandra Hammond has worked hard to be a leader both during games or meets as well as within the community. Aside from playing a variety of sports, she dedicated over 200 hours of her time to community service. Last month, Hammond was awarded Cheverus High School’s Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAA) Citizenship Award.

Alexandra Hammond (photo by Shelly Rose
Cheverus Athletic Director, Amy Ashley, said Hammond was chosen because of her multi-sport participation and being a great citizen of the school. She always competed with an emphasis on sportsmanship and represented Cheverus positively. Academically, she was a top-notch student and was always willing to help out and volunteer.

“She does what you would hope all kids would do…a serious student and a serious athlete; kind, compassionate, very easy to cheer for. Cheverus was very lucky to have her,” said Vice Principal Dan Costigan.

“Receiving this award felt like a perfect summation to a career that was cut short with Cheverus High School Athletics. I worked be a leader on and off the court, field, or runway,” said Hammond. “This award made me feel like all the dedication had not gone unseen and that I have been able to leave a mark on my community.”

Hammond played varsity soccer, indoor track, varsity basketball, varsity volleyball, and varsity softball (and was planning on participating in outdoor track this season on top of softball). Outside of Cheverus, she has played Thunder Softball, Velocity Soccer, Thunder Basketball, and Maine Juniors Volleyball.

The ways Hammond has given back to the Cheverus and Windham communities are multi-faceted. At Cheverus, she has been a community read leader, a summer reading program, for two years. She has helped lead the freshman retreat, orientation, and reunion. She has volunteered at the Special Olympics basketball tournament at the University of Southern Maine; and she has helped to encourage independence and to teach the different sports individuals may compete in for Special Olympics at Windham Primary School.

Hammond says community involvement is important to her because she has grown up in a very connected world and there are many people she depends on. “This community has given me so many role-models that I wanted to become one myself and give to others what I was fortunate enough to have.”

Her softball coach agrees.

“Alex as an athlete goes beyond any stat. Her passion for softball is shown through her commitment and hard work on and off the field. All it takes is to watch her play one game to know that she plays with more than just skill, but also with heart and integrity,” said softball coach Theresa Hendrix.

During this time, Hammond is working to be a role model for the freshmen and dwell on things that will happen, rather than things that won’t. Her softball team stays in touch via weekly Zooms and fitness challenges are posted by Coach Hendrix daily. Hammond is looking forward to what is coming by doing cardio exercises and strength workouts. She also hits 60 to 100 balls off a tee daily and has a throwing routine with her dad.

“I do everything I can to be the best teammate, captain, supporter, student, and athlete I can be. I think part of being a student athlete is definitely keeping the grades before the sports.”

Hammond added, “The credit is not mine for this award, it belongs to those that supported me through Windham schools and onto Cheverus, my parents and family for the emphasis on community, my coaches that understood my academic needs, and all my friends that understand me and support me.”

Next year, Hammond will attend Stonehill College in Massachusetts to play softball. She will be majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Biochemistry on a Pre-Optometry route.

Celebrating National Drinking Water Week

Each May, the Portland Water District invites the public to celebrate the vital role water plays in our lives during National Drinking Water Week that opened May 3 and ends Saturday, May 9.
Planned public events were cancelled because of the pandemic, so the water district has shifted gears and are offering an online photo contest and encouraging the pubic to visit local breweries for takeout, delivery, and curbside services.

Photo Contest: From Sebago Lake to My Face 

We invite our customers to share pictures of their favorite ways to drink PWD tap water through a photo contest on the Portland Water District Facebook page. Enter the contest any time during May 3 to 9 by commenting on our Contest Kickoff post with your photo submission. The five submissions with the highest number of “likes” by 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 9 will be selected as winners! For details and rules visit our web site:

Local Breweries: Show Your Support 

Dozens of local breweries rely on PWD water to produce their outstanding draughts. The breweries listed on our web site had committed to participate in our original 2020 Drinking Water Week plans. Raise a glass – it’s 90 percent water – and support these local businesses. Many offer delivery or curbside pick-up services for beer, other beverages, snacks, and necessities like toilet paper, as well as gift cards.

Remote learning through the eyes of teachers and specialists

By Elizabeth Richards

In RSU14, the staff interacting with children, including classroom teachers; special education teachers; occupational therapists; and speech therapists, have worked hard to find creative, flexible ways to approach remote learning.

Zoom meetings, email, phone calls and online assignments are all part of the comprehensive support
Kristen Inman, Occupational Therapist for
RSU14 tries to accommodate her services
to fit the current family life
that staff has set up. The way teachers and specialists communicate is often based on the needs of the individual student.

Caitlin Plain, a speech language pathologist at Windham Primary School, said she is conducting teletherapy speech sessions, which allows her to work directly with students to target their speech and language goals. She also posts resources on students’ Google Classroom, and communicates with parents via email, she said.

Kristen Inman, a pediatric occupational therapist said she is not doing traditional telehealth services because families are already overbooked. “I am trying to provide OT services in a way that fits into the current family lifestyle by providing activities that meet the needs of the child yet are fun for the child to do or fit into their academics or playtime,” she said.

Inman also has live video chats with the students ed-tech; offers pre-taped videos of individualized OT activities; mails assignments; and checks in by phone. “It really just depends on what works for the family. It makes my day when I hear from my students in whatever form,” Inman said.

Emily Stokes is a sixth grade ELA/Social Studies teacher at Windham Middle School. She has shared the work with others using the same curriculum. “We came up with rotations for planning and creating lessons, in order to keep ourselves in a good place and not overwhelmed. It’s definitely been a team effort.”

They try to keep as connected as they can to their curriculum, but a main goal, she said, is the social and emotional piece for kids.

Remote learning has required many changes, since things like the “Heart of Courage” program that Stokes typically does with her students in the spring to teach them about veterans through classroom activities and community service aren’t possible. 

“It’s something that I’m grappling with because it is something that the kids learn so much from,” Stokes said.  She hopes to set up a schedule of people who can help place flags and clean up the cemeteries. “That’s one small way that we could help out,” she said. Anyone wishing to help can contact Stokes via email (

Teachers in special education are using a variety of methods to connect with their students as well.
Kristina Fitzgerald, who co-teaches seventh and eighth grade classes with a general education teacher meets individually with students who need more accommodations or explanation beyond Google Classroom or Google Meets. For executive functioning skills, she said, she provides websites and links, as well as time with the social worker and herself on Google Meets. “I also have two amazing ed techs who help with student work and follow through for IEP goals or accommodations,” she added. 

Lauren Gale, a special education teacher at Raymond Elementary School, said remote learning was a big adjustment because of how closely she works with kids based on their academic and social/emotional needs. “My first thought was worry and sadness that I wasn’t going to be a consistent person for them anymore,” she said, but has found that families are very responsive to her communication.

All staff know that families and students are doing the best they can. “Right now, my district’s greatest concern is with the emotional well-being of our families and staff. We, as staff, will provide what we can, and families will do what they can. We cannot expect more than that right now.”
There have certainly been challenges with switching to remote learning.

“I am limited by what the family has time for, the resources for, or is capable of,” Inman said. Students in K-2 usually aren’t independent in the use of technology, especially live video chats, she said. Being able to get devices set up so she can see the student’s whole body, and they can see what she is doing, can be difficult and frustrating. Children who have differing abilities have their own unique challenges as well.   

My heart goes out to those families that have three or four kids,” Stokes said. There are also families who need to be at work all day and then come home and help students with schooling, she said, so the key is finding balance without overwhelming anyone.

Gale said that because she’s not the student’s primary teacher, she let them know she was available for support then left it up to them to decide what would work for their situation.

Fitzgerald said the biggest challenge is time. “I work with some students who have difficulty initiating tasks and to not be right there with them to assist with that skill is difficult. I wish I could work with all of them, one on one, every day. I have formed relationships with each of my students, but these are connections you make face to face, not in a virtual world,” she said.

There are some silver linings to remote learning. Inman said she has discovered many new OT activities. “Sometimes you get in a rut of doing the same activities,” she said. “I am sometimes finding new areas that I wasn't aware the child needed help with and new ways to work with or help the child,” she added.

Working closely with parents has been a positive, Plain said. “Parents are able to see strategies used in therapy sessions and carry this over throughout the week with their children at home.”
“I think for some students, this is a great fit,” said Stokes. “A lot of kids get to sleep in and get up and do the work at their own pace.”  Another benefit is that kids are able to get outside more and get more fresh air, she said.

“Overall, it has been pretty positive!” said Plain. “Most students are excited to see you and this platform has resulted in me having to get more creative, which has led to some very fun sessions.”
Though children are struggling with so many things throughout this remote learning, Inman said, “they are slowly adapting and moving forward a little bit more. Each day this becomes their new normal. Kids are pretty cool that way.”

It’s important to be positive and optimistic, and it’s all about the kids,” Gale said. “At the end of the day as long as you’re helping them in any way, even if just saying hello, that’s what most important.”

Moving forward in positives ways during the COVID-19

By Sen. Bill Diamond

The past few months have been a very trying time. Not only have many suffered or even passed away from severe cases of COVID-19, but we’ve also experienced extreme economic hardship as a result of the necessary measures taken to reduce the spread of the virus.

Moving forward from here is a challenge for our state and our country. If we allow the virus to spread unchecked, many more will suffer or die. At the same time, not allowing businesses to open up, or people to visit the state, could have devastating impacts on our economy, especially as we move into the summer, when many of our tourism-based businesses make their money.

Last week, Gov. Janet Mills extended Maine’s “Stay at Home” order for another month, and released a plan to begin reopening our economy. The plan establishes four gradual stages of reopening, and Stage 1 began on Friday, May 1. Each of the first three stages include guidelines and rules to protect public health, while allowing certain businesses and other activities to resume in a limited fashion. These three stages are tentatively set to run through the summer. The fourth stage envisions a total reopening of the economy.

The stages focus on the ability of businesses to operate or an activity to occur in a manner that protects public health and safety. Businesses will be subject to certain requirements specific to their industry, as determined by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) in collaboration with the Maine CDC and industry groups. There are some general requirements that all reopening businesses must meet. These include accommodating employees at risk of COVID-19 and taking steps to protect employees from contracting COVID-19; taking certain steps when an employee exhibits symptom; and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Unfortunately, the 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state visitors would remain in place for Stages 2 and 3, meaning businesses would only be open to Maine residents and those who complete a 14-day quarantine upon their arrival into Maine. This requirement is of great concern to me, primarily because of the way it would affect many of our tourist businesses, including summer camp rentals and campground businesses. Especially in those cases, it doesn’t make a lot of sense from a practical point of view. We need to remember that tourism businesses operate on a thin margin and rely heavily on our out-of-state friends to make for a successful season. They cannot rely on locals and seasonal residents alone for their revenue this summer and fall. I’ve expressed my concerns with the administration regarding the impractical nature of this requirement and hopefully there will be some changes in the very near future.

We must place a high priority on safety and economic survival. I realize this is a delicate balance, but we must work hard to make it happen. Knowing that thousands of workers and business owners in our communities depend on the tourism industry, we need to find a way forward that allows seasonal businesses to cater to folks visiting Maine from away, with appropriate health and safety protections, and make sure that they and their workers get the support they need.

If you would like to read more about the plan, including a tentative timeline for reopening, the health and safety protocols for businesses, and more, visit You may also submit questions or comments by emailing It is my understanding that the administration is trying to be flexible and accommodating where they can, and feedback from businesses and citizens alike is helpful for them.

Of course, you may also reach out to me with your questions and concerns, by calling my office at (207) 287-1515 or emailing I am happy to do what I can to help.

Reopening Maine’s economy

By Rep. Mark Bryant

In the past week, all around Windham we’ve seen small shifts towards normalcy. The sun has come out and dirt patches have transformed into garden plots. We’ve seen consistently lower numbers of COVID-19 cases that suggest Maine is successfully flattening the curve. And some of the pandemic response protocols have been loosened. I know we are all anxious to get back to business. We are not out of the woods yet, but we can see some light. Still, as we continue to navigate this unusual time, I wanted to share some updates and resources on the path forward for reopening parts of our community.  

I’ve heard from lots of folks around town who are worried about the toll our COVID-19 response is taking on our economy. To help the state reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, the administration announced a set of guiding principles and a phased approach that will allow the Governor, with the help of medical professionals and business owners, to facilitate our reopening. As of May 1, the “Stay Healthy at Home” has been replaced by the “Stay Safer at Home” order. This order outlines a four-stage plan to reopening Maine’s economy, opening more and more kinds of businesses each month, expanding limits on group sizes, and gradually lifting social distancing guidelines over the course of the summer. More details can be found at  

This phased approach is being overseen by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), with close involvement from the Maine CDC, medical experts, private sector partners and representatives from the industries that are being reopened to help craft guidance that makes sense for each sector. I know the Governor and her team are constantly weighing public health with the importance of keeping our economy afloat. 

It is important to note that the plan to reopen Maine’s economy is not set in stone. Gov. Mills has stressed that as the public health situation changes and as we develop better solutions for the economy, the plan could change and the timeline could be shortened or extended. As part of that, DECD has opened an online portal for Mainers to submit their ideas for how to improve our reopening plan. You can find this at: This feedback along with continued consultation with medical experts and business leaders will help shift the plan into a strategy that works for as many Mainers as possible. Additionally, the Governor is convening an Economic Recovery Committee that will consist of approximately 30 business, community leaders, workers and lawmakers from both parties. This committee will meet virtually over the coming months and will report on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy and make recommendations for policy changes to address these impacts. This is a meaningful step in elevating the voices of the business community and other important actors in this difficult decision-making process. 

I am proud of our state’s detailed response to COVID-19 and our collaborative adherence to each mandate. It’s our teamwork that has kept Maine’s numbers low. I am grateful to be a part of that team and am here to help when you need it. I am available at 207-287-1430 or If we keep working together, we will get through the rest of this public health crisis and all the ripple effects it brings. 

Rep. Bryant is serving in the Maine House of Representatives, representing part of Windham in House District 24. He is a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation and the Joint Standing Committee on State and Local Government. 

May 1, 2020

Legislative update on COVID-19

By Rep. Jess Fay

There is no question, these are strange and very stressful times. For me, like most of us in Maine, it’s been another week at home, and another week of helping our friends and families navigate the greatest public health crisis any of us have ever seen. For some people, bills are piling up while little income is coming in. For others, the demands of homeschooling children while trying to work from home is taking its toll. And for many of us, there are worries about the health and wellbeing of our loved ones. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about some of the issues I have been hearing about and what the state is doing in response.

The issue I have heard the most about is our unemployment system. I am not going to make excuses, this pandemic has shown us that our unemployment benefit system was simply not ready for a crisis of this magnitude. Whether you are encountering system errors, waiting for application approval or, most frustrating of all, just not being able to reach anyone on the phone, I understand your frustration.

At a time when people are worried they won’t be able to afford groceries, I know that finding patience is incredibly difficult. I do want to assure you that the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) is working as hard as they can to address the unprecedented number of claims they’ve received over the past month. They have hired 100 new employees to cover the phones and they are working to get money out to qualifying individuals as soon as possible.

For those of you who are self-employed workers, independent contractors, farmers, gig economy workers or others who didn’t qualify for traditional unemployment compensation, I have good news. Starting May 1, MDOL will accept applications for these individuals under the federal pandemic unemployment assistance program. Visit the MDOL website to learn more.

All of us are worried about the toll our COVID-19 response is taking on our economy, and here in the lakes region we are especially concerned about our tourist economy. In 2018, 37 million people visited Maine. Those guests added $610 million to our state tax base and were responsible for $2.6 billion going directly to workers. Nobody knows what the tourist season this year will look like, but it will almost certainly be shorter and with fewer visitors. As we operate on a much smaller scale, our municipalities and the bars, restaurants, hotels, shops and more that rely on our visitors will be hard-pressed to come out of this crisis.

To help the overall state economy reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, Gov. Mills announced a set of guiding principles and a phased approach that will allow her, with the help of medical professionals and business owners, to facilitate our reopening. Beginning on May 1, the “Stay Healthy at Home” order will be replaced by the “Stay Safer at Home” order. This order outlines a four-stage plan to reopening Maine’s economy, opening more and more kinds of businesses each month, expanding limits on group sizes, and slowly lifting social distancing guidelines over the course of the summer. More details can be found at

As I said at the outset, these are strange times, and I want you to know that I am here to help you as much as I can. Please continue to reach out to me for help when you need it. I am available at 207-287-1430 or  Step by step and day by day, we will get through this pandemic together.

 Fay is serving her second term in the Maine Legislature and represents parts of Casco, Poland and Raymond. She serves on the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.

Oldies Dance ticket holders donate to Ronald McDonald House

By Ed Pierce

COVID-19 Stay at Home orders prevented organizers from hosting the sold-out 18th Rock n’ Roll Oldies Dance at the Eagle’s Hall in Biddeford this spring, but it couldn’t halt the generous spirit of the popular dance’s ticket holders.

More than 300 tickets were sold for $10 each in five days prior to the March 21 dance date, but according to Bruce Martin, Oldies Dance Group organizer, 271 ticket holders requested that their ticket costs be donated to the Ronald McDonald House.

“With all the people and businesses donating, the total amount raised and donated to Ronald McDonald House now stands at $70,835,” Martin said. “This spring’s dance netted $4,635 without us even holding the dance.”

Martin said although many participants were disappointed that the event was not held, their generosity was inspirational.

“I’ve never felt so close to people in my life,” Martin said. “It restores my faith in people’s warm heart and their concern for the Ronald McDonald House.”

Conducted twice each year in March and October, the dance has become the largest community fundraising effort for Ronald McDonald House of Portland, which provides comfort for the families of pediatric patients and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. It provides access to quality health care and enables family centered care ensuring families are fully supported and actively involved in their child’s care.

Martin said that the Oldies Dance Committee would like to thank the following businesses who donated to the 18th Rock n’ Roll Oldies Dance including Southern Maine Specialties, Inc.; 

Saco/Biddeford Savings Institution; Black Bear Promotions Inc.; Coastal Tech Heating; Superior Electric Inc.; Tractor Supply; Lowe’s; NAPA Shop Works; Beth Martin; Beachology Maine Gifts; Gorham Sand & Gravel; Bill Dodge; Get Fired Up; Old Orchard Beach Campground; Old Orchard Beach Edgewater

Motel; Champagne Energy; Neil Weinstein; Peter Barricelli; and Joe

“All of us at the Oldies Dance Committee would especially like to thank the wonderful 271 ticket holders with big hearts who generously donated their ticket costs to the Ronald McDonald House,” Martin said.

The 19th Rock n’ Roll Oldies Dance is scheduled to be held from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, October 10 at the Eagles Hall in Biddeford. Tickets are $10 and sell out quickly.

Call 284-4692 for more information and to purchase tickets. All Windham and Raymond residents are encouraged to join in on the fun.

Local WHS graduate helps Windham Veterans Center to launch fundraising campaign

The Windham Veterans Centers serves as the home to the American Legion, Field-Allen Post 148 and VFW Post 10643. Currently, the center is experiencing very difficult times. Their primary revenue source is through the rental of the property. However, all events have been halted since the end of February due to the COVID-19 social distancing measures. Rentals are often used by the public for birthday and anniversary celebrations, business meetings as well as Rotary and Chamber of Commerce events.

The Veterans Center is also used as a source of support and social connection for the 15% plus
veterans in the greater Windham, Raymond and Standish communities (and beyond). Wednesday coffee hours and women lunches are a few ways the center plays an important part in veterans’ lives.

Since no revenue is coming in and their budget is very tight, they are in need of financial support to continue to pay for ongoing overhead costs and to keep the doors open once the social distancing measures have been lifted.

As a result, a Go Fund Me site has been set up by a 2012 Windham High School graduate and 2017 UMaine alumna, Greg Morrison in order to help local veterans in need. Interested people and businesses can donate via the Windham Veterans Facebook page where they can mail a check or hit the link to their GoFundMe site.

“We appreciate Greg stepping up and helping us through this time,” stated Mel Greenier, Windham Veterans Association Secretary and Treasurer. “The hall is used by Field-Allen Post 148 five times a year with our Bean Suppers and St. Patrick's Day dinner, all fund raisers to support American Legion programs and area youth programs. The Windham Veterans Association conducts four bean suppers to help support their income used to pay the bills. So far, we have had to cancel two bean suppers and our St. Patrick's supper. The hall is available for rental, by the hour, 1/2 days and whole days. Our rental rates are affordable, and we discount for non-profits and Post members, both American Legion and VFW. To rent the space once social distancing measures have been lifted, anyone can reach out to the rental manager, Dave Langway at 939-0892.

Greenier said he realizes that many of the local businesses are suffering during these very dark days of spring. “We do not want to be a burden on our business neighbors and friends and as a result, we do appreciate Greg Morrison's help. We appreciate his young ideas and thinking outside the box fundraising approach. We also appreciate the Windham Eagle newspaper for collaborating with Greg.”

Please see PAGES TO BE DETERMINED, in this edition of The Windham Eagle newspaper for a list of businesses and individuals who have contributed to this fundraising effort. Due to their help and financial donations, a total amount of #HOW MANY DOLLARS will be contributed to the Windham Veterans Center GoFundMe account set up by Morrison. A big thank you to Morrison and to all who have donated financially.

Just as importantly, please support the local businesses who have donated. They, along with the rest of the Greater Lakes Region area, appreciate our veterans for their service and their continuing efforts to be a source of contact for all veterans in the Sebago Lake Region community.