July 30, 2021

Hayes joins newspaper staff as writer, columnist

Retired educator, accomplished baker and
author Collette Hayes has joined the staff 
of The Windham Eagle and will report about
events and issues affecting the community
of Windham and Raymond. She will also
create a new recipe column which launches 
this week in the print edition of the newspaper.
By Melissa Carter

The Windham Eagle

As someone who believes that everyone can learn to cook and bake, accomplished writer and baking enthusiast Collette Hayes is hoping to make a difference in the lives of readers of The Windham Eagle.

Hayes, a retired educator who moved permanently to the Lakes Region of Maine in May, has joined the staff of writers for The Windham Eagle to report about events and issues affecting the Windham and Raymond community. She will also create a new recipe column for readers called “Cooking Corner,” which is featured in this week’s edition of the newspaper.

Recipes from Hayes will appear every other week and she said they will be easy to prepare and delicious to eat.

“People have the misconception that cooking, and baking is like being an artist and that’s totally not true,” Hayes said. “Anybody can learn the skills to cook and bake, it’s like learning math or chemistry. Everyone enjoys good food and I believe everyone can develop the skills required to prepare and cook a good meal.”

After spending summers in Maine for the past 30 years, Hayes chose to relocate here permanently in May coming from Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in education from Utah State University.

Along with a lengthy career as a classroom educator, Hayes also served as a mentor and advisor at the college level for new teachers and has extensive writing experience.

She has authored children’s stories for renowned watercolor artist Eric Mohn and has been a contributor to the Simply Bake blog for some time.

According to Hayes, she enjoys baking because it’s a creative pursuit for her.

“I like the idea of how food brings people together,” Hayes said. “Sunday dinner is a bonding time for families. I like not only the creative aspect of creating a meal, but also the bonding when people sit down together to eat it.”

The most challenging aspect of cooking and baking for Hayes is precisely the reason she wanted to create a new regular recipe column for The Windham Eagle.

“The hardest thing for me is finding a recipe and then perfecting it,” she said. “These recipes are ones I’ve come up with and taken the guesswork out of them for everyone.”

Besides her recipe column, Hayes says she can’t wait to begin reporting on stories that matter to her and for readers of the newspaper.

“My main focus is to get to know people in the community and become a part of it and contribute to this community,” she said. “Writing is my passion and it’s a perfect way to get to know this community.”

Managing Editor Ed Pierce of The Windham Eagle says that Hayes is a welcome addition to the newspaper staff.

“Collette is serious about writing and is enthusiastic about covering topics that matter,” he said. “She’s highly intelligent and a very capable person who can chronicle events, people and issues in Windham and Raymond with accuracy and objectively.”

Pierce said he’s looking forward to sampling some of the recipes Hayes will include in future columns.

“We’re happy to be able to liven up the Entertainment Page for readers with Collette’s new column,” Pierce said. “Movie reviews will still appear every other week, but anyone who has an interest in cooking and baking will now find valuable tips and instructions for preparing simple and easy recipes in The Windham Eagle twice a month. And I plan on trying out some of her recipes myself.” <   

Path International honors Riding To The Top volunteer

2021 PATH International Volunteer of
the Year Pat Niboli works with a horse
named Flynn during a recent session at
Riding To The Top in Windham.

WINDHAM – PATH International, an international voice in the equine-assisted services industry, annually celebrates individuals who symbolize the celebration of ability, optimism, diversity and a shared love of equines. Nominations are called for to recognize reliable volunteers who to commit their time and talents and are “essential to the success of therapeutic horsemanship centers” and this year PATH International agreed that Pat Niboli is an outstanding representative of the volunteer community and has named her the 2021 PATH International Volunteer of the Year.  

In the words of Janis Childs, a fellow volunteer and RTT Board member, “Pat and I both began volunteering in 2011. Over the years, I have marveled at Pat’s work ethic, her dedication and passion in supporting the Center. I am sure that there is not anything she has not done at the farm! She mucks, she feeds, she invents, she is a horse leader in lessons, and she is the “driving” force behind the carriage driving team! Those are just a few of her gifts that she offers on a weekly basis!”

“We are so very fortunate to count Pat as a member of the RTT family,” said Riding To The Top Executive Director Sarah Bronson. “She is always thinking about how to help out with friend- and fund-raising ideas—bringing new people to the farm and raising important funds to keep our programs strong, our horses happy and fit and our clients happy. There is no one more deserving of this award and we are thrilled that she has been recognized for her efforts, not only by RTT, but internationally by PATH International.” 

A virtual awards ceremony will be held to recognize Niboli by PATH International on Nov. 5. 

About PATH Int’l 

The mission of Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International is to lead the advancement of professional equine-assisted services by supporting its members and stakeholders through rigorously developed standards, credentialing and education. 

PATH International was founded in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) to promote safe and effective therapeutic horseback riding throughout the United States and Canada. Today, PATH International has 873 member centers and nearly 8,000 individual members in countries all over the world, who help and support almost 69,000 men, women and children--including more than 6,700 veterans--with special needs each year through a variety of equine-assisted services programs. 

About Riding To The Top 

Founded in 1993, Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center’s (RTT) mission is enhancing health and wellness through equine-assisted services. RTT is a PATH International Premier Accredited Center (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International).  Located in Windham, RTT is the state’s only year- round PATH International. Premier Accredited Center solely dedicated to serving people with disabilities through equine-assisted services.  For more information about client services, volunteering or making a gift, please visit www.ridingtothetop.org or call 207-892-2813. <

In the public eye: Longtime Windham Town Clerk Linda Morrell makes tough job seem easy

Linda S. Morrell has served as Town Clerk for 
Windham for 27 years and spent seven years
prior to that as the Deputy Town Clerk. In her
current role she oversees elections in Windham,
manages the clerk's office and is the secretary
for the Windham Town Council.
Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Ed Pierce

Each day that Windham’s Town Clerk Linda S. Morrell arrives for work she’s wearing a smile and the veteran administrator is the first to admit she loves her job and everything about it.

Morrell moved with her parents to Windham at 14 in her freshman year in high school and graduated from Windham High School in 1978. She started working as a deputy clerk for the Town of Windham and following seven years of serving in that position, she has spent the last 27 years as the Windham Town Clerk, a role she doesn’t take for granted.

“I’ve never regretted taking this job, I love doing this,” Morrell said. “I really enjoy this job and like everything I do and meeting the people. It’s such a variety of different tasks and is constantly changing. You can never be bored doing this job.”

In her duties as Town Clerk, Morrell serves as Windham’s Supervisor of Elections, be it municipal, county, state or presidential elections. She also oversees two full-time and one part-time town clerk’s office staff members and she’s responsible for the town’s dog registrations; the sales of hunting and fishing licenses; officiating weddings; maintaining  the town’s vital statistics; state boat and automobile registrations; providing notary service; swearing elected municipal officials into office; helping collect tax payments for the town; and serving as the secretary for the Windham Town Council.

Before coming to work for the town, Morrell spent eight years as a ballot clerk during elections and was a stay-at-home mother. Her husband was a shift worker and when she was offered the job as deputy clerk over the phone, she eagerly accepted, launching a lengthy career of service to the public.

According to Morrell, her greatest accomplishment as Windham Town Clerk through the years has been that the elections she oversees have run smoothly and been without controversy.

“Knock on wood, but there have been no issues ever with elections since I’ve been here,” Morrell said. “So far every election has run smoothly with only one recount in which a challenger lost by five votes to the incumbent and asked for a recount. When we recounted the votes, the challenger was defeated by that same total of five votes. I really feel good about how I run an election, you always want things to go smoothly, and they have.”

Her greatest challenge as Windham Town Clerk is staying knowledgeable about updated rules and regulations and being able to educate the public and training staff members about those changes, she said.

“We don’t make the rules, we’re just an agent of the state,” Morrell said.

In 2007, Morrell was awarded lifetime certification for her duties from the state of Maine at Maine Municipal Association. That meant she served the association in various capacities and continued her education  to stay current on laws and procedures and completing all lifetime certification requirements. She also met all qualifications and requirements to be enrolled as a member of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks allowing her to use the title of Certified Municipal Clerk in all 50 states.

With all her duties, Morrell puts in many long hours and late nights especially during election season and attending every Windham Town council meeting every other week.

“I truly enjoy working with the people we serve and helping somebody just about every day,” she said. “Or at the very least if we’re not able to help them, pointing them in the right direction to where they can find help.”

Happily married for 42 years and the mother of two grown sons, Morrell lives on a farm in town and says she loves to go on walks with friends, going to the movies with her husband, and reading.

Although much of her time is spent overseeing the Windham Town Clerk’s office and despite the variety of tasks she handles daily, Morrell says that her work remains as meaningful to her now as it was the day she started.

“I want everyone to know that we are here for them whenever they need us,” Morrell said. “We all enjoy our jobs here and we try to be friendly all of the time. We’re fortunate to have a great staff here and the public really seems to like them. I love my job and it is a privilege to serve this community as the Town Clerk.” <

Bald Pate Mountain in Bridgton a perfect hike for everyone

Loon Echo Land Trust manages Bald
Pate Mountain Preserve featuring an
extensive network of clearly labeled
trails that allow hikers to choose a
different path to the top of the
mountain each time they visit.
By Briana Bizier

Whether you’re entertaining out-of-town guests, trying to keep children from climbing the walls during the last month of vacation, or just looking for a new perspective on our little corner of the world, taking a hike is a great way to enjoy the Pine Tree State’s glorious summer. And Bald Pate Mountain in Bridgton just might be the perfect place for a hike.

Protected by Loon Echo Land Trust, Bald Pate Mountain Preserve contains 486 acres of forest, mountains, streams, and several dozen breathtaking views. Loon Echo maintains an extensive network of clearly labeled trails that thread through 6.7 miles, allowing visitors to choose a different path to the top of the mountain every time they visit. These trails are accessed via two different parking areas; the main parking lot is found off of Route 107, while a smaller lot off Moose Pond Cove Road allows access to the Micah Trail.

The first time our family visited Bald Pate, I let the children choose our route. This is a strategy that most experienced outdoor leaders would probably discourage. My two hiking assistants looked at the map on Loon Echo’s website and promptly chose the shortest, steepest route, the Pate Trail, which is only 0.2 miles long. While the Pate Trail appears to be a smooth, green line on the map, Loon Echo’s website advises that route is “steep, use caution.” I warned the children that their chosen trail would be quite a climb. My small hiking partners, equipped with Jolly Ranchers and beef jerky, were not deterred.

To access the Pate Trail, we parked at the smaller lot off Moose Pond Cove Road and followed the Micah Trail through a half-mile of lovely beech forest. The trail crosses a small stream and features a boardwalk over parts that could become muddy. This early section of the trail was smooth enough to lull me into a false sense of confidence about allowing small children to determine our route.The Micah Trail branches at a clearly labeled intersection where it connects to the South Face Loop Trail. A left here brought us to the beginning of the Pate Trail, which leads directly up the face of the mountain. Directly up. Fortunately, this trail is short, and it offers plenty of spots to stop and admire the views while gasping for air. Also, after scrambling up the Pate Trail to the 1,150-foot summit of Bald Pate, we all truly felt like we’d earned the views from the top.

And those views are spectacular. From the summit, the White Mountains stretch off into the north and west while Sebago Lake sparkles in the south. My daughter and I tried to pinpoint the location of our house while my son insisted that we take him swimming in every lake we could see.

In addition to the jaw-dropping views, the mountaintop is also quite fascinating in its own right. Bald Pate’s summit is home to a unique and ancient pitch pine habitat, which gives the mountain’s top a distinctly different feel from the gentle birch forests that surround the Micah Trail.

For our descent, I decided to give my creaky adult knees a break by leading the family down the South Face Loop Trail, which offers a much gentler route than the Pate Trail. For half a mile, the eastern arm of the South Face Loop meanders down the mountain, through wildflowers, blueberries, and pitch pines, offering glimpses of the lakes and forest below until it rejoins the Micah Trail. This section is smooth and gentle, a welcome respite from the strenuous Pate Trail, and it would be delightful even for the youngest hikers.

The Bob Chase Loop Trail, which begins at the main parking lot off of Route 107, offers an even smoother route to the top of Bald Pate. It begins on a wide dirt road and leads to the spectacular summit with a modicum of effort. The Bob Chase Loop connects to several other trails, so experienced hikers, or those hiking without small children, could easily travel every route through the nature preserve in a day.

We’ve since returned to Bald Pate Mountain Preserve several times, and we’ve hiked the entire South Face Loop from the Micah Trail. This trail is my new must-do for visitors from out of state. It’s an unforgettable introduction to the woods and mountains of Maine as it leads hikers through a young beech forest, past craggy glacial erratic boulders, through wild blueberry bushes on the mountain’s shoulders, and finally, gently, to the summit with its amazing views. At just under two miles, the South Face Loop Trail can be enjoyed in an afternoon while still leaving plenty of time for ice cream and a swim afterward.

If you are considering hiking any trails, please prepare accordingly. Make sure you bring water and snacks, be aware of the weather forecast, stick to the trails, and carry out everything you brought in, trash and children included. The main parking area for Bald Pate Mountain is located off of Route 107 in South Bridgton, 0.4 miles from Five Fields Farm if you are headed south on 107. The Micah trailhead is accessed from a small parking area located on Moose Pond Cove Road, also off of Route 107. Maps, directions, and more information can be found on the Loon Echo Land Trust’s website:
https://www.loonecholandtrust.org. <

National Night Out offers community a glimpse into Windham law enforcement

By Ed Pierce

After being unable to host its National Night Out event last year because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, members of the Windham Police Department are ready to resume the popular community gathering next week. 

Held annually on the first Tuesday evening in August, National Night Out is an opportunity for the residents of Windham to meet with local law enforcement and public safety personnel in a casual setting and learning more about the important work that they’re doing protecting the town.

This year’s event in Windham is scheduled to be conducted from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3 in the parking lot of Windham High School at 406 Gray Road in Windham. National Night Out is open to the public and will include food, and an array of fun activities for the entire family.

Representatives of the Windham Police Department, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Windham Fire Department and Windham Parks and Recreation will be on hand and participants will be able to view police and fire equipment and vehicles up close.

The original National Night Out was established in 1984 with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the U.S. Department of Justice. The program is administered by the National Association of Town Watch, a nationwide organization dedicated to the development, maintenance, and protection of community-based, law enforcement-affiliated crime prevention activities.

Through the years, National Night Out has developed into an effective crime prevention program that emphasizes building a partnership between the police and the community.

Windham Police say that community involvement in crime prevention is generated through a multitude of local activities and National Night Out events help bring prominent attention to crime prevention programs offered by police and disseminating information about successful strategies used by law enforcement agencies for thwarting crime in the town.

Along with grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone, there will be active demonstrations at the National Night Out event by a Windham Police K-9 dog and handler, drone flights, and specialized equipment and law enforcement programs.

All National Night Out activities are entirely free and generate a true sense of community under positive circumstances.

For more information about National Night Out, call 892-2525. <

July 23, 2021

Sebago Mineral Spring Association observes 100th anniversary

Jane Shaw, Tom Shaw and Bill Simpson enjoy festivities
during the Sebago Mineral Spring Association 100th
anniversary lobster bake and celebration on July 10 in Windham.
The association was founded in 1921 as a social club and today
includes members from the Mineral Spring Road neighborhood.
By Ed Pierce

Author Janice Thompson once observed that “there are good ships and there are wood ships and the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.” Thompson may not have had the Sebago Mineral Spring Association in mind when she came up with that, but it does describe the Windham organization perfectly.

Founded as a social club in 1921, the Sebago Mineral Spring Association celebrated its 100th anniversary July 10 and its members remain as friendly and neighborly today as they were a century ago. The association has a total membership of 33 individuals representing nearly three dozen homes surrounding the Mineral Spring Road neighborhood in Windham.

Current membership is drawn from 22 homes on Mineral Spring Road, three homes on Wellhouse Way and eight homes on Wintergreen Circle. 

According to association member Jane Shaw, the group traditionally gathers every year on the second Saturday in July for its annual meeting, which is then followed by a picnic. Members also gather the second Saturday of June and again in September for road clean-up chores.

This year, in honor of the association’s 100th anniversary, members met July 10 for their annual meeting and followed that with a lobster bake celebration and party.

Steeped in history, the Mineral Spring neighborhood sprang up in the 19th century from property having been originally part of Samuel Freeman’s farm.

Early geological surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior in Maine had determined that surrounding Sebago Lake there was an abundance of water contained beneath the ground surface in granite, slate, and other rocks and some of this high-quality water also was rich in mineral content, thought to be of substantial medicinal benefit.     

A natural spring was discovered in the Mineral Spring neighborhood and in April 1883, F. L. Bartlett, Maine’s state chemist and a college professor, tested the water from the spring and proclaimed it to be “very pure.” Bartlett’s published report indicated that the water from the spring was “beyond doubt very beneficial in many diseases."

Today, 138 years after Bartlett’s pronouncement, the Sebago Mineral Spring Wellhouse over the spring still stands and can be found near the corner of Mineral Spring Road and Wellhouse Way in Windham.

Through the years, the Sebago Mineral Spring Association constructed tennis courts which are now grown over and used for boat storage, and a clubhouse, where dances were held along with potluck dinners every Saturday evening during the summer for the members. The clubhouse is long gone and is now an open field in the neighborhood where this year’s party was held.

Shaw said that at one time the association also featured a community garden for its members. 

The association continues to manage several rights of way in the neighborhood as well as maintaining a beach reserved exclusively for association members.

“For the 100th Anniversary a lobster bake was held after the meeting with 44 members and guests in attendance,” Shaw said. “It included lobsters, steamers, corn on the cob, and baked potato, all steamed over a fire in the association field. For those not having lobster, there was steak, corn on the cob, potato salad and macaroni salad.”

The 100th anniversary party also featured several door prizes and a special anniversary cake commemorating the milestone occasion. 

“It was a great deal of fun to socialize with other members, some of which we had not yet met as they moved here during Covid time,” Shaw said.

This actually was the first in-person meeting for the association after pandemic restrictions forced last year’s annual gathering to be canceled.

All of the food for the 100th anniversary celebration event was prepared and cooked by Tom Shaw, Mike Smith, John Thomes and Bill Simpson.

For the next year, the Sebago Mineral Spring Association will be led by President Tom Shaw; Vice President Ed Francoeur; Secretary Tim Skehan; and Treasurer Patti Thomes.

Serving on the Board of Directors for the next year as Bill Simpson; Jerry Shaw; Mike Smith; and Beverly Campochiaro. <

Windham establishes grant program for drug education using marijuana license fees

The Town of Windham will use fee collected from
adult retail and medical marijuana facilities locally
to fund drug education programs and also create a
scholarship for a student pursuing a drug counseling
or addictions treatment career.
By Ed Pierce

Starting back when voters in Maine first approved a statewide referendum in 2016 to legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21, the Windham Town Council has remained committed to using licensing fees imposed by the town for retail and medical marijuana facilities for drug education and drug prevention programs. That priority is about to be realized next month as councilors have approved a plan and a process to award grants to applicants and create a scholarship for a deserving Windham student seeking to earn a degree in drug counseling or addiction treatment.

During the July 13 Windham Town Council meeting, councilors approved a proposal to amend the ordinance regarding Marijuana License Fee Fund Educational Grant Program. Under the measure, the Windham Marijuana License Committee has developed an application process and established criteria for distribution of designated funds to public health and safety programs that service Windham residents.

According to Marge Govoni, a member of the Marijuana License Committee, grants will be made to applicants after seeking input from staff, local experts and stakeholders, such as Be The Influence, D.A.R.E. and others, with fund disbursements issued following approval by the Windham Town Council.

Govoni said that along with the grants, which can be made to educators, community groups, scout troops and others, town councilors also have approved using marijuana license fees to fund an annual scholarship program for a Windham student who is planning on a career in drug counseling, addiction treatment or a similar field.

Councilors approved a web page for applicants to apply for grants digitally and the application form, which was also reviewed by the town attorney.

The committee is hoping to award grants monthly possibly starting by mid-September if there are applicants for funding, Govoni said.

“It’s a win-win for the community as a whole and for the children living here,” she said. “This is going to help those who will look at issues of drug prevention from a different angle.”

The grant process also includes a reapplication process for those who do not receive grants the first time they apply for funding.

Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said councilors should be commended for their approach to dealing with this issue.

“The council supports the educational aspect of having marijuana licensing fees to be applied toward informing our youth about drug education,” Tibbetts said. “The education of our youth about drugs will support them in making good decisions throughout their youth and beyond.” 

Tammy Hodgman, the Town of Windham’s executive assistant and website coordinator, said that the town will have all information regarding the grant along with an application posted on its website by mid-August and will promote the program extensively. 

“We will place an ad in the paper, as well as advertise on Facebook,” Hodgman said. “The link to the page will be on the bottom of our homepage initially to draw attention to the program, beneath the ‘Community’ subheading and cross-posted beneath ‘How Do I… - Apply’ subheading on our website.”

She said the educational program grant applications will be submitted to the Town Manager’s office and then be reviewed by the Marijuana License Fee Committee for their review and deliberation.

“They plan to meet once a month to review applications received,” Hodgman said. “The committee will then let us know when they would like to have the council hear their recommendations and approve funds at a regularly scheduled meeting.”

Govoni said a similar process will be conducted once a scholarship has been set up by Windham High School for applicants. She said at a minimum, the scholarship will be at least $1,000.

Because marijuana licensing fees are collected throughout the year on a staggered basis, available funding for grants and the scholarship will be on a continuing basis, Govoni said.

When Windham first implemented its Marijuana Ordinance in September 2020, a fee schedule was created by councilors specifically to fund substance misuse and drug educational programs for community members and children.

Those annual licensing fees include Adult-Use Marijuana Store $2,500; Marijuana Cultivation Facility $1,000; Marijuana Manufacturing Facility $1,000; Medical Marijuana Registered Caregiver On-site cultivation $300; Medical Marijuana Registered Caregiver (Home Occupation) with cultivation not conducted on site $150; Medical Marijuana Caregiver Retail Store $2,500; Marijuana Testing Facility $1,000. <

Repairs being made to Hawthorne House in Raymond

Construction workers install a steel beam to shore up the
foundation of the Hawthorne House during the first
phase of a project to renovate the historical boyhood home
of author Nathaniel Hawthorne in Raymond last week.
By Ed Pierce

Last year, the boyhood home of the legendary New England author of “The Scarlet Letter” and “The House of the Seven Gables” in Raymond, known as the “Hawthorne House,” was determined to be at risk of serious structural damage if major repairs were not made soon.

A major “Save the Hawthorne House” fundraising drive was initiated and sought to raise $75,000 to make critical repairs to the house’s foundation and structural support, roof, and siding, as identified by a professional structural engineer hired by The Hawthorne Community Association.

After a year of fundraising, the first phase of repair work on the Hawthorne House is finally under way.

Last week, the exterior chimney of the structure was taken down, two new heat pumps have been installed and cribbing and steel beams have been put in place so the excavation of the crumbling home’s foundation can begin.

Representatives of the Hawthorne Community Association say that this first phase work on the project should be completed in time for the Hawthorne House to be usable again for events by late fall.

They said that depending on the continued success of their fundraising efforts, a planned Phase II of the renovation work could launch sometime next year. That renovation work would include replacing the siding of the Hawthorne House, making roof repairs, painting and a range of interior upgrades to the structure.

“The Hawthorne House is a landmark and a source of pride, not only for our community but also for everyone who appreciates the culture and heritage of New England, and of southern Maine in particular,” said Abel Bates, of the Hawthorne Community Association, which has cared for the historic house since 1921. “By raising the needed $75,000, we will ensure that one of Maine’s most historic places will endure and that, in the future, we will continue to have this special place to hold popular community events such as our annual Strawberry Festival and Christmas Party, as well many other public gatherings.”

The Hawthorne House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1969.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, a descendant of William Hathorne, a Puritan who emigrated with his family from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Hawthorne’s grandfather John Hathorne was a judge who presided over some of the Salem Witch Trials.

Hawthorne’s mother was widowed when he was age 4 and after living for 10 years with relatives in Salem, the family moved to a home near Sebago Lake in Raymond built for them by Hawthorne’s uncles Richard and Robert Manning in 1816. He lived there with his family for three years until being sent to boarding school in 1819, but later in life, said the time he spent at that home was indeed the happiest period of his life.

 The HCA said that it thanks all generous donors and volunteers for their support and that fundraising will continue toward future renovation efforts of the house.

For anyone interested in joining, donating, or volunteering, visit the HCA website at https://www.hawthorneassoc.com/ <

Monthly book club in Raymond a connection for comradeship

By Briana Bizier

After 15 months of disruption, pivoting, and re-imagining our daily activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, some parts of our lives are finally beginning to return to their pre-pandemic “normal.” With vaccination numbers on the rise and COVID cases declining, Mainers are starting to meet each other in person again. For the Raymond Village Library, this means the monthly book club is getting ready to return to their big wooden table in the back room.

“July is our first in-person meeting back at the library,” said Melanie Champniss, who coordinates each month’s meeting.

The book club had been meeting online via Zoom during the pandemic.

“COVID put a lot of challenges out there,” Champniss said. “It’s nice that one of our members suggested Zoom meetings. Not everybody was able to join, but the people who did get on did enjoy it. Some of the summer people who were living in other states were able to join, and it helped people get through COVID, just having that connection.”

The Raymond Village Library’s monthly book club already had a long history before the pandemic. Champniss has been coordinating the club for almost a decade, and she was a member of the group before she accepted her current leadership role.

As the coordinator, Champniss sends out a monthly notice that includes questions for readers to consider before the club meets.

“Melanie does a great job,” said Deb Hutchinson, book club member and President of the Raymond Village Library’s Board of Directors. “She researches the author, she researches the book, she researches anything else that they’ve done. And she sends out thoughtful questions before we meet. That does give a focus to the meeting, although it doesn’t always stay on focus.”

The book club coordinator does not, however, select the books.

 “It’s a democratic organization,” Champniss said. “What we do in August is we have people suggest books. They have their favorite authors, or they may have just read something good. We put a list together, and then we vote on what books we want to read for next year, and we put the list together. It’s a mix of books; fiction, nonfiction, classics, Maine writers. We try to cover a wide range because everyone has different taste. The hardest part is picking which books to read.”

That variety of books and authors are part of what’s so appealing about the library’s book club.

“What I really like about it is it pushes me to read things that I wouldn’t normally read, because I tend to stay in the same genre,” Hutchinson said. “Plus, I like the discussions with people. It’s a fun comradeship.”

The book club members vote in September on what 12 books they will read in the upcoming year, and in October, Champniss makes two lists available for the club members: the books they will read and discuss, and a complete list of all the books that were recommended.

“Even if a book didn’t make the cut,” Hutchinson said, “then you have a list of those titles that you can read at another time.”

Another part of the book club’s appeal is its location.

“The Raymond Village Library is one of the best libraries I’ve ever encountered, just in terms of making you feel welcome,” Champniss said. “It’s just a good place.”

Library staff also makes sure that they have the book club’s selection on hand and available.

“The library puts copies of the book out at the beginning of the month, so you have a month to read it, because we meet at the end of the month,” Hutchinson said. These books, like the book club itself, are available to anyone.

“Everybody is welcome,” Champniss said. “People come in and out because everyone has busy lives, and everybody is always welcome.”

The Raymond Village Library’s book club will be reading “The Book of Lost Friends” by Lisa Wingate for the month of August. The book club will meet to discuss Wingate’s novel at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30.

For more information, contact the Raymond Village Library at 207-655-4283, visit them at 3 Meadow Road, or visit their website: http://www.raymondvillagelibrary.org. <

July 16, 2021

In the public eye: Windham Public Works Director Doug Fortier

Doug Fortier has served as the director of
Windham's Public Works Department for
more than 15 years and has lived in Windham
since moving here with his parents in 1970.
Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Elizabeth Richards

In his position as the Town of Windham’s Public Works Director, Doug Fortier oversees both day to day operations and larger projects for three divisions.  The bigger projects that make areas of Windham better are what he enjoys most about the job, Fortier says.

“It’s when you do the big projects, the improvements…that’s the fun part,” Fortier said.

He cited a project on Depot Street in South Windham village as an example.  That project began as a sewer and water upgrade, but now includes plans to rebuild the road and upgrade pedestrian access and lighting.  It’s satisfying, he said, to improve a road, or a section of a road, so that when the project is finished, they can say they made it more livable, walkable, and more pedestrian friendly.

It’s also exciting to go from wondering if an initial idea is possible to completion of the project, he said. 

Another project is likely to be approved as a Maine DOT Municipal Partner Initiative, where the state pays for 50 percent of the project, Fortier said, is improvements at the intersection of River Road and Route 202.  He said this project would include improved drainage, widening intersections, putting in crosswalks and a sidewalk to South Windham Village.

“It’s projects like that. When they go through, that’s the fun part. When you look back and say that’s better, it’s safer, it’s better than what it was,” he said.

The three divisions Fortier oversees are: Highway Maintenance, which includes winter plowing as well as maintaining all town roads, ditches, shoulders, drainage and other infrastructures; Vehicle maintenance, which includes maintenance of all equipment from excavators and backhoes down to chain saws and hand compactors, Fortier said, as well as the police and town office vehicles; and Buildings & Grounds, which includes care of over 20 town cemeteries, nine municipal buildings, and two intersections.

His job includes budgeting, seeking grant money for roads, working on capital equipment replacement plans, getting bids for anything from equipment purchase to buying winter sand and salt.  Currently, he said, he’s gearing up to get bids for next winter.  The two major seasons for the department are winter and summer, and Fortier said he always has to be thinking a season ahead.

Another part of his job is hiring when there are vacancies, which can be a challenge at times, especially right now. Fortier said that anyone in construction, whether private or public, is looking for qualified help.

“It’s a very tough market right now,” he said.  “Eventually, it will swing and when you have an opening you have a dozen applications. It’s the ebb and flow of the economy. I’ve seen it going both ways.” 

Both day to day operations and big projects require a lot of collaboration, Fortier said, with supervisors, other departments, the town manager and the town council.

“We’re not an island by ourselves,” Fortier said. 

When the Public Works department can do projects instead of contracting them out, he said, it can save the town a lot of money. Without the support of the manager and council, the job would be very difficult, he said. 

“We’re lucky that we do get supported,” Fortier said.

One of the main challenges he finds in the job is being able to do everything they need to with the current size of the crew.  While not a challenge unique to his department, he said, there is more they could do but don’t have the crew for. 

“The biggest challenge is utilizing your people in the most efficient, advantageous way,” he said. 

Sometimes, that means having to say they can’t do something because of other, more pressing priorities.  

For fun, Fortier plays golf and stays active with his partner, Ginny Nadeau. The two enjoy hiking, kayaking, going to the gym, and other active pursuits.

“We’re not going to sit around,” he said, though he was slowed down a bit this spring by a broken ankle, now healed.

According to Fortier, he’s lived in Windham since moving here with his parents in 1970.  He currently lives on land that his great grandfather purchased for his dairy farm around 1901. Fortier’s parents started a Christmas Tree farm on that land, which he continues to operate.

Fortier has been the director of Windham’s Public Works Department for more than 15 years. < 

Windham’s Faith Lutheran pastor accepts position with Maine Council of Churches

By Lorraine Glowczak

Rev. Jane Field has accepted a full-time position with the
Maine Council of Churches and says she has enjoyed serving
as pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Windham. Her last day
at Faith Lutheran will be on Sunday, July 25. 
For the past five years, Rev. Jane Field has led the ‘small and vibrant’ congregation at Faith Lutheran Church, 988 Roosevelt Trail, on a part-time basis, while also balancing her schedule as a part-time Executive Director of Maine Council of Churches (MCC), a faith-based advocacy organization comprised of seven denominations that speaks out about issues and works on public policy as it involves hunger, poverty, compassion, justice, and peace.

On June 23, the MCC Board of Directors offered to extend Pastor Field’s position to a full-time basis due to the exemplary work they believe she is doing as a leader in the faith community.

“Jane is a wise woman of deep faith who is creative and forward thinking,” said MCC’s Vice President Carolyn Lambert. “All of us on the [MCC] board recognize that ‘the church’ is changing and has been for a longtime. Jane is leading the MCC, creating the organization as an example of what ‘the church’ can become… in order to be what the church is called to be. The church was never meant to exist/live within a building. Its purpose has always been to be out in the community offering compassion and seeking justice for all people - for all God's creation. And that's exactly what Jane does: she takes the Church out into the community seeking other individuals and other groups with whom to collaborate to do God’s work of Shalom."

Field believes her experiences as a pastor of a small-town congregation has helped her fulfill the mission of MCC and her role with the organization.

“I enjoyed the ways in which being the pastor of a local congregation grounded me and made me better at my other job, as Executive Director of the Maine Council of Churches,” Field said. “Because I was dealing with the real world every week at Faith Lutheran, I was better equipped to meet the needs of all the congregations and clergy we represent and serve at MCC.”

Field enjoyed Faith Lutheran congregation’s warm and welcoming nature as well as their ability to be flexible during challenging times.

“As their mission statement puts it, they are a ‘small and vibrant’ congregation—I’m glad it says ‘and’ instead of ‘but’,” Field said. “In this era when we are redefining what ‘being church’ means, it’s actually an advantage to be small and nimble.”

Although Field will miss her Faith Lutheran family, she has come full circle, working on public policies and advocating for justice, equality, environmental sustainability, and more – which is where her initial journey began.

Field did not set out to become a minister or anyone’s spiritual leader. While working on her master’s in Public Policy from Princeton, Jane discovered there was a missing component in the master’s level program that didn’t fulfill a certain need.

“What I had intended to do was to serve society through advocacy and politics,” she said. “During my participation in the program [at Princeton], I realized I was asking questions with a more human perspective that were not easily answered in the mathematics-focused curriculum. This inspired me to search further.”

While at Princeton, she interned at a domestic violence agency in Trenton, New Jersey. Wanting to discover more about domestic abuse, she learned there was a class at Princeton Theological Seminary that focused on this very issue. Princeton Theological Seminary, a seminary associated with the Presbyterian Church, is not a part of Princeton University but the two institutions have a reciprocal agreement, so she took the class for credit. It was here that Field discovered the more humanistic approach she had been looking for.

“After receiving my degree in Public Policy [in 1987], I decided to pursue a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City,” she said. “And though my plan did not include getting ordained, you know what they say: 'If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.'"

In 1990, Field graduated from seminary and was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister of Word and Sacrament six months later. She moved to Wilton, Connecticut to serve as the associate pastor of a Presbyterian Church. After nine years there, she worked as a Development Officer and Community Educator at a domestic violence agency in Stamford, Connecticut, before returning to the ministry, serving Presbyterian, Episcopal and Methodist churches in that area. During this time, she became a mother by adopting a young girl from Guatemala. 

Although Field enjoyed her life and work in Connecticut, she had been yearning to return to her family roots in Maine. In 2015, Field and her daughter moved to Portland to be near her extended family. It was then that she accepted the role as part-time Executive Director of MCC. In July 2016, she also accepted the call to serve as the part-time pastor of Faith Lutheran Church.

Field recently took the time to reflect about her work for the past five years.

“I was so lucky to have inherited a mission development fund created by the congregation and the pastor who preceded me when they sold some property rights to a cell tower company,” Field said. “The purpose of the fund was to identify local organizations serving neighbors in need and then commit to providing funding and volunteer ‘hands-on’ engagement of our members. We guided the church through a process of narrowing down the choices to two worthy projects—and ultimately decided to develop both. We spearheaded the efforts to found a local chapter of the Fuller Center for Housing, recruiting other area churches to provide start-up support—it’s now a going concern with an independent Board of Directors who are implementing projects to rehab housing for the elderly and veterans. The other was to partner with St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in running the Essentials Pantry.”

Marilyn Walsh, a founding member of Faith Lutheran Church who was on the Call Committee that hired Field, said there is much that will be missed about their pastor.

“Jane is so caring and giving,” Walsh said. “And she would drop everything to assist our members when they were experiencing a hardship. When I found out my 24-year-old grandson, who had a brain tumor and was told he would only have six months to live, I called her, and she was at my house within a half-hour. Jane did that for all of us, no matter the time of day or night.”

There is one more lighthearted way Walsh said that she and others will miss Field immensely.

“Her wit and her sense of humor,” she said. “Jane always had a way of making us laugh and in doing so, an important point or lesson would be made.”

Walsh said members of the ‘small and vibrant’ church wish Field the best of luck.

Rev. Jane Field’s last day to serve Faith Lutheran Church will be Sunday, July 25. <

Windham bodybuilder qualifies for national event in Pennsylvania

Vasilky Thanou of Windham has
qualified to compete in national
bodybuilding shows in July and
September in Pennsylvania, thanks
to placing highly in a number of
categories at the 2021 NPS
Southeastern USA's bodybuilding
competition in Florida in April.
By Daniel Gray

Windham resident Vasilky Thanou has a lot going on when it comes down to fitness, training, and bodybuilding.

On April 24, Thanou entered the 2021 NPS Southeastern USA's bodybuilding competition in Florida and did incredibly well in several categories. While she has always trained hard, this was her first competition in more than 20 years, and it turned out to be an amazing experience for her.

"I have been working out my whole life, but I didn’t really think of competing until recently. I did a show when I was in my 20s, Miss Hawaiian Tropic. I didn't compete for all these years until my latest shot in April." Thanou said.

The NPS Southeastern was in Orlando, Florida and Thanou was placed highly in three different categories including Bikini Masters over 35-plus, first place; Bikini Class B, third place; and Bikini True Novice Class A, fourth place.

Before entering the competition this year, Thanou had been preparing and training for several years, waiting for the perfect time and the right contest for her. However, many of the events she had planned on entering were canceled because of COVID-19 concerns. She was determined, so she went down to Florida to compete in a much bigger show to see how she would do.

Despite having not been in a show or competition for many years, Thanou said that she was happy to be there and compete.

"What I like about competing is the thrill of the competition. I like to be on stage, and I like to see how I am versus the other contestants,” she said. “I like to get feedback from the judges and get tips for improvement. I like meeting new people, talking, and comparing different aspects of fitness."

Since she placed first in the Bikini Masters over 35-plus, this has opened more doors for Thanou. She is now qualified to enter national bodybuilding shows scheduled for July and September, both taking place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

If she wins, it could mean getting a card to become a IFBB Bikini Pro, which would further open even more doors for Thanou.

She currently trains with Marcia Goncalves who is an IFBB Bikini Pro, four times an Olympian, and an 8-time champion. Even with her amazing trainer, Thanou is slightly nervous about competing in the large Pennsylvania event.

"Because it's a national show, I feel like the competitors are the best in the whole country,” she said. “I feel like I have to put in extra effort because these competitors will be the best of the best. With that said, I need to bring my A game and the whole package, going above and beyond with my training, too."

In the competition, Thanou will be judged on many things such as her posing routine, muscular definition, and the balance between her upper and lower body. To suit this, her diet has changed to create more definition and less water retention. That means low carb intake, no salt, no fat, no sugar, lots of vegetables and lots of fish.

Even though Thanou is all in for the upcoming competitions, she has a self-described 'soft interior' as well.

A 43-year-old mother of two 7-year-old twins, Thanou moved to the U.S from the Island of Lemnos in Greece a little more than a decade ago, settling in New England. Originally, she lived in New Hampshire with a host family and then moved to Maine in 2005. She became a resident of Windham in 2019.

According to Thanou, she not only cares about fitness, but she deeply cares about her family.

Thanou's mother is the one who got her into training as well. From an early age, her mother was a trainer and owned a gym. So ever since she was little, Thanou had been hooked on the fitness lifestyle.

"One thing I learned through this process is that I learned so much about myself. I learned about my weaknesses that I never knew existed and they became my strengths,” she said. “Mentally, physically and emotionally, I'm excited and curious to see what the future will bring and what will happen to my fitness journey; until then I'll keep on training." <

Loonacy at the Raymond Village Library

A flock of 20 handcrafted and lovely decorated wooden loon
planters are currently roosting at the Raymond Village Library
as part of a summer fundraising event. They were built by
local resident Bob Grimm, a member of the library's Board
By Briana Bizier

Things are looking loony at the Raymond Village Library as a flock of 20 handcrafted and loving decorated wooden loon planters are currently roosting at the library as part of a summer fundraiser.

The loons were built by local resident woodcarver Bob Grimm, a member of the Raymond Village Library’s Board of Directors. For Grimm, who also built the birdhouses that were used in a library raffle earlier this year, the loons are an opportunity to showcase the community’s creativity.

“I’ve done similar projects before for different organizations,” Grimm said. “I like to come up with different ideas and give as many talented artists as we can a blank canvas and see what they come up with.”

This flock of library loons began life as a simple wooden box with a loon silhouette on either side.

“Basically, it could be used as a planter, a key holder, a notepad holder, lots of different things,” Grimm said.

He built the original blank loons, including two sample loons that he decorated; one loon sports the traditional black-and-white plumage that would look at home on any of the local lakes while the second loon has been transformed into a viking ship complete with shields and tiny oars.

“I always cheat,” Grimm said. “I make a couple as display models to seed the ground.”

Once the 20 blank loons and Grimm’s two examples were delivered to the Raymond Village Library, the library released a Call to Artists and asked Raymond residents to claim a planter and then go loony decorating it. Librarian Rachel Holden served as the project’s Loon Coordinator.

“Rachel handed out the loons and made sure they all swam back to the right spot on the right day,” Grimm said. “She’s an important part of this project.”

Artists of all ages responded, from retirees to recent preschool graduates, and the 20 loons were claimed within a week.

“The loons were very popular,” said Allison Griffin, the library director.

Those loons flocked back to the library earlier this month, where they are currently on display atop the library’s bookshelves.

“The fascinating thing is that they all started out as 20 blank loons,” Grimm said. “And when they came back, some of them were still loons, some of them became ducks, some of them became geese, some of them are very patriotic. Basically, what we’ve ended up with is an art show at the library.”

This summer’s loony art show highlights the creativity of Raymond residents of all ages.

“I made my loon into a puffin,” said Liza Powers, a 10-year-old Raymond artist. “I decorated it with paint, and my mom carved the puffin beak,” Powers explained. “We went all extra about it. It was fun!”

The full raft of loons, from Viking ship loons to loon puffins, can be viewed at the Raymond Village Library from now until Aug. 14, when the loons will wing their way to their forever homes.

Librarian Allison Griffin made sure the decorated loons swam onto the library’s Facebook page and website, so they can be viewed virtually around the world.

This year’s library raffle also includes a foxy surprise waiting with the loons. Library Board Member Nick Hardy donated a handmade lap quilt with an adorable fox motif that is also on display at the library and is included in the raffle.

When I asked Grimm if he plans on doing another planter project next summer, he said he’s already been inspired by this year’s flock of creative loons.

“You know, one of the loons came back as a puffin,” Grimm said. “I’ve already transformed the pattern I created for the loon, so now it’s a puffin. Next year, we’ll do a puffin planter.”

Each decorated loon planter, as well as the fox quilt, is part of the Raymond Village Library’s summertime raffle. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5, and they can be purchased in person at the library, over the phone, or at the library’s website at
http://www.raymondvillagelibrary.org/ <