August 27, 2021

Class act: School reopens for RSU 14 students next week

By Ed Pierce

The end of summer also means that students in Windham and Raymond will be heading back to class next week, much to the delight of their parents.

Teachers and staff at RSU 14 schools including Windham High School, Windham Middle School, Jordan-Small Middle School, Manchester School, Windham Primary School and Raymond Elementary School, have been preparing for the 2021-2022 school since they officially returned from summer break last week.

The first day of classes for students in Grade 1 to Grade 9 will be Tuesday, Aug. 31. On Wednesday, Sept. 1, students in Grades 10 to Grade 12 will return to classes at the high school for another year of instruction.

Following the Labor Day holiday in which all students will be off on Monday, Sept. 6, the first day of school for students in Pre-K and Kindergarten will be Tuesday, Sept. 7.

RSU 14 school administrators for the 2021-2022 school year include Rayn Caron (Windham High School); Drew Patin (Windham Middle School); Randolph Crockett (Jordan-Small Middle School); Danielle Donnini (Manchester School); Kyle Rhoads (Windham Primary School); and Beth Peavey (Raymond Elementary School).

Mike Kelly serves as Director of Transportation for RSU 14 and Thomas Nash is Adult Education Director for Windham Raymond Adult Education. Christopher Howell is RSU 14 Superintendent of Schools.

Registration for Windham Raymond Adult Education classes is currently under way. This year, adult education classes will be conducted both in-person and virtually. Print catalogs for WRAE classes are available by mail, at the WRAE office behind Windham High School, and at select locations throughout Windham and Raymond.

For more information about adult education classes, call 207-892-1819 or send an email to

As a reminder, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, masks will be required indoors for all visitors and students at RSU 14 schools regardless of vaccination status. That includes during school tours and open houses.

Schools require face coverings (masks) in all indoor settings and on all school transportation for all students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are required for all participants and spectators at indoor athletic events and after-school activities.

For students using RSU 14 transportation, masks are required for all students.

Masks may be removed when actively eating and drinking (if eating indoors, individuals are required to put their masks back on when not actually eating or drinking).

Practice for Windham High School athletic teams has started with some varsity sports games on the schedule for next week.

Unlike last fall, athletic teams at Windham Middle School and Jordan-Small Middle School will have regular seasons, with the Windham Middle School season beginning in mid-to-late September. Jordan-Small Middle School’s season will begin in early September. <

WHS 1989 graduates share unique bond with humorous t-shirt

At the time of this writing, 120 signatures from
the Class of 1989 at Windham High School have
been added to David Wells' 50th birthday
t-shirt, which has traveled across the U.S. and 
will soon be leaving again for Texas, Nevada,
Colorado and The Netherlands.
By Lorraine Glowczak

When David Wells, a 1989 graduate of Windham High School, celebrated his 50th birthday last August, he purchased a gag gift for himself - a rather large t-shirt with the words and an image entailed: “49 to 50 odometer.”

He admits to being a ‘big guy’ but, as a friend pointed out, the comfortable ‘five times’ extra-large t-shirt was big enough to be worn as a dress by most people.

“I saw the real estate on that thing and thought ‘Holy Moly, I could do something fun with this t-shirt,’” Wells said, giving the reason why he purchased this unusual gift.

Fun is what Wells, who turned 50 in the midst of the COVID pandemic, wanted to experience. Prior to his birthday, he had a double pulmonary embolism and in 2018, was involved in a serious car accident that required many surgeries and left him disabled.

Although he truly loved receiving the ‘real’ gift of an outdoor grill from Amy, the love of his life, Wells wanted to do something to celebrate his personal ‘Golden Jubilee” since the pandemic limited social contact.

“I love to grill but it wasn’t like I could have a crowd of people over to help me celebrate,” he said.

That’s when Wells decided that he wouldn’t let the social isolation and personal hardships get him down. It was from there that his creative idea and focus went into overdrive.

“I knew I wasn’t the only one turning 50 during COVID,” he said. “This made me think of all my classmates and I began to wonder what they have been up to during the past 30 years. I was curious about their marriages, kids, grandkids, work, hobbies, accomplishments. That’s when I when I knew what I was going to do with that silly t-shirt.”

Wells decided he would mail the extra-large shirt to his former classmates on their birthdays. They would be asked to sign it, take a picture with it, and return it. But since Wells did not keep in contact with all 190 graduates from 1989, this took some time and research on his part.

“This is where I fell down the rabbit hole in finding classmates, using every resource I could think of,” he said. “Most of my classmates are on Facebook, so I started there, reaching out to as many of them as possible. I also got help from classmates who stayed connected with those I didn’t. From there I was busy finding out email addresses, home addresses and when everyone was turning 50.  I would do my best to send the t-shirt a month in advance of their big day so they could sign it, take a photo, and then return it back to me or to the next person in line. I used UPS to mail the shirt, and if I asked someone to mail it on to someone else, I would already have a mailing label prepared – which I emailed to them. Before I knew it, I became fluid in logistics. You should have seen all the post-it notes I used to make sure the t-shirt would arrive everywhere on time…or at least near their birthdays. I even had an app on my phone, so I always knew where the t-shirt was.”

At the time of this writing, 120 signatures, which include classmates who were a part of the class but graduated at other schools like Cheverus, now mark Well’s birthday t-shirt – which has travelled across the U.S. from Indiana, Florida, Connecticut, New York to Alabama. It will also soon be leaving Maine again to visit Texas, Nevada, Colorado and the Netherlands.

The traveling t-shirt has been photographed in the Smoky Mountains as well as on a fishing excursion in Massabesic Lake in New Hampshire. Many others also shared photos from their happy places with the t-shirt in tow. It has even received a special signature.

The wife of one of our fellow graduates is a professional seamstress and she embroidered the words, ‘Windham High School Class of 1989 and Friends’ to give it an extra special edge,” Wells said.

He is quick to recognize that he has had some help in the traveling t-shirt success.

“My friend Terri Lawlor who also graduated with me in 1989 was a huge help. She would meet former graduates who live out of town but were traveling through the area so they could add their signatures. I really could not have done this without her help.”

He also gives a big thanks to Michelle Kinney, another former classmate. She was the first to recognize the costs involved with shipping the t-shirt and contributed a $100 gift card. Other classmates soon followed with financial donations of their own.

Perhaps the best part of the traveling t-shirt is it was never lost in transition. However, the unique and profound personal experiences that resulted from this t-shirt adventure were the deep bonds that were created through long-distance connections.

“The experience has been better than any in-person reunion I have attended,” Kinney said.

“Although it was all on social media – which I would have never preferred originally, the challenge of the pandemic made us think outside the box. And since we did, I felt like I got to know my classmates on a much deeper level.”

Classmate Diane Maurais shared her experience.

"What I'm proud of, about this shirt, is that it's all inclusive. There were some of us, myself included, who were unable to graduate with our friends and class. This doesn't matter in this case. I really appreciated that, and it makes me proud to be a part of it. David and Terri didn't have to do this … but they did. I’m also proud that David is an Army veteran and Terri's son is on Active Duty. Their service continues!”

What started out as a simple but funny gag gift morphed into close bonds long lost – all done in a creative and innovative way. Which goes to show that personal challenges and the pandemic never stopped Wells.  He shares his own deep level of reflection and connection.

I liked this experience because all this work was a great outlet for me to take up the free time created by the pandemic and my disabilities - and I became productive. Also, I recognized that we were all kids being kids back then. I wasn’t the popular one and I got teased a lot.  I got past that - recognizing that we all were taking things from our individual life experiences and expressing ourselves in the only ways we knew how then – and sometimes it came across as bullying, etc. This experience has created clarity and closure for me toward those things of the past. It has been a great way to turn 50 years old.”

Perhaps an actress from the silent screen era, Marie Dressler, captures the overall experiences and connections of the 1989 classmates and WHS graduates the best when she said: “By the time we hit 50, we have learned our hardest lessons. We have found out that only a few things are really important. We have learned to take life seriously, but never ourselves.”<

In the public eye: Windham’s Fire Chief Brent Libby devotes life to serving community

Windham Fire Chief Brent Libby wears
many vital hats. Aside from Fire/Rescue
Chief in Windham, he is also the town's
Emergency Management Agency director
and the Windham Fire Warden.
Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles. 

By Elizabeth Richards

Brent Libby’s role as Fire and Rescue Chief for the Town of Windham is certainly not a 9 to 5 job. 

“It’s a 24/7 job,” Libby said. “Emergencies don’t just happen Monday through Friday.”

In addition to overseeing Fire and Rescue services, Libby serves as the local EMA director and the Town Fire Warden. Fire and rescue services include fire suppression, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), hazardous materials response, and fire prevention and inspections to ensure a fire safe community. 

EMS accounts for about 67 percent of their call volume currently, Libby said.

As the EMA director, Libby is responsible for emergency management such as hazard mitigation, storm response, and sheltering. As the Town Fire Warden, he manages burning permits and outdoor fires. 

Each role connects with a different entity within the state, Libby said.

“It’s a little bit of everything some days,” he said. “There’s always something to pick up and work on.”

Libby said interaction with the community is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. He especially enjoys when the department is out at community events or people drop by with their children to check out the trucks.

“We can talk a little bit about what we do,” Libby said. “It’s always great to show people where their tax dollars are going, and what services they’re getting.”

Libby is also a paramedic, and while he doesn’t work in that capacity often, he said that he enjoys direct patient care as well.

“It’s nice to encounter somebody that needs assistance and then be able to carry that care through to the hospital. You get to know people a little bit and hopefully make them a little more comfortable and at ease in their time of emergency,” he said.

One of the biggest current challenges for Windham fire/rescue, Libby said, is ensuring that they have adequate staff to respond to the needs of the community. 

“What once was a very robust volunteer fire department has transitioned to what we call a combination department,” he said. “Now, the department has full time, per-diem, and paid on-call staff.”

Currently, the department has 14 full time staff members who work 24-hour shifts.  Three full time staff are on at once, Libby said, supplemented with per diem staff.  This summer, available per diem staff has been lean, making staffing at normal levels challenging. 

“When short staffed we call our neighboring communities for help, just as they do for us,” Libby said.” The departments end up working together, which is great but can also present challenges of its own.”

According to Libby, staffing is difficult because there are fewer people going into the industry, and per diem staff often work for several departments at the same time. The COVID-19 pandemic has also made staffing more difficult as people try to limit their exposure.

The Windham Fire Department has a program where college students, most from the Fire Science program at Southern Maine Community College live at the East Windham and South Windham stations.  These students are with the department for at least two years, sometimes longer if they decide to continue their studies.

Libby said that the program has been good for recruitment, with many participants staying on as per diem or on call staff when they are finished with school.

He’s served as the Fire and Rescue Chief in Windham for six years. Prior to this position, he worked in Standish for 10 years, six of those as chief. Libby began his career as a junior firefighter in Gorham, where he grew up.

Today he lives in North Windham. 

“Most of my family is around the area or coming back to the area, which is great,” he said. 

His twin sister is back in Maine after living out of state, and his older brother and parents are also local, he said. When not at work, Libby spends time with his rescue dog, visiting with family, working in the yard, kayaking, and other outdoor activities.

“[Windham] is a good location for all of those,” he said.

Libby emphasized the care that the people of the department have for the community they serve is exceptional.

“Everything that they do is in the interest of the people that we’re helping,” Libby said. “They really, truly care for the people that they’re serving. They may never have met them before, they may never meet them again, but it’s important that the time that we interact with them is the best that it can be.” <

Flag-waving event to pay tribute to fallen victims of 9-11

National nonprofit Wreaths Across America urges all Americans to join together on Tuesday, Sept. 7, in waving the American flag in remembrance of the 20th Anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. 

The event will be hosted LIVE on its official Facebook page and broadcast over Wreaths Across America Radio. It will include Gold Star Families, whose loved ones answered the call to serve after 9/11, Veterans, and First Responders and their families. Now more than ever, it is so important that we come together as Americans to show support for those whose service, courage, and sacrifice, help keep America free.

WAA gathers every Tuesday morning from 9 to 10 a.m. to raise the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance from the Freeport Flag Ladies Monument in Jonesboro, near the 'tip lands' where the balsam is harvested to make veterans' wreaths for placement on National Wreaths Across America Day each December. The monument, located on Route 1, was built by Wreaths Across America and Worcester Wreath Company in September 2019, after the Freeport Flag Ladies retired following 18 years of waving the American Flag in Freeport each Tuesday since Sept. 11, 2001.

"Now, more than ever, it is so critical for communities to come together to Remember all those who served, and Honor their service and their family's service, especially those who volunteered during the War on Terror following the events of September 11, 2001," said WAA Executive Director, Karen Worcester. "But more than anything, we must Teach our children about these men and women, and the courage and commitment it takes to be a part of the small number of Americans who protect all our freedoms. Please join me on Sept. 7th, as we wave the flag across America, like we do each Tuesday morning, and never forget that Freedom isn't free, and it must be protected."

The flag-waving event will begin at 8:45 a.m. and conclude at 10:05 a.m. Sept. 7 and In addition to the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and sharing of stories, the event will include four moments of silence, as listed below.

At 8:46 a.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, five hijackers took control of American Airlines Flight 11 and flew it into the heart of New York City and the northern facade of the World Trade Center's North Tower.

At 9:03 a.m., five other hijackers flew United Airlines Flight 175 into the southern facade of the South Tower.

At 9:37 a.m., another five hijackers flew American Airlines flight 77 into the western facade of the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia.

At 10:03 a.m., four hijackers crashed United Airlines Flight 93 into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Wreaths Across America is the nonprofit organization best known for placing veterans' wreaths on the headstones of our nation's fallen at Arlington National Cemetery. However, the organization, in total, places more than 2 million sponsored veterans' wreaths at over 2,750 participating locations nationwide and offers year-round programs in support of its mission to Remember, Honor, Teach. 

These programs include The Mobile Education Exhibit which will be visiting New Jersey, Maine, Delaware, and Maryland in September and Wreaths Across America Radio. Morning Show host Michael W. Hale will conduct live interviews and on-air tributes on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, during a special edition broadcast of his morning show from 8 to 10 a.m.

This year, National Wreaths Across America Day will be held on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, at more than 2,750 participating locations across the country. To sponsor a $15 wreath for an American hero, or to learn more about how to volunteer, please visit<

August 20, 2021

Windham's oldest citizen shares her personal perspectives from past 103 years

Hazel Gilman of Windham turned 103 years old in
July. She shares a few memories and perspectives
on a life well lived, which included a humble wit
and a supportive family. SUBMITTED PHOTO
By Lorraine Glowczak

Born Hazel Plummer on July 20, 1918, Hazel Gilman has lived her entire life in Windham. One hundred and one of those years have been spent in the home where she currently resides, which in the beginning did not have indoor plumbing.

“When I was 2 years old, my Mom and Dad moved in with my grandparents to help take care of them,” Gilman said. “My grandfather was deaf and blind, so my mom and dad wanted to be there and help them out in any way they could.”

And thus, her outlook regarding the importance of family was born. This experience shaped the decisions she would make the rest of her life, including living humbly with confidence - inspiring a deep sense of happiness, gratitude, and humor - all of which was balanced within life’s reality as it was and is laid out before her.

She was presented the Boston Post Cane Award from the Town of Windham when she was 100.

When asked how she felt about receiving this honor, Gilman said with a smile, “It’s nothing I’ve done to deserve it. I just happen to be the oldest person alive in Windham.”

Gilman graduated from Windham High School in 1935 and married Kenneth Gilman in 1941. Together they lived a contented life until his passing 23 years ago. Although they did not have children, the Gilmans raised three of her younger brothers while living in her childhood home.

“My mother died at the age of 50, leaving my father a widower - so Ken and I stepped in to help raise my younger brother.”

Her father remarried and together, he and his new wife welcomed two more sons into their lives. However, tragedy struck a second time when Gilman’s stepmother died from cancer in her 50s. Once again Gilman and her husband stepped in to raise the two boys.

Having been through five major wars and two pandemics, Gilman has witnessed and experienced many changes in a century’s time.

"I put laundry in the washing machine the other day and it dawned on me that I can have my clothes washed and dried in a couple of hours,” Gilman said. “It would have taken my mom two days to do the same amount of laundry…by the time she boiled the water, soaked the clothes, hung them out to dry and then ironed them.”

As for the current electronics that are readily available today, she admits frustration.

“There are so many buttons. It’s all very confusing to me. I liked it when there was just an on and off button.”

She said that although the many modern conveniences are helpful overall, it hasn’t created the happiness so many long for.

“I think we were much better off when we had to work together to get things done. It created a sense of community among families and neighbors that doesn’t seem to happen today. It felt as if we were all in the same boat and we simply had fun, despite the challenges and hard work it took to live.”

But as the saying goes - for every deep truth that exists, the exact opposite is also true. Gilman points to this duality.

“Just the other day, I got to see and visit my nephew who lives in Texas – all on the computer screen,” she said referring to the now well-known Zoom online platform. “I’m amazed and so happy that these modern conveniences do exist despite the many drawbacks.”

In terms of the recent pandemic, Gilman had this to say:

“During COVID, people were always talking about how they missed going out to eat and how difficult it was to stay at home,” she said. “Staying at home was normal for us. We never went out to eat and there would be times we wouldn’t see others for weeks at a time. We just lived. We were happy. There was no striving to become the best – we simply lived the life we were given. We created our own amusement and we helped each other without giving it any thought. We did what we needed to do in our current circumstances, and we made it happen.”

Self-inspired amusement was the norm during Gilman’s youth and the early years of her marriage where community and neighborhood gatherings would often happen spontaneously.

“I remember one of our neighbors was a piano teacher,” Gilman said. “In the evenings, he would practice and when he started playing - music came through the windows and the whole neighborhood would hear it, gather around, sitting on his lawn, listening, and singing to the songs we knew. We’d experience a concert right then and there.”

In terms of her memory, most would say she is as quick as a whip. Although she might humbly agree this is true, she would add one caveat.

“I can tell you what happened 50 years ago, but I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday,” she said with a quiet giggle.

When asked what she thought may have contributed to her longevity, she thought for a moment and then responded, “I don’t know. It just happened.”

But love and dedication for family was and is her most important dedication and focus. Gilman said many times that she is very fortunate to have such a large and loving family who looks in on her and she only wished this was possible for all people.

“For those who do not have families, I would take them in – I’d be there for them, that is how important family is to be living a happy and healthy life.”

Although Gilman may not know exactly what has contributed to her long life, it is evident that dedication to family sprinkled with humor may have something to do with it.

“If anyone ever asks you if you want to live past 100, simply say, ‘No thank you’,” she said. “I love how much my family loves me and is there for me, but I haven’t been in the garden or active on any level since I was 95 years old. I’m not so sure living past 100 is a goal anyone should have.”

When she is not reading or watching the daily news or visiting with her family who checks in on her daily, you will find her quietly reading her bible or watching a Sunday morning religious service.

“We have walked in and have found her reading the bible,” Peter Forbes, her nephew said. “And she still tithes to a church in Windham. We are so very proud of her and hope we can mimic her joyful, humble approach to life.”

If there are any lessons to be learned from this 103-year-old’s perspectives and approach to life, it might be that the path to happiness can be easy if one accepts life and lets go of things that cannot be controlled. But perhaps more importantly, to be a part of a family, biological or otherwise, who supports you and to whom you can support. <

Two local Troop 805 members earn promotion to Eagle Scout rank

Boy Scout Troop 805 members Jacob Piechowski
and Colby Sanborn were promoted to the rank of
Eagle Scout during a Court of Honor ceremony on
Aug. 15 at the Windham Veterans Center.
By Collette Hayes

For the last several years, two local Boy Scouts, Jacob Piechowski and Colby Sanborn, have walked the steep and narrow trail that has led them to the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in scouting. On Sunday, Aug. 15, Windham Boy Scout Troop 805, sponsored by the Windham Veteran’s Center, conducted a special Court of Honor to recognize the promotions of Piechowski and Sanborn to Eagle Scout.

Piechowski, is a Raymond resident and a 2021 graduate of Baxter Academy. Sanborn lives in Standish and is a 2020 graduate of Bonny Eagle High School.

Beginning his scouting career at age 9, Piechowski said that his mother played a huge role in him achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

“Over the last eight or nine years my mom has taken me to every single one of my scouting meetings. I have never missed one and I have never been late for one,” he said. “It has been quite the journey. During the journey what did I learn? In addition to learning the skills from earning 21 merit badges, I learned to cook beef stew without the beef. I consumed enough beef jerky in a two-week period of time learning never to have the need to eat beef jerky again.”

For his Eagle Scout project that requires a scout to demonstrate ability to plan, develop and provide leadership, Piechowski organized a group of scouts to move over five tons of canned and bottled food items to the basement of the Windham Food Pantry. He created a computerized inventory resulting in easier access of the items stored in the Food Pantry.

“My project began with taking out everything on the bottom floor and reorganizing what needed to be kept and donating the rest to the Salvation Army,” Piechowski said.

Piechowski’s advice to scouts is simple.

“The journey toward an Eagle is going to be challenging,” he said. “There are going to be ups and there are going to be downs. The best way to make it is to take the journey with your friends whether it be a friend who is sitting right next to you at this Court of Honor or your friends out in the community.”

Sanborn joined Troop 805 eight years ago.

“I have enjoyed going on hikes, to jamborees and overnight camping. I have made a lot of new friends,” Sanborn said. “I have learned survival skills, knot tying and first aid while I attended camp for three summers. Whitewater rafting and rock climbing were two of my favorite activities.”

He has served in many leadership positions in scouting and currently Sanborn is assistant scoutmaster for Troop 805.

He offered some sound advice for new scouts.

“Work on your rank advancement early. Don’t wait too long in doing your Eagle project,” he said. “Merit badges are key to your advancement so ask your leaders about how to accomplish more merit badges. Take leadership responsibility where needed.”

For his Eagle Scout project, Sanborn rebuilt the changing facilities at Rich Memorial Beach in Standish, with new doors and seats and built storage for kayaks and paddle boards.

Stacie Sanborn, Colby’s mother, said there were significant challenges with his Eagle Scout project.

The project was seasonal and had to be completed during the spring. To complicate things a bit further, the project began during the challenges of Covid. Throughout the project she said she could definitely see her son navigating the challenges of the project with skill and leadership reflective of an Eagle Scout.

Becoming an Eagle Scout is extremely rare. During his closing remarks of the ceremony, Rene Daniel, a scouting supporter, looked over to Piechowski and Sanborn.

Emotion flooded his face, and he said, “Something we all should remember from having attended this Court of Honor, less than eight percent of all who begin the scouting journey achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.”

When considering the entire population of Scout-age youth in the United States, that percentage drops to about 0.3 percent.  Piechowski and Sanborn have taken and met the Eagle Scout challenge and have now joined the few who have lifted their wings to soar with the Eagles. <

Maine Music Society appoints Nickerson as artistic director

Dr. Richard Nickerson has been appointed as
the new artistic director for the Maine Music
Society and will also continue in his position
as the director of choral music at Windham
By Elizabeth Richards

As the new artistic director for the Maine Music Society, Dr. Richard Nickerson, who is also the director of choral music at Windham High School, is doing even more of the work he loves.  

“The beauty of this kind of work is that if you’re doing it right, it never feels like work,” Nickerson said.

His new position will not impact his work at Windham High School, though he is hoping for some opportunities for future collaboration.

“I’m excited to have been appointed artistic director,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to returning to the position I’ve had for 35 years as choral director at Windham High School.”

Nickerson was named artistic director for the Maine Music Society in late fall of 2019, he said. At that time, he stepped down from being the Minister of Music at North Windham Union Church to create space for the new endeavor.

“I’m at that point in my life where when I take on something, I have to give up something. I always tell myself it’s not going to be as much work as I think and it always ends up being way more work than I think,” he said. 

Although he was supposed to begin his duties last season, COVID-19 put everything on hold.

“I was really excited about the challenge,” Nickerson said. “We were planning for our 2020-2021 season, and well, we all know what happened there,” he said. 

His appointment to the position was postponed, and he is now in the process of planning their 2021-2022 season, which will be announced on Aug. 26.

Nickerson applied for the position after a longtime friend reached out to see if he was interested. When he researched the group, he said, he could see real potential. 

One of the most appealing aspects, he said, was that the three types of concerts the group puts on are very similar to the types of shows he has presented with the WHS chamber singers for many years.

“I felt very comfortable with that format,” Nickerson said.

Each concert has a theme, and the three formats are a holiday concert in December, a classical concert in March, and a Pops style concert in May.

The Maine Music Society is a nonprofit organization comprised of three groups: The Maine Music Society Chorale and The Maine Music Society Chamber Singers, whose volunteer members join by audition; and the professional musicians in the Maine Music Society Orchestra.

Nickerson’s role makes him the “face of the organization,” he said, and includes selecting music for the season, preparing the chorale for performances, and conducting the chorale in performances. 

These tasks closely mirror what he does at the high school, he said.

Another aspect of the position is recruiting new singers, Nickerson said, especially after more than a year of inactivity.  One thing he’s done is reach out to former chamber singers.

“I’m really hoping we can bring in some graduates, not just from Windham, but from anywhere,” he said. 

During the past year, though the group wasn’t holding live concerts, they did gather online to get to know each other, Nickerson said. He also provided some vocal technique instruction to help keep voices ready for performance.

“Singing is very much like being an athlete,” he said. “If you don’t use it, you’re going to lose it.”

Nickerson said he’s looking forward to the challenge of his new role and is encouraged by the potential for arts growth in the Lewiston-Auburn community. Maine Music Society performances are held at the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston.  

Auditions for the 2021-2022 chorale will be held on Thursday, Sept. 2.

For more information, contact Nickerson at <

Anthem honors Windham cancer survivor, 4, at Sea Dogs' ballgame

SOUTH PORTLAND – As part of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s continued commitment to supporting the prevention and treatment of cancer and the work of the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, 4-year-old Weston Lane of Windham was honored as an Anthem Hero at Hadlock Field for the courage he displayed battling cancer at such a young age.

Weston is the third and final Anthem Heroes at Hadlock Field to be recognized for heroism during the 2021 season. The pre-recorded ceremony took place prior to the Portland Sea Dogs game on July 30.

“Weston and his family have gone through so much during his diagnosis and treatment, and his courage in overcoming cancer is so inspiring and worthy of recognition,” said Denise McDonough, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. “Anthem is committed to improving lives and communities, and that’s why we support the important work done by Maine Children’s Cancer Program to battle childhood cancers and work toward a cure.”

At the age of 18 months, Weston was sent to have imaging taken of a small bump on the side of his head. Within hours, he was admitted to Maine Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma.

His 20-month treatment plan included chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and two stem cell transplants. In April 2020, Weston’s scans showed that he was in remission.

Now 4 years old and able to participate in things he could never do before, like going to school, Weston’s life is returning to normal.

His family credits the team of doctors, nurses, social workers, and staff at the Maine Children’s Cancer Program for providing them the knowledge, support, and commitment they needed to get through this difficult time.

“Anthem’s ongoing support of our beloved Strike Out Cancer in Kids program goes above and beyond. In addition to Anthem’s role in raising over $5 million for our program through Strike Out Cancer in Kids, the Anthem Heroes at Hadlock ceremonies afford our patients and their loved ones a unique opportunity to celebrate the incredible courage and strength that these young warriors are all too familiar with,” said Grace Jandro, MCCP Philanthropy Coordinator. “Thank you, Anthem, for providing hope and support to the patients and families receiving care at Maine Children’s Cancer Program.”

The Anthem Heroes at Hadlock program provides children who have battled a serious medical condition a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Hadlock Field. Each honoree takes a celebratory home-run lap around the bases of Hadlock Field prior to a Portland Sea Dogs home game (this year the runs were pre-recorded and shown on the Jumbotron videoboard prior to the game).

The recipients and their families also receive a basket of Sea Dogs souvenirs and other VIP privileges at the game.

Neuroblastoma is a type of childhood cancer that most commonly originates in the adrenal glands but also can develop in the nerve tissues in the neck, chest, abdomen or pelvis. It is the most common extracranial solid tumor cancer in childhood and the most common cancer in infancy. Neuroblastoma is divided into three risk categories: low, intermediate, and high risk.

Children with high-risk neuroblastoma need aggressive treatment, which usually lasts 10 to 12 months and is divided into three phases with an induction phase of chemotherapy and surgery, a consolidation phase with peripheral stem cell transplantation and radiation, and a maintenance phase that includes six months of isotretinoin and immunotherapy.

The goal of treatment is to achieve a complete remission by killing all cancer cells as quickly as possible. Complete remission occurs when all signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma disappear and abnormal cells are no longer found by any standard evaluation (MRI/CT scan, bone scan, bone marrow aspiration, or biopsy). Newer methods are being evaluated that can detect a much smaller amount of tumor in the blood or marrow. <

Windham resident joins Maine Marine Patrol

From left are DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher, Marine
Patrol Colonel Jay Carroll, new Marine Patrol officers Lexis
Elston of Windham, Kaelyn Kuhl and Timothy Beauchamp,
and Marine Patrol Captain  Matthew Talbot following a 
swearing in ceremony for new Marine Patrol officers on
July 29 in Augusta. SUBMITTED PHOTO  
AUGUSTA — The Department of Marine Resources has sworn in three new Marine Patrol officers who will serve the Downeast region, including one from Windham.

Lexis Elston of Windham joined Kaelyn Kuni of Saco and Tim Beauchamp of York in being sworn in for the force in July.

The new officers were sworn in by Commissioner Patrick Keliher on Thursday, July 29 at the Maine Department of Marine Resources' Augusta headquarters.

Officers Elston and Kuni recently graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy's (MCJA) Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLETP) and are currently taking part in Marine Patrols nine-week Field Officer Training program before they begin their assigned patrols.

Officer Kuni will serve in the Milbridge-Steuben patrol, and Officer Elston will serve in the Jonesport-Beals-Addison patrol. Officer Beauchamp will complete the MCJAs Pre-Service Training Program in August and will begin serving in the Machias patrol after completing Field Officer training. He is scheduled to attend the 18-week BLEPT program in January.

Officer Elston served as an Assistant Park Ranger for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Previously, she worked in Communications and Fisheries Education for the Stonington based non-profit Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries (MCCF). 
She has also served as a multimedia assistant to the Portland-based non-profit sailing school, Sail Maine. Elston earned an Associate of Science degree in Marine Science from Southern Maine Community College and is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marine Ecology from the University of Maine at Machias.

"These new Officers will add much-needed coverage in the busy downeast region," said Colonel Jay Carroll. "Each one brings significant unique and relevant experience to the positions. They provide a depth of knowledge and background in resource issues and law enforcement which are vital in the work of a Maine Marine Patrol Officer."

The Maine Marine Patrol is the oldest law enforcement organization in the state. Its roots can be traced to 1869, when the Maine Legislature authorized two Fisheries Commissioners who were charged with conservation of sea-run fish species on a statewide basis.

Today's Marine Patrol is a bureau of the Maine Department of Marine Resources that provides law enforcement, search and rescue, public health, and maritime security on Maine's coastal and tidal waters.

The bureau is divided into two field divisions with a lieutenant supervising a regional office in each division. Each division is divided into three sections with a field sergeant in charge of six officers in each section.

Today's Marine Patrol Officer is a highly trained law enforcement officer who is certified by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. Marine Patrol Officers conduct investigations and enforcement of Maine’s marine resource laws and regulations, as well as other laws within the jurisdiction of the State of Maine.

MPOs are also deputized as National Marine Fisheries Service Federal Enforcement Agents for the purposes of enforcing federal fisheries laws through Joint Enforcement Cooperative Agreements.

Marine Patrol Officers are instilled with the same philosophy that guided the wardens 100 years ago, which is to be impartial and to work in close cooperation with Maine's fishing industries.

The Maine Marine Patrol itself is a bureau of the Maine Department of Marine Resources that provides law enforcement, search and rescue, public health, and maritime security on Maine's coastal and tidal waters.

More information can be found at <

August 13, 2021

Windham Town Hall implements new mask safety procedures

By Ed Pierce

Visitors to Windham’s Town Hall may experience Déjà vu once more as the Delta variant of COVID-19 has led the town to request that anyone entering the town hall wear a mask and maintain proper social distancing while in the building.

Because of the spike in cases of the Delta variant
of COVID-19 in Cumberland County, Windham
officials are requesting that anyone entering the
Windham Town Hall and other town facilities
wear a mask and maintain proper social
distancing while indoors. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE   
Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said he has asked Windham town employees to be diligent in the fight against COVID-19 and its variants and newly implemented measures are intended to protect the public and maintain a safe workplace environment for town employees.

“We avoided many issues in the first go around of this virus,” Tibbetts said. “Unfortunately, it appears this virus does not want to give up, so we need to be careful and deliberate in our approach with this variant.”

According to Tibbetts, workplace safety guidelines from federal, state, and local authorities are rapidly changing in response to the highly transmittable COVID-19 Delta variant, and the changes are in accordance with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors if they are in locations with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission rates.

He said that while COVID-19 transmission levels vary daily and significantly by geographic location, Cumberland County has been identified as an area of growth for the Delta variant.

The news about the spike in cases, as well as the potential for breakthrough cases for the fully vaccinated has raised some concerns,” Tibbetts said.

“Some employees have expressed safety concerns if they are immunocompromised or live with people with health conditions or children who cannot get vaccinated,” he said.

Under the new measures, Windham has posted signs on entry and conference room doors at Town Hall that "respectfully requests" that visitors wear a mask.

The town also requests that all employees wear a mask when in the public areas, such as hallways, conference rooms, etc., and maintain social distancing for the protection of themselves and others. It also requires that all meetings with individuals from outside the workplace, be held in a conference room fully masked and that town employees self-monitor for COVID symptoms daily.

Should a town employee come into close contact with a known COVID-19 positive person, they should receive a COVID test within three to five days from the exposure and should wear a face covering while at work for 14 days following the exposure or until they receive a negative test result, Tibbetts said.

“We will continue to monitor the CDC and state reports as we progress forward and provide further information as necessary,” Tibbetts said. “Be safe.” <

Windham Hill United Church of Christ presents Family Fun Night concert

By Lorraine Glowczak

Bringing families together for joy and spiritual growth are two of the several missions of Windham Hill United Church of Christ (Windham Hill UCC). Located at 140 Windham Center Road, the church has offered a variety of events for the community to participate and enjoy. They are now kicking things up a bit with their first outdoor concert, an event to delight the whole family.

The Windham Hill UCC's Family Fun Night will
be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20 and will
feature Anna and Dave Patterson of High Spirits.
The husband-wife musical duo from Cape
Elizabeth have performed across the state at
many venues including the '207' television
series on News Center Maine. The cost of the
event is $10 per family. COURTESY PHOTO  
The Family Fun Night concert will take place at 6 p.m. Friday Aug. 20 and will feature Anna and Dave Patterson of High Spirits. The husband-wife musical duo from Cape Elizabeth have performed across the state at many venues including the 207 television series on News Center Maine. The cost of the event is $10 per family.

Windham Hill UCC member and one of the event organizers, Paula Smithson, said that she had initially planned this concert two years ago.

I had seen High Spirits perform in 2019 at a 90th birthday party I attended and really liked their eclectic style of music,” Smithson said. “Since I enjoyed their performance, my husband and I decided to see them perform again at the Snow Squall [a restaurant] in South Portland. It was there that I got the idea that it would be exciting to have Anna and Dave perform in Windham at our church – that it would be a good way to bring families together for a church family fun night.”

Smithson reached out to two other Windham Hill UCC members, Joyce Greenacre and Terri Moore and shared her idea. Both were on board and quickly prepared for this family inspired concert with High Spirits in 2020. But we all know too well why the event has been delayed to 2021.

The purpose of the event is three-fold and Greenacre explains it best.

“I hope people will see our church as being active in the community and want to encourage families to come and have a great time,” she said. “It is also important to us to introduce the new minister, Rev. Sharon Rankin. This fun evening might be a first step for some to see who we are as a church, what we do and the importance we play within the community.”

Windham Hill UCC has historical significance to Windham as it was the founding church for the town. In New England, during the 17th and 18th centuries, the law mandated that states enforce religious devotion. A town could not be fully established and official without first having a church congregation launched with area members attending. Windham Hill UCC was that church for Windham.

In their effort to remain a part of the town’s history, the event organizers said that a portion of the proceeds will go toward building repairs. But perhaps more importantly, a portion of the earnings will also go toward the many non-profit organizations they support.

They include the following:

Windham Backpack Program

Windham Food Pantry

Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing (of which they are one of six founding members)

Habitat for Humanity

Blessing Bags for the Homeless

H.O.M.E. Mission in Orland

It is without question that family fun is an important part of building bonds and experiences that last for a lifetime. Anna Patterson explains how music plays a role in building authentic family and community connections

“Music has such tremendous power to unite people and convey emotions that are essential to the human experience,” she said. “Our greatest hope for this concert is that people will simply enjoy themselves and that the songs we sing will bring as much joy to others as they have brought to us. We play a sampling of music that spans many years and many genres, and we always love when people can sing along or dance.”

According to their website, the sounds of High Spirits is founded in American music from Motown to Nashville. They perform cover versions of their favorite songs for weddings, proposals, graduations as well as retirement, and birthday parties. Their musical style is a bit pop, a bit folk, a bit Motown, and a bit alternative country. They have performed songs made popular by Amy Winehouse, Leon Bridges, Norah Jones, Prince, Whitney Houston, Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, and are always working on new arrangements of songs by artists they discover.

Whether you attend for the concert spiritual growth or fun or both, the most important thing Smithson hopes for those who attend the Family Fun Night Concert by High Spirits is simple and true.

“I really just hope people have fun – as a community and as a family,” Smithson said. “If there is more gained from it – all the better.”

If the weather drives the concert indoors, the community is asked to wear masks.

For more information about the concert, contact Paula Smithson at 207-310-8031. <

Kids clown around at Warrior Explorer Summer Camp

By Collette Hayes  

There’s a bit of truth in the old adage that if you surround yourself with clowns, you won’t be surprised if your life resembles a circus and children attending the Warrior Explorer camp at Windham Christian Academy learned that in person this summer.

The fulltime camp provides high-interest activities for students entering first through sixth grades and offers afternoon experiences to students in first through eighth grades.

According to Jackie Sands, Windham Christian Academy principal, the camp kept students in the “learning mode” over the summer and gave them an excellent opportunity for a child to continue to learn and develop to avoid the academic summer slide.

Last week’s Warrior Explorer Summer Camp theme “clowning around” included activities of experimentation, creative exploration and cognitive, problem-solving, all important learning skills leading to improved academic skills.

During camp each week, skills are developed around a specific topic or theme. On Friday afternoon, campers were “clowning around” learning juggling skills, creating illusions, twisting balloons into animal shapes and exploring clown costuming and make-up design.

A 7-year-old camper had no trouble twisting balloons into various animal shapes while Amber Sands, 13, perfected pin juggling and performed her skills like a master during camp performance time.

Other campers practiced creating magic illusions with intense focus and detail. All of the campers participated in designing their own make-up on a mimeo before applying paint to their faces. The results caused bright eyes and exclamations of delight.

“Clowning Around Week” had specific goals focused on the eight commandments of being a clown from respecting other clowns no matter how experienced or inexperienced to always being appropriate for all audiences.

For the culminating activity on Friday, the campers choose one of four types of clowns: Auguste, Tramp, Whitefaced or Character. The campers then created their own make-up and costuming.

For the last two years during “Clowning Around Week,” the camp’s director, Rick Hagerstrom, has shared his enthusiasm for juggling with the campers.

“I have had a passion for juggling for the last 45 years,” Hagerstrom said. “It is a skill which helps the campers build self-confidence. Also, it is a great way for students to develop focus and experience creative problem solving through direct experience.”

According to Sands, one of the primary objectives of the annual camp is to provide experiences to keep students’ academic and learning skills sharp and to have fun doing it and “Clowning Around Week” helped campers achieve that goal.

“Campers are going home and sharing their new skills with their parents,” Sands said. “We have had a lot of positive parent feedback.”

Windham Christian Academy’s Warrior Summer Camp wraps up this week. <

Organization a strong trait of Raymond's Town Clerk Sue Look

Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Briana Bizier

Every year, no matter the weather or the items on the ballot, Election Day in Raymond means that the gymnasium at Jordan-Small Middle School is filled with ballots, booths, and smiling election officials who are ready to answer any questions. This organized and welcoming experience is due in large part to Sue Look, Raymond’s Town Clerk.

As Raymond's Town Clerk, Sue Look
oversees elections and organizes the 
agenda and takes minutes for Raymond
Select Board meetings.
“It isn’t just what you see on election day,” Look said. “There are clerks who come out and help set up beforehand and there are others who process absentee ballots. We have a training before every election for the workers.”

It’s a process that’s quite familiar to Look, who spent five years working in elections at the state level. “I managed the voter registration system and ran a help desk for every town in the state,” Look said.

That experience gave Look a good sense of the problems that tend to arise in local elections.

Sometimes, Look said, a voter is unclear on the strict protocol that must be followed during an election. For example, a ballot cannot be removed from the polling place. “Once you’ve been issued a ballot, your only option is to go behind the guard rail and fill it out,” Look said.

“The only other problem is folks that feel very strongly about an issue on the ballot, and sometimes they will get a little too exuberant in the parking lot, and we have to go out there and tell them to move along. People can be very creative with what they come up with for problems,” Look said. “On the whole, though, people are there to do their civic duty, and we try to make it as pleasant and as easy as we can.”

This commitment to easy and comfortable elections continued throughout the pandemic, when Look and her staff put up additional guard rails to allow people to safely socially distance while they cast their ballots. “We are blessed that we have a nice, big space,” Look added, referring to the Jordan-Small gymnasium.

Look says she’s also grateful for her staff and the volunteers who make these elections possible. “They are dear people,” Look said, “And that’s something that I recommend for everyone, to go and work an election.”

Elections are not the only event on Look’s plate as town clerk, however. She also organizes the Raymond Select Board’s monthly meetings. Look takes the minutes, coordinates with all the people who want to be in the meeting and complies requests for the agenda.

This agenda is important, she said because the Select Board can only discuss and make decisions about the items on that meeting’s public agenda.

“That’s a protection for the citizens,” Look said. “If they look at the agenda and see that the Select Board is discussing, for example, tarring the roads, they can decide whether to attend or not with the assurance that nothing that isn’t on the agenda is going to be discussed at the meeting.”

In addition to organizing these scheduled monthly meetings, and the occasional as-needed emergency meeting, Look also prepares the warrant for Raymond’s annual town meeting on the first Tuesday in June.

“There are a lot of little pieces that people don’t realize,” Look said. “A lot of it has to do with what the statutes say have to happen and in what time frame.” Those statutes were established with the citizens in mind. “It’s set up so that the public has time to listen to it and give input,” Look said.

Look’s history of organizing and planning stretches well beyond her time working in elections at the state level. Although she was born in Maine, Look has lived all over the east coast.

“My dad was in the woolen industry, and we followed the mill closings north,” Look said.

Altogether Look moved 40 times before settling into her current home. “I can pack out a kitchen quick,” she said. “And every time I moved, I would always make sure the beds were made before we finished for the day.”

The skills needed to pack up a household and keep calm while moving have since served Look well as she organizes Raymond’s Select Board meetings and elections. Look, however, gives much of the credit to Raymond residents.

“The town of Raymond has really been very understanding and supportive of all the changes that we’ve had to go through in the last year, and I and all of my staff are very appreciative of that,” Look said. “We’ve had very, very few difficulties when all of the sudden we’re not open, and now we’re doing things in the parking lot, and now we’re doing things over the phone. The town has really pulled together with all of this.” <

Post Everlasting ceremony salutes Windham American Legion members

By David Tanguay

Special to The Windham Eagle

During a solemn ceremony with the lights dimmed at the Windham Veterans Center, American Legion Field Allen Post 148 in Windham held a special tribute and farewell to post members lost this past year in a special “Post Everlasting Ceremony” on Aug. 4. 

John Hill, left, an American Legion Post 148
Honor Guard member, presents the name of a
Post 148 comrade to Post 149 Chaplain Dick
Drapeau during the Post Everlasting ceremony
at the Windham Veterans Center on Aug. 4.

According to American Legion customs, when a comrade passes, the Post Everlasting moment is one of honor. The memory of the departed Legion member is enrolled for perpetuity and sustained by their pride in their service to the nation.

Post Everlasting is the last destination for members of The American Legion, where departed comrades are called for duty by the Supreme Commander. The ceremony remembers deceased post members and gratitude for their contribution and service to our country, community, and the post, and their transfer of their membership to the Post Everlasting.

Each American Legion Post conducts a solemn Post Everlasting Ceremony once each year.

Presiding over the ceremony in this year was the Post 148 Chaplain Dick Drapeau. 

Members of the Post 148 Honor Guard brought up the names of the departed comrades for placement in a symbolic fire representing eternity.

Those remembered this year at the Post everlasting ceremony were:

** Daniel Pettengill, U.S. Army, Vietnam

** Norman Devonshire, U.S. Navy, Vietnam

** William Fredrick Douglas, U.S. Air Force, World War II and Korea

** Alden Whittemore, U.S. World War II

** William Johnson, U.S. Navy, Vietnam

** Allen Laurence, U.S. Army, Vietnam

** William Chipman, U.S. Navy, Vietnam

** David Watts, U.S. Navy, Vietnam

** Bernard Purgako, U.S. Navy, Vietnam

The ceremony ended with the playing of taps by Post Bugler Linwood Bailey. <