December 30, 2022

Two Windham teens earn Eagle Scout rank

By Lorraine Glowczak

Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is a meritorious achievement that takes years of hard work, service, and dedication. This type of commitment and enthusiasm has helped with the successes of well-known individuals who obtained Eagle Scout statuses, such as director Steven Spielberg, pianist and TV host John Tesh, and astronaut Neil Armstrong.

To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, Landon Schmuck, left,
and Cameron Dempster of Windham had to plan, develop,
and give leadership to others in a service project helpful
to a community institution or organization. 
According to the US Scouts website, around four of every 100 boys that join Scouts attain the rank of Eagle Scout, making it less than 1 percent of the male population that earn that rank. As of Saturday, Dec. 17, two motivated Windham teens are now among the elite group as Cameron Dempster and Landon Schmuck celebrated their long-sought-after Eagle Scout milestone in a ceremony at the Windham Veterans Center.

Both teens have been in the Scouts since age 6, where they started together as Tigers in Windham’s Cub Scout Pack 805. At 11, they officially transferred to Boy Scouts joining Windham’s Boy Scout Troop 805.

Dempster, a senior at Cheverus High School, achieved his rank by building and providing landscaping improvements at Gambo Soccer Fields in Windham. Schmuck, a 2022 Windham High School graduate currently a freshman at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, built a feral cat house for the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook.

Schmuck’s love of animals led him to build a feral cat house for the untamed cats so they could maintain their independence from human intervention as much as possible.

“I volunteered at the Animal Refuge League while doing a project in high school,” Schmuck said. “Since I enjoyed that experience so much, I wanted to do something to help the organization and the animals that live there. Our troop had worked on previous Eagle Scout projects there, building cat houses. This gave me the idea to ask them what they might need the most.”

Schmuck had to provide a blueprint of the idea and get an estimated price for the materials. Once they knew the estimated costs, fundraising ensued to purchase the wood, the roofing materials, and the tools.

“We raised the money we needed by holding a bottle drive at the refuge league,” Schmuck said. “We used that money and donations from the kind people who wanted to support the shed.”

Schmuck and about 12 other volunteers spent about 15 hours building the feral cat house.

“But counting planning and all the hours put into it, I spent around 40 to 50 hours on the project,” he said.

Dempster's five-part project at the soccer fields also took about 15 hours of hands-on work. His project included painting the kick wall that was vandalized, sanding and repainting the snack shack as well as other landscaping improvements.

“I also added two picnic tables in the snack shack area to provide additional seating for people and trimmed back 250 feet of treeline that was overhanging one of the bigger fields," Dempster said. "I also installed speed limit signs to help prevent any accidents with vehicles and small children using the area."

Dempster chose to do this project because GSF is where he started playing soccer. “Soccer is a very big part of my life, so I decided to give back to the kids who will find to love soccer as much as I do.”

As with Schmuck, Dempster needed to find the funds to purchase materials for this project. This included paint, paint rollers, paint brushes, picnic table kits, wood sealer, eight pressure-treated posts, 14 bags of concrete, a drill operated by a skid steer and “no dogs allowed”, and speed limit signs.

“When the government supplied the stimulus money to kids, I put that money away and got it approved by Scouts BSA to use it,” Dempster said. “Sherwin Williams donated the paint, paint brushes, rollers, and wood sealer. Lowes discounted the wooden posts. Windham Youth Soccer Association sourced and supplied the actual signs for affixing to the posts.”

The newly ranked Eagle Scouts are looking forward to their futures. Schmuck will be returning to Ogden after visiting with his parents, Robert and Andrea, also of Windham. Upon graduation from Weber College in about three years, Schmuck hopes to work with large animals, with the goal of working at a zoo in Australia.

Dempsey, lives in Windham with his parents, Stuart and Fiona, and will graduate from Cheverus this spring. He is currently exploring options to further his education, applying to several schools in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New York. His intended areas of study are finance and political science. <

Appropriations bill includes Windham wastewater treatment funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Maine Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, has announced that she secured $2 million for a wastewater treatment facility in North Windham in the Fiscal Year 2023 Interior appropriations bill.

Maine Senator Susan Collins helped secure
$2 million in funding in the new U.S. 
appropriations bill for North Windham's new
wastewater treatment facility that will use a
Membrane Bio Reactor like this one shown.
The omnibus funding package passed the Senate by a vote of 68-29. It was later passed by a House vote of 225-201 before heading to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“Windham is the gateway to Maine’s beautiful lakes region and is a major retail center for the surrounding communities,” said Senator Collins. “This advanced wastewater treatment facility will support continued job and residential growth in Windham while also protecting the environmental health of Sebago Lake, Little Sebago, and other local bodies of water.”

The funding will support the installation of a sewer and wastewater treatment system. The facility will utilize a Membrane Bio Reactor, which will clean the water to a much higher standard than the existing subsurface waste disposal systems and eliminate excessive nitrogen and phosphorous from being placed in the ground each year.

Windham does not currently have a wastewater treatment system in the North Windham Business District. This infrastructure is needed to accommodate economic development, business and job creation, and residential growth in the region while reducing the carbon footprint.

The Omnibus bill keeps the government running through September 2023 and also includes $443,000 in funding for a Windham substance misuse facility. The renovation project will provide residential treatment for adolescent girls in Maine, which will be the only program of its kind in the state.

“Last year, there were more than 9,500 drug overdoses in our state, and 627 Mainers died as a result – a tragic record. A variety of organizations across Maine are stepping up to meet community needs and battle the opioid crisis through an all-of-the-above approach,” said Senator Collins. “I have strongly advocated for prevention, treatment, and recovery programs to expand vital assistance to Mainers who are struggling with addiction. This funding will help alleviate bed shortages and waitlists for care for adolescent girls that can be a significant roadblock to receiving treatment.”

The risks facing our youth from the misuse of substances is often overlooked as an aspect of the current opioid crisis, said Greg Bowers, Day One’s CEO.

“The fact of the matter is that the facility being stood up with the use of these Congressional funds will be both lifesaving and life altering for hundreds of teenaged girls for years to come,” Bowers said.

Day One’s residential programs have provided substance use treatment for adolescents and their families for nearly 50 years. The agency currently operates an 8-bed facility for boys in New Gloucester; however, a remote facility for girls was forced to close due to challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, Maine lacks a similar program for girls and there is a waitlist for this service.

The funding will allow Day One to renovate an existing facility in Windham to serve adolescent girls statewide. When completed, the renovated facility will have the capacity to treat up to six girls at a time with an average length of stay of three months.

The Day One program provides trauma-informed treatment in the form of individual and group therapy, family therapy, life skills development, education, and aftercare for youth in every part of the state.

Counselors use evidence-based treatments such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, Seven Challenges, and Prime for Life to help clients gain the skills needed to succeed in their recovery journey outside of the therapeutic setting. <

WHS a state finalist in 'Solve for Tomorrow' STEM competition

Samsung Electronics America has announced that Windham High School is among four state finalists in the 13th annual “Samsung Solve for Tomorrow” national STEM competition.

Windham High School is one of four state finalists in Maine
for the 13th annual 'Samsung Solve for Tomorrow' national
Representing the cream of more than one thousand competition entrants, each State Finalist has won a package of $2,500 in technology and school supplies. The finalist schools now advance to additional stages of the competition that will culminate in three schools being selected in May as National Winners and receive $100,000 prize packages.

The annual Solve for Tomorrow competition challenges public school students in Grades 6 to 12 to explore the role science, technology, engineering, and math (the core STEM subjects) can play in addressing some of the biggest issues in their local communities. The competition is designed to engage students in active, hands-on learning that can be applied to real-world problems, making STEM more tangible and showcasing its value beyond the classroom.

“As a company and as individuals, STEM is incredibly important to Samsung – we depend on STEM-savvy people to envision, implement, and engage with innovative STEM-dependent products and services,” said Michelle Crossan-Matos, Chief Marketing, Citizenship and Communications Officer for Samsung Electronics America. "Between 2019 and 2029, the number of STEM jobs are predicted to grow 8 percent, a higher rate than non-STEM jobs."

Crossan-Matos said that while STEM skills are key to a 21st century workforce, we know that national test scores in STEM subjects like Math have fallen by the largest margin in 30-plus years.

"The Solve for Tomorrow competition was designed to provide schools and teachers with an innovative, problem-based learning approach to STEM education to boost student interest, proficiency, and diversity in STEM," she said. "This fresh crop of impressive State Finalists is proof that we’re succeeding.”

Ann Woo, Senior Director, Corporate Citizenship for Samsung Electronics America, said that several significant trends in the program proposals submitted this fall have been observed.

“Every year’s entries provide a window into the concerns and aspirations on the minds of that cohort of middle and high school students,” Woo said. “A common theme this year is ‘connecting’ whether that’s connecting people to people, peer to peer, across generations, or even around the globe. In fact, one school’s entry is based on its connection with a school in Ukraine, proposing a solution for providing solar power to students in a war-ravaged community. Climate change, school/student safety, and mental health are other top issues of concern for this year’s problem-solvers.”

Windham joins Greely High School, Nokomis Regional High School and Nokomis Region Middle School as Maine State Finalists. The Maine State Winners will be announced in mid-February 2023.

State Winners will receive a prize of $20,000 in technology and supplies and advance to the next phase of the competition. Each State Winner will also be given a video kit to help document their project in action.

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow launched in 2010 to encourage innovative thinking, creative problem-solving, and teamwork to address the most pressing issues impacting society. Today the competition fosters critical thinking and creative problem solving, anchored in problem-based learning.

To date, Samsung has awarded $24 million in technology and classroom materials to nearly 3,000 public schools in the United States. Solve for Tomorrow has been so impactful that it has expanded into a prominent Global citizenship program for Samsung Electronics now running in 33 countries worldwide and reaching over 2.1 million students around the world. <

The Scoop on Winter Salt: How it Could Impact the Environment

By Windham’s Natural Resources Advisory Committee

Mainers are no strangers to the winter season and its necessary snow/ice maintenance. This maintenance keeps people safe during snow or freezing weather for activities such as commuting to work, visiting family during the holidays, dropping kids off at school, or even walking your furry friend. However, the many benefits that road salting provides are matched by some opportunities for improvement. Road salt can contaminate drinking water, kill or endanger wildlife, increase soil erosion, and damage private and public property.

It only takes a tablespoon of salt to contaminate
5 gallons of water. COURTESY OF
Maine has 45,586 miles of public roadways, more miles per person than any other New England state. In 2020, it was estimated that 493,000 tons of rock salt, 787 pounds for every Maine resident, were used on public infrastructure. This does not include other impervious surfaces such as private roads, driveways, sidewalks, or parking lots. Therefore, when salt melts snow and ice, it flows over miles and miles of impervious surfaces to nearby waterbodies, such as lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.

It only takes a single teaspoon of salt to contaminate five gallons of water. Once salt dissolves, it does not degrade over time. In fact, salt is incredibly challenging and costly to remove from water. This is a major problem for smaller, intermittent streams because there is no constant flow or higher amounts of water that larger waterbodies contain. Therefore, they can become degraded and impaired during rain or melting events. Also, excessive salt can be toxic to fish, amphibians and insects which are vital to a healthy habitat.

Additionally, "excess road salt accumulates on roadside areas killing roadside plants and harming wildlife that eat the salt crystals. Salty roads also attract animals like deer and moose (who love licking up the salt), increasing the probability of accidents and roadkill.”

While no perfect solution exists to keep our roads clear in the winter without salt, we can reduce the amount used by utilizing proper planning and application practices.

Here are some tips to reduce the amount of winter salt applied:

Reposition downspouts: Make sure downspouts are pointed away from paved (or other hardened) areas so that water is not draining onto your walkways or driveways where it can re-freeze.

Reposition snow piles: Shovel unsalted snow to lower areas of your property or onto lawns to direct melting snow away from paved areas.

Shovel early and often: It makes sense that when you remove snow and ice by shoveling, you will need less salt and the de-icing material will be more effective. Begin your cleanup work as early as you can and keep up with the snowfall (unless freezing rain is forecasted to follow the snow) so the sun can get to the pavement/sidewalk and melt it away.

Use an ice chipper: A specialized ice-chopping tool (not an ice pick) will allow you to work faster and more efficiently removing ice or a hard buildup of snow than a standard snow shovel.

Apply only what is needed: Sprinkle de-icing material on icy areas and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for working temperatures and application rates. Winter salt is most effective between 10-32 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is above or below, then consider alternatives such as using a small amount of sand for traction or chopping and removing the built-up snow/ice with an ice chipper or shovel.

Plan Ahead: Research de-icing materials before purchasing to determine which is best for your specific location and need. Not all products have the same ingredients. Consider purchasing a de-icer that is chloride free.

For more information, please contact Windham’s Environmental & Sustainability Coordinator, Gretchen Anderson ( <

December 16, 2022

In the public eye: Relationships matter most to WPS principal

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

By Ed Pierce

Windham Primary School Principal Dr. Kyle Rhoads believes that his role as a school administrator is to find the potential in students and staff and then strive to develop that potential.

Dr. Kyle Rhoads has served as principal of Windham Primary
School for the past 15 years and is charged with keeping all 
members of the school community feeling safe so 
learning happens. SUBMITTED PHOTO 
Rhoads is now in his 15th year at Windham Primary School and says the best thing about his job is getting to hang out with 5 to 9-year-olds each workday and making a difference for the adults and children he works with.

“I truly enjoy solving problems to improve the situation for others,” Rhoads said. “The most challenging aspect is not having enough time in a day to get everything accomplished that I would like to accomplish.”

Born in New Jersey close to Philadelphia, he roots for both the Boston and Philadelphia sports teams, but Rhoads was raised most of his life in Gray and Naples and attended the University of New Hampshire, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Child and Family Studies.

He went on to receive a master's degree in Educational Administration from the University of Southern Maine and achieved a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

As WPS principal, Rhoads says that he is charged with keeping all members of the school community feeling safe so learning happens.

“I communicate with our community and facilitate communication between home and school. I lead the implementation of programming at our school such as curriculum, instruction, assessment, learning, operations, and support for learners,” he said. “My role involves keeping the superintendent abreast of our school operations and activities. I prepare and administer the school budget and supervise school finances. I supervise and evaluate staff members.”

According to Rhoads, as RSU 14 school district departments, the directors and principals work together to implement initiatives and operate the schools.

“My professional responsibilities include being aware of changes and developments in the profession by attending professional meetings, reading professional journals and other publications, and collaborating with peers,” he said. “My role includes providing support for staff members such as learning opportunities and resources to do their jobs better.”

Prior to joining WPS, Rhoads spent five years as principal of Acton Elementary School and was an assistant principal and co-director of early childhood in Auburn. He was a kindergarten teacher and elementary curriculum coordinator in Freeport and began his fulltime career in education as a teacher assistant at a small school in Sebago. He's also the co-chairperson of the national organization, The Collaborative for Customized Learning.

His most memorable moment at WPS involved building two new playground pods for the school.

“Our community funded almost all the money for the equipment and constructed it. This was the third time I was involved in a playground build, and I was hesitant to proceed,” Rhoads said. “Our volunteer coordinator, Michelle Jordan, talked me into it and I am glad she did. We needed and received support from volunteers, staff members, administration, and businesses to make our dream a reality in a very short amount of time.”

He said that his wife is a school counselor in a different district, so she has a good sense of his job which allows her to be an amazing support for him.

“She makes sacrifices so that I am able to do my job fully,” Rhoads said. “I believe as a counselor and parent what she likes about my job is that I strive to make a difference for children and value having strong family communication. Our daughter was a part of the WPS family as a learner for four years. She is now at Manchester School as a fourth grader. She likes seeing me every day at work because she starts and ends her day still at Windham Primary School. She loves to help out in the office.”

For Rhoads, the busiest time of the year is during the summer.

“In my role as principal, summers can be really busy at times with end-of-year paperwork, administrative meetings, summer educational programs, construction projects, staff hiring, and preparation for a new year,” he said. “Fortunately, our office staff does a superb job of helping with these tasks.”

Rhoads says the most important thing he’s learned at WPS is simple.

“Relationships matter the most and then you can support the people you interact with as a part of our school community so they can do their best,” he said. “Also, seek to understand a situation before attempting to resolve it.” <

Windham adopts revised Parks Ordinance

By Ed Pierce

Members of the Windham Town Council voted unanimously to adopt changes revising the town’s Parks Ordinance following a public hearing held on Tuesday evening.

A footbridge that was installed
at Lowell Preserve without the
permission of the Windham Parks
and Recreation Department created
confusion among trail users and
has led the Windham Town
Council to revise an ordinance
prohibiting park improvements
without the town's authorization.
In October 2020, someone installed a footbridge in Lowell Park without clearing that through the Windham Parks and Recreation Department. In a public statement made at that time, Windham Parks and Recreation Director Linda Brooks had said that while the town appreciated that contribution, it led to confusion among users of the town’s trails system.

“Our trails are color coded and when new unapproved trails are added using existing trail colors, they are not depicted on our trail map and have resulted in trail users getting lost,” Brooks said. “That is a safety issue that we are trying to address.”

The issue to amend the town’s Parks Ordinance prohibiting such activity and making park improvements without town authorization was brought up more than a year ago and discussed by town councilors during a meeting in 2021, but Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said that it somehow failed to move forward and placed on the council’s agenda.

He said that a revised Parks Ordinance brought before the council Tuesday evening specifically addresses rogue improvements made to town parks.

Under Section f of the new ordinance, the language adopted by the council is as follows: "Improvements. The town welcomes volunteer efforts to improve, maintain and beautify town parks; however, all such work shall be authorized in advance by the Parks and Rec Director."

The newly adopted ordinance was also modified to address the use of dangerous weapons and explosives in Windham town parks.

Newly revised language in the ordinance is as follows: "Firearms/Fireworks, Etc. Firearms of any description, air rifles, gas weapons, slingshots, bows and arrows, firecrackers, and explosives shall not be discharged in town parks with the exception of hunting activities at Lowell Preserve."

No members of the public spoke during the public hearing but during a brief discussion held after that, several questions were raised by councilors prior to a vote to revise the ordinance.

Tibbetts answered a question regarding the posting of the ordinance in town parks and said that the newly revised ordinance will be posted prominently for visitors to parks in the town.

He also said that although the discharge of firearms at Lowell Park is permitted under the revised ordinance, no guidelines have yet been established for the new East Windham Conservation Project lands. That outdoor recreational area is scheduled to open sometime in the fall of 2023.

“We’ll revisit that for the East Windham Conservation Project once the Town of Windham actually owns that land,” he said.

A copy of the newly revised Windham Parks Ordinance is available on the town’s website at <

New children’s book by Maine illustrator debuts in Windham

By Abby Wilson

Maine-based illustrator Gail Clark has published a new children’s book about her two adventurous French bulldogs, Eloise Violet and Madeline Rose, and debuted her picture book during a book-signing event at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Windham on Dec. 10.

Maine-based illustrtaor Gail Clark shows a copy of her new
children's book The Adventures of Eloise Violet and Madeline
Rose: The Island
which made its debut during a book
signing event at Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shop in
Windham on Dec. 10. PHOTO BY ABBY WILSON  
An artist and writer, Clark is the illustrator of The Adventures of Eloise Violet and Madeline Rose: The Island. The book is filled with vivid colors that Clark says that “even very young children love.” She also said that she had this story printed on thick paper, knowing that little ones would be pulling and tugging on the pages.

The story is told through tremendous illustration and rhymes. Readers are introduced to the canine characters of Eloise Violet and Madeline Rose and as the story unfolds, Madeline Rose is revealed to be the troublesome one while Eloise Violet is along for the ride.

These dogs sneak away from their owners and meet other wild characters such as porcupines, deer and gophers. 

They find their way across a river and onto a small island.
Clark said there is truth in this story. The Adventures of Eloise Violet and Madeline Rose: The Island was written by Clark to commemorate the silliness of her original two bulldogs who were always escaping off to the island. She says “the dogs were too funny, I had to write a children’s book.”

There is much humor in this book, with the tale focusing on silliness and adventure. Eloise and Madeline explore the great outdoors and try not to get snatched by the “dog-catcher.” Of course, the dogs always return safely. Clark says this is how all children’s stories must end.

She has been an artist for as long as she can remember. Filling sketchbooks and drawing everything, she knew at a young age she wanted to be a professional artist. She has carried this creativity through her life and now has both undergraduate and master’s degrees in painting.

In her career, Clark has focused a lot of her work on large pieces, playing with light and architecture. She enjoys the complexity but also the ability to use her imagination.

Clark has displayed her work solo and in group shows. She has been chosen for national juried exhibitions. Her primary medium is oil yet she often uses watercolor and pencil.

Clark believes that variety is good and that if you have variety in your life you can also have variety in your art. After studying as a classically trained painter, she is using those skills and her imagination to create whimsical pieces of art. Clark hopes others can feel the joy in her work that she feels while she is creating it.

She also has a degree in education and was a teacher. Clark felt inspired by her Kindergarten through 12th grade students and their childhood youthfulness. She has opened up her studio to instruct people of all ages and has taught both abstract and traditional painting.

Her love of art, creativity, imagination and curiosity has made it a natural fit to write a children’s book.

Clark’s home lays beside a river with a waterfall and an island- the very island that is featured in this book. She says animals and scenery have always been an inspiration to her.

She paints vivid pictures of her backyard, animals and scenes such as harbors, farms and boats. Much of Clark’s art work celebrates the seasons with snow covered trees, flowers and other natural wonders.

Today, Clark resides at her studio in Yarmouth with her husband and two French bulldogs. Dogs have always been an important part of her life. Each of her dogs have been trained and certified with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, providing much comfort to others. They often visit Maine Medical Center and nursing homes in the Portland area.

Clark has dedicated her book to therapy dogs, “who bring smiles and joy to people everywhere they go”.

You can order your copy of Gail Clark’s picture book and check out her work at The new book is also available at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Windham. <

Trustees approve a $55.5 million water district budget

Portland Water District’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a combined $55.5 million water and wastewater operating budget and a $23.1 million capital budget for 2023 at the Nov. 28 meeting.

The capital budget allocates $8.6 million to water projects, $7 million of that is specifically to replace aging water mains. An additional $11.9 million is targeted at wastewater projects, $8.0 million of that for a new North Windham Wastewater Treatment Facility and $2.1 for upgrades at the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility in Portland.

The budget incorporates a 5.6 percent water rate adjustment, which is estimated to add an additional $1.28 to a typical monthly water bill for a single-family residence. The adjustment will take effect in January 2023.

A public hearing on the rate adjustment occurred earlier in November and a notice was mailed to customers recently.

The water and wastewater operating budget represent roughly a 10.9 percent increase over the 2022 budget, while capital expenditures decreased slightly from 2022.

Much of the operating increase is attributed to higher biosolids disposal costs, related to new requirements from the state of Maine for PFAS management. Labor, chemical costs, and debt service are also significant factors.

The 2023 Comprehensive Budget can be found on PWD’s web site at

Portland Water District maintains a 1,000-mile network of water mains ranging from 60 inches to 2 inches, pump stations, and reservoirs that bring water from Sebago Lake to home and businesses in Maine. Large mains for transmission extend from PWD’s treatment facility near Standish to Westbrook and Portland.

The district operates four wastewater treatment plants, providing treatment and collection services to customers in Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Gorham, Portland, Westbrook, and Windham.

The water district keeps about 25 million gallons of water in storage to help maintain proper pressure and allow for a water reserve in case of an emergency, like a fire or a flood. It serves about 200,000 people across 11 communities and because of that, PWD must ensure that Sebago Lake water quality is of utmost importance.

Sebago Lake itself is more than 300 feet in depth and contains nearly 1 trillion gallons of water which is considered of excellent quality. The source of water in Sebago Lake originates in the Sebago Lake Watershed, which is more than 50 miles long, stretching from Bethel to Standish and includes parts of 24 towns including the towns of Windham and Raymond.

The excellent water quality of the Sebago Lake Watershed is attributed to surrounding forested lands that act as a natural filter for the watershed. <

Maine Audubon’s 2022 Loon Count yields new lakes, counters

The results are in, and the news is good: final results from Maine Audubon’s Annual Loon Count for 2022 estimate that adult loon numbers dipped slightly this year, but chick numbers are up.

The first full count of Sebago Lake of adult loons and loon
chicks was conducted in July by volunteers on Sebago Lake
and was organized by Maine Audubon.
Long term trends continue to show a strong adult population that has grown steadily over the years, and a stable population of chicks over time.

In 2022, more volunteers than ever, more than 1,600, gathered up their count forms and binoculars and headed out to the lakes. The annual loon count, which began in 1983, takes place on the third Saturday of July. This year’s record turnout is a real testament to how much people care about Maine’s loons and lakes.

With fantastic calm and clear weather, volunteer loon counters surveyed loons on 361 lakes, hitting another record: the largest number of lakes surveyed since Maine Audubon’s Loon Count began.

The numbers: Estimates for the adult population are down, from 3,446 last year to 3,057 this year. Annual fluctuations are common, with numbers going up and down depending on numerous factors, and the general trend is upward so there’s no cause for alarm.

These estimates are for areas south of the 45th parallel, roughly south of a line from Rangeley to Calais, where lakes are generally accessible by local residents and enough lakes are counted to make a reliable estimate. Many more loons nest on lakes across the northern half of the state that are not included in these estimates)

Despite general upward trends, it’s clear that motorized watercraft (from wake boats to jet skis) that do not follow state laws, like the law prohibiting wake-producing speeds within 200 feet of shore and islands, continue to pose a serious threat to Maine’s loons. Trauma, especially from boat strikes (when a boat collides with a loon) is now the leading cause of adult loon deaths in Maine, above lead poisoning from ingesting lost and discarded lead tackle. Loon counters also continued to report loon nests that were flooded and eggs that were washed out of the nest by boat wakes.

The good news is that chick estimates are up from 224 last year to 298 this year. Last year’s lower number of chicks is another reminder that the population fluctuates from year to year and that loons don’t necessarily breed or breed successfully every year. The increase can be attributed both to natural fluctuations and to the dedication of many, many loon counters helping to protect loons on their lakes.

Nest flooding from boat wakes and lake level changes, chick or egg predation, nest abandonment from human disturbance, and boat strikes were all reported this year, so while the increase in chicks is a welcomed event, threats remain abundant.

With the 2022 Loon Count came a couple of firsts: the first full count of Sebago Lake, the second largest lake in the state, and the inclusion of chicks hatched from new nesting platforms put out as part of the Loon Restoration Project (a partnership between Maine Audubon, Maine Lakes, Lakes Environmental Association, and the Penobscot Nation).

The goal of that project is to enhance nesting success where loons have consistently struggled in the past and decrease loon mortality caused by boat strikes, lead poisoning, and human disturbance. More than 100 volunteers helped assess loons and lakes for new rafts, resulting in 27 rafts being placed on 24 lakes and producing 11 chicks since the project began in 2021. Additionally, 62 volunteers have helped to protect nesting loons and families as part of this project.

Both of these “firsts” were made possible by the participation of dedicated volunteers.

Brad McCurtain, who stepped up to coordinate the count on Sebago Lake, said, “Importantly, it’s the start of what hopefully will become a library of years of full lake data. And a good chunk of 2022’s count team is lined up and ready to go for 2023.”

In 2023, Maine Audubon will celebrate the 40th year of the Annual Loon Count and the incredible amount of time and effort put forth by thousands of volunteers each year.

“The commitment from this group of volunteers shows that conservation is a high priority for Mainers and their communities. I’ve loved seeing the passion, knowledge, and dedication the counters possess,” said Loon Count coordinator Hannah Young. “Maine Audubon, and the loons, are lucky to have such support.”

For more information about loon ecology, breeding habits, and migration patterns, Young points people toward a new Your Loon Questions Answered document, compiled by Maine Audubon biologist Tracy Hart. For more information about the 40th annual count or the Loon Restoration Project, contact or visit <

December 9, 2022

Months of work result in dazzling AmFam holiday concert

By Lorraine Glowczak

Nothing sparks the holiday spirit for the greater Windham community than the annual and highly anticipated performance of An American Family Holiday (AmFam) concert performed by the Windham Chamber Singers. As a result, there is no surprise that the WCS performed two shows in a jam-packed auditorium at Windham High School (WHS) last Saturday, Dec. 3.

Special guests Ashley Liberty, violinist, and Daniel Strange,
pianist, perform with the Windham Chamber Singers at last
Saturday's 'An American Family Holiday Tradition' concert. It
takes a lot of work by the WCS performers to make this highly
popular annual event a success. They celebrate the Monday
after by unwrapping gifts which are used as props on
Although this year was the WCS 21st AmFam performance, the group has been performing a holiday-themed show for over 35 years. As those early concerts have progressed to now include prominent musicians such as Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame) and Tony Award-Winning Broadway performer such as Sutton Foster and Norm Lewis, a Tony Award nominee, preparation is imperative to meet annual success and high expectations of concert goers.

WCS Director and WHS and WMS Music/Chorus Teacher Dr. Richard Nickerson said the planning begins earlier than one may assume.

“I started planning for next year’s concert this morning,” he said Monday afternoon after this past weekend’s concert. “I think it is important to plan on the heel of this performance because it’s fresh in my mind. So, I begin by looking for areas that might need improvement and reflect upon the lessons learned so we can be and do better next year.”

Nickerson considers details such as next year’s program structure, ticket sales, performers, and perhaps most importantly, the music.

“As far as music is concerned, ‘Oh Holy Night’ is a given,” Nickerson said regarding one of the last songs of the evening that includes an invitation of former Chamber Singers (who are audience members) to perform on stage with the current singers. “I also look at feedback from the special headliners to ensure there are no overlapping songs. It’s like putting a puzzle together.”

Guest performers regularly invited include pianist Daniel Strange, WCS alumnus and 2001 WHS graduate and his wife Ashley Liberty, a talented and highly sought out violinist. For the past 18 years, former WGME co-anchor Kim Block has hosted the event.

While selecting the special guest headliners, Nickerson makes sure he does his research.

“It’s important that the guests are known to work well with high school students,” he said. “They also need to understand that although the Chamber Singers are a very professional group of musicians, the headliners will be performing on the smaller stage with youth. But even more importantly, they must understand that although they are the special guest headliner – the kids are the stars of the show.”

However, the WCS stars work hard for their time in the spotlight. They do it all. They are the stage crew and managers, making sure the stage and auditorium is decorated to perfection, including festive backdrops of Christmas trees and other special props and decorations that can include the construction of such items as picket fences, etc.

“They are also in charge of filling all the ticket orders, addressing envelopes, and mailing the tickets,” Nickerson said. “And their work is not complete after the show. They must disassemble the trees, lights, and other decorations in an orderly fashion for next year. Chamber Singers are not only learning how to perform professionally, but they are also learning everyday life skills.”

But most importantly is the encouragement, collaboration, and friendships that are learned and developed among the singers. Among many supportive activities they participate in is the holiday tradition of ‘Secret Santa’ a week before the Am Fam performance. Each day, the singers give gifts that include notes of encouragement, poems, and quotes. The final gifts that are exchanged, are used as props on the stage during the performance.

“It’s really fun to open our gifts the Monday after AmFam,” WCS and senior Teddy Becker said, explaining that it helps make the breakdown of the stage props more interesting. “It gives us an opportunity to bond, to get to know each other better and to prevent cliques from occurring between us.”

Lastly, the well-attended AmFam performance is the WCS's one big fundraiser.

“Money made from their work at AmFam covers the expenses for their annual tour around New England in the spring,” Nickerson said. “So, the funds raised pay for the bus, the meals, hotels, and other expenses.”

WCS are grateful for the support from the Windham and Raymond areas and beyond.

“Thank you for helping to make An American Family Holiday such a wonderful event,” they recently posted on their social media webpage. “We wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.”

This spring, the WCS will perform at schools, churches and at other public events throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. <

WHS knitting club provides students instruction in everyday skill

By Masha Yurkevich

We’re definitely not in the time where we need to make our clothes from scratch, but at the same time, we shouldn’t throw away an article of clothing just because it’s missing a button that fell off. For all who want to learn the basics of knitting, relax, or learn a new hobby, Windham High School has started a knitting club and welcomes all.

Windham High School Knitting Club member
Juliet Cox instructs Reegan Burke about proper
knitting techniques. SUBMITTED PHOTO 
Yvonne Michaud is the president of the non-profit Windham-based knitting guild, the Lighthouse Knitting Guild of Maine and part of the Start2KnitMaine program which sponsors the knitting club at WHS. It provides free instruction, equipment, and yarn to students in Maine.

The club meets on Tuesdays after school from 2 to 3 p.m. in the high school library.

Michaud was originally raised in the Aroostook County and spends much of her time leading a local knitting Guild, knitting, teaching, and weaving.

She has been an avid knitter for the past 30 years, often designing her own patterns. Michaud says that knitting brings joy to her life, and she loves teaching it.

According to Michaud, knitting has always allowed her the freedom to create cloth and fabric from multiple strands of yarn and fiber. It helps her relax and turn down the volume and pattern work is one of her favorite areas of knitting that she enjoys.

After moving to the Lakes Region and joining the knitting guild in 2017, she volunteered first as the organization’s outreach coordinator and then moved into a leadership position.

“The LKGM was established in 2015 amongst some work buddies, which quickly grew and became a nationally recognized knitting guild,” says Michaud. “We are the largest knitting guild in the state of Maine and belong to The Knitting Guild Association. As some may know, craft guilds have been a very important part of communities throughout the world for thousands of years. They often define standards and play essential roles in educating people to keep a craft alive.”

The goals of Start2KnitMaine program were developed in 2019. They are two-fold starting with educating the next generation about the slow craft of knitting and informing young Mainers to the rich fiber resources available in our state.

A pilot program was launched in 2020, but abruptly halted by the impact of the pandemic. Michaud restarted the program in the spring of 2022 with in-person free classes for adults at the Windham Public Library. At that same time, Sue Ellen Gendron asked Michaud to work with a Windham High School senior, Reegan Burke, to meet her capstone goals.

“Burke was quickly welcomed to the LKGM, attending and learning during our guild meetings and teaching at the Cumberland Fair,” says Michaud. “During this time, Burke introduced me to a Windham High School teacher interested in creating a knitting club at Windham High. We met a few times to outline our goals, identify stakeholders, establish a program framework, and source equipment.”

Michaud says that she was very excited by the opportunity to link the LKGM with a high school.

The guild has a wealth of outstanding members with incredible skills and 14 members participated in the Cumberland Fair exhibition hall and loved it. Partnering with a local high school was an enduring way to share their love of this craft with the youth of Maine, Michaud said.

Amy Kneeland is the faculty advisor at WHS for the knitting club.

“Reegan Burke (a WHS 2022 graduate) was a participant at the end of last year, and she was the one who asked if I would be willing to take over as faculty advisor,” says Kneeland. “Possibly due to the pandemic, we have a strong interest in students who wanted to learn to knit. We have about 20 students currently, and most learned how to knit for the first time this October with us.”

Michaud provides lesson plans for the club and an "arc" for them to follow. She provides the instruction, and the club now has four volunteers from the guild teaching.

“They first taught us how to cast on, then to knit stitch. They helped us through a sampler of a handful of different stitches, and now the goal is for everyone to have a project to work on over break,” says Kneeland.

The first few knitting club meetings were spent looking at projects, different kinds of yarn, and getting a feel for using the needles. Many of the members struggled with casting early on.

Now, groups typically sit in the same groups with the same instructor, and work on their own project. The whole point is to relax, build community, and create something.

“We catch up with each other, get help as needed from the instructors, then we take a snack break about halfway through, and the second half is spent making sure everyone has what they need, skill, yarn, questions answered, whatever else is needed, to take their projects home for the next week,” Kneeland said. “We do have several members who don't knit at home and only knit here during club time.”

Kneeland said that the guild has a spot at the fair at the end of the summer, and she would really love to have some of the WHS students there next year to represent the Start2Knit program.

Annabelle Demar is a sophomore at WHS and a member of the knitting club. For her, the club caught her interest because she was interested in learning how to knit. She likes the club, the people, and the people who are teaching how to knit.

“I believe everyone needs a way to express themselves,” said Michaud. “There are so many ways. Teaching knitting is a way to share my joy.” <

Cub Scouts to lift Christmas spirits of gift recipients

By Ed Pierce

The underlying message of Christmas giving is to bring happiness and joy to others and that’s the intent behind Windham Cub Scout Pack 805’s annual Christmas initiative helping those in need in the community.

Members of Windham CuB Scout Pack 805 have adopted 
two local families from the school district and several kids
in foster care and will fulfill their Christmas requests by
gathering gifts ranging from simple clothing items to games
and toys and gift cards. COURTESY PHOTO 
“This year, Pack 805 adopted two families from the school district and a few kids in foster care,” said Casey Melanson, Cub Scout Pack 805 Den Leader.

Melanson said that the local scouts and their families fulfilled requests by gathering Christmas gifts ranging from simple clothing items to games and toys to gift cards and that they have been able to obtain all the gifts requested by the adopted families and the kids in foster care.

The gifts will be delivered next week after a Cub Scout spaghetti dinner for Christmas that will bring together scouts and their families before the extended holiday break.

“We have such a great pack family,” Melanson said. “We want the Cub Scouts to take away from this experience the realization that Christmastime isn’t just about getting presents, but about helping others and spreading joy.”

This will be the fourth consecutive year that members of Windham Cub Scout Pack 805 have done their best to make sure that Christmas wish lists created by adopted families in need have been met.

“Pack 805 scouts and their parents are excited to help people in our community,” Melanson said. “Want to make the holidays better for someone who needs help.”

In November, Cub Scouts also pitched in to help collect hundreds of items for the Windham Food Pantry during a collection locally, Melanson said.

She said that charitable efforts such as collecting Christmas gifts and participating in a food drive connects the scouts with the community and demonstrates a commitment to helping.

“We want our scouts to learn what it means to be part of something important, what it means to help their community, to make new friends, to build relationships, and most importantly to grow as young men.”

She said that becoming a Cub Scout is almost like a rite of passage for many young boys in Windham.

“Our pack is a great group of scouts and parents. We care about each other, push each other, and just all around have fun,” Melanson said. “Cub Scout activities emphasize having fun and learning useful life skills. “

She became involved with the Cub Scouts when her son joined as a Tiger Scout in first grade. He’s now in seventh grade and has crossed over to participating in the Boy Scouts program in Windham.

“I was just a scout mom, but soon became part of it and then the chair for the Pack 805 Fundraising Committee,” Melanson said. “I am also now the Den leader.”

During the summer, members of Cub Scout Pack 805 work on completing tasks so the scouts can move up in scout ranks. Some of those activities include learning about first aid, safety, teamwork, nutrition, and a variety of other topics.

Meeting weekly, Melanson said that the ultimate intent of the Windham Cub Scout Pack 805 program is to teach the young scouts about responsibility, caring, and instruction in an array of different skills that will help them throughout their lives.

“I’d like to thank the whole pack, scouts and parents for making this Christmas drive a success.” Melanson said.

For more information about Windham Cub Scout Pack 805, send an email to <

December 2, 2022

Windham Hill UCC’s popular ‘Festival of Trees’ returns this weekend

By Ed Pierce

If you’re seeking a fun-filled family activity to get in the holiday spirit close to home this weekend, the Fifth Annual Christmas Festival of Trees will be conducted from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4 at Fellowship Hall, Windham Hill United Church of Christ, 140 Windham Center Road in Windham.

The Fifth Annual Christmas Festival of Trees will be held in
the Fellowship Hall at the Windham Hill United Church of
Christ, 140 Windham Center Road, Windham from Friday,
Dec. 2 through Sunday, Dec. 4. COURTESY PHOTO    
This highly anticipated and popular event is a showcase for local merchants and organizations as well as serving as a fundraiser for the Windham Hill United Church of Christ, the founding church of Windham and a historic landmark for the town. Proceeds from the Festival of Trees will benefit the church budget and mission projects within the community and beyond.

Festival hours are noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. On Sunday, Dec. 4, the festival will be open from noon to 4 p.m. with the Grand Drawing of Winners to be conducted at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The church’s Fellowship Hall will be decorated for the holiday season and refreshments will be available.

There will be 20 decorated Christmas trees with LED lights, each one donated by a local businesses or a resident or family.

Each tree’s sponsor will decorate the tree and then put gifts on and around the tree, with many gifts coming from their store or organization. Drawing winners will receive the tree itself, with all of its lights and ornaments, and all of the gifts on the tree branches, and all of the gifts under the tree.

In the past, Windham UCC Festival of Trees drawing recipients took home everything from toys and gift items to kitchen supplies and jewelry and there is always great excitement leading up to the Grand Drawing on Sunday afternoon.

Admission to the Festival of Trees is free and everyone is welcome to visit to see these beautiful trees and review the gifts from the tree sponsors.

Tickets for the Grand Drawing will be available and for sale for 50 cents each at the Windham Hill United Church of Christ during the event. One ticket will be drawn for each tree at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

The winners will need to claim their tree and gifts by 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6.

The annual Festival of Trees event is a fundraising activity of Windham Hill United Church of Christ to benefit their mission program featuring local, national, and international missions including Heifer International; the Root Cellar; Windham Food Pantry; Church World Service; SERRV; and many other charitable organizations.

Windham Hill United Church of Christ is an open and affirming church, welcoming all who would come. The church was founded in 1743 and has been central to the life of Windham throughout Windham’s history as a town and a community. <

Windham to wait to apply for some bond funding

By Ed Pierce

Windham voters approved a $6.9 million bond for various projects during the Annual Town Meeting in June, but upon the recommendation of the town’s bonding agent, the town will wait before seeking some of that funding.

The town of Windham will wait to apply for bonding for some
upcoming projects authorized by town voters in June including
creating a new sidewalk from Boody's Corner to Shaw's
Supermarket and the acquisition of land for planned 
connector roads in North Windham.
During a discussion at the Windham Town Council meeting on Nov. 10, Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts briefed town councilors about the bond application status of eight different projects.

Tibbetts said from a financial standpoint, it would save money by waiting to apply for bonding for some of the projects by avoiding paying bond interest and associated fees in the coming year.

According to Tibbetts, the bonding agent thinks bond interest rates could fall in the months ahead and not paying additional interest and processing fees to bond issuers in 2023 on projects not scheduled to start until 2024 would result in significant savings for the town.

“Financially that’s a really smart move for us to get to where we want to be,” Tibbetts said.

He said that if councilors agree, the town will proceed as originally planned to obtain bond funding for four projects in January for work to begin in 2023 that includes improvements to the Collonwood Drive and Running Brook Drive intersection; adding Merrill Preserve to the East Windham Conservation land; adding open space land abutting the conservation project property at the old Phinney Lumber property; and obtaining trash and recycling carts for town residents.

The total bonding of these four projects for 2023 is $2.95 million, Tibbetts said.

The Collonwood Drive/Running Brook Drive project bond amount is $50,000 with the Merill Preserve/East Windham Conservation project bond amount of $1.8 million.

The Phinney Lumber open space bond amount is $500,000. The town will also seek a $600,000 bond for the purchase of trash receptacles as part of a new trash collection system and contract with Waste Management expected to begin next fall.

Bonding for four other projects authorized by town voters in June will wait to be applied for until a more favorable time, Tibbetts said.

Those projects include a $775,000 bond for River Road/Route 302 intersection/sidewalk in 2024 or 2025; a $275,000 bond for creation of a sidewalk from Blue Seal Feed on Gray Road to Depot Street in South Windham in 2024 or 2025; a $200,000 bond to create a sidewalk from Boody’s Corner to the Shaw’s supermarket along Router 302; and a $2.5 million bond for land acquisition in North Windham for the purpose of creating new connector roads in 2025 to alleviate traffic congestion on Route 302.

“In doing analysis, we determined that the $2.5 million bond for the connector roads can wait 12 to 18 months to save on interest we would have to pay,” Tibbetts said. “Combine the sidewalks with the connector road projects the amount of that bonding would be $3.75 million and we can wait on that to save money.”

Windham Town Council Chair Mark Morrison said the issue of delaying the application process for the sidewalks and connector roads has been discussed by members of the council’s finance committee and they agree with Tibbetts and the bonding agent.

“It makes perfect sense to wait and see,” Morrison said.

Windham will formally seek bonding for the Collonwood Drive/ Running Brook Drive, conservation acquisitions and new garbage and recycling receptacles on Jan. 17, 2024.

The East Windham Conservation Project would acquire the forested acreage for recreational opportunities in Windham while also adding 1,545 feet of undeveloped water frontage on Little Duck Pond, the 150-acre Deer Wintering Area for hunting, and the 580-foot Atherton Hill, the tallest hill in Windham. In June, the Lands for Maine’s Future organization awarded the East Windham Conservation project $998,000 to help fund the initiative.

The project will directly abut more than 1,000 acres of other conserved land in Windham and Falmouth, including Lowell Preserve, North Falmouth Community Forest, and Blackstrap Hill Preserve, providing 20 miles of interconnected trails and five trailheads for public access and amounting to one of the largest unfragmented forests in the Greater Portland region.

During the 2022 Annual Town Meeting, Windham voters approved a bond to match the LMF award with open space impact fees so there will be no impact upon the mil rate for local homeowners. <

In the public eye: Longtime WMS receptionist vital component of school safety

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

By Ed Pierce

Anyone looking to explore what holds Windham Middle School together should look no farther than the longtime school receptionist and attendance secretary Debbie Hall.

Windham Middle School receptionist and 
attendance secretary Debbie Hall has worked at
the school for the past 24 years and in her role,
she maintains all school attendance records,
answers school telephones and signs in all
students who come into the school.
For the past 24 years, Hall has served as the gatekeeper for students and visitors to the school and is truly the cement that keeps the school running smoothly.

In her position, Hall maintains all school attendance records, answers school telephones and signs in all students who come into school each day. She assists all WMS staff members, school administrators, parents and any students who need help throughout the day. Hall monitors all the doors for both school buildings and makes sure no one gets in the buildings unless she knows who they are and what they need.

“The best thing about what I do is getting to know the students and seeing them grow and mature through the three years they are here at WMS,” Hall said. “Also, I work with some of the best people at WMS.”

She said keeping students safe is the most challenging aspect of her work.

“Having the responsibility of the school doors and making sure only people who absolutely need to enter the buildings do, is huge,” Hall said. “Violence in schools has really changed how we look at security now, and I am a big part of that role at Windham Middle School.”

The position of school receptionist can be exhausting, but Hall takes her work in stride and takes her work seriously.

“People may think that I just sit at a desk and answer the phone all day,” she said. “This job keeps me on my toes. I am a good multi-tasker and it helps.”

According to Hall, several memorable moments come to mind when she reflects upon her time working at the school.

“9-11 was awful,” she said. “Something like that had never happened before and no one knew what to do. We watched it unfold on television and just shook our heads in disbelief. The other situation was four years ago when we came into school one morning to find out we had lost a colleague unexpectedly overnight. That shook our close-knit staff to the core. But we supported each other and got through it.”

Hall grew up in Gray and graduated from Gray-New Gloucester High School. She then went on Southern Maine Technical College to study Food Service and Nutrition.

"I was a substitute teacher and heard they were looking for a receptionist for the Windham Middle School office,” she said. “I thought it would be a good position for me and it gave me the hours and vacations I was looking for. I had been a long-term sub in the office at the high school, so I knew the routine and some aspects of the job. So, I applied and was hired.”

In addition to serving as WMS school receptionist and attendance secretary, Hall has owned and operated her own daycare for the past 20 years.

She said that her family is aware of how important her work at the school is and value the time they get to spend with her when school is not in session.

“I think they have enjoyed my having school vacations off and the school hours gave me the opportunity to attend school functions and sporting events for my own kids,” Hall said.

Her job at the school may sometimes be overlooked, but its relevance is significant in the operations of the school. She wears many hats during the day including referee, councilor, safety monitor, and greeter, to name a few.

“Sometimes my interaction with the students first thing in the morning is the first contact they have had with an adult,” she said. “I try to listen, respond and be helpful and compassionate when necessary.”

RSU 14 Social Worker Sue Austin says that Hall exemplifies what a school staff member should be like.

“Deb is the definition of caring and kindness, doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do, she’s there for you,” she said. “One of the best people I know.”

WMS Principal Drew Patin says that Hall has been instrumental in helping to find families that would like to give to others during the holidays and matching their giving to the families in need. 

"I think it brings a great sense of pride to the school and helps everyone to feel like a part of the community," Patin said. "Her work goes above and beyond her job duties to create a real impact on families when times can feel stressful and bleak. Debbie is known by many families as the 'angel' that made their holidays memorable and comforting."   

Hall said the most important thing that she has learned while working for Windham Middle School is that the world has changed, and it has impacted family life tremendously.

“Kids need more, and parents expect more from the schools. School has become a safe haven for many kids, and they depend on meals and support we provide,” she said. “I will continue to do my part. I feel very fortunate to work in such a great place." <

Maine Finance Authority honors Evergreen Credit Union

Evergreen Credit Union has received the Lender at Work for Maine Award by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) in the category for lenders with less than $1.5 billion in assets.

FAME Acting CEO Carlos Mello presents
the Lender At Work for Maine award 
(up to $1.5 billion in assets) to Jere Shaw,
Vice President and Senior Commercial
Officer of Evergreen Credit Union.
This past year, FAME partnered with Evergreen on 12 loans to Maine companies totaling approximately $7 million. This helped to create 34 Maine jobs and retain an additional 132 jobs.

Evergreen Credit Union is the fifth largest in the state based on asset size, serving six counties in Southern Maine.

Forbes recently named the credit union to their Best-In-State Credit Unions 2022 for Maine. <

Hawthorne House to host festive Christmas Party

The beloved annual “Hawthorne House Christmas Party” will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at Nathaniel Hawthorne’s boyhood home, located at 40 Hawthorne Road in Raymond.

The popular annual Hawthorne House Christmas Party starts
at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at 40 Hawthorne Road in
Raymond. The festivities include cocktails and dinner.
A donation of $5 per adult is requested. Although walk-ins are welcome, reservations are encouraged for planning. You may make a reservation by emailing or calling or texting Becky Tracy at 207-329-0537.

The festivities will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Attendees are asked to please bring a favorite culinary creation: an appetizer, main dish, bread, rolls, or dessert, along with serving spoons. They are also asked to please put their name on dishes and utensils.

The cocktail hour and dinner will be BYOB, with guests asked to bring any alcoholic beverages or special mixers they might like. The Hawthorne House will provide setups of ice and standard mixers. The festive evening will conclude with the singing of all-time favorite Christmas carols.

The Hawthorne House is the boyhood home of the legendary author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables in Raymond and has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1969.

Author 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.

Fundraising Campaign

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Boyhood Home in Raymond has launched Phase 2 of its major fundraising effort to help fully repair and restore the National Register historic home. Donations may be made by sending a much-appreciated check or online donation. Please make checks payable to “Hawthorne Community Association” / PO Box 185 / South Casco, ME 04077. Credit card, debit card, and/or Paypal donations may be made online at:

For more information, please contact Abel Bates at 207-318-7131 or by email at < 

November 23, 2022

Remembering Windham’s Steve Quimby

By Max Millard
Special to The Windham Eagle

I first met Steve Quimby in 1958, when my family moved from New Hampshire to the Goold House in Windham, two houses away from the Quimby residence. Steve was my classmate, and we became friends right away. We were both members of a club called the Tree Scouts. The only other members were Steve's older brother Jimmy and their cousin Dennis Hawkes.

Steve Quimby gathers with the rest of the Tree Scouts in
Windham in 1962. From left are Steve Quimby, Peter Millard
(honorary member), Dennis Hawkes, Jim Quimby and Max
The original Tree Scouts were started by Steve's father Ivan Quimby and his friends. We copied the name. Jimmy thought the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts were stupid. The Tree Scouts made up their own rules.

We built a cabin on the Hawkes’ land at the edge of the woods. We cut down the logs and hatcheted the ends to make them fit together, using as our model a picture of Abe Lincoln's log cabin. We got a wooden platform for the floor and smeared creosote on the walls to protect the logs against rotting. We spent many nights sleeping there.

Unfortunately, there were a few insects trapped inside the logs which made a shrill­ pitched whistle all through the night. Apart from that, it was a great getaway for us. It gave us a place to smoke, swear and look at dirty magazines.

In the summertime, the Tree Scouts would often sleep out under the stars in our sleeping bags. We would sneak into the Hawkes's garden and raid it of strawberries peas, corn and anything else that was ripe. Each boy would go after a different item'. Then we'd build a fire and roast corn on it, keeping the husk intact to seal in the moisture. Seldom have I tasted corn that was so delicious.

From the spout

In those days the Hawkes grew a lot of apples, which they sold by the bushel. The ones that fell to the ground were gathered in baskets and taken to the cider mill downhill from the farm, where they were crushed into cider. Steve and I would sometimes go to the mill, turn the handle, and drink cider directly from the spout like a garden hose, letting most of it run onto the ground.

Every fall, the Hawkes and Quimbys grew more tomatoes than they could sell at the stand. At the end of the season, Florence Hawkes didn’t can them fast enough to keep up, and many tomatoes would rot on the vines. So, the Tree Scouts would go have a tomato fight. Tomatoes would soon be splattered all over our clothing, so that we resembled bloody actors from a third-rate horror movie. It was fun to dodge flying tomatoes by hiding in the bushes or making alliances to gang up on others.

Rainy afternoons were never dull for the Tree Scouts. We'd go to a house where our parents weren't home, dial a number at random, and start using vulgar language. Sometimes the victim would stay on the line and swear back at us, but usually they'd hang up. Other times we'd look in the phone book for a family whose last name was Lord. Then we'd call and ask, "Is this the Lord's residence?" If they said yes, we'd say, "Then let us pray."

One of the favorite tricks I did with Steve was pulling a handbag. We'd place an old empty handbag in the middle of Windham Center Road with a fishing line attached to it, then hide in the bushes next to the road. When a car would stop to check to see if there was any money inside, we'd pull the bag quickly, then run away laughing. The driver would shake his fist at us.

Back in junior high, Steve and I both started smoking cigarettes, although we later gave up the habit. Both Steve's mother Barbara and my father Ben were smokers, and we'd take turns stealing cigarettes from them, then share them. Steve would take one or two at a time from his mother's purse. My dad always kept several packs on a bookshelf in the kitchen. I'd push one of the packs behind the books, and if he didn't notice it within a week or two, I'd take the whole pack.

We would sometimes go out at night and smoke in Dick Hawkes' strawberry house. But the best place for smoking was Alley Hawkes' barn because you could stack up the bales of hay like building blocks and construct a house big enough for two of us to fit in. We'd sit there at night with a flashlight and smoke. Of all the places in town, that was probably the most dangerous to do that. But we were careful, and never had an accident.

One night the four Tree Scouts decided to climb the high school water tower. It was located beside the old high school. To climb the tower, it was necessary to scale a 10-foot latticed wire fence, which had holes just big enough to hold the toes of our shoes. On top was a metal bar topped with two strands of barbed wire. You had to do some very tricky balancing to make it over that wire without getting your pant leg entangled and falling. But barbed wire was nothing to farm boys.

Snow jumps

In winter, we all went sledding, standing up straight on our toboggans and holding the guiding rope, mimicking Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, a popular TV show of the time. We'd construct big wedge-shaped snow jumps, but it was nearly impossible to remain standing until we landed.

Steve graduated from Windham High School in 1967, and not long after that he got a job at Serta Mattress. One of his workmates there called himself Lindbergh, claiming he was the kidnapped Lindbergh baby. He got mad if people said they didn't believe him.

One day, when Lindbergh didn't think he was being observed, he picked up Steve's lunch box, removed the handle, and put it on his own lunchbox. But Steve saw this happening. When Lindbergh wasn't looking, Steve threw his lunchbox in the river.

As it was sinking, Steve called him over and said, "Hey Lindbergh, what's that out in the river?" Lindbergh said he didn't know. Steve said, "It looks like a lunchbox. Hey, maybe it's your lunchbox." Lindbergh said that it couldn't be, because that one had a handle. Steve answered, "It is too your lunchbox, and I threw it there because you took my handle."

I could tell more stories about Steve, but what I remember most about him is his good nature and his sense of humor. I hardly ever saw him without a smile on his face.

After I moved to California in 1980, I lost contact with Steve for many years, but I kept in touch with our classmate Lloyd Bennett and Steve's cousin Jim Hawkes. When I flew into the Portland Jetport for a visit to Maine in 2016, Jim and Lloyd met me at the exit. They were accompanied by a tall, large man who looked vaguely familiar. It was Steve! We had a great reunion, and the four of us went out to dinner that night, and later met twice more, for a pizza night at Lloyd's and at Jim's neighborhood party.

That was the last time I saw Steve but hearing of his passing jogged my memory about what a good friend he was. I wish I could have been there for his memorial service. I've remembered him for 64 years and I'm sure I will never forget him. <