August 26, 2022

In the public eye: Hudnor hopes to be positive presence as the new WMS resource officer

Windham Police Officer Justin
Hudnor will serve as the School
Resource Officer at Windham
Middle School along with 
providing police services for
the Windham primary schools and
as the new DARE officer serving 
RSU 14 schools.
Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Andrew Wing

The importance of having a school resource officer in a building is undeniable. Their responsibilities include developing safety procedures, conducting drills, and de-escalating aggression between those in the building if it arises, and the man who will be doing that at Windham Middle School this year is Officer Justin Hudnor.

Hudnor is a member of the Windham Police Department, and will serve as the School Resource Officer at Windham Middle School, succeeding Officer Matthew Cyr, who retired at the end of the last school year in June. As the new SRO, Hudnor’s list of duties is long, but his primary responsibility is providing police services to the elementary, primary, and middle schools in Windham. More than that though, the most important part of Hudnor’s job is building positive and trusting relationships between students and the Windham Police Department. While he hopes to do that effectively to help foster collaboration between law enforcement and the community to reduce crime, he says that he also wants to serve as a role model and mentor for students to help guide them to make healthy decisions.

He was born and raised in Brunswick, where he attended Brunswick High School. After graduating, he continued his education at Thomas College in Waterville, where he majored in Criminal Justice and would eventually earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

Hudnor’s interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement started when he was in high school when the school resource officer at his high school took him under his wing once he saw that Justin had an interest in it. He then completed an internship with the Brunswick Police Department which ultimately confirmed that law enforcement was what he wanted to do. After graduating from college, Hudnor became a corrections officer at the Cumberland County Jail and worked there for just over a year until he eventually got hired by the Windham Police Department in 2014.

Initially serving with WPD as a patrolman, Hudnor realized he wanted to work more with RSU 14. 

“What first prompted me to want to become an SRO for the district was seeing first-hand how well the school district and police department work together,” said Hudnor. “Also, talking with the current SROs and learning about their day-to-day duties, the role sounded like something I would love to do, and I also enjoy building relationships with the youth in town and feeling like my work makes a difference.”

But becoming an SRO takes a lot of hard work, especially in Windham where one must have been a full-time law enforcement officer for three years, must complete the basic SRO course, successfully finish a week long training course held at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, and many more requirements, but Hudnor did it all because he really wanted the job.

“As a patrol officer, I really enjoyed building rapport with key stakeholders and acting as a relatable role model for the young people in our community,” said Hudnor. “However, I felt I really wanted more opportunities to do so, and now as the SRO, my goal is to provide a positive presence in the hopes that students understand that law enforcement officers can serve as trusted mentors.”

More than that, Hudnor says that he has a lot more goals that he hopes to accomplish in his new position that will not only make him a better police officer but will also make our schools and our community a safer place.

“I am sure that my goals for this role will continue to develop over time, but my current hope is to continue the programming that Officer Cyr established in creating opportunities to build self-worth, leadership skills, and resiliency through outdoor adventure,” said Hudnor. “Additionally, I want to continue fostering the relationship between the police department and the school system because it will ensure that our trusting and collaborative bond will help keep our students safe.”

Being a police officer is one of the more dangerous jobs out there, and it goes without saying that it’s important to have your family's support, and luckily enough, Hudnor’s family is very supportive of his career.

“My wife has encouraged me to pursue my passion for community policing and working within our school system despite the fact that it means sometimes spending time away from my family for training and conferences,” said Hudnor. “I have a 6-month-old daughter and a 3-year-old son. They are another reason why I am so invested in our schools and working to make a difference as they will be attending these schools in a few short years. My son is also proud that his dad is a police officer – he loves the police cruiser lights.” <

‘Family Fun, Fitness and Film Festival’ participants celebrate summer at Tassel Top Park

Ariel, from Rent A Princess joins dancers
from the Maine Dance Center at the 2022
Family Fun, Fitness and Film Festival.
The free event was designed to provide
resources for living a healthy lifestyle and
for participants to connect, socialize and 
By Masha Yurkevich

On the evening of Thursday, Aug. 18, the beautiful sandy beaches of Tassel Top Park were filled with people not only enjoying the wonderful weather, but also fighting for a good cause. The Family Fun, Fitness and Film Festival was held at Tassel Top Park for the third year and is a collaborative effort between the Be the Influence Coalition and the Windham and Raymond Parks and Recreation Departments.

The event was a free family gathering designed to provide resources for living a healthy lifestyle. The event was intended for participants to connect, socialize and have fun. Activities included yoga on the beach, lawn games, bounce house and live entertainment. Activities were led by Laura Morris, Be The Influence director, in partnership with Joe Crocker the director of Raymond Parks and Recreation and Linda Brooks, the director of Windham Parks and Recreation.

“My mission is to create healthy ways for youth and community members to live without resorting to alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and pills,” said Morris. “Together we created this event, secured sponsors, partnered with area resources and youth groups.”

This event was originally designed in the response to COVID-19 and the anxiety that youth and families were experiencing due to the isolation as well as the increase in self-medication and unhealthy ways to cope.

“Be The Influence and both Parks and Rec Departments wanted to provide an outdoor, health outlet for the community that would encourage healthy ways to cope as well as provide resources for those that may need them,” said Morris.

Organizations that were present at the event include The Options Program/Sweetser, Maine Behavioral Health, City of Portland Health Department, Alateen, Windham Library, Phyllis Warhol, Licensed Social Workers, Be the Influence, Vacasa, Cumberland County Federal Credit Union, Bangor Savings, Cumberland Title Services, Windham High School Cheerleaders, Unique Unknown Hip Hop, Rebecca Woodbury-yoga and mindfulness, Sebago Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Rent a Princess, and Maine Dance Academy. 

With a thank you to all the sponsors who helped support this event each year, the event was free of charge and was open to anyone; those in the Windham Raymond communities and anyone else who may be visiting the park on that day, Morris said.

Brooks, who is also an active member of Be the Influence Coalition, said she was happy to be a part of the Family Fun, Fitness and Film Festival yet again this year.

“One of the best aspects of this event is having young people from organizations such as the Windham High School Fall Cheerleaders and the Maine Dance Center participate in this event to demonstrate the healthy activities they are involved with and show a willingness to give back to their community to be role models to youth,” Brooks said. “Tassel Top Park is a beautiful park on the shores of Sebago Lake and having this event held in this setting is a great way to remind people about the benefits of nature and the outdoors.”

There were roughly 85 people who attended.

“We had hoped for twice as much, but everyone that attended reported really enjoying it,” said Brooks. “This was not a fundraiser. We solicited sponsors on our own and brought in the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce to cover film, advertising and other costs.”

Brooks said that she thinks the main take away is that we are living at a difficult time and mental health issues and substance use is at an all-time high. “Communities need engaging events that provides the tools to handle stress in healthy ways as well as where people can go for help,” says Brooks. “This venue does both.” <

'Trek for Trails’ supports outdoor recreation in Lakes Region this September

Do you enjoy spending time outside in the Lakes Region? Have you ever hiked Pleasant Mountain, Bald Pate Mountain or Pismire Mountain? Maybe you've enjoyed the sunset from the top of Hacker's Hill or a stroll on the accessible trail at Peabody-Fitch Woods. The one thing these places have in common is that they are owned and managed by Loon Echo Land Trust, which means that public access to these Lake Region gems is guaranteed forever.

And now, with access to the outdoors more important than ever, you can give back to these trails and special places by participating in the 2022 Trek for the Trails, presented by Norway Savings Bank. The Trek is LELT’s largest annual fundraising event and 100 percent of the $20 registration fee helps maintain the trails you know and love, the ones you have yet to discover, and helps build new trails.

To participate in the Trek, all you have to do is register, and then visit any LELT trail or preserve throughout the month of September to hike, walk, bike (on trails where biking is permitted) or take in the view. Trail runners can compete for the best time via Strava segment on three trail running routes – one on Pleasant Mountain, Bald Pate, and at Raymond Community Forest to compete for pie (and bragging rights). Trekkers can also choose to raise money from friends and family to support their Trek & LELT trails. 

All Trek participants are invited to a celebration on Friday, Sept. 30 and will automatically be entered into a raffle for prizes from local businesses, including a 2022-2023 season pass to Shawnee Peak Ski Area, gift cards from Bridgton Books, a two-night stay at Pleasant Mountain Camping, and more. 

The Trek begins on Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 30. Registration is $20/adult, and the Trek is free for students ages 16 and under. Registration can be done online at or by mailing a check to LELT (memo: Trek) at 8 Depot St, Suite 4 Bridgton, ME 04009. Participants may register up until Friday, Sept. 30.

Funds raised from the Trek help Loon Echo steward more than 8,500 acres of land and 30-plus miles of trail in the Lake Region. LELT’s goal this year is to raise $15,000 – a quarter of the annual cost to maintain LELT’s trails and preserves, all of which are available to the public year-round and free of charge.

The 2022 Trek for the Trails is generously sponsored by Norway Savings Bank, Chalmers Insurance Co, Hancock Lumber, Shawnee Peak, Minuteman Press, Squeaky Clean Laundromat, Jones & Matthews P.A., Clement Bros Landscaping, The Good Life Market, and many other local businesses in the Lakes Region of Maine.

Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is a community supported, non-profit land trust that works to protect the land and natural resources of the northern Sebago Lake region for future generations. For more information on LELT preserves, upcoming events, or how to get involved, visit or the Loon Echo Land Trust Facebook page. <

August 19, 2022

Windham revises marijuana license fee structure

Members of the Windham Town Council have voted to revise
the town's marijuana license fee structure and cap the total
amount that cannabis businesses must contribute to an 
education fund for informing the public about the dangers
of substance abuse. COURTESY PHOTO  
By Ed Pierce

The Windham Town Council has revised its marijuana licensing fee structure, capping the overall amount some businesses contribute to the town’s substance abuse educational fund at $1,000 and lowering standard license fees for other cannabis business.

The town’s existing marijuana licensing fee structure was adopted by councilors in September 2021 and raised licensing fees for adult use, cultivation facilities and medical marijuana caregiver stores from $3,500 annually to $10,000. But following council discussions at previous meetings, some businesses asked councilors to take another look at the fee structure to be fair to everyone concerned.

During a public hearing on Tuesday night, Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts revealed a revised fee schedule and members of the public and business owners were asked for their thoughts prior to a council vote.

Tibbetts said that for 2021, Windham collected a total of $194,700 in marijuana license fees and cannabis businesses contributed $77,880 to a dedicated education fund used for presentations to educate children and the public about the dangers of substance abuse and for other related uses such as awarding college scholarships. 

Under the revised fee structure proposal, Tibbetts said Windham would take in a total of $54,900 for 2022 and $16,160 in education fees. Back in July 2021, members of the Windham Town Council committed to using licensing fees imposed by the town for retail and medical marijuana facilities for drug education and drug prevention programs. Councilors then approved a plan in August 2021 to award grants to applicants and create a scholarship for a deserving Windham student seeking to earn a degree in drug counseling or addiction treatment.

Some individuals who spoke during the public hearing said it is unfair to force marijuana businesses to contribute to the education fund, yet other businesses that sell alcohol or e-cigarettes do not have to pay similar fees.

Maggie Terry of Windham, representing the Legal Leaf and The Hashery businesses, said she believes the revised fee proposal is discriminatory against marijuana businesses.

“The education fee is great, but I think it’s too high at 40 percent. I don’t think the burden should be carried alone by the marijuana community. We shouldn’t be funding all this education fee.”

For an adult use marijuana store, the current fee for a renewal is $10,000, but Tibbetts is proposing to reduce that fee to $2,500, with new licenses set at $10,000. Prior to last fall, the original fee for an adult use marijuana store was $2,500.

The proposed fees for a Tier 1 marijuana cultivation facility up to 500-square-feet would remain at $1,000, while a Tier 2 marijuana cultivation facility up to 2,000-square-feet would see fees drop to $1,500 for renewals from its current rate of $5,000. New licenses for a Tier 2 cultivation facility would be $5,000.

For Tier 3 cultivation facilities more than 2,000-square-feet, the renewal fee would decrease from $7,500 to $2,000 with new licenses for Tier 3 set at $10,000. Tier 4 cultivation facilities would drop to $2,500 from $10,000 with new Tier 4 licenses established at $10,000.

At a prior council meeting earlier this year there was a lengthy discussion about fees for marijuana caregivers, but Tibbetts’ proposal for on-site cultivation for medical marijuana caregivers would be $300 from its current rate of $500. New on-site cultivation for medical marijuana caregiver licenses would be set at $500.

The proposal included that each licensed marijuana business in Windham use 40 percent of its license fee or $100 minimum and capped at $1,000 to contribute to the education fund.

Councilor Mark Morrison said he favored revising the fee structure but questioned the education fee reduction.

“The proposed fee schedule in front of us tonight is appropriate, but I’m concerned about the impact to the education fee and that’s a concern,” Morrison said. “Do we have the ability as a town to levy a fee on liquor and e-cigarettes?”

Jarrod Maxfield, the town council chair, said that although alcohol and tobacco are regulated by the state, Windham is exploring with the town attorney if imposing a fee on those other businesses can be accomplished and he also pointed out one other fact.

“As far as I know, Windham is the only town in the state that has enacted an education fee,” he said. “We are looking into being fair to all industries.”

Councilors voted 4-2 to approve the revised marijuana license fee schedule.<

St. Ann’s to celebrate annual ‘Welcome Home Sunday’

A young participant enjoys a bounce house slide during a
previous 'Welcome Back Sunday' event at St. Ann's Episcopal
Church in Windham. This year's event is free and will be
held at the church, 40 Windham Center Road on Sunday,
By Ed Pierce

Members of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Windham are eagerly awaiting the calendar turning to September and are preparing for one of the highlights of the year as the church celebrates “Welcome Home Sunday” on Sept. 11.

According to Rev. Tim Higgins, St. Ann’s Church Rector, the event will be among the biggest of the year with church members who’ve been away on vacation this summer or not able to attend services for a while will be welcomed back at a special gathering at the church, located at 40 Windham Center Road in Windham.

Bishop Thomas Brown, the leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, will attend the 8 and 10 a.m. services at St. Ann’s on “Welcome Home Sunday” and will help the church dedicate its new sanctuary space and chapel which were completed this spring.

The bishop will also be on hand as St. Ann’s opens Sunday School at 10 a.m. for children and participate in an enhanced coffee hour with church members after the 8 a.m. service.

“This is truly going to be a wonderful event for the community and the public,” Higgins said. “We do this every year. It’s an opportunity to see people who’ve been away and for us to tell them we’re glad they’re back and come on back to church.”

He said that the event will include a family style barbecue after the 10 a.m. service manned entirely by church volunteers.
In addition, “Welcome Home Sunday” will feature a bake sale of tasty goodies prepared by church members, a bounce house for kids, music, a Touch-A-Truck for children with vehicles from the Windham Fire Department and the Windham Police Department, and a visit from an ice cream truck at 2 p.m. Other children’s activities will include a variety of games, playground fun, and free face painting.

Higgins said staff from Mercy Hospital will be there to offer free flu shots to anyone who wants one and church members will also give guided tours of the St. Ann’s Memorial Garden. Informational booths will also be set up for health and other resources available in the local community.

The entire event is free and everyone who wishes to attend is encouraged to attend, Higgins said.

“This is really a chance for St. Ann’s to build and grow relationships in our community and we’re really looking forward to hosting ‘Welcome Home Sunday’ once again this year,” Higgins said. “It’s our way of saying thank you to the greater Windham community.”

For further details, call the church office at 207-892-8447 or visit You can also find them on Facebook at <

Maine Career Centers help residents seeking career assistance in Windham

Free career and training services are now being offered by The
Greater Portland Career Center for Windham residents. Career
Center help is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Thursday
at the Windham Public Library. COURTESY PHOTO 
By Masha Yurkevich

Looking for a different profession? Trying to explore a new career? Want to improve your job qualifications? Those can be very difficult things to face when you are on your own in an unknown territory. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone; there is someone who knows this territory and is willing to help you and guide you through every step of the way and it’s available this month in Windham.

The Greater Portland Career Center provides a variety of employment and training services at no charge for Maine workers and businesses. Whether you are looking to improve your job qualifications, explore a different profession, find a new career or hire an employee, the Career Center can help. Every Thursday, services will be provided to walk-in customers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Windham Public Library.

This is an ongoing program with this designated day and set hours. Based on level of customer interest, it could expand to meet the needs and demands of the community.

The state of Maine has 12 Career Center locations throughout the state. Traveling to one of these centers may present challenges for those who live in rural locations.

Maine’s Department of Labor designed this program to focus on servicing rural communities and those who were adversely impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic.

New Career Center Consultants have been hired throughout the 2022 winter and have worked to create partnerships which allow for community-based service delivery. In many cases, partnerships have been established with libraries, town halls, treatment centers and workforce development stakeholders.

Rob Klaiber is the manager of the Career Center at the Portland location, located at 151 Jetport Blvd. in Portland.

“Due to funding under the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, the Career Center can offer in-person services in rural locations throughout Maine,” he said. “These services have traditionally been and are still available at Career Center locations across the state. During the pandemic, we expanded to offer them virtually as well. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to now hold service hours at Windham Public Library and other community locations. We very much appreciate the library’s generosity and partnership.”

Career Center consultants throughout the state have found that local libraries present ideal locations and facilities allowing for community-based services to be offered. Libraries tend to have strong and established connections to their communities which helps increase awareness of the program.

Klaiber said that the Career Center program helps libraries expand the scope of resources they can provide. Maine Career Center staff have partnered with over 30 libraries statewide.

“Christopher Scott, our Career Center Consultant is designated to the Windham Library,” said Klaiber. “As a Career Center Consultant, Chris is aware of the many state-sponsored programs and acts as a conduit for Mainers who want to explore career pathways, training programs and employment opportunities.”

Through initial conversations, Scott can support job seekers by referring them to workforce development workshops and hiring events.

Klaiber said in many cases, Scott starts his conversations by listening to customers as they describe their unique circumstances. He typically will introduce customers to Maine JobLink, which is a web-based job-matching and labor market information system. Maine JobLink provides job seekers, employers and training providers with easy-to-use tools that support a wide range of activities. As a service of the public workforce system, Maine JobLink is completely free to use. 
This Career Center program is open to the public and all Mainers. This is not limited to only Windham residents and there are no prerequisites or requirements to access these services.

“It’s important to note that this is a program and not an isolated event,” says Klaiber. “Services will be available to Maine job seekers and employers as long as there is expressed interest from the community.”

Job Seekers of any type (youth, senior, international, veteran, homeless, incarcerated and disabled) can benefit from learning about Maine Department of Labor programs. These programs can fund schooling or training opportunities and refer candidates to employers. Seekers can receive support and guidance from consultants such as resume writing, cover letter writing, job search activities, connections to workshops, hiring event information and apprenticeship opportunities.

Employer services range from hiring event registrations to job candidate referrals. Employers can also learn about the Maine State Apprenticeship program, and programs which focus on the employment of seniors and veterans. Career Centers can also provide customized support through the promotion of job opportunities by listing them in the Maine JobLink, posting them on social media and communications directly to Maine’s unemployed.

The success of this program will be largely determined by the level at which the local community accesses these services and benefits.

“We hope it is received well and we thank all those who help contribute to its success,” says Klaiber.

For more details, please visit or call or email Ray at the Help Desk: 207-892-1908 ext. 5 or <

Windham fifth on®’s 2022 Hottest ZIP Codes list

Windham is now among the top five 'Hottest Zip Codes in
America' for home sales according to a report issued this 
week by®. COURTESY PHOTO   
Windham, one of the communities served by members of the The Greater Portland Board of REALTORS® has been ranked No. 5 out of 29,000 ZIP Codes analyzed in the eighth annual® Hottest ZIP Codes Report released this week.

In the top 10 ZIPs, homes sold in just over a week (eight days) and received nearly four times (3.7) more buyer views than a typical U.S. listing.

A key theme of this year’s ranking is demand from out-of-ZIP home shoppers, driven by factors including relative affordability and convenient travel to bigger economic and population centers.

The 2022 Hottest ZIP Codes in America, in rank order, are:
* 14618 Brighton, New York
* 03062 Nashua, New Hampshire
* 43085 Worthington, Ohio
* 03038 Derry, New Hampshire
* 04062 Windham, Maine

“Windham has grown so much. I remember saying to my business partner about 10 years ago, 'just wait and see, Windham is the next hotspot.' I could tell by watching the other local markets spill over into this area. Windham has a very tight community between the residents and businesses who care about each other, said Lisa DiBiase, co-owner and broker of Landing Real Estate with Matt DiBiase.

She said that Windham has something to appeal to almost everyone. 

"Windham has so much to offer with lakes of all sizes for everyone including a downtown area with a ton of locally owned shops mixed with large shopping, restaurants, annual Summerfest, golfing nearby. What’s not to love!” Lisa DiBiase said.

With rising inflation and mortgage rates squeezing monthly housing budgets, this year’s determined buyers are breathing new life into competition for homes in these top 10 ZIPs, said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for®.

"Our 2022 Hottest ZIPs ranking illustrates how many Americans are redefining their priorities to achieve homeownership while building their careers, by trading downtown life for relatively affordable areas with reasonable part-time commutes to big cities,” Hale said.

The top 10 attract home shoppers from big cities on the East Coast.

Many of the top 10’s new entries are attracting home shoppers looking to relocate from high-priced big cities on the East Coast, based on migration patterns among prospective buyers viewing® listings. In the first half of the year, at least one big East Coast city – Boston, New York and D.C. – was among the top five sources of buyers viewing listings in all 10 of the hottest ZIPs.

Buyers in these major metros are exploring ZIPs further away than in prior years, enabled by more widespread adoption of remote work. Even for those with hybrid schedules, many of this year’s hottest ZIPs provide the perfect combination of relative housing affordability and a reasonable part-time commute to big city business hubs. From all six New England ZIPs on the list, Boston can be reached in 2.5 hours or less.

For more information contact Katrina Tokay of The Greater Portland Board of REALTORS® at or 207-775-1097. <

Outdoor films ‘under the stars’ coming to Hacker’s Hill

The Maine Outdoor Film Festival will start about 8:10 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 19 at Hacker's Hill in Casco.
CASCO — Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) will host the Maine Outdoor Film Festival (MOFF) at Hacker’s Hill at 8:10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19. 

In addition to their signature festival in Portland, the Maine Outdoor Film Festival tours the state with specially curated screenings of films about the outdoors, conservation and recreation. The film program will feature nine short films and last about two hours, including a 10-minute intermission.

This is the fourth year that the land trust has hosted a screening at Hacker’s Hill Preserve, which is owned and managed by LELT.

The event is free and open to the public, although there is a suggested donation of $10 to benefit LELT and their conservation efforts in the Lake Region. The films will begin 30 minutes after sunset (about 8:10 p.m.), but participants are invited to come early to watch the sunset.

Those attending should bring a blanket or chair, warm layers, and a flashlight.

For more information and the full program of films, visit or call LELT at 207-647-4352. 

Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT) is a donor supported, non-profit land trust working to protect the natural resources of the northern Sebago Lake region for future generations.

The land trust conserves more than 8,500 acres of land and manages 32 miles of hiking and biking trails in the towns of Bridgton, Casco, Denmark, Harrison, Naples, Raymond and Sebago.

To support Loon Echo Land Trust and learn more about their lands, visit or their Facebook page.<

August 12, 2022

Windham woman wins Young American Women of Service Teen’ crown

By Masha Yurkevich
It was three weeks ago that Rosie Haibon of Windham set off to do something that not many people can that they have done in their lives: compete in a pageant and win it.

Rosie Haibon of Windham won the title of
'Young American Women of  Service Teen'
at a pageant held at the DoubleTree Hotel in
South Portland from July 27 to July 31.
From July 27 to July 31, Haibon competed in the ‘Young American Women of Service Teen’ pageant at the DoubleTree Hotel in South Portland and was thrilled to be declared as the winner. When Haibon was crowned Miss Maine Teen a little more than a year ago, she signed a contract that stipulated she would have to compete in the ‘Young American Women of Service Teen’ pageant and became the first Windham woman to win the title.

Over the span of the week-long competition, Haibon participated in the pageant rehearsals and fun parties. In total, there were about 100 women competing and all varying in age and origin and from different countries. Each participant had gone through a state pageant and had won for their division. There were girls from almost every state, and a few girls from Canada and South America.

Maine and Mississippi tied for the most girls coming to compete, with nine girls from both states, according to Haibon.

“Our age divisions range is super diverse,” says Haibon. “Our oldest contestant, who won her division, was 77 years old. She was the definition of a graceful southern Belle.”

Haibon has been working to prepare for this pageant since last September, when she was crowned the Maine Teen.

“I worked alongside my coaches for interview and walking, but they also helped me build my platform and gain more attention on social media,” said Haibon. “I met with my coaches once a week through Zoom, and then a few times in person.”

Internationals week kicked off strong with a welcome party and masquerade party, where the contestants got to meet and spend time with their new sister queens. The next day was filled with rehearsal and followed by a gala dinner. Friday was an optional show rehearsal and a pool party. Saturday was an optional show and interview, where Haibon did three optionals that she chose to participate with her mom in, the two of them walking down the runway.

The next one was speech, where Haibon surprised her mom with a letter she wrote to her. Finally, Haibon participated in a runway competition for a modeling opportunity.

“I loved meeting all the other contestants and getting to welcome them to Maine,” she said. “It was such a prideful moment to get to play tour guide and host to these incredible women who were so excited to travel to our home state.”

During the competition, Haibon says she faced a lot of challenges internally. This is the biggest pageant she’s ever done, and she really wanted to represent Maine well and make her state proud.

“Definitely the most difficult part was waiting for the results. I felt like I was on pins and needles the whole week. I just couldn’t wait to know who had won,” Haibon said. “Interview was easily the most exciting portion, as it counts for the most, but I also got to talk about my passions and what I’m dedicated to.” 

In the internationals, Haibon won the crown based upon four phases of competition. She had the highest score for interview, runway fashion and evening gown. Every girl in a division is judged based on those categories and then the highest optional score is taken into that score as well. Haibon did three optionals, so the judges could choose from those three scores too.

“This was the final tier in our pageant system, I am officially at the top of our pyramid. Our prize package is huge and is so incredible,” says Haibon. “I will receive a scholarship for school, modeling opportunities, and various other surprises throughout the year! Our director really likes keeping our gifts a secret.”

This competition takes place once a year, so in July 2023, Haibon will go back to pass her title on to her successor.

“In less than a month, it will have been one year since I was crowned Maine Teen,” she said. “So next month I’ll be giving up that title to another special young lady.”

Haibon says that her mom is her biggest supporter.

“She worked super hard all year and especially during the week helping me get dressed and pack, but she also helped me keep calm mentally and not get into my head. I love her so much, and she does so much for me. I wouldn’t have won without her being by my side.”

Haibon says that anyone can do pageants, no matter your physical or mental state.

“Everyone can do well in pageants, and I think it should be something you do once in your life. It’s such a blast to do and it gives you a family of sisters like no other. I was crowned as someone who is a size 12 dress, and as someone with autism. If you had told me when I was little that I would be an international titleholder, I never would have believed you. But here I am today,” she says.

She believes that everyone should do pageants, not just for the crown or title, but for the experience that you get when you do this.

“This is so amazing and something that Maine and the United States should be very proud of! I was selected out of girls from different areas of the world. I’m so excited to have this honor and to be this representative,” Haibon said. “I’m so proud to be representing Maine like this and to bring this honor to our state. Thank you to everyone who has supported me during this incredible journey, I could not have done this without your love and support. Remember to love who you are, you’re beautiful and perfect just the way you are.” <

Reed announces candidacy for Maine House District 106

Dana Reed of Windham, a Democrat, has announced
his candidacy for State Representative for House
District 106, representing Windham. FILE PHOTO
Dana Reed, a Democrat from Windham, has announced his candidacy for House District 106, which is made up of most of North Windham east of Route 302.

"From day one of my 28 year naval career, it was impressed upon me and my shipmates that when you're in the middle of an ocean, -you don't have a choice - you have to work together," Reed said. "That's the approach we need in Augusta. I'm running to make sure our kids can afford to live in Maine when they're done with school and do something about the outrageous cost of living."

Reed, a U.S. Navy veteran, a retired pastor and school teacher, along with his wife Katherine, raised his children in the Windham schools and were active participants in Boy Scouts of America.

He has spent decades serving others through his work as a Navy Chaplain, a pastor, a counselor and an educator. He was a founding member of the Be the Influence coalition, after seeing the devastating impact the opioid crisis was having in Windham. Having spent his career listening to others, helping them achieve their goals, and building up communities large and small, Reed is eager to serve the Windham community in new ways in the Maine Legislature.

"I will work on the things that matter most to our town: an economy that works for every Mainer, jobs our kids can count on, and working across the aisle," said Reed.

Members of Windham’s current legislative delegation welcome Reed’s candidacy.

"I have known Dana Reed for over 20 years. I have always admired his compassion for others," said District 106 State Representative Mark Bryant. "He has spent his career helping others as a veteran, pastor and educator. He is a great listener and demonstrates kindness and respect. He understands the needs of people and works tirelessly to provide solutions to the issues that affect many of us in our town of Windham and the state of Maine. Dana is a man of integrity and I sincerely support him to become Windham's next State Representative for Windham."

State Senator Bill Diamond agrees with Bryant’s assessment.

"I'm pleased to support Dana Reed because I believe he will represent Windham in a consistent bipartisan manner and, if elected, he will listen and give consideration to the concerns of all Windham citizens including Republicans, Democrats and Independents," Diamond said.

Reed’s name will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. Absentee ballot request forms are now available at the Windham Town Office.

The Maine District 106 State Representative seat is currently held by Bryant, who is term-limited. <

Windham to renew contract with trash bag supplier

The Windham Town Council has approved a
three-year contract extension with the supplier
of the town's trash bags. The contract includes
a 90-day termination clause should the town
move away from its current Pay As You
Throw trash collection system in the next year.
By Ed Pierce 

Members of the Windham Town Council have authorized the town manager to negotiate and approve the extension of a Supplies and Services Agreement with the town’s trash bag supplier, Waste Zero.

At its most recent meeting in July, council members voted unanimously to continue the Waste Zero contract for supply and delivery of the town’s trash bags as well as the invoicing and tracking of revenues associated with them, following a recommendation from Windham town staff. The new contract runs through June 20, 2025.

As part of the town’s Pay As You Throw (PAYT) program under its current system of refuse collection, the town pays a set amount for bags under terms of the Waste Zero contract and then receives proceeds from sale of the bags to the public.

Windham Assistant Town Manager Bob Burns told councilors that although the agreement with Waste Zero runs for three years through June 2025, it does provide a 90-day termination for convenience clause which could be helpful should the council choose to move ahead with changes to Windham’s Solid Waste and Recyclable Collection Program.

In February 2020, Windham entered a three-year contract starting in July 2020 that runs through the end of June 2023 with Pine Tree Waste, Inc. also known as Casella Waste. Under this system, trash and recyclables are manually collected at the roadside which requires a driver and a laborer.

However, Casella Waste does not intend to seek to continue business with the town if the current program is continued because of labor shortages and manpower issues. Casella is advocating for an automated program for Windham consisting of trucks with mechanical arms that lift and dump wheeled carts. 

Burns told councilors earlier this year Casella has incurred rising operational costs and feels this is its only option for refuse collection in future contracts in this region. He said that while Gorham and Gray continue to use a manual collection system like Windham, Westbrook and Scarborough have converted to an automated collection system.

“At our last bid Casella participated, and this collection market has not seen any signs of increased competition since then,” Burns said. “It is unlikely that another bid process will gather any bidders for our current manual collection style program.”

Windham remains in negotiations with Casella regarding a new contract for the town’s trash collection.

In converting to an automated trash collection system and away from a manual operator attendant system, it would mean the end of Windham’s current Pay As You Throw trash bag program where users purchase bags to be picked up by refuse collectors. The town collected about $763,000 in revenue from that system alone in 2021.

Not having the PAYT system would mean losing that revenue and increased tipping fees incurred by the town for EcoMaine if residents place improperly bagged waste items in carts that is picked up when the trash truck operator is unable to see what is in the cart below the top.

Having an automated program in Windham will require effort and manpower from the town to ensure that abuse to the system is limited and not using a PAYT system would discourage aspects of recycling.

Currently Windham trash bags are sold at 15 different locations in town and priced at $13.50 for either ten 13-gallon bags or five 30-gallon bags.

The 2022-2023 Windham town budget which was approved by voters during the Annual Windham Town Meeting in June included specific funding for the purchase of new trash and recycle receptacles and bins for town residents if needed and a new town trash collection system is implemented. <

In the public eye: WMS teacher helps develop tomorrow’s community leaders

Emily Stokes has been a teacher in the RSU 14 school
district for the past 20 years. She currently is serving as a
sixth-grade teacher at Windham Middle School where
she teaches both English Language Arts and Social
Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Andrew Wing

Middle school is the most significant period for learning in a student’s life. It’s when they begin to develop study habits, but also, it’s when they develop strong personality traits, and for the past two decades, Emily Stokes has helped students in both of those aspects of life.

Stokes is currently a sixth-grade teacher at Windham Middle School where she teaches both English Language Arts and Social Studies. There are many different aspects of her specific duties and responsibilities, but mainly it’s teaching the students the curriculum, executive skills, social and emotional learning skills, and conflict-resolution skills to name a few. Stokes’ job also requires frequent communication with parents, attending a variety of school meetings, and working with her colleagues on a wide range of subjects pertaining to their jobs.

Stokes grew up in Standish, and attended Bonny Eagle High School. After graduating from high school, she stayed home and attended St. Joseph’s College where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. During college, she completed her internships and student teaching at the Windham School Department, and after her first teaching position as a fifth-grade teacher in MSAD 17, she knew she wanted to be closer to home.

Luckily, there was a posting for a fifth- and sixth-grade looping teacher at Jordan-Small Middle School in Raymond, and after being offered the position, Stokes gladly accepted and began working there in the fall of 2002. Years later once the Raymond and Windham schools consolidated into the RSU 14 district, Stokes shifted over to Windham Middle School to do what she does today.

After 20 years on the job, one clearly has to love what they are doing and Stokes says one particular thing keeps her motivated.

“It is the students,” said Stokes. “It has always been and will always be the students.”

On the other hand, if one has had the same job for 20 years, they’re certain to come across a number of different challenges, and she said the most difficult part of her work is something she is still dealing with to this day.

“One of the most challenging parts of the job has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Stokes. “The pandemic changed the course of our lives as everything came to a standstill. As teachers, we still taught, but our top priority was the students’ overall well-being. We are still adjusting, and we will continue to do so for the sake of the students.”

On the same token, just as Stokes has come across different challenges, she has also come to realize misconceptions that the public may have about her job as an educator.

“One of the misconceptions I feel some people may have is that if you can’t do, teach,” said Stokes. “One does not enter the teaching field because they are incapable of doing anything else. Being a teacher requires a lot of different skills and abilities. Teaching is much more than watching children, correcting papers, and giving tests.”

But despite the challenges and the misconceptions that come with her job, Stokes says she loves what she does and has made countless memories in her two decades of teaching. But when given the difficult task to pick her most memorable moment, Stokes chose one where she got to witness her students display those important personality traits that were previously mentioned.

“One of my most memorable moments as a teacher was watching a student display compassion, respect, and honor to a stranger and a deceased soldier,” said Stokes. “It took place at the Maine Veteran’s Memorial where our students were cleaning headstones for Memorial Day as part of our project-based learning. One of the students went up to a stranger and helped the man clean the headstone he was there paying his respects to. This started a chain reaction and other students began helping families and friends clean loved one’s headstones, and that moment will be etched in my mind forever.”

And just as Stokes has gained wonderful memories in her time with RSU 14, she has also learned a lot of important things, with one standing out above the rest.

“One of the things I have learned while working in RSU 14 is that it’s a family,” said Stokes. “At any moment, on any given day, I know my colleagues would be there for me in a heartbeat, no questions asked.” <

August 5, 2022

Raymond residents to vote on Blacksmith Shop appropriation

Workers disassemble the old Watkins Blacksmith Shop in
Casco for transport and reassembly at the Raymond-Cacso 
Historical Society Museum. Voters in Raymond will gather
at a special town meeting on Aug. 9 to determine if the town
should award the historical society $23,200 from Raymond's
surplus undesignated fund to held fund the move and the
restoration of the shop at the museum. COURTESY PHOTO      
By Ed Pierce 

Town of Raymond residents will have the final say in approving a special appropriation for the Raymond-Casco Historical Society to relocate and restore the Raymondtown Watkins Blacksmith Shop to the historical society’s museum in Casco.

A town meeting has been called for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9 at the Broadcast Studio at 423 Webbs Mills Road in Raymond to elect a moderator for the meeting and then vote on a warrant article to appropriate $23,200 from the town’s surplus undesignated fund balance to help fund the expenses of moving and restoring the historic blacksmith shop. Voting must be done in person for the appropriation and members of the Raymond Select Board and the Raymond Budget-Finance Committee have recommended passage of the article.

The blacksmith shop was taken apart and moved to the museum site in early July. It was first opened in the 1850s by William Watkins and was in use right up until the early 1940s. Footage of the blacksmith’s forge and shop was included in a 1922 silent movie called “Timothy’s Quest” and it once was part of a thriving rural community in Casco, but over the span of the past eight decades, the building’s condition has slowly deteriorated.

The historical society’s board of directors endorsed the project of relocating the blacksmith shop from its site on Bridgton-Portland Road in Casco to the society’s museum on Watkins Farm in Casco, restoring it and using it for live demonstrations for the public.

“I see us offering lots of things. For kids, we will offer crystal radio building workshops, or we will set up a telegraph system and teach kids about the telegraph,” McDermott said. “For adults, they can come and take blacksmithing lessons or metal casting lessons from the professional blacksmith that will be there so they can be doing things like they used to do.”

A team of advisors for the relocation was put together that included Dr. Robert Schmick, Museum Director of 19th Century Curran Village in Orrington and a veteran of several blacksmith shop moves, and Ed Somers of Bridgton, a specialist in preservation and restoration of buildings of this era. Somers agreed to take on the job of stabilizing and sectioning the building for transport and overseeing its reassembly.

Kerry Tottle of Limington devised a plan for lifting sections of the building over an adjacent building on the cramped worksite. A small group of volunteers from Bangor, Hollis and several new members of the historical society spent a good part of June preparing the building for relocation and helping load it on trailers.

Disassembly work was completed in the first week of July with work starting on a modern foundation for the building to preserve it for future generations without detracting from its original appearance.

According to McDermott, over the next few months, new rough-cut hemlock flooring will be installed, the unique split stone foundation will be painstakingly reassembled on its own frost wall, and the ox lift will be hoisted back into place to await further restoration. Repairs will be made to several wall and roof sections using period materials being collected for that purpose and other structural repairs will be made to make it weather tight, so work can begin to recreate the interior of the shop.

The shop is historically significant and is believed to predate the separation of Casco from Raymond and is likely one of the oldest existing commercial buildings in the area, Schmick said.

“These kinds of trade buildings are few and far between in the State of Maine in general, and this is probably one of the earliest I have seen,” Schmick said.

McDermott said that the historical society has financed the move and foundation work thanks to several generous private donations, including from Hancock Lumber and Red Mill and by borrowing from endowment accounts earmarked for maintenance and society operations.

Casco voters agreed at their annual town meeting this spring to give up to $25,000 to assist the historical society in funding the move, with the provision that it would only match the amount if the Town of Raymond agrees to contribute.

McDermott said RCHS’s initial matching $25,000 appropriation request was made too late to be considered as part of Raymond’s town meeting warrant in June, but in reviewing Casco’s appropriation, members of Raymond’s Select Board agreed to schedule a special town meeting on Aug. 9 to consider it.

The non-profit historical society is continuing to seek additional grants and private donations to fund the project. To make a private donation, call 207-310-3040. <

Manchester School secures $4,000 STEM grant

By Ed Pierce 

Global Partners LP awarded Manchester School in Windham
a $4,000 to fund programs that promote science, technology,
engineering and mathematics skills to students.

It’s another step forward for educators and students at Manchester School in Windham and one that could be of benefit to the community for years to come.

Prominent U.S. energy supplier Global Partners LP, headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, has announced it has awarded eight grants of $4,000 each to schools in Maine to assist in funding programs that promote science, technology, engineering and mathematical skill development and Manchester School will be one of those recipients.

The company will supply the $4,000 STEM donation to Manchester School through a collaborative initiative with ExxonMobil’s Educational Alliance Program.

“Being involved in the Educational Alliance Program has been something we look forward to each year, and we’re happy to make investments in Maine communities where we live and work,” said Global Partners public affairs spokesperson Orion Breen. “We are so excited to help grow STEM programming for students in Maine.” 

Studies have shown that kids who are exposed to STEM concepts from a young age are more likely to show interest in pursuing STEM careers. With over 50 percent of the fastest-growing jobs related to STEM, it’s no wonder that competency in these areas is a strong indicator of future career success. 

But STEM education doesn’t just help students go directly into STEM careers. It also places emphasis on creative problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, and teamwork to help students to develop the skills needed to succeed in any field.

The STEM grant will be delivered by a Global Partners territory manager to Manchester School. RSU 14, school administrators and teachers will then be encouraged to provide a series of new learning moments for students, something ExxonMobil calls “Aha Moments.”

Some of those will try to get students excited about everyday scientific concepts, creativity and STEM and to actively promote STEM-related activities at school and at home. The grant funding also is expected to give students access to high-quality learning tools, so that they can complete STEM tasks and assignments in and out of the classroom.

Danielle Donnini is the principal of Manchester School in Windham.<

Trauma Intervention Programs of Greater Portland in need of more volunteers

By Masha Yurkevich

Most of us have been in that situation before, when you lose someone close. And what happens after that? The sadness hits. While it is sometimes alright to feel sad, sadness can also lead to making poor decisions. We often just need to get the sadness out, to tell someone and to have someone listen to us, someone to stay by our side. The Trauma Intervention Program is that person who will listen, that person who will stay by your side.

TIP is a group of specially trained volunteers who provide
emotional first aid and practical support to survivors of
traumatic events and their families in the first few hours
following a tragedy. Trained, skilled responders are
available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in Greater
Portland and in the Windham area. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Trauma Intervention Programs (TIP) is a national non-profit organization that was founded in 1985 and provides services to police, fire and hospital staff in over 250 cities across the nation. The Greater Portland Chapter of TIP was founded in 2005 as the result of a collaborative effort between TIP, the Community Counseling Center - now Maine Behavioral Health - and the Portland Maine Junior League.

It was started to support the first responders and the medical teams at Maine Medical so they could continue to help the injured or critically ill. TIP provides emotional first aid and practical support to survivors of traumatic events and their friends and families in the first few hours following a tragedy.

Pam Grant is the interim Program Director and joined TIP in March of 2020 as a volunteer. She was then asked in late April if she would step in as the director of the program.

“Because I too think this is a wonderful program, I agreed,” said Grant. “I worked for a local retail grocery chain for 40 years and retired in 2018. After taking care of my grandson for a couple of years through COVID, I decided I needed to give back to our community and saw an ad about TIP. I guess as they say the rest is history. I am still learning every day more about the program myself.”

TIP is a group of specially trained volunteers who provide emotional first aid and practical support to survivors of traumatic events and their families in the first few hours following a tragedy. Some volunteers are from Windham and will work here in the community.

Trained, skilled TIP responders are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are called by police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and hospital personnel to assist family members and friends following a natural or unexpected death, survivors of violent crime including rape, assault, robbery, or burglary; survivors of fire, disoriented or lonely elderly persons, people involved in motor vehicle accidents, people who are distraught and seeking immediate support and those whose loved one has died by suicide or overdose.

“Essentially, our program adds well trained volunteers to the public safety system and to hospital emergency departments. These volunteers are able to assist those emotionally affected by the emergency who the emergency responders do not have the time to assist. Our volunteers arrive within 20 minutes and provide much needed emotional and practical support,” said Grant.

By providing this extension of care, the positive image of the emergency response system is continued.

“The results of this program are dramatic. Not only are traumatized citizens given quality care they would not otherwise receive, but police officers, firefighters, and emergency department personnel report that the presence of a TIP volunteer takes a tremendous burden from them. They can concentrate on their jobs knowing the “emotionally injured” are being cared for,” Grant says.

TIPS is highly regarded by all the first responders and medical staff at Maine Medical and they are the ones that decide if TIPS needs to be called into an event.

“So many people say, ‘oh, I could never do that’ truly people take care of people in crisis every day, sitting with someone, quietly listening to what they need, and supporting them. That is emotional first aid,” says Grant.

There is always a need for volunteers, so there is no limit to how many people can sign up to volunteer.

To volunteer, you must

* Provide a $45 registration fee.

* Have a driver’s license with working vehicle and cell phone.

* Must live in Greater Portland or the surrounding area.

* Maintain a working cell phone, internet access and an email account (must have frequent access to internet and email to be a volunteer).

* Have a personal GPS Navigation System for routing to calls.

* Attend mandatory monthly CE Meetings which are held the second Wednesday of each month.

* Complete fingerprinting and criminal background investigation.

* Provide a DMV driving record printout (available online through each state’s website).

* Provide a copy of auto insurance declarations page reflecting current coverage.

* 11. Must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination

TIP volunteers will be scheduled for three shifts per month for 12 hours each shift, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. You provide your availability for the month and three of those dates are scheduled for your shifts.

For more information and to sign up, please visit <