April 28, 2023

In the public eye: RSU 14 chef keeps focus on proper nutrition

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

By Masha Yurkevich

Health is an important part of each person’s life and School Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator Ryan Roderick has been making sure that RSU 14 students eat properly.

Ryan Roderick has served for the past four years as the 
School Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator for RSU 14.
Roderick is originally from Peabody, Massachusetts.
For the past four years, Roderick has been working to oversee, train, and maintain an efficient, skilled, and knowledgeable kitchen staff in each of the RSU 14 school food operations and to ensure that the food served to students is up to all USDA, and NSLP requirements as well as their own quality standards. He is also in charge of developing and improving recipes with input from the staff and student body and incorporating healthy food and cooking into enrichment activities and opportunities for students. Training and maintaining food safety procedures with the kitchen staff in every school and developing monthly menus for elementary, middle, and high schools is also part of his work.

Roderick grew up in Peabody, Massachusetts and took a few vocational style cooking classes in high school. He attended Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management and an Associate of Science degree in food and beverage management.

“I had been working in food service for over 10 years, which mostly included nights, weekends, and holidays. I had been a food runner, waiter, bartender, cook, FOH manager, and General Manager over the years,” says Roderick. “I was tired and losing my patience with hard customers who seemed to just want to be mad at someone. I had always loved the thought of the school schedule, especially because I had spent a few summers at this point as a whitewater guide, and the thought of making school meals and showing kids that healthy food can not only be good for you but taste good as well seemed much more rewarding than anything money could buy.”

This led Roderick to his current position as the School Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator for RSU 14.

“I really enjoy making people happy, whether it's helping one of our staff unlock or learn new skills, or watching students try a new menu item, perhaps a food or recipe they've never tried before, and light up with excitement because of how much they enjoy it,” he said.

Roderick says that the most challenging aspect of what he does is making sure we come up with recipes and other choices so that every student can find something they like.

“We are not a traditional restaurant, we can't just have the mindset of ‘This is what we make, if you don't like it go somewhere else’,” he says. “Thankfully, Maine has decided to make school meals free for all students, and I believe we have an obligation to try our best to make meals that appeal to all students.”

One of the biggest misconceptions that people may have about school meals is that they are low quality, high processed food made by unskilled and disgruntled workers.

“In reality, we have an amazing, friendly staff who love the work they do and roughly 70 to 80 percent of the meals they produce are made from scratch using fresh local ingredients. Due to this, our participation and student satisfaction is at an all-time high,” says Roderick.

One of Roderick’s favorite parts of this job is rolling out a new menu item, whether it was something that he came up with, one of the staff, or even a student.

“My least favorite part is feeling held back by some of the guidelines we have to follow and the quality of some of the ingredients we have to use due to the fact that we are financially limited by nature of being a government funded program,” Roderick said.

He said that he appreciates all the support that students and families have shown the kitchen staff throughout the pandemic and beyond.

“We are here to serve these communities of Windham and Raymond, and over the years your willingness to join us in creating a generation of healthy eaters has been vital to our collective successes,” Roderick said. “We hope you will continue to try new foods with us, provide feedback, and push for the best standards that we can achieve.” <

Fundraising intensifies to send Windham team to Odyssey of the Mind Finals

By Ed Pierce

Time is running short to raise money so a team of students from Windham can compete in the Odyssey of the Mind Finals in Michigan in less than a month.

Windham's Odyssey of the Mind team is bust preparing for
the World Finals at Michigan State University on May 24.
From left are Fynnleigh Mayo, Colin Miller, Ava Rhoads,
Cora Miller, Rebecca Miller, Marin Miele, Celia Johnson
and Bryn Johnson. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Windham Primary School’s third graders and Manchester School’s fourth and fifth grades formed a team of seven members to compete in the Odyssey of the Mind competitions last fall and in March they won the Nor’easter Tournament at Sanford High School, earning an invitation to the World Finals at Michigan State University starting May 24. The Windham team ranges in age from 8 to 11.

“We looked at all possibilities and it was most cost effective to fly,” said Windham Odyssey of the Mind Coach Rebecca Miller. “Currently we have $8,190 and we do have an additional $2,000 from previous fundraising for the program earlier this year.”

Besides basic airfare, the team is looking to raise enough for competition registration, meals, lodging, and ground transportation expenses while in Michigan. It is estimated the entire trip will cost about $14,000.

Miller said the public can help through donations. Checks can be mailed to Windham Primary School, Educational Way, Windham, ME 04062, or by sending an email to rmiller@rsu14.org

“We have already committed to going. At this point families would have to pay the remaining costs for their children to get this experience,” she said.

Competing in the Worlds Odyssey of the Mind Finals is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these children, Miller said.

“They will be able to meet other students from all over the world,” she said. “They are going to get to see how other teams work to solve the problems and get ideas and experience to use and learn from for the future. There are also other events that encourage the kids to get together and learn from each other.”

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program where team members present their solution at a competition to a predefined long-term problem that takes many months to complete and involves writing, design, construction, and theatrical performance. The Odyssey of the Mind competition was born out of the innovative teachings of its founder, Dr. C. Samuel Micklus at Rowan University in New Jersey. He challenged his industrial design students to use their creativity to solve unique problems like building a vehicle without wheels.

Micklus then created problems for middle and high schools in New Jersey and the first-ever Odyssey of the Mind competition was held in 1978. The World Finals now includes teams from as far away as China, Germany, Mexico, India, and Canada with 22,000 people including participants, parents, coaches, and volunteers attending, proving that creative thinking is universal, and that Odyssey of the Mind is a positive force that brings them together.

Along with fundraising, Windham team members are continuing to work and prepare for the World Finals. The competition itself involves an eight-minute skit, making props to use with the skit and then coming up with lines to perform during the skit.

The team is looking forward to the opportunity to showcase their skills in Michigan and has been working on improving for the World Finals.

“They will use the feedback we got from the judges and our scores from states,” Miller said. “They want to improve some of their props and give some more creative emphasis. They also are still practicing the spontaneous portion of the competition.”

Miller says the public should be proud of what this team has accomplished so far.

“This is entirely student-focused. My only job is to help them organize themselves,” Miller said. “It's truly real-time problem solving. When they can't agree on something they have to make a plan. When an idea falls flat, they have to change it up. When they create something that keeps falling apart, they need to adjust. It's truly real-world skills that are practiced repeatedly. These kids truly foster their teamwork, creativity, problem solving, public speaking, engineering, conflict resolution strategies and real-world skills that we ultimately want them to demonstrate before their graduate High School so they can be productive citizens. <

PTA seeks community support recognizing teacher, staff contributions

By Ed Pierce

Windham teachers are not only qualified to meet the needs of their students, but they’re also prepared to foresee the hopes and dreams of every child entrusted to them. Recognizing that fact, the members of the Windham Parent Teacher Association believe that the teachers and staff members working in Windham schools deserve praise for their efforts.

Staff Appreciation Week for employees of 
public schools in Windham runs May 8 through
May 12 with events planned throughout the
week by the Windham Parents Teachers
Association. COURTESY PHOTO  
To accomplish that, Windham’s PTA intends to salute the 570 teachers and staff working in public schools in Windham during the upcoming “Staff Appreciation Week” but say that they will need the public’s help to do that.

“This year's theme was easy to decide on," said PTA's president Ernesta Kennedy. “Boosting staff morale is one of our PTA's biggest and most important goals.”

Kennedy said that this year’s National Teacher Appreciation Day falls on Tuesday, May 9, but Windham PTA plans to recognize teachers and staff from May 8 through May12.

“The Staff Appreciation Week Committee, consisting of PTA members, has chosen an 'UP!' themed week,” she said. “Staff will be 'lifted up' with words of appreciation and sweetened up by sweet treats to give you a sneak peek at what the week entails. Lift Them UP! Relax It UP! Sweet'n It UP! Stock It UP! Carb It UP!”

According to Kennedy, the week of special recognition and activities is a small measure of thanks and gratitude for all the long hours and dedication Windham teachers have shown throughout the school year.

“It’s a special way for us to give back for their commitment,” Kennedy said. “The staff in Windham has been unwavering in their dedication to help each and every student in our community feel safe and cared for.”

This year’s Staff Appreciation Week events will include recognition for workers at Windham’s four public schools, Windham High School, Windham Middle School, Manchester School and Windham Primary School, the RSU 14 bus garage and for those who work at RSU 14’s central office.

“This celebration could not be possible without the help and generosity of the community and parents,” she said.

To sign up to contribute, make a monetary donation or learn ways to help recognize school staff and teachers, visit windhammainepta.org. <

Windham High School students observe ‘Day of Silence’

By Jolene Bailey

The National Day of Silence was launched 27 years ago in Virginia as a student-led event to raise awareness of treatment of LGBTQ+ students on school campuses and was observed at Windham High School on April 26.

The National Day of Silence event to raise awareness of the
treatment of LGBTQ+ students on school campuses was
observed at Windham High School on April 26.
First organized in 1996 by a group of students at the University of Virginia, the Day of Silence was originally created for a class project on nonviolent protest and went national a year later to represent the effects of bullying and harassment within the LGBTQ+ community. A national school climate survey conducted in 2009 found that four out of five LGBTQ+ students reported verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and a third reported missing at least one day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety.

Organizers say that the Day of Silence gives hundreds of thousands of students in over 9,000 schools across the country an opportunity to stand together and speak out against the endemic name-­calling, bullying and harassment faced by LGBTQ+ students every day.

Windham High School’s observance of the Day of Silence was hosted by the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance and participants chose not to speak during the day or acting as a speaking ally to symbolize what it’s like to be unheard from in their surroundings.

Participating students acknowledged that those bullied have been made fun of because of their appearance and identification and the Day of Silence strives to reduce and acknowledge the resentment among peers.

Windham GSA member Victoria Lin, as senior, has been a part of this club for two years.

“I originally joined to find a community and to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community from surrounding people,” said Lin, who chose to appear as a non-speaker throughout the day.

This GSA club acts like a safe place for many students that they may not have in other activities. It’s used as a place to speak freely in possibilities of feeling less alone, heard, and related. The Day of Silence does include students who are not in the club, promoting their welcomeness.

“Being an active attending member is very rewarding. Above the event planning and fundraising, our first priority is to give members a community. We usually start meetings with social time. Sometimes we do ‘roses and thorns’ where we take turns sharing something good that's happened to us (rose) and something not so good (thorn),” said Lin.

A healthy, common way to tackle obstacles indicates the importance of communication, Lin said. A person trying to comfortably put a change in the way identities have transformed over the years can be difficult for others to grasp and this can lead to misunderstandings for all communities.

“Past and present, people have kept their queer identities silent because of harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. The existence of queers doesn't hurt anyone, I have a feeling whoever believes otherwise hasn't met many queer people. We still have a long way to go, and we can't do anything about it until we break the silence,” said Lin.

Freshman Elise Biggs has been a passionate member of the GSA club in Windham for three years and plans to stay in for the rest of her high school career.

“It’s a place where you can go and if you're having a bad day and want to make it better. Even if you have homework that you don’t understand, the upperclassmen or advisors will help. Everyone knows everyone, it’s a place where you can be yourself if you can’t in other aspects of your life. If you can, it's still a place to make friends who express themselves similarly, it’s welcoming for all,” said Biggs, a speaking supporter.

Students were not pressured into attending this event and it was all by invitation, leading to their own decision making. Both speaking and non-speaking supporters received a pin indicating their role. Whether involved or uninvolved, the hopes were that participants would not stand out in a bad way.

Over decades, schools such as Windham High School have attempted to teach students what genuine equality is, while being safe, respectful, and responsible for their actions. At the end of the day, it comes down to us all being human and treating others the way we all want to be treated, according to Day of Silence participants. <

Windham’s American Legion Post celebrating 85th anniversary

By David Tanguay
For The Windham Eagle

Windham’s American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 has celebrated 85 years of service and has no plans on slowing down.

Back in 1990, the Town’s “Historian,” a newspaper editor, staff writer and a dear friend, Kay Soldier, authored an article for the Courier Free Press, titled “The Legacy of Field and Allen.” In the article, she follows the path of two sisters who are married in the summer and fall of 1882. One sister, Lucinda Lamb, marries Frank Atherton who has a daughter, Flora Belle, who later marries Windham’s Lawrence Allen. They had seven children: James, Robert, Wayne, Phyllis, Anne, Alice, and Jeannette. The other sister, Emily Lamb, marries William W. Field. They have a son, Charles W.W. Field, who became a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I and perished in France.

On March 6, 1945, USMC Sgt. James Allen, Son of Lawrence, and Flora Belle Allen, is Killed in Action on a far-away Island (Iwo Jima) in the Pacific becoming the first Windham resident to die in World War II.

The legacy of those weddings in 1882 produced the circumstances resulting in the name of a Windham School (Field-Allen Junior High School) and the name of the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 -Windham. The son of one Lamb and the grandson of another are bound together forever by more than family, Field-Allen Post 148-Windham, Maine.

Twenty years after the town’s loss of Lt. Field, some twenty-six World War I veterans and leading citizens of the Town of Windham including the manager of the IGA and Fire Chief; a blacksmith; a school superintendent; a truck driver; and others formed the Legion Post in Windham in 1938 as the Lt. Charlies W. Field Post 148 in honor of Lt Charles Field. Roland Ward was the first Commander. The infant post met at various locations around town including the Windham Town Hall and the Old High School (now the Town Offices). Little in the form of records remains from this early post formation and subsequent activity other than a “Marble Leger” dating from the 1940s to the 1970s with the minutes of the meetings enshrined.

It is known that in 1949, the post wanted to honor United State Marine Corps’ Sgt. Allen and renamed the post as Field-Allen Post 148.

From 1938 to 1990s, the Field-Allen Post provided support and service to Windham veterans, the community, and its youth. For many years the post had an average membership of about 24 with spikes in membership after both World War II and the end of the Korean Conflict in the 1940s, and then declined again.

Throughout the life of the post, its members have made it a point to decorate veterans’ graves in the town cemeteries and support Windham’s annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony.

Post membership continued to waver and by 1999, members were considering turning in their charter. But the American Legion Department of Maine intervened and held a revitalization that brought in about 30 new members and new leadership to the post.

The rest of the story, as they say, is history. Post membership this year stands at 233 with a wide range of programs to support the community and our veterans. In addition to the traditional Memorial Day events which the post now coordinates for the Town of Windham, members place almost 1,000 flags on the graves of veterans as well as placing wreaths on the veterans’ graves each December. Post youth programs have expanded to include scholarships, and student leadership award recognitions, a youth air rifle program, providing support for the Windham Little League, and support for Boy Scout troops.

Field-Allen Post 148 also supports multiple Red Cross blood drives as well as food drive support for the Windham Food Pantry and assistance for veterans experiencing food insecurity and heating insecurity.

These and many other programs and events do not happen in a vacuum. The post relies on support from the community as well with attendance at Community Bean Suppers, and its annual Saint Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving dinners. One significant fundraiser for the post scholarship program is the Past Commander Don Rogers’ bean supper held in July every year. This event and others allow the post to assist our local high school graduates with some financial support. The post also supports the highly successful Dirigo State Program that provides free support from the Legion family for those attending.

As the Field-Allen Post is celebrating 85 years of service this year (1938 to 2023), its members are asking the community to join them in the celebration. With Memorial Day coming up in just a few weeks, the post is providing an open invitation to the community to attend and participate in the parade and then join the post for an open house and picnic at the Windham Veterans Center at noon. For the parade, the post is looking for support from community groups, businesses, and citizens to join the parade and recognize your local veterans and the Field-Allen Post with vehicles, floats, marching or walking units. We are looking for convertibles to provide rides to veterans, Jeeps (old and new), military vehicles, and antique vehicles.

The Parade will start promptly at the Windham Town Hall on School Street at 8 a.m. Monday, May 29, followed by the Town Memorial Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Windham High School flagpole and Veterans Memorial. If you would like to join the parade, please call 207-892-1306 or send an email to dtanguay46@aol.com. <

April 21, 2023

New nonprofit 'Slicing through the Stigma' makes difference in overcoming mental health shame

By Doug Banks

In society today, mental health still carries a stigma. Across different societies, financial structures, and workplace environments, they all have an approach to dealing with and understanding mental health. Despite the changes that have occurred over the past few years when thinking about mental health, there are still places that lack the capability to understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. There are many different thoughts on mental health someone will hear from time to time that cross the line between opinion and fact. Sometimes it is just as easy for someone to take a break from what their daily routine requires as it is to hear the multitude of generational opinions on what taking a break means about an individual's character and work ethic.

The fact is mental illness affects one out of every four Mainers according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine. Specifically in the farming industry, at a mean age of 57 at the time of death, men represent 95.9 percent of suicide deaths with Caucasian men representing 97.3 percent of those deaths. The reasons and risks contributing to this number include loss of relationships, grief, physical health problems and injuries that lead to individuals losing the ability to complete tasks, economic and financial hardships, loss of land, the burden that comes with working in the farming industry and the toll it takes on those families, and much more.

When examining the risk factors for farmers, examples of long hours with unpredictable schedules based on the weather, loss of land through development, eminent domain, and PFA chemicals polluting the land, livestock, and community homes with increased regulations limiting the ability to effectively provide for their families and their way of life are some of the many factors as to why that number is incredibly too high.

Although it is at times an uncomfortable topic to discuss, one Windham business is making a difference in the fight to end the stigma against mental health. Southpaw Packing Co., which does business as Windham Butcher Shop, has been making progress to help people in the farming and agriculture business to receive help through their fundraising initiative, “Slicing Through The Stigma.”

In February, one of the co-owners of Southpaw Packing Co. Nichole “Niki” Sargent, partnered with NAMI Maine and created the “Slicing Through The Stigma” campaign. Even though she had been working alongside NAMI Maine for over four years, this new campaign was something brand new.

“I’ve been in Health and Human Services for over 20 years, but I’m not a clinical person,” Sargent said. “I’m just someone who has also experienced mental health issues in my life and people feel very comfortable speaking to me, and I was very compelled to find a way to connect people.”

She first took interest in creating “Slicing Through The Stigma” after she noticed a lack of access to mental health services in the farming and agriculture community. Wanting to find a solution, Sargent partnered with NAMI Maine to establish a place of access to the services individuals might need.

“We put together a whole webpage on our business website through the Windham Butcher Shop and put it together for access, just so people can go in and click a button and can be anonymous and people could access information about the services that were out there,” she said.

Being in the type of business that she is in, she says that the industry is more of a hub in many ways.

“What we do as a processer, we're connected with farmers, we’re connected with restaurant community, we’re connected with the markets that sell produce,” Sargent said. “We’re the middle man for so many people and we hear so many stories so we can be that central location where people can come or click a button and say, ‘Hey, they’re going to give us some information’ and I feel comfortable with that.”

On the Southpaw Packing Co. website there are more than a dozen links to mental health information and services pertaining to anxiety, ADHD, depression, OCD, PTSD, and suicide, and links to NAMI Maine’s services. These links are there for the individuals searching for help and to promote the encouragement of an atmosphere that brings awareness and importance to mental health services and resources.

One of the important pieces in “Slicing Through The Stigma” is NAMI Maine’s Senior Clinical Director of Adult Education Hannah Longley. When Sargent partnered with NAMI Maine, it was Longley who worked with her personally to cultivate the access point and information that Sargent was looking for. NAMI Maine, a chapter of the national organization NAMI, focuses on providing support, education, and advocacy for the 1 in 4 Mainers who struggle with mental health and has been around for 40 years.

According to Longley, who has worked with NAMI for over 12 years, the organization has had a four-year partnership with Sargent where they have worked extensively on creating mental health services and a place for access for the farming and agriculture community. In February, Sargent came to Longley with the idea of creating a “raising awareness campaign,” which later became the “Slicing Through The Stigma” initiative.

“Niki has been incredibly progressive, and she recognizes that she works with a high-risk population but also part of the high-risk nature of the population is the fact that there is a stigma that exists and over the years she has done every initiative she could to raise the awareness about resources and a better understanding of mental health,” Longley said.

One of the goals behind these services and this campaign is to normalize the seeking of mental health treatment just as much as it is to seek treatment for physical health.

“The average timespan that people wait to seek mental health treatment from when they first start experiencing symptoms until they actually seek treatment is about 10 years,” Longley said. “We would never do that with our physical health concerns. We would never let a random bump on our body go for ten years without seeking treatment. Why would we do that with our mental health?”

The work that NAMI Maine and “Slicing Through The Stigma” are doing is giving a better understanding to that question and finding solutions and answers.

Although the answer to that question may be complex, one answer with certainty is normalizing the conversation, a core message that the Manager of Marketing and Development of NAMI Maine Elliot Sharples has been able to provide through her work with the “Slicing Through The Stigma” effort.

“I think once you normalize that conversation, it allows us to give education, support, and advocacy to help support those one in four Mainers who are affected by mental illness,” Sharples said. “That’s why we’re so proud and excited to work with Niki on this project.”

It’s safe to say that the conversation about mental health has changed and become a more prominent topic over the past few years. Mental health has come a long way from once being filled with silence and denial, and even though the conversation may raise questions that seem intimidating to ponder, or answers that feel too far out of reach, the work Nichole Sargent, Hannah Longley, Elliot Sharples, NAMI Maine, and “Slicing Through The Stigma” are doing for the farming and agriculture community and mental health as a whole is something that needs to be recognized and utilized.

As Nichole Sargent puts it, “We’re just trying to open it up say, ‘Hey, we can talk about this.’”

For more information, visit southpawpacking.com/health-wellness/ or namimaine.org/southpawpacking, where you can navigate the services provided by NAMI Maine and Southpaw Packing’s “Slicing Through The Stigma.” <

Time4Printing in Windham under new ownership

By Ed Pierce

Kelly and Niels Mank have completed the sale of Time4Printing in Windham and the new owners, Kristine Hamaty and Beth Perron, pledge to continue to support the community in every way they can through their business.

Time4Printing founders, Niels Mank, left,
and Kelly Mank, right, have sold the
Windham business to new owners, Beth 
Perron, second from left, and Kristine
Hamaty. The Manks founded 
Time4Printing in 2007.
The Manks launched Time4Printing in 2007 when Kelly Mank, as a photographer, was doing a lot of corporate headshots and business pictures which she says then turned into “can you design this,” or “can you put my logo on that?” Having four young children at home, the Manks realized that all the night and weekend work with the portrait studio was not a viable long-term venture for them and they started Time4Printing.

“Watching the businesses that we helped create success and grow is what kept us going each week. Driving through Windham every morning and seeing signs and vehicles we have wrapped or made, getting mail delivered to my home that we designed, printed and mailed, going through a drive-through four states away and seeing a pen we sold or just watching companies grow through offering more jobs and community involvement and having even a small piece of the reason for others’ success makes owning a commercial printing, signage and vehicle graphics company so rewarding.”

Along the way, Time4Printing added a division called Time4Wrapz in 2012.

“We started with what we felt was a ‘way above average’ product and teamed it up with networking and building the right relationships to make it through some really hard times,” said Kelly Mank. “We have always believed in quality over quantity and always stood behind our work, no matter the cost. We believe that business thrives when ethics and mission are how decisions are made versus financial gain. Having great relationships and creating visibility for the company and the team has proven to be the driving factor in our success.”

Through the years of owning Time4Printing, the Manks relocated in Windham five times and began leasing the 5,500-square-foot building at 588 Roosevelt Trail in 2013. In 2017, the Manks purchased the building. The company grew and became well-known locally for quality products and exceptional customer service.

“One year we took our entire team, including administrative, design, and production to a graphics convention in Las Vegas,” Kelly Mank said. “We grew as a team and learned as a powerhouse. From the flight to the training and the shows to the sightseeing, we were working to create a culture that we knew would take care of all our families for years to come. Las Vegas is the heart of graphics from print to digital.”

Time4Printing is not the only business in which the Manks are involved. Along the way, the couple also launched The Windham Eagle newspaper covering Windham and Raymond and lead BNI in Maine with chapters all over the state.

But a significant health issue led to the couple making some changes and the decision to sell Time4Printing.

“This was one of the hardest decisions of our life having built this business from scratch with the end game hoping our children would take this over. Every decision we made in 16 years was based on future thoughts of the company staying within the family,” Kelly Mank said. “In 2021, Niels found out that he was born with a genetic heart condition that required open heart surgery to replace a heart valve. The surgery went well but while in recovery Niels experienced a major stroke, which we are so lucky to have him not only make it through but be thriving. This, however, did change our life forever, needing and wanting more time for recovery and rehabilitation as well as family and personal life. When the opportunity arose to sell to Kristine and Beth, we couldn’t think of any other better situation for our team, the community and our family’s legacy through Time4Printing. All the stars aligned at that moment.”

The official sale and transfer of the business was finalized on Jan. 20.

“The new owners are two of the most rock star women I have ever met, Kristine Hamaty and Beth Perron,” Kelly Mank said. “Kristine and Beth both believe in small family-owned businesses and have the will and want to reach success through community involvement like we did. I couldn’t ask for two better people to take care of our Time4 Family, our amazing clients, and our vendors. Our legacy is important through Time4Printing, we were part of a lot of community development and events over the years; they see, feel, and understand that importance. They are not us, and we are excited that they will bring more opportunities, growth, and creative ideas we could have never dreamed of.”

Both Kelly and Niels say they are grateful for the community’s support through the years and want to remind everyone that they are still involved in the community through The Windham Eagle and BNI as well as some specialized property management.

Hamaty said that Windham and Time4Printing are a perfect fit for her.

“My family owns an apparel printing company, so printing has been my professional focus for a long time. After I met Kelly and we'd become friends, I casually mentioned looking into signage and some other plans to expand. We started talking about what that would look like for me, and how she and Niels had begun their journey into large format printing,” she said. “When purchasing Time4Printing came around in the conversation, I knew I couldn't do it alone and I needed someone that I knew, liked, and trusted to dive in with me. Beth and I met for coffee, and I brought up the idea of going into business together. We set a time for the four of us to sit down and discuss Time4Printing in depth, and now we're here.”

Perron gives Hamaty full credit for being the catalyst of the purchase of Time4Printing.

“Not having any background in printing myself, I'll admit, I was not as excited initially as she was about the opportunity, but after meeting Kelly and Niels and their team, that all changed,” Perron said. “The scope of work we do here makes for a dynamic day, and we have such a great team who make it fun to come to work.”

According to Hamaty, new and returning customers for Time4Printing will not be dissatisfied.

“The production and design team are still here, so you'll be receiving the same great care and attention to detail in everything we do,” Hamaty said. “We're excited for the opportunities to offer additional services like screen printing and embroidery, and to expand on some of the specialty processes like laser engraving and full-color direct printing.” <

Statewide coalition announces support for Maine Trails Bond

AUGUSTA – More than 260 businesses, towns, and organizations from across the state today urged lawmakers to help make Maine a national leader in recreational and multi-use trails to help bolster our economy, environment, and quality of life.

The Maine Trails Bond has been proposed by State Rep.
Jessica Fay of Raymond and State Sen. Russell Black of
Franklin County. It is a bipartisan effort asking the state
to invest $30 million in the design, development, and 
maintenance of trails for hiking, biking, snowmobiling,
skiing, commuting and other activities in Maine.
The remarkably broad coalition supports a $30 million Maine Trails Bond (LD 1156) to invest in the design, development, and maintenance of trails for hiking, biking, snowmobiling, skiing, commuting, and other activities.

The Maine Trails Bond was introduced by State Rep. Jessica Fay (D-Raymond) and State Sen. Russell Black (R-Franklin County), with co-sponsor support from three other Democrats, four Republicans, and one Independent. A public hearing on LD 1156 is expected in late April.

At a State House news conference, supporters of LD 1156 released a letter to Maine lawmakers from more than 260 groups, demonstrating both the significance of trails to Maine people and businesses, and the level of support for investing in current and future trails.

The bill would provide $30 million in grants over four years to organizations and towns for motorized, non-motorized, and multi-use trail projects. Funds would be managed by the Bureau of Parks and Lands. This would be the first significant investment by the State of Maine in its trail systems.

Supporters include statewide organizations such as the Maine State Chamber of Commerce; Maine Outdoor Brands; Maine Snowmobile Association; Maine Tourism Association; Environmental Priorities Coalition; Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Maine; and Maine Youth Camping Association; as well as land trusts; sporting camps; individual businesses such as L.L. Bean, Kittery Trading Post, and Good To-Go; economic development organizations; trail groups; and cities and towns in all parts of the state.

“From Caribou to Kittery and Calais to Eustis, Maine people, towns, and businesses are urging the Legislature to invest in our trails,” said Pete Didisheim, Advocacy Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine, who is leading the campaign for the bond. “The Maine Trails Bond provides a rare opportunity for a stunningly broad range of Maine people to find common ground on a resource we all value — trails.”

“Now more than ever, trails are critical to our quality of life and the health of Maine people,” said Rep. Jessica Fay. “During the pandemic, we discovered trails that we didn’t know existed, but we also discovered that we take our trails for granted. As a state, we invest almost nothing in our thousands of miles of trails. This bond would help us realize a compelling vision that features accessible trails that enrich our lives, communities, and economy.”

“For the people in my district in western Maine, trails are part of our heritage of hunting, snowmobiling, hiking, and accessing the outdoors,” said Sen. Black. Snowmobiling alone is worth $600 million annually for Maine’s economy, with most of that spending happening in rural Maine. Investing in trails seems like something that Mainers statewide agree on.”

“As a wheelchair user and lifelong resident of Maine, I grew up in a time when accessibility was not at the forefront of most people's minds. That’s why I’m so enthusiastic about the Maine Trails Bond,” said Enock Glidden, Outdoor Accessibility Specialist. “This bill will go a long way toward providing accessible opportunities for people like me to be surrounded by nature and reap the benefits of what Maine’s outdoors has to offer."

“This Maine Trails Bond would reaffirm Maine’s status as a national leader in outdoor recreation and further boost our $3 billion outdoor recreation economy. Investments in trails are an investment in our entire state and have helped make Maine a desirable place to live, work, visit, and do business. Our outdoor brand and our outdoor industry will be strengthened by the Maine Trails Bond,” says Jenny Kordick, Executive Director, Maine Outdoor Brands.

“Access to the outdoors is Maine's most important quality. Whether it is after work, on the weekend, or on vacation, trails are where we all turn to recharge and get away from the problems of the day. On private or public land, trails need to be funded," said Brent West, Executive Director of the High Peaks Alliance.

"We are thrilled, but not surprised, to see this tremendous level of support for investing in Maine trails, and we urge the Legislature to act," said Silvia Cassano, Maine Trails Coalition Project Coordinator. "Additional funding will do wonders for Maine people and communities through the development and maintenance of the full range of trail experiences."

"Mainers and visitors have long enjoyed access to trails that connect communities to the outdoors, but we can't take this critical infrastructure for granted,” said Matt Markot, Executive Director, Loon Echo Land Trust. “As more people discover the benefits of time on the trail, we must invest with a goal of securing existing trails and creating new trail access where it's needed most. Many other states have developed dedicated funding programs for trails because they understand the return on investment that this infrastructure provides. It's time for Maine to do the same.”

According to Didisheim, the bill stands a great chance of passing.

"If given a chance, we are confident that Maine voters will overwhelmingly support this proposal to invest in Maine trails,” said Didisheim. A 2019 poll by the Maine Trails Coalition indicated that 74 percent of Mainers would support a trails bond. <

Earth Day provides opportunity to protect environment

Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day, an annual opportunity to celebrate the natural world and get involved in short- and long-term efforts to protect the environment.

Earth Day will be celebrated on Saturday, April 22 this year.
The commemoration encourages proper stewardship of
natural resources and protection for the planet.
In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, Americans were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of the consequences from either the law or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Until this point, mainstream America remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health.

However, the stage was set for change with the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller “Silent Spring” in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries as it raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and the inextricable links between pollution and public health.

In 1990, Earth Day became a global event and today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes.

Here are five ways to celebrate this year:

1. Volunteer.

Many neighborhoods and communities around the country host volunteer clean-ups to honor Earth Day. Find one in your area or organize your own: gather some friends or family, some sturdy garbage bags and pairs of work gloves, and head out to a park or the shore of a local waterway for a clean-up.

2. Enjoy nature.

Get outside and enjoy nature. Even if you aren’t an experienced hiker, there are plenty of tools to make getting outdoors easy, such as wearable tech, which can support your outdoors adventure.

3. Plant a tree.

Trees provide shade and food for people and a habitat for birds and other wildlife. What’s more, they produce oxygen for people to inhale, as well as sequester Carbon Dioxide. Trees also reduce polluting runoff by intercepting water. In short, we need trees! Celebrate Earth Day by planting one. Each year, you can watch it mature and grow.

4. Reduce waste.

The land and ocean have become saturated with plastics and other trash. Get into the habit of reducing waste by recycling and reusing items as much as possible. Take a look at the footprint you and your family create with your plastic consumption and find ways to improve your habits. Bring a reusable bag to the grocery store. Buying a drink? Don’t use a straw. Getting takeout? Ask the restaurant to hold the plastic silverware.

5. Update your technologies.

Outdated tech often contains harmful elements that can hurt the environment, such as lead paint or mercury. Check out newer models that meet international standards and reduce the need to use hazardous materials harmful to the environment. (StatePoint)

This Earth Day, celebrate a healthy planet with environmental stewardship at-home and in your community. (StatePoint) <

April 14, 2023

In the public eye: School nurse safeguards student health at Windham Middle School

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

By Ed Pierce

If nurses are the heart of healthcare, then Gail White is certainly one of the foundations for student well-being and success at Windham Middle School.

Gail White is in her fourth year of service as the school nurse
at Windham Middle School and she also is co-district
coordinator for nursing for RSU 14 with Karen Joly.
White serves as the WMS nurse, and is co-district nurse coordinator along with Karry Joly, the Windham High School nurse. She’s in her fourth year of helping students feel better at WMS and her duties involve much more than merely assisting students when they become ill during class.

“My job is to help promote a healthy environment for students to be able to learn,” White said. “I help with urgent health needs; administer daily meds to students; assist students with managing chronic illness like diabetes, asthma, food allergies and seizures; obtaining and updating immunizations, perform state mandated vision screenings; organize vaccine clinics; and monitor the Maine Center for Disease Control for current outbreaks and updates.”

Her first year ended with the start of COVID-19 in March 2020 and since then, White’s role at the school has been amplified.

“The best part of my job is watching kids grow in their ‘tween’ years from sixth graders to more independent eighth graders,” she said.

According to White, the most challenging aspect of her role as WMS nurse is finding a balance between getting students what they need physically, mentally, and emotionally while they balance home, school and sports.

“A lot of people think that I just ‘put Band-Aids on boo-boos’ at my job. Yes, I do go through a ton of Band-Aids, but it is much more complex than that. On an average year, our school has three or four students who have Type I Diabetes,” White said. “Their blood sugar numbers are monitored from an iPad in my office. I can see what their number is and which way they are trending. It helps me to prevent a student from going ‘too low’ and having serious side effects in school.”

Along with that, White, who is married and the mother of two, also spends time throughout the year making sure that kids with food allergies are up to date with allergy plans and when there's a special event with food in the classroom, she reviews the class lists for allergies.

She’s originally from Cape Elizabeth and graduated from Cape Elizabeth High School. White was part of their “Junior Rescue Team” during her junior and senior years. In her senior year of school, I went to Southern Maine Community College and obtained an Emergency Medical Technician license. That experience as an EMT inspired White to go on to be a nurse and she graduated from the University of Vermont’s School of Nursing in 1994. Since then, she’s worked in women's health, primary care, camp nursing and school nursing.

While working as a school nurse at Lake Region Middle School, the opening for the school nurse job at WMS came up, which is in the same school district where her children attend school, and it was only a five-minute commute for her to WMS.

“I have had many memorable moments at WMS, but COVID-19 is probably the most memorable because it impacted every single person. It was challenging at times when we were having multiple cases per day and trying to contact trace,” she said. “We added staff to the nursing team to help with contact tracing, testing, and fielding phone calls. We were ‘contact tracing’ well into the evening many nights a week and weekends. Teachers and staff were an integral part of mitigating the spread of illnesses, dealing with minor first aid in classrooms and being a support to our nursing team.”

White said most people don’t know that as a school nurse, she’s also a public health nurse.

“I have to protect the staff and kids in my school who may have conditions that others don’t know about. The greater good of the public is my overall goal as a nurse,” she said. “The most important thing I’ve learned while working for Windham Middle School is who you can rely on to support you. It really does take a village to raise a child. The teachers, administrators and staff in this school are very supportive of their students in making sure that their safety is their first priority.” <

Windham explores possibility of four-day workweek for employees

By Ed Pierce

The Town of Windham is looking into creating a four-day workweek for town hall employees and discussed the idea during a Windham Town Council workshop on Tuesday evening.

Members of the Windham Town Council discuss moving 
town employees to a four-day workweek schedule during
a council workshop on Tuesday evening. The proposal will
be taken up later in the year by the council.
Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts told councilors that the idea would bring Windham into accord with what some nearby towns in Cumberland County are doing.

“So, in looking at the various challenges for work environments and finding the right avenue to be of better service to our residents but also provide opportunities for staff to work their schedules slightly different, we have taken a close look at a four-day workweek approach,” Tibbetts said.

According to Tibbetts, discussions have been held with staff about the feasibility of having the Windham Town Hall open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Currently the Windham Town Hall is open for services between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

He said all town hall employees would maintain 40-hour schedules of work hours and would adjust duty schedules to move to a four-day workweek.

“The staff think it’s a good thing for us to be competitive with other communities,” Tibbetts said.

In the past decade, Windham has offered a variety of services found at town hall online, he said.

“Each office at Town Hall would look to be properly staffed at core times, but departments would have to evaluate how to make this work if we adopted a four-day workweek,” Tibbetts said.

He told the council that some Windham departments, such as police and fire work entirely different schedules and would not follow the four-day workweek schedule if the proposal is adopted. Tibbetts said the same would apply for Windham Public Library employees, who operate on a six-day staggered schedule.

“It is my understanding that Windham went to a four-day workweek about 10 years ago but for some reason went away from it,” Tibbetts said. “The staff are ready to do it and try it again though.”

If the four-day workweek proposal is adopted by the council, Tibbetts said it would take a minimum of six to eight weeks before it could be implemented.

“We would have to allow time to educate the community about the new hours,” he said.

Not all councilors expressed support for the potential change.

“We’re here for services and it’s important for us to offer as many services as we can,” said Councilor Nick Kalogerakis. “I’m torn, but we need to be available as much as we can.”

Councilor Bill Reiner said he’s concerned about what would happen if a resident needed services and found the town hall closed on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and then for a legal holiday on a Monday.

“That’s four consecutive days we would be closed,” Reiner said. “Not everything can be done online. The long, extended weekends would be a problem.”

Reiner said be more in favor of the four-day workweek if it included early or late starts or possibly some employees available for shortened hours on Fridays, such being open to noon that day.

Councilor John Henry also expressed some reservations about Windham Town Hall always being closed on Fridays. He suggested exploring other days during the week could be considered, when fewer residents visit town departments for services.

Councilor David Nadeau said he recently read a newspaper article about how many towns and cities across America have adopted the four-day workweek for public and municipal employees and the transition has gone smoothly.

Tibbetts told councilors that he would further study the proposal and bring the concept back to a regular meeting of the council and possible vote later this year. <

Windham students participate in annual New England Youth Identity Summit

By Masha Yurkevich

Each year, the New England Youth Identity Summit gathers to bring students together to build connections with a unique conference designed to spark meaningful conversations about identity, diversity, and community.

The seventh annual New England Youth Identity Summit
is a full-day program featuring inspiring speakers,
student-led workshops, dialogue sessions, and performances
designed to build connections within and across 
communities. SUBMITTED PHOTO  
John Holdridge, the director of Third Thought Initiatives for Civic Engagement, directs a collection of programs and projects that encourage high school students to develop the skills of self-reflection, perspective taking, empathy, inquiry, dialogue across political and other real and perceived differences, and creative collaboration as well as the mindset that seeking out and honoring diverse viewpoints and lived experiences is a condition of a functioning democracy and strong communities.

“Our programs are open to high school students from across the state and in the case of the New England Youth Identity Summit, open to students from across New England and beyond,” says Holdridge.

He is a career educator, and this is his second year serving as the director of Third Thought.

“I've worked in a variety of education positions where I move and work in and around schools building learning communities that encourage students to step outside of their own comfort zone and across the limits of their own personal bubbles and spheres of influence,” he says. “I've found that when we create spaces for students to be their authentic selves, and to appreciate others' authentic selves, then we have an opportunity to collaborate on common ground ideas and issues.”

The first New England Youth Identity Submit (NEYIS) was in 2016 and came about because Waynflete School wanted to create a local version of conferences that were happening across the country, conferences that allowed students to attend and/or lead workshops on topics that were important to them and that allowed them to explore and define their multiple identities and learn about the multiple identities of their peers.

“This year we were finally able to return to our Pre- and Post-COVID maximum capacity and we were able to welcome close to 300 high school students and educators representing 48 schools and organizations from seven states,” says Holdridge. “We start planning in September with a youth planning team that consists of students from several area high schools, an adult planning team made of individuals from Third Thought, several departments at Waynflete and our producing partner Valo. To see it all come together and to know that we're able to provide this opportunity to students from so many schools and communities is a real joy.”

The Summit is a full-on community event on the production side and the attendance side, and this was the year they finally were able to say ‘We’re back!” The keynote speaker was author Marpheen Chann who has family connections in Windham, and they were also lucky to have student performances as well as professional performances from dancer Mathew Cumbie and singer Clarisse Karisira.

“One of our greatest Third Thought success stories this year involves two students from Windham High School. Classmates Mareena Batsungnern and Griffin Moreau became friends while participating in the Can We? Project at WHS,” Holdridge said. “The Can We? Project teaches skills of dialogue across differences. After those retreats, Batsungnern and Moreau were able to be on a panel of students and teachers at Educate Maine's Education Symposium in Portland. This panel was led by a student from Waynflete. After that, the two of them invited me to be on a panel that they led for WHS students. And finally, they proposed a workshop for the Summit that reached capacity.”

The workshop leaders were Batsungnern and Moreau of Windham High School and their workshop focused on “Breaking Down Social Hierarchies in School: How Can We Connect with One Another? What is a peer?”

Batsungnern and Moreau say that most of your days in elementary, middle, and high school are spent in classrooms with peers who you know little about in spite of having grown up together. How important are they at such a critical period in our lives? A peer is "an individual who is of equal standing to another." Is this definition actively reflected in today's "peer" environment? Join us to learn about the necessity of breaking down school hierarchies and encouraging connections between people with different backgrounds, interests, and beliefs, with hopes of transforming misunderstandings into compassion for one another.”

Holdridge says Third Thought is really happy to be working at Windham High School with the Can We? Project and in welcoming students to the summit.

“Next year will be our third year collaborating with Windham High School students, teachers, and administrators and we're developing meaningful relationships and, as the example below shows, we're beginning to see a positive snowball effect.” <

Opening for leaf drop-off site nearing for Windham residents

By Ed Pierce

After a long winter of shoveling snow, Windham residents are starting to spruce up their yards and getting rid of any leaves and brush that may have accumulated since last fall is a priority.

Windham's leaf and brush disposal site
opens for the season at 7 a.m. Saturday,
April 22 at the end of Enterprise Drive
off Route 302 behind the self-storage
building. FILE PHOTO 
Once again, Windham’s Department of Public Works will be providing a town leaf and brush drop-off site which will accept leaves and brush for disposal following spring residential clean-ups. The site will be made available only for the disposal of leaves and brush and is located at the very end of Enterprise Drive, off Route 302, behind the self-storage building in North Windham.

DPW officials are asking residents dropping off items for disposal that the leaves are separated from brush and disposed of in the appropriate areas where the posted signs indicate.

For those transporting leaves to the site in paper or plastic bags, DPW requests that the leaves be removed from the bags and the bags taken back home. They also are asking that residents not dispose of any brush at the site larger than 12 inches in diameter.

As a reminder, residents are not allowed to dump garbage, yard waste, or other items at the leaf and brush drop-off site. Windham residents should be aware that leaves are not collected at the curb and should not be placed in recycling bins. Typically, about 400 to 500 yards in cubic feet is collected at the site in disposed brush and leaves during the spring season.

The Windham leaf and brush disposal site will be open starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, April 22 and will close for the season at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 14.

If you have any questions about services or need assistance, please call the Windham Public Works office at 207-892-1909. <

Windham seeking new town assessor

By Ed Pierce

Windham will identify and interview candidates for the town assessor position following the departure of Elisa Marr, who will join Portland as its new city assessor.

Elisa Marr has been hired as the new city
assessor for the City of Portland. She has
served as Windham's town assessor since
December 2015. COURTESY PHOTO 
The Portland City Council approved hiring Marr as its assessor during a meeting Monday evening. She has served as the assessor for the Town of Windham since December 2015.

Prior to assuming duties of town assessor for Windham, Marr had worked as the town’s assistant assessor and GIS technician handling cartography for the town dating back to April 2006. Her experience includes working as the GIS Coordinator for the Town of Raymond from July 1998 to April 2006.

Marr is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Maine Association of Assessing Officers.

The Windham Assessor's Office is responsible for the valuation of all taxable property in Windham, both real estate and personal property. It is also a center of information for property owners, title companies, real estate brokers and appraisers, attorneys, and other departments and agencies in the community.

The assessor maintains historical information as well as current data about properties such as ownership, deeds, inventories of land and structures, property characteristics, and town maps. The office administers any property tax exemption programs enacted by the Maine Legislature such as veterans, blind, and homestead exemptions.

The town assessor also oversees department staff and continually updates assessments in Windham to reflect new construction, building additions, and demolitions. The office also develops and administers the department’s budget and manages all departmental resources.

Other duties of the Windham Town Assessor include conducting sales ratio studies, analyzing and researching market trends in property values, and taking corrective action when necessary to maintain equity. The assessor updates and maintains Windham’s tax maps which includes plotting parcel splits and updating valuation records, prepares municipal valuation returns, turnaround documents, and tax commitment book and documents, meets and/or corresponds with taxpayers to answer questions and resolve problems, reviews requests for abatement and performs follow up procedures according to abatement law.

The office oversees processing of all types of property tax exemption requests, works with the Windham Town Council and the Windham Town Manager to develop a plan to address any public complaints and finds effective means of communicating information and educating the department, the Town Manager, and the public regarding to assessing issues affecting Windham.

Once a final candidate has been recommended by Windham Town manager Barry Tibbetts to replace Marr as Windham Town Assessor, members of the Windham Town Council will vote on the recommendation. <

April 7, 2023

Windham’s ‘A Team’ surges to Quiz Bowl State Championship

By Jolene Bailey

Acquiring knowledge and putting it to good use should be the goal of every student and members of Windham High School’s “A Team” took that task to heart in winning the National Academic Quiz Team State Championship at Bates College in Lewiston on Saturday, March 25.

Student members of Windham High School's 'A Team' 
celebrate with advisors and classmates after winning
the National Academic Quiz Team State Championship
at Bates College in Lewiston on Saturday, March 25.
Team members say that extracurricular activities can be an uplifting experience for most students and are a way to discover passions and spend time doing something you enjoy. The Quiz Team is just one out of many extracurricular activities that Windham students can participate in, and this team has acquired a great deal of knowledge and experience since being created in 2018.

Meeting on Mondays and Fridays after school and in the mornings before classes, Quiz Team members spend a fair amount of time dedicated to learning trivia.

Senior Grete Paulding has been involved with the Quiz Team since her freshman year.

“When the original team graduated at the end of my sophomore year, I took over as team captain. Over the past two years, I have watched us grow from eight to more than 20,” Paulding said. “My teammates are dedicated to not only learning as much as they can, but also supporting each other through good times and bad. We are not only colleagues, we are friends.”

She said that with more students joining the Quiz Team, they are able to spread creatively pursuing knowledge.

“A big takeaway from being part of the team is that to be successful every player needs to be strong,” said Kaitlyn Farrin, a Windham Quiz Team member. “Some teams try to rely on one ‘star player’ in games, but I have found that teams with a more balanced attack where everyone contributes, often do better.”

Farrin has been a part of Quiz Team for the last three years and is now a member of the school’s top-level “A Team.”

The National Academic Quiz Bowl’s format contains three bonus questions after each tossup question that only the correct answering team can respond to. During this segment of the competition, questions can feature an assortment of topics, which test the extensive knowledge of contributing teams.

“You don’t have to know everything to be a valuable member. That’s something I didn’t realize at first,” said Quiz Team member Al Potter. “Quiz Team is about having fun and being passionate about the random stuff you do know.”

Potter has a vigorous connection with Windham’s quiz team since his junior year that has fostered his passion for trivia.

“We always have a blast, during practice and competitions,” he said. “Everyone in this community is always excited to hear our latest news, I am so grateful for their support.”

The Quiz Team students have generated more interest than participating in a typical competition, it has produced new friendships, bonds, and long lasting memories.

“My favorite memories from this year are some of our bonding events. I think it’s really important for team morale to hang out outside of the group and get to know each other,” Farrin said. “We've had movie nights, game nights, a Halloween party, and a holiday party. I love these events because it gives us time to joke around and have fun without any of the pressure of practice or games.”

This year has marked Will Stuart’s second year being a part of the team. He was placed on the school “A Team” as one of its starting four competitors.

“My experience as a member has been very positive. Being around a lot of people who kind of ‘get me’ really helps,” Stuart said. “It’s taught me I need to be more assertive with my knowledge. For example, during one of our Friday practice games, I missed a total of 115 points because I wasn't sure of myself.”

Trivia is information and data of little importance or value usually associated with general knowledge or common sense. Retaining this information can take a good amount of time.

“I’m most proud of the last six tournaments, I have won first place for most incorrect answers. It has become one of Maine Quiz Bowl’s running jokes,” said Paulding. “If I had strived for perfection, I would’ve been disappointed when I always came up short. The ‘neg prize’ reminds me that in every competition, I am valuable to my team when I take calculated risks and remember how to laugh at myself. I am grateful to be surrounded by a team that is always ready to laugh with and at me.”

Regardless of the team’s placement, participants in the 2023 NAQT Maine State Championship could also see their individual overall rankings and out of 70 students, Paulding came in first.

When they’re not studying or participating in quiz bowls, this extracurricular tapes episodes of the PBS Maine High School Quiz Show for television. The first round of Season Six of the show airs at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13 on WCBB Channel 10 and features North Yarmouth Academy versus Windham. <

Project Graduation strives to give graduates a fun, memorable, safe night

By Masha Yurkevich

Graduation is a huge milestone in the lives of many people and a night that is filled with vivid and enjoyable memories. Project Graduation is an organization spread out over many schools and districts in the United States to offer students just that: a fun, memorable, but most importantly safe, graduation night.

Project Graduation started in the state of Maine in 1980, long before our local group was formed in 2022. The primary goal of Project Graduation is to plan a night of substance-free fun for the graduates the night that they march, which is June 11 for RSU 14 graduates Every group and every district takes a different approach to this, but the goal is for the graduates to stay all night, have a lot of fun with their friends and end up the next morning with a memorable night, but most importantly, safe and sound.

Project Graduation launched in 1980 when seven alcohol and other drug-related teen deaths occurred in Oxford Hills during the beginning of the season. Led by Drug and Alcohol Team of Oxford Hills (DATOH), schools in the area and local communities provided the Class of 1980 at Oxford Hills High School with information about the risks of drinking, drugging and driving. The seniors were offered an alternative to the "traditional" graduation-night drinking event that drew hundreds of people to the local fairgrounds. They called this chemical-free party "Project Graduation.” The purpose of Project Graduation is to give the graduates the opportunity to celebrate their success with their classmates, substance-free, and to come home safely to their families.

Diane Hancock is the co-chair of WHS Project Graduation 2023. Each year the "baton" is passed down from the current graduating class to the junior class.

“We started last April when we were given information from the Project Graduation 2022 group,” says Hancock. “It has been a great group of volunteers to work with, so it has been fun, but it has also been a lot of work. Project Graduation is an important initiative designed to keep kids safe and alive after graduation and everyone who has contributed in any way values that goal.”

To raise money for each year’s graduates’ event, Project Graduation hosts different kinds of events and activities, some of which are annual and some which are chosen by the current group. Their annual events this year have included concessions for the WYSA families down at Gambo in the spring and fall, a Golf Tournament, selling pies at the Windham Craft Fair, the Homecoming dance, and selling mums. Their group has also decided to hold an Ugly Sweater 5k in December and we will be hosting a comedy night at Schoolhouse Arts Center on May 19, with more information to come.

“It is tough to put a number of people who are on this group,” says Hancock. “Some people attend meetings, some volunteer, some donate, and some do all three. There are a lot of people who contribute in some capacity, including local businesses. We always hope that all families will contribute in whatever way they can and welcome new participants. Our next meeting will be held on April 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Alumni Conference room at Windham High School. The current Junior class is just starting to form their group and people can reach out to us to be connected with that group as well.”

The next event that Project Graduation will be holding is on May 19, and they invite everyone for a fun night of comedy. If you are looking for ways to donate, they are currently accepting cash donations and donations of gift cards that will be used for the class of 2023 Project Graduation event on June 11.

You can reach out to Project Graduation at whsprojectgraduation2023@gmail.com if you would like to donate or for more information. You can also find them on Facebook at WHS 2023 Project Grad to follow what they are doing and when their next activity is. <

Scoop the Poop: Picking up your pet’s waste good for the environment

By Windham’s Natural Resources Advisory Committee

March arrived like a lion this year. As it retreated like a lamb, we saw what was left behind as the snow melted – dog waste. We have all been there, taking our furry friend on a bathroom break as the snow is blowing sideways and you wish to be inside instead of staring at each other as they go number two. 

A study conducted in 2021 at two locations in Windham
including Donnabeth Lippman Park and the Mountain
Division Trail found and removed 25.65 pounds of pet
waste in a single day from those locations. Picking up
pet waste helps the town stay clean and healthy.
There are countless scenarios like this one that can result in dog waste being left behind. Pet waste that is improperly disposed of is not just a hazard for the bottom of your shoes – dog waste is a major contributor to water pollution. When dissolved in water, nutrients in the dog waste breed algae and other vegetation that create scum, choke off beneficial plant life and create toxic conditions for fish and humans. Even if you don’t live near the water, runoff from rain and melting snow can wash uncollected dog waste into storm drains and ditches, polluting streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes.

A study was conducted in Summer 2021 to record and analyze the prevalence of dog waste pollution at parks, trails, and beaches in fourteen communities in Cumberland and York Counties to establish a baseline and plan for future study (https://www.windhammaine.us/DocumentCenter/View/9333/Dog-Waste-Pilot-Study-2021). 

Two locations were evaluated in Windham – Donnabeth Lippman Park and the Mountain Division Trail – on a single day and 25.65 pounds of pet waste were observed and removed. This results in estimated 640 pounds of dog waste improperly left behind annually, or 6 trillion fecal bacteria. Windham has 3,145 licensed dogs, therefore that annual total from two locations in town is only a drop in the bucket. Over the course of a year, one dog can produce 2.75 pounds of phosphorus and 2.8 trillion fecal bacteria in their waste. Therefore, the licensed dogs in Windham can produce a total of 8,648.75 pounds of phosphorus and 8.8 quadrillion fecal bacteria.

By not properly disposing of pet waste, it is left outside in the elements. When precipitation occurs, the nutrients and bacteria from the pet waste can make its way to waterbodies, potentially impacting water quality. According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Windham currently has five waterbodies impaired for bacteria – Pleasant River, Colley Wright Brook, Otter Brook, Black Brook, Inkhorn Brook. 

This impairment means that those waterbodies are not reaching the bacteria criteria for their designated waterbody class. Dog waste is one of the plethora of potential sources of bacteria - several examples include septic systems, wildlife waste, agriculture & recreation. Therefore, the bacteria impairment of these waterbodies will not be solved by only removing dog waste as a source. However, dog owners can do their part to reduce it as much as possible. Several tips are included below to help.


‘- Don’t Turn Your Walk into a Crapshoot: Ensure you always have dog poop bags (or reuse produce bags from your grocery shopping!) with you when you are with your pet, whether you are going out for just a few minutes to stretch your legs or a nice long walk. Make sure your bags are large enough to contain everything, especially if you have large breed. Be sure to pick up as much waste as you can, including the small pieces that might have fallen outside of the main waste pile. It’s always good to have a backup bag, just in case your dog poop bag breaks or another dog owner has found themselves without one.

- Be Aware of Your Dog’s Bathroom Habits: Does your dog go No. 2 as soon as they sniff the first patch of grass they see? Or maybe your pup needs a 20-minute warm up before finding the perfect spot to go potty? By keeping track of your dog’s bathroom habits, you’ll be able to predict when they go and even where they go, particularly for pups who are repeat bathroom offenders in the same location. Ensuring you know your pup’s habits means you can be ready when the call of the wild calls to them.

- Wipe Up Afterwards: In case a bag tears or some unfortunate mishap where you or your dog comes in close contact with the poop you’re picking up, a generous supply of wet wipes can come in handy.

- Go Hands-Free: For less frequent cleanups in your yard, use dog poop scoopers, rakes and bins, which enables you to sweep up the dog poop without having to bend down or come within arm’s reach of the mess. Whether you use a bag or a spade, be sure to answer the call of doody and pick up after your dog.’ (Chewy Editorial, 2021).

- Crappy Composting: Responsibly picking up your pet’s waste can add up over time. Rather than sending it straight to the trash can, you can compost it. Now, this tip takes time and resources to implement as well as adhering to proper protocols for the compost application. The U.S. Department of Agriculture factsheet on composting dog waste (https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2022-11/Composting-Dog-Waste-Booklet-Alaska.pdf) breaks down the process step-by-step and provides various compost bin designs that will fit your needs. *Disclaimer – dog waste compost should never be used on crops grown for human consumption and only a 25 percent compost blend should be used in a potting mix or flower beds.

For more information, please contact Windham’s Environmental & Sustainability Coordinator, Gretchen Anderson (gaanderson@windhammaine.us). <


U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Pet Waste Disposal Systems Help Protect Water Quality”. (2017). https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2011/03/08/pet-waste-disposal-systems-help-protect-water-quality

Caperton, Katie; Clark, John; Kelly, Ridge. “Dog Waste Pilot Study”. (2021). https://yarmouth.me.us/vertical/sites/%7B27541806-6670-456D-9204-5443DC558F94%7D/uploads/PetWasteFinalReport2021.pdf

Tracking the Poo-llution. Maine Stormwater Conference. (2022). https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e4af21b92caed7f481a25b7/t/6372f6ca2814ad5c4233c883/1668478667376/Clift+Tracking+the+Poo-llution.pdf

Chewy Editorial. “Why Dog Poop Disposal is Important”. (2021). https://be.chewy.com/dog-poop-disposal-tips-for-properly-cleaning-up-after-your-dog/?gbraid=123&gclid=Cj0KCQiApKagBhC1ARIsAFc7Mc52anVqFIhQAglRlPm2c1DUfatWJe02zSJw9KVvOCyE8TnLBws7bNAaAj_2EALw_wcB