May 26, 2023

EQUUS Foundation honors Riding To The Top’s Paxton Abbey horse

By Kelly Johnson
Special to The Windham Eagle

Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center is thrilled to announce the induction of Paxton Abbey into the EQUUS Foundation’s Horse Stars Hall of Fame.

Paxton Abbey celebrates her 25th birthday with some of the
crew at Riding To The Top in Windham. From left are
RTT volunteer Piper, client Susan, client Missy, volunteer
Pat, client Eliza, and volunteer Olivia.
The Horse Stars Hall of Fame honors the contributions of amazing horses by sharing the stories of their athletic and humanitarian feats. It was established by the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation in 2013 to celebrate the extraordinary talent of horses and their powerful bond with people. Paxton Abbey is one of 11 horses to be inducted by EQUUS Foundation in 2023.

The state of Maine might not be known for producing elite sport horses, but should you visit most any stable there and mention the name "Paxton Abbey," you will receive a knowing look and a smile. Perhaps one of the most famous equine athletes to call the state her lifelong home, Paxton (or just plain "Pax" to her close friends) enjoyed a storied career in both eventing and para dressage with her owner/breeder, Mary Jordan. But perhaps her most significant role has been as a healer, first at Carlisle Academy in Lyman, and since 2017 at Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center in Windham.

"Paxton is legendary, everybody knows Paxton!" says Kate Jeton, RTT program director. "She's quite a horse."

A homebred, Paxton is out of Jordan's event horse, Nut Brown Ale, and by the Hanoverian Pray for Snow. She made her show ring debut at just 3 months old, besting imported warmbloods to win the title of Reserve Best Young Horse at the New England Dressage Association Breed Show. Jordan developed Paxton for the sport of eventing herself, ultimately competing at the American Eventing Championships annually between 2005 and 2007 and earning the 2007 U.S. Eventing Association’s “Training Level Horse of the Year” title. The pair competed through preliminary level, a lifelong goal for Jordan, before retiring from the sport.

In 2002, Jordan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and suffered several serious physical setbacks during Paxton's eventing career. Unwilling to give up on her equestrian goals, in 2010, Jordan became classified as a Grade IV para dressage rider, and her training with Paxton took on a new focus. The pair competed on the U.S. para dressage team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, just months after debuting in the sport.

Throughout Paxton's competitive career, but particularly as Jordan's physical health became challenging, she relied on her homebred's kind, willing and steady temperament to help keep her safe. When it came time for the mare to step down in her workload, Paxton brought those same qualities to her new role as a therapy horse.

"She makes this connection with people," explains Jeton. "She just gives and gives and gives."

Almost immediately upon arriving at RTT, Paxton proved to be a natural fit for their programming.

"We have riders of so many different abilities get on her," says Jeton. "She knows who is on her back."

Although Paxton is only about 15.2 hands, her dam's Percheron/Morgan/Thoroughbred genetics instilled her with breadth and bone. For some clients, Paxton seems larger than life. Yet when they have the opportunity to ride her, they find a sensitive and responsive partner.

"She instills confidence, whether her rider is a little beginner, or somebody who's been riding for a number of years," says Jeton.

It is nearly impossible for RTT staff to quantify the impact Paxton has had on their clients. For one young man with autism, Paxton was the mount who showed him he could ride independently. For a woman living with MS like Jordan, Paxton has been both a confidant and a source of hope, helping her to focus on what she can do rather than what she can't. For several children with complex mental health issues, Paxton has become the mount they connect with most deeply.

"Throughout her career, Paxton has risen to every challenge, be it on the national or international stage of competition, or in serving clients with significant physical and cognitive challenges," says Sarah Bronson, RTT executive director. "Some horses need their humans to help them stay organized, while other horses are pros at keeping their humans organized. Paxton is definitely the latter. She gives her all to everyone who comes in contact with her at RTT including our clients, our volunteers and our staff. She is indeed a very special horse, who has changed hundreds of lives."

Learn more about Paxton, and the EQUUS Foundation’s Horse Stars Hall of Fame at

About Riding to the Top

Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center was founded in 1993. Its mission is enhancing health and wellness through equine assisted services. Located in Windham, RTT is the state’s only PATH Intl. accredited center (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) solely dedicated to Equine Assisted Services. More than 250 participants are impacted annually, assisted by certified instructors, a herd of 17 horses and close to 100 volunteers, all specially trained to assist with therapeutic riding, carriage driving and hippotherapy. Riding To The Top is a community-based nonprofit, receives no federal or state funding and provides scholarships to over 60 percent of its clients. For more information about client services, volunteering, or making a gift, please visit or call 892-2813. <

Restored blacksmith shop brings history to life at Raymond-Casco Historical Museum

By Ed Pierce

Steeped in history, the Watkins Blacksmith Shop is one of the oldest blacksmith shops still in existence in Maine, and this summer visitors to the Raymond-Casco Historical Society Museum will be able to watch blacksmiths take red-hot iron from the fires of the shop’s forge and hammer it into a variety of tools and hardware.

The Old Watkins Blacksmith Shop, dating back to the
1850s in Casco has been moved and fully restored and
will be open this summer for forge demonstrations at
the Raymond-Casco Historical Museum in Casco.
A year-long project to resurrect and preserve the shop and move it to the museum grounds in Casco is nearly complete and it will become the centerpiece and star attraction to a revitalized museum of artifacts and antiquities unequaled anywhere in the Lakes Region of Maine. The blacksmith shop was first opened in the 1850s by William Watkins and was in use right up until the 1940s in Casco.

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 past eight decades, the building slowly become a crumbling relic of Maine’s past. That is, until an idea about moving the building was pitched to Frank McDermott, president of the Raymond-Casco Historical Society. He saw the potential of moving the blacksmith shop to the society’s museum on Watkins Farm in Casco, restoring it and using it for live demonstrations for the public and now that idea has become a reality.

Carefully disassembling every piece of the old shop, refurbishing them and reassembling that building, the blacksmith shop is now weather tight, and steps have been taken to preserve its interior, particularly the ox-lift. The split stone hearth has been moved and reassembled and the chimney has been reconstructed using period bricks. Historical society volunteers are presently restoring the building’s windows and doors. A great deal of work remains with sorting, preserving, and displaying the artifacts from the shop, including rebuilding the harness from the ox lift and re-leathering the bellows.

McDermott expects to have the forge operational for the debut of the blacksmith shop at a grand opening on June 11, but work will continue restoring the shop throughout the season. New historical society members who want to assist and learn more about this interesting project are always welcomed.

A team of advisors assisted the historical society in moving the structure to the museum and that group included Dr. Robert Schmick, Museum Director of 19th Century Curran Village in Orrington, Ed Somers of Bridgton, a specialist in preservation and restoration of buildings of this era, and Kerry Tottle of Limington, who devised a plan for lifting sections of the building over an adjacent building at its original location.

“Keep in mind that the majority of the work in taking it apart and putting it back together was accomplished with the help of six or eight volunteers that worked five to seven hours a day for two and a half months last summer,” McDermott said. “Where we presently stand in the shop, we are amazed at what was accomplished. We realize that we have saved an important part of history that should serve the communities as well as the state for another 200-plus years. Most of the credit for saving this piece of history must go to the citizens of Casco and Raymond for their generous donations they voted to give the project last summer. Then we must thank the individual donors that put us over the top. Without them, nothing would have been accomplished.”

According to McDermott, the hardest part of the entire project was truly believing that the Raymond-Casco Historical Society could pull it off.

“When we first considered the project, we had no more than eight or 10 working members and the majority were in their 70s and beyond,” he said. “We realized that for our society to survive, we needed to attract new, younger members. Taking on this project seemed to be the answer. Hopefully there are people out there that will be willing to help us flourish and grow.”

McDermott said Lucas Damen, a Master Blacksmith, has been working with the historical society from the beginning of the project and he will be stopping in from time to time this summer and is presently helping the museum line up blacksmiths to work the forge at the site this summer for museum demonstrations.

Guests to the Raymond-Casco Historical Society Museum can explore four buildings at the site. The main building is the museum itself. It was constructed and then donated by Skip and Zina Watkins to the Historical Society and contains exhibits of historical value to Raymond and Casco. There’s also a barn featuring farming and industrial exhibits that were used in both Raymond and Casco dating as far back as the 18th century.

The third building on the museum grounds is a true replica of the Friends School House that was destroyed by a fire years ago. At the time of the fire, historical society members were in the process of moving it to the site and it’s an excellent example of a one-room schoolhouse. The school is used for demonstrations as well as a meeting space. And now the fourth building at the museum is the Watkins Blacksmith Shop.

There is no charge to visit the museum which opens Memorial Day Weekend and will be open from noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Expanded museum hours may be available this summer. The Raymond-Casco Historical Society Museum is located at 1 Shadow Lane in Casco. For more information, call 207-655-6389. <

PNF fitness training event benefits Kelly's Loving Hands charity

By Jolene Bailey

When it comes to being healthy, many people think in terms of physicality. However, mental health is equivalent to our physical health when addressing the wellbeing matters of ourselves. While people may struggle with both their mental and physical health standards or goals that they create for themselves, this can not only affect their appearance, but also their overall attitude.

PNF gym in Windham hosted a fitness event on Saturday,
May 20 as a charity fundraiser for Kelly's Loving Hands,
a financial literacy organization for students.
This is where Personalized Nutrition & Fitness (PNF) comes in. Located at 15 Storm Dr. in Windham, this gym’s mission is to provide an encouraging, helpful environment to achieve the wellbeing physical and mental state for which you may strive.

PNF independent contractor Mikayla Jeannette organized a charity training event on Saturday May 20 with the objective of donating all proceeds she collected to Kelly’s Loving Hands, a literacy charity that teaches students about financial independence and the value of investments.

“The event was a great opportunity to connect the community and educate the public on the mental health benefits of exercise, while also having an opportunity to give back. This weekend was also graduation for many, and most parents had a kids’ sports game to attend at that time. Many of those who wanted to attend were not able to,” said Jeannette.

Despite this, Jeannette plans to host possible quarterly events similar to this. The event drew 14 participants, with no sign ups needed. For the first time being hosted in the community, those who participated were eager to engage and help the ones who wanted to join.

In addition to assisting a deserving charity, as a reward for attending, participants were offered a 10 percent-off discount to be used at the Ice Cream Dugout as well as a raffle ticket to earn a free one-on-one based training session.

“The process involved seeking out a charity I wanted to work with, getting in contact with them, creating a flier to advertise, contacting The Windham Eagle, getting trainers to participate and lead stations, reaching out to other businesses like the Ice Cream Dugout to create an incentive to potential attendees, and getting needed supplies. I organize the event myself and also lead one of the stations,” said Jeannette.

PNF is open to all ages. This event specifically focused on movement and circuit training with each trainer leading their favorite style. There was a spin station, core station, mobility station, kettlebell station, booty boot camp station, stability and balance station, and a stability ball station.

At each station, participants were given an opportunity to try out different fitness styles and notice the overall change in their mood from participating in the event.

“We ranked everyone's mood before and after the workout. All participants saw a rise in energy and motivation and a decline in anxiety,” said Jeannette.

She said that physical health can take a toll on mental health but working on both while focusing on one at a time can help others better themselves and their state of health.

For more info regarding PNF or future events being held please visit

WHS Key Club hosts luncheon for janitors and lunch ladies

By Masha Yurkevich

Often, that which so often goes unnoticed is that which students take for granted; a great example of this being janitors and lunch ladies. On Thursday, May 18, the Key Club at Windham High School hosted a luncheon for the janitors and lunch ladies to thank them for their hard and not always pleasant work.

A Windham High School Key Club member
writes a thank you note to be presented to
janitors and lunch ladies at the school. The
club hosted a luncheon for janitors and
lunch ladies at WHS to thank them for 
all of their hard work.
The Kiwanis Club — nicknamed the Key Club — is an international organization that focuses on giving back to the community without expecting anything back in return. Members of the club want to show the community that they care through volunteering and doing what they can to help those who cannot help themselves.

Noelle Denslow is a senior and is the Vice President of Key Club and said the luncheon gesture is a way of telling valuable school staff members they are appreciated.

“The idea for the luncheon was born in an officer meeting that we had last year, out of the spirit of pointing out and appreciating the effort of those who are often taken for granted,” said Denslow. “Quoting one of the janitors, ‘this is one of the most thankless jobs out there’. We wanted to change that.”

To prepare for the luncheon, the Key Club fundraised for a month or two by collecting donations in the main office and announced it via the daily-emailed announcements. Then they communicated with the principal and the janitors to determine where they would like to spend the money and what food they would want. Club members also gathered and made thank-you cards.

“The luncheon turned out better than I expected,” said Denslow. “We were instructed to host the luncheon in a small teacher's room, and so many Key Club members came to help that we couldn't all stand in the room at one time. A few of the members, myself included, stayed behind at the end to talk with them as they ate. It was really special to hear how much it meant to them to be seen and heard.”

Scott Loring is the head custodian for WHS and has worked for RSU 14 for 17 years.

“We are so grateful for the lunch that the Key Club provided for us, this is a very rare thing for a custodian to see,” he said. “I have an amazing crew that works extremely hard to keep this 220 thousand square foot building clean and ready for kids and teachers every day. These are the people — along with the kitchen staff — that make this all possible.”

If high school students want to join the chapter of Key Club at Windham High School, they can sign up at the start of every school year. There are $11 member dues to help the international-level leadership fund and support efforts worldwide, but there is help for those who have financial hardship. If community members want to help, they can reach out to Ted Becker who can be reached at to help volunteer or aid with fundraising. If there is a need in the community that needs to be met, either with a fundraiser or with manual labor, Ted Becker is a great contact, and he said something could be organized to meet that need.

Key Club members will continue to do projects such as school cleanups, winter clothing drives, Animal Refuge League collections, and volunteering for organizations such as Furniture Friends or Maine Needs. Other, more unique projects also come up, including the Community Softball Tournament coming up at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 27 at the Manchester School baseball field in Windham. Ages 9-plus are invited to play, and playground access and face paint will be provided for younger children, who will be chaperoned by Key Club Members, WHS students, and WHS staff. Concessions will be provided. There is a $2 buy-in for each person attending this event. All proceeds go to the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital.<

Memorial Day activities pay tribute to fallen military members

By Ed Pierce

For some Americans, Memorial Day is time to enjoy a day off from work, enjoy a family barbecue or the official start of the summer movie season. But for others, Memorial Day marks another occasion to cherish the memory of lost loved ones, who sacrificed their lives in defense of liberty.

Earlier this month more than 350 flags were placed on local
veterans' graves in cemeteries across Windham like this
one at Arlington Cemetery in North Windham. The 
project is an annual activity for the American Legion.
The tradition of observing Memorial Day across the nation began in 1868, as an idea formulated by General John A. Logan, the commander of the Civil War veterans’ organization known as The Grand Army of the Republic. He suggested that Americans pause for a national day to commemorate soldiers who died in battle. Logan called his idea “Decoration Day” and he recommended that Americans everywhere take time to stop and reflect on May 30, 1868 with flowers and prayers about the courage and valor that our soldiers demonstrated in preserving the union of American states.

Newspaper reports from 1868 say that Logan selected May 30 as the date for “Decoration Day” because it was not a day that a Civil War battle had been fought, but others speculated it was warm enough after months of winter for spring flowers to reach full bloom and be in plentiful supply to decorate veteran’s graves.

Logan had served with distinction during the Civil War, and he sustained serious wounds at the Battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee in 1862. After recovering from being shot, Logan then became a command officer and served under Union Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant. He later was elected by Illinois voters to serve as a member of the House of Representatives and then as a U.S. Senator and was chosen by Republican candidate for U.S. president James G. Blaine of Maine as his vice-president running mate in 1884, but Democrat Grover Cleveland won the national election that year.

When Logan died in 1886, he became one of a group of 40 Americans who have laid in state in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

Through the decades after Logan’s original proposal, Americans came to embrace “Decoration Day” and used the occasion to commemorate all American military members who died during wars.

The federal government’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1972 moved the annual “Decoration Day” observance from May 30 to the last Monday in May with the new official name of the holiday changed to “Memorial Day.” The change was enacted to standardize the holiday to a Monday since May 30 could fall on any day of the week.

This year Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 29 and Windham’s American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 will conduct traditional Memorial Day festivities on behalf of the Town of Windham.

Legion members have been preparing for the Memorial Day events for the past three weeks with American flags hung on utility poles around town. These flags will fly through Labor Day in Windham. Members and volunteers have been visiting local cemeteries in the town placing more than 350 flags on the graves of local veterans buried there. Cadets from Windham High School also have placed more than 200 U.S. flags at the Windham rotary.

On Memorial Day Monday the community is invited to view the Annual Windham Memorial Day Parade. The parade starts at 9 a.m. and will run from the Windham Town Hall on School Road and then proceeds onto Route 202 in the direction of Windham High School. The best vantage point for viewing this year’s parade will be around the intersection of Windham Center Road and Route 202.

The parade is not limited to a specific war era, and any veteran who would like to march with the Windham Legion, VFW, and DAV component are welcome. All groups or individuals desiring to join the parade should meet and check in by 8:45 a.m. in front of the Town Hall on School Road.

This year’s parade route terminates at Windham’s Veterans Memorial Flagpole at Windham High. At 10 a.m. there, a Memorial Day Ceremony will be held featuring guest speaker retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Bob Chapin. After serving in the military and as a defense analyst, he moved to Raymond in 2008 with his wife, Susan, and has been active in local conservation, environment, neighborhood, and local hunting and fishing organizations. Chapin is the past president of Raymond Waterways Protective Association, the current president of Thomas Pond Improvement Association and the Pulpit Rock Road Association of homeowners. He’s also a past president of Windham-Gorham Rod and Gun Club and is the current president of the Sebago Lake Anglers’ Association.

Ceremonial events include patriotic music performed by the Windham High School band, laying of a commemorative wreath on behalf of Windham veterans who lost their lives, bell tolling for local veterans who have died during this past year and a ceremonial burning of flags removed from veterans’ graves, followed by the traditional rifle salute and the playing of “Taps.” The Master of Ceremonies for the event is Post 148 Commander Tom Theriault.

Following those events, the public is invited to an open house at noon at the Windham Veterans Center at 35 Veterans Memorial Drive in North Windham with a picnic-style luncheon open to the public hosted by Field-Allen Post 148 members. A brief wreath ceremony will be conducted prior to the picnic in the Windham Veterans Center Memorial Garden.

All these events are entirely free and open to the public. <

Windham Town Council revises open space impact fees

 By Ed Pierce

The Town of Windham will increase open space impact fees following a unanimous vote taken by the Windham Town Council on Tuesday evening.

The Windham Town Council has revised open
space impact fees as costs for land in the area
for preservation continue to rise significantly.
State statutes give municipalities the authority to impose impact fees to all development that creates an impact on capital improvements for which the fee has been established. The fee must be proportional to a new development’s share of the improvement, and the development upon which a fee is assessed must reasonably benefit from the improvement.

Windham Planning Director Amanda Lessard told councilors that an impact fee increase is necessary because the cost to purchase land in the area has skyrocketed in the past few years.

Lessard said that in reviewing more recent land sale data, the open space impact fee methodology used by the town did not reflect current market rate land values and that the new fees will be calculated based on a per capita basis and then assessed based on the expected occupancy levels of various types of residential housing.

Under the change in the cost to expand publicly accessible open space, the open space impact fee is proposed to double, where under the range of occupancies a new single-family home would be assessed between $608 and $1,163 as an open space impact fee.

According to Lessard, the open space impact fee schedule fits with the goals and objectives of the town’s Comprehensive Plan, including creating a source of funding for the purchase of development rights of land as opportunities are presented to the community.

Windham’s 2022 Open Space Master Plan identifies priorities for acquiring new open space properties and the open space impact fee proposal was recommended by the town’s Planning Board following a public hearing and discussion earlier this month.

Impact fees collected by Windham will be used to expand the publicly owned open space in the community in the future to serve the needs of a growing population. As such, the town will use the revenue generated from the open space impact fee to acquire land or easements, including conservation easements, and improve conservation land to expand the supply of open space available for community use as set forth in the Comprehensive Plan and other studies of priorities for open space preservation.

As the community grows and develops, Lessard said that more preserved open space will be needed that is available to the public.

In a memo to the council and town manager, Lessard outlined that the town's adopted Comprehensive Plan identifies the need to invest in rural Windham to keep it rural and the plan proposes creating a Land for Windham's Future program that would acquire and preserve open space funded in part by impact fees.

Currently, the supply of about 48 acres of town-owned open space per 1,000 residents in 2019 is adequate for current needs, Lessard said. But as Windham grows, the ratio of open space per capita will need to be maintained and serves as the basis for the open space impact fee.

Any residential development activity in Windham should pay an impact fee based upon the expected population of the project considering typical occupancy rates and that includes single-family homes that are not part of a subdivision, conversions of non-residential buildings to residential use, and modifications to existing buildings that increase the number of dwelling units.

The new fee structure requires that the open space impact fee shall be the adjusted per capita cost of providing additional open space as determined in Windham’s Open Space Impact Fee Methodology calculations created in 2019 and revised in March, multiplied by the anticipated number of residents in the new unit.

The type of units and the typical occupancy of those types of units include single-family homes of 2 or fewer bedrooms; 3 bedrooms; 4 or more bedrooms; multifamily housing or accessory apartments such as 1-bedroom units, 2 bedrooms, or 3 or more bedrooms; Mobile homes in a mobile home park consisting of 1 bedroom; 2 bedrooms; or 3 or more bedrooms.

Under the new schedule, the impact fee shall remain in effect until July 1, 2035, and could be reviewed every three years if needed by the Windham Town Council.

The new fee structure places Windham in the middle of similar impact fee schedules that are charged by neighboring communities. <

May 19, 2023

Windham residents to vote on municipal budget on June 17

By Ed Pierce

With all the 2023-2024 budget details having been finalized by the Windham Town Council, town voters attending the Annual Town Meeting next month will now determine if the budget is approved.

Pie charts show where funding in the proposed 2023-2024
Windham Municipal Budget will be directed to. Windham 
residents will be able to vote on the budget during the 
Annual Windham Town Meeting on June 17 at Windham
Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts has proposed an annual town budget for 2023-2024 of $40,418,346, up from the current 2022-2023 budget of $38,227,469. That amounts to a budget increase of 5.7 percent. For a home valued at $400,000 in Windham currently paying taxes of $4,644, under the new budget, taxes would rise to $4,910. That’s about $266.16 more per year or about $22 per month.

Tibbetts said the budget proposal weighs many different factors and influences, including projected lower town revenues, fixed expenses, and two planned town personnel additions. Some of the increase will offset the loss of $700,000 the town incurred by switching over from the Pay As You Throw (PAYT) trash collection system to a new trash cart system this fall.

There is also about $400,000 less coming into the town revenue stemming from a decline in state sales taxes. Overall revenue for Windham is also projected to decline $1.2 million because of rising energy and healthcare costs, contractual obligations, long-term debt and new staff hires.

The town’s long-term debt includes expenses for projects that are offset by grant funding, Tibbetts says. Some of the projects include an expense of $2.052 million for reconfigured sidewalks along Route 202 in South Windham offset by a grant of $1.856 million, an expense of $625,000 for rebuilding the sidewalk on Route 302 at Boody’s Corner offset by a grant of $684,000, and an expense of $751,000 to reconfigure the intersection of River Road and Route 202 offset by a grant of $751,000. Short-Term Debt includes $551,000 set aside for heavy equipment and vehicle purchases including a plow truck, an ambulance, fire department vehicles, fire pumping equipment and training materials and placing $150,000 in an account reserved for future debt.

“Overall, the town’s current total indebtedness (town and schools) is $25,641,000, or .88 percent of the state valuation, so the margin for additional borrowing is $411,474,000,” Tibbetts said. “Bonding Agencies recommend that an average of 12 to 14 percent of the total operating budget as debt service is consistent to addressing infrastructure needs.”

The budget proposal also includes capital equipment investments and some short-term debt for public safety including the purchase of heavy equipment and vehicles such as an ambulance and two fire vehicles. If the budget is approved by voters, Windham would purchase a new snowplow truck and some specialized fire safety equipment including a new fire pump, nozzles, training materials, mechanic specialty equipment, and shelving.

Capital projects funded under the proposed budget include repaving sidewalks in South Windham, reconfiguring the Route 202 Intersection and maintenance paving for Collin Circle, Running Brook Road, and Montgomery Road.

The Windham Police Department also plans to add an additional school resource officer in the coming year and Windham is also expected to hire a new communications director.

Tibbetts says that the town’s TIF district funding is projected to be basically flat for the coming year as revenue from that source is being used for significant infrastructure improvements for the town that have been approved by voters. Those include upcoming projects such as Route 302 access roads to alleviate traffic congestion in North Windham, the North Windham Wastewater Project, and the East Windham Conservation Project.

Members of the Windham Town Council approved the final budget proposal at a meeting on May 9 and also set the Annual Town Meeting to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 17 at Windham High School. <

Windham High School welcomes new School Resource Officer

By Masha Yurkevich

On Thursday, May 11, Windham High School students and staff said their goodbyes to School Resource Officer Seth Fournier, who had served in the position for the past 10 years and welcomed a new SRO, Windham Police Officer Lee Maher.

Windham Police Officer Lee Maher has
replaced Seth Fournier as the
School Resource Officer at Windham
High School. Maher has served for
more than a decade with the Windham
Police Department working in patrol
and other duties. Fournier was promoted
to Sergeant and will now work for the 
department at the Public Safety
Building in Windham. 
Fournier has been promoted to sergeant and will continue to serve the community at the Windham Police Department. He will be the first to tell you that serving as a SRO is no simple role and requires someone who is kind, patient, trustworthy, as well as always alert for whatever one may come into contact with every day so that students, staff, and parents are protected and can feel safe at school. Officer Maher has shown himself to be ready to undertake such a responsibility.

Maher has been with the Windham Police Department for about 11 years and has spent most of that time working in patrol, initially working nights, then evenings and eventually serving on the department’s day shift, where he has been for the past four years. He has also been a part of several different drug task force units during his tenure with the WPD.

“I am a certified drug recognition expert, field training officer, a member of the department’s motorcycle unit, and an Evidence and Property Management Officer,” said Maher. “I joined the Windham Police Department for several reasons, but my primary objective was to find a rewarding career in which I could become an integral part of the community I served. I believe I found that in Windham.”

Born in Massachusetts, Maher moved to Maine with his family as a child. He graduated from Lake Region High School and then earned a degree in criminal justice at Southern Maine Community College. He worked for three years at the Maine Correctional Center and then graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in 2012. He joined the Windham Police Department soon thereafter and in 2021, Maher was honored as the Windham Police Officer of the Year for 2021. He’s married and the father of a 3-year-old son and the couple also has a daughter on the way.

The SRO position is a complex and multi-faceted position within the Windham Police Department.

“I am tasked with ensuring the safety and security of the students and staff at the high school, along with bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community, educating students on law enforcement related topics, and mediating conflicts that may arise both on and off school grounds,” says Maher. “In this new position, I hope to be a valuable resource for students, parents, teachers, staff and administration. I also hope to gain the students’ trust and respect and become a positive role model in their early lives.”

He said that one big misconception that people have about the SRO position is that their main job consists of arresting students and breaking up fights. Their work, however, involves much more than just the physical safety of the staff and students, and it also involves being a teacher, counselor, and then law enforcement officer, much of their duties result in restorative conversations that help students navigate tough situations.

He also is in charge of the physical security of RSU 14 buildings and the students within them, emergency operations planning for the district, safety training for the district, education on various topics for students, and the day-to-day operations of the high school community.

While Maher anticipates that it will be an adjustment coming from patrol to the school, he is eager to start this new position. Maher says that he has always felt that the School Resource Officer position is crucial to the concept of community policing. It is about building positive relationships with the police from a young age to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement.

“I hope to be a friendly, approachable outlet in whom students can confide with the various and ever-growing struggles of adolescence,” he says.

Maher applied for this position for several reasons. Primarily, he wanted to be more involved in the community in a positive way. As the School Resource Officer, he will have a more proactive role in the community and law enforcement.

Additionally, over the last several years as a Field Training Officer, which involves preparing and training new officers for their careers in law enforcement, he has grown to enjoy the mentorship role that position entails.

“I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experience with new officers and watching them go on to succeed in their own law enforcement careers,” Maher said. “In applying for the SRO position, I hope to expand that mentorship role and become a positive role model for the students, as well as a dependable resource for the teachers and administration. I am eager to meet everyone, so please stop by and introduce yourself.” <

Committee advances Fay bill to support aging Mainers

AUGUSTA – The Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services voted unanimously last week to advance a bill, LD 1522, sponsored by Rep. Jessica Fay, D-Raymond, that would increase eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs for low- and fixed-income older Mainers.

State Rep. Jessica Fay of
The Medicare Savings Program assists older people with lower incomes by paying for some or all of their Medicare premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. It can also pay for the Part B premium, usually deducted from Social Security, putting money back into the pockets of Maine’s aging population.

“I have spoken with many older Mainers about their fears of the rising cost of heating, electricity and groceries and their worries about the affordability of home care,” said Fay. “By increasing eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs, we can help alleviate at least some of the anxiety that older people living with low and fixed incomes feel when it comes to aging with dignity in their communities.”

The amended legislation removes the current asset testing in determining eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs. It also implements income eligibility requirements that use data identified for singles and couples in the Elder Economic Security Standard Index, developed by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

“Increasing eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs creates economic justice for older Mainers who experienced economic injustices throughout their lives,” said Jess Maurer, executive director of the Maine Council on Aging. “We are thrilled that the Health and Human Services Committee unanimously agreed to increase eligibility for this program that puts real money into the pockets of older Mainers who are struggling to meet their basic needs, and we thank Representative Jessica Fay for her visionary leadership on this critical issue.”

The bill faces further votes in the House and Senate in the coming days.

Fay, House chair of the Government Oversight Committee and a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, is serving her fourth term in the Maine House of Representatives. She serves the community members of Casco, Frye Island, Raymond, and part of Poland. <

Hawthorne House to conduct silent auction fundraiser June 3

A major Silent Auction Fundraiser will be conducted at Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Boyhood Home in Raymond at 40 Hawthorne Road from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 3 and the public is encouraged to participate.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Boyhood Home in Raymond at 40
Hawthorne Road will be the site of a public silent auction
fundraiser from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 3. Proceeds
raised at the event will be used to make repairs to
structural deficiencies in the historic house's roof,
exterior siding and interior walls. FILE PHOTO 
The funds are urgently needed to make repairs to structural deficiencies in the historic house’s roof, exterior siding, and interior walls, said Abel Bates of the Hawthorne Community Association. Support of the Silent Auction Fundraiser will help ensure that one of Maine’s most beloved literary/historical treasures will endure and thrive as a community events center, cultural icon, and point of local pride.

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

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

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

Among the dozens of attractive items to be auctioned at the boyhood home of the author of The Scarlet Letter will be a Two-Night Stay at The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Penobscot Bay; A Five-Course Meal at Migis Lodge; four Portland Sea Dogs tickets, two tickets to Titanic at the Maine State Theatre; a Pontoon Boat Rental at Moose Landing; a Handcrafted Christmas Reindeer and Wreath; and much
more. (For winning bid payments, personal checks preferred but credit cards graciously accepted.)

The festive Silent Auction will also feature a 50-50 raffle, a complimentary appetizer-buffet, beer, and wine. Musical entertainment will be provided by popular local artist Dana Reed, affectionately known as Capt’n Uke.

Hawthorne House’s Phase II Fundraising Campaign

The June 3 Silent Auction is part of the Phase II Fundraising Campaign for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Boyhood Home in Raymond, whose goal is to raise $75,000 for urgent repairs. Those who cannot attend the Silent Auction—but who would still like to donate—are invited to do so by sending a much-appreciated check or online donation. Please make checks payable to “Hawthorne Community Association” / PO Box 185 / South Casco, ME 04077. Credit card, debit card, and/or Paypal donations may be made online at:

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

Federal government extends REAL ID deadline to 2025

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security has announced its intent to extend the REAL ID full enforcement date by 24 months, from May 3, 2023 to May 7, 2025.

Maine residents will be required to obtain REAL ID licenses
and identification for use with federal agencies by
Under the new regulations published to execute this change, states will now have additional time to ensure their residents have driver’s licenses and identification cards that meet the security standards established by the REAL ID Act. As required by the law, following the enforcement deadline, federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), will be prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet these federal standards.

“DHS continues to work closely with U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to meet REAL ID requirements,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card. DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.”

The extension is necessary, in part, to address the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card. REAL ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic. Many of these agencies took various steps in response to the pandemic including automatically extending the expiration dates of driver’s licenses and identification cards and shifting operations to appointment only.

Passed by Congress in 2005 following a 9/11 Commission recommendation, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Security standards include incorporating anti-counterfeiting technology, preventing insider fraud, and using documentary evidence and record checks to ensure a person is who they claim to be.

Under the new regulations, beginning May 7, 2025, every traveler 18 years of age or older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel.

Since enactment of the REAL ID Act in 2005, advancements in technology have enabled TSA to make significant improvements in checkpoint screening, particularly in the areas of identity management, on-person screening, accessible property screening and alarm resolution. Through the deployment of technologies such as Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), Advanced Technology (AT) X-ray, then Computed Tomography (CT), Bottled Liquids Scanners (BLS), and Credential Authentication Technology (CAT), as well as deployment of Passenger Screening Canines (PSC) and the rollout of TSA PreCheck®, TSA has continually advanced its security capabilities.

TSA also increased its vetting capability through Secure Flight, a risk-based passenger prescreening program that enhances security by identifying low and high-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport by matching their names against trusted traveler lists and watchlists. REAL ID requirements will strengthen these improvements further by providing an additional layer of confidence in the identity of the traveler.

All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories covered by the REAL ID Act and related regulations are issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards. These standards have significantly improved the reliability and accuracy of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.

For more information on REAL ID, visit <

May 12, 2023

In the public eye: WMS music teacher inspires student creativity

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

By Ed Pierce

If music is the universal language of mankind, Morgan Riley is inspiring a new generation of creativity and expression in her students.

Morgan Riley is in her 16th year as a music
teacher for RSU 14 and this is her seventh year
of teaching band and orchestra at Windham
Middle School.  
Riley is an instrumental music teacher for Grades 6 to 8 at Windham Middle School and teaches band and orchestra there, as well as offering small group lessons for students just learning how to play a musical instrument. This is her 16th year as a music teacher for RSU 14 and her seventh year at Windham Middle School.

“I was hired at Jordan-Small Middle School for Grade 5 to 8 band, chorus, guitar, piano and general music teacher in the fall of 2006,” Riley said. “In 2015 and 2016, I taught band at WMS, JSMS and Manchester Elementary. Since that time. I have been at Windham Middle School teaching band and orchestra, and for several years, WMS chorus as well.”

Each year, Riley leads WMS music students as they put on two orchestra and two band concerts and in June, she will direct WMS seventh and eighth graders as they perform for a rating in the Great East Music Festival in New Hampshire.

For Riley, seeing her students succeed matters.

“The best thing about my job is the satisfaction and joy of guiding student musicians through the process of trying something new, getting frustrated, persevering and eventually feeling their success as musicians,” she said. “Also, having students tell me that they feel they belong in my classroom, when middle school can be so difficult socially. We truly have a ‘team’ mentality in our ensembles.”

According to Riley, the most challenging aspect of her work is that WMS only has a small inventory of school-owned instruments for students unable to rent or buy their own instruments.

“The single most frustrating part of my job is telling a student that we don't have an instrument for them because the instruments are all spoken for,” she said. “For anyone who has a band or orchestra instrument in good working condition, we are always taking donations.”

Born in New Hampshire, Riley grew up in the mid-coast town of Stockton Springs in Maine. She graduated from Searsport District High School and then earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Southern Maine.

“During high school, I auditioned for the Maine All State Band/Orchestra and got in all four years, getting the top score in the state on flute during my Junior and Senior years,” Riley said. “After an audition, USM awarded me a music talent scholarship, which paid for half of my tuition for all four years of college.”

During her Senior year of college, she did her student teaching at Scarborough High School with Renee Richardson and at Saco Middle School with Nicole Wise. Riley said the skills she learned from those mentors have continued to serve her well and she now serves as a mentor teacher for up-and-coming USM seniors.

She first joined the staff at WMS while she was teaching at Jordan-Small Middle School.

“I was working at Jordan-Small and the band teacher at WMS was retiring. Randy Crockett, JSMS principal at that time and a former music educator himself, advocated for me to teach band at WMS and at Manchester School, as well as JSMS,” Riley said. “He saw the great opportunity, pushed me to make the change, and I am thankful.”

Besides teaching music at WMS, Riley has served as the manager for the Maine Music Educators District 2 Honors Music Choral, Instrumental, and Elementary Festivals numerous times, helping to select conductors, music, and organizing the events. She said these festivals enable our highest achieving students to be a part of a larger ensemble, meet new peers, learn new music, and play under amazing conductors from other areas of Maine and beyond.

Through the years, Riley says that she’s enjoyed her time teaching at WMS.

“There have been many memorable moments, but the one that rises to the top for me was having my eighth-grade band and orchestra perform for the judges at the Great East Music Festival last spring, after COVID had cancelled this festival prior to that,” Riley said. “Both groups earned gold medal plaques. It was a proud moment for us after the band students had a full year of not being able to play wind instruments in school and only play percussion due to COVID concerns.”

She’s grateful that the Windham/Raymond community is incredibly supportive of its students.

“RSU 14 concerts, musicals, and art shows are all well-attended and the students feel that support.” Riley said. <

Windham walkers observe World Labyrinth Day

By Jolene Bailey

Measured besides our basic needs such as food, water, and shelter, peace is something that we all need. On a global and personal scale, spirituality can help provide peace to individuals. Open to anyone at any time, the labyrinth is a symbol of creating needed peace and patience in the world. Members of the Unity Center for Spiritual Growth in Windham observed World Labyrinth Day on Saturday, May 6 by participating in a special labyrinth walk at the center on River Road.

Participants observing World Labyrinth Day walk through a
labyrinth set up at the Unity Center for Spiritual Growth in
Windham on River Road on Saturday, May 6. The day
promotes peace and patience in the world.
“This is an opportunity for us to reach out to the community and invite others to share all that way and let them know it's here and they can come anytime. Labyrinth walks are personal, it's about getting quiet and setting an intention like a challenge in life, to get clarity,” said Barbara Kowalska, a member of the board of trustees of the Unity Center.

She said that a labyrinth is a way of redemption and World Labyrinth Day takes place every year on the first Saturday of May.

“At 1 p.m. in every time zone there will be a Labyrinth walk and with the intention of peace and any personal intentions the walker may have. This energy of peace will travel around as the earth spins, peace will be through the planet. I love that idea. I feel it is needed as anytime we can support love, peace, and on a global scale. Letting go of differences and divisions, just uniting with those intentions is a beautiful thing,” said Kowalska.

A common misconception about walking a labyrinth is comparing it to a maze. Although it has its own twists and turns, there is no way to get lost. There’s one way in and one way out. You can also see the twists and turns as a labyrinth is usually a stoned ground structure rather than being built with taller materials.

People often leave tokens and other valuables all around the labyrinth to symbolize them really letting go and opening a sense of new freedom and direction.

“If you put one foot in front of the other, you're going to eventually get to the center. It is about patience and trust about knowing that going forward, you will reach your destination,” said Kowalska.

According to Kowalska, when arriving at the center, you can pause for a few minutes and focus on their attention and wellbeing. There are benches off on the edges of the labyrinth as this is paced by yourself and it can be an emotional journey for some.

“Also, I think the element of surprise because when you walk the labyrinth, you're opening up so you may get insights that you are expecting that can be very helpful and also the sense of relief from a burden you've been carrying,” said Kowalska.

She said that there's no prescription or identification of any particular belief system.

“Christianity has embraced the labyrinth, but anyone from any belief can do it,” Kowalska said. “That’s why they’re global, the reason for that is a potent image. As the world keeps spinning, it doesn’t slow or speed us up. Sometimes as humans our emotions make us have ups and downs. However, those downs aren’t burdens and we can clear the clouds in the sky with a little love.” <

HART shelter a lifeline for cats seeking adoption

By Abby Wilson

It’s purr-fect. The Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART) is a cat-only shelter in Cumberland whose mission is to provide cats with medical care and eventually to rehome them.

Cats up for adoption at the HART shelter in
Cumberland include Dominic, a black and
white male, and Winter, an all-white female.
Currently, HART shelters 70 cats on site with another 13 cats placed in foster homes and 32 in its mother/kitten program.

The cats come from all over but a “bulk of them are from local surrenders” says Andy Hanna, Operations Director at HART.

Hanna says that strays are occasional, as are arrivals from other shelters in the state, some from as far away as Fort Kent. HART offers a great diabetic program, so on occasion they take in cats suffering from this disease.

A few of the HART cats come from states such as New Hampshire, Arkansas, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and sometimes Puerto Rico. HART has agreements with shelters in these states to take in cats when they are at capacity.

“We can be particular about who we work with because our capacity is comfortably 85,” says Hanna. “This is due to the regulation which states that 18 square feet per cat is adequate space.”

There are other cats that are being cared for off-site as well.

HART’s foster program is great because the cats get the care they need “in a more home-like environment” says HART Board of Directors member and Development Committee Co-Chair, Janine Giustina.

A unique way to foster a cat with HART is through the “Seniors to Seniors” program where older cats are paired with elderly humans. Often these cats go to seniors on limited income. HART will pay the medical bills and provide constant checkups for the cats, but the animals get to live happily in loving and caring homes.

“Seniors may not be able to afford the care but love the cats,” Hanna said.

Cats need to be 5 months old to be accepted by the shelter due to its inability to vaccinate, so they are kept in volunteers’ homes. Foster parents raise the kittens and once they are big enough, HART can take them into the shelter and adopt them out.

This kitten-fostering program is very popular and there tends to be enough help. HART is always looking for volunteers to help clean the cat rooms, oversee well-being of cats, serve on committees, fundraise, help at events, or provide administrative tasks.

With only three paid staff at the shelter, volunteers are “really what keeps us going,” says Hanna.

He said that it takes eight or nine people a day just to clean the facility.

HART’s Board Directors are all volunteers.

“People use their skills for good,” Giustina said. She decided to volunteer because she wanted to give back to Cumberland and the surrounding area.

One volunteer who has experience with graphic design recently reconstructed the organization’s website and Giustina says the goal is to “reach and attract people to our mission.”

That mission, of course, is to make sure the cats are healthy, cared for, and ready for adoption. Already this year, HART has facilitated the adoption of just over 100 cats. On average, about 35 to 50 cats a month find their new homes through HART.

Giustina said that there is a vetting process for those interested in adopting cats.

“We don’t want to see the cats come back,” she said. HART contacts a prospective adopter’s current veterinarian and landlord/property manager to make sure the cats will be able to stay in these loving homes. HART will always take a cat back, however, if it proves to not be a good fit.

Adoption for these cats is not always simple. Usually, basic medical procedures consist of spaying/neutering and updating shots but sometimes they need more immediate attention or costly medical procedures.

HART is supported entirely by individual donors. Current fundraising is under way and HART’s goal is to raise $50,000 by the end of June. They will be focusing on using these funds on senior cats and special-needs animals that are long-term residents.

Events can help with this fundraising as well. Throughout the year HART has an Annual Yard Sale at the Cumberland Fair Grounds, bake and craft sales in Falmouth, a mini-golf event called Putts for Purrs in Freeport, and trivia nights. It also uses memberships to cover costs. These can be $50 to $1,000 with a host of different benefits such as tote bags, VIP tours, discounts to events, and more.

Support is encouraged through volunteering. Those interested in volunteering must fill out an application online and a volunteer administrative assistant or a member of staff will reach out to you.

HART isn’t open 24/7 but people are working around the clock to take care of the cats. If you’d like to adopt a cat, you should first fill out an application online at For more details, call 207-829-4116 or visit <

Memorial Day events pay tribute to fallen heroes

By David Tanguay
Special to The Windham Eagle

Memorial Day is the national day set aside in our very busy calendar to honor, to remember, those who have fallen in the defense of our great country. It is much more than a three-day weekend to party with friends and family. It is more than the official start of summer. It is a time to remember.

More than 950 flags will be placed on the graves of
Windham's fallen veterans as part of the American
Legion Post 148's celebration of Memorial Day
this year. Other activities include a parade, a
gathering and observance at Windham High School
and a picnic at the Windham Veterans Center on
Memorial Day, May 29. FILE PHOTO  
This year, the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 has its own set of memories as it celebrates 85 years of service to our veterans and the Windham community. The post remembers it founders, World War I veterans, leaders in the community, who established the post in 1938 to honor one of their own, Lt. Charlies W. W. Field, who was killed in action while leading a charge against an enemy machine gun emplacement.

The post founders, included Roland Ward, Commander (Windham), Charles J. B. McSwigin (North Windham), Fredrick Lovett (Windham), Harold W. Joy (Windham), Herman P. Haskell (Windham), Sherman T. Lord (Windham), Frederick H. Akins (Windham), Robert A. Partridge (Windham), Maurice L. Rogers (Windham), Harland G. Ward (South Portland), John W. Dahlgren (Windham), Joseph H. Gorrivan (Windham), Ernest Tobin (South Windham), Adolph Secord (Windham), E. Dean Pray (Windham), Harlan D. Freeman (South Windham), George W. Andrew (South Windham), Harry L. Lombard (North Windham), Lawrence H. Hutchinson (North Windham), Ralph W. Nowell ( South Windham), Luther A. Estes (South Windham), Roscoe J. Lowell (South Windham), Harold Varney (Windham), Samuel E. Whitten (South Windham), and Edward McKay (South Windham). Their names are still familiar to many in the town. We remember them as well.

The Field-Allen Post will be conducting its traditional Memorial Day festivities on behalf of the Town of Windham and are asking the community to increase their involvement with floats or decorated vehicles to replace some of the more traditional entries that may not be available. At one time in the past the Memorial Day parade was the largest parade in town. Let’s make this year’s parade an event to remember.

The preparation for the Memorial Day events starts in early May when the flags that are to be hung on the utility poles around town are assembled and made ready. Since 2005, the Legion has placed 100 flags around town in preparation for the summer and Memorial Day. The flags are going up this year with the support of the town and use of a bucket truck. The flags fly until Labor Day.

Also, during the week before Memorial Day, on May 20, teams of veterans will cover the 22 smaller cemeteries in the town with veterans buried there to replace and place flags on the graves of our veterans. On Saturday, May 20, weather permitting, teams of veterans and community members will meet at 9 a.m. at Arlington Cemetery in North Windham (adjacent to the Fire Station) to place the final 350-plus flags on the veteran’s graves. For any families or groups interested in helping, this is a great opportunity for the community to have a teaching moment and share in the flag program. At Smith Cemetery, the town is fortunate to have a group of young cadets from the Windham High School who will place over 200 flags at the cemeteries at the rotary.

Next on the list is Memorial Day, Monday May 29. This is the busiest day with multiple events and several opportunities for the community to get involved. The town’s parade kicks off at 9 a.m. from the Town Hall on School Road and proceeds onto Route 202 in the direction of the high school. The best vantage point for viewing is from the area around the intersection of Windham Center Road and Route 202. As previously noted, this year the Legion is asking for business and community support to make the parade truly memorable by marching (or walking) in the parade, entering a float or decorated vehicle, or offering a ride to a vet who may not be able to walk the distance.

There is a need for open vehicles (convertibles preferred) to provide rides for some of our less ambulatory, senior veterans. The Korean War-era M-37 truck used by the Jr. Cadets at Windham High School will be made available for our veterans as well and we ask that if any vet would like to join us in the parade, please give us a call and we will find room for you. The parade is not limited to a specific war era, any veteran who would like to march with the Legion, VFW, and DAV component is welcome. All groups or individuals desiring to join the parade should meet and check in by 8:45 a.m. in front of the Town Hall on School Road. Advanced registration would be helpful. When you arrive, you will receive a location in the parade. If you march, please do not throw items that may draw young individuals into the line of march or traffic.

The parade is a short march from School Road to the Windham High School lower parking area and terminates at the Town’s Veterans Memorial (Flagpole). At 10 a.m. the Memorial Day Ceremony commences. Our guest speaker this year is U.S. Air Force Colonel Bob Chapin. The Master of Ceremonies will be Post 148 Commander Tom Theriault.

Ceremonial events will include WHS band selections, wreath laying, the bell tolling for our lost veterans this year and the ceremonial burning of flags removed from veterans’ graves, followed by the traditional rifle salute and taps.

Last on the agenda is an open house at noon at the Windham Veterans Center with a picnic-style luncheon open to the public hosted by the Field-Allen Post. There will be a brief wreath ceremony prior to the picnic in the Windham Veterans Center Memorial Garden. Following the ceremony, a picnic luncheon will be provided.

All the events noted are open to the public. The Post sincerely hopes that you can find the time to join us for one or more of these events over the Memorial Day period and help us celebrate the years of service by the Legion to veterans and the community. To volunteer support or register an entry in the parade please contact the Post 148 Adjutant at 207-892-1306. <

Deceased veterans

Please note that the veterans listed may not be a complete list of the Windham fallen since last Memorial Day, it is based on local obituaries, and reflects the Legion losses as well as the veterans who had an affiliation with Windham.

David Buglar- USA (Post 148), Richard Daigle -USA (Post 148) , Frank DeLica- USN, Lawrence Egan (Post 148), Lewis Golden-USA, Irvin Gottsch-USCG, Herbert Hanson-USA, Earl Harnden- USAF (Post 148), Norman Harmon-USA, Timothy Horan-USAH (Post 148), Peter James USN (Post 148/Post 10643),Herluf Madsen-USN (Post 148), Paul Martinage-USN, Mertin “Tim” Moody-USA, Bob Miele USA (Post 148), Fred Michael USA (Post 148), Alvin Myers USA (Post 148), Arthur Nielsen USMC (Post 148), John Pearson-USA (Post 148), Gustavo G. Perez Jr.-USN, George Ricker-USA/NSA, James Roberts USCG (Post 148), John Brown Staples-USA, Mark Trimble USN (Post 148), Morton Verrill-USN, James Vollkommer-USAF.

Grant program to fund 2023 Family, Fun, Fitness and Film Festival

By Ed Pierce

During a Windham Town Council meeting on April 25, councilors approved awarding $6,675 from the town’s Substance Prevention Grant Program Fund to the Family, Fun, Fitness and Film Festival, held in August every year at Tassel Top Park in Raymond.

The Family, Fun, Fitness and Film
Festival will be offered one again
this year thanks to a grant from 
Windham's Substance Prevention
Grant Fund. The festival will be
held in August at Tassel Top Park
in Raymond and is sponsored by
Be The Influence and Windham
Parks and Recreation to promote
a healthy lifestyle. FILE PHOTO
The festival is for residents, including families and children, to have fun as well as receive educational prevention and recovery resources. Funds for the Windham Substance Prevention Grant Committee are collected under the terms of the town’s Marijuana Business Licensing Ordinance adopted in May 2020.

The ordinance requires that a marijuana business license applicant pay an “education fee” in an amount set by the council and funds are granted at the council’s discretion to educational institutions or nonprofit agencies for support of initiatives aimed at educating Windham youth regarding marijuana and other drugs.

The Windham Substance Prevention Grant Committee, established by the Windham Town Council on Sept. 8, 2020, reviews application requests for funding and makes recommendations to councilors on proposed fund disbursements. As of May 2023, the Windham Substance Prevention Grant Fund has a balance of $34,104, including three other grants awarded to local drug prevention organizations in March 2023.

This will be the Fourth Family, Fun, Fitness and Film Festival staged by Be The Influence and the Windham Parks and Recreation Department. The festival includes mindfulness sessions, yoga on the beach, scavenger hunts, resource booths and food, stage events with music, dance and other entertainment, giveaways, and a Disney twilight movie.

In its application for the grant, organizers say that in the past, the festival has provided a safe and much needed outlet for youth, families, and community members by providing healthy ways to have fun and relax as well as provide educational resources in prevention and recovery for those that need it. They say it provides an outlet for Windham and Raymond residents by reducing stress and isolation, allowing youth and family members to seek healthy alternatives to overcoming stress and adversity through a fair-like event at Tassel Top Park.

During last year’s Family, Fun, Fitness and Film Festival, Be The Influence Executive Director Laura Morris said the event continues to grow each year with more vendors and participants.

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

Organizations that were present at the event in 2022 included 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.

The festival is free for participants and open to anyone - those in the Windham Raymond communities or summer visitors to the Lakes Region.

Windham Parks and Recreation Director Linda Brooks, who is also an active member of Be The Influence coalition, said at the event last summer that she was happy to be a part of the Family Fun, Fitness and Film Festival.

“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.”

She said 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 provide the tools to handle stress in healthy ways as well as where people can go for help,” Brooks said. “This venue does both.”

An announcement will be made soon about the date for this year’s Family, Fun, Fitness and Film Festival. <

May 5, 2023

EPA welcomes public comments about new Windham wastewater treatment system

By Ed Pierce

The Environmental Protection Agency has opened a commenting period from the public regarding Portland Water District’s proposed surface waste water disposal system for the Town of Windham.

A map shows the route of the new
wastewater treatment system being
planned in North Windham. The project
is expected to start sometime this
Comments about the proposed draft license must be received in the Department of Environmental Protection office on or before the close of business on Wednesday, May 17.

The water district has submitted a new application for a new Waste Discharge License to discharge an annual average of 154,000 gallons per day of secondary treated sanitary wastewater through a subsurface drip dispersal irrigation system to groundwater in Windham. The annual average of 154,000 gpd is equal to the design capacity of the new wastewater treatment facility near Manchester School. Because of the proximity of the discharge to Collins Pond and Ditch Brook, those surface water bodies are also considered in the license application.

The application specifies that a technology-based numeric limit will be placed upon the total phosphorus in the discharge along with limits for biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids. It also requires pH and total metals monitoring in the discharge and the ground water monitoring wells based on constituents believed to be found in the discharge.

The application also requires that a water quality-based nitrate-nitrogen limit for the wastewater treatment be based upon the National Primary Drinking Water Standard and sets an annual average limit of 154,000 gallons per day and a daily maximum of 432,000 gallons per day for flow based on the design capacity of the treatment system and the EPA’s current understanding of the remaining capacity for total phosphorus of Collins Pond.

According to the application, the discharge will not lower the quality of any classified body of water and will meet the state’s antidegradation policy to maintain and protect state waterways and to achieve important economic or social benefits to the state.

Plans approved by Windham voters in a special referendum last June include construction of a public wastewater system and will result in the removal of about 100 septic systems that are currently discharging into the North Windham aquifer. It would lead to the creation of a collection and pumping system over three miles in length to connect businesses and residents to the system and will treat wastewater through an advanced micro-filtration system. Current businesses will be able to further grow and expand while new businesses can be situated without further degrading the aquifer and using valuable real estate for septic systems.

The system would also create a new pumping station near Windham High School and RSU 14 that will provide service from the high school campus to a new treatment facility in North Windham. It would use Advanced Membrane Bio Reactor Technology.

Years of study in the North Windham Commercial District have shown that the use of private septic systems was having long-term adverse effects on the underlying aquifer and adjacent water bodies. Windham and the Portland Water District have partnered for the project to design a reliable, advanced wastewater treatment system that will improve and protect water quality. Funding for the $40.6 million project is coming from a mix of federal, state, and local sources.

No Windham residence will be required to hook up to the sewer and no penalty fee will be imposed if residences decline to join the wastewater sewer unless the residence is adjacent to the sewer and experiences a total septic system failure. Fees to hook up to the sewer have not yet been established but would be nominal and in line with what neighboring communities charge, Windham town officials say.

Construction of the wastewater treatment facility near Manchester school is set to begin this summer.

For a thorough overview of the new Windham Wastewater Treatment Facility and system, visit <