July 28, 2023

Windham resident to lead LifeFlight of Maine

As LifeFlight of Maine celebrates 25 years of service, Tom Judge has decided to step back as the executive director of the internationally-renowned air medical and aviation service. Joe Kellner of Windham will take on the role of chief executive officer for LifeFlight of Maine.

Joe Kellner of Windham will take on the
role of chief executive officer for
LifeFlight of Maine in October when
longtime CEO Tom Judge steps down.
Under Judge’s leadership, LifeFlight of Maine has received numerous awards for safety, innovation, and clinical excellence. In addition to founding LifeFlight of Maine, Judge was instrumental in establishing The LifeFlight Foundation and, most recently, LifeFlight’s new aviation operation, LifeFlight Aviation Services. Judge will continue to serve LifeFlight in a supporting role as project officer, assisting with legislative advocacy, working with the Federal Aviation Administration on national safety initiatives, and supporting LifeFlight’s research group.

Kellner currently serves as the vice president of finance, operations, and strategy for Northern Light Home Care and Hospice, Northern Light Medical Transport, and chief financial officer of LifeFlight of Maine. He also serves as the chief operating officer for MedComm. Kellner will begin his role as chief executive officer of LifeFlight of Maine on Oct. 1.

Kellner’s responsibilities will encompass all operations of LifeFlight of Maine and LifeFlight Aviation Services. He will be supported by Bill Cyr, the chief operating officer of LifeFlight, and Josh Dickson, the director of aviation services. In addition, Kellner will work in close partnership with The LifeFlight Foundation, led by Kate O’Halloran, who was appointed as the executive director in 2020.

Tim Dentry, president and CEO of Northern Light Health said the leadership transition will be smooth.

“We are grateful to Tom for his vision and dedication in building a world class nonprofit air medical and aviation service,” Dentry said. “With Tom’s leadership, LifeFlight of Maine has become an invaluable resource to our communities, providing life-saving access to acute care for patients who might otherwise be limited by Maine’s diverse geography — whether it be to our numerous islands or the state’s remote wilderness.”

Dentry said that Kellner has spent his 20-year career becoming a respected expert in emergency medical services.

“Over the years, Joe has tirelessly worked to advocate for EMS locally and nationally, and has remained very close to LifeFlight, most recently serving as its chief financial officer,” Dentry said. “He is well positioned to lead LifeFlight of Maine into the future.”

Steve Littleson, the president and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare, said he’s grateful for the work of Judge in leading LifeFlight of Maine and looks forward to working with Kellner.

“I would like to personally thank Tom Judge for his leadership at LifeFlight over the past 25 years,” Littleson said. “In just the past year, LifeFlight has made nearly 400 flights to and from our hospitals in Bridgton, Lewiston, and Rumford, transporting patients more than 25,000 miles. In a state with very challenging terrain, LifeFlight is a real difference-maker in getting patients the care they need as quickly as possible. I look forward to working with Joe Kellner as he takes the reins on this outstanding organization.”

Judge said that he’s humbled by his years of service with LifeFlight of Maine.

“LifeFlight represents an extraordinary effort by hundreds of people over the years building something truly of Maine, for Maine, and by Maine,” he said. “We have developed our vision for the road ahead, and we have built an incredibly capable team and leadership group. It has been a gift for me to serve, and I am looking forward to stepping back from the front line to support the team. We have come a long way and there is an incredible journey ahead, making sure LifeFlight is always there for the people of Maine, when and where they need us.”

The LifeFlight of Maine service is a joint partnership between Northern Light Health and Central Maine Healthcare and is the state’s only air ambulance service. During its 25 years, LifeFlight has safely cared for more than 36,000 patients from every community and hospital in the state. It deploys medical teams from bases in Sanford, Lewiston, and Bangor, using three helicopters, an airplane, rapid response vehicles, and specialized ground ambulances. These teams care for all of Maine’s communities every day of the year, partnering with local emergency medical services, fire/rescue, and hospital providers.” <

Second loon count wraps up on Sebago Lake

By Abby Wilson

Maine Audubon celebrated 40 years of counting common loons in the state earlier this month, but this was only the second year of gathering data on Sebago Lake.

Common loons are spotted during Maine Audubon's Annual
Loon Count on Sebago Lake on Saturday morning, July 15.
Every year, over 1,600 volunteers across 49 survey areas in Maine gear up to spend one early morning counting loons. Every counter goes out at the same time, on the same day, this year on Saturday, July 15.

This is because the loons are born within a few days of one another in the month of July. Maine Audubon has selected the third Saturday of the month as the best day for counting because “loon chicks can’t fly yet and chick predation mostly occurs before this date,” said Brad McCurtain, the volunteer coordinator for the Sebago Lake Annual Loon Count.

Brad says that the 7 a.m. time was chosen for the count because loons are most active and visible during feeding hours. This date and time are selected to achieve the more accurate count.

The information gathered is then used by Maine Audubon to establish data points, which can then be used to monitor loon populations in specific areas by looking at trends over time.

Currently, with only one year’s worth of data, Sebago Lake loon population trends cannot be analyzed. The goal is to keep monitoring this lake each year so that there is enough data.

McCurtain says the reason Sebago Lake counting only just began last year is simply because it is so large.

Most ponds and lakes have three or four counters but Sebago needs many more to survey its 49 zones.

The size of the lake poses another issue which is that these survey zones can be tricky to navigate. This is especially difficult for the zones where boats are in the middle of the lake and have no shoreline to use as a point of reference.

Counters arrive with different modes of transportation as they navigate using GPS points to their selected zone. Many choose to kayak, boat, and paddle board. Some are stationed on the shore to view their zones from land.

Deborah Kennie and Phil Clifford prefer using a small Boston Whaler to count loons in Zone 43 on Sebago Lake.

As second-year counters, they know their way around their zone. They also know their resident loons very well and know where to find these birds.

Part of the loon count includes keeping an eye out for nesting areas and Kennie says little islands with lots of vegetation make good nesting sites.

Clifford said that loons prefer areas with “easy water access, places to hide, and not a lot of traffic.”

Boat traffic is a problem during the Annual Loon Count and both Phil and Deborah see this firsthand.

On the morning of this year’s annual count on Sebago Lake, there were early risers who were wakeboarding and waterskiing on the calm water. But with their presence, the lake is no longer calm.

Kennie says this drives the loons into the Sebago Lake Basin, also known as Zone 44.

The basin serves as refuge for these loons which is why so many can be spotted here even on normal days. During the Annual Count, six loons were seen in the basin.

Loons are not the only birds that seek shelter in the quieter sections of the lake. Also present in the basin are Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Cormorants, ducks, and many songbirds.

On the morning of this year’s count, two bald eagles were seen atop their nest on the shoreline of the Sebago Lake Basin.

Power boats are an obvious threat to the annual count but there might be hope for mitigation as people learn they shouldn’t boat on the third Saturday of July.

“That’s the goal. Eventually word will spread, and people will know not to disturb the loons during the count,” Kennie said.

It’s no simple feat to count these loons on Maine’s second largest lake. Thanks to the dedication of volunteers like Clifford, Kennie, and McCurtain, Sebago Lake has been counted for the second year.

“Rain, shine, wind, or rising interest rates, the loons are 'counting' on us,” McCurtain said.

Volunteers are crucial to this process, and “counting the loons on 30,000-plus acres and 45 square miles of open water with more than 100 miles of shore frontage, all in less than an hour, requires a dedicated team, he said.

The 2023 Annual Loon Count has concluded but there’s more to be done. Spreading the word about the count is perhaps one of the best and easiest ways to help the cause. McCurtain suggests telling your neighbors that the count occurs on the third Saturday of July yearly so that boat traffic can be minimized.

The Maine Audubon welcomes all volunteers to be a part of this project and to count loons next year. Visit https://maineaudubon.org/projects/loons/annual-loon-count/ to get involved. <

Sheriff’s Dive Team ready to respond to underwater emergencies

By Nicole Levine

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office is composed of many departments that are dedicated to keeping Maine residents safe. The Sheriff’s Dive Team is part of that as an asset used to protect the community and the waters of Cumberland County.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Dive Team is made
up of sheriff's deputies and Windham Police Department
officers who are highly trained and available to respond
to water emergencies and situations in the Lakes Region
of Maine and other nearby communities.

The team is composed of seven members from the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office and the Windham Police Department. Each member is continuously training and seeking specialty diving certifications to improve their skills and maintain the safety of inhabitants of the county.

The Dive Team is available to respond 24/7 for any operation. Their responsibilities include search and rescue missions, evidence search and recovery, and crime scene documentation. This department is typically utilized around four to five times a year for underwater emergencies. The department is also involved in community programs such as the Polar Dip that takes place on Raymond Beach during the winter.

The Dive Team takes pride in focusing on the importance of public and diver safety. The team takes important precautions keeping all divers’ skills refreshed by having each member undergo eight hours of training monthly, throughout each year. This training consists of practice dives in lakes, rivers, or the ocean in varying conditions such as low visibility, deep water dives, or ice diving.

Although the Dive Team takes all necessary precautions to keep the public and members of their team safe, there are still dangers associated with this position. Divers are at risk of the bends, also referred to as decompression sickness. This is where the sudden change in pressure that occurs when diving in deep water causes bubbles to form in the bloodstream.

Other injuries to the ears and lungs are also a risk to consider when diving.

“The Sheriff's Office Dive Team is committed to the safety of its divers and operates based on the most current and up-to-date practices. Diving is not for everyone, as you need to be calm under stress and comfortable working in low/ no light or extremely cramped or confined conditions,” says Sgt. Marc Marion, the current Commander of the Cumberland County Dive Team.

The dive team uses various types of equipment, which helps enable them to complete their assignments. This department has a boat which is located at the Windham Fire Department and is ready to respond to any water-related emergency.

The dive team also uses AGA masks, which have a two-way radio with the ability to communicate with team members on the surface. This mask provides a positive pressure which prevents the mask from fogging, to increase visibility during dives. Additionally, it is less likely to freeze in cold weather, and provides protection from cold temperatures for the diver’s full face. Dry suits are also worn, which allow the team to dive in cold weather throughout the winter.

Marion, the Dive Team’s commander, is a 22-year veteran of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. Other positions that he currently holds in addition to the Dive Team are as the Commander of the Sheriff’s Emergency Services Unit and he also serves as a Patrol Sergeant.

He has been a member of the Dive Team since 2008 and has served as a public safety diver since then. In addition to his leadership position on the dive team, he is responsible for various administrative tasks, documentation and training for the team.

“It is my responsibility to make sure the team is ready for any public safety emergency 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long in any weather condition.” Marion said.

In 2019, the Dive Team was called to an emergency for the recovery of a vehicle and victim that drove into a river. The location and circumstances made this a very complicated mission, Marion said. The river current had a stronger pull than usual, and water levels were higher than normal. This was due to an influx of rain, and the location of the accident being close to a dam.

Multiple dive teams including the one associated with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office were called in for extra assistance.

“This operation was technical and required the complete collaboration of the team to complete the mission.” Marion said.

The Dive Team is one of the many essential units that make up the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department and Marion said that through their hard work and dedication, they strive to keep the community and the waters of Maine safe. <

Catholic bishops to present Matthew 25 Award to St. Anthony de Padua Parish

Bishop Robert Deeley of the Diocese of Portland and Bishop George Nkuo, bishop of the Diocese of Kumbo in Cameroon, will concelebrate a special Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church at 919 Roosevelt Trail in Windham at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, July 30.

Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland will join 
Bishop George Nkuo of Cameroon in presenting
the Matthew 25 Award to St. Anthony de Padua
Parish following a Mass on Sunday, July 30
All are welcome as Bishop Nkuo is in Maine visiting the priests from Cameroon currently serving in our state.

During the Mass, the Matthew 25 Award will be given to the Social Justice and Peace ministry at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, of which Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church is a part.

Currently, the St. Anthony de Padua ministry feeds the homeless through the distribution of bag lunches, feeds immigrants through the delivery of perishable and non-perishable food, hosts a Thanksgiving Food Drive and Christmas Giving Tree, organizes weekly meals for the community with other area churches, and much more.

“The ministry serves anyone: homeless, families, immigrants, those who call the parish, recipients at food pantries, and all races, nationalities, religions, ages, and ideologies, regardless of faith affiliation,” said Christine Lynch, a volunteer with the ministry. “God provided our eyes to see and hands to do God’s work and a heart to love those who have challenges. We will ‘feed the lambs’ as long as we are able.”

The ministry is using the award money to purchase a freezer to store more perishable food for those served in its homeless and immigrant outreach programs. Bishop Deeley will also present ministry representatives with a stained-glass plaque during Sunday’s Mass.

Matthew 25 Awards are given to Maine parishes for exemplary efforts that directly serve vulnerable people in need in their community.

The awards are intended to expand the capacity of a parish ministry to serve people or to help develop a new social ministry. The awards also recognize parishes providing “charitable service” as defined by Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est” (God Is Love). He listed three specific qualities of a Church-related charitable service: it responds to immediate needs and specific situations with genuine love and heartfelt concern; it is independent of parties or ideologies, but sees with the heart where love is needed and acts accordingly; and it is love given freely.

For more information, visit www.ccmaine.org/parish-social-ministry/matthew-25-project <

Oldies Dance Group surpasses $100K milestone in Ronald McDonald House fundraising

By Ed Pierce

The enduring popularity of rock n’ roll music is the catalyst for the Oldies Dance Group surpassing a new milestone in its mission to support the Ronald McDonald House of Portland.

The 22nd Rock n' Roll Oldies Dance will be held from 7 a.m.
to midnight on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Eagle's Hall 
in Biddeford. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE 
The organization’s 21st dance on April 15 sold 329 tickets in just 10 days and earned $6,913, pushing the total amount that the Oldies Dance Group has raised in 15 years for the Ronald McDonald House to $100,301. The Ronald McDonald House provides comfort for the families of pediatric patients in Maine and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and enables family centered care to ensure that family members are fully supported and actively involved in their child’s care.

“We certainly are grateful for everyone who has attended the dances staged by the Oldies Dance Group through the years and to all the individuals and businesses who continue to showcase their commitment to assisting sick children and their families,” said Bruce Martin, Oldies Dance Group organizer. “We are dedicated to supporting the Ronald McDonald House of Portland and humbled that through the community’s generosity that we have passed the $100,000 threshold. We could not do any of this without your help and support for our Oldies Dances.”

Martin said the dances are held twice a year in the spring and in the fall and are more than just typical fundraisers.

“For those who grew up listening to these great rock n’ roll songs, this a wonderful social event,” Martin said. “Everyone is familiar with this music because it is the soundtrack of our lives and it’s fun. Some people come to the dances just to visit and socialize with friends while others spend the entire evening dancing the night away to tunes that they know all the words to and love.”

He said demand for tickets to the dances is constant and he regularly receives calls from throughout Maine and nearby states wanting to purchase tickets.

“I think it’s because rock n’ roll music truly connects people of all ages and walks of life,” Martin said. “The dances are fun and filled with songs that really get people out of their seats and up onto the dance floor. We play everything from Elvis to Billy Ray Cyrus and all of the proceeds are used to help families of sick children who are welcome to stay close by to their children in the hospital at the Ronald McDonald House of Portland.”

Businesses and individuals making donations for the April dance include Bruce Donath; Saco & Biddeford Savings Bank; Rochambeau Club Organization; Virigina Kanaan; Sammie Maxwell; Delores A. Brazil-Vadnais; Market Basket; Copy-It; Church on the Cape United Methodist; Eagles; and Roger and Bonnie Ouellette.

Also making donations to the April dance were Auto Zone; Advanced Auto; NAPA; Tractor Supply; Sanford Sewing Machine; Deering Lumber; Gorham Sand & Gravel; All About Time; Lowe’s and Bill Dodge.

The next Rock n’ Roll Oldies Benefit Dance will be the 22nd dance hosted by the Oldies Dance Group and will be held from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Eagle’s Hall, 57 Birch St., Biddeford. Tickets are just $10 and sell out quickly as seating is limited.

“If you’re thinking of coming to the dance, I encourage you to call soon because these tickets go just like that,” Martin said. “Within days all of the tickets are gone and that’s a testament to how popular these dances are.”

For additional information, to purchase tickets or to volunteer to help, please call 207-284-4692. <

July 21, 2023

In the public eye: Windham children’s librarian empowers young minds through reading

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

By Ed Pierce

Samantha Cote believes that a public library is more than a luxury, it’s a necessity in the Windham community.

Samantha Cote has worked for the Windham Public Library
for the past four and a half years as is currently serving
as the Children's Librarian, overseeing all library
programming for children up to age 12.
Cote serves as the Children’s Librarian at the Windham Public Library and in that role, she oversees all library programming for children up to age 12 and selecting the books, audiobooks, and other materials for that age group that are in the library. She also performs school visits, directs the library’s three Story Times every week and at least one after-school program for kids.

“It’s summer right now, so we’re offering a program almost every day. I spend time talking to kids and families to see if the library has what they are looking for, and making recommendations on books, apps, and other media for families,” Cote said. “I’m also part of the RSU 14 Early Learning Collaborative, and I look for opportunities to collaborate with other area organizations on programs. I also manage the library’s unofficial mascot, Pearl the Unicorn.”

She’s worked for the Windham Public Library for four and a half years and in her opinion, one aspect of her job stands out above all the others.

“Working with the kids is the best thing about what I do in my job,” Cote said. “I love talking with them and finding out what they are interested in and helping those interests grow. If those interests are also some of mine such as pop culture, anything glittery and sparkly, singing loudly, and dancing, even better.”

According to Cote, the most challenging aspect of her work is trying to balance conflicting community beliefs and making sure everyone feels welcome at the library.

“I wonder about who we aren’t reaching and how we can better serve them,” she said.

As far as the biggest misconception that people might have about her job as children’s librarian, Cote says she’s heard several things.

“People seem to believe that librarians read all the time, or that our spaces are getting less use. I usually have time to review books before story time, but not much reading time other than that,” she said. “Also, we’re busier than ever now.”

She grew up in Saco and graduated from Thornton Academy. Cote then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in Massachusetts, majoring in Women’s Studies with a minor in Public Policy, and then she obtained a masters’ degree in library science from the University of South Carolina.

Wanting to work for Windham Library Director Jen Alvino Wood led her to apply for a job with the Windham library.

“When this position opened, I knew I wanted to work for her. I was also looking for library jobs further south, to be closer to my parents, and Windham was about as far south as I could go that would be a reasonable commute for my husband and I as he works in Augusta,” Cote said. “I was also looking for a position where I could focus more on one topic. My last two jobs had involved multiple departments and a little bit of everything, which means I have an idea of how many different parts of the library work, but I felt like I couldn’t give my full attention to any one department.”

Previously, she worked in youth services at Baxter Memorial Library in Gorham, the children’s room at McArthur Public Library in Biddeford, served as the Assistant Director at the Jackson Memorial Library in Tenants Harbor, and the Youth Services and Technology Librarian at the Winslow Public Library in Winslow.

Her family supports her career and is [proud of her work.

“I don’t think my family is too surprised to find me in a library,” Cote said. “I always loved books as a kid. My mother says telling people that her daughter is a children’s librarian always gets a positive reaction.”

She said to be a great librarian, you want to be a librarian, you need to love people as much, if not more, than the stuff in the building.

“Being a librarian is about helping people find the information they need, emphasis on the people,” Cote said. “Having a sense of humor and being flexible, even if your initial reaction is not, go a long way.” <

‘Christmas in July’ Boat Parade floats into Naples on Saturday night

By Ed Pierce

For those who are counting, there are exactly 156 days left until Christmas, but for those already in the Christmas spirit, the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce and the Naples Marine Safety Patrol are teaming up to offer the 4th Annual Christmas in July Boat Parade this Saturday evening, July 22, on Brandy Pond, and Long Lake in Naples.

The route of this year's 'Christmas in July'
Boat Parade in Naples is shown. The parade
starts at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 22 on Brandy
Pond and ends on Long Lake near Naples.
According to Robin Mullins, executive director of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, this year’s boat parade is expected to be one of the best yet.

“Have a boat? Decorate it, register it at the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber website, and come join the parade on Brandy Pond,” Mullins said. “There will be prizes awarded for the top-three best decorated boats, as determined by the Naples Board of Selectpersons.”

The annual parade was created by the Naples Marine Safety Patrol for the first time in 2020 with a total of 65 boats participating. Last year that number climbed to nearly 100.

“Naples Christmas in July Boat Parade was started in 2020 by Mark Maroon and Jim Stark of the Naples Marine Patrol as a way to get folks safely out and having fun in the midst of COVID-19,” Mullins said. “They were assisted by community volunteer Joanne Jordan.”

Mullins said that the parade would not be possible if not for the work of volunteers who’ve been coordinating activities and the event for several weeks.

She said no matter if you have a boat or not, everyone will be able to find something of interest at the festive parade.

“Don’t have a boat? No worries, come have dinner at one of the sponsor restaurants or do a little shopping,” Mullins said. “Whatever you do pre-parade, make sure you find a nice viewing spot as the parade makes its way from Brandy Pond onto Long Lake and back starting at around 8:30 p.m.”

The chamber is pleased to partner with Naples in bringing this popular event to the town once again this year.

“Our hope is to make it a destination event for Naples,” she said. “Naples is an important part of the Sebago Lakes Region, and like all of our eight towns including Casco, Gray, Naples, New Gloucester, Raymond, Sebago, Standish and Windham, we want to support them in any way we can.”

To participate in this year’s boat parade, all boats must be registered prior to the event.

“Once more we are hoping that participating boats come all decked out with tons of holiday decorations,” Mullins said. “There will be prizes for the top decorated boats which must be registered to be eligible for prizes.”

She said that the town of Naples is encouraging nearby businesses and residents of Brandy Pond and the lower end of Long Lake to decorate docks, homes, and waterfront properties to show their solidarity with the “Christmas in July” spirit.

Event organizers say they are grateful for all sponsors for this year’s parade, which has helped to pay for lighted buoys for the event and prizes for parade participants.

The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce represents the Lakes Region towns of Casco, Gray, Naples, New Gloucester, Raymond, Sebago, Standish, and Windham, and it is one of the most active chambers in the entire state of Maine. The chamber is made up of business members ranging from young entrepreneurs and ‘mom & pop’ shops to the largest employers in the area. <

Boat registration for the “Christmas in July Boat Parade” closes at 3 p.m. Friday, July 21. Registration is available online at https://www.sebagolakeschamber.com/event/christmas-in-july-boat-parade/ or by calling the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce at 207-892-8265 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Participating boats will line up for the parade at 8 p.m. Saturday on Brandy Pond. <


Trauma Intervention program continues to help victims

By Masha Yurkevich

For somebody going through a traumatic time in their life, sometimes all they need is someone to be there for them. TIP (Trauma Intervention Program of Greater Portland) is there in those times. Pam Grant is the Director of TIP and is also a volunteer and dispatcher. She started volunteering for the program in February 2022 and became the program’s director on May 1, 2022.

TIP will be conducting a training session in
September for those who are interested in
becoming a volunteer. A volunteer must
attend all of the training sessions which is
about 55 hours of training.
“TIP is a wonderful program because it is made up of volunteers who give up their time to help someone at their worse time of their life, in the immediate aftermath of a trauma,” says Grant. “We receive our calls from a 911 dispatcher at the request of a first responder, it may be a police officer or paramedic or Emergency Department nurse. The unique experience of helping others at the worst time in their lives will change you in very important and positive ways.”

TIP volunteers say that they are not the same individuals they were before volunteering for TIP. They are more compassionate, more tolerant, and more grateful for what they have and for the loved ones in their lives.

Although TIP is simple, our volunteers make a huge difference to those they help. It’s not unusual for someone we helped to say, ‘I’ll never forget the volunteer angel’. We know that a TIP volunteer’s immediate presence during the worst times in a person’s life is a major factor in that person’s healing process,” says Grant.

But the presence of a TIP volunteer on an emergency scene does not only benefit the victim. It is also a huge relief for emergency responders and hospital personnel who are often too busy to attend to survivors by promoting healing by preventing a second injury, as a major tool for emergency responders, and by training and supervising citizen helpers.

TIP will be having a training session again in September for all those who are interested in becoming a volunteer. A volunteer must attend all the training sessions, which amounts to about 55 hours of training.

Steve Sanborn of Windham became a TIP volunteer in September 2022.

“I learned about TIP through an article published in The Windham Eagle in 2022,” said Sanborn. I had been interested in finding a volunteer project that would be beneficial to the community, and TIP really helps people who are facing very difficult circumstances. Every call is unique. You may be called to someone's home, or the scene of an accident, or to the hospital. When we receive a call, we consult with the first responder or hospital nurse, and then we meet with the people who are dealing with the trauma. It may be a family member, or a friend, or someone involved in the accident. Our goal is to provide comfort and support to the person or people affected by the trauma, and to keep them from experiencing additional harm. People experiencing trauma are often grieving, but they may feel other emotions such as anger or guilt, or they may be in shock and feel confused or disoriented. We try to protect them from doing something that would make the situation worse and also keep outside sources from causing additional harm.

"After the initial training, the time commitment is not excessive,” says Sanborn. “You are on call three 12-hour shifts a month. You can choose either a day or night shift. Some months you do not receive any calls. Occasionally, you may get more than one call in a shift. This has helped me to understand what Jesus meant when he told us to love our brothers and sisters. When someone is just emotionally wrecked, in grief and shock and experiencing the worst day of their lives, and you can be there to support them and give them empathy, it really feels like you are giving part of yourself to help them begin to find their footing again.”

When Sanborn initially signed up, he wasn't sure if he could do it.

“The training really helped to prepare me, but I still didn't know if I could do it until I received my first call,” he said. “After that first call, I realized that I could do it.”

Kim McBride of Windham became a TIP volunteer in September 2022.

“After retiring, I was looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity. I read about the program in The Windham Eagle and after a conversation with the TIP director, I signed up for the training. I chose TIP because it provides a remarkable opportunity to be there for a person on the worst day of their life,” said McBride. “We can't change what happened, but we can support the survivors through those terrible first hours after an accident or death and make it less likely that they will suffer a "second injury" because they were alone and unsupported.”

When you volunteer, you stay close to your phone and remain within 30 minutes of Maine Medical Center, where many of TIP calls originate. The dispatcher shares information about the call, and then you head out with your TIP bag, which contains resources including tissues and water. Volunteers are trained in the "emotional first aid" skills that they use to comfort and support survivors of an unexpected event. Each survivor's needs are different.

“Sometimes we do the most good by just being there and listening,” McBride says. “In other cases, we help in more direct ways. For example, we might help them think through who to call, what their next steps should be, or what resources are available to them. If you have the time and the emotional availability to help others, there is no more profound experience than being present for another person in their time of need.”

For more details about the program, visit www.tipgreaterportland.org or call 207-619-1175. <

Windham Council approves conversion of two facilities into medical marijuana dispensary

By Ed Pierce

Members of the Windham Town Council voted unanimously to allow Jar Cannabis Co. to convert an existing licensed medical marijuana caregiver retail store at 9 Storm Drive in North Windham to a single marijuana registered dispensary license with two locations, at 9 Storm Drive, Jar’s retail location, and 608 Roosevelt Trail, Jar’s cultivation location, at a meeting on July 11.

The Windham Town Council has
approved a request from Jar Cannabis
Co. to convert an existing medical
caregiver store to a single
registered dispensary license.
Because of the change in status, Jar Cannabis Co. paid a $10,000 licensing fee to the town and the business also contributed $2,000 to the town’s education fund, a requirement for cannabis businesses operating under marijuana licenses in Windham.

To clarify the legality of conversion to a single marijuana registered dispensary, officials at the state Office of Cannabis Policy at the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services were consulted. The question asked was if authorized activities could be included on a dispensary registration certificate or would two separate registration certificates be required by the state.

In June, Gabrielle Berube Pierce, the Policy Director at the state Office of Cannabis Policy, stipulated in an email to Jar. Cannabis Co. attorneys that one dispensary license can have up to two locations, but no duplicated activities and that Jar Cannabis Co. could submit an application for conversion to the town for one license with two locations.

Joel Pepin, who owns Jar Cannabis Co., was granted one of the town two adult retail marijuana licenses for the property at 9 Storm Drive in October 2020 by councilors. In September 2020, Paul’s Boutique and Windham RSL had been awarded a conditional adult-use marijuana licenses, but during a public hearing several weeks later, the original license award to Windham RSL was negated because of an application discrepancy regarding a lease and the next highest finisher in the council’s adult-use marijuana retail license scoring system, Jar Cannabis Co., was awarded the license instead.

The Town of Windham established an education fund in 2021 to provide small grants for volunteer and educational organizations to complete projects within the town that focus on public health and/or safety educational programs promoting collaboration and positive choices in reducing youth substance abuse.

There are currently seven marijuana storefronts in Windham and some of those were grandfathered in when the town adopted a marijuana ordinance in 2020 addressing the regulation and licensing of cannabis businesses. Councilors have said that when some of the businesses which were grandfathered for licenses go out of business, they will not be replaced.

Earlier this year, Dave Whitten, the owner of sticky Bud Farms in Windham, a medical marijuana business, created a petition to put a referendum on the ballot before Windham voters to determine if the town should allow current medical marijuana businesses to upgrade to adult retail marijuana establishments.

Whitten said that since the town first awarded two adult retail marijuana licenses under its marijuana ordinance in September 2020, it has given those businesses an unfair business advantage. A revised town ordinance addressing the sale of Recreational Adult-Use and Medical Marijuana Storefront facilities, along with business and personal marijuana outdoor cultivation was approved and adopted by Windham town councilors in late May 2020.

Businesses already operating in Windham under medical marijuana licenses submitted applications for an adult retail marijuana license with the town and those applications were scored by town councilors based upon submitted operational plans, security measures, safety, experience, product handling, any violations on record and other specific criteria.

Whitten has expanded the business to include a cannabis dispensary, a glass products store, a grow facility, and has created a cannabis bakery with the intent of upgrading his business to an adult retail establishment. But the town council has remained steadfast in its commitment to limiting adult retail business licenses to two, with Jar Cannabis Co. still retaining one of the adult retail licenses for Windham.

Licensing fees for marijuana businesses are collected annually by the town. <

Top ways to love your lakes

By Nancy Crilly-Kirk
Raymond Waterways Protective Association

“No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” Unknown

The raymond Waterways Protective Association champions
the quality of Raymond's bodies of water, including Panther
Pond, eradicating invasive milfoil, and overseeing 
erosion-control projects, among other projects.
The health of Raymond—economically, socially, and in quality of our lives-- lies in the health of our lakes. All of us – as Raymond residents, summer visitors, shorefront owners, boaters, taxpayers, camp and business owners, adults and kids can help or hurt the lakes in so many ways. Everyone and everything counts in preserving what are the most beautiful lakes in the world.

The Raymond Waterways Protective Association (RWPA) has for several years championed the preservation of the quality of Raymond’s three lakes and two ponds by educating the public, eradicating invasive milfoil, establishing the Courtesy Boat Inspector program at 4 boat launches in town, monitoring water quality, overseeing erosion-control projects, and advocating for clean lakes. RWPA is a non-profit organization, with a volunteer board of directors. We welcome your membership, your concern for our lakes, and your volunteerism. More information is on our web site: raymondwaterways.org.

How can you help? Here are some tips:

Stop mowing! GO NATIVE!”

“If you live on the shoreline, plant and encourage native plants on your property. They thrive with little special attention, once established. They don't need fertilizing. They provide food and shelter for wildlife. They help hold soil in place and they can slow down stormwater runoff, preventing the importation of phosphorus to our lakes. – Peggy Jensen, President of the Raymond Waterways Protective Association

Buy and Use Special Erosion Control Mulch

“It’s denser and finer than regular mulch and its structure creates a natural buffer on paths and the lakefront. It holds water and soil in place, so phosphates don’t run into the lake, creating algae growth. It’s available for $35 a cubic yard picked up in Naples. – Matt Durgin, Naples

Always get a permit before buildingDoug Irish, of Doug Irish Builders, Raymond

Join and Support the RWPA:

RWPA appreciates all the support from the past. However, RWPA still needs your support to continue our other programs such as Courtesy Boat Inspectors and Water Quality Monitoring in all Raymond ponds and lakes. We hope to expand these and to add to programs to preserve the water quality of the lakes we love. – Marie Connolly, Treasurer of RWPA:

Send donations to: RWPA PO Box 1243. Raymond, ME 04071 or look for the red tab on the website Raymondwaterways.org to contribute by PayPal or credit card.

“Learn more about your lake:

About the scientific measurements (how they’re done and why they’re important, whether they’re changing over time); bathymetry, the water currents, the bottom composition; the extent of the watershed that feeds the lake, and potential sources of pollution; about the people who’ve shaped the “personality” of the lake; the social and commercial history; the gunkholes and prop busters, the natural springs and fishing holes; what happens in the winter; the animals that live in and around the lake, and depend on it for their livelihood; native plants, both terrestrial and aquatic; where the water comes from and where it goes. – Neil Jensen, Board Member, RWPA

Go to Raymondwaterways.org and click on “Helpful Links” to learn more.

Complete the survey for Raymond’s Comprehensive Plan
Peter Leavitt. Co-Chair Raymond Comprehensive Plan

In his talk at the RWPA Annual Meeting in early July, Peter Leavitt explained how Raymond is working on a new Raymond Comprehensive Plan that will guide its planning and development for the next decade. Any resident or taxpayer in Raymond can complete it.

We urge you to stress how important the lakes are to Raymond’s success.

Go to: compplan.raymondmaine.org and tell the town how important clean lakes are in Raymond.

Boaters: Check, Drain, and Dry

Zebra mussels, an invasive species that spreads microscopically, were recently discovered in New Hampshire lakes. There is no way to eradicate zebra mussels once they are introduced. That makes it even more important for you to check your boat for any plant or animal material, including draining the live well, and spraying down the boat and equipment at least 30 feet away from a lake or pond. Ensure the wash water will not flow back into any water body. Alternatively let the boat dry off for five days to kill the Zebra Mussel larvae.

Invasive species will ruin the clear water and beautiful waterfronts that we love. Besides Zebra Mussels, the threat of Milfoil and other invasive species remain as well. Please do your part and check your boats even when a courtesy boat inspector isn’t at the boat launch! It’s very low effort and the benefits are invaluable. – Lianne Parmalee, Former Intern, RWPA

July 14, 2023

Age-Friendly Windham hires first coordinator

By Ed Pierce

In the five years since the Windham Town Council voted for the town to become an AARP Age-Friendly Community, steps have been taken to provide opportunity for residents to age in place, making sure services are available so that individuals can remain in their home and independently as long as possible. Now Windham is about to make even more significant progress by hiring Erica Bell-Watkins as the first coordinator of Windham’s Age-Friendly Program.

Erica Bell-Watkins has
been hired as the first
coordinator of the
Age-Friendly Windham
program and is 
currently recruiting
volunteers to get several
programs set up and
sustainable in town.

Bell-Watkins joined the program in May and is leading Age-Friendly Windham as it addresses the concerns of the town’s residents in making Windham a place that truly feels like home. Age-Friendly Windham examines complex issues such as building access, transportation, housing, employment, health services, mobility, and social inclusion, while aiming to provide a rich intergenerational experience for all residents of the town.

“This summer I am working at getting to know all the programs and people that are working in the community to make it an age friendly place. I am also seeking out groups and individuals who are interested in supporting programs,” Bell-Watkins said. “In order for this initiative to be successful, we need citizens to be involved. I am looking forward to meeting with volunteers to get several programs set up and sustainable. Volunteers are key to that. My focus is to increase social opportunities, addressing safety and expanding access to transportation options.”

She said that she is hoping that by fall, Age-Friendly Windham will have a Morning Call Program in place, increasing the number of weekly/monthly opportunities for socializing and education, and to have created a pilot transportation program for medical appointments for older residents in need.

Born in Massachusetts, Bel-Watkins moved to Maine when she was starting high school. She graduated from Westbrook High School, then attended Drexel University in Philadelphia where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Design and Merchandising.

“When I returned to Maine after graduation, I worked in finance and insurance, but I have been an educational support and elementary teacher after obtaining a master’s degree at the University of Southern Maine for 20-plus years,” she said. “Currently I substitute teacher for Westbrook, and occasionally for RSU 14.”

According to Bell-Watkins, she learned of the grant-funded opportunity available with Age Friendly Windham by viewing a posting on a Windham Parks and Recreation Department webpage earlier this year.

“I was interested in using my various skills to support my community,” she said. “This was of interest to me because of the many opportunities and needs in Windham. I was interested in helping the town enhance the service to our citizens.”

She first moved to Windham in 2007 but was gone for several years when her husband was serving on active duty in the U.S. Air Force.

“I returned in 2019 to a community that is far more suburban than country. Windham is growing, but some of our needs have grown as well,” Bell-Watkins said. “The 8 areas of focus for this program including housing and transportation which are particularly challenging. Hopefully, this initiative and my focus can help facilitate some increased access and improved quality of life. In addition to housing and transportation, the Age-Friendly initiative strives to improve access and quality of social, civic, and outdoor activities as well as respect and communication.”

Age-Friendly Windham Committee Member Linda Brooks said Bell-Watkins is the perfect person to serve as coordinator for several reasons.

“Erica is very organized and can easily multi-task, which is very important for this job, as there are so many tasks to attend to,” Brooks said. “She is friendly and very outgoing, and she has many connections within the community due to varied experiences.”

Brooks said Age-Friendly Windham is looking to have its action plan adopted by the Windham Town Council in August, which will allow the program to begin accomplishing some short-term goals because of the direction that the plan provides. Volunteer recruitment for either the committee or some of the specific programs being sponsored by the committee is also a goal, and the initiation on work toward affordable housing and transportation has begun because of the strong need for such expressed by the community so far.

“There are some initiatives that the committee has been working on that are being advanced, such as the Good Morning Call-in Program with the Police Department, Age-Friendly lunches cosponsored by the committee and Windham Parks and Recreation, additional involvement with the TRIAD program and obtaining additional grant funding to allow Erica to remain in place with her position,” Brooks said. “Erica is tying together all of the various entities that are already doing great work in our community and helping to promote these events on the Age-Friendly Windham website. Additionally, the committee will be updating the resource manual that was created a couple of years ago and those printed materials will be available at various locations around town.”

Funding for the position that Bell-Watkins currently holds is through an AARP grant that runs through September 30 of this year.

“Additional funding has been provided by the town, and there has been $3,010 allotted in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, along with a carry forward of approximately $4,000 from Fiscal Year 2023,” Brooks said. “With Erica in place, the committee has been able to begin doing more of the work that the funds were appropriated for, and Age-Friendly Windham already has a much greater presence in the community based on the work Erica is doing.”

For more information about Age-Friendly Windham, call 207-892-4649, visit agefriendlywindham.org. or send an email to agefriendlywindham@gmail.com <

Retired teacher not forgotten by former WMS student

By Edwin Farrar
Special to The Windham Eagle

I was an angry kid in the seventh grade at Windham Middle School whose mom was losing her long-time battle with MS.

Teacher Philip Moody is shown in a
photo from the 1998 Windham Middle
School yearbook. He taught science
at the school until his retirement in
1999 and still lives in Windham.
She told me on one of our visits to the nursing home, she just wanted to stay alive long enough to see me graduate from high school. The only problem was I was about to get expelled had I gone on the path I was on much longer. I would have so many detentions that I literally had a planner to schedule them out.

I remember the last one before my visit with my mom was with Ms. Day. I was joking around and being disruptive and she gave me a detention. We spent the next 10 minutes of class trying to coordinate around my other detentions trying to figure out when I could squeeze her in.

"The best I can do for you Ms. Day is two weeks from this coming Tuesday," I said.

I remember going back to school that Monday after seeing my mom and hearing her wishes for me. I remember the extreme guilt I felt about where I was and the direction I was going, knowing my mother was fighting for her life to make it to see me graduate. I decided that very moment, to stop the BS and give my mom her one wish.

The problem was every teacher knew who I was and my reputation. Now trying to be sincere, they thought I was setting them up for the ultimate act to be expelled out of school in style.

The next year on the first day of school, every teacher would pause and lock eyes with me when reading my name for attendance. I realized the desk away from the rest of the class was there waiting in anticipation of my arrival.

One teacher who gave me a completely clean slate though was Mr. Philip Moody. I did my work, was respectful, and in turn, he gave me a foothold to turn my reputation and my life around. I remember some of the kids who had high GPAs trying to butter up Mr. Moody for some extra credit as they got a B and not an A on a test. I remember him telling them they should study more, and that he was available after school if they needed more help. He treated all of us the same, no favorites, no bad kids, to him we were all kids.

I went into high school taking AP courses, playing sports, and was captain of the varsity soccer team, a real turnaround. In my senior year, I applied to a university that had a program that at that time was only one of a few colleges to even offer it. I decided to take the chance and apply for an "early decision" for this program.

Just getting into the program via regular admission was a huge deal. I would be competing with kids from Maryland all the way to Maine and into Canada. My SAT scores were not "great," not even "good." I did write one heck of an essay talking about having to care for my mother when I was 5, and how I nearly threw it all away in junior high except for one teacher who gave me a chance to turn things around.

I sent off my application packet assuming I would be lucky and happy to just get accepted in the normal fashion, but hopeful I would be one of the select few to get in via "early decision."

I was interviewed and they asked me a lot about my essay, again I spoke of my mom and the impact it had on me and of course Mr. Moody who I know, if it was not for him, I would not even be sitting in that room that day.

A month later I received a letter from the university saying I was accepted into the program, accepted via "early decision." I remember running to my mom with the letter waving it in my hand when we went to visit her in the nursing home for Christmas. She cried and hugged me and it was truly a special moment.

Less than a month later, two weeks prior to my birthday, my mom lost her nearly two decades-long battle with MS.

I still remember the soil erosion science fair project I did for Mr. Moody. I still remember some of the science he went over in class. What I remember most was the impact giving someone a clean slate can have and the impact of giving someone a foothold so they can pivot and take their life back can have. I have carried this valuable lesson with me my entire life and tried to apply it in coaching kids, volunteering in my kid's classroom, and mentoring people in a profession that most do not know even exists.

On my next birthday, I will be the age my mom was when she lost her battle with her horrible illness. I have learned that in this lifetime we are given, we can live many lives, some good, some bad. Be thankful for the people who do not shove us or try to drag us in the moments of change but to be thankful for the ones who give us the foothold to make the pivot needed to make the change ourselves.

One of the most prominent lessons Mr. Moody gave us, which has always stuck with me, seems very fitting.

"In physics and chemistry, the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant; it is said to be conserved over time. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another."

Thank you, Mr. Moody, for giving a kid with a giant chip on his shoulder the environment to be able to turn things around. Thank you for giving my mother the confidence that her youngest child was going to be ok, so she could leave a body that was causing her so much pain and was failing her. I will do my best to continue to transform and/or transfer the energy you gave me.

If you see Mr. Moody at Corsetti's buying milk and a newspaper, at Windham Hill church, or some other location in our wonderful town, say hello to a great man and teacher. <

Windham rezones Northeastern Motel property

By Ed Pierce

By a unanimous vote, members of the Windham Town Council have authorized changing the zoning for the Northeastern Motel property at 322 Roosevelt Trail in Windham from a Farming zone to a contract zone for Dwelling, Multi-Family during a meeting on Tuesday night.

The Windham Town Council has changed the zoning of the
Northeastern Motel at 322 Roosevelt Trail in Windham,
allowing for the motel owners to convert motel rooms into
efficiency apartments if the Windham Planning Board
approves the project. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE   
The owners of the Northeastern Motel at 322 Roosevelt Trail in Windham had asked the town for the zoning change so the property of the existing motel on the site can be redeveloped into residential dwelling units.

The 3.8-acre motel site is located on Route 302 and the northwest corner of Nash Road in Windham and the owners of the property, 322 Roosevelt Trail LLC, say to achieve their vision for the property zoning changes will need to be made.

Under current “Farming” zoning requirements, multifamily dwellings are only allowed for the conversion of an existing dwelling or accessory building that was in existence prior to May 13, 1986, and no more than three dwelling units may be created per lot.

The zoning change will allow the property owners to create up to 23 dwelling units on the property, which differs from the two dwellings currently allowed there by “Farming” zoning.

The nine-unit Northeastern Motel with an attached owner’s unit building existed prior to Windham’s adoption of zoning ordinances on July 8, 1976. Back on Nov. 5, 1987, the Town of Windham’s Board of Appeals granted permission to expand the non-conforming use of the then-“Suburban Pines Motel” to double in its size and add a 13-unit adjacent building that was constructed on the property in 1988. Windham’s Planning Board subsequently approved a subdivision of the property into five lots on April 23, 1990, and over the past 33 years the site has been further reduced to its current 3.8-acre configuration.

This zoning change request coming before the Windham Town Council is the second time that a contract zone has been requested for this property, but this time the Windham Planning Board approved this project and forwarded it on to the town councilors recommending the zoning change.

In 2016, the previous property owner requested a contract zone to permit Motels and Multifamily Dwellings and to increase permitted density there. On July 12, 2016, a vote by the Windham Town Council failed to send the application back to the Planning Board for review and recommendation.

Shawn M. Frank, project engineer and Senior Vice President, Commercial and Development for Sebago Technics, representing the Northeastern Motel owners, told the council last September that the applicant proposes that the entire motel property be rezoned as an overlay to the underlying Windham Farm District zone.

He said that no easements are proposed and restrictions on the property will limit the overall unit count as it currently exists. The motel owners, who purchased the site in 2017, have proposed an expansion in square footage to the existing Northeastern Motel room units to provide individual kitchen facilities to create efficiency-type dwelling apartment units. The proposed improvements and renovation by the owners also include removal of the existing boulders along the parking lot perimeter.

The project will now head back to the Planning Board for final approval of the owners’ plan to convert the existing motel rooms into affordable one-bedroom apartments.

New efficiencies at the renovated site are expected to rent for about $1,000 and are designed for stable individuals and couples, Frank said. <

Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program begins fundraising

By Ed Pierce

They sacrificed for us, protected us, and defended our liberty during war and in peacetime and our military veterans deserve our thanks for their courage, strength and dedication in keeping us safe. It may be a small measure, but supporting Windham’s Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program is a great way to show respect for area veterans.

Fundraising has started for American Legion
Post 148's Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program,
which places wreaths on the graves of military
veterans in Windham cemeteries each Christmas.
The program was started by Sebago Gardens in 2013 and continues today under the leadership of American Legion Post 148 in Windham. Every Christmas season, the Windham Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program provides wreaths adorned with red, white, and blue ribbons for placement on veteran’s graves in town. In 2022, more than 1,000 wreaths were placed in 24 different Windham cemeteries honoring the service of military veterans buried there.

Some of the local graves of veterans date back to the Colonial Era and the Revolutionary War. Graves of Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans can also be found in Windham.

Each December, the Windham Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program conducts a ceremony honoring the contributions of local veterans and follows that up with the placement of seasonal wreaths adorned with red, white, and blue ribbons. The special ceremony is coordinated with the laying of wreaths at the national cemeteries across America and includes placing a large, decorated wreath at each cemetery entrance in Windham.

Thanks to the generous donations from local businesses and many members of the community, Windham’s American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 has been able to sponsor this popular program, but further donations from the public are needed to keep it viable. The Legion’s Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program has zero overhead, and all donations are used to purchase wreaths, ribbons, and hardware. This year, with approval and assistance from the Town of Windham, each veteran’s grave in town will have a shepherd’s crock placed on it in December about 30 inches high to hang the wreath on. These shepherd’s crocks allow volunteers to remove the wreaths easily when it is time to retrieve them rather than having to dig them out from under a pile of snow.

Fundraising for the Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program starts in July because Post 148 needs to raise more than $6,000 every year to support the program and requires the funds to be available by September to pay for the wreath order. Once all the wreaths are ordered, the accompanying bows will be made by the American Legion family and local community volunteers and then matched to the wreaths when they arrive later in the fall.

Legion members are now actively contacting the Windham business community and mailings to support the program run through August. Anyone wishing to donate to the Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Program may do so by sending a check marked “Legion Wreaths,” to Legion Post 148 P.O. Box 1776, Windham, Maine 04062. Additional information will be provided as to when the bows will be made, and when the wreaths will be distributed for those interested in supporting the initiative. The American Legion is a Federal designated 501 (c) 19 organization. <

Equus Foundation honors MSSPA as 2023 Mentor

The Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals in Windham has been recognized as an Equus Foundation 2023 Mentor.

The Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals in
Windham has been recognized as a 2023 Mentor by the 
Equus Foundation for meeting the foundation's highest
standards for business and equine welfare practices.
The EQUUS Foundation is the only national charity in the United States 100 percent dedicated to ensuring the welfare of America's horses and fostering the horse-human bond. EQUUS awards Mentor status to its Guardian charities that have met the foundation’s highest standards for business and equine welfare practices.

Eligible nonprofits include those that:

** Shelter and rehabilitate equines that have been subjected to mistreatment;

** Retrain and re-home equines in transition with careers as athletes, companions, teachers, and healers;

** Provide peaceful and humane retirement and end of life care for aged equines that ensures that they are able to live out their lives in comfort and with dignity;

** Provide mutually beneficial opportunities for people and equines to partner for the purpose of contributing positively to cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being.

Mentor representatives also have the opportunity to serve as members of the EQUUS Foundation Equine Welfare Advisory Group, established to help identify challenges, long term goals, and emerging trends that could affect America’s horses, and explore ways that Mentor organizations can assist other organizations seeking to operate at the highest standards for business and equine welfare practices.

Based in Windham, the mission of the MSSPA is to provide refuge, rehabilitation, and placement of seized equines. MSSPA does not charge for its shelter services and seeks no reimbursement from any public source. Horses cared for by the MSSPA come from Maine law enforcement officials and most of them have been abused or neglected.

The MSSPA was originally formed in 1872 to protect the horses who pulled Portland’s streetcars and fire engines. It now offers shelter services for equines across Maine with access to veterinary medical care and maintains dozens of equines at its South Windham facility.

The MSSPA’s goal for each horse is rehabilitation and a new home, but if no suitable adoption is found, horses may live out their natural lives at the organization’s farm.

The MSSPA is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) and receives no federal, state or local funding, but rather is funded by a combination of donations, bequests, grants, and fundraising activities. It uses its resources to provide direct care to equines who have suffered abuse and promotes humane treatment, training, and the use of animals through education and hands-on experiences. <

July 7, 2023

EPA unveils plan to clean up Keddy Mill site in Windham

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled its proposal and plan to clean up the Keddy Mill Superfund Site, located on Depot Street in South Windham.

Plans to tear down the former Keddy Mill industrial building
at 7 Depot St in South Windham along with cleaning up
the site and removing hazardous contaminants there have
been revealed by the EPA and includes the removal and 
cleaning of more than 22,000 cubic yards of 
contaminated soil. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE   
The proposed plan details measures EPA will take to clean up the soil, sediment (inclusive of fish tissue), and groundwater at the site. This cleanup will be comprehensive and protective of human health and the environment. EPA will also accept public comments on the proposed plan for 30 days and will hold a public information meeting and public hearing on the proposed plan.

"This proposed cleanup plan reflects EPA's recommendations on how to best address contaminated soil, sediment, and groundwater at the Keddy Mills site," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "This is an important step bringing the Windham community closer to an effective cleanup of the site. EPA is eager to get input from the community and other interested stakeholders on this proposed plan."

EPA's proposed plan summarizes risks posed by contamination at the site and presents an evaluation of cleanup options. EPA also identifies the Agency's preferred cleanup alternative along with the other cleanup options considered.

The EPA's preferred alternative in the proposed plan, which would be implemented following the substantial completion of an EPA-authorized "Non-Time-Critical Removal Action" to demolish the mill complex and associated structures, generally includes the following components:

Excavation and off-site disposal of approximately 22,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil;

Targeted treatment of soil excavations with amendments in support of groundwater cleanup;

In situ (in place) treatment of groundwater;

Excavation and off-site disposal of approximately 320 cubic yards of contaminated sediments from the Presumpscot River;

Site restoration including riverbed, riverbank, wetland and floodplain habitat;

Land use restrictions (called "Institutional Controls" or ICs) to prevent exposure to Site-related contaminants in groundwater and fish tissue until cleanup levels are met;

Inspections and limited operation and maintenance (O&M);

Monitoring of groundwater and fish tissue to evaluate the achievement of cleanup levels; and

Five-Year Reviews to assess the protectiveness of the remedy.

Public Comment Opportunity, Public Information Meeting, and Formal Public Hearing

EPA will also hold a hybrid formal public hearing for the Keddy Mill Superfund Site to accept comments on the proposed plan at 6 p.m. on July 18. The hybrid public hearing will be held at 33 Main St. in Windham, and in-person attendance is welcomed. Community members can also join virtual with links to the hearing found on EPA's website; www.epa.gov/superfund/keddy. EPA will not respond to comments during the hearing, but all formal comments received during the public comment period will be reviewed by EPA before making a final cleanup decision. EPA will prepare written responses to comments received during the formal public comment period.

Voicemail and written comments may also be submitted until July 28, 2023 via phone, email, fax or mail to: Jeffry Saunders, Remedial Project Manager, US EPA New England, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, SNR07-1 Boston, MA 02109; Email: saunders.jeffry@epa.gov; Phone: 617-918-1351; Fax: 617-918-0352.


EPA added the Keddy Mill Superfund Site to the National Priorities List (aka Superfund) in 2014. The site consists of a 6.93-acre abandoned mill complex property, located at 7 Depot St. (the Mill Complex Property), an adjacent reach of the Presumpscot River, and associated riparian properties in Windham, Maine.

The site has a long history, with operations beginning in the late 1700s and ending in 1997. The building that will be demolished and removed was used as a grist and carding mill, pulp mill, box-board manufacturing facility and as a steel mill. Throughout the industrial history, several buildings have been demolished and others added to the mill complex. The site has contamination from various hazardous substances, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons.

More information

A copy of the proposed cleanup plan, the Administrative Record supporting the cleanup plan, and instructions how to submit comments and other background information about the Keddy Mill Superfund Site can be found at: www.epa.gov/superfund/keddy

The Windham Public Library located at 217 Windham Center Road, Windham, Maine 04062 (phone: 207-982-1908) can be used as a point of access to reach the online Administrative Record for the Site. If you would like a copy mailed to you, please contact Charlotte Gray, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator at gray.charlotte@epa.gov or 617-918-1243. tollfree 1-888-372-7341 ext. 8. <

In the public eye: Administrative Assistant a mainstay for Raymond Code Enforcement Office

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

By Ed Pierce

Organization is essential for Janet Staples and it’s a skill that serves her well in her work with the Town of Raymond.

Janet Staples has served as the Administrative
Assistant for the Town of Raymond's Code
Enforcement Office for the past five months
and she assists local homeowners in processing
various permits and answers code questions, fields
property questions and schedules the town's code
officer and assistant code officer for
appointments. SUBMITTED PHOTO   
Staples is the Administrative Assistant for Raymond Code Enforcement Office and it’s a challenging assignment that requires the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with outside agencies, municipal officials, employees, and members of the public.

She has been working for the Town of Raymond for five months after previously working for a coastal town in Maine for 19 years.

“I wanted to work closer to home and live in Gray,” Staples said. “I wanted to continue to work for a small-town municipality.”

As part of her duties, she represents the Town of Raymond and assists local homeowners in processing various permits. She answers code questions, fields property questions, schedules the code officer and assistant code officer for appointments, and answers phone calls and returns phone calls left for the code office on voicemail.

It’s a complex job that involves knowing town ordinances and application procedures and assisting residents and real estate professionals with property location, identity, land use, zoning and scanning or photocopying documents. Staples also assists with the issuing of building, septic, and plumbing permits and provides forms for citizens and developers for the completion and submission of a variety of municipal building permits.

In her role, Staples maintains databases for all building permits, septic designs, plumbing permits and oversees all files, both electronic and paper, for the Code office.

“The best thing about what you do in my job is helping the homeowners and contractors through the building permit process, and the variety of tasks during the day,” she said.

According to Staples, the most challenging aspect of her work is time management.

“Some days you are constantly interrupted and so you need to be able to multi-task in this position,” she said.

Besides her position duties, Staples must demonstrate knowledge of business English, grammatical construction, spelling, punctuation, and arithmetic, and possess an excellent vocabulary. She is experienced in proper office practices, procedures and equipment and understands planning, zoning, and building procedures necessary to keep varied Code Enforcement records, to assemble and organize data, and to prepare standard reports from such records.

She also has considerable knowledge of the geographic layout of the town and is resourceful and able to find such information quickly.

“Touring the Town of Raymond with the assistant code officer to learn the current major projects and learning the road names and different sections of the town has been my most memorable moment working here so far,” Staples said. “I was amazed at all the little roads that lead to the different bodies of water here in town.”

She grew up in Cape Elizabeth and raised a family there. Staples attended what was then Westbrook College (now the University of New England) and earned an associate of art’s degree in business and merchandising. During her professional career, Staples has worked as an assessor’s assistant, planning department assistant, zoning board assistant, notary, motor vehicle clerk, as a proofreader for sales flyers for a major food chain and a ticket agent for Delta Airlines.

Now that she’s settled into her duties with the Town of Raymond, Staples said her family is happy that she has a closer commute to work and not driving on the Maine Turnpike every day to get to her job.

The biggest misconception that the public may have about her work is that it’s slow and filled with periods of inactivity.

“The volume of phone calls during the day and the volume of permits that come in during the day and week say otherwise,” she said. “The numerous transactions and people seen or spoken to over the phone during the day is amazing.”

Since joining the Town of Raymond, Staples said she’s proud of the work that she performs on a daily basis, and she’s learned an important fact that serves her well in her work for the town.

“To be a team player, patience is a virtue and kindness goes a long way,” she said. <