May 17, 2024

WHS Mock CSI exercise tests students’ sleuthing skills

By Jolene Bailey

Windham High School has been hosting Mock CSI experiences for students on campus since the 2017-2018 school year and this year’s exercise was intended to help participating students boost their speaking and listening skills, as well as writing, pre-calculus, and chemistry skills.

Windham High School students wrapped up their annual
Mock CSI exercise with a visit to the Public Safety
Simulation Lab at Central Maine Community College
in Lewiston on May 2. The exercise challenged the
students' speaking and listening skills, writing skills,
pre-calculus and chemistry abilities. SUBMITTED PHOTO
“The CSI unit we developed captured my favorite aspects of teaching, including creativity, authentic learning, true challenge, and student motivation,” said WHS teacher Adrianne Shetenhelm, a coordinator of the event. “I hoped to create a memorable learning experience that challenges and propels students to think about how their skills translate beyond the classroom.”

The Mock CSI unit for students began for most classes on Monday April 22 when there was a controlled burn on campus. On May 1 and May 2, about 100 students explored the burn site to attempt to solve the mock crime. This included student crime scene investigators in Shetenhelm and Nicole Densmore's English classes, John Ziegler's Pre-Calculus classes. Students from Lauren Ruffner's Chemistry class visited Central Maine Community College along with representatives of Windham’s Public Safety Departments to take on that angle of the mock investigation.

“Math students needed to come to our APEX classroom to ask my students what they learned from a suspect interview,” Shetenhelm said. “Our interviews informed those lab techs what evidence to analyze. Collaboration between students from different backgrounds unfolded. Students demonstrated they were clear and effective communicators, integrative thinkers, and practical problem solvers.”

Prioritizing math, science and English skills, students were able to crack the case of a mock serial arsonist during their investigation.

“We wrote a narrative of a ‘who dunnit’ and our School Resource Officer Seth Fournier got involved and he pulled in support from our Windham Police Department,” Shetenhelm said. “This year, to try something new, we worked with Windham Fire Chief Brent Libby and Forest Ranger Matt Bennett to concoct an arson narrative.”

The Mock CSI exercise is different each year. From an educational aspect, students are challenged to the Maine Guiding Principles, such as being a clear and effective communicator, self-directed and lifelong learner, creative and practical problem solver, responsible and involved citizen and an integrative and informed thinker.

“Students practiced the guiding principles that we want students to master,” Shetenhelm said. Many students often battle anxiety, which hinders their ability to speak or ask questions in the classroom. Amazingly, these students were leading the questioning of our suspects.”

This year’s serial arsonist case was completely designed by Windham teachers and part of the experience included a controlled burn on campus, interviews with actors as suspects/witnesses, and cell phone triangulation. The unit's grand finale included a day at CMCC's Public Safety Simulation building so students could learn from Public Service Department Chair Matt Tifft, Forensic Science Professor David King, and other CMCC staff.

This not only gave students insight into what it is like to solve a crime, but it also taught participants academic skills that they will need in and outside of a classroom environment.

"I was so proud to see my students, even often quiet ones who may not respond to a lesson within the classroom, engage with police officers, members of the community, and ask hard questions and work with peers to solve the crime. Many demonstrated clever problem-solving and leadership skills,” said Shetenhelm.

The planning process for this Mock CSI exercise started all the way back in September with the officers tasked with setting up the mock crime scene working collaboratively with the educators at Windham High. Expectations are that students will understand how the different pieces of evidence collected come together to show what happened, which tests are reliable, and which ones have a high possibility of error. <

First-ever Pride event nearing in Windham

By Ed Pierce

Final preparations are under way for the community’s first pride celebration next month in Windham.

According to Kate Turpen, Board Chair of Windham & Raymond Pride, the event will be called “Together We Rise!” and will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 2 at the Windham Town Hall Gym, 8 School Road in Windham.

“We've been lucky to partner with the Windham Police Department so we can ensure a safe day of community fun,” she said.

Turpen says the event will include activities both outside Windham Town Hall and inside at the Town Hall Gymnasium.

“Outside there will be an artist market with some of our local queer makers and allies where you can chat with makers, purchase their goods, and mingle with the community,” she said. “There will also be community resources with local non-profits and organizations, food trucks for lunch and treats that can be enjoyed under one of our community tents, and a playground hangout for little kids and parents to enjoy the outside and get to know each other.”

Additional outdoor activities will be a photo camper where participants can take photographs with friends and family to remember and the See-what-sticks Axe Throwing will be on hand for demonstrations in their mobile axe-throwing trailer. Live music will be performed by Viva! The Sensation.

Inside activities include bracelet making with Black Maple Piercing, Storytime, karaoke, special guests and performers on the event’s Main Stage.

There will also be a donation and information booth and a raffle of items donated from businesses and individuals in the community will take place, Turpen said.

"Little Chair Printing will be live printing our limited edition Together We Rise! tee shirts,” she said.

June has been globally recognized as Pride Month, a time of celebration, commemoration, and activism for the LGBTQ+ community. The activities during Pride Month are not only a vibrant celebration of diversity and self-affirmation, but also a potent reminder of the need to promote equity, acceptance, and respect for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Through parades, parties, protests, and educational events, Pride Month activities, such as the one in Windham underscore a rich diversity within the LGBTQ+ community, acknowledge the significant achievements made in the pursuit of equality, and highlight the ongoing struggles faced globally. It serves as an essential platform to increase visibility, encourage conversation, and further progress towards true equity and acceptance.

All ages are welcome to attend the Together We Rise!” event in Windham, Turpen said.

For more information about the “Together We Rise!” event in Windham, visit www.WindhamRaymondPride.org <

Practice interviews help teens find summer employment opportunities

By Masha Yurkevich

As the school year comes to an end, many teens may be thinking about starting a job and setting aside some money for college, a first car, or personal spending wants. Starting a first and new job may be frightening and stressful for some teens, especially a first job interview.

While the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce does not directly help teens look for jobs, they do help with an important and vital part of getting a first job: an interview.

Robin Mullins, President-CEO of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce says that the chamber does not have a direct role in helping teens looking for work. They do, however, partner with local high schools in offering “mock interviews” for students.

“These practice interviews allow students the opportunity to learn valuable interview skills and receive useful feedback and tips on what potential employers are looking for in great employees,” says Mullins.

Having the opportunity to practice these skills ahead of time can help alleviate some of the stress of interviewing and give the student an indication of what the interview process will look like.

“During these ‘mock interviews,’ I talk with teens about the importance of looking for work they will be happy doing,” Mullins says. “Teens work in the summer for a number of different reasons. The need to spend money, to save for college, and to spend time with friends are just a few examples. No matter their reason for working, it is imperative they enjoy the work they are doing. If they like the work, they are more apt to stay for the entire summer and come back the following year.”

For some it could become the full-time career they choose to pursuit once they graduate.

Once the teen has determined what areas they may enjoy working in, they should look to see what businesses offering that type of work are hiring. This information can be found on company websites, Facebook pages and signage at the business locations. Other resources can include word of mouth from family and friends or using an employment agency or website, such as Indeed, Zip Recruiter or Bonney Staffing, located in Windham.

“The need for good summer employees is always great this time of year in our region,” says Mullins. “Tourism is a huge part of our economy in the late spring, summer, and fall. Having teens fill many of these roles is a win for the employers who can invite the students back each summer and will not need to lay people off at the end of the season. It is also a win for teens who can work during the summer when they have the flexibility and time off from school.”

Maine Department of Labor regulations stipulate that those 14 years old and older can work within certain boundaries that are in place to ensure that working does not interfere with the health or education of the minor, such as minimum age for employment, work permits, hours of work, and dangerous prohibited occupations.

All minors under 16 years old must obtain a work permit before beginning a job. This includes home-school students and they must obtain a new permit every time they begin a new job until they reach 16 years old, even if they work for their parents.

In order to apply for a work permit, the minor must be enrolled in school, not habitually truant or under suspension, and passing a majority of courses during the current grading period.

Employers must have a stamped, approved work permit on file before allowing any minor under 16 years old to work and parental permission is required for a minor to work. <

Nangle’s water protection legislation signed into law by governor

AUGUSTA – On May 10, Maine Gov. Janet Mills held a ceremonial bill signing for legislation sponsored by State Sen. Tim Nangle, D-Windham. LD 2101, “An Act to Strengthen Shoreland Zoning Enforcement,” will give municipalities effective tools for combating shoreland zone violations.

State Sen. Tim Nangle
“This bill is a significant milestone in ensuring that Maine's communities have the authority they need to manage their natural resources effectively,” Senator Nangle said. “I'm thankful to my Senate and House colleagues for their bipartisan support and to Gov. Mills for signing this into law.”

LD 2101 allows but does not require municipalities to deny, suspend, or revoke locally issued permits to property owners who violate shoreland zoning ordinances. Under current law, even with ongoing violations, municipalities are required to issue permits, limiting their ability to ensure compliance with state and locally established regulations. The municipality would be required to provide the property owner with a 10-day notice, ensuring fairness and due process to property owners.

Typically, when the violation is resolved in court, the court assigns the cost of enforcing the violation and any applicable fines to the property owner. Then another fight ensues to collect those costs, which places another undue burden on the town's taxpayers.

To help combat this, LD 2101 allows a municipality to file a civil action against the owner or occupant to recover unpaid penalties; the cost to remove, abate, or otherwise correct the violation; and court costs and reasonable attorney's fees necessary to file and pursue the civil action.

If the case is resolved and the court has awarded costs in favor of the municipality, the town would then be authorized to claim a lien against the land on which the violation occurred to ensure that the legally awarded costs are paid.

LD 2101 also enhances transparency in real estate transactions by requiring sellers to disclose any known shoreland zoning violations to potential buyers.

The law will go into effect 90 days after this session of the Maine Legislature adjourns. <

Windham Middle School students donate socks to the Windham Clothes Closet

By Jolene Bailey

Last winter, Windham Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade band and orchestra students conducted a fundraiser called “Rock Your Socks for Toes in Need” and proceeds from the event help the students with expenses to -participate in the upcoming Trills and Thrills Music Festival for WMS musicians.

Windham Middle School students Aiden Hall, left, and 
Annabelle Riley, right, present Colette Gagnon of the
Windham Clothes Closet with a donation of 98 pairs of
new socks for people in need. WMS students sold socks
as part of a fundraiser for WMS Band and Orchestra and
the sock company matched sales with new socks for
the students to donate. SUBMITTED PHOTO   
The event was such a success that it gave WMS students an opportunity to also give back to their community. For every pack of colorful, fun socks that the middle school students sold in the fundraiser, the company agreed to give students a pair of free socks to donate to the Windham Clothes Closet.

“I heard about this fundraiser and like that it emphasizes giving back to the community, as well as raising much needed funds,” said Morgan Riley, WMS music teacher.

The students say it gives them a good feeling to know they can help others in need.

“It felt really nice to know that people who need some clothing will get some from us buying socks and selling them,” said eight grader Aiden Hall, who is a tenor and saxophone player at WMS.

The Windham Clothes Closet is open to residents and non-residents of Windham who are in need of clothing. Donations of clean, usable clothing are accepted at the facility on Gray Road in Windham.

On May 7, WMS band and orchestra members Hall and Annabelle Riley delivered 96 pairs of brand-new socks to Windham Clothes Closet as a result of their school’s fundraising success and the company’s match.

This was the second consecutive year that WMS students were able to make a sock donation to the Windham Clothes Closet.

Collette Gagnon, the manager at the Windham Clothes Closet, told us that last spring's donation was very well received by Windham residents in need. “This is just a feel-good fundraiser all the way around,” said Morgan Riley.

Hall said it’s nice to know the socks will be put to good use.

“It's super fun and I hope a lot of other people should try being a part of a fundraiser,” he said. “My favorite part would have to be seeing all the socks we are able to donate.”

For further fundraising information for WMS band and orchestra students, or to participate in next year’s “Rock Your Socks for Toes in Need,” contact the school. A link will be posted alerting the public to the fundraiser on the Windham Maine Community Board Facebook page. <

May 10, 2024

In the public eye: WPS Instructional Leader a champion for learners

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

By Ed Pierce


Kaley Petros believes that a school leader presents the past, reveals the present, and creates the future.

Kaley Petros has served as the Instructional Leader at
Windham Primary School since last fall and a large part of
her job is focused on advocating for the needs of students
who need more support both inside and outside of the
classroom. SUBMITTED PHOTO  
It’s what she strives for every day in her position as the Instructional Leader at Windham Primary School. She joined the administrative team at WPS in mid-October and says that a large part of her job is focused on advocating for the needs of student learners who need more support both inside and outside of the classroom.

“As such, I get to wake up and know my work is purposeful and meaningful,” Petros said. “Helping to find what is going to work best for learners and seeing those learners ultimately succeed is the greatest feeling.”

As WPS Instructional Leader, she provides leadership at the school in a variety of ways.

“One of my primary responsibilities is coordinating the Academic Support program at WPS, partially funded by Title 1,” she said. “I consult with teachers and interventionists, supervise, and evaluate educational technicians and classroom teachers, assist with technology, coordinate, and facilitate professional development, and even run a few of my own intervention groups with students. I’m a core member of our school’s Response to Intervention (RTI) team and I work to facilitate the plans laid out in those meetings for students. I assist our school in analyzing different types of data to help us inform programmatic decisions concerning student learning. I am also a Diversity Equity and Inclusion team member.”

According to Petros, the most challenging aspect of her work is not having perfect answers every time.

“When we’re monitoring student progress for one student or for a whole school and we don’t have the exact reason why, it’s hard for me,” she said. “I always want to be able to provide our teachers and ed techs with a clear path forward, but education is a process, and that process is often messy. I’m thankful to have a supportive team of creative thinkers at the table in situations like those.”

Originally from Ellsworth, she moved to Massachusetts and completed an undergraduate degree in English and Elementary Education at Wellesley College and then went on to obtain a master’s degree in educational leadership at Boston College’s Lynch School.

She started her career in education as a student teacher in the Boston Public Schools while also helping to coordinate volunteers for after-school and summer programs that served the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston.

“I taught and led grade level teams as a fifth-grade teacher in Needham, Massachusetts for five years where I also interned in educational leadership,” she said. “My husband and I returned in 2019 and began our family shortly thereafter. I worked at Pownal Elementary School in RSU 5 from 2019 to earlier this year as a second- and third-grade teacher as well as leadership team member. I’ve done urban, suburban, rural, you name it.”

Searching for the right school leadership position for her since moving back to Maine, Petros had a dream to help lead a school for many years, but it had to be the right position.

“The role of instructional leader seemed to be the perfect blend of what I was looking for, a leadership role with a focus on the improvement of teaching and learning,” she said. “The role of instructional leader is unique and very few districts have similar roles. When I tell people my job title inside and outside of our district, there's always ultimately the question, ‘So what does that mean?’ I think that is both the beauty and the challenge of a position that people do not have a preconceived notion of. Having to define my position helps me remain focused on the goal of my work.”

“My husband, Matt, has always been one of my biggest supporters. He moved his entire life to Massachusetts for me, and he continues to fully partner in this crazy life we lead. We have two beautiful yet wild toddlers under the age of 4 and without his help, jumping head-first into a leadership role would have been impossible,” Petros said. “He loves to know I’m doing what I love. Sometimes I won’t stop talking about it. My daughters would probably say they like that they get to come to fun events like WPS Fall Fest and Movie Nights, plus extra time on the playground when Mom needs to do some extra work.”

She says the public would be surprised to know that very few decisions are made without input from someone or whole teams of people and she leans heavily on the other members of the leadership team at WPS including Dr. Kyle Rhoads, Diana Jordan, and Rebecca Miller to give her honest feedback and input.

“My work at WPS so far has emphasized the importance of building, prioritizing, and maintaining relationships with students and staff,” Petros said. “It is so easy to feel lost in a large school, and I feel it is one of my many duties to ensure that staff and students feel safe, welcome, and respected at our school.” <

Windham Chamber Singers able to reschedule Lewiston performance

By Masha Yurkevich

The April snowstorm caused many to lose power and caused the Windham Chamber Singers (WCS) to lose most of their entire spring tour. But Dr. Richard Nickerson, the conductor of the Chamber Singers since 1988, said that the performance at the Franco Center in Lewiston was the only concert that was able to be rescheduled.

The April nor'easter storm forced the Windham Chamber
Singers to cancel much of its planned spring tour, but
the concert in Lewiston at the Franco Center was able
to be rescheduled and was held in late April.
COURTESY PHOTO 
The Chamber Singer's history goes back 37 years and they have performed all over the world, but this was their first time they were performing in Lewiston. It was a wonderful night in a beautiful venue and both the choir and audience were electric.

“There isn't enough time or space to tell you what this group means to me,” says Nickerson. “My primary goal is to make music at the highest level. I hope the students will also gain an understanding of how to work together towards a common goal. We are ambassadors for our school, town, state and country and take that responsibility very seriously.”

Abigail Coleman, Windham Chamber Singers president, has been part of the Chamber Singers for all four years during her high school career.

“I have looked up to the Chamber Singers since third grade when I performed with them during the District Art Show, but I had never felt a very fierce interest in auditioning, mostly because I was convinced that I'd never be accepted,” says Coleman. After a virtual audition during COVID, she was delighted to learn that she had been accepted.

“Chamber Singers means the entire world to me,” says Coleman. “I have met some of my dearest friends through this group, friends who share the same passions as I do. This group has given me an incredible relationship with music; it has allowed me to sing so many amazing songs and be a part of so many fulfilling performances.”

Performing with the group has made her want to continue singing for a long time after she graduates, and she doesn't anticipate that this feeling will go away for a long time.

“I enjoy everything about being part of the Chamber Singers. I love rehearsing for three hours every Wednesday, and I love spending time with my peers beforehand while we wait for rehearsals to start. I love the sense of community it brings, and the bonds that can only be created with something as powerful as music,” says Coleman. “I love traveling with them and creating memories. I love every minute of every performance we do. Being able to show every audience what we have worked so hard for, whether that be the RSU14 faculty at the very beginning of the year, or the incredible people who come to AmFam, or any of the concerts in between, it fills me with a sense of pride and belonging that I have failed to find anywhere else.”

Coleman says that Chamber Singers has taught her many valuable lessons, big and small, but the biggest lesson that she will take away from her time in this group is taking responsibility.

“It sounds very simple,” she says, “but I have been taught through practicing my music, being to every single rehearsal and performance, and being in the Vice President and President roles that if you take full responsibility and make sure you are prepared, the outcome will be so much more fulfilling knowing how hard you worked. It was a lesson that I as a freshman needed to learn, and it is a lesson that I will carry throughout my entire life.”

Next year, Coleman will be majoring in Business Management and Marketing in college. Her career goals have nothing to do with music, and that is fully intentional.

"Music is my outlet and my personal way to decompress and allow myself to forget every other stressful component of my life,” she says. “I completely plan to pursue music throughout my life; however, it will strictly remain a hobby. My love for music is very special to me, and I do not want that love to fade by making it something that I have to do rather than something I get to do.”

Being part of Chamber Singers for the past four years has been an honor and something that will always be special to Coleman.

“It's given me so many dear friends, life lessons, and I can thank this group for being responsible for how happy I've been during high school. I will always be incredibly thankful for everything that the music, my friends, and Dr. Nickerson have done for me.”

The next upcoming Chamber Singers concert will be on Thursday, May 30 at Windham High School. This will be the Senior Concert and this event will honor the graduating class of 2024. <

Little Sebago Lake Association celebrating centennial anniversary

By Kaysa Jalbert

In honor of its centennial anniversary, Little Sebago Lake Association (LSLA) is hosting an abundance of events this summer in celebration of 100 years since the association was first formed in 1924. Activities kick off with a golf outing for lake community members and friends, then later a blessing of the lake with special guests from a Native American tribe, and many more festivities for all ages, all summer long.

To keep you caught up, here’s an ordered list of the events.

The first event is an inaugural fundraiser Golf Classic tournament created and planned in celebration of the centennial anniversary. “We hope to do this every year,” said Debra Lavoie, Board of Directors, and centennial Golf Classic organizer. “If the community really embraces it and we have a good turnout, then we will make it an annual event.”

The LSLA Golf Classic will take place on June 24 at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray. It starts at 8 a.m. for the lake community and friends to take part in foursomes in contests and win prizes.

“We have been really supported by the Windham and Gray businesses who have donated gift certificates and other gifts in-kind,” says Lavoie. “The tournament costs $125 per person or $500 per team includes golf, cart, contests, and lunch.”

The LSLA Annual Meeting will be held on July 13 at the American Legion Hall in Gray and will end with a social gathering.

The headline event of the centennial celebration will be the Blessing of the Lake at 10 a.m. July 14 on the shoreland of the pasture on the lake. People are invited to bring their boats and listen to the blessing.

“We are thankful for the lake for the past 100 years,” said Pam Wilkinson, President of the Little Sebago Lake Association. “Then we will bless the lake for the next 100 years. A pastor will say some words and lead a chant for the blessing.”

LSLA welcomes special guests that will play an invitation song on the windpipes and drums to welcome spirits and bless the land.

“They will also call for the Four Directions, welcoming the spirits to come forwards and help us in the blessing,” says Wilkinson.

In addition to those events, on July 17 LSLA hosts a “Lake Learn Fun Day” for kids to learn about the water, do some painting, study facts about loons and build fairy houses.

On July 20, LSLA will conduct a “Music on the Beach” event in the lower lake on the east shore for participants to float around and listen to live music.

The annual Pirate Parade will happen on July 27 and will include more than 100 boats with pirate decorations. People are also allowed to decorate their boats for this year’s Olympic Games. The parade begins in the lower narrows and travels to the upper narrows of Little Sebago Lake.

Test your knowledge starting August 3 with an online scavenger hunt called “So You Think You Know Little Sebago Lake.” Participants must take specific pictures of the lake, answer questions about the lake, and submit their answers on the LSLA website.

A classic boat and Amphicar parade also is set for August 10 and anyone is welcome to show off their antique boats. This usually includes Chris-crafts, Corsons, and many others.

LSLA will also host a Waterski show with the date to be determined and an ongoing decoration of the scarecrow that is a three-month event in which people submit their names and each month a name is drawn for that person to decorate the scarecrow how they please, so keep an eye out for the scarecrows changing costumes throughout the summertime.

Little Sebago Lake Associations is a non-profit organization that owns and operates Hopkins Dam. They prioritize protecting, restoring, and improving the lake’s water quality and fragile ecosystem, including the 2,009 acres, 30.6 miles of shoreline and 25 or more islands from degradation. The association is operated by 15 board members and volunteers.

Little Sebago Lake Association’s first annual meeting was held Sept. 6,1924 where they discussed different topics than those of today, such as fishing, ice harvesting, firewood procurement and road maintenance. Since 2002, LSLA has partnered with Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection focusing on a long-term collaborative effort to protect water quality at Little Sebago Lake. <

Fay bond bill to promote design, development and maintenance of Maine trails signed into law

AUGUSTA – A bipartisan bond measure sponsored by State Rep. Jessica Fay, D-Raymond, that would provide $30 million over four years to invest in the design, development and maintenance of trails statewide was signed into law last week and will appear on the November ballot.

State Rep. Jessica Fay
If approved by a majority of Maine voters, funding would provide grants to nonprofits, municipalities and other divisions of government across the state to support non-motorized, motorized and multi-use trails. The funds would be managed by the Bureau of Parks and Lands, which currently manages the federal Recreation Trails Program.

Funding would be distributed over four years, and applicants would be required to demonstrate at least 20 percent in matching contributions, leveraging at least $6 million in additional funds.

“Although Maine people love our trails for walking, hiking, biking, skiing, snowmobiling, ATVing and many other purposes, the state makes almost no investment in this resource,” said Fay. “I want us to strive for a future in which people across the full range of abilities have access to trails that provide options for exercise, inspiration, transportation and thrills. If approved by voters, this bond will get us started on the path to funding some great projects across Maine that will improve and expand our trails.”

The bond measure has been supported by many environmental organizations in Maine.

“The Trails Bond is supported by more than 520 organizations, businesses and towns from every corner of Maine,” said Pete Didisheim, advocacy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “At a time when so many things seem to be dividing us, this bond that will be on the November ballot offers a rare opportunity to unite us around something we all value – our trails, the ones we have today and the ones we could build for tomorrow.”


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

Maine recommends taking precautions against browntail moth health risks

AUGUSTA – The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), Maine Forest Service (MFS), and 211 Maine remind Maine residents to use caution, watch out for browntail moth caterpillars and to take steps to limit potential health risks caused by the caterpillars.

The Maine Forest Service has seen evidence of browntail
moth infestations in all Maine counties and urges people
to take precautions when outside for increased risk of
contact with the toxic browntail moth hairs. The greatest
risk for exposure to the toxic hairs is between April and July.
COURTESY PHOTO 
These caterpillars shed tiny hairs that can cause a skin reaction which is similar to poison ivy. When the hairs become airborne, they may be inhaled and cause trouble breathing.

As people head outside for recreation and yard maintenance this spring, they face increased risk of contact with the toxic hairs. During the past three years, Maine Forest Service has seen evidence of browntail moth infestations in all Maine counties throughout the state.

The greatest risk for exposure to the toxic hairs is between April and July when the larger caterpillars are active.

The hairs can land anywhere, including on trees, gardens, lawns, outdoor furniture and decks. They also float in the air and the hairs remain toxic in the environment for up to three years. Activities such as mowing, raking, and sweeping can stir up the hairs.

Most individuals affected by the hairs develop a rash that lasts for a few hours up to several days. In more sensitive individuals, the rash can be severe and last for weeks. Inhaling the hairs may cause respiratory distress in some people.

The rash and difficulty breathing result from both the toxin in the hairs and barbs on the hairs that cause them to become embedded in the skin and airways.

Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and eliminating ongoing exposure. There is no specific treatment for the rash or breathing problems caused by exposure to browntail moth hairs.

Browntail moth caterpillars themselves are easy to identify. They are dark brown with white stripes along the sides and two red-orange dots on the back. Younger caterpillars lack these white stripes.

The steps that Mainers can take to protect themselves from browntail moth hairs include:

** Avoid places infested by caterpillars. To view a map of infestations, visit the Interactive Browntail Moth Dashboard

** When performing activities outdoors that may stir up caterpillar hairs, aim for damp days or spray vegetation down with a hose. The moisture helps keep the hairs from becoming airborne while you are working; cover face with respirator and goggles; tightly secure clothing around the neck, wrists, and ankles; take cool showers and change clothes after outdoor activities in infested areas; and dry laundry inside to avoid hairs embedding into clothing.

For more information and details:

** Contact 211 Maine for answers to frequently asked questions about browntail moths:

** Dial 211 (or 207-874-2211)

** Text your ZIP code to 898-211

** Maine CDC Browntail Moth Webpage: www.maine.gov/dhhs/browntailmoth

** Maine Forest Service Browntail Moth Webpage: www.maine.gov/dacf/knockoutbtm <

May 3, 2024

Raymond Waterways ramps up activities for 2024

By Nancy Crilly-Kirk

The Raymond Waterways Protective Association (RWPA) has changed its working name to Raymond Waterways. The organization also has a new logo, and a new website.

The website was designed by Sheila Bourque and can be found at Raymondwaterways.org. The new logo was designed by Ian Maready.

The Mill Street Dam in Raymond will be undergoing
restoration starting June 1 and running through 
September 1. All work will be performed on the down
water side of the bridge heading from Main Street
to Route 85. SUBMITTED PHOTO 
In late March, a dedicated group of volunteers, hosted by former Raymond Waterways Presidents Neil and Peggy Jensen, stuffed, and labeled 1,500 envelopes for the Raymond Waterways annual appeal, which was sent to shoreland and other Raymond residents. A rack card of information about controlling erosion was also included for posting on refrigerators. Volunteers including the Jensens, Marie Connolly, Bob and Sibyl French, Steve Craine, Bunny Westcott, and Nancy Crilly-Kirk helped with the mailing.

Donations are welcome and there is a tab on the group’s website, Raymondwaterways.org, for information as well as connections that allow for Paypal or credit card donations. It will list donors on the website and for next year’s mailing unless you ask to not be included.

The Mill Street Dam project will begin early this summer and may affect water levels on Panther Pond, Crescent Lake, and Raymond Pond.

Bob Harmon, President of the Panther Pond Association relayed the following information on the Mill Street Dam project for this summer.

“As most of you have heard, the dam on Mill Street will be undergoing a restoration starting on June 1 of this year,” he said. “It will begin on June 1 and end on September 1. All of the work will be done on the down water side of the bridge on the right heading from Main Street to Route 85. Construction equipment will be stored in the area of the fish house. What you will see are sandbags incorporated with a 3-foot culvert that will be used to control the water level in Panther Pond.”

Harmon said it’s planned for the water level to be maintained at 80.5 feet per the gauge that is attached to the bridge embankment. It is possible that it may be necessary to lower the water level by an additional 6 inches. As a reference, in July 2022 for the month, the water level was at 80.5 feet.

“Mill Street will not be closed but frequently will be down to one lane, controlled by flaggers,” he said. “Access to the boat launch most likely will be difficult. Currently there are many trees blocking the ability to navigate a boat in both the Tenny River and Panther Run. We are coordinating an effort of volunteers, independent of our association, who can assist in helping clear the waterways. Boats, saws, rope, and personal power is needed. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Peter Leitner at vp@pantherpondassociation.org.”

He suggests launching watercraft and dock installations before June 1, using the boat launch at Crescent Lake once the trees have been removed, and to avoid Mill Street during construction.

“We will keep everyone updated via email on any major changes,” Harmon said. “If we do not have your email address, please send it to Pat Palmer at secretary@pantherpondassociation.org.”

Raymond Waterways also welcomed two new board members in April. They each bring valuable expertise and a willingness to work as volunteers to the organization.

Juliet Kirk, of Panther Pond and Chicago, joined the Raymond Waterways Board of Directors. Her family goes back more than a hundred years on Panther Pond, and she has spent every summer of her life on the lake as an avid swimmer and sailor. A graduate of Columbia University, where she was president of Engineers Without Borders, which built a well platform in Amanfrom, Ghana over two years, she is an engineer and Team Lead at EcoLab. She will be in charge of systems for the Raymond Waterways organization, including maintaining databases, mailing lists, and social media.

Peter Rowland of Sebago Lake joined the board in April as well. He graduated from Williams College and then was a part of the first class at the Veterinary School at Tufts University and studied pathology at the Veterinary College at Cornell. He taught at Cornell, beginning a pathology practice in 1994 that continues today. He moved to Raymond in 2014 and says that he loves living in a quiet cove off the north end of Jordan Bay. Water and wind sports are his favorites, and he spends many hours out on the water.

Rowland said he experienced the amazing transformation that occurred in Turtle Cove after the start of the Raymond Waterways control program for variable leaf milfoil. He is learning more details about invasive species through the programs run by the Lake Stewards of Maine and hopes to participate as a monitor, as well as learn where else he may fit in best with the work of the RWPA.

Susan Gallo, Executive Director of the advocacy group Maine Lakes, will be the speaker at the annual meeting of Raymond Waterways at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 22 at the Hawthorne House, located at

41 Hawthorne Road, at the corner of Raymond Cape Road in Raymond.

She will present information on the current and future health of our lakes and will talk about our new program, LakeSmart, a consulting program where Raymond Waterways will send trained volunteers to your lakefront property to advise you, in a non-regulatory, non-enforceable way, how to lessen erosion on your property. Erosion is one of the biggest threats to lake health, and there are many simple, affordable ways to avoid it.

Steve Craine, of the Raymond Waterways board is heading the program, which should begin this summer. There will be time for the audience to ask questions and to voice any concerns or suggestions to the Raymond Waterways board and membership.

Admission is free, everyone is welcome, and refreshments will be served. No registration is required. Raymond Waterways members can register for door prizes at the beginning of the meeting, and there will be a table for new members to join or former members to rejoin.

Raymond Waterways is looking for a new treasurer for its board to oversee payroll, bookkeeping, donations, and grant reporting. They are especially interested in someone with a finance background who can help us design new donation vehicles to help us build an endowment. You need to be a Raymond resident.

The organization is also looking for people willing to be trained in invasive species identification, water sampling techniques, and courtesy boat inspections. Their new LakeSmart erosion control program also needs volunteers to help lakeside residents identify and mitigate erosion into our lakes. And they need a volunteer or two to deliver rack cards and replenish supplies at various groceries and businesses in Raymond. This would be a once weekly job throughout the summer.

If you have other ideas about how you may help Raymond Waterways, please let them know.

For more details, visit the Volunteers page at raymondwaterways.org. <

Raymond Running Club provides fitness and fun for local children

By Kendra Raymond

A lucky group of Raymond kids have found the perfect outlet for all their spare energy: the Raymond Running Club. The recreation-led track and field team recently kicked off its 2024 season and the program aims to get young athletes active and outside, the perfect combination.

Raymond Running Club participants gather before a recent
practice at Saint Joseph's College in Standish. Made up of
students from Raymond Elementary, the program is a 
collaboration between Raymond Parks and Recreation
and Saint Joseph's College to inspire children to become
active outdoors. PHOTO BY MADDIE REDMOND   
Raymond Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with Saint Joseph’s College this year to provide a new and improved location for the club. Use of the college track has allowed the program to grow substantially, and participants are grateful for the fantastic opportunity.

Coaches are now able to measure distances and times more accurately than at the previous location at Raymond Elementary School. Plus, the running surface at the track is much better than the grass at Raymond Elementary School.

“We are extremely thankful to Saint Joseph’s College for allowing us to use their track this season,” said Raymond Running Coach Maddie Redmond. After years of using the field at Raymond Elementary, it is wonderful for the kids to participate while on a real track and field, and it also helps with planning practices. A huge bonus is having the Saint Joseph’s track and field athletes to mentor the kids this season. We had a Saint Joe’s athlete demonstrate the shot put at our first practice, and the kids loved it.”

The Raymond Running Club athletes meet once a week for about an hour to practice on the Saint Joseph’s College track.

Coaches and parent volunteers are always available to provide plenty of guidance and training. Runners are encouraged to practice good sportsmanship, have a positive attitude, and be willing to try new things.

Parks and Recreation Director Joseph Crocker says that he is encouraged about the future of the program. He said that the Raymond Running Club started several years ago with the addition of track and field last year. The club is home to cross country in the fall and the track and field program in the spring for younger athletes.

There are currently 36 runners in Grades 1 through 6 participating in the short but action-packed season.

Athletes compete in many track and field events including sprints, distance, and relays.

“We do modified events for this group including a soft shot put and Turbo Jav (a plastic javelin with a rubber tip,” Crocker said. “This allows the athletes to learn the skills safely. Everyone has kind of a certain thing they flock to as they go through the season. We like to encourage the kids to try a bit of everything.”

He explained that as the kids develop more focus on what they like, the coaches can fine-tune what they will work on with each athlete.

“There are so many rewarding parts of volunteering with this club. After coaching for many seasons, it’s so fun to get to know these kids, watch them enjoy the running club and continue to improve and learn new skills,” Redmond said. “I also could not do this without my awesome co-coaches this season including Ashley O’Brion, Abby Feather, Melissa Dlugos, Jackie Sawyer, and Stephanie Burke.”

Crocker says that volunteers are a huge asset, and the Raymond Running Club program couldn’t exist without them.

Raymond Running Club will host its first track meet of the season on Saturday May 18 at the SJC track. The team will travel to face other teams including Hollis and Old Orchard Beach a little later in the season.

“It’s great to work with other kids from different programs and makes it pretty fun for the kids,” Crocker said.

Registration is closed for this year’s program but keep an eye out for updates for the fall cross country season and other programs in the future.

“This club has come a long way from when it first started at Raymond Elementary School,” Redmond said. “This is a very popular program, and I hope it continues to grow. I also hope that our local community recognizes how important it is to collaborate to provide space for programs that may not otherwise have a facility. Will Rothermel, the Saint Joseph’s College athletic director, has provided an amazing opportunity for these kids. I’m really looking forward to this season.”

Updates about the program are available on Facebook or visit the Raymond Parks and Recreation website at https://www.raymondmaine.org/content/parks-recreation <

Nor’easter storm damage clean-up continues across Windham

By Masha Yurkevich

Unlike the popular saying of April showers brings May flowers, Windham’s April started with snow and destructive winds instead of raindrops and puddles. The April 4 nor’easter storm caused significant damage, knocked out power for a majority of residents for several days and left the property of many people in a mess of debris and fallen limbs, causing uncertainty about who is responsible for the clean-up afterward.

Tree damage remains a problem in Windham
more than a month following a nor'easter
that caused significant damage in the area.
PHOTO BY ED PIERCE
“This storm had a significant impact on vegetation in Windham,” said Jon Earle, Windham’s Public Works Director. “There were numerous trees and limbs down on both town and private roads.”

In Windham itself, the storm’s strong winds were widespread and combined with at least 2 feet of heavy snow causing tree limbs to fall on overhead power lines resulting in power outages for more than 90 percent of residents. The power outages affected more than 300,000 homes and businesses statewide and persisted through that weekend.

Some trees lining major roadways in and out of Windham sustained damage and can still be seen almost a month later.

Earle said that damage from a storm like this keeps the Public Works crews busy.

“Public Works has been working consistently doing clean-up of branches, limbs and debris,” says Earle. “After the snow was over, we immediately transitioned into clearing limbs, trees, and debris from the roadways. We prioritized by getting roads passable for emergency services and vehicles. At this point, we are continuing clean-up efforts with a focus on eliminating hazards to the roadways, safety hazards, and anything that could cause drainage issues.”

Some residents have been hauling tree branches that have fallen to the roadside, expecting Windham Public Works to pick them up. Unfortunately, Earle said that Public Works just doesn’t have the resources to do curbside brush clean-up from private property.

“The crew is working hard to get everything cleaned up and move on to their normal spring work tasks such as sweeping, mowing, and preparing roads to be paved,” says Earle. “We ask that residents do not put debris and limbs from their property on the side of the road in anticipation of the town collecting it.”

However, this debris and limbs can be taken to and disposed of at the Windham’s Brush Disposal Site. Most of the debris from the latest storms can be brought to the leaf and brush disposal site located on Enterprise Drive in North Windham.

“We ask that all debris, limbs, branches, brush, leaves, bark, and mulch, brought to this location be limited to less than 12 inches in diameter,” says Earle. “This program is only for the disposal of leaves and brush. We ask that you separate the leaves from the brush and dispose of it in the appropriate areas as the posted signs indicate. If you transport your leaves in bags, please remove them from the bags and take the bags with you. We ask that brush be no larger than 12 inches in diameter.”

The leaf and brush disposal area is located at the very end of Enterprise Drive, off of Route 302, behind the self-storage building.

Earle said that because of the storm which struck the community on April 4 and April 5 with significant winds and snowfall, the spring leaf and brush site will remain open until May 12.

For more information, please visit https://www.windhammaine.us/586/Leaf-and-Brush-Disposal or call Windham Public Works at 207-892-1909.<