Friday, October 12, 2018

Insight: Lessons of the fall


By Lorraine Glowczak

Last Friday before working at my job in Portland, I went for a walk on one of my favorite nature trails. My hike in nature did not occur as I had imagined.

Deep in thought, I wasn’t paying attention as I was walking down a steep and narrow path. As my mind was elsewhere and not on the path ahead of me, I tripped. Instead of turning on the sharp curve on the downhill trail, I kept walking forward where no path existed – only an abrupt slope. I tumbled approximately twenty feet down the side of the hill. My yoga skirt slid above my head, exposing myself to anyone who was also enjoying the day in nature. I was embarrassed and mortified, walking away with bruises and scratches.

But that wasn’t the only fall I took last week.

When you are an editor/writer for a small-town newspaper, it is very wise to stay present with a focused mind. If you make one tiny misstep – any errors that are not spotted and corrected are exposed to the world to see. Yes. That happened in last week’s edition.

For the experienced readers among us as well as the grammarians in our lives, my error was cringeworthy and stones were thrown with accuracy. Some of the comments received were correct and deserving. As a result, I walked away from last week’s publication embarrassed, mortified and bruised. Making a mistake in public is a very challenging life experience, to say the least. Much like my yoga skirt sliding up my body and over my head, the exposure is humiliating - not only for me, but for the whole Windham Eagle newspaper team.

What lessons did I learn from this fall?

There are people who will support you through your mistakes.

What helped me the most through this public embarrassment were the words of encouragement I also received. Comments such as “We are all human and we all make mistakes”, were helpful as I picked myself up. Some people even helped me laugh at myself. Just before teaching my class last Thursday, employees of Windham/Raymond Adult Education offered humor and suggestions to turn the mistake around.

The newspaper team, even though my error reflected negatively upon them, continue to love me anyway.

Your mistakes make you more compassionate.

Although I’ve always been shy about throwing stones, I am more aware of how the power of words can play a role in an individual’s life.

You discover more about yourself.

The greatest lesson learned is that I may have chosen my career wisely, despite my errors. As I was leaving the Windham/Raymond Adult Education office to teach my class, Director Tom Nash said to me regarding the misspelling of the word Sergeant was, “Lorraine. No one died.”

Relief flooded over me. Of the many mistakes I have made in life, I will thank the heavens above that I have chosen the career path of writer and editor….and not a surgeon.

My apologies to Sergeant Raymond Williams, our readers and the whole Windham Eagle news team as well as to those hikers who may have seen more of me than they bargained for.



Letters to the Editor


Editor's note: The following letters to the Editor are printed in the order they were received.

Dear Editor,

I would like to cast my endorsement for Anne B. Gass of Gray, as an independent candidate for the Maine House of Representatives, District 67. 

Anne and I have known each other since we both served on the Board of the Gray Community Endowment. I have found her to be honest, forward thinking and willing to listen to everyone she encounters whether they agree with her or not.

I have long been troubled by the indifference of our current legislature to the wishes of the people and I am convinced that Anne would be a strong advocate for our schools, for land conservation and water quality protection for our lakes plus, as a small business owner, would be proactive in attracting small businesses and helping them stay in Maine. 

We need Anne to help move our state forward and I urge you to join with me in voting “Yes” for Anne Gass in November.

Sincerely,
Natalie Blake
Gray

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter as my unreserved support for the candidacy of Gregory Foster for Maine House District 66. I believe that he possesses the qualities of a good leader with sound judgement.
I have known Greg for many years. He not only believes in the importance of Maine traditions but also in preserving our valued way of life.  I believe that as a Representative that he would represent the district with great honor, ensuring that the people’s interest would be properly represented and protected.  

Greg has the initiative and dedication to make a significant difference to the progress of the region.

Sincerely,
Tammy (Townsend) Brown

 Dear Editor,


This letter is to urge people to vote for the re-election of Representative Patrick Corey.
I brought a concern of personal interest to him before his initial election to office.  Soon after his election, he got to work on that issue, diligently researched, and tirelessly pursued a bill which ultimately changed a law in the Maine State Retirement System.

It was a change that was viewed as fair and passed unanimously in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and was supported by the Maine State Retirement System as well.
This change affected not only me but hundreds of other people who found themselves in the same situation as myself regarding divorce and retirement benefits.

I am proud of being a part of Representative Corey's first bill and I thank him for his listening, consultation, fair-mindedness, and perseverance to bring about necessary changes.  He is an honorable man who truly represents the interests of his constituents.

Please vote for Representative Patrick Corey on November 6th.

Sincerely,
Sharon Skolfield Bickford

 Dear Editor,

I’m writing in support of Jennie Butler for Maine State Representative for Windham House District 25.

Jennie has the education and experience to be an excellent Legislator. She has the ability to listen to and work with people with various viewpoints. As a math teacher at Windham High School and at the University of Southern Maine, she has the skills to understand a problem and assess solutions. She can listen to and communicate with many people.  

Jennie’s life experience as a wife, mother, daughter supporting a parent at home, church member, teacher and coach has given her insights into how our community does and doesn’t support our members. Her work in organizations such as Scouting, Windham Recreation Advisory Committee and Windham Athletic Boosters shows her ethic of service as well as her ability to work with others to get things done.

I encourage everyone to join me in voting for Jennie Butler in November.

Sincerely,
Jane Pringle
Windham

 Dear Editor and district 24 residents,

Anyone who’s kept current with local issues realizes the importance of an active and informed citizenry. Of equal importance is having a representative who’s lived amongst their constituents for decades and knows firsthand the issues locals discuss most around the farm table or sideline.

Windham needs a representative that grew up here, raised a family here and has worked on committees and boards that effect positive change for residents. That’s why I pray you join me in voting Tom Tyler as District 24 State Representative on November 6th.

Tom not only served as Windham’s Deputy Fire Chief for over 20 years, he was a member of the Windham Economic Development Council (WEDC) and served on the Public Safety Building Committee. Tom is a proud lifetime member of Cumberland Farmers Club and is on the Board of Directors Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine & SAM-ILA.

Tom has vowed to fight for our large veteran population, find affordable healthcare options for all, honor our outdoor heritage and 2nd amendment rights, support Maine’s farming, fishing and forestry industries, and ensure job creation and small business growth for Windham.

We need Tom Tyler’s proven leadership in Augusta so Windham can flourish for decades to come.
Let’s send Tom Tyler to Augusta and “continue to make Maine the way life should be!”

Rebecca Cummings
Windham Town Council/East District



Dear Editor and district 25 residents,

We need a strong bipartisan leader, like Patrick Corey, in Augusta that will keep the focus on the economic, environmental, and wellness issues we the people of Windham deem important.

Patrick knows us well thanks to his tireless involvement on local boards, committees, and task forces such as Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors and the Task Force to Help Shape the Next Generation of Maine Land Conservation. He’s a Director of Falmouth Rod & Gun Club, former Director of Windham Land Trust, and worked on Windham’s Comprehensive Plan.

Patrick maintained 100% attendance during the 128th legislative session and was instrumental to LD9: An Act to Prohibit the Creation of a Firearms Owner Registry and LD1418: An Act to Ban the Purchase of Retail Marijuana & Retail Marijuana Products with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program Benefits. Or as Patrick would say, “Need before weed!”

I pray my neighbors in District 25 send Representative Patrick Corey back to Augusta to keep fighting for our natural resources, time-honored traditions, and core values! Vote for Patrick Corey on November 6th.

Rebecca Cummings
Windham Town Council/East District

 Dear Editor,


As a professional young adult living in Gray with my family, I support and endorse Sue Austin for Maine House District #67 and encourage my fellow district citizens in joining me with voting for her in the November election.

Like myself, Sue was born and raised in Gray and threads of our community are carefully woven into the commitment for which she stands. I continue to be impressed with Sue's ability to listen and discuss even minute concerns as well as her ability to direct much needed quality development throughout our community.

Sue’s genuine presence and participation in local events, meetings and fundraisers is nearly constant. Beyond what Sue has demonstrated, I find her to be honest, trustworthy and dedicated; all of which are essential for the office in which she should be elected.

Respectfully,
Dr. Marissa D. Stewart, PT, DPT, BS

Friday, October 5, 2018

Insight: Panacea, or the next best thing


By Lorraine Glowczak

According to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a panacea is “a remedy for all ills or difficulties; a cure-all.”

Although it is true that solutions to all society’s struggles and problems have yet to be found, there
are a few of us wannabe alchemists who are still trying to concoct an elixir to life. Before you are tempted to laugh or criticize these few pseudoscientists, be sure you are not one of us.

For example: Have you looked for ways to lower your risk for Alzheimer’s? What about that perfect diet that not only helps you maintain your weight but also energizes you, helps you to live longer – and reduces anxiety, too? What about working towards the cure for cancer?

Whew! I thought so. I was worried I might be the only one in search of, not necessarily a panacea – but actionable steps toward helping to balance the many ills in the world. However, since the facts are stacked against any perfect remedies, how shabby would it be for this alchemist, and others like me, to settle for the next best thing?

For those who may not know, Britain’s University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry states, “……the introduction of alchemy to the west came in the 8th century when the Arabs brought it to Spain. From here it quickly spread to the rest of Europe.

The Arabian belief was that metals are made up of mercury and sulfur in varying proportions. Gold was seen as the perfect metal and all others were less perfect, an idea popular among western alchemists. It was a very popular idea indeed, that these lower metals could be transmuted into gold….”

Although the alchemists were not successful in converting less important metals into the sought after soft, malleable and highly prized metal, their efforts “led to the manufacture of amalgams and advances in many other chemical processes and the apparatus required for them……leading to what is now, the science of Chemistry.”

Which, many might say – is the next best thing.

This leads me back to solving all the countless troubles and misfortunes. Our efforts may not create gold but may convert a few obstacles into advantages for some.

The Chef and Nutrition Director, in the effort to provide locally grown foods for students in the RSU14 lunch program may not solve the world hunger issues, but they certainly transformed the lives of a few students (see front page). Perhaps last Thursday’s Make Shift Coffee House will not turn the Titanic of division around immediately, but its success may slow down the speed of the boat (see page 5).

If we can’t obtain a panacea or create a true elixir for all the difficulties we face – I for one think it may be okay to accept the next best thing.

Here’s to all the alchemist of life! Keep up the good work.

http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2002/crabb/history.html


Letters to the Editor


Editor's note: The following letters are published in the order they are received.

Dear Editor,

I would like to express my support to re-elect State Representative Jess Fay.  I have known Jess for over 15 years.  As a legislator, I have found her to be thoughtful, engaged in the community, and responsive to the people in her district.

Jess is available to her constituents, takes the time to find out what issues concern them at both the local and state level, and listens closely to the public's questions. Jess looks at both sides of every issue to make sure she makes the most informed decision.

She is also willing to help a constituent in need. During last winter’s cold snap, a friend who was out of oil was unable to get a delivery for weeks--adding oil 5 gallons at a time because that is what she could carry. I shared the story with Jess. Jess was able to get them a delivery the next day.

Jess works diligently with her fellow legislators to solve issues impacting the residents of Raymond, Casco, and Poland.  Please vote for Jess Fay in November.

Leigh Walker


Dear Editor,


It is disheartening to witness National party line politics seep into Maine state politics with parties spending more time digging in on “their” side than focusing on serving constituents and addressing problems facing us all. When Anne Gass announced running as an Independent for District 67, I was not surprised. In my many discussions with Anne over the years, I have found her deeply engaged in our community. She is knowledgeable about issues at the local and state level, but never stops seeking ways to learn more. She is willing to talk to anyone, about any topic and always starts by listening.

In group discussions, she is always quick to point out a good idea or a different way of looking at things. Her professional and volunteer work has given her a strong problem-solving skill set, understanding of state policies, helped her build a network of resources and created a long record of accomplishments.

Anne understands the new approaches to critical issues – such as traffic management/safety, housing and broadband expansion – and available funding mechanisms to assist with addressing them.
This will make Anne a strong advocate for her constituents ensuring we have a seat at the table in Augusta. She looks forward to working collaboratively with other Representatives to get things done. 

Anne has strong values and will fight for them; but is a true independent and understands the best solution is often a combination of ideas and approaches. I hope you join me in voting for Anne Gass.

Thank you,
Sandy Carder


Dear Editor,

With political sign season upon us, I would like to point out a few things. 
Maine is a tourist destination in the fall. People travel here to see our beautiful fall foliage. Instead of beautiful leaves, they get a blast of eye grabbing signs. Vote No! Vote Yes! Vote for me! 

When I see political signs on public property, I can't help but think of the waste these signs are. It is not showing support for a candidate. It is a contest to see who can buy the most signs, that will be trash in a month. That money could be put to much better use.  

The Windham Rotary at Foster's corner is beautiful. The Windham Rotary Garden Club takes time each year to plant and weed the island gardens. All of the signs detract from the efforts to make it look nice. 

I am asking people to have a conversation with their reps about this issue. It only takes a quick phone call, email, or text message. 

If you support a candidate, put a sign on your own lawn or share their name on Facebook. Let's put an end to unnecessary clutter and waste.  

Jennifer Harmon

Dear Editor,


I have had the honor and privilege serving the people of my home town as both a State Representative and State Senator for 16 years. During that time, I have come into contact with many other elected officials. Today, I would like to offer my support and endorsement for State Representative Jessica Fay.

Jess and I have served together on the environmental and natural resources committee. I found Jess to be thoughtful and knowledgeable on the wide-ranging legislative matters before us. She did her homework in preparing for the hearings and subject matter at hand. We worked to find solutions and common ground.

Yes, there were times we disagreed. We did this respectfully.

It is my hope you will return Jessica back to the Maine House of Representatives this November. We need people like Jess serving this wonderful state of ours.

State Senator Tom Saviello

Dear Editor,

When Jessica Fay opened her retail flower shop, I’d purchase a few flowers. We’d chat, and she’d arrange the greens and flowers into a small bouquet as she wrapped them. I’d ask for long lasting flowers. She’d remember and educate me on new flowers. I saw a kind person with grace. She was like a green shoot in the spring.

Sometimes we’d talk about community happenings and local situations of concern. I didn’t want to take all her time, but she’d say, “No, I’m interested,” and we’d finish our conversation. The shoot was becoming a stem.

Jess offered some flower arranging classes with various local libraries. Each library could keep proceeds from these classes as their fund raisers. We took away something beautiful. She showed her genuine interest in creating with a few flowers and in what was said about how our library was fairing. I saw some color at the top of that stem.

The time arrived when she told me about her long interest in political affairs and her family who was involved in politics. This was not an idle idea; she was definitely interested in people’s needs. She listened, she heard, she knew how to achieve the goals. That color was taking the shape of a bud.

Jessica Fay went for state representative and was voted into the house. The flower was blooming. She worked with both parties, Democrat and Republican. Goals were achieved. Bills that she presented were passed. Other bills were passed with her input and cooperation. She is in full bloom and fragrant.

Vote for Jess in November.

Rev. Joanne E. Painter
Casco





Friday, September 28, 2018

Insight: Black grass by Lorraine Glowczak


A many of you may know by now, I grew up and lived the first 30 years of my life in Kansas. Much like each region of the United States, there is a fun and quirky story of a local ritual or custom that is misunderstood by many and makes a great story to share.

A typical story from America’s heartland is the tale of the black grass.

For those who may not know, farmers, ranchers and caretakers of tall grass prairie preserves will intentionally burn the land in the spring time of the year as part of prairie maintenance, leaving the ground in black ash. For those from other regions of the U.S. as well as visitors from other Countries who are not aware of the practice and its sustainable environmental purpose often see the blackened land and have concluded that Kansas can grow black grass. Yes. This is a true story.

So, what does a prairie maintenance practice from 1500 miles away have to do with us – here in Windham and Raymond.

The fact is, it’s been a rough couple of weeks (or months) among our community leaders and thus a rough couple of weeks and months for the majority of us. In a conversation I had recently with a well-respected individual with many years of leadership experience; I had asked him his thoughts on the matter on the recent difficulties. “Lorraine,” he began. “This has all happened before, it is cyclical, and it will get better.”

This brings me back to the annual and cyclical practice of prairie burning. According to the National Park Service, tallgrass prairies can accumulate an enormous amount of plants in one year. The leaves die in the fall and the roots go dormant during the cold winter months. The following spring, new shoots grow but as years progress, the leaf litter accumulates and creates a thick thatch covering the ground. New shoots find it harder to take in sunlight and nutrients are locked up in plants yet to decay. The intentional fires burn the thick thatch, and within a few weeks (and not years), fresh green begins to sprout from dark ground.

But it is not just one type of grass or flower that comes back, there are varieties that add to the character and beauty of the land. A beauty that has been renewed by fire, a destructive force that transforms.

So, as we travel through everyday life and witness moments of chaos, what we might interpret as black grass, may simply be fresh green sprouts we cannot see yet. But once we begin to realize they are there, we will begin to understand the purpose of the dark land - remembering the cycle and know that, as always, it will get better.




Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor,

The Raymond Age-Friendly Community Connections group was created by volunteers as a way to engage Raymond residents of all ages with each other and to create or expand access to services which would allow residents to age in place.  With the Select Board’s support, Raymond has been accepted into the national Age-Friendly network established by the World Health Organization and AARP.

To raise awareness of the initiative and its goals, the Age-Friendly group held two fundraisers in the late summer.

The group would like to thank the Mosquito Ice Cream Shop for allowing us to set up a booth on their property on the Saturday of a very busy Labor Day weekend as the first fundraiser.  Travis and Darcy McClellan were pleased to support our cause and were gracious in offering space for the booth over the holiday weekend.

The second fundraiser, our First Annual Age-Friendly Yard Sale, was held on the following Saturday at the Sheri Gagnon Memorial Park on Mill Street.  The group would like to thank the Town of Raymond for allowing us to hold the yard sale, which again included an Age-Friendly booth, as well the Raymond residents who sold their goods at the sale. 

For both events, raffles for a bicycle and an inflatable kayak were held.  The bicycle was generously donated by Rick Schaeffer and was won by Sue V, a seasonal Raymond resident; the kayak was donated by a member of the Age-Friendly group and was won by Mike L, a year-round Raymond resident.   The Raymond Village Community Church and the Raymond Village Library loaned tables for both events. 

If you have an interest in hearing more about the Age-Friendly Community Connections effort, please join us for our monthly meetings at the Raymond Public Safety Building on the second Monday of each month at 2 p.m.  Meetings typically feature a presentation on a topic of interest to attendees, including Raymond Fire and Rescue’s discussion of home safety, Opportunity Alliance’s Foster Grandparents initiative, and the American Red Cross’ free smoke detector program.  Many future volunteer opportunities will emerge from these meetings and the survey results.

If you have questions, wish to complete the paper version of the survey or wish to volunteer, please contact us by phone at 655-2222 or by email at agefriendlyraymond@gmail.com.  If you’d like to complete the on-line survey, please go to the Town of Raymond website, and click the Age-Friendly Community Survey logo.  Your input and participation are very important.


Respectfully submitted,
Laurie Wallace and Susan Moore
Age-Friendly Community Connections


Dear Editor,

I am writing for our young kids who can't write for themselves yet. I was hoping to write a happy note about the library's "renovation", but instead this is a sad and upsetting note from a children's perspective and a parent's. How could the library cut the children's area in half (if not more)? This renovation is an outrage. Our children’s section was not big enough for the amount of traffic it would get on days there is story time before, and now they cut the space for a storage closet and a bigger checkout area. How is this ok?

I have to speak out because our children cannot express the looks on their faces when they walked into the "new" library and it had less space. Why is it the children that always get the short end of the stick? Why in a community this large and wealthy, can they do that to our future?

Children today are our future tomorrow. They should be encouraged to read more and have space to have fun in a library so that learning is not cramped and uncomfortable. I truly believe our children deserve more and could have gotten more out of this renovation if they were put as a priority.
My children and I are so glad that this library is not our only option, we have all decided as a family to go to neighboring libraries for their story times instead because of better selection of books, activities and space.

Thank you, 
Simone Emmons



 Dear Editor,


I have known Jennie Butler for many years and she is a quality person who is dedicated to what she believes in. She would make an excellent Legislator.

Roxanne Metayer
Windham




Dear Editor,

Please see this letter as my extremely strong support for Greg Foster to be the next Maine State Representative for Maine House Seat #66, Parts Raymond, Casco and Poland. I write due to my strong support for him as well as after reading a recent letter of support for the current seat holder. It is fair to say both candidates are nice people but Greg stands out in this race by far.

The letter I referenced commended the current representative for working collaboratively with others. In my current experiences in Augusta that has not been evident but even if it is, I do not want representation from politicians seeking to simply pass all the bills. There can be over 2,000 bills presented each session and I would ask you if you are hopeful of getting 2,000 new laws next year? 

Greg Foster comes with strong core values. I would suggest he will filter the proposals and come out to support only legislation that will benefit his community and his state. Greg does not feel the need to pass bills to then put on his resume.

Greg Foster is also different from our current representative in that:

-He is not just showing up, he has a long history of successful service and involvement locally and statewide.
-His core values come from faith, beliefs and life experiences. The other party seems to be confused on any number of present issues confronting us. They are confused on things that have worked for thousands of years. How can you make good decisions when you are confused? Greg’s core beliefs guide him and help him to make good decisions.
-Greg will, within reason, attend all important votes.
-Greg is a leader Now, sometimes at the front but as well in what he does quietly.
-Greg will not just go along with what party leadership tells him. In this current climate of political disagreement, Greg will always do what he believes to be right and best for our community. He is not seeking to be a politician.

I hope you will ask candidates who knock at your door why are you a republican and why are you a democrat? I hope you will challenge their answers. I hope you will send a strong message to say that the party of attacks and illogical ideas must rethink and start again. Please vote for Greg Foster for Maine House 66!

Sincerely,
Mike McClellan
Raymond


Friday, September 21, 2018

Insight: Living boldly by Lorraine Glowczak


One day last week, a friend whose usual fashion choice is subtle, decided to step out of her comfort zone and was sporting black and white polka dotted leggings. “Wow! Love the wild look,” I said. She smiled and responded, “I decided to be bold, today.”

Interestingly, the word bold has been following me around all week, popping up in a variety of settings and in multiple ways. It has even had the audacity to scream loudly in my face more than once. So instead of ignoring it, I have decided to hear what it had to say. I have been paying attention and these are the lessons I learned from some of the articles in this week’s edition.

Bold people make the most out of every day.
In this week’s interview with Linda Gregoire, I learned that despite the many challenges she and her husband John face, they are able to rise above it and move forward with a winning and grateful attitude. In their efforts to embrace the most out of life, it seems the most out of life and the many gifts a community can offer, return to them.

Bold people help others succeed
In their recent purchase of BNI Maine (see front page), I witnessed Kelly and Niels Mank as they support not only BNI members but all those who surround them. Through their “pay it forward” approach, many in their presence have succeed in their own lives.

Bold people have clear priorities
I’m certain I’m not the only one to discover that Senator Diamond sets very clear priorities and takes action towards them. In his effort to improve the life of people and children in Maine, he works on the objectives that will make a positive impact for all. He diligently works to accomplish those objectives and we all benefit as a result.

Bold people solve problems
Aiden Day of Windham saw an environmental concern at one of his favorite spots in nature (see page?). Although it is true that he was working towards his final requirements on his Eagle Scout Project, it took time and effort on his part to contribute to an important cause. His action paired with knowledge not only preserved an important part of Windham’s ecosystem, but created a space for others to enjoy.

So, this brings me to where I am now. When was the last time I made the most out of every day? When was the last time I helped others succeed? When was the last time I had clear priorities? When was the last time I solved an important problem?

When was the last time I was bold?