Friday, August 10, 2018

Insight: Making a case for laziness by Lorraine Glowczak

When this newspaper reaches your mailboxes, it will be a holiday that I suspect most will avoid like the plague. I know I will. But for those who are courageous and without fear may venture to celebrate the official “National Lazy Day” on Friday, August 10.

I have always enjoyed quirky and fun holidays that give life an amusing twist and helps us not take this big fat world – and ourselves - too seriously.

For the sheer fun of it, I did an internet search on the following: “making a case for lazy.” And I was shocked to discover the results were more about the negative aspects of laziness and how to “handle” or work alongside people with this bad habit.

I admit, I’m not a fan of slothfulness or day-long, everyday couch potato syndrome. But must we constantly remain “on” at all times to be successful entrepreneurs, dedicated employees, and productive, contributing members of society?

Most Americans admit to checking their work emails – even while hiking the Colorado Rockies, on a cruise ship in the Cayman Islands or even sightseeing in Venice. I must confess that I too, have worked and checked email while on vacation. For whatever reason, we don’t allow ourselves much downtime. To do so is a sign of laziness and laziness is not productive. Or so we believe.

There is evidence that sitting idle and doing nothing – giving mind and body a break – offer several advantages. True success, reaching goals and the reduction of anxiety is among the positive outcomes of downtime. According to an article on the website, “researchers have shown that there are several advantages of ‘doing nothing’. Electrical activity in the brain that seems to set certain sorts of memories is more continuous and frequent amid downtime…our brain profits by going offline or disconnecting for even short intervals of time.”

An article from Scientific American online magazine reiterates that giving ourselves a break does, in fact, create productivity. It replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation and encourages innovation and creativity. “A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future,” the article said. And if this is not enough to encourage a moment or day of being lazy – the article also states that downtime may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order.

In the same article, essayist Tim Kreider is quoted as saying, "The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done."

So, there you have it – my case for taking time to do absolutely nothing. If you wish to celebrate National Lazy Day, you can use any or all of this editorial on laziness to stay home and sleep in bed all day. Without guilt!

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

My name is Bethany Fulton. I reside in Windham with my two children Ellias and Jovie as well as my significant other, Daniel. 

We suffered a house fire on June 6, 2018. I would like to thank the Windham Little League, Dairy Queen, Aroma Joe’s, Windham Power Sports and other members of the community for the overwhelming outpour of support and generosity. 

We can’t thank everyone enough. We greatly appreciate all of the love and support during this difficult time.

Thank you,
Bethany Fulton

Friday, August 3, 2018

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Thank you so much for your delightful coverage of the Raymond Arts Alliance’s fundraiser at Hacker’s Hill on July 21.  I just wanted to give a grateful shout out to the wonderful residents who turned out to support us, as well as the numerous businesses in Raymond that also helped make the event such a fun success! These included: Cricket’s Corner, Essentials, Hole in the Wall Studio Works, Sebago Trails Paddling Co, Paris Farmer’s Union, Kim Hansen (artist at large) as well as the Umbrella Factory (Naples) for their donation of supplies. 
Truly, we couldn’t do it without everyone.

Thank you,
Mary-Therese Duffy
Raymond Arts Alliance

Insight: Stumbling into fate by Lorraine Glowczak

It happens about 95 percent of the time. I’m amazed at the serendipity that occurs between the subject I choose to write for my weekly editorial and the quote of the week.

It is true that I personally pick the quote of the week early Monday morning before I set out for the day. I also personally write the editorial. But, I randomly pick the quote with no idea what kind of “insight” I will stumble upon by early Wednesday morning when I sit down to discover what I have learned in the past seven days.

This week’s chosen quote is, “As one we are smart, but together we are brilliant.” I picked that quote before my meetings and interviews with the Raymond Age Friendly Community grant recipients (you’ll have to wait for next week’s edition), Melissa and Michael Hutchison – the parents of Kelli of whom the Kelli 5K is named; and attending the Windham Community Skate Park public meeting.
As I went from one meeting to the next – I met the most resilient, passionate and dedicated people. I saw nothing but pure brilliance in every instance. It is as if the quote was a premonition of what I was to encounter throughout my work day.

I realize there is a lot of strife and I’m not denying the fact that there is also struggle that can, has and may continue to divide us from time to time. But because the newspaper’s focus and mission are to provide positive and solution-based news, I see more harmony within the Windham and Raymond communities than I witness discord.

This is what I have observed in one day’s work (with a little help from the blog,

Synergy. I saw what the combined action of separate entities can accomplish that would not exist otherwise.
Sharing resources. Everyone is great at one thing and when you bring all those “one smart resources” together – brilliance happens.
Increased community awareness. By being a part of bigger groups, the message is spread more quickly and better relayed to the community. 
Innovation. Much of what happens is a result of challenges. The collaboration I have witnessed this week has transformed difficult problems into exceptional resolutions.

So, what is my lesson for the week? Let me serve as a reminder of two things. 1) Despite all the ugliness and dissention that exists, there really are decent, moral and noble people in the world who are creating good and livable societies. 2) It may be true, after all – you do get to experience what you focus upon. I guess I’m a very lucky editor and reporter to work for a newspaper that focuses on the positive. And perhaps it was fate that this newspaper exists among the two brilliant communities of Windham and Raymond.

Thank you. Keep up the good work. You make this job the best job I’ve ever had.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Insight: A problem; a privilege by Lorraine Glowczak

I have always admired those individuals who knew from the moment they were born what they were going to do with their one, wild and crazy life. That has never been my experience. I popped into the world seeing everything as a possibility and an adventure to be had.

While I enjoy this quirk about myself, there are a few downsides when one has too many passions. The biggest challenge is the inability to choose from all the possibilities available. The name they give this “problem” is analysis paralysis.

I’m getting better in this arena but some days the challenge returns, reminding me that my quirk still exists. The “problem” returned recently as I did a google search on a new side venture I’m contemplating. My research led me to “What to do when you have too many passions and you feel stuck as a result.”

I had once believed that my analysis paralysis was a unique issue for me and a few unlucky others. However, my research has taught me otherwise. I discovered a multitude of online magazine articles from and to blogs that delve into ways to act when you have too many choices. In fact, wanting to do everything - at least once - is more common than the more focused among us.

As I continued in my research, I began to realize that those of us who face this conundrum are from western cultures. I never once came across a blog written by a woman in Syria or a man from South Sudan who were contemplating what option to do next or which passion they should pursue. Instead, I only found that the major challenges faced by those from struggling or war-torn cultures were much more complex. Survival of self and family seemed to be their focus.

In the website, /, I found the following statements from individuals who simply want a calm and normal life:

“I’d like it that the war ends and then we can go looking for my parents. If I have to stay here in Uganda, then I hope that we get enough to eat, and we stay safe….”

“I hope to return to normal life, a life where I’m not constantly nervous, where the ground is not constantly giving way. Leaving home has created so much instability. You can’t predict anything from one moment to the next. Now, what you do doesn’t equal what you get.”

“I wish 2018 is a year of peace, with justice and more compassion for all the refugees in the world. I wish people around the world would return to their hearts as human beings.”

After reading all the statements from those driven out of their native homelands, it dawned on me how very privileged I am to live in a land where I get the opportunity of having too many options. 

My “problem” of being paralyzed to act as a result, seems somehow frivolous now. Instead, “my problem” has become my motivating force, seeing it as an opportunity to move in the direction I deem important – and a calling. And, I’ll stop complaining. I promise.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

For over half a century, Americans have paid into the Medicare system with the expectation that they will have access to health care in retirement. For those 65-plus, Medicare provides more affordable health coverage where private insurance would cost seniors out of the market. It is of paramount importance for Mainers currently on Medicare, and for those who will need it in the future, that the program continues as promised.

In Maine, with long winters and high heating costs, the financial burden of medical care without Medicare coverage could not be afforded on a retiree’s fixed income. In 2015, Maine Medicare beneficiaries had a median personal income of $21,000, barely enough to cover life’s necessities such as food, utilities, transportation, housing and medicine.

In the upcoming election, the future of Medicare is on the line. The 300,000 Mainers on Medicare pay high enough out-of-pocket costs as it is. We need to protect Medicare to ensure the economic stability of our older residents in the years to come. Any additional medical financial strain would only jeopardize their independence. That’s why AARP Maine is working to ensure that you know where the candidates stand on this important issue. You can learn more and take our pledge to vote in November at

July 30 marks 52 years since Medicare was signed into law. Before Medicare, older Americans struggled to find health coverage they could afford, which left many individuals either uninsured or living in poverty. Let’s celebrate all of the good the program has done to further our health and financial security which we worked so hard to achieve.

Sammee Quong
AARP Maine Advisory Council Volunteer

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Insight: Familiarity in a changing world by Lorraine Glowczak

Bill Bryson once said, “Coming back to your native land after an absence of many years is a surprisingly unsettling business, a little like waking up from a long coma.” As I write this Insight, I’m sitting at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library in Kansas. I am in my home state to visit family and a few close friends. I enjoy returning home and seeing “old” places again for the first time. 

But, much like Bryson, I am always a bit startled when I see how much things have changed over the years. When I left home 20 years ago for my “short adventure” to the eastern seaboard, I somehow believed the life I left behind would freeze in time and would always greet me, just as it was when I left, remaining in its usual way upon my return. 

I have discovered over the years however, the world does not revolve around me. The landscape and people continue to transform, refusing to accommodate my perception of time. This often happens when I visit someone I haven’t seen for a long while. On this return visit, I got to meet up with a young friend of mine. She is the 33-year-old daughter of one of my best friends in Kansas and is now a mother to two young daughters.

Bri and I, along with her mother and brother, have gone on a couple of road trips in the past. One such adventure included a trip through the Southwest and along the West Coast, camping along the way. We have often reminisced about the silly mishaps on this excursion, but there was no mention of such during this visit. Instead, we spent some time talking about what life was like now that her mother passed away from cancer 1 ½ years ago. 

It was the first time we met up after her mother’s passing and life celebration. As Bri spoke, I was again amazed at how time travels and changes so rapidly. “Where did that nine-year old go?” I asked myself, thinking back to the moment I first met Bri and her mother.

But as I continued to listen to her, she amazed me with her strength and sense of serenity despite all things. There was a deep and calm beauty about Bri that she inherited from her mother and I began to sense a familiarity. For just a moment in time, life didn’t change. My native land and all who were in it when I left, remained the same. Her mother was before me, unchanged. As soon as the feeling arrived, it left just as quickly.

As for my own family, the grandchildren now have children of their own. “The only thing that has changed about us is that we are old, fat and gray,” my four brothers will joke. There is a bit of truth to their humor, and humor is one constant gift they give to me.

I thank my lucky stars that we can capture a few flashes of familiarity in an ever-changing world. And if we let it, it can soothe those drastic moments of change that startle us.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I recently attended a memorial service for Robert L. Hunt. When I was a young boy, he taught me to swim. In high school, he was my science teacher. He taught us about “climate change” long before that term was ever used.

When I was a young man, Bob got me involved in Windham town affairs. While he was a selectman, he asked me to serve on the Police Study Committee for our town. Then in the mid-1970s I was elected to the Windham Town Council and served with him on that board.

Although we belonged to different political parties and we sometimes differed on issues, we always treated each other with civility. Bob was pragmatic and very practical. He taught me that being involved with government required great patience.

Throughout my political career, Bob would call me with advice. When I was a Cumberland County Commissioner, he would call me about the Saco River Corridor Commission. During my years in the Maine Legislature, he called me about various issues. It seems, Bob had an opinion about everything and they were always informed opinions. By the way, Bob was not the first person with the last name “Hunt” to call me. His mother, Thelma, also called me. Those who knew Thelma will understand why I mention her calls. Let’s just say she had some rather strong opinions.

All of my relationships with Bob Hunt were important to me, but by far, the most significant was my enduring friendship with him.

I will conclude by telling about my last visit with him. Earlier this year, my wife and I were visiting a relative at the Bridgton Health Care facility when we talked to his daughter Ella, who worked there. She told us that her dad was a resident at the facility. I certainly had to stop by his room to visit him. I stepped into his room and stood by the foot of his bed and announced that “I am looking for a guy named Bob Hunt”. He looked up with a twinkle in his eye and said, “I am looking at a guy named Gary Plummer.”  We had a wonderful visit that I will always cherish.

Knowing Bob and his family has enriched my life beyond words.

Gary Plummer

Friday, July 13, 2018

Insight: Everything happens by Lorraine Glowczak

"Hello everyone,” the email began. “I won’t be able to make it to tonight’s meeting. We received word from my brother that today might be the day and I want to spend time with my family.”

The email, sent to a board of directors of which I am a member, was referring to the individual’s 24-year-old nephew who is in the process of taking his last breaths. He was diagnosed with brain cancer six months ago.

The news comes on the cusp of my reading the book, “Everything Happens for a Reason – and Other Lies I’ve Loved” by Kate Bowler. Bowler is a cancer survivor and an Assistant Professor of Duke Divinity School.

Although I am one to hop on the think-positive-train wholeheartedly, I have always hesitated when “everything happens for a reason” is uttered. I believe, without a doubt, we have some control over what happens in our lives and we most likely have control over our responses. But is it safe to say that EVERYTHING happens for a reason?

I think it is possible that some things just happen and when they are unfair, confusing and painful we tend to apply human reason to make sense of it all. This, in and of itself, really bears no issue. 

If one believes that absolutely everything happens for a reason, fair enough. But it can become an issue, when one is certain of a specific viewpoint. It has the tendency to create judgment and make us overly certain of our personal truths which seem to give us the freedom to apply the “reason” philosophy on everyone - in every situation.

In the midst of painful experiences, such as cancer and other unbearables, this certainty can cause greater harm, pain and damage to those who are already suffering.

Bowler shares some of her thoughts on how people responded to her cancer. “My [email] inbox is full of strangers giving reasons. People offer them like wildflowers picked along the way…they want me to know, without a doubt, that there is hidden logic to this seeming chaos. (p. 112).

Bowler states the hardest lessons come from the “solutions people” who tell her that attitude is everything and it determines one’s destiny. “I am immediately worn out by the tyranny of prescriptive joy,” she said.

I’m not offering what each person should do or believe. I can’t. Because no one owns the copyright on truth. What I’m suggesting is that perhaps we should not make assumptions in certain circumstances where the lines of reason are fuzzy. Especially for those already facing horrendous situations. What good is it to be right in such instances if it only wears down an already weary and broken person?

In terms of whether there is a reason for everything or not is not as important as the awareness that what we say, can and does have a great impact on others.

So, let’s just agree that either everything happens for a reason or everything happens for a reason and enjoy our perceptions while being mindful of others.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Insight: Freedom, Independence and Unity by Lorraine Glowczak

When this edition of the Windham Eagle newspaper hits the newsstands on Thursday and arrives in mailboxes on Friday, the Fourth of July celebrations will be behind us. Or will it?

In my observation, what I find amazing about this holiday is that we celebrate in unison, despite our differences. Now almost 240 years after the first celebration, the enthusiasm around the birth of American independence is just as strong as ever. Granted, it may be different than the first days of merriment, it is the one holiday that most people all over the nation celebrate together and have since its inception.

It’s true that we no longer hold mock funerals of King George III to symbolize our freedom from the monarchy as in the early years, but we do celebrate in one or more of the following ways: parades, patriotic music, backyard barbecues and picnics, swimming, boating, kayaking, laying on the beach and, last but certainly not least, enjoying the fireworks that light up the evening skies.

The gathering together as American citizens to celebrate in this way, whether we agree with the politics of the country or not, is an important foundation for another type of independence. The independence and freedom to exist in alignment with our perception of a life well lived.

John Adams, who assisted Thomas Jefferson in the writing of the Declaration of Independence, was no different. He worked closely with five other individuals (including Jefferson) to draft a formal document to justify the separation from England. Despite his deep-seated views, he worked with others to meet a common goal for the common good.

But Adams has been referred to as a radical in various ways. It is said that he believed the correct date to celebrate Independence Day was July 2nd - because that is the date the Continental Congress voted in favor of the resolution for independence. It didn’t matter to Adams that the resolution was formally adopted two days later, on July 4th.

To remain genuine to his personal viewpoint, it is reported that Adams refused invitations to attend or celebrate 4th of July events as a form of protest. How’s that for showing your independence on Independence Day?

The fact is – Independence Day can be celebrated every day and in our own ways. Is it easy to live together individually, celebrating it all? Well – maybe not easy but it’s possible and it can be done. How?

If we remember that we all warrant freedom and independence, no matter what – then I think we could celebrate each other uniquely, together in unity, and the freedom that comes with both every day. “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” (Lincoln).

I think we all deserve it, don’t you?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Insight: The ocean and the forest by Lorraine Glowczak

"Bringing Unity to the Community” is the Windham Summerfest motto. The Summerfest Committee and all others who worked tirelessly in creating a fun and successful community event, did an incredible job making all the parts come together this past weekend. Kudos to you all. 

I imagine; however, there were some challenges along the way and it wasn’t as easy as they made it appear.

There is no denying that words like civility, teamwork and unity are becoming tattered and worn with overuse and I suspect many of us are becoming tattered and worn by trying to bring those words to our lives through actions.

Participating with others while working toward the same goal is a thorny task that challenges even the best among us. This creates the question: Is there an effortless way to collaborate with others without too many puncture wounds for all involved?

I wish I could offer a thought provoking answer. Not only would it help solve many of today’s issues in civility, but I would have the next best-selling self-help book on the shelves today.  

What I can pose is one tiny little perspective that may help ease some pain of challenging interactions.

One of my favorite spots to visit when I first moved to Maine was Mackworth Island. One day while exploring, I took a moment to sit on a beach on one side of the island to enjoy the incredible view. All I saw was rolling waves, boulders in the water and the Portland skyline. Ready to head back, I turned around to walk toward the path on the inside of the Island and was struck by the beauty of the tall pines, trees and flowering bushes. It dawned on me that by just turning around in a 90-degree angle, I had a completely different viewpoint.

What I had observed that day was Mackworth Island provided two opposing truths. One truth was the ocean, the other truth - the forest. 

Imagine if there were two different people and they had their backs to one another. The individual facing the ocean could say, “Wow! Look at all the water! Isn’t it beautiful?” The other person might possibly respond, “You’re nuts and you’re wrong. There is no water at all.”

They both would be right. They could argue back and forth or discover that the ocean and the forest both exists. If they choose to learn from each other, their world will expand to include both perceptions of nature. If they continue to disagree and hold steadfast to their viewpoints, their understanding of the world will remain small – and boring.

The next time we all work together, perhaps we can remember this analogy or something similar, and the efforts of teamwork may not seem so painful. It may also expand our view of the world and make us a bit more interesting.

If this week’s Insight makes your next collaborative effort go more smoothly and work with betters with others, let me know. I have always wanted to be a best-selling author!

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

AARP Maine and our more than 230,000 members would like to extend our congratulations and best wishes to all the candidates running in the general election in November.

We would also like to remind everyone that November is not that far away. By far, the biggest and most robust voting bloc in the state is that of Mainers over the age of 50. The issues impacting older Mainers are of particular importance here in Maine, the oldest state in the country. Whether it’s the cost of living in retirement, access to housing that’s affordable or staying connected to friends and family, AARP Maine is advocating on these issues.

At the national level, nothing is more important to our members than protecting the Social Security and Medicare benefits we have worked all our lives to earn. In Maine, we expect the next legislature will be asked to deal with health care costs and access (especially for those aged 50-64), prescription drug pricing, and transparency about how pricing is established. We also look forward to following the election by celebrating November as the first-ever Maine Family Caregivers Month and raising awareness about the needs and challenges of 178,000 Maine family caregivers.

It’s a loaded agenda, and we welcome the participation of all who would serve in elected office. 
At the same time, AARP’s “Be The Difference. Vote. campaign encourages all Mainers to make their voices heard. Help us send a strong message to candidates and politicians this election by visiting and adding your name. What are the issues of concern to you and to your family?  Every vote counts, and together, we can hold politicians accountable regarding the issues that matter.

Rich Livingston
AARP Maine Volunteer State President

Friday, June 22, 2018

Insight: A summer of wonder by Lorraine Glowczak

"Remember when we were kids and summers lasted forever,” Frank, my husband asked with nostalgia as we floated in our kayaks on the lake this past Sunday. It was the perfect lazy summer day in all its cloudless blue-sky glory and that’s when summer officially began for me.

Technically, summer officially begins on Thursday, June 21st - the longest day of the year. It is the one day the sun dilly-dallies because it thinks it has forever. And, that feeling of “forever” is what summers were like when I was a child. It seems that feeling is also true for others.

But then we grow up and summers speed by in a matter of seconds. Why is that? Why does summer seem to go faster as we grow older? There are many theories that explain the perception of time and why it appears to travel more quickly as we progress in years. The online magazine, “Scientific American” offers one thought on the issue, “…our brains encode new experiences, but not familiar ones, into memory, and our retrospective judgment of time is based on how many new memories we create over a certain period.”

The article further explains that from childhood to early adulthood, we experience new and exciting adventures for the first time and we learn many new skills. When we become adults, we crowd our lives with busy routine and we experience fewer unfamiliar moments.

So, I have decided to do an experiment this summer and act like a kid with the hopes that the summer might appear to last a little bit longer.

I know it may seem like an oxymoron, but I have already “scheduled” free time in my calendar. As a child, I experienced a lot of free time – and in fact, I even had a few moments of boredom. But this is when I discovered ants carrying objects bigger than their bodies, heard the call of a whip-poor-will for the first time and realized there was this thing called the Milky Way - and it wasn’t a chocolate bar.

On days when boredom seized me, I hopped on my bike with friends and we explored the surrounding wheat fields, back country roads and streams. It was fascinating to see firsthand the main ingredient for bread or discover how snakes slither across the road and to see tadpoles before they became frogs. I had no plans, I just showed up.

So, wish me luck with my experiment to slow summertime down and grab the childlike wonder of my youth. I will do my best to make the familiar, unfamiliar again and to rediscover my surroundings, as if I am seeing them for the first time. If you want to join me in this effort, please do.

Perhaps we can rediscover together all the amazing ways our small-town communities are alive – by just showing up without expectations. If you are up to it – join me in one of the bounce houses this Saturday at the 2018 Windham Summerfest. I’ll race you.

Editorial essays by two sixth-grade students

Below you will find essays written by two sixth-grade students from Windham Middles School. These essays were a part of their Project-based learning on water pollution.

Essay One
Ensuring our water is clean
By Jaida Narvaez

Did you know that only one quart of gasoline or oil can contaminate up to 250,000 gallons of water? In the state of Maine, we need to keep our water clean, because before we know it, we might not have any at all!

Before you worry about running out of clean water, remember that after you read this essay, you will be educated with this topic. And if you are willing to, you can help stop water pollution!
Some things we will talk about in this writing piece are; natural pollutants, human activities that lead to polluting and ways you can help prevent pollution.

Natural Pollutants:
These are pollutants that are caused by substances of a natural origin. Although they are natural, they still pollute our water and cause serious problems. Natural pollutants, such as soil are mostly carried into the water from runoff. As stated earlier, these pollutants can cause serious problems like algae growth, decreased clarity, and warm water. You might think warm water is a good thing, but it actually means that the water has less oxygen in it. When water has a very low oxygen level, some low tolerant animals in the water might die. This is a problem because eventually, some aquatic animals could go extinct.

Human Impacts:
As you probably know, humans can pollute the water too. Sometimes, we pollute without even knowing it! Next, we will talk about some of the things you might have done that could lead to polluting our water. Not picking up your pet’s waste. Besides just being gross, this will lead to much bigger problems in our water. When it rains, runoff will carry your dog’s waste to the water. As a result, the water will be turbid, and have low oxygen levels. Furthermore, when oil from your boat ends up in the water, along with oil from other boats, it destroys the insulating ability of fur bearing mammals. These animals would include sea otters and birds. Lastly for this paragraph, is fertilizers and pesticides. You might not think twice before adding fertilizer to your lawn to get healthy, luscious, green, grass. But if you don’t apply it correctly, you could pollute your nearest body of water. When runoff carries your fertilizer into the water, the nutrients from this chemical makes a rapid growth in algae in the water. As we learned earlier, when too much algae is in the water, it makes the water lose oxygen, which affects aquatic life.

You might feel hopeless after hearing about all the pollutants, but thankfully, there are solutions! For example, one solution would be rain gardens. Rain gardens are bowl-shaped gardens that are designed specifically to capture and filter runoff from roofs, driveways, and other hard surfaces. They collect water and allow it to sink, slowly, into the ground. Not only does it look good, but it is also a great way to reduce the amount of polluted runoff that flows into the water! Another solution would be an infiltration trench. These are basically trenches filled with gravel/crushed stone that collect runoff and filter the pollution out of it, making it cleaner for when it reaches our water. Lastly, you could try vegetated buffers. These are trees, shrubs, and other plants that catch polluted runoff before it reaches our water. Try some of these solutions, and you can help reduce pollution, save aquatic life, and keep our water clean!

Humans, nature, and animals all contribute to pollution, but now that you know these solutions, you can do your part to help reduce the amount of pollution that reaches our water! So next time that you apply fertilizer to your plants, leave your dog’s waste on the ground, let your boat leak oil, or see construction sites getting soil in the water, remember that all those things pollute our water. But you, can stop it. You can make a difference!

Essay Two
Fresh water pollution in Maine
By Joley Graden

3.4 million people die from waterborne diseases every day. Can you imagine not being able to turn on a faucet with clean water in it? Just imagine yourself going to your sink, turning on the faucet and filling a glass cup with fresh cold icy water. Because of untreated dirty unhealthy water, a child dies every 90 seconds from a water-related disease. In my opinion this is heartbreaking!  Luckily, we as Mainers don't have these kind of issues . . . yet. That’s why we need to treat our freshwater with care if we don't want to have these issues. Some other things you will learn about are what natural pollutants are and human impacts. Also you will learn solutions to these issues.

Natural Pollutants:
Natural pollution and human pollution are both bad but natural pollutants are the worst for our freshwater. Some examples of natural pollutants are soil, and animal waste. Soil is the number one pollutant in Maine because there's tons of it!  Soil: adds nutrients to the water which can cause algae blooms to grow which causes plants not to get nutrients because the algae is blocking their sunlight. Also, the animals can't get the food they need. In addition, when an algae bloom occurs, it makes the water turbid; makes water cloudy and the dissolved oxygen levels decrease; dissolved oxygen which is harmful to aquatic life. However, If the sediments were to get into a fish’s gills this would not just affect the fish, this would affect the consumers as well. People could end up getting sick with a waterborne illness. This is just some of the many effects of natural pollutants.     
Human Impact:
In my opinion human impact is the worst of all of them. I say this because most of the time you can choose whether to pollute the water or pick it up and dispose of it properly. Specifically, some human pollutants are car oil, fertilizers, herbicides, road salt and sand, litter, pesticides, car soap, factory waste, etc. Do you wash your car? Have you ever thought where the soaps go into? Well they all runoff into the closest water body (Watershed) and pollute the water; instead you could stop the pollution, so it doesn't affect the environment. Same with fertilizers if you don't apply them properly they can affect your watershed. Like for an example if you put down fertilizer when it’s going to rain the next day. There are many ways to solve these problems the question is will you take the time to solve them?

Now that you know some ways we harm our environment here are some ways to save it. On the other hand, using BMPs (best management practices) help reduce runoff and pollution. Some BMPs are vegetated buffers, rain barrels, rain gardens, infiltration trenches, and dry wells, etc. Some situations where you could use these solutions are when you have eroded spots on your lawn you could cover those spots with buffers to keep the soil/dirt from running off into the water. Another scenario is if you were washing your car on your paved driveway all of the soap and chemicals would runoff because of the pervious pavement but if you washed your car on the grass you would give the soaps time to infiltrate (soak into the ground) into the ground so it wouldn't harm are water bodies. When water goes into the atmosphere it does the same things as ground and plants. In a similar fashion, it takes the pollutants away so it’s not harming are water or the environment.

In closing, as we saw earlier freshwater pollution is a big problem in Maine and other places around the world. You can stop human impact by disposing of things the right way like clean up road salt and sand in your driveway (use a broom). However, you can stop natural pollutants by using BMPs to reduce runoff. BMPs are very important to stop pollution, and I recommend using them if you have these sorts of problems. According to Brian Tracy, “There are no limits to what you can accomplish, except the limits you place on your own thinking. If you are working on something that you really care about, you don't have to be pushed.”

Friday, June 15, 2018

Insight: Voice of the familiar by Lorraine Glowczak

"Does my voice sound too twangy?” That’s the question I asked fellow writers last week in a writer’s group I attend monthly. As an author, I am always concerned about my writer’s voice, but this time - it was my actual speaking voice that had me apprehensive.

Two weeks ago, I attended a creative, non-fiction essay workshop in Belfast and someone from that group invited me to publish my work on a community radio station in the Downeast and Midcoast areas. I accepted the invitation but admitted to my new friend that I still speak with a Kansas inflection and may not be able to pull off that “NPR” tone. She assured me that all would be fine. “The way you speak is what will add to the depth of your stories,” she said.

My writing group friends echoed her sentiment. Despite their encouragement, I was still not convinced. To help soothe my concerns, the group recorded me as I read one of my essays. Their feedback? I didn’t sound anything like myself. “You start out in your natural speaking voice but then changed to a softer, less impassioned version of you.” I was instructed to go home and listen to the recording.

I did as they recommended and was surprised to discover that what they believed wasn’t my voice, I believed was and it is exactly how I hear myself. As a result of this discovery, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about individuality; the way we express our unique style and how we play that out within our communities.

 Most of us wish to be liberated individuals, not succumbing to the “sheeple” way of life. However, we also don’t want to disassociate ourselves completely from the family and friends that complete us and are a part of something greater than ourselves.

I think the same is true of language and the way we speak. For example, for me to be a part of something greater, I spoke with an intonation and dialect as others around me. Not only did I speak that way to be a part of a whole, but as I learned during my days of linguistic study - I did that to be understood in an agreed upon language. This is true for everyone, not only for me.

So, in a sense - our voices and our language belong to everyone. It’s not just ours alone and it offers a bit of the familiar. This familiarity provides the springboard into our individuality - our unique voice.

The same can be said of my “NPR” radio voice, or the lack there of. The listeners of that community radio station turn on that program to hear the familiar. That doesn’t mean I should change my speaking voice but I might be careful to speak so I can be understood. I should do my best to refrain from speaking “tin” when I mean “ten” or “buuuuuk” when I mean “book”.

So, if you happen to ever be in a quandary over your individual voice (written, spoken or otherwise), I hope my little predicament and my little discovery helps you in some way.

Editorial Essay by Maddie Hancock

Teens versus pop culture
An argument essay written by seventh grader, Maddie Hancock of the Windham Middle School

For the past several years, teenagers and adults have been facing a problem: The content of three entertainment related subjects - music, movies, and television. These three categories each reference substances such as drugs and alcohol. In music, movies and television, substances are often associated with luxurious lifestyles and wealth which results in the glorifications of substance use.

Each year the number of references in each branch of media increases. In teenage and young adult years the brain is very vulnerable and susceptible to new ideas, but if those new ideas are harmful, that means trouble for the party involved. Often the representation of substance use without consequence leads to real life substances use. After all, exposing someone to a dangerous substance without also exposing them to the consequences is like giving a child a lollipop, but expecting them not to eat it. Nonetheless, many people choose to ignore the effects that references could have on people and choose to believe that substance use is solely the users choice, not at all influenced by any exposure. However, if drugs, alcohol, and opioids were not heavily represented in pop culture and the media, many teens and adults would not turn to those harmful substances.

Music is something that many people turn to influence the emotions, however, music happens to showcase an abundant amount of substance references. Depending on the genre of music, the percentage of references varies. For example, twenty-nine percent of all teens listen to pop music. Usually that would not seem like a problem, until you consider that about fifty percent of all pop music mentions some sort of substance, such as drugs or alcohol.

About twenty percent of teens listen to rap music which has an approximate thirty percent substance reference rate. About sixteen percent of teens listen to country music and country music has about a fifty percent reference rate - the primary substance mentioned is alcohol.

About eighteen percent of teens listen to Broadway music with about a zero percent reference rate. Finally, rock music is listened to by about seventeen percent of all teenagers and has about a thirty percent reference rate. Despite the fact that there are excessive mentions to substances within song lyrics, there are also many musicians who have or are currently using drugs or alcohol.

Many of the musicians who use substances credit them for the creativity of their lyrics. Since many people look up to artists, the substances use of the artist may be ignored or looked past. A Living Pianos writer contributed to the discussion, “The downside to drug use is very well documented in the music world. While it might allow certain musicians to be more ‘creative’ it does have its share of negative effects,” (Lenin, David). 

Artists who have openly admitted to substance use include the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Britney Spears, and Snoop Dogg; all who are closely followed and looked up to by their large fanbases. To summarize, drugs and alcohol are heavily appropriated in music because of the seemingly endless references in most genres, along with the fact that many substance-using musicians are still popular, and because of that many teens may see substances as a positive item instead of a dangerous one. While it may seem like there are a plentiful amount of substance references in music, substance references in movies occur at an even higher rate.

Movies are a very prominent part of our society, but they are also a piece of the puzzle when it comes to substance references. They are constantly advertised on billboards, television and sometimes social media platforms. Unsurprisingly, many references to substances are made in movies whether it be for comedic effect or to add suspense to the plot. Since movies are most commonly two to three hours long the consequences to using substances are rarely presented in a realistic way if they are even touched upon.

This can be interpreted by teens and adults to mean that the consequences of using drugs and alcohol are not extreme or that they simply do not exist. Those thoughts can sometimes lead to drug use and possibly addiction. While some may argue that representation of drugs and alcohol do not force others to actively use the drugs, it can be interpreted by some to make use seem okay to participate in usage. A journalist from New York Film Academy wrote,“. . . there has been a surge of drug films and drugs appearing much more often in movies, at a rate that is more than triple of that just twenty years ago. While drug use is on the rise in the U.S., on film, it’s an outright epidemic,” (Robins, Lincoln).

With substances abuse on the rise, many people are speculating that increased references are to blame; taking into consideration that substance references in movies have tripled. As children grow to teenagers and adults the content gets more explicit, which may not always be the best situation for easily influenced people. Movies makers may be able to provide excuses for the lack of consequences shown due to time limitations, but television shows cannot provide the same argument.

Television shows can run for various lengths depending on popularity, which is usually based off the plot, which may not realistically represent drug use. Some of the most popular television shows that have ever aired for a long span of time with a high viewer rate involve some sort of substance use at one time or another. For example, “Cheers” a television show popular in the eighties and nineties, was based off a bar, which brings about the obvious references to alcohol. There were rarely any consequences shown, but the characters were often put in to laughable situations because of alcohol usage.

Another popular show, “Friends” that may teenagers and adult watch, has a recurring plot of Chandler, a main character trying to quit smoking, which some of the negative repercussions are presented.

However, there are also many references to alcohol, which is used to numb pain or forget about pain in this show. Occasionally there are some consequences, but they are either minor or nonexistent. Most crime shows mention some sort of substance to enhance the plot because of the criminal aspect of using drugs or alcohol. Since many people watch television programs as a pastime, they are undoubtedly influenced by the plots, whether it deters them from usage, or if it is the more likely influence that drugs and alcohol do not have serious effects and that little harm will come to any user, possibly leading to actual substance use.

Another thing to take into consideration would be the medication advertisements. These are showcased as miracle workers and solutions to problems, but the side effects are only briefly touched upon. This can have dangerous outcomes. For example, a writer from wrote about drug advertisements on television: “Television advertising of over-the-counter drugs has been suspected of being a contributing factor in drug abuse among youth,” (LeBlanc, Jason). Television is not just light-hearted programming, it is something that contains hidden dangers for many people.

In conclusion, there is a plentiful supply of references to substances in popular culture. This heavy representation exposes people to these substances, most commonly without showing the negative consequences. When people are frequently exposed to negative things without being shown the repercussions, it can encourage them to partake in usage without considering what could go wrong. If these types of substances were either represented less frequently or not at all, many teenager and young adults would be deterred from substance usage. To start a movement for change, consider what you are watching or listening to, evaluate the dangers of the content you are exposing yourself to, and figure out how you can protect yourself and possibly others from turning to substances in times of strife.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Insight: Little life lessons nature can offer by Lorraine Glowczak

I wanted to offer something in this week’s editorial for the 2018 graduates. I thought and I thought and couldn’t come up with an inkling of wisdom that I could offer the students as they begin their new journeys.

Until that is, I was writing the article about videographer, Bill Blood who combines his love of videography and science education by travelling to Hawaii to capture and teach about geological formations. While writing it, I was inspired to research what the Hawaiian culture might perceive about the current erupting Kilauea volcano and the lessons some people in Hawaii might take from it. Perhaps in understanding how they learn from nature, I could reach my goal of offering something to the graduates.

In my research, I found a travel blog writer, Avia Venefica, who stated that volcanoes offer a few
lessons that most Hawaiians take seriously. “Volcanoes represent the upward challenge our lives sometimes present and they remind us of the goals we aspire to reach, the journey to get there, and the value of the climb to the top.”

In Maine, we typically align ourselves with monotheistic views, but we often also learn the values and lesson that nature provides us. Many people experience a transcendent connection in Maine’s natural environment, learning something personally and profoundly while participating in a favorite activity, be it hiking, kayaking or snowshoeing.

The following are a few life lessons that the natural beauty of Maine can potentially offer, not only for the 2018 graduates, but for all of us:

In addition to the “upward challenge” analogy Venefica offers, a hike up a Maine mountain can reflect the reality of peaks and valleys. Life is exciting and frustrating. There are always going to be good days and bad days, but it helps to know that everything is temporary. So, during the valley moments – just keep chugging away as the peak moments will be arriving soon. Of course, the opposite is also true. This keeps us humble.

Sitting in a kayak, one can’t help but notice how adaptable the water is – how easily the water divides and wraps itself around the kayak as it moves forward. Water can easily skirt around any object and keep moving onward. It can teach us to persist without struggle.

Personally, I think snow can teach us a major life lesson about individuality. Whether you have snowshoed or cross country skied through a deep and fresh layer of snow, you will notice there is not a trail in front of you. You must create your own way, your own path. In life, it can be scary to blaze new horizons. But much like snowshoeing, you can look back from where you once stood and see how far you’ve come.

It is my hope that all graduates will one day look back and see how far they have travelled since 2018 – learning their own bits of wisdom along the way.