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.

Natalie Blake

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.

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.

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.

Jane Pringle

 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.

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.

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