Friday, November 9, 2018

Child's innocence invokes gratitude

By Lorraine Glowczak

The rain was coming down exceptionally hard Tuesday afternoon as I was driving to the polls to vote. Wishing the monthlong rains would give us a break, my grumpiness with the weather melted when I stopped for an oncoming school bus as it stopped, letting out four young students. As they skipped in front of the bus, their laughter and carefree chatter made me crack a smile. As I did, my first thought was, “They are our future and one day it’s possible I might be voting for one of them.” I kept that thought in mind as I voted and slid my ballots into the voting machine.

I love children and the lighthearted way they leap through life. I think it is safe to say that most
people have a soft spot for the youngsters in our lives and will do most anything we can to protect them. In fact, it is among one of the many reasons why we vote. The greatest action taken to protect children, is the safety and freedom we all receive from those who join the armed forces. This brings me to this Sunday, November 11 - Veterans Day.

Most of us prefer peace over war, especially because of the children – here at home and abroad, but sometimes war is inevitable. It is for this reason I wish to take a moment to say, “thank you” to all military members, past and present. There are several unique ways we can show our gratitude for those who must leave their families and/or give up their life so the rest of us can live freely, providing a future for our children in a secure environment. If you wish to find a way to actively show your gratitude, I found a few of the following ideas:

If you know a veteran, offer your services such as with home repair, cooking, running errands, etc. If you don’t know a veteran, check in with the Windham Veterans Center and I’m certain they can connect you with someone in need.

Give donations to homeless veterans shelters or make a donation to Preble Street Veteran Housing Resources. FMI: Call 207-956-6556 or email at Windham Veterans Center also takes donations for homeless vets and will distribute them as needed. Since winter is just around the corner consider giving coats and emergency rain ponchos.

Support a military family who may be missing a loved one stationed elsewhere. Make meals, mow the lawn, help with grocery shopping, or simply provide emotional support. By supporting a veterans' family, you're showing respect for all the sacrifices they make.

Support the businesses that support our military. Many restaurants and stores offer promotions on Veterans Day to military members and their families.

But most importantly, would you join me as I do my best to continue showing my gratitude after Veterans Day ends? I, for one, will always be reminded to say “thank you” whenever a child’s laughter echoes within my presence. Afterall, isn’t that one motivation why we wish to keep our world safe? Thank you!

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Opportunity knocking?

Is opportunity knocking on Windham’s door? Quite possible. First of all, I have been unable to determine if the town manager was fired, resigned, or …. something. Should it be this fuzzy? I believe the town manager was degraded publicly and hope the town council might consider a slightly different approach to the treatment of our employees. They could hit the re-set button and show some real leadership.  But will they?  Employees certainly deserve it, as do the residents.

I have read the so called “Opus” report dated September 17, 2018. I found nothing surprising.  In fact, most of the deficiencies identified have been common knowledge for years and are issues that any organization has. I’m not entirely sure why we needed two studies to inform us of problems that should have been obvious. Ah, that’s one of the problems; management didn’t recognize the problems and should have. As a result, no corrections were made. However, I saw no problems that deserved a dismissal, resignation or anything similar. 

I also noticed something significant in the report; that everyone lent a hand in the problems; and as such everyone will be part of the solution. A critical component of any solution will be the chain of command. All employees need to know and understand this. Everyone, employees, and the town council need to know their role. Employees that are residents of Windham need to understand that they are employees when discussing town matters. Just these couple of items will go a long way in eliminating many of the issues identified in the report.

In the search for a new town manager, the council could appoint a hiring committee. This committee might include representatives of stakeholders such as councilors, department managers, rank and file employees and residents of the town. The committee needs to be diverse, but not too large. They need to discuss what is desired of a town manager. That is, what traits, personality, management style, track record, etc. The members need to be honest, feel safe in stating opinions, reflective, no personal agendas, and of the utmost importance is to remember that it isn’t about any individual but about what is good for the town and its residents.

So, as we move forward from this ugly chapter is our history, I would like to point out a couple of things, that to some may be obvious, but to some maybe not:  Any organization has a culture.  That culture is on display every day. It is evident when talking with employees, attempting to solve problems, etc. That culture is set by leadership. Leadership that should come from the town council, town manager, and department managers. The town leadership needs to be more transparent. I’ve noted that we as a town have lots of secrets. They need to stop. They can reveal much more than they do. Everything is not a personnel matter or a negotiation. They need to rid themselves of their personal agendas. Employees need to have goals.  Supervisors need to work with their subordinates to set realistic, yet challenging goals. Most employees will perform to expectations when known. If there are no clear goals for employees, that is exactly how they will perform. 

It will take some time to repair the damage done, particularly with relationships. It is difficult to trust again; but they must. The Opus report is a good place to start as we begin the next chapter is our history.

Jeffrey M. Pierce

Friday, November 2, 2018

Insight: In spite of everything

By Lorraine Glowczak

“I know you have a soft spot for him, but he has done absolutely nothing good for me,” my friend said, sharing her disappointment about a mutual acquaintance. I attempted to clarify that there may be more to the story than what she could see, when she stopped me midsentence. “What your problem is, is that you only see the good in everyone.” We laughed, and I agreed it was true. “I am often disappointed and get bitten in the behind, a lot. In fact, it’s a wonder I have a behind left,” I joked.

Since that conversation, along with the recent shooting at the Jewish synagogue in Pittsburg, PA, I began to question my “good is in everyone” philosophy. But it seems I’m not alone. While searching for a quote for this publication, I came across these words penned by Anne Frank, “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.”

Anne Frank was just a young teenager when she authored that sentence. I wonder if she would have still held that belief had she survived the concentration camp, especially after all she had experienced and witnessed while in profoundly miserable captivity.

The question regarding whether humans are innately good or bad has existed since time began. Ancient philosophers and religious leaders each had their differing theories on the subject. Some stated that we are basically good but are corrupted by society while others opted for the thought that we are born basically bad but are kept in check by society.

It seems that recent scientific studies indicate that we are good at heart, in spite of it all. In his doctoral research at Harvard University, Adrian F. Ward discovered that “….we tend to act based on our intuitive and automatic impulses…willing to give for the good of the group even when it comes at our own personal expense.”

This is not the only evidence I found that reflected Ward’s study, other psychologists and social scientists have come to the same conclusion. I searched for some evidence that people are innately bad but was unable to find such. All research led me to this basic conclusion: We instinctively prefer good over evil.

Research is one thing, but experience is another. This past Tuesday, October 30, I was one of the 1,500 individuals who attended the Community Vigil at Congregation Be Ha’am in South Portland to honor and remember those who lost their lives in Pittsburg. The gathering of people from different walks of life coming together to support people they did not know who lived in another state illustrated the compassion humans have for one another and, in spite of everything, have a truly good heart.

I don’t know if Anne Frank would have remained true to her philosophy had she lived, but I will go to my grave believing that we are all basically good, and I will continue to see value in everyone. It may be true that a portion of my backside will be completely missing upon my death, but in spite of it all, I will take that over the absence of my heart.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Jennie Butler and I have known each other for almost seven years.  Through this time, I have been involved with her at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church through a Neighborhood Faith Sharing group and a discernment committee for a potential seminary candidate through the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. She is a woman of faith with a servant heart.  

Jennie recruited my family to join the Down East Ski Club two years ago.  She has been an active member of the Down East Ski Club for many years and has held various leadership positions.  I know that Jennie would be an excellent State Representative for District 25.  She is passionate and determined when it comes to key issues that our state and town are currently struggling with. 
I am a nurse and witness the strain of our healthcare system on seniors in our state every day.  Jennie understands this fully as being the caregiver for her elderly mother.  Although I didn’t know Jennie as a teacher at WHS, I have two young school aged children and I feel confident that Jennie will initiate much needed change in our public educational system.   Jennie understands that it takes more than just showing up to get the job done, she is someone that you can count on to follow through and work selflessly to get positive results. 
Judy Dickson

Dear Editor,

I’m writing in support electing David Nadeau to Windham Town Council.  I’ve known David for 15 years, and I’ve never known a councilor who understood Windham’s budget better or managed its finances better. 

David is serious about the best management of Windham. His ideas in past terms have been crucial to keeping Windham on a sound footing. David brings to Council his experience and hard work, and the character and leadership skills that have seemed lacking over the past year. David looks to balance the infrastructure needs of the town of Windham, working to get the State to fund its own obligations, and working to keep Windham fiscally sound for the years to come.  I don’t think I’ve seen anyone work harder to understand and communicate the town business aspects.  Let’s get this guy back on the Town Council where he can continue to work for us. Vote November 6!

Brian Butler

Dear Editor,

I urge everyone to elect Jennie Butler as State Representative for Maine District #25 (Windham). My vote for change is about the key issues that have impacted everyone in District #25 for the past four years: (1) the State-funded River Road, the primary route through the District, has not been rebuilt – the road is dangerous for school buses and commuters alike, and it costs us hundreds of dollars each year in car repairs. (2) The Keddy Mill Superfund Site in Windham has not been cleaned up - residents near the site are very concerned for the health of their children and the impact to property values. The site is now “not time critical” because of the lack of state attention. (3) The state continues to decrease education funding to Windham, causing our property taxes to increase in response.  Please vote for Jennie Butler on November 6! We can’t afford not to!

Brian Butler

Dear Editor,

In her first term as State Representative, Jess Fay has taken the title “representative” seriously. Jess has met regularly with members of her constituency to hear their thoughts and concerns. By holding “office hours” in each of the communities that form District 66, she has made it a priority to be accessible to all.  In a time where so many legislators follow personal agendas, Jess has made time to learn and to act upon what’s important to the people in this district.

Jess Fay truly has been an outstanding representative. I plan to support her in her bid for reelection.

Terry Turner

Dear Editor,

We met Patrick when our family moved to Windham four years ago. We have nothing but respect for him and his ability to work on both sides of the aisle effectively.

As a mother of two young children, I’m very concerned about the Maine that they will inherit. Higher education affordability is top of mind along with a strong economy opportunity created by a prosperous business climate for the next generation.

Patrick is a proven, experienced leader and the BEST candidate to get the job done!

Mel Oldakowski 

Dear Editor, 
Having known Patrick Corey for many years, I have had the opportunity to see just how important that our outdoor heritage and sports mean to him. He is dedicated to sustaining and protecting sportsman’s rights and also is an advocate for environmental issues, ensuring outdoor habitat for everyone to enjoy for years to come. He was a member of the Joint Standing Committee for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in the 127th Maine Legislature, endorsed by the Maine Conservation Voters Fund, and has an A+ rating with the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. Please join me in my support for Patrick Corey for Maine House of Representatives on Nov 6th.

Paul Tanguay

Dear Editor,

Healthcare continues to be an issue of great concern to older adults and as a voter over the age of 50, I am committed to casting my vote with this in mind on November 6th.  Healthcare includes the affordability and access to prescription drugs. As Rx costs continue to skyrocket, this is one issue that has become more and more important to Mainers of all ages. 

The bad news is that prescription drug costs are only going up and they often cost Mainers far more than they can afford. Too many, especially older Mainers on fixed incomes, are forced to choose between putting food on the table, heating their homes or taking the prescriptions they need to stay healthy. It shouldn’t be that way. Chronic diseases like cancers, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and asthma affect thousands of our family, friends, and neighbors and 62% of Maine Medicare beneficiaries have one or more chronic diseases. We need our next elected officials to work on long-term solutions to this critical concern.

One solution is to allow the prescription drug market to be more competitive. Congress should be pushing hard to make the Rx drug market as free and fair as possible. This means combatting anti-competitive practices used by many brand-name pharmaceutical companies to block or slow lower-cost, generic drugs from coming to market. We should be making the prescription drug market more competitive and pave the way for lower-cost generics that could save Mainers money every time they fill a prescription.

The cost of prescription drugs is just one of the issues on the line in these mid-term elections.  I look forward to going to the polls on November 6th and hope to see you there.
Erica Magnus, Ph.D.

AARP Maine Communications Volunteer

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my opinion concerning Greg Foster, candidate for Representative of District #66 (Parts of Raymond, Casco and Poland). I have known Greg for over 10 years now, as both his friend and his pastor. I can say that he is as genuine as the day is long. His character is above reproach and you can know for certain that he is who he says he is, stands for what he says he stands for and will do what he says he will do. He is a true conservative. He values land owner and property rights and seeks to limit government overreach into the lives of hardworking Mainers.

A vote for Greg Foster is a vote for a man who will represent the rights and freedoms of Mainers. I fully endorse Greg and stand behind him and his honest character. He is a man you can trust to do the right thing.

Adam Lee
New Gloucester

Dear Editor,

As a longtime resident of Raymond in district 66, I've felt very thankful to have Jessica Fay as our State Representative. She is a very special representative, respectful, open minded, hardworking, intelligent, easily available, conscientious, creative, and she listens thoroughly to her constituents and to her peers in Augusta.

I'm not the only one who appreciates Fay, she was nominated by our legislative leaders to take part in the 2018 Emerging Leaders Program at the University of Virginia. Out of a nationwide pool of over 200 nominees, Fay was one of only 50 state legislators chosen. Her extraordinary qualifications are evident. “These legislators represent the best in our legislative institutions and are destined for future leadership roles in their state,” said Stephen G. Lakis, President of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation.

A Representative like Jess doesn't come around often, we are very lucky to have her! This isn't just a job for Jess, her heart and soul are engaged in working hard to represent us to the best of her ability. I hope you will join me in casting your vote to re-elect Jess Fay on November 6th.

Sandra Crowell

Dear Editor,

Jessica Fay listens to her constituents, both as she knocks on doors and in the listening sessions she regularly scheduled in the towns she represents. I had the privilege of working with Jessica in the last legislative session to effectively address a complex issue raised by a constituent- a domestic violence victim. In this process, Jessica researched the issue, talked to experts, and accomplished real results. 
She also showed her ability to work with stakeholders and fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle on behalf of her constituents.  

I know she will bring these skills and dedication to getting results when addressing important issues in the next session, such as making healthcare more accessible, and protecting the lakes and environment in our region.

I support another term for Jessica Fay.

Faye Luppi

Dear Editor,

Patrick Corey is my State Representative. Patrick works very hard to serve Windham and the State of Maine. In fact, he is one of the hardest workers in the Maine Legislature. I have talked with him about many issues that have come before his committee and the legislature.  Patrick reads the bills, including the things “in fine print”. He also researches the need for each bill. In other words Patrick really does his homework.

Representative Corey does not always vote the way I would, but he is always able to explain and justify his decision. I am pleased to support Patrick in his bid for re-election. I encourage voters in District 25 to join me in voting for Patrick Corey on November 6th.

Gary Plummer

Dear Editor,

Tom Tyler and I served together in the 126th session of the Maine Legislature. We also served together on the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. Tom did an excellent job as a state representative and a member of one of the most important committees in the legislature.

I have known Tom since high school, but I really got to know him well during the two years that we worked together. Among other things I learned that Tom Tyler has a great deal of common sense. Sometimes that is not that common in Augusta. I also learned that his views and those of the people of Windham are closely aligned.

Tom is a wonderful family man and has been active in Windham all of his life, serving as a firefighter and a coach for many years. I know from experience that he will do an excellent job representing Windham in the Maine House of Representatives. If you live in District 24, I urge you to vote for Tom Tyler.

Gary Plummer

Dear Editor,

With the November election fast approaching, political ads and mailings have begun in earnest, which is why I’m writing today to urge my neighbors in House District 66 to support Representative Jessica Fay’s re-election.

I’ve known Jess for almost 20 years and the commitment and dedication she’s shown for the community during her term as my State Representative doesn’t surprise me one bit, she has always cared about our district in one way or another.

As a business owner over the years, she worked with the Raymond PTO to help them make gifts for teachers for the holidays and she provided flowers at low cost for school fundraisers. She still works with the Beautification Committee to purchase Maine made wreaths for the 302 corridor and donates her time making bows for those wreaths each year.

Jess volunteers at the library, she has been a Trustee, and when she's not in Augusta she still volunteers at the circulation desk when she can.

She’s been part of the community for all the time that I’ve known her: as a business owner, a committed volunteer, and now as our State Representative. She understands this community, its values, and what’s important to people. She always has her eye on how to make things better for the people she represents. That’s her only goal in her work as our State Representative.

I hope you’ll join me and others in supporting Jessica Fay for re-election in House District 66 on November 6th.

Frank McDermott

Dear Editor,

I have known the Foster Family since 1964. Greg Foster is the Republican candidate for Maine House of Representatives, District 66 (parts of Casco, Poland, and Raymond). Greg is a Maine native, growing up in Gray and living in Raymond for over 31 years. He wants to keep our children in this state by bringing jobs back to this state. 

Greg supports the military, active duty, reserve, guard, and veterans. He knows their dedication, service to our great nation, and their hardships. He has seen it in his own family; his father, brother, and uncles all served. He has witnessed his father's struggles getting services for his military disabilities. As an Air Force veteran myself, I know Greg will fight for the rights and benefits these men and women have earned.

Greg is a hardworking, dedicated, self-employed individual. He has been a Maine licensed Professional Forester for 37 years. He is a conservationist, concerned with the preservation of wildlife in the timber lots he is responsible for. He is also a Tree Farm Inspector, starting in 1981. He has followed in his father's footsteps with these careers.

We need a Maine native who understands how other Maine natives value their state in Augusta as their representative! Get out and vote on November 6 for Greg Foster, he understands what Maine should look like.

Terri Smith,
Former resident of Gray