Friday, July 19, 2019

Insight: To swallow the sun

By Lorraine Glowczak

If you do any form of online shopping, products similar to what you ordered (or simply even took a moment to look at) appear in your social media feeds or other website searches. The same goes for certain information you search online – those similar topics of interest will suddenly appear in other internet platforms.

Often referred as the filter bubble, it is based upon a website algorithm that takes personalized searches and “selectively guesses” what information you’d like to continue to see. This can come in handy for online shopping by saving time searching for the products you prefer.

The downside to the genius of algorithms is that it also feeds us information that we have already developed an opinion about. This additional “information” continues to confirm our points of view – misleading us into believing we are more “knowledgeable”. But, perhaps worse yet, it can deceive us into believing that we are more “right” about our perspectives than we actually are. So right, in fact, that we scarcely listen to an opposing point of view, claiming others as closed minded, lacking intelligence, or not considering all the facts.

But, of course, we – on the other hand - are certainly opened minded and have considered all the facts ourselves. Afterall, the information confirming our perspectives is endless.

And, here I go – speaking of facts and online research, University Professor of Law, Business and Economics at Villanova University, Brett Frishmann had this to say about the subject in the scientificamerica.com online article, “Is Smart Technology Making Us Dumb”:

“I believe we may be making ourselves dumber when we outsource thinking and rely on supposedly smart tech to micromanage our daily lives for the sake of cheap convenience.
The internet provides us with seemingly limitless data…that could in theory enhance our intelligence and enable us to become more knowledgeable, to be more skillful or to otherwise use actionable intelligence. Maybe we could improve our decision-making, reflect on our beliefs, interrogate our own biases, and so on. 

But do we? Who does? Who exactly is made smarter? And how? And with respect to what?  Do we find ourselves mindlessly following scripts written or designed by others?”

Frishmann admitted that there are two sides to the story, and in some ways, the internet isn’t always making us dumber. And, for me, that’s the whole point. There are two sides to every story, and each contain some form of what is right, correct and true.

Author Barbara Brown Taylor stated in her book, “An Altar in the World,” that knowing what is right and true for oneself involves practice. “Wisdom is not gained by ‘knowing’ what is right. Wisdom is gained by ‘practicing’ what is right and noticing what happens when that practice succeeds and when it fails.”

For me, claiming to be 100% correct in any one perspective is equivalent to swallowing the sun (to borrow an analogy from author Elizabeth Gilbert on a different subject). Its action is impossible. So, I suppose I will practice listening to the other side of the story. And I will continue to practice – until I can swallow the sun.


Letter to the Editor

An Op-Ed by Rep. Jess Fay, D-Raymond

Funding transportation in Maine

This year, the Legislature unanimously passed a two-year Transportation Budget, which is separate from the General Fund Budget. This is the budget dedicated to repairing Maine’s roads and bridges and supporting transportation infrastructure like our railroads and ferries. There is nothing we use more than the transportation systems that connect us all, which is why transportation gets a budget of its own.

Not only did all legislators agree on the Transportation Budget this year, we also agreed that it needed to be increased. State funding in this Transportation Budget will be about $679 million, up from $655 million in the previous cycle. Most of the revenue that supports the Transportation Budget comes from fuel taxes (about 70%), but funding also comes from vehicle license fees, title fees and other fees and permits.

Even with this budget increase, more funds are needed to invest properly in our transportation needs. On our last day of session, a bond package with more funding for transportation was presented to the Legislature. That package received bi-partisan support and a majority of our legislators’ votes, but bonds need a two-thirds vote to make it to a referendum. Unfortunately, we didn’t reach that two-thirds threshold, and the bond package failed. The good news is, while we didn’t reach agreement before adjournment, there is a significant chance we will hold a special session to enact a bond package in time for a public vote this fall, and I am hopeful a compromise can be reached.

To be clear, bonding to repair our roads is not a sustainable, long-term solution. I believe we have to think hard and find new ways to fund critical infrastructure needs. But in the short term, we need immediate help for the projects that have been neglected since the great recession and revenue cuts. We simply cannot live with pot-hole ridden streets, broken stop lights and unsupported bridges.
Here in our district, I promise to keep focusing on the improvements we need now. I’ll continue advocating for road safety, better public transportation and transportation for older residents. This fall I will be moderating a forum sponsored by Age-Friendly Raymond to gain input from the community about what they see as the most pressing transportation needs in the district, and I hope to see many of you there.

A strong and safe transportation network in Maine is absolutely critical to the economy of Maine and the wellbeing of our people. We cannot wait to fund improvements or do the work, and I’m proud that we’re taking steps in the Legislature to take care of those projects here and around the state.

Fay is serving her second term in the Maine Legislature and represents parts of Casco, Poland and Raymond. She serves on the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Insight: New dreams, summer dreams

By Lorraine Glowczak

“Absolutely stunning” are two words I would use to describe the past couple of weeks. There is nothing more beautiful than summers in Maine – and, generally speaking, there is something about summers that are unique no matter where you live in the U.S.

Summers, it seems, bring out the child in all of us. In the past two weeks, I have played in the sun as if I were a 16-year-old – carefree with nothing but joy as I hiked, kayaked, ate watermelon by the picnic table and read a book while falling asleep in a hammock by the lake.

Is it just me, or do you also long for the carefree days of your childhood when you spot a child or two playing in the water or riding their bike? What is it about summer that pulls the youthfulness out of us, creating a nostalgia that last forever?

In her online article for fastcompany.com entitled, “How nostalgia fuels creativity: Looking back may help you look forward”, author Annie Sneed stated that nostalgia makes us crave the past, bringing back fond memories of the good old days. What is interesting is she said that wistfully looking back can deepen our experience in the present moment.

 “It seems counterintuitive that such a backward-looking emotion would inspire original ideas, but that’s exactly what new research has found. It turns out that nostalgia may actually make people more open to new experiences, and this effect can boost creativity,” Sneed wrote.
She went on to write that nostalgia once had a bad reputation. In fact, psychologists viewed the emotion as a psychiatric disorder in which one was avoiding the present moment by yearning the past. “But recent research has shown that nostalgia can have positive effects, like making people more optimistic about the future and more willing to set new goals.” Sneed continued.

This brings me to a moment I experienced last week on the Portland waterfront while waiting in line for a whale watching tour. As I was standing there, watching people come and go, I noticed a group of senior citizens stepping off of a tour bus, some needing assistance with walking. One individual, moving very slowly, had to use a walker in order to get around. As she was taking her feeble steps, I overheard someone say, “When I get like that – it is over for me.”

I wonder, was it the nostalgia of summers past that gave the woman with a walker the will to keep having new experiences, despite her challenges? Is it possible that looking back at times gone past inspired her to live more fully in the present moment?

Most of us hope to live a long full life without too many hardships. But, I for one, also hope that despite any challenges I face in the future – my reminiscence of summers past will always inspire me to fully live with optimism in the moment with new dreams to look forward to.
I’ll end my editorial with a few stanzas from one of my favorite songs by Joni Mitchell. “The Circle Game.”

The chorus begins with, “And the seasons they go round and round - And the painted ponies go up and down. We're captive on the carousel of time. We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came - And go round and round and round in the circle game
The song goes on to say, “So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty. Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true. There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through.”

Pondering tree leaves and needles

By Robert Fogg

The leaves or needles on a tree have many functions and purposes.  They absorb energy from sunlight, draw oxygen and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and pull water and nutrients from the soil. The combination of these functions enables the tree to add layers of growth cells. 

Leaves and needles also act as shelter and screening or camouflage for small birds and animals.  Leaves serve as food for various browsing creatures, even as buds, during the winter and spring, before they mature. The shape of each leaf dictates how it will react to weather conditions.  Have you ever seen and heard Quaking Aspen leaves rustling in even the slightest breeze?  Have you ever seen maple leaves turn upside down, exposing their lighter underside, as a telltale sign of an approaching thunder shower? Every tree species has its own signature leaf pattern, enabling us a clue to identification. 

No two species’ leaves are identical. And, come fall the colors are just as different. Apparently, each species of leaf has its own taste too as evident by the preferences of certain insects. I’ve always marveled at the fact that a Gypsy Moth Caterpillar prefers pine needles to maple leaves.  If I’m ever given a choice between eating pine needles or maple leaves, you can bet I’ll choose the maple leaves. Wouldn’t you?

The Author is General Manager of Naples-based Q-Team Tree Service and is a Licensed Arborist. You can contact him at 207-693-3831 or at www.Q-Team.com

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

Representative Patrick Corey of Windham has once again showed his support for Maine's economic development and the future of our planet by voting in support of LD 1711- An Act To Promote Solar Energy Projects and Distributed Generation Resources in Maine. Rep. Corey was the only House Republican to vote in favor of the bill which continues his long tradition of voting with common sense rather than with the party line when it comes to Maine's renewable energy future. He also supports a bill to bring Maine to 80% renewable energy by 2030!

Mainers spend more than $5 billion each year to import out of state fossil fuels including the cost to bring electricity generated by fossil fuels to Maine.  With eight years of strong political headwinds under the Lepage administration, Maine has stayed firmly in last place in solar implementation in New England, so our state has been unable to move the needle on that $5 billion. With leadership from Representatives like Patrick Corey, Maine is well on its way to preserving our environment, battling climate issues, creating jobs and reducing the cost of electricity for all ratepayers.

Maine is finally standing behind our state motto "Dirigo" which is Latin for "I lead" with respect to renewable energy. Based on Rep. Corey's long-standing support of solar in Maine, I wouldn't be surprised if he has Dirigo for a vanity plate or perhaps its tattooed on his arm.  On behalf of my wife and two young children, my five colleagues in the solar industry who also live in Windham, and every Mainer who wants to see a bright, clean future powered by the sun - our most abundant natural resource - Thank You Representative Patrick Corey for your support.

Enjoy the Sun!
Nate Bowie
Windham resident and life-long Mainer


Friday, June 28, 2019

Insight: Living like salmon


By Lorraine Glowczak

The living room was in disarray as we were moving old furniture out and new furniture in. Once my husband and I returned order to the room, I noticed a small, delicate folded piece of paper with various shades of purple laying haphazardly on the coffee table. The thin paper, made of a cotton-like material, had a vague familiarity. I picked it up to unfold it – and as I did – memories fell out.

Image from Institute of Creative Research
That small piece of artwork was a homemade note from a friend. It simply said in silver ink, “Happy Valentine’s Day,” followed by her signature. Somehow, that note had slipped deep into the creases of the old sofa – and just as mysteriously, slipped out and back into my life. As it did, I remembered my promise to her. This December will mark 14 years that ALS took my friend’s life at the age of 36.

The promise occurred on a cold December evening at a Christmas party. She was two years into her ALS diagnosis and had just published her book. There were many things we had in common, and writing was among them. One conversation that evening centered around all things writing. We first talked about her new book, but she quickly shifted the conversation to me.

“How is your writing going,” she asked. I wasn’t doing much to reach my own publishing goals at the time and I don’t remember the answer I gave her. Through my response, I suspect she saw the truth in my lack of dedication and said: “I want you to promise me something.” I leaned forward to capture her words as ALS was beginning to rob her of her speech. It had already taken away her ability to type with her hands – she used her eyes through technological advances to finish the final edits of her book. “I want you to write in my place when I can no longer do so.” I promised her I would.

And that is the reason why I’m here as a managing editor and writer for The Windham Eagle newspaper as a step along that promised journey.

I have mentioned in previous Insights that it is my goal to also publish in mainstream media. But some days it feels like swimming upstream. For every instance I try, a hurdle is placed in my way. I jump over that successfully, only to be met with another, taller hurdle.

“Are these challenges suggesting that I go in another direction or is reaching my goal like salmon swimming upstream and I need to continue, despite it all,” I recently asked a new friend. Her response: “One way to help you determine the answer to that,” the wise beyond her years 30-year-old advised, “is to ask yourself whether or not you’d regret it if you didn’t proceed.” I had my answer. I will continue jumping the hurdles to published writing on a national level until I can no longer do so.

What I have discovered is that sometimes living like salmon is a part of life. Author Julia James had this to say about the subject: “When we think of salmon swimming upstream back to their place of birth or the thousands of miles birds travel to migrate, we see them as enormous undertakings. 

However, I wonder if it is even possible for healthy salmon to choose not to return to the river that is their spawning grounds? Could a healthy migratory bird think ‘hmmm, maybe I’ll just stay put this winter here in Canada, rather than flying all the way to Mexico’? It is natural for the salmon to swim upstream. Yes, it takes a lot of energy, but this energy is expended in a manner that maximizes life fulfillment.”

In addition to living the life of my dreams – for me, swimming upstream is keeping a promise. In this particular circumstance, I will live like salmon.



Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor,

I would like to say kudos to the organizers, staff and sponsors of this year’s Windham Summerfest held last Saturday at the Windham High School. It is a pleasure to see the fruits of many labors come to fruition and the growing number of participants who come to take advantage of this iconic festival. Many new additions were evident and obvious making this yet another growing success. The weather wasn’t half bad either. Again, hats off to all who made this possible.

Stephen Signor
Windham  


Dear Editor,

On behalf of our 230,000 members statewide, AARP Maine applauds our state legislators and Governor Mills for passing a strong package of bills to make prescription drugs more affordable and more accessible in Maine.  Thousands of Mainers take prescription medications.  For many, there is no alternative to alleviate crippling pain or manage chronic illnesses.  For others, prescription drugs literally keep them alive.  This legislative package could not come soon enough.

As a proudly non-partisan organization, AARP Maine thanks our state legislature for working together for the people of Maine and taking a stand against Rx greed. Senate President Troy Jackson, Senator Eloise Vitelli, Senator Heather Sanborn and Senator Bob Foley deserve special thanks for their leadership on this important issue. Our elected leaders clearly recognized that prescription drug price gouging is not a Democratic or a Republican issue. They decided to put people before profits.

Many Mainers were instrumental in bringing this important legislation to the attention of their elected leaders. Advocates from across the state testified in Augusta and followed up with their legislators back home. Heartbreaking stories of Mainers struggling to make ends meet due to the cost of their medications became the heart of the campaign. AARP Maine thanks each one of you for your courage and conviction. You made it possible for this critical legislation to become a reality.

Maine is once again leading the way, but we need Congress to follow that lead.  Members of Congress must come together to pass bipartisan legislation to lower Rx prices across the country.  The pharmaceutical industry has made it clear that they intend to fight hard, but we must fight harder.  While we celebrate our win in Maine, we must keep the momentum going in Washington. Now it’s time to urge Maine’s Congressional delegation to Stop Rx Greed.

Patricia Pinto



Friday, June 21, 2019

Student of the Week: Sarah Penna



Sarah Penna, a fifth-grade student at Jordan-Small Middle School, is The Windham Eagle’s Student of the Week.

Sarah demonstrates consistent effort in the classroom,” stated her teacher. “She always has a positive attitude and a smile on her face. She is a great friend to many of her peers.  She enjoys science class and studying rock and minerals. Sarah is a focused and helpful student.”
In her free time, Sarah likes to hang out with her friends, go swimming, play softball, soccer, and basketball.  She also likes to read Minecraft books. She has two dogs, one cat, one parrot, two geese, and five chickens! When Sarah grows up, she plans on being a veterinarian or a zoologist.


Insight: The hubbub of work-life balance

By Lorraine Glowczak

The path was muddy after the rainstorm which made peddling the tandem bike difficult. But that mud-covered trail wasn’t the most problematic – it was the fact that the bicycle built for two was actually a bike built for about 20 of us. I was doing everything I could, steering the whole group and keep us moving forward. I began to lose balance, tipping the bike over, but I woke up from the dream before we all fell to the ground.

It was the third dream I had that week where I was attempting to ride a bike – but always losing my balance just prior to waking up. After the third dream it was beginning to dawn on me that perhaps I wasn’t doing so well at balancing the work/play dynamic.

Obviously, I’m not the only one who tries to find their equilibrium in this somewhat busy adventure we call life. It seems to be such an issue these days that the term “work-life balance” is a too often used buzzword. I, for one, feel more overwhelmed by the expectation to live a “balanced” life more the fact that I happily go about my daily living – which is often out of balance.

According to an online Forbes magazine article, entitled, “Work-Life Balance: Is It Real, Or Is It Simply Buzz?” Dawn Ferguson, an entrepreneur had this to say:

It's not a balance, it's a measurement of priority: “The thought of ‘work-life balance’ is a phrase that is different to each and every individual. Being that no two people consider the balance of each to be the same, each must measure what priorities for work and life stand out the most. Dividing time appropriately to one's needs, instead of to a balancing scale, is more realistic.”

Another entrepreneur stated that ‘Balance Doesn't Mean Equal’. “The two [words] aren't equal and rarely will be. Sometimes work is the No. 1, and life takes a back seat. That isn't unreasonable or unexpected, as long as you are aware of and planning for it. Don't allow work to take over if it isn't truly necessary.”

In another article written by Jessica Lutz, the author suggests that balance isn’t quite the right word we are looking for to maintain a certain level of management in a life that organically proceeds as it sees fits.

Balance isn’t the right word. Some [have] suggested alternative ideas: work-life integration, work-life harmony, and work-life blend. Rather than trying to balance all things all the time, it’s something much more fluid. Some weeks you feel like you’re present in all areas of your life, and other weeks you feel pulled strongly in one direction. Eventually, things level out before it begins again. The idea of balance is an unattainable standard that results in an almost constant feeling of failure.

So, if you also find yourself overwhelmed by the hubbub of “work-life balance” – may my own little discovery help you and free you to live life in your own way. And on a day you feel particularly stressed, go on a bike ride with me. You might want to bring your own bike, however. Tandem biking doesn’t seem to be my thing.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Insight: The magic of encouragement

By Lorraine Glowczak

Farmers’ markets are not only the perfect place to purchase locally grown fresh foods, but they are a wonderful spot to buy charming crafts and eclectic gifts. A couple of Saturday’s ago while at the Windham Farmers’ Market, I couldn’t resist purchasing five birdhouses a vendor had made from used decorative tins, two of which were from the whimsical artwork of the greeting card and calendar illustrator, Mary Engelbreit.

Although I had been an enormous fan of Engelbreit’s quirky creations 30 years ago, I had lost track of her and I wondered what she was up to these days. I discovered she is still popular as ever and that her business has grown to over $23 million a year. How did a graphic artist become such as success? Although I’m sure hard work paid off, I think it is possible the story she describes below had something to do with it:

"My mother and father were always very supportive of anything my sister and I wanted to do. When I was about 11 years old, I decided I needed a studio. My mother cleaned out a linen closet and my father put a table and chair in there for me and voila! I had a studio! Since my parents seemed to value what I was doing enough to go to all this trouble, I took it very seriously and worked non-stop. At first, I would copy my favorite illustrations from the old books my mother read to us each night, but slowly I developed my own style.”

And develop her own style she did. It’s amazing what a little support from others can accomplish. In fact, I can see it happening in my life today as a small-town newspaper editor and writer.

I must admit, from time to time, I feel like I fail our readers. It is my passion to capture every story that comes our way, but with limited time, resources and the inability to be in multiple places at the same time, there a few pieces that slip through the cracks. When this happens, I feel discouraged.

But this is where an Englebreiht-like tale swoops in and saves the day. We receive so much encouragement and support from our readers. Often, I’m told that our hard work and effort is appreciated and does not go unnoticed. On the occasion when the work feels daunting, our readers’ words of encouragement always transform my perception and the hurdles do not seem so overwhelming.

According to an online Psychology Today article written by Julie J. Exline Ph.D, she explains why: “When we ‘en-courage,’ it’s as though we actually infuse courage into another person. Encouragement can provide people with strength to look ahead, move forward, and reach for the next goal. The whole emotional tone of a tough situation can be transformed through encouragement. Somehow things seem a little brighter.”

She reminds us that we can't live on a steady diet of praise, alone. In order to improve, we need some awareness of our weaknesses and mistakes, too. But a little support can go a long way.

So, this is an official thank you to all our readers for supporting us here at The Windham Eagle. Your cheerful words infuse within me the courage to keep moving forward and to continue doing what I love so well. When you speak your gentle praises – it’s as if by magic, things seem to fall into place and feel a little brighter.


Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I wanted to thank Senator Bill Diamond (D-Cumberland), for demonstrating tremendous leadership recently in supporting LD 211, “An Act to Open Maine’s Primaries.” While the measure ultimately did not gain enough votes to pass, it’s important for us to recognize that Sen. Diamond once again showed that he represents ALL of his constituents, not just those who share his party affiliation.

LD 211 would have allowed unenrolled voters (commonly referred to as “independents”) to vote in the taxpayer funded primary elections. Thirty-five percent of Maine voters are unenrolled and under current Maine law are not permitted to vote in the primary elections, elections that decide 70% of state legislative races.

With 80% support from Maine voters, it’s clear that eventually unenrolled voters will be allowed to vote in primary elections, just as it happens in 36 other states around the country.  
Thank you to Sen. Diamond for being on the right side of this issue!

Matt Caston
Windham

Dear Editor,

Ranked Choice Voting is used in every federal primary and general election in Maine except for the presidential election. The Maine Legislature is considering a bill, LD 1083, that would remedy this and align Maine’s election law with the intent of voters.

LD 1083, commonly called “the Ranked Choice Voting for President bill,” would adopt RCV for the presidential general election and for any new presidential primary that is created and funded by the Maine Legislature.

Twice in two years Maine voters have rejected the old pick-one, first-past-the-post voting system and replaced it with Ranked Choice Voting. In November 2016, Maine voters adopted Ranked Choice Voting by the second largest initiative vote of the people in Maine’s history. In June 2018, Maine voters protected Ranked Choice Voting by a widening 8-point margin.

We are one state. We should have a uniform voting system. That system should be the one that is supported by a growing majority of Maine voters, Ranked Choice Voting, and not one that is opposed by a majority of voters, the old pick-one, first-past-the-post voting system.

LD 1083, introduced by Senate President Troy Jackson, proposes a simple expansion of Maine’s existing RCV voting system that worked well in 2018. 

I encourage my former legislative colleagues to vote in favor of LD 1083. Ranked Choice Voting is simple, fair, and easy, and we need it in the 2020 presidential primary and general election.

Jane Pringle
Windham


Friday, June 7, 2019

Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

My family and I have a lifelong habit of working to keep our communities clean, including picking up roadside litter annually and on frequent walks in our neighborhoods. I'd like to offer some tips on how others can assist in our efforts:


a.      Don't throw litter out your car window - how easy is that?  Isn't it nicer to drive down roads without litter? And be aware how much of the food and drink and cigarette containers and scratch tickets you're tempted to toss out is easily recyclable plastic and paper.
b.     Cover your trash and recycling when you put it out for pickup by your town or other pickup service. That keeps out crows and dogs who will scatter trash everywhere, and it prevents the wind from blowing the lighter items out.
c.      After your weekly trash and recycling service, scan the area for the items that got away, and take them indoors for next week. And give your neighbors a hand by picking up their scraps too; they may not be as capable and observant as you are.
d.     If you're out walking, carry a bag to pick up trash when the mood suits you. But if you aren't equipped to pick up trash, leave it where it lies and one of us will get it; it's probably stable where it is. Please don't move it and put sand, rocks, etc. in it to weight it down for others to pick up, because that just makes the trash a heavy mess to handle and makes items less recyclable.
e.      Smokers and Vapers: Most cigarette butts contain fiberglass filters that do not rot but make a widespread fibrous mess. Vaping devices produce a variety of plastic-and-metal throwaway pieces that are rapidly covering our sidewalks and streets, especially in urban areas.  In dry conditions the hot butts have caused many large fires in Maine and elsewhere. Please dispose of them properly, and the rest of us will appreciate it.
f.      Consider the health of wild animals and your neighbors' pets. Please do not leave bones and other items by the roadside that will attract animals. To you they may seem like a welcome treat, but they attract the animals into the traffic, and can turn even a well-behaved dog on a leash into a vicious fighting beast. Bones can break into shards that will hurt or choke some dogs.

Sincerely,
David H. Brown
Raymond

Insight: Advice to graduates from a wanderer

By Lorraine Glowczak

As graduation ceremonies are in full swing and the excitement of new beginnings is in the air, I want to do my part to offer sound and wise advice for those starting out in the world and getting ready to burst into unfamiliar territory where adventure abounds.

It seems I may not be the only one who is eager to do so – look at the advice others have given in this week’s “On the Spot” question (found in our hard copy edition). I thought I’d join in and give my two cents a whirl.

My first instinct is to shout from the mountain top with enthusiasm, “Follow your dreams” or “Reach for the stars,” or even “Live your passion, blissfully – forever and ever!”

Although I do tend to believe in the concept of living the vision one has for themselves, following a dream or passion is not always easy, not always blissful. Passion isn’t permanent and dreams shift and change. As a result, offering such hopeful (and perhaps frivolous) advice would prove to be beneficial for no one – especially the young.

When I graduated from high school in 1984, I was determined to follow my dreams and passions. The only problem was, I didn’t know what they were. Although I was writing at the time and would offhandedly say I was going to write the “great American novel”, I did not necessarily see a future in it in terms of a career. Believing that one needed to live passionately in order to be fulfilled and successful, my obsession in self-discovery led me on a very bumpy and winding road. I tried many things and experiences in hopes that it would inspire passion and a dream for me to follow. Somehow, I did “find myself”, but in order to do so I had to let go of expectations I had of what a dream or passion was for me.

What I finally discovered was that no matter what I chose to do, it was those moments when I hoped I made some sort of positive impact -either through volunteering or just being a sounding board for a friend, that I realized where my happiness – and passion – flourished. Interestingly, once I made that discovery – writing as career took off.

Ben Horowitz, a businessperson and a bestselling author stated it best in his commencement address to the graduating class of 2015 at Columbia University. Instead of following your passion “…follow your contribution. Find the thing you’re great at and put that into the world. Contribute to others and help the world be better—that is the thing to follow.”

So, if I may, dear graduates – the one piece of advice I would like to share with you is: What ever path you choose to take, sprinkle in moments of giving back in the way that fits your personality. Making an impact and contributing to something or someone bigger than yourself is where you will find some – if not a lot – of passion and happiness. Now go and make your dent in the world.


Friday, May 31, 2019

Insight: A zeal you cannot contain

By Lorraine Glowczak

Memorial Day has passed but its reason for being still hangs on the tail ends of my consciousness this early Tuesday morning – the day after the Memorial Day parade and celebrations.

As we all honored the men and women who died while serving in the military on Monday, I hope the purpose of the day always remains with us. Not only out of respect of our veterans, but so their lives – and death – were not in vain.

I’m not advocating that we always hang our heads low in constant sadness and melancholy. In fact, to do so would feel dishonorable to me. (Of course, there is a time and place for such.) For me, to respect our veterans is to live my life passionately and on purpose with intense focus while working together with others to serve the needs of my community in some way.

That’s the way I always hope to live but there are many times when I let being human get in the way of my idealized goal. When I feel as if I may be faltering a bit, I look for a bit of inspiration. Presently, I’m reading a book entitled, “Life's Bulldozer Moments” by Donato Tramuto and find his words are putting a bee in my pants, motivating me to keep moving forward.

Tramuto is a healthcare innovator and global activist who has worked closely with Saint Joseph’s College as they launch their Institute for Integrative Aging (that includes the Silver Sneakers® program).

Although he has always been a success, Tramuto has been on a fast-track to this focused purpose for 18 years and he lets nothing stand in his way. It was a close call, or what he terms a “bulldozer moment” that sparked his intensity for life.

He was scheduled to be on Flight 175 – the plane that hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center on that dreadful day - September 11, 2001. However, due to a toothache, he rescheduled his flight. His close friends and their four-year-old son who were to travel with him, did not change their flight.
From that experience, he realized life can never be taken for granted and you never know when your time is up – so get on with it amid a zeal you cannot contain.

In my role as writer and editor, I witness this zeal for life among many community members right here in Windham and Raymond. In the midst of the many challenges we face, there are still those who exist - whose individual passion and focus are catching while they integrate it all.

In just one week, I saw that zeal in Mindy Zink’s eyes when I interviewed her for the front-page story. I witnessed it in Sen. Diamond when I shadowed him for my State House series and I felt it with the Windham Christian Academy students as they celebrated Red Nose Day.

So, if you are anything like me and you need a bit of kick in the pants to keep moving forward – all you need to do is look around.

After all, we are obligated to maintain the freedom our veterans have died for. In this case – the freedom to live intentionally, passionately with focus and a zeal you cannot contain.



Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

Age Friendly Raymond (AFR) is sincerely grateful to St. Joseph’s College (SJC) Professor Dr. John Kenneally and his Marketing 302 students, who partnered with us to provide the review and analysis of our community assessment survey this past semester.

The goal of Age Friendly Raymond is to enable residents, organizations and businesses to actively participate in community activities and to respectfully interact with each other regardless of age.  We are part of a national network of communities committed to supporting the ability to stay in our homes as we age while building community alliances with multiple generations of residents. The Age Friendly process requires use of a community assessment to understand what residents see as needed in order to age in place.  The survey was held in the summer of 2018. We recognized that an independent analysis of the survey results was needed to ensure unbiased results.   

Through existing relationships with St. Joseph’s College, AFR collaborated with Dr. Kenneally’s Marketing class to evaluate the responses.  This provided the students with real world data and AFR with unbiased survey results at no cost to the all–volunteer Age Friendly Raymond group.  A preliminary presentation was provided by the students to the AFR Steering Committee; additionally, a high-level recap was presented to the Raymond Select Board.

The assistance provided by St. Joseph’s College with this important project was invaluable to our efforts. We enjoyed working with John and his students, and everyone benefited from the interactions. The students represented St. Joseph’s very well.  We look forward to additional partnerships and working with SJC’s newly launched Institute of Integrative Aging.  The final report is available on the Age Friendly Raymond website and Facebook page.

Thank you again for the quality of this important work!

Laurie Wallace
Susan Moore
Co-Chairs, Age Friendly Raymond Steering Committee


Friday, May 24, 2019

Insight: It’s subject to interpretation

By Lorraine Glowczak

“Is it going to rain, today?” I asked my husband as I opened the blinds the other morning, noticing dark clouds in the distance. “Actually, the question should be, ‘is the sun going to shine, today?’” my husband responded, poking fun at our frustration with the springtime rains.

Generally speaking, we all are ready to burst into summer season activities with sunshine on our
backs. What I have noticed, however, that while some of us are about to go stir crazy, including yours truly – others haven’t noticed the rainy weather much and have moved through the spring rains unscathed.

What fascinates me is how we all perceive the same experiences in a different manner – and more interestingly, how we jump to the conclusions that our perceptions are universal – only to discover, to our dismay, that they are not.

In a recent conversation about leadership, a friend told me that perception is reality. It was the first time those words had seeped into my ears. In fact, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant and had to look it up later. I discovered that in leadership terms, how you are viewed can influence your effectiveness, credibility and future professional growth and development.

I suspect this carries validity when you are making your way in the working world and you want to be a trusted, reliable member of society.

But what about “perception is reality” in this circumstance: In an article written by Judith Fein for Psychology Today, she shared an experience she had in another country. “….we saw a musician playing an unusual, stringed, traditional instrument on the street. Using sign language, smiles, and a word or two in Thai, we communicated that we were very interested in both the instrument and the musician. With a wide grin, the latter invited my husband, Paul, to play.

Paul picked up the instrument and produced a sound that was more screech than music. We all laughed, and then the open-hearted musician started giving Paul a lesson. There was a patch of grass nearby, and I sat down, watching, listening, fascinated. My legs were tired from having walked about six hours that day, so I stretched my feet out in front of me, in the direction of Paul and his instructor. To my complete shock, our guide arrived and slapped me on the face.

Rather than jump up and slap him back, which is not my style, I stood up and faced him down. Before I had a chance to speak, he admonished me, ‘Never ever point the bottom of your feet at anyone. It is a sign of total disrespect.’”

Although there is validity to the “perception is reality” – no matter where you go, but their may be some validity to Aporva Kala’s quote, “Your perception may not be my reality.”

As for the springtime rains and my experiences of “reality” as a result – perhaps a slight shift will be all it takes to relieve the frustration I feel. If not, I’ll do my best to refrain from slapping myself.











Student of the Week: Alexis Redmon


Alexis Redmon, a sixth-grade student at Jordan-Small Middle School, is The Windham Eagle’s Student of the Week. Redmon states that she enjoys playing basketball and softball.

“Alexis Redmon is a star that doesn’t always want others to notice how she shines,” stated her teacher. “Not wanting to stand out, she works quietly and tenaciously, but it was only a matter of time until we recognized her light—and what light she has. Motivated and inspired to learn, she asks the right questions and takes her studies seriously, and not just because she wants the grade. Alexis wants to understand the history and science behind how and why things work. Inquisitive and thoughtful in her process, her questions don’t just skim the surface, they demand a much broader perspective and wisdom. When it comes to science, Alexis is highly motivated to learn and share. She uses science equipment like a pro, she takes notes in class, she is a supportive lab partner, and her assessments are always top shelf.”

Redmon believes that working on special projects is what makes learning fun. Her favorite music is rap music and her favorite subject is math.




Friday, May 17, 2019

Insight: The Minister of Loneliness

By Lorraine Glowczak

It wasn’t until I became involved in area age-friendly communities, that I was made aware of the very serious issue of social isolation and loneliness among the older population. But I had no idea the extent of this problem until I attended last Friday’s Institute for Integrative Aging program launch at Saint Joseph’s College (on front page).

“It [loneliness] is proven to be worse for health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” stated Mark Robinson in a January 17, 2018 New York Times Article. Robinson is the chief officer of Age UK, Britain’s largest charity working with older people.

Social isolation and loneliness are so critical in Britain, that the Prime Minster recently appointed a Minster of Loneliness to their cabinet. Although it is true that social isolation and loneliness are challenges faced in the United Kingdom does not negate the fact that we are experiencing the same issues right here in the Lakes Region.

We are a rural area and, adding in the long cold winter months, it is easy for all us to retreat - especially the aging population. These individuals frequently live alone and, if they do have family, they often live in other states.

So, what steps can we take as a community to alleviate this problem? We’ll – luckily – Windham and Raymond areas are hosts to amazing people and organizations who strive to be there for one another. As such, below are organizations that provide activities for individuals who desire more social connections:

Lakes Region Senior Center at Little Falls Activity Center, 40 Acorn Street in Gorham
Age-friendly Raymond, Raymond Arts Alliance, Raymond Village Library and Raymond Village Community Church collaborate on a multitude of events. Call the library at: 207-655-4283
Windham Parks and Recreation. Phone: Call 892-1905
Saint Joseph’s College SilverSneakers®. Call 893-6627
Windham Public Library. Call 892-1908

There are also free weekly Monday Meals provided by area churches and organizations which can be found in our events calendar every week.

But what about those individuals who are physically, or otherwise, unable to leave their home to join in on the above mention activities.

Easily accessible transportation is a problem here in the Lakes Region and it is an issue we need to address. Much like the U.K.’s Minster of Loneliness whose directive is to confront the challenge and take action – we, too, can act as ministers of the Lakes Region, working together to find a way to solve this transportation challenge. In a recent interview with Peter Nielsen who heads the Institute of Integrative Aging at Saint Joseph’s, he mentioned this is a situation they are working diligently on.

Perhaps we can join in and collaborate with them to help solve this problem.

Although the term “minister” is often associated with religion and clergy – to minister can also mean to “care”, to “comfort”, and to “support”. Let’s all be ministers of loneliness to our community in the best ways we know how.

We each can visit someone we know who is home bound – or better yet, give them a ride. As I write and encourage you to do this, I often tell myself that I’m “too busy” to do this very thing. So, if you are “too busy”, too – let’s make a pact and do our best to be one of the many minsters of loneliness in the Lakes Region.


Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

WORDS FROM THE PAST

“Mr. President, I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition.  It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear.  It is a condition that comes from a lack of effective leadership either in the legislative branch or the executive branch of our government.  That leadership is so lacking that serious and responsible proposals are being made that national advisory commissions be appointed to provide such critically needed leadership.  I speak as briefly as possible because too much harm has already been done with irresponsible words of bitterness and selfish political opportunism.  I speak as simply as possible because the issue is too great to be obscured with eloquence.  I speak simply and briefly in a hope that my words will be taken to heart.  Mr. President, I speak as a Republican.  I speak as a woman.   I speak as a United States Senator.  I speak as an American”

Those words uttered by one of our late, great US Senators, Margaret Chase Smith on June 1, 1950 on the Senate floor.  Her words, I believe, sum up the state of governing today, particularly at the national level.  Not much has changed in sixty-nine years.  “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”  And repeat it we have.

Smith goes on, “I think that it is high time the United States Senate and its members do some real soul searching and to weigh our consciences as to the manner in which we are performing our duty to the people of America and to the manner in which we are using or abusing our individual powers and privilege.”  Voters need to do the same thing.

Senator Smith goes on to say: “As a United States Senator I am not proud of the way the Senate has been made a publicity platform for irresponsible sensationalism. I am not proud of the reckless abandon in which unproved chargers have been hurled from this side of the aisle. I am not proud of the obviously staged, undignified countercharges which have been attempted in retaliation from the other side of the aisle. As an American, I am shocked at the way republicans and democrats alike are playing directly into the design of confuse, divide, and conquer.”

I challenge all elected officials from our city and town halls, our statehouses, the White House, the People’s House to visit:  
http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/resources/pdf/SmithDeclaration.pdf.  Read Senator Smith’s entire speech, then do some serious reflection to see where you fit.  You might find some wisdom in her words.

We must bring the discussion home. Home, to the founding of our country. Home, to remember the reason so many of our brothers and sisters, moms and dads, aunts and uncles died, so that we may live in freedom.  Freedom from government overreach.  Freedom to say what our beliefs are without fearing retribution.   We must if our Republic is to survive.

Jeffrey M. Pierce, Windham


Dear Editor,

This has been a bad year in Augusta. Rights are being removed at a dizzying pace. First Amendment, Religious Freedom and Parental Rights are attacked almost daily. Yes, elections matter. The winners get to set the committee members, agendas and schedules. The winners get to blast forward. This majority is blasting forward even when "the people" say stop. There is good news. I have seen a large increase in citizens getting involved. I also see them staying involved as they are not listened to. 

More good news? Raymond/Gray representative Susan Austin is on your side. Case in point, the LD 1025 Conversion Therapy bill. This bill alleges that minors are being tortured to change their gender.

In looking into this, it turns out there has never been a complaint in Maine history of this happening. Further, the proponents of the bill added "talk" into the category of torture. Thus, if a confused teenager is not sure of their sexual direction, this law would say a counselor, therapist would have to remain neutral. For parents reading this, how did that work out on any issue your kids struggle with - you staying neutral? So, a young child who thinks they might want to take strong medications and even remove body parts to stop the confusion would not be able to get any advice from professionals. 

In the discussions there were many examples of science thrown out for debate. One of the only verified notations was that many kids are confused as teens as to their gender and 80% of them return to their birthright by age 25. One women (who thought she was a man for most of her life) spoke about the pain she now suffers from having surgeries at a young age. Rep. Austin knew all these facts and that there was no record of complaint. She still acted to create a bill that would end the idea of a practice of conversion therapy before it even started. However, she understood the value of professionals and was not seeking to make cultural change so her bill simply stopped what you and I would see as torture. Her bill was the only bill that would stop conversion therapy, if it ever did occur. The majority froze her bill and just passed LD 1025 which takes away many rights and offers our children as sacrifices to a cultural revolution. My kids are adults, I am ok. I do feel for a society without hope, that is so open to destroy life at any level. I live in Raymond but Rep. Austin is not my representative. I admire representative Austin's faith, core values and respect for life. This would be a great time for you to get involved before we lose more rights.

Mike McClellan
Raymond, Maine