Friday, September 13, 2019

Insight: She who works with her hands

By Lorraine Glowczak

While interviewing one of the owners of Partners in Canine for this week’s business spotlight, I discovered that one of the owners, when asked as a young child what she wanted to be when she grew up, said she with confidence that she wanted to be zoologist. 

I remember being asked that same question when I was in the second grade. Mrs. Dooley asked all 15
of us what we wanted to do with our one wild and crazy life. I panicked. I really didn’t have a clue and I knew I had to think of something fast. I was in the second row, so I had a minute to think of something good – or at least a profession that is regarded as somewhat respectful.

Billy said, “I’m going to be a professional football player.” Vickie was next to answer and then it was my turn. “I want to be a ballerina,” she said. The pressure was on and I still hadn’t come up with anything unique. I wish I would have simply told the truth and said I didn’t know, because after, all I was only eight years old. But instead, I blurted out, “I want to be a cashier when I grow up.”

Silence. Complete silence from not only Mrs. Dooley but my classmates as well. I was embarrassed. I had no clue why I even said that. It must have been on the previous week’s spelling test.

The lesson from this story comes in the form of two questions: Why the silence? Why my shame?

What I didn’t know then is that I would go on to do something, by society’s standards, that might be considered a rung below a cashier. The perception was confirmed about six months after I started my own cleaning business – cleaning residential and commercial properties. While I was proud of being a sole proprietor, I was soon reminded of the seemingly unimportant career path when I arrived home one day shortly after starting my entrepreneurial endeavor to a message left on the answering machine (this was before the popular use of cellphones). The message went something like this:

“Hello Rainy!”, my Ivy League educated friend began. “I do realize that cleaning is quite the lucrative business, but – oh Rainy – cleaning for others is so beneath you.” I knew she saw within me a different potential, but she did not see the value in the service to others – but perhaps more importantly – the service to myself. I was preparing to become a writer.

If you ask anyone who works with their hands, they will tell you that some of their most creative thoughts occur during routine and mundane activities. In fact, according to an online magazine article from “Psychology Today” written by Carrie Barron, MD states:  “Research has shown that hand activity from knitting to woodworking to growing vegetables or chopping them are useful for decreasing stress, relieving anxiety, and modifying depression. There is value in the routine action…. foster[ing] a flow in the mind that leads to spontaneous joyful, creative thought.”

In another article, “Lessons I Learned Cleaning Other People’s Homes”, written by Inka Linda Sarvi, captured what I learned myself in the cleaning business. Sarvi was hired by Zenith Cleaning as a communications and marketing professional – who was also required to clean homes and offices.
She said that every time she finished cleaning a space, she couldn’t deny how peaceful she felt. “I now look forward to how good it feels to get lost in the relaxing rhythm of wiping surfaces and the meditative concentration of focusing fully on one task at a time. The strangest and most fascinating part is how when I clean, I’m constantly struck with new ideas for short stories, poems, songs and paintings, as if my creativity is no longer gated by the constraints of time or assignments.”

She continued by saying that it didn’t make sense to her how cleaning something that inherently makes a space better and helps others is so looked down upon. “It illuminates the truth that the stigma around it is no more than a collective illusion, just one of many other falsehoods that make up the fabric of our society.”

I will admit, I’m glad that my career in cleaning is now behind me as it is hard physical labor. However, what I have learned is there is no shame in working with one’s hands. If I ever had an opportunity to go back to my eight-year old self in Mrs. Dooley’s class, I would proudly announce that I would grow up to be a sole proprietor of a cleaning business…and then I would add, “I’m going to be an author too. I promise to give you all a signed copy of my bestselling novel. Thank you.” And then I would take a bow.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Republicans in the Maine legislature voted down three of the four bond issues during the recent special session (August 26). This is a shame because all four bonds would be very beneficial for Maine, and voters should be given the chance to weigh in.

However, I’m very pleased that my representative, Patrick Corey, of Windham, voted yes on three of the four bonds.  Most important to me, he was one of only five Republicans who voted to support the Land for Maine’s Future bond (LD 1851). He was the only Republican to support the Water Quality Protection bond (LD 1847).

Representative Corey’s support of Environmental issues is exemplary; he’s received a lifetime score of 89% from Maine Conservation Voters.  He should be commended on his support of bills such as the Land for Maine’s Future program, solar power, and protecting drinking water quality, to name a few. 

In the last few years, many of the environmental issues we’ve made progress on have been because of the support and leadership of Representative Corey.  We need more people in the legislature like Corey, who will stand up for the protection of the Maine environment and the health of Mainers.

Representative Corey gave a strong speech in support of the LMF bond, saying that this bond “would invest in Maine's recreational access, conservation, and traditional Maine industries including agriculture, marine resources, and farming.” 

The next chance for the legislature to take up this important bond issue will be in January.  If Corey is your representative, please thank him. If he’s not, please urge your representatives to support this important bond.

Thank you,
Bill Briggs
Windham

Friday, August 30, 2019

Insight: A turtle’s stroll into adulthood

By Lorraine Glowczak

With eyes closed and face turned up toward the sky, soaking in the sun’s rays, I drifted into my own inner world as I sat in my kayak that floated toward the pond’s edge. “Wow! That’s amazing. There are eight turtles on the log next to you,” my husband said, whisking me out my Sunday afternoon stupor.

I had drifted so close to the log, I could have touched the hard-shell terrapins, also inebriated by the
sun’s warmth. I leaned forward slowly to gain a microscopic-like view, hoping not to shock them out of their own Sunday stupor and dive in the water away from me. There were many things I noticed about them - their different sizes, the various designs and shapes each individual shell contained and the way each tilted their head. But what fascinated me the most was how the turtles strategically separated themselves from one another. It was as if the ability to hide in their shells wasn’t enough to protect them from the harshness of the outside world so that sat as far away from each other as possible.

According to livescience.com, turtles are not social creatures. While they typically don’t mind if there are other turtles around them, they don’t interact or socialize. While, I am an outwardly social creature, I do have days when I feel like a freshwater turtle – and sometimes without the shell. But then, that may be what adulthood is all about - moving forward in the world, even on difficult days, when you feel exposed and lonely. Adulthood can come with some pretty hard blows, sometimes hard enough to knock off the protective shell we use to shield us in time of struggle and danger.

In his article, “How to grow up: A guide to humans,” author Mark Manson pointed out that although tasks such as preparing for job interviews, managing your finances, cleaning up after yourself is consider being a responsible adult, “[These things] simply prevent you from being a child, which is not the same thing as being an adult.”

Manson went on to explain that most people do these adult tasks because they are “rule- and transaction-based.” For example, you prepare well for a job interview because you want to get a good job. “Bargaining with rules and the social order allows us to be functioning human beings in the world. But ideally, after some time, we will begin to realize that the whole world cannot always be bargained with. If you have to convince someone to love you, then they don’t love you. If you have to cajole someone into respecting you, then they don’t respect you. The most precious and important things in life cannot be bargained with.”

This concept of “real” adulthood has been with me all week as I struggled to write Simone Emmons’ and Kristen Stacy’s stories (see “Service Dog Strong” on front page). Both sexually assaulted, they experienced loneliness and fear but admitted that telling their story makes them feel less alone – realizing there are others with similar experiences.

If there was anything I learned from my conversation with Simone and Kristen is during those tough and difficult moments – when we feel exposed and lonely – we are never truly alone. Much like the eight turtles last Sunday, there is always someone next to us. Even if there is distance between us – we are all in this together. We all sit on the same log – basking in the same sun. Perhaps this is adulthood at its best.

Route 302 road construction timeline

Below is the construction timeline on Route 302:

Sunday, September 8 to Monday, September 23 construction will consist of milling and paving shoulders from the Angler Road and Whites Bridge intersection approximately 7200 feet to the Windham Christian Academy - night work.

Tuesday, September 24 to Monday, September 30, construction will consist of shimming and surfacing.

Tuesday, October 1, construction will consist of hand work and stripping

Wednesday, October 2 to Thursday, October 3, construction will consist of back shoulders and gravel driveways.

The above schedule may change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.


Friday, August 23, 2019

Insight: Finding purpose

By Lorraine Glowczak

There are many things I love about my job here at The Windham Eagle. What I enjoy changes from time to time, depending upon when you talk to me. But today, my favorite part is the interesting, fun and amazing people I get to meet.

Having only lived in the area for just five years, almost everyone I interview, I encounter for the first
time. I like meeting new people because I enjoy discovering how they have successfully maneuvered in this crazy and chaotic world. By success, I’m referring to how one has experienced the extreme ups and downs of life and are able to keep smiling and moving forward. Because - we all know that it isn’t always easy.

In my attempt to learn about them, I always discover something about myself.

This week, I got to meet former Windham Town Clerk, Rita Bernier (be sure to check out her story on the front page). Rita is one of those individuals who finds a purpose in everything she does. Yes, she was a successful town clerk but just importantly she was a successful mother, wife and bus driver prior to that. In the front-page article, you’ll learn that she loved those children on her bus route as if they were her own children. She knew her purpose and she acted on it without hesitation. Then, when she became the town clerk, her devoted nature shifted. And, it shifts again when she teaches rug making.

You see, as a society, we tend make careers our purpose in life, including yours truly. During my 20s and 30s, I spent my time trying to “find myself” and my purpose for living. I believed there was one particular thing I was meant to do, and I was going to find it. Over and over, determined to capture it, I’d accept a position, hoping that it would be THE one, but would always come up disappointed, feeling as if I somehow failed yet again.

Somewhere along the way, my perception shifted, and I stopped worrying so much about it. I’m still not certain how it all transpired, but upon meeting Rita I realized that it isn’t necessarily a particular occupation that fulfills a life’s purpose but it’s what you do with what lands in your lap.

When I was 14, I worked at my neighbor’s farm gathering eggs and doing other chores. I learned that lamb’s quarter, a weed that grows profusely in Kansas, was a favorite food of chickens. In fact, they’d run toward me as soon as I walked inside their fence with a handful of it. It was such a simple thing, but there was a sense of accomplishment, laughter, joy – and yes, oddly purpose.

Rita reminded me that purpose comes in many forms and can be obtained in just about anything you do. Actor Michael J. Fox has been quoted as saying, “I believe purpose is something for which one is responsible; it’s not just divinely assigned.”

And speaking of purpose, if you are tip toeing on the edge of insignificance, I hope these 520 words help you find some value in the small things. If so, then I’ve done my job for today. Tomorrow? Who knows.




Letter to the Editor

Bear Editor,

What a relief it is to hear about campaigns that take aim at price gouging by pharmaceutical companies!  It is a long-standing problem that just seems to be getting worse.  Many Mainers find it very difficult to afford the medications they need.  Their treatment is absolutely necessary to keep them alive, but the price of Rx drugs just keeps climbing and climbing.  People are scared that soon they won’t be able to afford their medications and will have to start cutting things out like heat, food or home repairs.  It’s terrifying to get to a point where the medicines you need to keep your family safe become out of reach.

This is particularly true since our drug prices are the highest in the world here in the U.S.  Wasn’t this supposed to be the land of plenty and privilege?  Regular people need help.  We are tired of drug companies raising prices when these same drugs can be bought for less already in other countries.  This is contrary to the American way of doing business that has always focused on a competitive marketplace that creates fair prices for consumers.

It’s time we all make a strong appeal to our Members of Congress to put an end to this painful situation.  If you want our support, stop talking and take action.  Get some sensible solutions on the table for this impossible situation.  It’s inhuman when someone is suffering, and something that can help is out there, and you can’t get it for them.  It feels cruel.

Rosalyn Fisher


Friday, August 16, 2019

Insight: The lessons of spicy foods

By Lorraine Glowczak

The delicious but spicy tuna tartare I had eaten the night before was the culprit of the heartburn I was experiencing the next morning. Add on to that - the burning in my leg muscles on a somewhat humid morning while running (or rather, jog/walking) the Kelli 5K last Saturday, made for a slightly uncomfortable experience. “Please don’t get sick,” was my mantra for 30 some minutes.

To eliminate the possibility of creating an unpleasant encounter for the one or two runners behind me, I tried various techniques to take my mind away from the nausea: counting my breaths in and out, organizing my day in my mind, listening to the morning dove that seemed to always be on every branch I ran under…and I did my best to be grateful for the monarch that kept flitting around in front of me as if to say, “You can do this.” But atlas – I would return to the mantra, “please don’t get sick.”

At one point during the run I wondered why I just didn’t donate money instead of challenging my body, which was a former runner but seems to like the slower pace of walking these days. But then, wouldn’t you know it, something dawned on me to challenge – and change – my perception. Because, after all, challenging the body wasn’t enough for the day.

My first thought went to Kelli Hutchison, of which the run is named after. “All I have is heartburn, not cancer.” And then my thought shifted to Griffin Cochrane who received a portion of the proceeds of the fundraising event. Again, I was reminded of my minor inconvenience as I compared it to that of leukemia. It was at that point the run took on a different meaning.

You see, my personal life’s mission is to be of some use to the world, providing a bit relief in a positive way whenever I can with the hope that it somehow helps others.

For some reason, I’ve been thinking that my lofty “save or change the world” ideals put in action should be easy. Author, Bruce Kasanoff articulates my Saturday run realization the best in an online article he wrote for Forbes magazine. When referencing our thoughts as compared to action, he states: “You're not going to accomplish this by meditating once or writing a few passages in your journal. It will take a ton of consistent effort and focus.”

He goes on to say that when you shift from thought to action, you might hear an inner voice tell you something irrational like skipping your luxury vacation and work instead with gang members through a community center. “What? Does working with gang members sound like a crazy thing to do,” Kasanoff points out. “Did you think it would be easy or trivial to make the world more peaceful [or insert my many lofty ideals]?

Kasanoff also stated that the wishes you make while waiting in line at Starbucks don't change the world. In most cases, you have forgotten them after a few days or a week. To change the world, you need persistent and positive thoughts that are strong enough to change your own actions. In other words, before your thoughts can change the world, they must change you.

Luckily, I did cross the finish line without sharing with others the previous night’s meal. And, when I did, I was a slightly different person. I entered the race to remember a young girl and to help a young boy in my effort to ‘change the world’ – but it was they that changed me.

But what has also changed about me is this - next year, I will remember not to eat spicy food the evening before the race.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Millions of people are affected by the rising costs of prescription medication every day. It is wrong that hard working families have to choose between taking medication and being able to eat a meal.
My aunt was born with chronic lung disease and is a cancer survivor who has taken a great deal of prescription drugs during her life. Some of them worked, many didn’t help at all, and some may have made things worse.  Up until a couple of years ago, none of the medication she had taken helped her, until she found one that seemed to finally work. She was on that medication for about a year until the company that made the medication decided to change the patent by one little degree.

By changing the patent, the cost of the medication skyrocketed from $30 a month to $400 a month. She can no longer afford to take the only drug that helped her. It is wrong what big Pharma has done to hardworking people who rely on life-saving medication. The health of our loved ones affects the whole family! The greed must stop. 

Senator Collins, your home state did their job in passing comprehensive prescription drug packages. We hope you can bring the momentum back to Washington with you.

Harrison Quidort


Friday, August 9, 2019

Insight: The genius of youthful wisdom

By Lorraine Glowczak

If you speak to artists who are unable to contain their aspirations, whether their creative endeavor speaks through the brush, the pen, the harp or the bread pan, they will tell you, “I cannot NOT do this.” It’s as if they would wither away into the ethers if they did not paint, write, perform in an orchestra or make award winning ciabatta. It is as if life would be torture if lived any other way.

When I graduated from high school in 1984, I placed myself into this category. Writing was going to be my life - with publication as icing on the cake. Although I wouldn’t say “I’ve arrived,” I’m tapping the edges of my youthful ambitions. However, I almost lost my way.

Besides the everyday life hurdles, it was that I believed the adults in my life who told me how unwise it was to follow such “foolishness” that diverted me from the path of authorship.

I was reminded of my youthful ideal and how I narrowly escaped the grips of adopted fears on Monday evening at the Artist Meet and Greet hosted by the Raymond Arts Alliance and library. I got hear artists Holden Willard, a 2017 Windham High graduate and his father Don, speak about their lives as artists. Willard sees art as his life’s career and intends to not let anything get in the way of his creative ventures. Although they admit to having some fear around their son’s financially secure future, his parents support him in his decision.

As a society, we tend to believe that it is the elders who hold and impart wisdom to the less experienced among us. Although it is true that we older adults have lived a long life and do have valid bits of knowledge and experiences to share, we must be careful to not let our hardened viewpoints and baggage of failed expectation and disappointments spill over, preventing the youth to live their dreams fully.

Yes, life is life and it will be painful for them at times. But that’s okay. We survived. They will too. No matter our own fears and setbacks, it is not up to us as adults to cage the spirit of youth. In fact, they offer the reminder and wisdom to continue moving forward with our own lives and passions – whatever they may be.

In the online article “Generation Us: Heeding the Wisdom of Youth”, written by David McNair (dailyprogress.com) he has this to say about the subject:

“Children… see themselves as the heroes of their own lives, not the victims of time and circumstance, and they approach things with fearlessness. And when they get hurt, or things don’t go their way, they cry and yell and stomp their feet — but they move on.

Too often, as adults and older people, we settle for ways of being that aren’t necessarily that joyful, rewarding or even healthy. Set in our ways, perhaps, and veterans of a struggle the young can’t even begin to imagine, we can get hardened and wary. That’s where the wisdom of youth comes in.”

Life is too complicated to put everything neatly in compartments – we all must find our own ways to maneuver around in the world. But if we can, no matter our age, let’s keep showing up and moving on despite the difficulties and the fears we come up against. And, if you are feeling like you might be losing your way, listen to the wisdom of the young artist in your life – to remind you the vision you once had about a life lived fully.

Will it be worth it in the end? Who knows? But I, for one, would rather regret the things I did than that things I didn’t do. I was foolish in my youth – why change now.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

When you get a raise, it’s normally because of a job well done.

Central Maine Power (CMP) has asked the Public Utilities Commission for a raise – a big one.  The utility giant wants a 46.5-million-dollar rate increase. Even if CMP wasn’t already under intense scrutiny for inexcusable billing mistakes, the current proposed rate increase would still be unaffordable for Mainers.  However, during three recent public hearings, consumers shared how CMP overbilled them, failed to correct the billing errors, and subjected them to an appalling customer service system.

The public uproar has not been limited to the public hearings.  In the last week alone, AARP Maine heard from over 450 CMP customers, all of whom expressed outrage at CMP’s rate increase request. That request includes an increase in the fixed rate for all their customers no matter how much or how little electricity they use. CMP clearly mishandled the launch of their billing system and their bad performance should not be rewarded with a raise.

AARP Maine strongly opposes CMP’s latest request to raise their rates. CMP’s Spanish parent company, Iberdrola, just announced double-digit growth in their profits, yet they continue to push for higher rates for their customers.  We think it’s time to put ratepayers ahead of shareholders and pay Maine back first. 

If you would like to make your voice heard on this issue, send an email to me@aarp.org today.

Austin Hodge


Friday, August 2, 2019

Insight: Why me?

By Lorraine Glowczak

With a little preparation and some research prior to an interview, it is relatively easy to gain the perspective needed from individuals to write a well thought out feature article that not only stimulates the reader’s mind but informs the heart as well. It is our hope, that these stories inspire others and opens the door into other’s lives thus gaining a viewpoint one would not have otherwise.

There are, however, some lives whose stories are dabbled with challenge - and no amount of planning and research can prepare the writer to capture the richness of that individual’s journey. In this week’s publication, the story that made me stop in my tracks was my interview with five-year-old Griffin Cochrane and his family. Griffin, who has leukemia, will receive a portion of the funds raised by the 10th annual Kelli’s 5K.

At the present time, Griffin is in the midst of a daunting three-and one-half year chemotherapy treatment program. I try to tread lightly in these types of interviews. “Do I ask too many personal questions,” I asked Melissa Hutchinson after the Cockrane family left our meeting. Melissa is Kelli’s mother of which the 5K is named. Melissa has received the brunt of my stumbling in the dark Q/A sessions a multitude of times, so I trusted her feedback.

“I remember the first time you interviewed me; it was so painful. But then I read the article afterwards….and….” she then touched her heart to signify that I was able to capture a bit of the truth. I secretly hoped Griffin’s mother and family would feel the same way.

One thing I’ve noticed when I interview people going through extraordinarily painful circumstances is that I have never once, in the almost four years of writing for The Windham Eagle newspaper, heard the question: “Why me?” Not once.

In her book, “An Alter in the World”, Barbara Brown Taylor points out something important regarding that question many of us have asked at one time or another when life throws us excruciating curveballs. “[This] is a natural question to ask when you are in pain, but they are just as relevant when you are in pleasure. Who deserves a warm bath on a cold night after a hard day’s work? Who has earned the smell of a loved one, embracing you on your first night back at home?”

In 53 years, I’ve never had surgery or spent one night in the hospital. Why me? I can see the purple hues of a fall sunset with my own eyes. Why me? I can hear a cardinal in the background as I type this Insight. Why me? I can smell the earth when I walk in the nature preserve near my home. Why me? What did I do to deserve these wonderful things? I don’t know the answers except that I now know that on those painful “stub your toe” sort of days, I won’t be as quick to ask the question, “Why me?”

Forgiving: A poem

By Masha Yurkevich

Let me be forgiving
If someone is unkind.
Let me forgive them
and not keep it in my mind.

Let me smile to them
and send the anger right away.

For angry thought can
darken
even the brightest day.

 Stars without darkness
Are no use.

Then,
there is no light
for them to produce
 You can't climb every mountain
and you can't win every war.

But one thing you can always do is try to
be better than before.

You always warm me up with your
sunny ways
and brighten all my
cloudy days!

~ dedicated to my family,
Those wonderful people
That make my life better!


Friday, July 26, 2019

Insight: The truth is out

By Lorraine Glowczak

“You are going to mow in this heat,” my next-door neighbor asked me as I was getting ready to start the mower. “It’s way too hot to mow.”

It was late last Friday afternoon when the oppressive heatwave of 2019 was descending upon us. I was preparing to do my regular Saturday chores since my husband and I were going to spend the weekend in Rockland with friends and wouldn’t be around for the weekend for a more appropriate, less heat intensive time to work on the lawn.

I explained this to my neighbor who offered her condolences at my Friday afternoon ‘luck’. “Well, sometimes life sucks,” I said, laughing. “That’s not what you say and write about in the paper,” she joked back. Dang! She caught me…….

She is correct and it is true. I often write about the upsides to life, seeing things from an Anne of Green Gable, Pollyanna, it’s all good and positive perspective. And, for the most part, that is true. But – as I have stated many times before, for every truth that exists the opposite is also true. And that includes me and the way I maneuver around in the world. If you don’t mind, I’m going to share that other side with you because – after all – I don’t want to get “caught” again.

Although I do care about appearances – the way I present myself, the way I speak, the way I write – all have an impact on me and does have some power over me. But in the end, authenticity takes over and sometimes ruins all appearances I put forth in my glass half full lifestyle. Although, at times, I know this can have detrimental effects, I also am aware that you can’t fool people. Intelligent people can see through a fa├žade anyway – so why not be who you are at any given moment, right?

I think I come by optimism innately, but the darn thing is – I am human who vents too much, spits venom when I am angry, stresses unnecessarily on publication day and won’t back down when I argue with my husband (because, you know – I’m always right.)

Being human definitely has its downsides – and if I’m not careful, I’ll let the “appearances” part take over, letting the feelings of failure slowly creep in my mind and make itself way too comfortable when I’m not up on my game.

When this happens, I remember the following quote by Stephen Dimmick:

“Being optimistic doesn’t mean I don’t get angry. Being optimistic doesn’t mean I don’t get sad. Being optimistic doesn’t mean I don’t speak my mind – sometimes peacefully and sometimes with burning fire. Being optimistic doesn’t mean I won’t argue with you or even walk away from you. Being optimistic simply means I know the glass as full and overflowing with goodness despite living in my human condition.”

So, there you go! The truth is out.


Patriot's Pen National Merit Award and check presented

Pictured here is Sam Williams, a student at Windham Christian Academy, receiving a special Patriot’s Pen National Merit Award for his Patriot’s Pen essay. Willie Goodman, Windham VFW Post 10643 Commander, and Steve SanPedro, former VFW State Commander, are shown presenting Sam his award and accompanying check for $500. The Windham VFW is very proud of Sam and his recognition at the VFW national level.




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.