Sunday, May 25, 2014

Insight - Respect

I never knew what a sacrifice men in the military make until my husband was deployed overseas while we were dating. It was Thanksgiving weekend and I was home from college. We met at my parent’s house to hang out for a few days. (We didn’t live in the same town.) While he was there he got “the call” - The one no parent or girlfriend wants to hear. 
“We’re being activated. You need to report in three days.”

Being there, watching his reaction was surreal. I had to remind myself that this was what he trained for, what he wanted to do. There was no way he was staying home while his buddies went to war without him.
With deployment comes great uncertainty. 

While he was overseas, we only had contact by letters and the occasional $400 phone call. During previous wars, mail was hit or miss and many times you didn’t know what was happening with a loved one until the officers arrived at the front door. 

Thankfully, I have never had a visit like that. But, so many families have opened their doors to the horror of losing a spouse, a son or in the case of one Libby family in the Arlington Cemetery, two sons in the same war.

Celebrating Memorial Day is more than tossing some ribs on the barbeque or sprucing up the yard. Service men and women from all over the country gather, have parades, picnics and ceremonies to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to give us the right to live in a land that is free. Those men and women in the parades and at the ceremonies served for you and for all of us. They deserve a “thank you” and respect, for what they have seen and been through is more than we can imagine or will ever know.
So from us at The Windham Eagle…Thank you for serving. 

-Michelle Libby

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Finding peace on the green

When I was a child I spent many, many days and evenings on the golf course doing cartwheels, being shushed and trying to stay out of the lie of the ball. I spent time begging to putt or to play a hole, then it was time to beg to drive the cart. What I would have given for an iPod or a GameBoy. Alas, I’m older than both of those inventions. 
In my house, we watched golf on TV, we bought my dad golf balls and tees for every major gift giving holiday. It was easy and he appreciated them (hey, it wasn’t a tie). 

Then I went to college and I didn’t golf. Maybe once a year or once every two years, I’d play a round with my dad at whatever course his was frequenting. 

I got married, and I didn’t have time or money for golf, so I didn’t play. A few buckets of balls at driving ranges, a round with a friend’s husband and a women’s league I made it to once were the only golf contact I had for 10 years. 

This past Monday, I stepped foot on a golf course. It was evening and the sun was starting to sink in the sky. The air was warm with a nice breeze to keep the bugs down. The greens were clipped, the fairways were beckoning and the flags were calling to us to come play. I took my first deep breath in what seems like forever and felt the tension and anxiety melt off. 

There is a muffled quiet on a golf course. The greens suck up the noise pollution and all that is left is you, the club and the ball. 

I wasn’t there with my father this time. I was there with my son. He was excited to learn about the game of golf and there was a learn-to-golf class happening that we could take together. Of course, I have played, but this was a chance to bond and get out of the office for an hour or two each week. I was happy to be there and we left excited about golfing again next week. I can see many future golf matches happening over the next few years. My career on the LPGA is not solidified yet, but there is hope, right?

To my parents - all those times I groaned about going to play golf with you, my grandparents and your friends, when I cursed about getting stuck as far away from the clubhouse as possible during a thunder and lightning storm without a cart, and when I spoke too loudly when someone was teeing off, it was worth all the aggravation then to know now there is a place that feels like home. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Insight - Teaching good sportsmanship - By Kelly Mank

Spring sports have started and the weather is getting nicer, thank goodness. My son, Keith, plays lacrosse and I love going to his games. Coming off hockey season (not that I don’t love the cold rink or the 6 a.m. games) the fresh air, birds flying above, smell of the grass, and light breeze is absolutely fantastic. As most people know lacrosse can be a pretty rugged sport and tensions can get high… just as in any sport. I personally felt that our team was playing well, seemed to be slightly more aggressive than normal and there was some unsportsmanlike conduct that I wasn’t used to seeing, however, overall the game was going well. 
Late into the game, tensions were getting higher and you could see the penalties were starting to show more and the parents were starting to get louder. Now, not to say it wasn’t the fault of the players and that sportsmanship was at an all-time high at this point, but the parents of the other team and the things that were being said, not only our kids but to our parents just astonished me.  As I sat there quietly and at points actually had to giggle about how immature some parents were I was thinking what in the world do these kids go home to.  

As parents it is hard for us to remember sometimes that they are kids. Whether it is school, rec, or a premier league, we need to promote positive reinforcement and good sportsmanship. If they don’t learn it now… when will they?  Our kids need to learn that no matter what happens taking the higher road, although not always easier, is the better decision. Sportsmanship will stay with kids forever. Let’s pretend for a moment that our child is that .001 percent that will make it to the big league. Look at what happens to major league players who don’t respect the rules or have bad attitudes. Not only do they ruin their careers, they do it publicly, ruining their lives. Sportsmanship goes so far outside athletic sports into their furthered education, careers, and how they treat people as adults and raise their own children.  These kids in today’s world need to be taught what it means to make the good decision and to have the right attitude. On the ride home we discussed what happened. My son does understand (and knows why) that if he ever disrespects an adult like some of these kids were doing during the game that it won’t have to be the referee or the coach that pulls him off the field… his mother will take care of that immediately.  Let’s promote the right attitude in our kids before they learn they are unteachable from their parents.

-         Kelly Mank, publisher

Monday, May 5, 2014

Entrepreneurship along Alexander Hamilton's ideals - By Trevor Braun

It is difficult to believe that a man born over two hundred years ago can help with our current economic challenges, but such is the legacy of Alexander Hamilton. Following America’s separation from the Old World, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton unveiled a plan that would become the economic backbone of the United States. However, somewhere down the line, this vision began to fade to the dim pages of history books. This transition can be traced to the strength of Hamilton’s most prized pupil: 

Manufacturing. The United States has been severely lacking in manufacturing prowess ever since the opportunity to export labor combined with ever increasing technological capabilities. A strong manufacturing presence has been hailed by all as a strong contributor to employment, which at the end of the day, is our most important economic factor. While Mr. Hamilton’s plan involved tariffs that ensured the competitiveness of American manufacturing, I do not believe in an exact recreation of Hamilton’s plan. Attempting to artificially ensure the competitiveness of the American manufacturing industry would raise consumer prices and stifle American industry from staying competitive in an increasingly globalized world. In order to grow the economy Hamilton style, there has to be a less literal reading of his Report on Manufactures.

In order to transfer jobs and economic power to the United States, technology must lead the way. While technological advances have traditionally replaced wage earners in production, the proper social and economic impact will spring from the coupling of technology with man’s access to use such technology. On the national scale this means a more fruitful climate for entrepreneurship. The days of one factory employing an entire town are gone. However, a town employed by many small innovative companies would result in a more empowering and productive job market. This shift can be achieved through Hamiltonian protective subsidies to entrepreneurial ventures and increased support for technological research that would empower the entrepreneurial spirit. I am not advocating for the government to pick winners and losers among upstart businesses, however, I believe that a larger safety net for entrepreneurial ventures and increased access to credit would help spread entrepreneurial ventures.
It is well known that successful entrepreneurs reap the largest financial benefits along with the freedom to implement their own vision on society. So then, why is everyone not an entrepreneur? Well for starters, not everyone wants to run a for profit or non profit venture. However, those would like to are usually discouraged by the risk involved with starting a business. Decreasing these risks (but not eliminating them) through the aforementioned remedies would attract financially ambitious individuals who can successfully establish healthy start up businesses. These established businesses would be able to create jobs on the local level and give our country a strong economic base. 

Hamiltonian protectionism of American entrepreneurship would sway some ambitious profit seekers from squeezing into the financial services sector and instead establishing their own venture that would both enrich themselves and create numerous jobs in their community. We must foster invention and creation in the American individual in order to raise our standard of living. Empowering individuals to raise themselves and their community to a higher standard is the ultimate American dream. The days of working in a single factory for your whole life and retiring to your own slice of the pie are ending. The future of the “American dream” will lie in a more flexible relationship with entrepreneurship and inventiveness.

World Book Night 2014 - By Michelle Libby

I’m a writer…I’ve made that perfectly clear, but first, I am a reader. I love to read. Romance is my favorite genre, but a close second is travel non-fiction. I read a story called Annapurna- A woman’s place is on top, which is about the first all-women’s expedition team up the second highest peak in the world back in high school, which sparked my interested in this genre. 

Recently I read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl hiked the Pacific Crest Trail by herself in a fun, exciting, humorous look at hiking. I enjoyed the book immensely. 

Two years ago, Laurel Parker, the children’s librarian at Windham Public Library, told me about World Book Night. You go online and apply to be a book giver. If you’re a reader, this is the way to go. If you’re a non-reader, wait. That first year I missed the cutoff date for applying. 

This year I did not miss it, and I was accepted as a book giver. As a giver I was asked to choose from a list of books the book I would like to receive 20 copies of to give out to reluctant readers. 

I chose Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

Last Wednesday, I was super excited to hand out books. I had scripts ready in my head if I came across a reader on how to offer them the opportunity to be a book giver next year. If I came across a reluctant reader, I gave them Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I got a few funny looks or people shaking their heads at me. “Just read it,” I told them. One man sat down in the office and started reading while he waited for his order. I gave books out a two different pizza places in town, to people in the office and at an American Legion Auxiliary training. 

And, still I had more books to give. 

I gave books out everywhere I went and I planned to give them to my Scout parents who didn’t read much. What Scout parent wouldn’t love a book about hiking?

Then I realized the sad part about being a book giver they don’t tell you about. There is little to no feedback on what the people thought of the book. Until Friday night.

I went to dinner with someone from work. I had given her son a copy of the book. He’s 13, and the very definition of a reluctant reader. I’ve seen him struggle with reading for school, staying focused and having no interest in the books assigned. 

At dinner, his mother told me that he was devouring the book I gave him. Said he loved it and didn’t want to put it down. 

That’s what a book giver wants to hear. That made all of the strange looks worth it. I found one book that spoke to one reader and as a writer or a reader, that’s all I can ask for. Would I do this again…definitely. For more information, visit