Friday, December 28, 2018

Bowl games and New Year's Day

New Year's Day is rife with tradition. Perhaps no such tradition is more exciting for fans of college football than the handful of New Year's Day bowl games featuring some of the sport's best teams. New Year's Day bowl games can trace their origins back to the 19th century. 

According to, on January 1, 1890, members of the Valley Hunt Club in Southern California paraded through the streets of Pasadena, California, engaging in various contests, including tug-of-war. While no collegians competed on the gridiron that day, the parade served as a precursor to the Tournament of Roses Parade, which immediately proceeded athletic contests that included polo matches and greased-pig catching. 

In 1901, the president of the parade, seeking to gain publicity for the town of Pasadena and its floral festival, sought to stage a sporting event that might attract more interest than pig-catching and polo.

Festival organizers ultimately chose college football, deciding to initiate a matchup between a team representing the western United States and the eastern United States. On January 1, 1902, the football teams from the University of Michigan and Stanford University battled in the inaugural East-West football game. Michigan, which had not allowed a point all season long, steamrolled its way to a 49-0 victory. In fact, the game's lack of competitiveness temporarily nixed plans for an annual New Year's Day game, which was not played again until 1916, when Washington State University defeated Brown University 14-0. 

Interest in the game continued to grow from there on out, and in 1923, the game was moved to a large stadium known as the Rose Bowl. The game itself soon adopted the name of that stadium, and it retains that name today. Thanks to fan interest in the New Year's Day game, other New Year's bowl games soon followed, and continue to entertain college football fans every January 1. 

Insight: Cramming for the final exam

By Lorraine Glowczak

Can you believe it?! This is it for 2018! I remember rolling my eyes in frustration every time my mother said, “Time goes much faster when you get older. You blink your eyes, and all of the sudden – you are old.” Now, I am the one who is speaking those words - and I still roll my eyes. But because my Mom’s silly words of wisdom feels factual to me now, it makes New Year resolutions more impactful – like “go to the bathroom or get off the pot” sort of impact.

The thing about becoming older and “wiser” is you realize your time is limited and you want to get out there and really do it. Whether the reason is that you truly discover what is more important to you or, as comedian George Carlin implied, “you are cramming for your final exam,” hoping to get into heaven – whichever the case may be, I suppose it really doesn’t matter. You just know you must do it.

But what I’ve noticed personally about resolutions as I’m heading in the downhill slide, is it’s not so much about eating healthier (although I do plan to do that) or exercise more (I plan to do that, too) or spend more time with friends, having fun, (yes – that, too) and travel more (Oh! I hope so) but to contribute in more positive, aware and educated ways. However, there is a learning curve in taking that route. Especially the “aware and educated” part.

It has been said that for every truth that exists, the exact opposite also contains truth. I tend to buy into this philosophy, generally speaking, because it keeps me from becoming too arrogant about my own opinions and it reminds me that no one owns the copyright on truth. The learning curve for me is taking my “saving the world, creating happiness and justice for all” innate mindset and realizing the effects of the actions I take on a daily basis.

For example: while I promote the elimination of food insecurity in Maine and volunteer time and food to the free weekly Monday Meals program – I am also throwing leftovers away that have been in my refrigerator for over a month. While I work to make sure there is justice occurring in the world, that includes Africa – I wear a diamond ring. While I work to be upwardly mobile, I think about the people I might leave behind in the dust – not because they are lazy and take advantage of the system (and there are a few, no doubt) – but because, in some circumstances – life isn’t always fair.

As January 1st approaches this coming Tuesday, I will do my best to take a hard look at my New Year’s resolutions – bearing in mind my decisions and how they may impact people.

Although there is truth that I am following my innate way to be in the world – I suspect it might also be true that I am cramming for my final exam. Wish me luck. And I wish you luck as you head in the new year with whatever endeavors you believe are important.

May 2019 be your best year yet. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Insight: Please wait

By Lorraine Glowczak

The circle was spinning on my computer screen along with the words, “Please Wait”, as it tried to process information that I needed immediately. Frustrated, I took a deep breath and in an irritated voice I spoke aloud to no one, “Really? I don’t have time for this stuff.” (Except I didn’t use the word, “stuff”).

With the exception of the few, wise, “work/life” balanced individuals among us, it is safe to say we
run through life in overdrive as we check off our excessive “to do” lists. Add on the Christmas parties, holiday baking and shopping that comes with the season and it’s enough to tip us over the edge.

But nature may provide us an excuse to slow down, as if one needs to be goaded into stepping back from our face-paced life to take a breather. Today, December 21, is the winter solstice – the official first day of winter that marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. It’s during this time that we experience the dark months ahead which can open the door to our natural inclination to hibernate, allowing us to rest. And, if we dare, suspend our busyness for a while - standing still while we wait for the promise of warmer and longer days to come.

The word “solstice” roughly translates to “sun stands still.” Even something as important as the sun takes a moment for quiet and reflection. Although technically, the sun only appears to pause, but nature in her wisdom may be trying to tell us to pause from time to time, too.

There are many advantages to taking a momentary hiatus for rest and self-reflection. One well-known benefit to pausing in this way is that it allows the mind to process important information, increasing our ability to create with life. The act of slowing down itself, gives us time to take a deep breath and actually “hear” intuitive thoughts that often become reality, taking action in a more purposeful way.

I must admit that I will always be one to busily flutter from one task and event to another, so for those who find themselves in the same predicament, I am unable to offer any solutions for slowing down - (except for the obvious act of doing less).

But when moments become too stressful and things are spinning out of control, I will recall that moment when my computer asked me to “Please, wait” as it processed the information I requested from it. And much like that computer, I will do my best to pause - and wait – so I can process life with the intention to act with authentic creativity.

Happy Solstice!

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

Everyone knows that Maine winters can be brutal.  In our rural state, some residents may become isolated and for those who are low income, the need for reliable and affordable electricity is imperative.

Central Maine Power (CMP) is the largest electricity provider in the state. The utility giant serves 600,000 electricity customers in central and southern Maine which is equal to approximately 78 percent of Maine residents.

This week, we learned that for CMP customers, electricity rates will increase 6.8 percent in 2019. 

CMP customers' bills currently average about $88 per month, which will go up to about $94 per month under the new rates. That may not sound like a steep increase, but when you are low-income, perhaps living on nothing but Social Security as we know 1/3 of Mainers 65+ do, that extra cost is going to be tough to absorb.

This rate increase is coming at a time when CMP has yet to distribute the savings it received from the 2017 Federal Tax Act directly to customers. This should have happened at the beginning of 2018. Instead, the company wants to hold on to that money, saying it will offset an additional proposed customer rate increase yet to be determined.  How can CMP be asking for even more?

Access to electricity should be fair, affordable, accurate and transparent. The experiences that CMP customers have weathered in 2018 and will continue to face in 2019 are anything but that.

CMP needs to do better for their customers and we urge all Mainers who purchase their electricity through CMP to make their voices heard. Raise your voice before they raise your rates.

Karen Evans
AARP Maine Advocacy Volunteer

Friday, December 14, 2018

Insight: When it’s not so jolly

By Lorraine Glowczak

It’s 5:27 a.m. on publication day and this editorial/insight is due in a couple of hours. I’m staring at a blank page and I haven’t a clue where to begin. It’s not because I have writer’s block. I know exactly what wants to come out on the page, but it doesn’t fit my agenda and idealized version of a holly, jolly Christmas. So, please bear with me as the words I’m trying to control take control over me.

Decorations, gifts, lights, holiday cheer, family, friends and Christmas music that begins before Thanksgiving – I bask in the delight of it all. Christmas is my favorite holiday and there is nothing that prevents me from celebrating with full blown exhilaration even when the dark ridges of not so pleasant times knock on the peripheral edges of my merriment.

This time of year also brings with it the memory of my mother and two close friends who all made their escape into the heavens during holiday seasons of the past. So, while I’m bouncing around with Christmas joy like some elf on a shelf, I am very aware that it’s also a season when being jolly is not necessarily a universal American experience -be it poverty, a job lost or death.

I have plans to meet a friend for coffee soon whose adult daughter is preparing to make her own transition – saying her goodbyes to her young children, husband, siblings and parents during a time of supposedly “good cheer.”

“I just need some time away to talk about something different for a change,” my friend confessed, wishing to escape for just a moment, the pain of a child’s impending death.

I’m not quite sure how or if this prayer thing works – but I sure do hope and pray that I don’t say something that may cause further heartache like, “There is a reason for everything” or “God needs another angel in heaven” or perhaps even worse yet, “Have a very, merry Christmas!”

In my effort to prepare for our gathering, I reached out to the google gods for some quick advice from quasi-professionals. If you are also in a similar circumstance, here are two pieces of advice I found to be most real in approach:

1)      Admit it. Tell them you do not know what to say. The author of an article on offers this advice: “It’s okay to tell the truth if you don’t know what to say. Your honesty allows the [individual] to know you are a safe person to talk to because they’ll know you aren’t trying to fix them.”

2)      Admit it, again. Tell them you can’t imagine how they feel. The same author from the website noted above states, “No two relationships are the same because they are comprised of two different people. So even if you’ve [had the same loss] you could never know exactly how another person feels. At best you only know how you felt when your loss occurred.”

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and holiday greetings in whatever way you choose to celebrate the season. But if it’s not so jolly for you right now - I have no clue what to say and I can’t imagine how you feel. I cover my heart with my hand and bow before you with a very simple prayer, “May peace be with you. If not now, perhaps sooner rather than later.”

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Regarding the protection of the rural character of Windham

I’m delighted to see the concern from so many citizens regarding the shrinkage of open space in Windham.  I was privileged to serve on the planning board approximately five decades ago when we originally proposed a zoning ordinance in Windham.  I was the youngest member of the board and believe I am the only one still living to write this letter.  Our chairman, Jack Clark, (no relation) did a superb job explaining our proposal to whomever would listen. We held public meetings, met with many civic organizations and any group that would listen to us. After all our preparation, it wasn’t until the third public vote that the ordinance was finally passed. We needed to keep amending the ordinance until it allowed for enough farmland and open space to please the townspeople.  They made it clear that they wanted to preserve the rural character of our town.  

What I have observed over the years is a gradual violation of the original ordinance and the will of the people who voted for it. Time after time I’ve seen the planning board and the councilors grant exceptions to the ordinance and allow more and more housing developments, thus reducing the open spaces and farmland. Those boards forgot that the citizens voted to preserve open space. I sincerely appreciate that so many of you are concerned and are, once again, holding workshops and having discussions to make changes in an effort to preserve Windham’s rural character.   

Soon after that original zoning ordinance was passed, we made an extensive search for land with waterfront and beach access for public use. Although we failed to find any lakefront property, we found a site on the Presumpscot River which was owned by SD Warren. They donated the land and Dundee Park was created for all to enjoy. Dundee Park should be protected from developers and preserved as recreational space to be enjoyed by the public for many years to come.

Sometime after that, the council gained approval from the state to produce our first comprehensive plan. I chaired that first comp plan committee and kept in mind that maintaining the rural nature of Windham was the citizens’ intent.  As the comp plan was necessarily updated over the years, it was not always adhered to. Veering from the plan left us where we are today, with more development and less of the rural community that the citizens desired.      

While business and development certainly have their place in Windham, zoning is critical to allow enough open space for both farms and community space for all to enjoy.  I encourage you to proceed with respect to the original intent and maintain Windham’s rural character.      

Dick Clark
Windham, Maine and Naples, Florida

Friday, December 7, 2018

Insight: Peace on Earth, can it be?

By Lorraine Glowczak

This past weekend was packed with holiday activities that I found myself attending including, craft fairs, Festival of Trees and other events that included the Annual AmFam Holiday Tradition by the Windham Chamber Singers.

I also attended the Old-Fashioned Christmas Carol and Readers’ Theater hosted by Faith Lutheran Church where I got to hear a favorite Christmas song that always brings tears to my eyes – the David Bowie/Bing Crosby rendition of the combined “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” holiday harmony.

Peace is something we want and hope for year-round but especially during the holiday season. But as we know, observe and experience, it seems an impossible dream.

This publication day, December 7, marks 77 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor. That morning’s attack has famously become “a day that will live in infamy.”

Of course, I wasn’t alive when this event occurred, but I was alive during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. From that experience and the frightening, tumultuous days that followed, there was very little sense of peace in most Americans’ hearts. I suspect the same was true of those alive on that cold December morning as everyone was preparing for the glorious holiday season.

This is where the juxtaposition of life makes things a bit hazy and confusing – where the lines are fuzzy as we grapple with contradictory ideology. Yes. We all want peace. But sometimes that begs war in order to achieve it.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II was over, peace did reign again in our nation, at least for a while. And it seems the cycle returns again and again - peace, war, peace, war. And, although we face many circumstances today that can render the soul into sadness, for the most part - here in our homes in Windham and Raymond – there is for now – a sense of peace.

There are two ironic and fascinating facts about these two songs – sung together. First, the Little Drummer Boy was written in 1941 – the year of the Pearl Harbor attacks. There is no evidence that the composer/writer of the holiday classic, Katherine Kennicott Davis, wrote it with peace in mind, but as author Penelope Hart wrote on, “’'Little Drummer Boy' crosses genres, boundaries, borders, beliefs [as stars] like Bing Crosby to rock god guitarist Jimmy Hendrix, from Marlene Dietrich to Johnny Cash” each performed the song. Crossing and accepting boundaries – accepting one another as we are - is one step toward peace and - going out on limb – may also be a preventable measure to war. (Although, I must admit, it’s not always that simple.)

As for the “Peace on Earth” portion of the melody, it was written specifically for Bowie as he performed the song with Bing Crosby in his holiday television special – on September 11, 1977. It’s just simply an interesting fact that may beg some reflection. Again, acceptance and respect of one another may have prevented the attacks on September 11, 2001. And, again – I may be going out on a limb with that suggestion and of course, nothing really is ever that simple.

I wish I could offer some guarantee or some deep and amazing insight regarding a peace that is eternal. But since I can’t, I would like to end with the last verse of “Peace on Earth” lyrics: “I pray my wish will come true. For my child and your child, too. He'll see the day of glory. See the day when men of good will live in peace, live in peace again. Peace on earth, can it be…..can it be.”

May peace be with you and begin with you.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor and area Lakes Region community: 

Our 2018 election cycle is essentially over. Some are happy, some are sad, some are angry and some don’t care. We are all hopeful for a change in attitude from partisan politics, deep polarization and division amongst most of us, including family and friends. I invite you to join us at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church this Advent and Christmas for a bit of peace and hope.

Recently, a gunman walked into a synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed multiple unsuspecting worshipers. The motive was described as a hate crime and blatant Antisemitism. Yet again, a young man descended upon a nightclub in Thousand Oaks, CA and opened fire on a crowded bar of revelers. More dead and no motive realized, the shooter took his own life after his rampage. I invite you to our church this Advent and Christmas to pray for the victims and their families and experience some peace and hope.

Wildfires continue to rage out of control in California with a growing list of victims and property damage. Unbelievable scenes of carnage and wreckage flood the media. We ask ourselves is this the beginning of the end-times? I invite you to Church to immerse yourselves in peace and hope.

Our world is filled with division, hatred, pain and suffering. Our Church can be for you and your family a place of peace, joy, fellowship and love. I invite you to join us for worship at either 8 a.m. or 10 a.m., on the four Sundays of Advent beginning December 1, and for any of our three Christmas Eve services at 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Perhaps you’ve been away from the Church for a while, maybe you never consider going to any church, or maybe you are new to the area. Advent is a time of “new beginnings” and maybe the timing is right for you to make your way to us this December. I know it can be difficult to enter through the double red doors when it hasn’t been a habit lately, or ever. But I assure you that you will find a warm welcome, unconditional acceptance, and a loving community just happy to see you.
May God bless you and keep you safe.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Tim Higgins, Rector
St. Ann’s Episcopal Church

PS: Please call or send an email anytime at 892-8447 or

Dear Editor,

Thank you to the Windham Eagle and Walter Lunt for the wonderful article on Doctor Sidney Branson. The article inspired me to write a short piece about Doc Branson and the ways that he impacted my life.

Doctor Sidney Branson delivered me into this world. Throughout my life, Sidney Branson was much more than our family doctor. As a boy, I remember Cub Scout meetings in the basement of his home in South Windham. His wife, Nora, was one of our leaders. I, like all the other scouts, was fascinated by Dr. Branson’s extensive model train display in the basement of that home. Dr. Branson’s son, John, and I were good friends. I remember marching in Memorial Day parades. I was wearing my Cub Scout uniform and Doc Branson was marching in his military uniform. I looked up to him and the other service members as heroes.

As an adult, I would drive a classic car in the parade and Dr. Branson was still marching. The first year that he could no longer walk in the parade and had to ride was a watershed moment for me. This was the moment that I first realized that members of America’s “Greatest Generation” were getting older.

In my years on the Windham Town Council, Dr. Branson was very supportive. I vividly remember a proposed ordinance to restrict movies that could be shown at the newly planned movie theater in Windham. It was a very controversial issue and in the end,  I voted against the proposal. This was not the way “popular opinion” seemed to indicate, but it was the way I knew that I had to vote. In the hours and days that that followed, I had second thoughts about my vote. Later that week, I received a note from Sid Branson thanking me for defending free speech and our “first amendment rights”. At that point, I knew I had made the correct decision.

While planning for the 250th anniversary celebration of Windham, in 1987, we needed a keynote speaker at the opening ceremony. We wanted someone who could speak about the way Windham was throughout the years. In my mind, Dr. Branson was the logical choice. He agreed to speak and did an excellent job.

During my years on earth, I have known many great people. I will always remember Sidney Branson as one of the greatest.

Gary Plummer

Friday, November 30, 2018

Insight: Dogs matter, too

By Mary Emerson

Mary Emerson, The Windham Eagle’s Office Manager, had an experience she wanted to share with our readers. So, I am giving the Eagle readers a break from me and my insight so that Mary can offer a perspective in which we all can identify. Lorraine Glowczak

For our team at The Windham Eagle, Wednesdays are publication days and making plans on a Wednesday night is a bold move. Our staff often stays late to make sure all parts of the paper come together. However, last week I was on a mission to leave by 5 p.m. to meet my roommate and our boyfriends for dinner in Westbrook. To make such a plan was risky, on my part, but I was really craving wings - and nothing gets in between me and a wing night with friends.

All went smoothly, and I was able to leave early. On my way home, I took my usual route and followed Pope Road. Just after the well-known sharp curve on Pope Road, I noticed two cars slowing down on the opposite side of the road. Before I knew it, I saw a white dog run across the road with a retractable leash attached, dragging behind it. After the dog passed us, I continued forward a little to find a place to turn around and see if I was able to help.

I was expecting the others who slowed down for the “getaway dog” would have pulled over to help the dog as well. Neither did stop, so I was on my own. When I pulled up to the house where the dog ran towards, I could see it had gotten caught on the porch by its leash. The house owner had already noticed the cars slowing down by his house and greeted me at their deck.

Together, we decided that taking the lost dog to the Windham Police Department would be the best plan. I delivered the dog to the station and Officer Brokos took it from there – taking the happy-go-lucky pup to the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook. He was reunited with his owners shortly after that.

Although I was on my way to meet friends and very excited about my evening plans, there was something about taking time to help that dog. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy my dinner date if I hadn’t. In fact, I had called my boyfriend to tell him that we might be adopting a dog if the owner wasn’t found.

Clearly, it doesn’t take much for me to get attached. I knew that if I had accidentally lost control of my dog that I would appreciate another person’s help. The fact is that giving, even when you know you will not receive anything in return,  is very rewarding.

Not just this holiday season, but in everyday life, I will continue to challenge myself and invite you to join me - to go out of your way to help others. I guarantee you will not regret how rewarding it feels to make a difference in a dog’s life. After all, dogs matter, too. Especially to their owners.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Insight: The science of gratitude

By Lorraine Glowczak

Snow turns the world into one huge outdoor adventure for my dog, Zarah. She prances, runs, eats it and sticks her nose as far into the snow as she can. The fact that she is unable to speak my language, her joyful play makes it obvious how grateful and happy she is.

A happy dog in snow
The snow this past Friday was no different, but I noticed something that I hadn’t observed before. Once the newness of the snow wore off, Zarah let the beagle in her take over and began sniffing out the voles that make their home under the snow. At one point, her nose and head were buried so deep in the snow, intent on catching her prey that she missed an easy catch as a vole popped up from the white ground behind her and ran in a hopping manner toward the woods.

Smiling, I remember the times I was so intent on reaching for a goal that I missed what was right before me. They say feeling grateful helps to correct narrow vision, at least that is what Annette Bridges suggests in this week’s quote, “Gratitude helps us to see what is there instead of what isn’t.”

Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for those things we have, and in doing so, it helps us see those things we often miss throughout the year. There is some evidence that being thankful on a daily basis contributes to psychological health and makes us more joyful.

Before I continue, I think it is important to recognize that the holidays can be a time of sadness and anxiety for some who grieve what is not there (family, friends, etc.) The absence of these things cannot and should not be easily dismissed nor the feelings associated with those absences. If this is the case for you, may there be some peace in your heart as you go through this holiday season.

But, for the typical, everyday experience, Harvard Health online states, “Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

A Science Daily article concurs with the above findings. “Numerous studies show that expressing and experiencing gratitude increases life satisfaction, vitality, hope, and optimism. It contributes to decreased levels of depression, anxiety, envy, and job-related stress and burnout. Perhaps most intriguing is that people who experience and express gratitude have reported fewer symptoms of physical illness, more exercise, and better quality of sleep.”

But if you are still not convinced that being thankful plays a role in a more joyful life, you can perform your own study. You don’t have to be a traditionally trained scientist to discover if these findings are true for you. Test it out. Try gratitude for a certain amount of time and – see what happens.

Now, back to the gratitude experienced by my dog last week. I’m curious how grateful she might be about the snow if she had to shovel the sidewalk.

From our home to yours…..Happy Thanksgiving.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Support is needed for caregivers.

Caregiving is a labor of love. You take care of your loved one’s personal needs, you are their safety officer, their advocate.

My wife, Deb, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. Deb used to read two books a week. That went away. She started having cognitive problems. Her condition continued to worsen, and she stopped working.

At first, life was not too different. Deb still got around and volunteered at Meals on Wheels. Slowly, the ability to cook, to read, etc. went away. In 2013, I reduced my work hours to give Deb greater care. Finally, in 2014, I stopped working, retiring three years earlier than planned. We lived on Social Security and savings. Medical insurance was over $1,000 per month until I was eligible for Medicare.
Caregiving is on the job training. You regularly change routines and activities as your loved one’s condition deteriorates. Deb’s condition worsened and safety issues developed. She now lives in an assisted living facility. Even though Deb has a new residence, it is still my job to be her caregiver, particularly as her advocate.

Caregiving is costly. Not just in dollars, but in the physical and emotional toll it takes. In my case, I had to retire three years early, coordinate adult daycare services for Deb, and ultimately place her in a facility. These services are expensive.

I think of other retired caregivers who are unable to afford services for their loved ones and the son or daughter caring for a parent who must reduce their work hours. The financial burden on the whole family can be devastating.

Caregivers need support so they can do the best job possible for their loved ones. I urge our elected leaders to do all they can to bring supports and services to Maine caregivers next session.

Deb Weldon/Tom O’Connor

Friday, November 16, 2018

Insight: Thanks for giving

Lorraine Glowczak

It’s hard to believe that when everyone receives next week’s edition of The Windham Eagle (arriving early in your mailboxes on Wednesday), preparations will be underway for Thanksgiving Day celebrations. I, for one, am astonished that most of us will be carving a turkey in less than a week - which will then open the doors to countless holiday parties and invitations.

As the excitement and holiday flurry begin, so will the increased invitation to help others who are facing hardships in various ways. This is an inspiring time of the year and the action to serve others falls under the true meaning of the season. But many among us have pointed out that we slide back into our old and comfortable ways after the tinsel, candles and lights are packed away for another year - foregoing the spirit of giving after the holidays are long gone.

Although there is truth in that statement – it’s been my observation that the spirit of giving continues in the Windham and Raymond communities beyond the holidays. I am lucky that I get to see these actions more frequently since many amazing stories land before me in my role as a writer and editor. As a result, I have the advantage to witness these good deeds more than the average person. I am often humbled by how this community digs deep, rolls up their sleeves to serve in ways that are needed and appreciated.

It is true that we are far from being the perfect community as we face many challenges – but that should not take away from the reality of our endeavors that create positive change and a better life for others. Here is a list of just a few examples this community provides for each other throughout the year:

*Weekly free Monday Meals provided by the collaborative efforts of area churches for all members in the Lakes Region.

*Local school efforts to help those in need such at Windham High School’s annual Powerserve in May.

*Raymond’s Age Friendly initiative that serves the older generation and fosters intergenerational community with intention of creating safe places for all.

*Various and almost weekly fundraising efforts by individuals, organizations and businesses that help victims of cancer, accidents, fires and more.

*The Windham and Raymond Food pantry and the organic, fresh vegetables given to them by local farmers and gardeners.

*This list could go on and on, but I only have limited space in which to share with you the many, many ways in which this community freely gives.

So, I’ve decided this Thanksgiving, when it comes time for me to express my gratitude, the one thing that I’ll be most grateful for is that I am part of an exceptional community that gives every day, keeping the spirit of the holidays going all year round.

Letters to the Editor

Editor’s note: The following letters are published in the order they have been received.

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the 230,000 AARP members in our state, AARP Maine congratulates Maine’s Governor-elect, the Senators and Representatives who will serve in the 129th state legislature, and Maine’s federal elected officials who will represent us in Washington in 2019. 

While Maine has a strong record of voter turnout, this year’s mid-term election season inspired record numbers of voters to make their voices heard at the polls and through absentee ballots. 

During the last few weeks our office engaged with thousands of AARP members and their families around the state. We conducted a statewide survey of Maine voters 50-plus and released the results in early September. We organized non-partisan community conversations on healthcare, hosted gubernatorial candidate tele-town hall forums and co-sponsored televised debates with the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates. Our goal was to listen to the concerns of Maine voters 50-plus and offer opportunities for candidates to share their positions with Maine’s largest voting bloc.

With the elections now over, Mainers are eager to hear from those elected on how they will fulfill their campaign promises. How will our federal representatives protect Social Security and Medicare? 

How will our state legislators expand community services and support so older Mainers can age in place? How will they enable rural communities to be better connected through improved transportation options and broadband? How can both federal and state officials work to lower the cost of skyrocketing prescription drugs upon which so many older Mainers rely?

These are just some of the concerns we heard about through our voter engagement initiatives this fall. In just a few weeks, the next session will be underway, and AARP Maine welcomes the opportunity to work with the Governor-elect and state and federal lawmakers on these critical issues.

Rich Livingston
AARP Maine Volunteer State President

Dear Editor,

Thank you to the people of Windham for your kind words of support, encouragement and votes. I am honored and humbled to have been a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives for District #25 in Windham. All along the campaign trail, I listened to voters in our District voice their concerns about rising health care costs and aging in place, rising property taxes largely due to the State not meeting its funding obligations, business regulatory issues, State road repair delays, and concerns over the lack of progress on the cleanup and redevelopment of the Keddy Mill Superfund Site. All of these issues rightfully deserve attention in Augusta. 

Thanks to all of the volunteers who drove while I knocked on doors, helped with campaign signs, hosted signs, made clean elections donations on my behalf, wrote letters to the editor, and gave me moral support. Thanks to Ben, my campaign advisor, Marissa, my campaign treasurer, and Andrew for entering all my data. 

Most importantly, thanks to my family - Brian for filling in on many family duties while I was out knocking on doors, Nathaniel for creating my website, Matthew for sign help, and my mom, Harriet, for riding with me while I was knocking on doors on those few days I did not have a driver. I couldn’t have done it without all of you. Again, thank you!

Jennie Butler 

Dear Editor,

Another Veterans Day is in the books. The American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 for the first time in recent history elected to participate in the Legion Poppy Program. A reminder, all funds donated to the Legion can only be used to support Veterans and their families and service members and their families.

I wanted to spend a few minutes to thank the community for their great support this Veterans Day weekend and to share on a few stories or comments that were passed on to the Post and Auxiliary members. One woman never heard of the program and my Auxiliary partner gave her a brief history of the Poppy Program dating back to 1919. A gentleman accepted the poppy and indicated that he would wear it proudly on his hat in memory of his WWII father who passed away this year at age 94.

Another woman whose Korean War veteran husband had passed away some years ago said that she looked forward to the poppies and that she has made a wreath of them in memory of her husband and would add the poppy to the wreath.
Most people given a poppy stopped for a moment in their busy lives, smiled with words of encouragement and said thank you.

Thank you for supporting veterans. All that sharing from the simple act, the simple pleasure of presenting a single paper poppy to someone was heartwarming.

David Tanguay

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity and give a thank you the individual who walked into Corsetti's in Windham and left $50 at the register with instructions it was to be used to pay for purchase made by any veteran. It is this kind thought and appreciation that goes so much further than money can buy. Thank you whoever you are.

Stephen Signor

Dear Editor,

I'd like to thank my supporters and Windham's people who cast a vote to send me back to the State House. Many of you have been so welcoming and willing to share your thoughts and concerns year after year on doorsteps while I've been campaigning. Please, keep that communication coming my way.

Both Maine and Windham have many challenges ahead of us and my promise will always be to evaluate legislation based on its particular merit and approach my work in a judicious manner. I will always work to improve the lives of House District 25's people.
I appreciate and honor the support you've given me over the years.

Rep. Patrick Corey

Dear Editor,

I am writing to thank the residents in House District 66 (parts of Raymond, Casco and Poland) for turning out to vote last week and for entrusting me with a second term as State Representative. A very special thank you to those who have shared their thoughts with me during office hours, at doors, or via email and social media. These contacts with constituents continue to guide me as a Representative, and this campaign has been such a wonderful opportunity for me to hear so many voters’ stories and to better understand the issues that are important to people in the District.

I’d also like to take the time to recognize the folks who worked tirelessly at the polls, most of them volunteers, on Election Day. They deserve our sincere gratitude, as this day of heavy voter participation was a long one. Our poll workers showed such patience and diligence in making sure that all voters had what they needed to cast their ballots. 

Our democracy depends on people willing to participate, both by voting and by volunteering in their community during an election.

As we begin a new Legislative session with a new Governor, I hope that you will continue to reach out with your thoughts about state government and the issues that interest you. Please feel free to email me at or call me at 415-4218.

It continues to be a pleasure and a privilege to serve the people of Raymond, Casco and Poland.

Jessica Fay
State Representative
Maine House District 66

Dear Editor,

In our lifetime we set goals that we work consistently toward. Goals, however, are seldom accomplished single handedly. If we are fortunate, good and caring people assist in “Staying the Course” that leads to the full realization of Victory!

One of my favorite sayings comes from our Sabbathday Lake Shaker Society…”the more the hands the lighter the work”.  How true these words are and how much this saying plays in a successful outcome. At this time of year as we reflect on our blessings with our family and friends, I want to “Thank You” for your support in my jaunt for re-election to the Maine State House of Representatives. Each of you impacted the final Tally and the “Winning” results!

I am excited for this honor to continue to serve you and represent our House District #67. We will face difficult and challenging issues for certain, but I am set to continually engage in moving Maine forward!

My best wishes to you for a blessed, joyous Thanksgiving and Christmas Season with those you love and hold dear!

Rep. Sue M. W. Austin  
Proudly Serving the Good Folks of Dist. 67
Portions of Gray, Raymond, Casco, and all of Frye Island
In God We Trust

Dear Editor,

We would like to express our thanks to the Good Samaritans who called police and rescue when we were in an accident on election night.

To Windham Police officers Brokos and Stubbs, and especially to EMT personnel Mike Beneke and Logan Doak, we are very grateful for your kind and professional care.

Wilbur and Barbara Hall

Friday, November 9, 2018

Child's innocence invokes gratitude

By Lorraine Glowczak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Opportunity knocking?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeffrey M. Pierce