Friday, September 28, 2018

Insight: Black grass by Lorraine Glowczak

A many of you may know by now, I grew up and lived the first 30 years of my life in Kansas. Much like each region of the United States, there is a fun and quirky story of a local ritual or custom that is misunderstood by many and makes a great story to share.

A typical story from America’s heartland is the tale of the black grass.

For those who may not know, farmers, ranchers and caretakers of tall grass prairie preserves will intentionally burn the land in the spring time of the year as part of prairie maintenance, leaving the ground in black ash. For those from other regions of the U.S. as well as visitors from other Countries who are not aware of the practice and its sustainable environmental purpose often see the blackened land and have concluded that Kansas can grow black grass. Yes. This is a true story.

So, what does a prairie maintenance practice from 1500 miles away have to do with us – here in Windham and Raymond.

The fact is, it’s been a rough couple of weeks (or months) among our community leaders and thus a rough couple of weeks and months for the majority of us. In a conversation I had recently with a well-respected individual with many years of leadership experience; I had asked him his thoughts on the matter on the recent difficulties. “Lorraine,” he began. “This has all happened before, it is cyclical, and it will get better.”

This brings me back to the annual and cyclical practice of prairie burning. According to the National Park Service, tallgrass prairies can accumulate an enormous amount of plants in one year. The leaves die in the fall and the roots go dormant during the cold winter months. The following spring, new shoots grow but as years progress, the leaf litter accumulates and creates a thick thatch covering the ground. New shoots find it harder to take in sunlight and nutrients are locked up in plants yet to decay. The intentional fires burn the thick thatch, and within a few weeks (and not years), fresh green begins to sprout from dark ground.

But it is not just one type of grass or flower that comes back, there are varieties that add to the character and beauty of the land. A beauty that has been renewed by fire, a destructive force that transforms.

So, as we travel through everyday life and witness moments of chaos, what we might interpret as black grass, may simply be fresh green sprouts we cannot see yet. But once we begin to realize they are there, we will begin to understand the purpose of the dark land - remembering the cycle and know that, as always, it will get better.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

The Raymond Age-Friendly Community Connections group was created by volunteers as a way to engage Raymond residents of all ages with each other and to create or expand access to services which would allow residents to age in place.  With the Select Board’s support, Raymond has been accepted into the national Age-Friendly network established by the World Health Organization and AARP.

To raise awareness of the initiative and its goals, the Age-Friendly group held two fundraisers in the late summer.

The group would like to thank the Mosquito Ice Cream Shop for allowing us to set up a booth on their property on the Saturday of a very busy Labor Day weekend as the first fundraiser.  Travis and Darcy McClellan were pleased to support our cause and were gracious in offering space for the booth over the holiday weekend.

The second fundraiser, our First Annual Age-Friendly Yard Sale, was held on the following Saturday at the Sheri Gagnon Memorial Park on Mill Street.  The group would like to thank the Town of Raymond for allowing us to hold the yard sale, which again included an Age-Friendly booth, as well the Raymond residents who sold their goods at the sale. 

For both events, raffles for a bicycle and an inflatable kayak were held.  The bicycle was generously donated by Rick Schaeffer and was won by Sue V, a seasonal Raymond resident; the kayak was donated by a member of the Age-Friendly group and was won by Mike L, a year-round Raymond resident.   The Raymond Village Community Church and the Raymond Village Library loaned tables for both events. 

If you have an interest in hearing more about the Age-Friendly Community Connections effort, please join us for our monthly meetings at the Raymond Public Safety Building on the second Monday of each month at 2 p.m.  Meetings typically feature a presentation on a topic of interest to attendees, including Raymond Fire and Rescue’s discussion of home safety, Opportunity Alliance’s Foster Grandparents initiative, and the American Red Cross’ free smoke detector program.  Many future volunteer opportunities will emerge from these meetings and the survey results.

If you have questions, wish to complete the paper version of the survey or wish to volunteer, please contact us by phone at 655-2222 or by email at  If you’d like to complete the on-line survey, please go to the Town of Raymond website, and click the Age-Friendly Community Survey logo.  Your input and participation are very important.

Respectfully submitted,
Laurie Wallace and Susan Moore
Age-Friendly Community Connections

Dear Editor,

I am writing for our young kids who can't write for themselves yet. I was hoping to write a happy note about the library's "renovation", but instead this is a sad and upsetting note from a children's perspective and a parent's. How could the library cut the children's area in half (if not more)? This renovation is an outrage. Our children’s section was not big enough for the amount of traffic it would get on days there is story time before, and now they cut the space for a storage closet and a bigger checkout area. How is this ok?

I have to speak out because our children cannot express the looks on their faces when they walked into the "new" library and it had less space. Why is it the children that always get the short end of the stick? Why in a community this large and wealthy, can they do that to our future?

Children today are our future tomorrow. They should be encouraged to read more and have space to have fun in a library so that learning is not cramped and uncomfortable. I truly believe our children deserve more and could have gotten more out of this renovation if they were put as a priority.
My children and I are so glad that this library is not our only option, we have all decided as a family to go to neighboring libraries for their story times instead because of better selection of books, activities and space.

Thank you, 
Simone Emmons

 Dear Editor,

I have known Jennie Butler for many years and she is a quality person who is dedicated to what she believes in. She would make an excellent Legislator.

Roxanne Metayer

Dear Editor,

Please see this letter as my extremely strong support for Greg Foster to be the next Maine State Representative for Maine House Seat #66, Parts Raymond, Casco and Poland. I write due to my strong support for him as well as after reading a recent letter of support for the current seat holder. It is fair to say both candidates are nice people but Greg stands out in this race by far.

The letter I referenced commended the current representative for working collaboratively with others. In my current experiences in Augusta that has not been evident but even if it is, I do not want representation from politicians seeking to simply pass all the bills. There can be over 2,000 bills presented each session and I would ask you if you are hopeful of getting 2,000 new laws next year? 

Greg Foster comes with strong core values. I would suggest he will filter the proposals and come out to support only legislation that will benefit his community and his state. Greg does not feel the need to pass bills to then put on his resume.

Greg Foster is also different from our current representative in that:

-He is not just showing up, he has a long history of successful service and involvement locally and statewide.
-His core values come from faith, beliefs and life experiences. The other party seems to be confused on any number of present issues confronting us. They are confused on things that have worked for thousands of years. How can you make good decisions when you are confused? Greg’s core beliefs guide him and help him to make good decisions.
-Greg will, within reason, attend all important votes.
-Greg is a leader Now, sometimes at the front but as well in what he does quietly.
-Greg will not just go along with what party leadership tells him. In this current climate of political disagreement, Greg will always do what he believes to be right and best for our community. He is not seeking to be a politician.

I hope you will ask candidates who knock at your door why are you a republican and why are you a democrat? I hope you will challenge their answers. I hope you will send a strong message to say that the party of attacks and illogical ideas must rethink and start again. Please vote for Greg Foster for Maine House 66!

Mike McClellan

Friday, September 21, 2018

Insight: Living boldly by Lorraine Glowczak

One day last week, a friend whose usual fashion choice is subtle, decided to step out of her comfort zone and was sporting black and white polka dotted leggings. “Wow! Love the wild look,” I said. She smiled and responded, “I decided to be bold, today.”

Interestingly, the word bold has been following me around all week, popping up in a variety of settings and in multiple ways. It has even had the audacity to scream loudly in my face more than once. So instead of ignoring it, I have decided to hear what it had to say. I have been paying attention and these are the lessons I learned from some of the articles in this week’s edition.

Bold people make the most out of every day.
In this week’s interview with Linda Gregoire, I learned that despite the many challenges she and her husband John face, they are able to rise above it and move forward with a winning and grateful attitude. In their efforts to embrace the most out of life, it seems the most out of life and the many gifts a community can offer, return to them.

Bold people help others succeed
In their recent purchase of BNI Maine (see front page), I witnessed Kelly and Niels Mank as they support not only BNI members but all those who surround them. Through their “pay it forward” approach, many in their presence have succeed in their own lives.

Bold people have clear priorities
I’m certain I’m not the only one to discover that Senator Diamond sets very clear priorities and takes action towards them. In his effort to improve the life of people and children in Maine, he works on the objectives that will make a positive impact for all. He diligently works to accomplish those objectives and we all benefit as a result.

Bold people solve problems
Aiden Day of Windham saw an environmental concern at one of his favorite spots in nature (see page?). Although it is true that he was working towards his final requirements on his Eagle Scout Project, it took time and effort on his part to contribute to an important cause. His action paired with knowledge not only preserved an important part of Windham’s ecosystem, but created a space for others to enjoy.

So, this brings me to where I am now. When was the last time I made the most out of every day? When was the last time I helped others succeed? When was the last time I had clear priorities? When was the last time I solved an important problem?

When was the last time I was bold?

Letters to the Editor

To the citizens of House District 67,

Leaders of political parties at one time had the best interest of the people in mind/
Thomas Jefferson (Democrat) reminded us the "a properly functioning democracy depends on a well-informed electorate". While Abraham Lincoln (Republican) implored us several years later to work so the "government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth".
It appears that we have lost those ideals and replaced them with partisan political gain - enough!

As a former six term representative, it is troubling to sit and watch this highly charged partisanship in our State House. Over the past few legislative sessions, I have observed legislators more focused on the party line than on public policy.

When elected representatives, OF THE PEOPLE, opt to cast their votes constantly along party lines, when they give into what their leadership dictates - we all suffer.

I am a lifelong Democrat (a third generation Democrat) - this election cycle my vote will be cast for Independent candidate ANNE GASS. Anne has the credentials to serve, the background to make a difference, and the proven ability to bring diverse groups together for the greater public good.

I believe Anne will provide us representation of our needs and not follow partisan dictates issued from the corner seats in the House (where 'leadership' have their seats) Join me in November for positive change, elect Anne Gass to HD 67.

Donnell Carroll, Gray

Dear Editor,

Having retired to Raymond from out of state, I have only known Jess Fay for a little over a year now. Friends and neighbors told me about a meeting to be held in May of 2017 at the Raymond Public Safety building and that Jess would be one of the speakers. The topic would be how we as a group could work together to make Raymond a more livable community for people of all ages.

Jess spoke to us about the need for services such as transportation, community and health services, social inclusion, especially for our seniors, and in general, being there as neighbors to help one another. Her enthusiasm has inspired all of us to realize we can really achieve these goals and make our town a special place for all of us to live and age in place. We all agreed to title ourselves, “Age Friendly Raymond.”

Just knowing Jess this past year and seeing her dedication to our town has assured me she is an asset and has earned a second term as our State Representative.   

Kathleen Carpenter

Dear Editor,

As we edge ever closer to Election Day, we hear more and more from older Mainers expressing deep concern about health care costs and retirement security.  In a recent AARP Maine survey of voters 50+, respondents expressed reservation about having enough money saved for retirement. 72 percent describe their personal financial situation as “staying where you are” or “struggling to keep up.” That’s not good enough for the nation’s oldest state.

While AARP continues its series of voter engagement community conversations around the state (, many participants voice concern about issues such as future health care premium hikes, the rising cost of prescription drugs, long-term care and potential changes to Medicare.  All of these issues can have an impact on a person’s entire family and we hope Mainers will continue to make their voices heard.

Of paramount concern is the future of Medicare.  While we recognize that Medicare needs to be strengthened for future generations, potentially shifting costs to seniors and workers who have paid into the system their entire working lives would be the wrong approach. We can put Medicare on stable ground with common sense solutions, such as clamping down on drug companies' high prices, improving coordination of care and use of technology, and cutting out waste and fraud.  In the same Maine voter survey, 95% of those who responded think that Medicare is very important for people’s health in retirement.

Mainers over the age of 50 consistently show up more often to vote compared to younger voters. With the influence this voting bloc will likely have, I am eager to hear from the candidates where they stand on issues such as health care costs and Medicare, both of which affect one’s security in retirement.

Pat Wehner
AARP Maine Advocacy Volunteer

Friday, September 14, 2018

Insight: Sugar-coating at its best by Lorraine Glowczak

As I write this on the morning of September 12, I’m still reeling from yesterday’s somber day of remembrance. It was a day that contained moments of silence and events to commemorate and remember September 11, 2001.

I attended an event held at St. Joseph’s College (see front page for details). It was a gathering that not only honored that day and the tragic losses of the terrorist attacks, but it recognized the grant recipients of the Tramuto Foundation.

Among the many individuals in attendance were freshmen from the college. They were invited to attend to gain a certain amount of perspective since they were one-year-old toddlers and have no personal recollections of that fateful day.

I had a moment to speak to one of those students and I asked her if she thought there were other ways we could honor and remember all those affected by the disaster. “I think it is possible to focus more on all the good that came from that day,” she responded. She went on to explain that by doing so, we may be more compassionate and not harbor anger unnecessarily.

I had to think about her response for a little while. My first reaction was that it might serve us well to remember the misfortunes too, and not to sugar coat the shock of that day so as not to repeat such catastrophe. By recalling the disasters, I told myself, it would remind us how we stood by one another as united citizens on the days and months that followed. People from all walks of life with different perspectives and political viewpoints did not matter - we were all citizens of the United States who wanted the same thing: peace, safety and happiness.

I have had 24 hours to think about her wisdom. I think she might be right. I don’t necessarily believe I’m completely wrong, but I am misguided about one thing: Recalling the catastrophes has in no way kept us united citizens. We have forgotten how to stand together as people who are integrated and unified.

I invite you to join me in heeding the advice of an 18-year-old. Be more compassionate in your interactions, especially with whom you do not see eye to eye. Harbor less anger toward everyone and everything, especially toward those whom you don’t understand (or even like). In this way, it’s possible to demonstrate a more in-depth honor for all those lives lost and lives affected forever.

Now, speaking of sugar-coating – today (September 14) is National Eat a Cream-Filled Donut Day. Have one on me. Then on Sunday, go for a walk on the beach to lose the calories gained, collecting rocks to celebrate National Rock Picking Day. And together, let’s start next week over with a little compassion, moving forward in the spirit that united us 17 years ago.

Thank you, Makayla Perkett, for sharing your wisdom with me.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

In just a few months, newly elected state and federal leaders will take office.  Research just completed by AARP – the largest non-profit, non-partisan social membership organization both in Maine and in the U.S. – has confirmed that especially for older Mainers, the next two years will be hugely important to their future. 

In a survey entitled “Insight From Maine’s Voters Age 50+”, respondents overwhelmingly report that protecting retirement security (especially Social Security), access to affordable healthcare (especially Medicare), and preserving the ability to age independently are among the most important considerations in the upcoming election. 

The survey shows that more than three out of four older Mainers believe that controlling the cost of prescription drugs and holding drug companies accountable for skyrocketing prices are crucial objectives.  More than nine of every ten believe that each candidate’s position on helping older Mainers live independently will impact how we vote. 

In addition, when asked if the elections for governor, US Senate and Congress were held today, survey respondents who reported being undecided ranged from 12-16 percent across the races.  Such high percentages of undecided voters should send a strong signal to all candidates to be transparent on their positions.

Mainers over 50 are the biggest voting bloc in the state, and we urge all candidates for state and federal offices to pay close attention to this important new data and to what older Mainers are saying. It’s time for the candidates to tell us where they stand on these critical issues.  To find out more go to

Rich Livingston
AARP Maine Volunteer State President

Dear Editor,

Even though I do not live in Jennie’s district, I support her efforts to run for the Maine House of Representatives. She has the values and passion for what is needed in Maine. We should all be concerned about the education of our future leaders (students) in our state and she realizes the value of a good education for all and what it takes to do that. She also would be an advocate for our senior citizens that seem to have been forgotten in most places in this state especially when it comes to being able to afford to live in your home (taxes) and a place to go when you are no longer able to stay in your home, affordable assisted living and nursing homes. Jenny cares and worries about the impact of these items as they affect both young and old. Please consider voting for Jennie so she can take her passion where she can have a positive effect.

Marge Govoni

Dear Editor,

I first met Jennie Butler 20 years ago when my son joined Cub Scout Pack 805.  Her husband Brian was my son’s Den Leader.   I had the pleasure and privilege of working with Jennie and Brian on the Pack Parent Committee and at many Pack 805 events.  I knew the Butlers to be dedicated volunteers in the scouting community.

Jennie Butler was also a dedicated teacher at Windham High School. She was someone both my children felt comfortable and confident in approaching for assistance or just “to talk”. Jennie was often at school events such as sporting events and Windham Chamber Singer performances, showing her support for both the students and the school district. 

Jennie has been and continues to be active in the larger community, being an active member in the choir at St Ann’s Church and a dedicated volunteer in the Downeast Ski Club, where she was recognized as “Downeaster of the Year” in Spring 2018. 

I have also had the opportunity to see Jennie on the campaign trail, watching her knock on doors to meet her potential constituents and to talk about issues important to them, so I know firsthand how dedicated she is to serving those living in her district.

Jennie is an intelligent, hard-working, and levelheaded member of the Windham community, who has proven her ability to serve time and again. I know she will represent me well in the Maine Legislature and so I encourage you to elect her our District 25 Representative on November 6th.

Kimberly K Doering

Dear Editor,

Since moving to Windham in 2004 after his marriage to our daughter, Sheila Boyden, a life-long resident of Windham, Patrick Corey has been involved in the community: involved with local non-profits, leading efforts to preserve the character of Windham, or to keep property taxes down. He was on the board of directors of the Windham Land Trust and currently sits on the board of Windham Neighbors.

Patrick is a conscientious decision maker. He considers multiple points of view and weighs all potential outcomes for what is best for Windham and the state of Maine.

Patrick is committed. He has a 100% voting and attendance record and sits on two legislative committees. He wholeheartedly embraces the hard work.

Especially important to us was the bill to remove military pensions as taxable income, thus supporting Windham Vets.

We are proud to endorse his candidacy. Please join us in voting for Patrick Corey for Maine House of Representatives in November.

To learn more about Patrick visit

John & Kathy Boyden

Friday, September 7, 2018

Insight: To honor and remember by Lorraine Glowczak

Preble Hall seemed eerily quiet that day at 9 a.m. as I prepared class documents for the professors and instructors at Southern Maine Community College. Except for the silence in the hallways, nothing seemed out of the ordinary – that is – until the Chair of the Social Science Department entered my office and shared the tragic news that would confuse and startle me for days – and years - to come. It was September 11, 2001.

Everyone who remembers that day has a personal account to share. As the 17th anniversary approaches this Tuesday, I would like to take a moment to remember and honor all those whose lives were lost or greatly affected by this tragedy.

There are many ways in which we can commemorate September 11th. Whether it is flying the flag at half-mast, sharing memories with loved ones or attending a community event; all are ways to remember with respect. The day might also provide an opportunity for each of us to re-examine our actions and how they contribute to a safe and happy society.

The Windham Eagle team dedicates this week’s publication in memory of that time, and we too will take a moment to re-examine our role as a positive, solution-based news source for the readers of Windham and Raymond. Should we adhere to our mission of encouraging and upbeat reporting when there are bad and negative things happening in the world?

It’s irrefutable that an opiate crisis is occurring in our own backyard, local politicians don’t always work together amicably, and discord is before the many of us who do not see eye to eye. So, should we highlight this news since it does, in fact, exist?

We can’t deny disaster and misfortune in the world and within our community but providing an optimistic account of the positive events that happen on a daily basis does not necessarily discount the other realities.

To provide helpful and promising news is meant to inspire you – especially on those days you feel like giving up. It is our hope that you will continue in your endeavors in life, knowing there is just enough good in the world to make the bad days worthwhile.

And if there is anything that we learned from those early moments and days following September 11, 2001, it is how quickly life can change and how, even for just a while, we were united as one big family. To retain those lessons is what the Windham Eagle aspires to offer. It is just one small action that we believe contributes to a safe and happy society.

And it is in this way, we honor and remember.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Windham House District 25 has a superior candidate in Jennie Butler. With over 
27 years as a school teacher, Jennie has the ability to work with others and will be an awesome representative for us.

Her community commitment is evidenced by her work with the Windham Recreation Department Advisory Committee, St Ann’s Episcopal Church, the Windham Athletic Boosters, and others. She knows first-hand the struggles of those caring for aging parents. She is energetic, intelligent, and compassionate!

The Maine AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, and others have already endorsed Jennie. As our Representative, she will fight for all of us. I have known Jennie for more than 25 years and I have no doubt that she will work tirelessly for our District. I encourage you to vote for Jennie Butler for Maine House District 25! If you want your voice to be heard, you won’t find a better Representative than Jennie Butler!

Lori Poland

Dear Editor,

I support Jennie Butler for Maine House District 25! I know she will use her vote for the best interest of Windham and the State of Maine. I have known her for many years and she is a hard worker. She cares and helps others as much as possible. This caring for others and their needs will be her main focus in the state house. She cares most about education, seniors being able to stay in their homes, and fiscally sound budgeting. I will vote for Jennie Butler and I encourage you to vote for Jennie Butler for your state representative too! Check out her website for more information.

Harriet Moroney

 Dear Editor,

Political ads already overwhelming you? Federal and state politics have evolved into a harsh polarized climate. Politics is now so abrasive that it is rarely discussed in social situations unless you are sure of everyone’s affiliations in the room. Completely withdrawing from the process by not voting though, only makes this climate worse. At a minimum, take the time to at least understand who is running for office in your district and spend a little time understanding the positions of the candidates.  Enormous political and social change is already here, and we need smart and cooperative representatives to Augusta who can help Maine thrive and continue to retain its quality of life. 

Anne Gass is the type of representative In House District 67 (South Casco, Frye Island, Raymond, and Gray) we need to take on the political challenges of our area. I’ve worked with Anne on community projects such as Libby Hill Trails and the Gray Community Endowment for nearly 20 years.  Her ability to listen, communicate and bridge differences of opinion to get projects done in Gray makes her well suited to be our voice in Augusta.  If you want to get a flavor of how she would work for you in Augusta, I’d suggest you view the online video of Candidates Night in Casco from May ( You’ll see how professional and well-spoken Anne is in a public forum compared to her opponent, who despite nearly 20 years in Augusta lacks the skills to be an effective leader. 

Anne Gass is out meeting voters and I hope you too get to see her in action.  Hopefully she wins your vote but at a minimum you have taken the time to learn about who you are voting for in November!

Steve McPike

 Dear Editor,

This letter is to express to the citizens of Windham how much I appreciate Representative Patrick Corey and all he has done for not only District 25, but for the people of the great state of Maine.  

I am a retired police officer who has worked in Maine and in the metro Phoenix area for over 30 years and am current president of the Maine Association of Police Retired. I am also a Navy veteran.

Rep. Corey and I have worked together on two separate bills to make our schools safer. It is clear to me and to many of my brothers and sisters in law enforcement that Rep. Corey has the best interest and safety in mind when it comes to crime prevention and the security of our schools. He has demonstrated his tenacity when it comes to his beliefs and those of his constituents.

I will continue to go to Rep. Corey when we need a change in Augusta because he has a comprehensive approach and thoroughly analyzes the issues. He thinks through his decisions and makes them based on principle and the good of the people he represents. Best Wishes for re-election in November. 

Michael Mercer