Friday, May 29, 2020

Insight: A milestone to remember

To be honest, I am not someone who sits back and counts down to reaching milestones in my life and career. Yet I recently reached one of those anniversaries where I had to stop and think about how in the world was I able to pull that off?

Earlier this month, I surpassed 45 years of working as a journalist and it all started with a ringside seat at a heavyweight championship boxing match in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 16, 1975. The events of that day are as crystal clear to me as if it happened yesterday, but time does march on and it became the first of thousands of newspaper articles containing my byline produced under the pressure of relentless deadlines.

Muhammad Ali was 33 when he beat
Ron Lyle in May 1975 in Las Vegas to
 retain the world heavyweight title.
A phone call with a job offer from a national wire service came to my home following a recommendation from a college journalism professor. 

The pay offered was $275 to write ringside accounts about two fights at the Las Vegas Convention Center, including the world heavyweight title bout between challenger Ron Lyle against champion Muhammad Ali. It included a round-trip ticket for a flight there and three nights lodging across the road from the fight venue at the Landmark Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

I eagerly accepted the offer and the next thing I knew, I was checking into the Landmark Hotel and Casino as a 21-year-old who was about to come face to face with one the most famous athletes ever. On my first night in Las Vegas, I ended up in a second-floor coffee shop about 1 a.m. and met a boxing promoter, Chris Dundee, who was attending the matches to evaluate talent on the fight’s undercard, namely a promising young boxer by the name of Larry Holmes.

Chris Dundee offered to introduce me later that day to his brother, Angelo Dundee, who served as Ali’s trainer. The next thing I knew, I was on an elevator that afternoon headed up to the Landmark’s famous penthouse suite, recently vacated by reclusive millionaire Howard Hughes.

A security guard greeted us at the door and within a few minutes I was interviewing Angelo Dundee about Ali’s title defense against Lyle, a dangerous opponent who had a reputation as one of the hardest punchers of all-time.

A few minutes into my discussion, Angelo Dundee stopped and asked me how old I was. When I told him that this was my first professional assignment and I was just 21, he smiled and pointed to a door in the suite and told me I had five minutes exclusively with the champ.

I knocked and entered the adjacent room where two men sat and talked. One was Ali’s cornerman Drew Bundini Brown and the other was the champ himself, barefoot and dressed in tan slacks and a multi-colored polo shirt. Ali had his feet up on a coffee table and was watching a soap opera on TV as I nervously approached and stammered out questions for him about the fight with Lyle.

Four minutes in, Brown mentioned that the champ had to start getting ready to appear at the fight’s weigh-in and Ali then told me I had one question left and to make it count.

I knew the bout was being televised on ABC’s Wide World of Sports on Saturday afternoon and when I had first arrived at the airport, I had noticed an entourage of media people, including broadcaster Howard Cosell, who was there to call the fight live on the air before millions of viewers. 

Therefore, my final question for Ali was “Can you tell me what Howard Cosell is really like?”

Ali proceeded to tell me in detail about his unlikely friendship with Cosell. He talked of how the broadcaster would slip him cash to take his family out to dinner when he was a young struggling boxer and how he would visit Ali’s home in Louisville and play on the floor with Ali’s young children.

My preview story for the Lyle-Ali championship ran on the front page the following morning of more than 400 daily newspapers in America. It was successful largely in part because I was able to break through Ali’s veil of media hype and to humanize him as a devoted father and Cosell’s caring friend.

Now that I’m older, milestones usually don’t mean very much to me, but this one does. Not many journalists can say their first story was to interview the most famous person in the world at the time, yet I can and that’s an achievement that surely doesn’t diminish with the passing of time. <

— Ed Pierce

Friday, May 22, 2020

Insight: Finding a newspaper editor’s real purpose

It’s surprising that no matter how old you may be, there are still things you can learn about yourself. I bring this up because a while back I discovered my real purpose as a newspaper editor.
I was working as a news reporter for the Laconia Citizen newspaper in Laconia, New Hampshire when I was chosen by the publisher to be that paper’s new editor. After years of leading daily and weekly newspapers previously as an editor, I accepted a reporter’s job in Laconia because it didn’t come with all of the tedious tasks, duties and responsibilities otherwise associated with being an editor.
But when the previous editor had resigned, I was asked to fill the role by the publisher because of my lengthy experience in journalism and skill at organization.
Before the announcement of my promotion had been made public, I attended an early morning committee meeting for a drug-free community coalition where I disclosed to committee members that I was being promoted to serve as editor of the newspaper.
Following the meeting, a friend of mine who also served on that committee, Pastor Shaun Dutile of Laconia, sought me out in the parking lot and posed an interesting question to me.
“Do you know why God has put you in this position as the editor of the newspaper?” Dutile said.
Before I could come up with a reply, he told me that the answer to his question was something that only I could discover through self-introspection and discovery.
“Only you and God will know the reason for you to be put in this position and its purpose is something that you must find out in order to be successful,” he said.
His question got me to thinking about my lengthy career in journalism and what it meant to be placed in charge of supervising the content of a community newspaper.
What I eventually learned -- and it’s pertinent to my new job here as the managing editor at The Windham Eagle -- is that the editor of a community newspaper works diligently on behalf of the readers and not for personal gain.
As the staff member who determines what gets covered in the newspaper and how it is reported, the editor’s role is more than simply correcting typos, choosing photographs to accompany articles and fixing misspelled words in stories.
What I have discovered from first-hand experience is that the editor of a newspaper must always be objective, be a true champion and strong voice for everyone in the community who does not have such an extensive platform that reaches so many people throughout the area. As such, the editor should believe that a student’s Eagle Scout project is as deserving of coverage in the paper as reporting about a late-night town council meeting or the news that a new minister has been appointed to lead a local congregation.
Readers pick up The Windham Eagle with the expectation they will learn something interesting and impactful to their daily lives in every edition of newspaper. And I intend to continue to be as enthusiastic and helpful in doing just that as my predecessor Lorraine Glowczak, was in her time filling the managing editor’s position here.
Before I left New Hampshire to move to Maine in 2016, I had another conversation with Pastor Dutile and I thanked him for posing that question to me when he did. To this very day, I can still hear his words and reflect upon the awesome responsibility placed in me in leading this newspaper, The Windham Eagle.
Through the years, my work as a journalist has taken me to so many different places and I have enjoyed the distinct privilege of meeting and telling the stories of so many different people. But none of those are as important or meaningful to me right now as what you are currently doing in this community, how it affects your lives and those of your neighbors and it’s what makes this such a great place to live and work.
There is a reason I have been placed in this role and what I have learned is that the purpose is to serve you and to champion the Windham and Raymond communities.  <
 Ed Pierce

Friday, May 15, 2020

Insight: While I was busy making other plans

By Lorraine Glowczak

It was late fall, 2013. My transcripts were being analyzed by a University of Southern Maine counselor as I looked on. I only had about 24 credit hours left to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

“I don’t care if it’s in underwater basket weaving – I just want to accomplish this before I turn 50,” I told her.

With that in mind, the counselor proposed three possibilities that would help me finish my long sought-after education before I entered my fifth decade. I only remember two of the three degree choices she proposed.

“Leadership and Organizational Studies is one option,” she began. “Or…. you could get a degree in journalism/communications. That might be a great option for you since your writing skills indicate you might fare well in the industry.”

Since I had been an active leader in several organizations in Portland at the time, I opted for Leadership and Organizational Studies.

“Besides,” I told her. “I am a creative writer, not a reporter. I will never go into journalism.” 

Ironically, the leadership program turned out to encompass a writing intensive curriculum and improved my writing skills immensely.

There is the saying that goes; “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”

Here I am seven years later, signing off as editor of The Windham Eagle newspaper. So much for not walking in the field of journalism.

For the past four years, I have put my heart and soul into this weekly media news source. I believe in its mission to provide ultra-local, positive, and solutions-based news to the readers of Windham and Raymond. I also believe I have taken it to its next step – giving it character and energy. But I must admit I have taken it as far as I can.

This is where Ed Pierce can take it from here. Mr. Pierce, with his 45 years of experience in the field of journalism, will propel The Windham Eagle to the next level. Very seldom do I see life as black and white but in this instance, I am convinced that Mr. Pierce is your man. (For his full story see the front-page.)

Although I am signing off as editor, I am not signing out completely. Whether you like the energy I have given to The Windham Eagle or not, I am still here none the less and will continue in my personal creative flare as a writer. I will also be busily at work on my book of essays and helping to co-author a book on leadership.

But – I cannot sign off without sharing my gratitude. This is where tears blur the words of appreciation as I write my last Insight.

I have gained friends along the way that include reporters Elizabeth Richards, Matt Pascarella and Walter Lunt. I have also gained a kindred-spirit with reporter, Briana Bizier who I have relied upon to edit my future book of essays (manuscript to be completed in September).

I will sorely miss being teased about my shoeless office attire by Gerry Collins and the quiet, friendly smile of Don Perreault that greeted me in the mornings. I’m saddened to say goodbye at a distance to Ben Parrott, Tricia Griffin and Karen Mank whom I haven’t seen in eight weeks, as they have been working remotely since March 16. 

Then, of course, there is the phenomenally amazing Layout Editor and Ad Manager, Melissa Carter. I have never loved working with anyone more than her. I would have never been able to pull off the production of this newspaper without her creative expertise and our collaborative efforts. 

There are, of course, the Publishers Kelly and Niels Mank (and the four Mank ‘assistants,’ Keith, Kaila, Brandon and Brian) The Manks have supported me in so many ways it is impossible to list everything. They put their trust in and believed in me more than I believed in myself. If it were not for them giving me this opportunity, I would not have had the confidence to become the writer I’ve aspired to become.

I must not forget you - our readers who encouraged me to follow my dreams. “You need to write a book of essays based upon your ‘Insights,’” I’ve been told by some. Or as one supportive reader once urged, “Have you started writing your book yet? You need to get on it. What’s taking you so long?”
As much as I never thought I would enter the field of journalism, I did not think I would be saying goodbye as your editor today. But life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

Ed – take it from here.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Insight: What is this world coming to?

By Lorraine Glowczak

As we celebrate our mothers this Sunday, May 10th, we will do so in our own ways, depending upon individual circumstances and situations. I will be one of those daughters who honors her mother with memories – having done so since her passing eight years ago.

I have many fond recollections that include her love of peonies, her excitement when something good happened in her life or the lives of her loved ones, and - when I became adult – her love of sitting down with me for margaritas on the rocks with salt at her favorite Mexican restaurant.

But one memory that is making a deep impression on me today are the times my mother worried unnecessarily about me or the world in general. One question she posed often and continues to echo in my mind is, “What is this world coming to?”

She would often reference that question to the worry she carried within her about how people treated one another – and at times - the concern about the youth – whether the future held a bright promise for them (and thus her children). I, of course, dismissed her concerns as any know-it-all and highly idealistic daughter would. “We are going to be fine – just fine,” I often told her.

If Mom were alive today, I suspect she would wonder with more intensity and frequency what the world is coming too. As I walk into my own middle-age, that question begins to bubble up in my own psyche from time to time. However, just as I am about to give up on the world, there is always something that – or someone who - converts my unnecessary worry and judgment about the status of the world into joy and trust of a beautiful life that exist now with an even better future in store.

In the four years at The Windham Eagle newspaper, meeting and interviewing many people in the community, I have been reminded time and time again that although - yes, these are crazy times (always have been and most likely always will be) there are also so many delightful and exquisite surprises that still remain.  

The most recent “savior” in my glass half-full perception shift is 9-year-old Byron Davis of Windham and his family. (See front page for story at ). This innovative young student has made a huge impact on the world around him by the simple gesture of giving away over 900 homemade paper seed discs to essential workers that include everyone from medical staff to grocery store cashiers.

Although his mission is to serve a specific group of individuals, what this third-grade student may not realize is that this seemingly minor act creates a ripple effect beyond his targeted goal, touching individuals far and wide, including this small-town newspaper writer.

No matter what this world is coming to, with all the Byron Davises that dot this big round globe, how can one be discouraged? How can one worry about our future?

They say what you focus upon becomes the reality in your life. I have never claimed to know the whole truth or to own the copyright on it, but my curiosity has the best of me. What would happen if we dedicated our thoughts to ways we could improve the world for others – and in doing so, improve our own lives.

If my mother had the opportunity to meet or to know of Byron, my guess is that she might still ask, “What is this world coming to?” But instead of asking the question out of concern, it would be in the form of a statement that carries with it a peace of mind.

Perhaps the greatest honor I could offer to the memory of my mother, is to forever be changed by the act of one person. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Evergreen CU launches four-part online financial education

With COVID-19 affecting so many Mainers, Evergreen Credit Union is introducing MoneyMatters, a free online financial education course. The credit union recognizes this is an ideal time to offer basic skills for sound money management. MoneyMatters four 20-minute courses are easily accessible as downloadable videos and PDF presentations here:  

The 4-installment program includes: Where does your money go?, Credit Scores: How they're calculated and how to optimize your score, Managing and reducing your debt and Building your savings.  

Evergreen Credit Union is one of Maine’s largest credit unions, offering mortgage, consumer, and business services, with branches in Portland, South Portland, Windham and Naples.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Insight: Finding a compromise

By Lorraine Glowczak

Every week since COVID-19 swooped in and wreaked havoc on so many lives, my Insights have reflected my thoughts as I witness and experience a typical day during this new normal. But as I sit down each week to pen a new editorial, I promise myself to write about a subject without mentioning the pandemic.

However, the writing muse that has been assigned to me since birth has always had her own agenda and there are times, we butt heads. Today, I have argued with her for over five hours. “I am taking a break from this topic and taking a break from it NOW! We are going to write about something else,” I demand. She laughs. Just as I begin to cave into her impulses – I ask for a compromise. She agrees.

Last week I received a letter to the Editor from a woman who lives in Alabama. Very seldom do we receive a note from so far away, so I opened the letter with suspense. The author was the secretary to the American Rosie the Riveter Association. She herself was a “Rosie” and she wrote to say that the organization is looking for more “Rosies” around the U.S. to join them with the mission to collect names, stories, etc.

Being one who loves a good local biographical story, I do hope they (and we) get a response from those in the Windham and Raymond communities. (Please reach out to me if you are a woman who worked during the WWII effort or you know of a woman who did.)

In February of this year, I met with and wrote an article about Raymond resident, Teresa “Tess” Ingraham who was presented the Boston Cane on January 30th. Without realizing it at the time, Tess was a “Rosie”, but we didn’t discuss that part of her life much. In the article she had stated that immediately upon graduating high school in 1940, she had worked at S.D. Warren in the main office. She explained most of the products made at the company went toward the war effort.

She also spoke about what it was like living during World War II. “It was really a scary time and we did without a lot,” she began. “Because many products went toward the war, each family was allotted a certain number of coupons because the supply was limited. These coupons were distributed by the government and would allow us to purchase things like sugar, shoes, clothing, etc. and if you didn’t have a coupon when you needed something – you did without.”

What struck me the most about Tess’s story, is how she was willing to compromise for the betterment of all. “We simply worked together because that is just what you did,” I remember her telling me.

The website refers to the WWII effort and compromise Tess spoke about: “This fear of attack [on Pearl Harbor] translated into a ready acceptance by a majority of Americans of the need to sacrifice in order to achieve victory. During the spring of 1942, a rationing program was established that set limits on the amount [products] consumers could purchase. The United States Office of War Information released posters in which Americans were urged to “Do with less–so they’ll have enough” (“they” referred to U.S. troops).”

We are currently living during a very scary time and the pandemic has instilled a fear in all of us – for a variety of reasons. Recently, there have been more divisive opinions on how to achieve a victory over COVID-19 with no compromise in sight. How did people of the WWII era come to a certain level of conciliation? What could we learn from them? Can we do with less so that others can have enough? Can we find a civil way to honor both human and economic life?

I do not have the answers, and probably never will. After all, I just discovered how to compromise with my own writing muse. But if that is possible, I must say - anything is.

Here’s to hoping we find a compromise.


Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Calling all working women in the Sebago Lakes Community who participated in WWII home front.

American Rosie the Riveter Association is trying to locate women who worked on the home front during WWII. Thousands of women worked to support the war effort as riveters, welders, electricians, inspectors in plants, sewing clothing and parachutes for the military, ordnance workers, rolling bandages, clerical, farming and many other jobs such as volunteer workers collecting scrap metals and other critical materials.

These women have stories of their WWII experiences that are of historical value and perhaps have never been told. American Rosie the Riveter Association would like to acknowledge these women with a certificate and have their stories placed in our Archives.

American Rosie the Riveter Association is a patriotic/non-profit organization with the mission to recognize and preserve the history and legacy of working women during WWII. This organization was founded in 1998 by Dr. Frances Carter, Birmingham Alabama and now has over 65,000 members nationwide. Current elected officers from Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama all serve on a volunteer basis.

If you are a woman (or a descendant of a woman) who worked during WWII, or if you are just interested in more information, please check our website at or call the toll free number at 1-888-557-6743 or email at

Thank you,
Mabel Myrick (a Rosie – age 93)
Corresponding Secretary

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: If there are “Rosies” in the Windham and Raymond communities who have stories to share, please contact Lorraine Glowczak at