Friday, August 11, 2017

St. Joseph’s College announces two players named to the Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association

Lacrosse midfielders Jackie Wilson, a 2017 graduate and Elyse Caiazzo, a 2018 graduate, are the first players in the ten-year history of the St. Joseph’s College (SJC) Women’s Lacrosse Program to be named to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Zag Sports Division III Academic Honor Roll. The IWLCA honored 532 student-athletes from 159 different institutions for this distinction in 2017. To be eligible for this honor, student-athletes must be a junior, senior, or graduate student and have earned a cumulative academic GPA of 3.50 or greater.

Jackie Wilson and Elyse Caiazzo

“I’m really thrilled to have received this award,” stated Caiazzo. “And what an honor [it is] to have received it with a friend like Jackie.”

Wilson (from Tiverton, Rhode Island) graduated with a nursing degree in May and was a three-time Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) All-Academic Team honoree. Caiazzo (from Scarborough, Maine, and Cheverus High School alumna) is pursuing a double major in Environmental Science and Political Science. She is a two-time GNAC All-Academic Team honoree.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Supervised “sandlot” teams throw youth baseball into extra innings by Walter Lunt

Windham’s Little League season is long over. Baseball is not. League play ended on June 17 with the championship and all-star games. But then, wait! Beat the drum and hold the phone - players on both the winning and losing teams wanted to play on.
Liam Kalakowsky’s mom, Erin, remembers a conversation with her son the day after the big games.

“He seemed depressed and sad. I assumed it was because his team lost the game, but when I asked him he said he didn’t care about that, he was feeling down because the season was over.”

So, Erin started texting other moms. Likewise, their sons and daughters still wanted to play. What about pick-up games? Can we do that?

Enter Mike Butterfield, a member of the Board of Windham Little League. Continued League play was not in the cards, but Butterfield was determined to put youth baseball into overtime. The moms’ text chain had attracted 10 or more interested parents.
“My son was bummed when the season ended, so (pick-up play) was a great idea, it keeps the interest up,” said Butterfield.

Butterfield contacted school officials about the use of fields at Manchester School. He also started a Facebook page. After conferring with other parents, a game plan began to form; a plan distinctive for its lack of formality: no practices or drills, just games, no umpires, communal coaching, random teams, adult pitching, outs from the field only and play open to all boys and girls, ages six to twelve. 

Sandlot baseball had its official debut on July 5.

Butterfield’s pre-game instructions to the players are, like the rules, simple. “Okay, you guys, before you choose teams, I want you to remember why we’re here. We’re here because we all just want to play to baseball, the greatest game in the world.”

During play, suggestions for improvement come from both adults and the kids themselves. Calls on plays are usually made by the adult standing closest to the play. Disagreements are rare, and conflicts nonexistent. 

“The girls want to improve their softball game, explained Butterfield, “So we’ll pitch ‘em a softball if they want it. When they play defensive, they field baseballs.”

Two young players from the coach-pitch division of Little League were particularly energetic and spunky during one recent game. They swung hard, ran fast and made frequent loud calls of encouragement to older players, obviously seeking their attention. The adult pitchers moved off the mound to offer more generous pitches to the young hitters. Both got hits, and cheers.

“The little guys are obviously giving 110 percent,” observed parent coach Chris McDonald.

The games, dubbed the sandlot league, have grown in popularity over their four weeks. Twelve players showed up the first week in early July. By August, the numbers grew to 22, with parents and grandparents in tow.

“We welcome all kids who just want to play, not just Little Leaguers,” says Butterfield. One recent week saw one participant from Gray and three sets of brothers/sisters.
“It’s going really well,” observed Liam, eight, “lots of people are coming.”

“We’re here for the love of the game,” commented Cory Butterfield, whose son, Mason, vows to play until the end of October.

Sandlot moved to Lowell/Ciccerone field in East Windham. Master caretaker Bill Ciccerone keeps new grass on the field and prepares the grounds each Wednesday in time for the 6 p.m. start of play. 

After the start of school later this month, the games will be played on Sunday afternoons. Abby Vopal, whose daughter Sophia recently played minors division softball said, “These kids are chomping at the bit to get on the field; they’re having a blast.” She explained how Sophia was taken aback by her brother’s opportunity to participate in sandlot. Her enthusiasm to join opened the way for girls to play.

Willow Washburn, 10, was playing her first game of sandlot and observed, “I was nervous at first, but I figured boys are just boys, and they don’t really bother me. I love how we use baseballs and softballs.”

Tate Robinson, nine, who played minors division baseball, said he was there to improve his game. “Now I know more stuff,” he said, “I’ll get better at baseball.”

Anna Herald, 11, said she kept hearing about sandlot and “convinced my parents to come.”

Her brother, Graham summed up the experience this way: “You get to learn. It’s America’s pastime.”
As expressed in John Fogerty’s popular youth baseball anthem “Centerfield” - if you’ve got a beat-up glove and you’re ready to play, go see the coach, mighty Mike Butterfield. He’ll put you in.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Wakeboarding is a growing sport

Water enthusiasts take to rivers, lakes and oceans for scores of different marine activities. The popularity of water sports has exploded, including a growing interest in wakeboarding.

Wakeboarding is an activity where a person is pulled behind a motorboat at about 20 to 24 miles per hour. Instead of water skiing, the boarder uses a single board that resembles a snowboard, though wakeboards are shorter than snowboards and slightly wider. The feet are bound to the board with either straps or a boot-like device so that the board will not fly off of the feet while doing tricks.

Statistics indicate that there are more than 3.1 million wakeboarders across the globe. Roughly 75 percent of wakeboarders are males ages 13 to 24. Wakeboarding has become the fastest-growing water sport.

Wakeboarding has become so popular that it may someday qualify for inclusion in the Olympics.
While currently part of the X-Games & Gravity Games, the International Olympic Committee announced cable wakeboarding as one of eight new sports being considered for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Wakeboarding is an adventurous water activity that seems to be here to stay. Now may be the time to try your hand at wakeboarding and see if this water sport can become one of your new favorite summer activities.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Health care proposals are deeply unpopular among Maine’s largest voting block

PORTLAND — AARP Maine today released new survey data highlighting the deep divide between Americans and Washington politicians over  health care policies important to older Americans. 

“Health care is a deeply personal issue that has a real and immediate impact on American families across the political spectrum. These survey findings are very clear – Mainers don’t support legislation that would mean higher costs and less coverage for older Americans,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “AARP urges Senator Collins to oppose any bill that would raise premiums, price people with pre-existing conditions out of coverage, weaken Medicare and make cuts to Medicaid that would reduce services for those most at-risk, including low and middle-income seniors in need of long-term care supports.”

More details from the survey are below:

The Age Tax: 94 percent of Maine voters age 50+ oppose charging older Americans five times more than others for their healthcare plan, while just 4 percent support the drastic cost increase. The proportion of age 50+ voters who oppose the age tax includes 88 percent of Republicans, 96 percent of Independents, and 98 percent of Democrats.

Medicare Cuts: 89 percent of Maine voters age 50+ oppose cutting funding for Medicare and

increasing premiums for current and future seniors, while just 9 percent support the harmful cuts. The proportion of age 50+ voters who oppose Medicare cuts includes 82 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents, and 95 percent of Democrats.

Removal of Pre-existing Condition Protections: 83 percent of Maine voters age 50+ oppose charging people with pre-existing conditions more for their coverage, while just 15 percent support doing so. The proportion of age 50+ voters who oppose removal of this protection includes 67 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Independents, and 95 percent of Democrats.
Tax Breaks for Big Drug and Insurance Companies: 83 percent of Maine voters age 50+ oppose providing tax breaks for insurance and drug companies, while just 11 percent support such breaks. The proportion of age 50+ voters who oppose tax breaks for big drug and insurance companies includes 73 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Independents, and 89 percent of Democrats.

Medicaid Funding Cuts: 79 percent of Maine voters age 50+ oppose cutting funding for Medicaid, while just 18 percent support the harmful cuts. The proportion of age 50+ voters who oppose Medicaid cuts includes 68 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of Independents, and 88 percent of Democrats.

Methodology: AARP commissioned a telephone survey among 601 likely voters age 50+ in Maine. The sample utilized an age-targeted registered voter landline and cell phone list who were contacted between June 2 and June 13, 2017. The data were weighted by age, gender, race/ethnicity and geographic region and are generalizable to registered voters in Maine age 50+. The survey has a margin of sampling error of ±4 percent. The survey annotation will be made available at

Must-haves for fun and safe hiking trips

Few outdoor activities are more widely enjoyed than hiking. According to Statista, a statistics portal that gathers studies and statistics from more than 18,000 sources, more than 37 million people in the United States went hiking in 2015. That marks an increase of nearly eight million from 2006.

Hiking is a great activity that makes for great exercise and a wonderful way for people of all ages to spend time enjoying the great outdoors. Veteran hiking enthusiasts recognize that hiking, while a fun activity, can quickly become dangerous if they don't exercise caution and prepare for their hikes. Novice hikers may want to focus on a handful of areas before going on their first hikes.

Appropriate attire and footwear can make hikes safer and more enjoyable. The American Hiking Society notes that hikers going on short hikes that do not involve heavy packs or technical terrain can wear trail shoes, while hikers should wear hiking books when carrying heavy loads or traversing more technical terrain. Boots offer more support than hiking shoes, making them more suitable than hiking shoes on difficult terrain. addition to wearing footwear appropriate to the terrain they will be traversing, hikers must pack rain gear and extra clothing. The AHS recommends that hikers dress in layers so they can adjust to changes in the weather and their activity levels. Avoid cotton, which keeps moisture close to the skin, and bring a hat to protect against unforeseen rainstorms and insects.

Men and women may be accustomed to pulling out their smartphones or tablets and employing the
GPS services on such devices when they need directions. But it's important that hikers recognize networks may not be accessible in wooded or remote areas. As a result, hikers should not think they can rely exclusively on technology to help them when they get lost. Hikers should carry a map and compass during the hike, making sure they bring an updated map of the trails they will be hiking.

Food and drink
Extra food and drink can help hikers whose hikes end up taking longer than they anticipated. Choosing snacks such as protein bars that can fill a person up without making him or her feel sluggish is a good idea. In addition, hikers should pack enough water to keep them hydrated during the hike and longer in cases a person gets lost or wants to stop and enjoy a nice view along the way. The AHS notes that drinking too little water during a hike can make one susceptible to hypothermia and/or altitude sickness.

Hikers should purchase a prepackaged first-aid kit for hikers, which the AHS notes can be found at any outfitter. In addition, a knife or multipurpose tool can help a person perform repairs on broken or malfunctioning gear. If need be, hikers should bring a backup pair of eyeglasses or, if contact lenses are worn, a lens kit and eyeglasses just in case.
Hiking is an enjoyable activity that continues to attract millions of people. But hikers must take steps to ensure their hiking trips are safe.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Undefeated Raynor Shine Painting Little League Team wins championship by Andrea Schmuck

Every spring, hundreds of young men and women get ready for the baseball and softball season here in Windham, through the Windham Little League. This spring of 2017 was no different!

As we waited for the snow-melt that never seemed to come, we looked forward to those spring and
summer games, the crack of the bats and the joy of watching our kids play ball. This was true for the coaches, players and parents of the Raynor Shine Painting Majors Little League Team.

Well, what a season it would turn out to be!

Our team was coached by three volunteer dads, Scott Raynor, Brian Marden and Hal Foley. They donated their time, experience and caring to help our boys get ready for the season and to help them have an enjoyable season. team consisted of the following 11 boys: Collin Casserly, Ethan Barker, Colby Raynor, Tate Chork, Logan Marden, Tommy Casserly, Landon Schmuck, Nathan Jordan, Sam Rogers, Sheamus McDougall and Aiden Foley.  

The team jelled very well and played marvelously as a team! They went undefeated in the regular
season, beating most teams by 10 runs or more on most occasions. They played great offense and defense and were great sports towards each other and the other teams.  

Then they boys went into the playoffs as the number one seeded team. They sat out the first round and then went on to win both playoffs games on their way to the Championship Game!

The rest of the teams were great teams with great kids and they all played really well. On June 14, the boys played the Championship Game against MPM Sealcoating which they won 11-1!

Way to go Raynor Shine Painting!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Athlete of the Week: Alex Wilkins

Alex Wilkins, a junior at Windham High School is Aroma Joe’s Athlete of the Week. The 16-year-old believes kids should play sports because it establishes a sense of cooperation and it teaches kids to set goals.

“Alex is the 2017 Class A State Champ in the Triple Jump,” stated coach Paula Pock. “[Receiving athlete of the week] is a well-deserved honor for a fine young man.”

Wilkins, who enjoys fishing and skiing, stated that he has learned to work as a team and to support others as a result of his participation in track and soccer.

He names his parents as the most influential people in his sports career. “They have driven me to always do my best,” Wilkins said. 

He plans to go to college and get a degree in medicine. 

Wilkins lives at home with his mom (Susan), dad (Rick) and his two dogs.