National poster contest winners recognized

Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District recently recognized two students as national winners of the 2013 National Conservation Poster Contest themed “Where Does Your Water Shed?”

Liam Callanan, of Appleton Village School, and Elizabeth Flanagan, of Friendship Village School, each received a certificate from the National Association of Conservation Districts for winning an honorable mention in the kindergarten through grade 1 and grades 5-6 divisions, respectively.

The poster contest is part of NACD’s Soil and Water Stewardship Week, the longest-running celebration of conservation in the country.

The conservation district sponsors the event every year in Knox and Lincoln counties, giving presentations to participating schools and selecting local and state contest winners in the winter and spring. All state winners are submitted to the national contest for judging.


Maine Robotics accepting registration for girls’ camp

Maine Robotics is accepting registrations for a new summer program it will offer for girls, ages 12 to 16, this summer at the Southern Maine Community Campus at 167 Bennoch Road.

Offered in partnership with the Technovation Challenge and Southern Maine Community College, the program is designed to mentor young women in the fields of communication, computers, mobile app development and entrepreneurship.

The weeklong camp will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 28 to Aug. 1 at the Southern Maine Community College Computer Lab.

Campers will work together in teams, with local nonprofit organizations, to brainstorm about ideas that can make their communities more sustainable. They will then learn to design and build a mobile app to help people reach that goal. At the end of the week, campers will pitch their app to a guest panel and family members.

Cost of the camp is $275 per camper for the week.

For more details, call the Maine Robotics office at 866-4340 or email [email protected]


Trio of writers honored with governor’s award

The Maine Community College System has announced the winners of its “A Journey Into Writing” contest.

The winners, Benjamin Clinton of Yarmouth High School, Justine Nason of Ashland District School, and Erik Tang Ly of Freeport High School, also earned the distinction of 2014 Governor’s Young Writers of the Year.

They were presented a $2,500 cash award by Gov. Paul LePage during a ceremony at the Blaine House, with MCCS President John Fitzsimmons joining the governor to present the awards.

In all, 12 finalists were chosen from 153 entries in this year’s contest, representing over 40 Maine high schools.

The nine other finalists are Evan Tims, Freeport High School; Jordan Tebbs, of Cumberland, Greely High School; Simone Bukovskey, of Gray, Gray New-Gloucester High School; Jay Burkard, Searsport District High School; Madison Michaud, of Vassalboro, Erskine Academy; Claire Ciampa of Castine, George Stevens Academy; Elise Gianattasio of Naples, Lake Region High School; Charlotte Eisenberg of Peaks Island, North Yarmouth Academy; and Madison Cutten of Raymond, North Yarmouth Academy. The students each received a plaque and a check for $500 for their submissions.

For more details, go to


Students participate in preservation work

For 75 years, the Seashore Trolley Museum has made it its aim to reclaim and restore vintage trolley cars, once considered obsolete and destined for scrap piles, putting them back on display for the enjoyment and education of the public.

Recently the museum’s restoration crew took those efforts to another level by partnering with the local alternative education high school, The New School of Kennebunk, to offer a student apprenticeship program.

Students Nick Buzzell and Caleb Long spent the final semester of the school year gaining hands-on experience in preservation of trolley cars.

Buzzell and Long took part in working on the restoration project that is actively going on behind the scenes in the Museum’s Town House Restoration Shop. There, they worked with machinery and participated in the fabrication of trolley parts that will go on two cars that are being historically refurnished at the museum.

The students also learned that the restoration process requires serving in roles such as detective, historian and researcher, in order to bring each trolley back to working order – especially when faced with defining obsolete parts and determining what they may have been used for previously.

Such was the case during one recent project, when Restoration Project Manager Donald Curry discovered an innocuous chain hanging down from the underframe of a trolley car that had had its entire undercarriage removed and was turned into a dining car before it came into the museum’s hands.

Following extensive research, including looking at old photographs and trolley blueprints, Curry discovered that the chain was part of what was once a track scraper that was used to keep the trolley tracks free of debris, leaves, mud and snow so the trolleys could keep running.

From there the apprentice students from The New School, with the assistance of Curry, fabricated the pieces needed to recreate four track scrapers, one of which will eventually go on a trolley that ran from 1901 to 1927 on the Lexington (Mass) & Boston Street Railway.

To learn more about the project, go to or


River association to host program for students

The Damariscotta River Association is accepting registrations for its ongoing Teen Institute for the Environment.

This program is open to youth ages 12 to 17, with the focus of the entire week on doing science in a meaningful way that contributes data and information to ongoing projects, as well as developing personal naturalist skills such as journaling.

The group will be engaged in a wide variety of activities, including tagging butterflies for a citizen science project, doing field work with an entomologist, visiting Hog Island and learning outdoor cooking skills.

The program will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 28 to Aug. 1 at DRA Great Salt Bay Farm in Damariscotta.

The fee is $195 for DRA members, $220 for nonmembers.

For more information or to register, call 563-1393, email [email protected], or go to


Curtis Friends donates $10,000 to memorial library

Curtis Friends, a membership-supported nonprofit organization that raises funds for programming and special projects at Curtis Memorial Library, has donated $10,000 to the Curtis Friends Endowment Fund to support the ongoing operations at the library.

Their efforts include sponsoring programs and speakers for children and adults, underwriting the Bestseller’s Express and the self-checkout system; and caretaking of the gardens and grounds.


Nature center gets $10,500 for work with students

Hidden Valley Nature Center has received a $10,500 grant from the Horizon Foundation to support a new school outreach effort with fourth-grade students from Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta and Whitefield Elementary during the 2014-15 school year.

HVNC will partner with the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association in this science education initiative. Students will work closely with participating teachers to learn in pond, bog, forest and field settings.

Participating classes will also be part of ongoing citizen science projects like the Maine Forest Inventory Growth Project, in which students will measure and describe precise forest locations time after time, year after year to assess changes in forest growth and character.

HVNC is a nonprofit education and recreation center hosting many diverse opportunities to explore the outdoors. It features 1,000 acres of diverse habitat, including a secluded great pond and more than 25 miles of trails.

HVNC is open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.

For more details, go to, write to [email protected], or call 200-8840.


School district honors retirees, 20-year workers

The Wells-Ogunquit Community School District ended its 2013-14 school year with a Celebration of Service to Education ceremony, which honored nine retiring staff members and four longtime employees.

Those retiring, including their years of service, are: Victoria Asquini, 35 years; Arlene Haskell and Lucille Pisano, both 32 years; Jacqueline Sukalas, 31 years; Barbara Stirk and Linda Tipping, both 25 years; Rachel Kilbride, 21 years; Raylene Grant, 18 years; and Carol Perry, 131/2 years.

The district also honored four staff members, who have reached the 20-year milestone in their service, who include Rachel Kilbride, Lillian Lagasse, Sally Marchand and Diane Norton.

All of the individuals were honored during a staff luncheon at Wells Junior High School.

At the ceremony, WOCSD Superintendent Ellen Schneider and the District’s three school principals, Marianne Horne (Wells Elementary), Chris Chessie (Wells Junior High) and Jim Daly (Wells High) recognized the individuals with comments and colorful gift bags.


Project Pink co-founder donates books for patients

Linda Pattillo, a co-founder of Project Pink, recently donated 100 copies of the book “Pink Tips” to Southern Maine Health Care’s Center for Breast Care.

Penned by the late Maine journalist, author and Project Pink co-founder Ann Murray Paige, “Pink Tips” was written to help women cope with cancer in a step-by-step, easy-to-read format.

The books will be given to newly diagnosed SMHC patients.


Bank fund awards grants to four Maine nonprofits

The People’s United Community Foundation, the philanthropic arm of People’s United Bank, has awarded grants to four southern Maine nonprofits.

Camp Sunshine, at Sebago Lake in Casco, will receive $4,000 to support summer scholarships and programming for children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families.

Project FEED (Food Emergency Exchange Depot), an emergency food pantry that operates out of the Woodfords Congregational UCC Church, will receive $2,500 to help provide food to the more than 6,000 individuals and families who depend on the program.

The Maine Housing and Building Materials Exchange, of Lisbon, will receive $4,000 to provide new, reusable and “green” building materials to low-income families at an affordable price.

And, the Iris Network of Portland will receive $2,500 to provide vision rehabilitation, specialized low vision services and vocational rehabilitation to individuals who are blind or visually impaired as part of its Access Technology & Employment Services program.

Root Cellar gets $3,600 grant for job training

The Root Cellar has received a $3,600 grant from the Cumberland County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation.

Those funds will be used to purchase equipment needed to expand the “Job Roots” (entry level job training) program for people in the East End.

“This grant is going to be used to buy the necessary equipment to enhance our Job Roots program,” said Becky Merriman, office manager.

“The largest need in our neighborhood is solid training for first jobs.

“We will be buying janitorial machines, updating computers and training our neighbors how to use them so they will be ready to enter a full-time position.”


Volunteers make 50 signs for land trust trails

Nearly 50 handcrafted, hand-painted wooden signs will mark the wooded trails and open fields of the Scarborough Land Trust thanks to a group of Piper Shores residents who volunteered more than 100 working hours to create the signage in the woodshop of the active retirement community, located on 138 acres of oceanfront property in Scarborough between Higgins Beach and Prouts Neck.

The handmade signs will be used to mark the nature trails at two properties owned and managed by the Scarborough Land Trust: the 220-acre Fuller Farm, which was purchased and protected in 2001; and the 35-acre Albert Sewell Woods, which was protected and donated to the Land Trust in 1996. Both properties are open to the public year-round and are used for walking, hiking, bird watching and recreating by Scarborough residents and beyond. Fuller Farm has the largest trail network of the Land Trust’s properties.

The signs will serve to assist visitors to the properties, who use maps to follow the trails but previously had no benefit of on-site signage.


Noble High freshman wins national history competition

Noah Binette, a freshman at Noble High School, won first place at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Competition, held recently at the University of Maryland.

The contest marked the final stage of a series of contests at the local and state level.

Binette placed first at the Maine National History Day competition in April at the University of Maine in Orono and traveled to nationals with his exhibit titled: “Malaga Island: The Community That Maine Erased.”

Each year nearly 3,000 students and their parents, from all over the United States, gather at the university for the week-long event that follows months of individual student research and preparation for their contributions.

Some 90 students competed in Binette’s division of Senior Individual Exhibit.

This is the first time since the 1980s that a Maine student has won National History Day.

Binette, who has competed in the event for the past four years, received a $1,000 scholarship and will have his display exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

He is the son of Colleen and Andrew Binette of Berwick.