AUGUSTA

Middle school students from East Machias, Hampden, Veazie and Windsor emerged as winners in the recently held Maine Municipal Association’s ninth annual statewide essay contest, this year themed “If I Led My Community.”

The contest asked students to demonstrate how they would improve their hometowns and cities if they held positions of local leadership as part of MMA’s Citizen Education program. More than 200 essays were submitted from seventh-grade students across the state. Those submissions were judged based on the authors’ knowledge of municipal government, writing quality and clarity and originality.

The winners include Grace Dennison of Elm Street School at East Machias, Alanna LaPointe of Reeds Brook Middle School at Hampden; Rachel Wheelden of Veazie Community School and Ava Anderson of Windsor Elementary School. Each student will receive a certificate and a $250 prize to be used for educational purposes. The awards will be bestowed by municipal officials in their hometowns.

Winning entries also will be published in the May issue of Maine Town & City, MMA’s monthly magazine, which is mailed to 4,400 municipal officials statewide and posted at the MMA website at www.memun.org.

MMA’s Citizen Education program aims to educate citizens of all ages about the importance, accessibility and effectiveness of municipal government. The essay contest, and high school curriculum developed in cooperation with Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, have the dual purpose of educating young people about local government and encouraging them to get involved as future elected or appointed officials, or as municipal employees.

The Harold Alfond® Foundation and the Bill & Joan Alfond Foundation have gifted $350,000 to support the work of MaineGeneral Health employees by covering the cost of childcare for medical workers as they work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Early in the COVID-19 crisis in Maine, the two foundations contacted MaineGeneral Health President & CEO Chuck Hays to ask how they could help.

“They especially wanted to know what our staff needed to be safe, healthy and supported through this crisis,” noted Hays.

Schools and some day cares closed in late March, leaving some MaineGeneral employees without childcare options. MaineGeneral quickly partnered with licensed day care centers and assumed the costs of care for MaineGeneral employees who applied for the help. Since March 23, care for children of these employees has been provided at the Alfond Youth & Community Center in Waterville and at The Children’s Center in Augusta, Kennebec Valley YMCA and MaineGeneral’s own Early Learning Center, all of Augusta.

“We worked with local child care providers to find slots to meet staff need, finding a geographic balance between Augusta and Waterville,” Hays said. “More than 150 children of our staff have safe and reliable care with these new partnerships. This is just one of the many ways we are supporting our staff at this critical time.”

Bill Alfond said of the Bill & Joan Alfond Foundation’s gift, “We want to honor the courageous staff of MaineGeneral as they protect and serve the community on the frontlines of this crisis, and the child care providers, like the Alfond Youth & Community Center and others, who are essential and valued partners in this pandemic. We wish all of these critical professionals health and safety.”

Greg Powell, chairman of the Harold Alfond® Foundation, said, “We recognize that the health care workforce is taking care of us all. They need to have the confidence that their family needs are met so they can continue to provide the very best care during this difficult time. We’re pleased to be able to support our health care workers and their children.”

The foundations have committed to reimbursing MaineGeneral Health’s costs of child care for employees through the end of May.

MaineGeneral employee Audra Turner said she is thankful for the child care program. “Due to COVID-19, my day care closed two weeks ago and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” said Turner. “I was very fortunate they had an opening for both of our children. This has been an exceptional service to MaineGeneral employees. My kids have been smiling every day that I drop them off and pick them up. From swimming to rock climbing and their exciting stories, words can’t express how happy they are. The staff there, from check-in to pickup, has been exceptional. I am proud to say I have worked for MaineGeneral for almost 20 years. Thank you for creating this opportunity for our children. Thank you for going above and beyond.”

MADISON

Raymond N. Soucy, a lifetime and dedicated member of the American Legion Tardiff-Belanger Post No. 39 was presented a certificate from National Headquarters for his 75 years of continuous membership. The certificate was presented by Past Commander of Post 39 Madison H. Ralph Withee.

The Post was first named after Emile Tardiff; a soldier from Madison who died in WWI. The name was changed to Tardiff-Belanger Post No. 39 after Maurice Belanger, the first Madison solder to die in WWII.

Raymond is a charter member of the Tardiff-Belanger Post No. 39. He served as that posts commander in 1951. In WWII Mr. Soucy was an Army pilot of the B24 Bomber. He had orders to go into combat, but the war ended before he had to go.

Soucy celebrated is 95th birthday on April 18.

Lindsey Lombardo was elected to Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center Board of Directors. 

WINDHAM
Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center recently elected Lindsey Lombardo of Yarmouth to its Board of Directors.

Lombardo is the Norway Savings Bank, Freeport, Maine, branch manager. She joins RTT board members Janis Childs, Brandon Cohen, Casey Etter-Bobb, Steve Flynn, Gary Plummer, Carissa Robb, Hilda Sastre and Jim Small in leading the nonprofit.

Founded in 1993, RTT’s mission is enhancing health and wellness through equine assisted activities and therapies.  RTT is a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International).  Located just west of Portland in Windham, RTT is the state’s only year-round PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center solely dedicated to serving people with disabilities through equine assisted activities and therapies.

More than 250 clients visit annually, assisted by certified instructors, over 160 volunteers, and a herd of 18 horses, all specially trained to assist with therapeutic riding, carriage driving, equine assisted learning and hippotherapy.

RTT is a community-based nonprofit, receives no federal or state funding and provides scholarships to over 60% of its clients.  For more information about client services, volunteering, or making a gift, please visit us at www.ridingtothetop.org.

PORTLAND

Town & Country FCU has donated $2,500 to the Foundation for Portland Public Schools’ (PPS) ‘Families In Crisis Fund’ to make an immediate difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable students and families in the Portland Public Schools during the pandemic.

Andrea Weisman Summers, executive director of the Foundation for PPS said, “We have a significant need in Portland, with 53 percent of Portland’s 6,750 students qualifying for free or reduced meals. These families have very little buffer at any time and this is exacerbated during a health and economic crisis.  The numbers are huge and the need is great so we appreciate the generosity of Town & Country at this critical time.”

Since launching the ‘Local Helping Local’ effort last month, the credit union has already provided funds to help Meals on Wheels serve food to thousands of older Mainers in southern Maine; highlighted and supported locally-owned restaurants with a daily gift card giveaways on Facebook; and delivered meals to frontline healthcare workers.

Town & Country FCU resident and CEO David Libby noted, ““We recognize the challenges that many people and organizations are facing right now, so we are focused on assisting our members and supporting our communities, too. As we have throughout our history, we are lending a hand wherever and whenever we can, and will continue to do so in the difficult days and months that likely lie ahead for both members and communities.”

Daniella Niedermeyer of Cheverus High School at Portland was awarded a 2020 Lila Grace Sullivan Amirault Scholarship.

Avery Greco of St. Dominic Academy at Auburn was awarded a 2020 Lila Grace Sullivan Amirault Scholarship.

Avery Greco, a student at St. Dominic Academy at Auburn and Daniella Niedermeyer, a student at Cheverus High School at Portland, have been chosen as the winners of the 2020 Lila Grace Sullivan Amirault Scholarships. Each will receive $4,500 to put toward their college tuition.

Greco and Niedermeyer have displayed strong work ethics, leadership skills and a commitment to serving others throughout their high school years and both excel academically, with grade-point averages above 4.0, due to honors and AP courses. They are members of the National Honor Society and have been class leaders. Greco is her class vice president and a member of the student senate, and Niedermeyer was her class vice president last year. They also are members of their schools’ math teams.

Effective immediately, the Most Reverend Robert P. Deeley, Bishop of Portland, is permitting the celebration of public Masses in the parking lots of Maine’s Catholic churches, but with strict protocols in place for the protection, safety and health of all participants.

Those protocols include: Holy Communion will not be distributed until everyone’s safety can be assured through the adoption of appropriate protocols. For the present, parishioners are invited to participate in an Act of Spiritual Communion during these Masses. All parishioners will remain in their cars at all times; only people who live together should be in the same vehicle; churches/facilities will not be open for restroom use; social distancing must be maintained by those who minister at these Masses (celebrant, cantor, lector, etc.); cars must have one empty parking space between them in the parking lot and Offertory collections will not be held during the Mass. Instead, parishioners are encouraged to donate to their parish online through WeShare (www.portlanddiocese.org/OnlineGiving) or by mailing in donations to the parish office.

It is important to note that Catholics in Maine continue to be dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Even, then, as the diocese permits these drive-in Masses, Maine parishes are encouraged to continue offering live-streamed Masses, which have the capacity to reach a large number of our Catholic people, especially those who are trying to remain safe by staying at home. In addition, parishes will continue to offer drive-thru confessions, drive-in adoration, as well as using social media platforms to offer an assortment of other opportunities for prayer and educational program presentations.

The Diocese of Portland is offering updates multiple times per day on its Coronavirus Response page (www.portlanddiocese.org/response-coronavirus).

Among many other features, the page offers daily headlines concerning updates and opportunities at the diocese and Maine parishes; live-streamed Mass schedules for Maine parishes; ways to participate in Masses on television and radio; a complete list of drive-through confessions at Maine parishes; opportunities at Maine parishes for online and parking lot adoration, conversations with priests, holy hours, Stations of the Cross, the recitation of the rosary, special presentations and other offerings; prayer and faith resources to assist you in your spiritual growth; food assistance at Maine parishes; and additional assistance available through the state.

For more information, contact Dave Guthro, Communications Director at the Diocese of Portland, at [email protected]

Bishop Robert P. Deeley, of the Roman Catholic Dioceses or Portland, announced the assignments of nine priest along with and two retirements, all effective Aug. 1.

Fr. Benedict Olusegun Faneye, OP, has been appointed chaplain at Maine Medical Center in Portland. He currently serves as a chaplain at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion, St. Mary’s Residence and Central Maine Medical Center, all located in Lewiston. Fr. Faneye is a member of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph the Worker of Nigeria. The ministry of the Dominicans, also known as the Order of Preachers (OP), emphasizes charity, study and preaching.

Fr. Patrick Finn has been appointed parochial vicar at Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, Holy Trinity Parish in Lisbon Falls, and Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Sabattus. Fr. Finn is currently parochial vicar of Corpus Christi Parish in Waterville.

Fr. Selvaraj Kasi, HGN, (“Fr. Selvaraj”) has been appointed parochial vicar at the Parish of the Precious Blood (Holy Rosary Church, Caribou; Sacred Heart Church, Caribou; Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Presque Isle; Our Lady of the Lake Church, Portage; St. Catherine Church, Washburn; St. Denis Church, Fort Fairfield; St. Joseph Church, Mars Hill; St. Louis Church, Limestone; St. Mark Church, Ashland; St. Theresa Church, Stockholm).

Fr. Kasi currently serves as parochial vicar at Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, Holy Trinity Parish in Lisbon Falls, and Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Sabattus. Heralds of Good News (HGN) is a missionary society of apostolic life in India that specializes in missionary work and the promotion of vocations to the priesthood.

Fr. M. Arockia Natha Prabu, HGN, (“Fr. Prabu”) has been appointed parochial vicar at the Parish of the Ascension of the Lord (St. Raphael Church, Kittery; Our Lady of the Angels Church, South Berwick; St. Christopher Church, York; Star of the Sea Church, York Beach). Fr. Prabu is currently parochial vicar at the Parish of the Precious Blood in Caribou.

Fr. Arokiasamy Santhiyagu, HGN, (“Fr. Samy”) has been appointed chaplain at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion, St. Mary’s Residence, and Central Maine Medical Center, all located in Lewiston. Fr. Samy currently serves as half-time hospital chaplain at MaineGeneral Health in Augusta and half-time parochial vicar at St. Michael Parish in Augusta.

Fr. Nehru Stephen Savayaria, HGN, (“Fr. Nehru Stephen”) has been appointed parochial vicar at Corpus Christi Parish (Notre Dame Church, Waterville; St. John the Baptist Church, Winslow; St. Helena Church, Belgrade Lakes). Fr. Nehru Stephen currently serves as parochial vicar at the Parish of the Precious Blood in Caribou.

Fr. Anthanasius Sangnyuy Wirsiy has been appointed parochial vicar at Stella Maris Parish (St. Vincent de Paul Church, Bucksport; Our Lady of Holy Hope Church, Castine; St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, Stonington), St. Joseph Parish (St. Joseph Church, Ellsworth; Blue Hill Mission, Blue Hill; Our Lady of the Lake Mission, Green Lake; St. Margaret Chapel, Winter Harbor) and Parish of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Holy Redeemer Church, Bar Harbor; St. Peter Church, Manset; St. Ignatius Church, Northeast Harbor). Currently, he serves as a hospital chaplain at Maine Medical Center and Mercy Hospital, both in Portland, and parochial vicar for the Portland Peninsula and Island Parishes.

Fr. Peter Shaba, SMA, has been appointed parochial vicar at St. Bartholomew Parish in Cape Elizabeth, St. John & Holy Cross Parish in South Portland, and St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough. Fr. Shaba is currently parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bridgton and St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Norway. Fr. Shaba is a member of the Society of African Missions (SMA), an international community of missionaries founded in France in 1856.

Fr. Michael Sevigny, OFM Cap., will serve in the Diocese of Portland’s Hispanic Ministry, which provides worship opportunities, outreach services, faith formation and social service education to Maine’s growing Hispanic community. Fr. Michael is a Franciscan with the St. Mary Province of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap.), White Plains, New York, who strive to live the Gospel with the same simplicity and fervor as their founder, St. Francis of Assisi.

Fr. Joseph Cahill will retire from full-time active ministry. He intends to continue exercising his priestly ministry by providing coverage in parishes as needed. Fr. Cahill is currently parochial vicar of Stella Maris Parish (St. Vincent de Paul Church, Bucksport; Our Lady of Holy Hope Church, Castine; St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, Stonington), St. Joseph Parish (St. Joseph Church, Ellsworth; Blue Hill Mission, Blue Hill; Our Lady of the Lake Mission, Green Lake; St. Margaret Chapel, Winter Harbor), and Parish of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Holy Redeemer Church, Bar Harbor; St. Peter Church, Manset; St. Ignatius Church, Northeast Harbor).

Fr. Mark Nolette will retire from full-time active ministry effective July 1 for medical reasons. For the foreseeable future, he intends to continue celebrating Mass, on a limited basis, in his current parishes where he will continue to reside.

NORRIDGEWOCK

Aaron Gordon, of Mercer, was awarded a Corporal Eugene Cole Scholarship Fund for continuing studies in emergency medical services education.

The family of the late Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Eugene Cole awarded a local firefighter with a scholarship from the fund named for the fallen deputy.

Aaron Gordon, a Mercer resident, was awarded just over $2,000 to help further his emergency medical services education. Gordon is a 2002 graduate of Mt. Blue High School. He has been serving his community for many years as a member of the Norridgewock Fire Department, Farmington Fire Department, and as an emergency medical technician (EMT-B) with Redington Fairview General Hospital EMS and Delta Ambulance.

In his application for the scholarship award, Gordon shared how meaningful this is for him due to his personal connection with Gene Cole.

“I would be truly honored to receive funding from a place that memorializes everything (Cpl. Cole) stood for, and to be able to help to continue protecting and caring for the community that he himself took as his personal responsibility to protect.”

Gordon is studying to be a paramedic.

The Cole family chose to surprise Gordon with the announcement during a brief ceremony held at the Norridgewock fire station on the day designated as a day of remembrance by the town. Due to current public health concerns, the event was held privately, but shared via video on Facebook. Approximately 350 people tuned in to join the Cole family, sending messages of support and gratitude.

The scholarship fund was established in 2019 as a way for Eugene’s family, friends and law enforcement brothers and sisters to continue his passion for the field. It supports residents of Somerset County seeking postgraduate study to pursue a career in the field of law enforcement. Such careers may include, but are not limited to: police officer, accident/crime reconstruction, sketch artist, forensics, cybercrimes, computer analysis and criminal justice. Anything that involves law enforcement or public safety will be considered. Adults returning to school in the field of law enforcement are welcome to apply.

WATERVILLE

Mid-Maine Chamber, SAPPI and Marden’s Discount Store donated nearly 500 children’s books to Educare Central Maine to assist families in need of reading and educational materials during this time of isolation.

Last Friday, members of KV Connect picked up and delivered the books to Educare in response to their request for much-needed items for children. KV Connect is a networking group for young professionals in the Greater Waterville area seeking to positively impact the community through economic, social, political and community service initiatives.

Educare has indicated a need for other items as well, including crayons, markers, construction paper, coloring paper, scissors and glue sticks. Household items are also on the list: laundry detergent, Waterville trash disposal bags, paper towels, toilet tissue, diapers and wipes.

If you would like to help, the above-mentioned items can be dropped off at Educare, located at 56 Drummond Ave., Waterville, on Tuesdays between 9-10 a.m. and Thursday between 1-2 p.m. You can also assist by making a monetary donation so that these items may be purchased and delivered to the families served. Please contact [email protected]

United Way of Mid-Maine has awarded $20,750 in COVID-19 relief funding through their Community First Fund. Nine local programs will receive funding for programs that provide crucial services and address emergent needs throughout the mid-Maine community. Those organizations include:  Alfond Youth & Community Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine, Catholic Charities Maine, Hospice Volunteers of Somerset County, Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers, Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, Snow Pond Center for the Arts and the Waterville Winslow Interfaith Council.

The funds will be used to help people affected by COVID-19 who are in need of basic necessities, including food, shelter and hygiene supplies.

The United Way of Mid-Maine continues to collect donations for their Community First Fund and distribute funding for COVID-19 relief throughout mid-Maine. Funding from the recent Maine United telethon, held in partnership with News Center Maine and United Ways of Maine, will soon be available.

SACO

Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club celebrated its 100th anniversary via a Zoom meeting, where the club reallocated funds and organized a COVID-19 subcommittee with a mission to provide financial help to those organizations who characteristically are first-line providers.

Conrad Welzel, chair of the COVID-19 committee, announced $500 was allocated to Apex Youth Connection in Biddeford. The group has been distributing free Healthy and Active Care Packages to area families every Friday for the past four weeks. Items such as food, personal care products like soap and toothbrushes/toothpaste, a physical activity to help keep kids moving and an at-home service project.

The packages will continue, at least through the month of May, every Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. at Apex’s satellite location at 46 Sullivan St., Biddeford.

Welzel added, “Unquestionably, providing $500 to the Biddeford food pantry and the Saco food pantry was important. They already serve our communities and the closure of some of the smaller pantries due to the pandemic, they have both seen increased traffic at their respective facilities.”

They also approved to purchase 10 $50 in grocery gift cards to help local families living in Old Orchard Beach.

An additional $1,000 in funding was approved for Seeds of Hope in Biddeford.

The club meets every Wednesday from noon to 12:45 p.m. via Zoom. For more information, visit Biddeford-sacorotary.org.

MACHIAS

Following the $100,000 in Rapid Response Grants already provided to 42 community-focused nonprofit organizations, Machias Savings Bank announced that it will triple its Commitment to Community by providing an additional $200,000 in grant funding.

Applications are now open to provide $200,000 in grants to qualified nonprofits (501c3’s) that are working directly with the COVID-19 outbreak and its physical and financial consequences in Maine.

Funding will be split to focus on two priority groups:

$100,000 in additional funding of Rapid Response Grants will go toward building resilience for Maine’s people. Nonprofits may apply for grants up to $5,000 and organizations that focus on providing ongoing food insecurity, services for the aging and isolated, medical response and services for children including childcare and digital equity will be prioritized.

Nonprofits that previously applied for the Rapid Response Grant and did not receive funding will have their applications reviewed in the second round automatically. Organizations that have already received Rapid Response Grant funding are not eligible to reapply.

$100,000 will go toward building resilience for Maine’s businesses. Nonprofit organizations that serve the business community may apply for grants up to $10,000. Machias Savings Bank will prioritize organizations that provide technical assistance for small businesses seeking resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those that advance digital support for businesses to assist with strategic planning, creating new service models, addressing revenue building, or providing education around business financial health. Recipients must be nonprofits (501c3’s) that serve the business community; Machias Savings Bank is unable to fund for-profit entities through grants.

“Our funding is really focused on Mainers that are struggling to keep food on the table and keep their small businesses open right now,” said Melissa Denbow, VP of Corporate Giving & Community Relations at Machias Savings Bank. “We are all navigating through an unimaginable situation and this is a way that Machias Savings Bank can help support our friends and neighbors and strengthen our communities during this challenging time. While many companies are pulling back on donations, we are increasing our efforts. We are committed to our communities every step of the way.”

SKOWHEGAN

Skowhegan Savings Charitable Foundation has donated $30,000 to 28 local food bank programs that serve central and western Maine.

“In this time of uncertainty, we know there are many Maine families facing financial hardships in our communities. Being able to put food on the table, shouldn’t be one,” said David Cyr, president and CEO of Skowhegan Savings Bank. “If we can directly support these local food programs in a manner that can alleviate some of the stress families are experiencing over food scarcity, then we’re here to help.”

Jennifer Grenier, president of the Skowhegan Food Cupboard, noted “We serve residents in Skowhegan and each distribution, we are seeing increased numbers, serving roughly 400-500 individuals within 250 households monthly. The need right now is greater than ever and the donation from Skowhegan Savings will help us be able to continue to provide food for these individuals as the need continues to grow.”

Prior to COVID-19, according to The U.S. Department of Agriculture, over 200,000 Mainers relied on food agencies with one in five children considered food insecure in 2019.

Bob Moore, executive director of the Augusta Food Bank, said that Maine ranks 12th in the United States in food insecurity.

The Augusta Food Bank serves an average of 350 households per month. Their Weekend KidsPaks program provides 750 healthy meals to local school children weekly and they participate in a FoodShare Program that supplies food to partners to prepare meals for over 1,000 individuals a month.

“Skowhegan Savings Bank’s generous gift will help provide nearly 3,000 meals to our hungry neighbors,” said Moore.

With schools closing unexpectedly due to COVID-19 concerns, many of the state’s backpack programs, that provide students with healthy meals outside of school, quickly depleted their on-hand resources.

filed under: