WELLS

Wells High School will be culling student records for the Class of 2019 beginning in early October.

Any student wishing to receive their cumulative folder should submit their request in writing, including their name and mailing address, to guidance secretary Erin Sanborn at [email protected] or post mail the request to: Erin Sanborn, Wells High School Guidance Office, 200 Sanford Road, Wells, ME 04090.

The culling process will continue as time permits throughout the 2020-21 school year.

FREEPORT

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Freeport (ACAF) has signed a long-term lease agreement with the First Parish Congregational Church to allow the completion of its new arts and cultural center, Meetinghouse Arts, in downtown Freeport. The necessary renovations to the church’s sanctuary and adjacent spaces are expected to be completed by the Warren Construction Group, Inc. by the end of 2020.

Meetinghouse Arts will be home to a 200-seat performance and presentation space that will provide a venue for theatrical productions, concerts and other artistic and cultural presentations. It will also include a gallery for the visual arts. Meetinghouse Arts will be used by local organizations and touring shows and will provide a new creative focal point for the greater Freeport area and strengthen its creative economy.

“We are very excited about this project,” says Nancy Salmon, President of ACAF’s Board of Directors. “More than ever we need the humanities and all of the visual, performing, and literary arts to bring us together, engage our minds and our hearts, soothe our souls, and support our brightest hopes for our community and our humanity. We are joining with First Parish Church, which was Freeport’s original Meeting House, to create a gathering place for artists, community members and visitors in downtown Freeport.”

The opening of Meetinghouse Arts is designed to achieve one of the important goals identified in ACAF’s Cultural Plan for the Greater Freeport area. Plans for the renovations have been carefully developed to provide a high-quality venue that is flexible enough in its design to accommodate a wide variety of creative needs. At the same time, Meetinghouse Arts will continue to be used by the church for Sunday services and other needs.

For more about ACAF visit FreeportArtsAndCulture.org.

STATEWIDE
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized four Maine residents and organizations recently for their work to protect New England’s environment.

Shari Venno of Littleton, the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission of Saco, Pottle’s Transportation LLC of Herman, and Agri-cycle Energy of Scarborough were among 24 recipients from across New England to be honored at the 2020 Environmental Merit Awards virtual ceremony that included community leaders, scientists, government officials, business leaders, schools and students who represent different approaches, but a common commitment to environmental protection.

• Venno received a lifetime achievement awards for her work devoted to protecting the New England environment. Venno, of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, came to the tribe in 1993 and was assigned to establish and develop the tribe’s environmental program. One of the Band’s environmental priorities, a goal set by the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Tribal Council, was to re-establish Atlantic salmon to the Meduxnekeag River watershed.

Nearly three decades later, Venno has not only advanced the Band’s environmental program and watershed restoration, but also has represented her tribe and region in policy and collaborative problem-solving at all levels of government. For more than 20 years, Venno has represented the 10 federally recognized tribes in New England on the National Tribal Operations Committee.

In 1991, Venno published “Integrating Wildlife Habitat into Local Planning: A Handbook for Local Communities.” She also has represented the Houlton Band and other New England tribes in the Gulf of Maine Council; the National Ocean Council — Regional Planning Body; the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative Steering Committee; and the Northeast Regional Ocean Council — Ocean Planning Committee. She is a founding member of the Meduxnekeag Watershed Coalition, and over the years has worked with others to develop a Meduxnekeag Watershed Management Plan.

Perhaps Venno’s most impactful initiative has been her effort to establish a collaboration to restore the Wolastoq/St. John River watershed, which extends into Canada. In 2015, her efforts resulted in U.S. and Canadian agencies convening, along with six Maliseet First Nations, to identify watershed restoration priorities, address fish passage concerns with Atlantic salmon as the keystone species and develop a relationship among partners.

• The Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission’s Brownfields program has an extraordinary track record of success with over $224 million leveraged and $10 million in EPA funds used to revitalize contaminated sites.

Among the sites the commission has redeveloped are a former tannery, a town pier, a church, a fire station, schools and several mills, which now are home for small businesses, restaurants and housing.

Biddeford has been successfully redeveloped. One of the mills contains 1,191 solar panels and produces 437,320 kilowatt hours of clean energy yearly. With help from the commission, a former church now is a public library powered by solar panels. The organization’s diverse project list, from multimillion-square-foot mills to former gas stations, allows its Brownfields program to serve as a blueprint for a variety of options.

The commission’s innovative process of identifying projects, funding assessments, helping with cleanup, and eventual redevelopment is a model for any municipality. Its approach involving communication with municipal, non-profit organizations and the for-profit development sector has enabled the commission to maximize the benefits of financial investments.

• Pottle’s Transportation’s values include giving back to the community and the environment. Pottle’s recycles paper products and reuses waste oil for heating oil. It takes significant steps to improve air quality, including buying Volvo sleepers trucks that travel an average of 120,000 miles a year, come with multiple safety features, and have features that allow for improved fuel mileage.

The company spends an average of $10,000 extra per truck so all of trucks are equipped with auxiliary power units and don’t have to idle. In addition, every driver is eligible for a quarterly fuel bonus that includes low idle, which has led to a decrease in idling. The company seeks to demonstrate the importance of air quality to other companies in the trucking industry, and its own employees and drivers.

• Agri-Cycle’s core mission is to divert food waste from incinerators and landfills in an environmentally responsible way. Using anaerobic digesters, the company converts food into clean renewable energy.

Agri-Cycle, which began in 2012, collects and processes food waste from more than 1,500 restaurants, markets, colleges, hotels and other partners. Tonnage has jumped from 32,121 in 2017 to 54,380 in 2019. Agri-Cycle also works with food banks and pantries to help feed the undernourished. By sending zero food waste to landfills, Agri-Cycle is reducing greenhouse gas emissions and soil and water contamination while turning waste into electricity.

Agric-Cycle is located on a fifth-generation dairy farm in Exeter, where the digestion process supports the family’s goal of sustaining a traditional operation through innovative, environmentally responsible strategies. Amid growing demand and awareness of the benefits of anaerobic digestion, the Agri-Cycle team has supported others new to the field. The company believes in the mission and in creating a strong network of partners striving for a sustainable New England.

• In addition to these award winners, Ronald Poltak of New Hampshire, was given the Ira Leighton “In Service to States” annual award for environmental achievement that has had an outsized impact in the state, the region, and nationally. The award recognized Poltak for his work at the helm of the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission for 37 years until his retirement in 2017.

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