Well-known downtown Portland employee retires

Portland Downtown has announced the retirement of one of downtown’s most beloved and dedicated employees: Tom Higgins.

Tommy Higgins, shown here at the 2017 Monument Square tree lighting, recently retired from his duties in downtown Portland. With him is Sarah Long of WMTW television. Courtesy / Portland Downtown

Known as “Tommy” by many and the “King of Downtown” by some, Higgins served as Downtown Public Works supervisor for two decades and was considered a vital part of Downtown Portland’s mission to create a clean, safe and vibrant downtown, according to Portland Downtown Marketing Director Adam MacDonald.

“Anyone who knows Tommy will tell you that he takes great pride, every day, in caring for our streets, sidewalks, parks and other public spaces,” MacDonald said. “Tommy has also ensured that countless major community events – including Merry Madness, Downtown Worker Appreciation Day, the Monument Square Tree Lighting and hundreds of others – have gone off without a hitch.”

Chris Branch, director of Public Works for the City of Portland, said, “Tom has served as the senior supervisor for 21 years, during which he continually demonstrated his outstanding customer service and also did an exemplary job from plowing in the winter to tackling every issue that came up during the summer season. Our best to Tom on a very well-earned retirement.”

Casco Bay CAN earns nationwide recognition

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) recognized Casco Bay Create Awareness Now (CAN) in October as one of the top 10 case studies nationwide for successful strategies to reduce substance use in young people.

Casco Bay CAN serves Cumberland, Falmouth, Freeport, Gray, New Gloucester, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Pownal. The program engages parents, faith leaders, school staff and law enforcement to conduct programs ranging from education about the dangers of underage drinking to peer-to-peer prevention messaging.


“We work to educate and empower adults that influence youth and they have consistently stepped up to participate,” said Beth Blakeman-Pohl, Casco Bay CAN’s program director. “Our coalition is so proud to receive this recognition.”

CADCA developed case studies from the most recent drug-free communities outcome data available, featuring coalitions that documented reductions in youth substance use across middle and high school and all substances (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and prescription drugs). These coalitions went through a rigorous training on CADCA’s model of community change and encompassed CADCA’s 7 Strategies for Community Change: information, skills, support, enhancing access/reducing barriers, changing consequences (incentives/disincentives), changing physical design and modifying and changing policies.

“We chose the best-of-the-best coalitions for our case studies,” said Chris Doarn, public policy manager for CADCA. “Members of Casco Bay CAN should feel a tremendous sense of honor and pride in their coalition’s selection as a case study. CADCA thanks them for their outstanding work.”



Janet Rivard and Jennifer Strout, who work in the the Brunswick School Department, earned national certification from the National Board of Certification of School Nurses. Rivard, who works at the Kate Furbish Elementary School, has been with the district since 2002. Jennifer Strout, a nurse at Brunswick High School, has been with the school department since 2016.

Mid Coast Senior Health has been recognized as a Best Nursing Home for 2020-21 by U.S. News & World Report. Only 21% of U.S. skilled nursing facilities achieved the designation; Mid Coast Senior Health achieved High Performing, the highest possible rating, for its long-term care at Mere Point and Rehabilitation at Bodwell communities.

Spirit of Excellence celebrated 20 years by recognizing the following outstanding team players from businesses and nonprofits in the Yarmouth area: Ron Sneider of Cunningham Security Systems; Dawn Wallace of Friends In-Home Care; Marianne Russell of Lindquist Funeral Home; Bambi Ulrickson of Mad Gab’s; Robin Ray of Mann Law, LLC; Nikki Lynch of Norway Savings Bank; Melissa Arnold of Patricia J. Phillips, D.O.; Sara Pelczynski of Patriot Insurance; Kat Gillies and Barbara Goodfriend of River School; Nigel Lindgren of Rogers Collection; Leah Cheney & Karen Steinman of SequelCare of Maine; Marcie Nason of Terri Wright State Farm; and Pamela Dyer of Yarmouth Village Dental.

Brewer South Freeport Marine and Strouts Point Wharf Company is a 2020 recipient of The MEMIC Award for Safety Excellence. Owner John Brewer and his staff have been recognized for their measurable and continuous improvement in workforce safety and injury prevention as a policyholder of The MEMIC Group. Only eight of the company’s 22,000 policyholders along the Eastern Seaboard received the honor in 2020.

Maine Preservation announced its 2020 Honor Award winners, including the following local projects: Boody Johnson House, Brunswick; Harvey Block/Morris Povich Building, Bath; and Medanick Building, Bath.


Through its new grant-funded KSB Supports Local Theaters program, Kennebec Savings Bank has awarded $12,000 COVID-19 relief grants to five community theaters, including Maine State Music Theatre of Brunswick and the Theater at Monmouth.