Biddeford genealogical society still meeting during pandemic

To the editor,

This letter is to make our readers aware that there is another organization called the York County
Genealogical Society of Franco Americans. For years, this organization has been losing members and had
to go under the umbrella of the Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center. This organization is supported by
fees of $15 for singles and $20 for couples to join for a year. This enables a member to see our
collection at the library and we also help people find their relatives. While doing that they also find out
other interesting things about their families. Just an example: a young man I met at the Pepperell
Museum was related to Francis Spencer the man who invented the Vellux blanket. It was funny because Mr.
Spencer graduated with my dad at Biddeford High School, and I was able to give the young man a copy
of the page with a high school picture of him.

Right now, we are unable to use the library rooms because of the COVID pandemic. Since we have not
been able to use the room, our president has obtained permission to use the hall at the American Legion
Post 26, which is located at 508 Elm St. (Route 1), in Biddeford. Every third Wednesday at 1 p.m.
we hold our meetings there. We wear face mask and distance ourselves 6 feet apart.

Our great genealogist members of the past obtained for several years space at the McArthur Library and
it currently houses our Genealogical records from Quebec, Canada, along with books from other New
England States. A lot of libraries that have genealogical books have converted them to pdfs and you can
purchase them online or go see the records for free. Since our society is smaller and there is not
much interest, we have decided to buy an overhead book scanner. Our President Raoul Goulet is learning
how to use the scanner to copy the books so people can obtain a pdf once we get them online. It will
take some time, and hopefully we can get others to help us do this. Just to let you know our president
has been writing obituaries and taking pictures of the headstones at St Joseph’s Cemetery for several
years now.

Some of the local newspapers are online now at the McArthur Library and I was able to find out where
Benjamin Clifford and his family are buried. Raoul Goulet our president sent me the pictures of the
stones at Laurel Hill Cemetery where the whole family is buried. I did find his will at the Alfred Court
House because he sold property to my grandfather on Clifford and George streets. In the article it talks
about the two stones that were built at the beginning of the park and what year it was done. You can
find Raoul’s phone number on the website at the McArthur Library under Local History Genealogy and then go to the black box and you will see Links on the end, and it will bring you to our site.

Barbara Simard Corbeil, Librarian and Treasurer
Raoul Goulet, President
York County Genealogical Society of
Franco-Americans of Biddeford

A letter to the community:

As I begin my tenure as CEO of York Hospital, I welcome the opportunity to introduce myself to the people of Southern Maine and the Seacoast. I am grateful for the confidence that the Board of Trustees has placed in me, and the opportunity they have provided to work alongside our caregivers. The caring and dedication to patients that they demonstrate inspires me — I share their commitment to putting each uniquely individual patient at the center of everything we do.

If the events of the past year have taught me anything, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted. COVID-19 provided a previously unimaginable setting for challenges and hardships in both our professional and personal lives. Our community has endured too much loss as a result, and I share in your sorrow and grief. But I also see resilience; and understand the importance of drawing on the strengths of our collective history and traditions to move forward. The leadership of my predecessors was integral in building the York Hospital we know today; and as important, the strong community support that has enabled York Hospital to expand and grow. With confidence and humility, my hope is that your support will continue as we greet tomorrow, next year, and the decades that follow.

While my career had its start much farther south and at a larger hospital — Holy Cross Hospital/Trinity Health in Fort Lauderdale, Florida — my approach to health care here at York Hospital will remain patient-focused. Trusted and quality patient care is at the center of everything we do. As an emergency medicine physician, I’ve maintained my board certification throughout my thirty-year tenure, and plan to periodically serve in the ER at York Hospital as well. Interacting with patients and the teams who care for them keeps me connected and current. Over many years and varied positions, from ED Director, CMO, VP to COO, I’m well acquainted with strategic, budgetary and operational responsibility, while also understanding what motivates a team to collaborate and achieve goals.

Most recently as CEO, I led numerous capital projects and served on a leadership group committed to establishing a diversity policy. My service on various non-profit boards and engagement with local, grass root causes connected me more closely to the community we served. It will be my privilege to serve Southern Maine in a similar capacity.

Although this past year has been challenging, an affirming and positive momentum abounds, as York Hospital embraces the changes before us; we prepare to transform in order to meet both the evolving needs of our patients and our health care system. Throughout this journey, we remain dedicated to the highest standards of quality and safety. And I pledge that a friendly face and a compassionate heart will also remain a constant as we care for you.

The foundation is in place for York Hospital to become the preferred choice for the health care needs of our community, and destination for the best in medicine to share their expertise and knowledge. Our physicians, caregivers and I, are all committed to earning the trust of every patient, every day. We believe that a thriving hospital is the bedrock of a thriving community. As I step into my new role as president and CEO, I commit eagerly and with passion to work toward the success of both.

Patrick A. Taylor, MD
President and CEO
York Hospital

Maine should be more like Florida

To the editor,

I just returned from a vacation in America — probably better known as the State of Florida. Or more accurately, America the way it used to be.

In New England, you might be forgiven for believing that Florida is like an irresponsible, wild-west. But is it really?

My observations are anecdotal, but after a year of living under the tyrannical rule of just one branch of Maine government, even I was surprised at the vast differences.

Right away, you’ll notice that people are happier — much happier. (An aside: some people in Maine have every right to not be happy — mostly the business owners being purposely bankrupt.)

There is no tension in the air. I didn’t see government-induced fear in the eyes of single person. Few people seem to spend their days worrying about what everyone else is doing. Few cared if you wear a mask or not. Few cared if you were closer than 6’ to them. Business in Florida seems to be doing quite well.

Not that anyone was acting irresponsibly. On average, I noticed that 60-70 percent of people wore a mask. They just didn’t feel a need to tell someone else what to do.

There was an implicit respect for people’s rights and opinions. You can’t say the same about Maine.

Upon entering a business, you might see signs such as “Masks Requested” or “Please Consider Wearing a Mask”. Much different from the “no mask, no service, if you don’t obey, we’ll shame you, call the police and the government will punish you” approach of Maine government.

There was a much larger selection of local news channels and rarely did they lead each newscast with the doom and gloom we are so familiar with in Maine. Mostly, they just reported what happened without putting the fear of Allah into people. As a result, I didn’t observe a single instance of someone wearing a mask inside a car, alone.

One thing Maine and Florida do have in common is that it’s nearly impossible to buy decent firearms and ammunition in either place. Evidence that normal, red-blooded Americans have a prescient wisdom, regardless of where they live.

Driving back to Maine, it felt like traveling from West Berlin back to East Berlin during the Cold War.

Steven Joyce

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