Virtual Trail Trek accepting registrations

Great Works Regional Land Trust  is accepting registrations for its Virtual Trail Trek fundraiser in June, held in conjunction with the celebration of National Trails Day.

The Virtual Trail Trek 5k/10k/13-mile outing will be held at GWRLT preserves from June 4-13, featuring more than 18 public preserves and nearly 30 miles of trails, to provide an opportunity to explore the space while raising money to maintain the land.

The entry fee is $35 per participant and proceeds will go toward GWRLT’s conservation and environmental outreach efforts. All mileage and time entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. June 13. Information to submit results will be provided upon registration. All participants will receive limited edition GWRLT swag, which you can see at conceptdesignstudios.com/custom-printed-face-buffs.

To register, go to www.greatworkslandtrust.org and click on “events.”


Rain barrels available for $65, plus tax

As part of National Drinking Water Week and Clean Water Week, Portland Water District is partnering directly with the manufacturer to offer discounted rain barrels at $65 (plus $3.30 tax), a savings of more than 50 percent off the retail price.

Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water and reduce pollution. Rain water collected from your roof can be used to water lawns, gardens and indoor plants.

For more information or to order online before May 19, visit www.pwd.org/rain-barrels.


Two appointed to board of Kids First Center

Gigi Sanchez and Marjorie McAvoy have been appointed to the board of directors of the Kids First Center.

Sanchez is a founding partner of the law firm Roach Ruprecht Sanchez & Bischoff PC in Portland and a trial attorney with years of experience litigating civil and family matters. She is a graduate of Duke University and Columbus Law School and a former president of the Maine State Bar Association and Cumberland Bar Association. Sanchez also served on the MSAD 51 board of directors from 2013 to 2019, including as chairwoman.

McAvoy currently manages the Scarborough branch of Biddeford Savings and has over 15 years of experience in the financial industry. She received her degree in international business management from Southern New Hampshire University, where she is pursuing her master’s. McAvoy serves on the board of directors for the Center for Financial Training and Education Alliance, and volunteers with Junior Achievement. Her other volunteer experience includes the Root Cellar in Portland and New Hope Children’s Foundation Orphanage in Nicaragua.

Kids First Center reinforces positive co-parenting communication skills and supports separated parents’ efforts to raise healthy, happy and well-adjusted children. Kids can participate in support groups online, and professionals working with families in transition can access educational opportunities throughout the year.


CMP donates $10,000 to kids cancer program

The Maine Elks Association announced a $10,000 donation from Central Maine Power to the Maine Children’s Cancer Program in Scarborough.

Anthony Gause, president of the Maine Elks Association and an employee of CMP, played a central role in making the donation a reality.

“Every state president of the Maine Elks Association has a goal to raise money for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program,” Gause said. “I asked Central Maine Power if they would be interested, and they responded with an enthusiastic ‘Yes!’ ”

The MCCP is the pediatric oncology program of The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. It has three primary areas of focus: providing children with access to the best cancer treatments available, participating in clinical research to improve survival rates and move closer to a cure, and supporting the entire family throughout their journey with childhood cancer.


Four farms get $50,000 matching grants

Maine Farmland Trust has awarded matching grants, totaling $200,000, to four farms across the state upon completion of MFT’s Farming for Wholesale program.

Dandelion Spring Farm of Bowdoinham, Sheepscot Valley Farm of Whitefield, the Milkhouse Dairy Farm & Creamery of Monmouth and South Paw Farm of Freedom each implement business plans focused on scaling up for wholesale by investing in equipment and infrastructure to streamline their production, improve their ability to sell to wholesale markets, and make their businesses more profitable. This is the fifth year that MFT has offered implementation grants to farmers participating in the Farming for Wholesale program, as a way to help farmers strengthen Maine’s local food economy.

Dandelion Spring Farm, an organic vegetable farm owned and operated by Beth Schiller, will use the grant funds to build a pack shed and multipurpose barn for increased storage and processing for winter wholesale crops. “This program not only is helping to finance our vision, but more importantly, brought us through the process of clearly articulating what is important for the next steps of Dandelion Spring,” Schiller said. “The whole team is lifted with excitement and confidence about building the next stage of our business.”

Caitlin Frame and Andy Smith of the Milkhouse Dairy Farm & Creamery said, “The MFT implementation grant will allow us to make some long overdue updates to the Milkhouse brand, packaging and farm equipment. It will help us manage the unwieldy upfront cost of packaging, get our yogurt back in glass after a year of COVID-related supply issues in the glass industry, and make a downpayment on a larger tractor better suited to the workload of the farm. Additionally, the technical assistance we received from MFT while applying for this grant allowed us to refinance our debt.”

Annie Watson and Mike Moody of Sheepscot Valley Farm, an organic dairy farm, plan to use grant funds to retrofit their tie stall milking system into a parlor system. “The Farming for Wholesale program was invaluable to us in our business planning. We were able to get more into the details of our cost of production, and in turn able to see where efficiencies would be most necessary,” Watson said. “The workshops and the technical assistance were helpful in writing a business plan we felt proud of and excited to implement.”

Meg and Ryan Mitchell of South Paw Farm, an organic diversified vegetable farm, will renovate their pack shed and add a solar array and processing equipment, changes that will enable them to produce crops more efficiently, and have them available for a longer season, as well as ease some of the physical workload.

Each farm was awarded $50,000, and will match the grants with $50,000 of their own investments, introducing a total of $100,000 of new funding to grow their businesses.

For more details, go to mainefarmlandtrust.org/farm-viability/workshops.


Arts & Cultural Alliance names interim executive director

The Arts & Cultural Alliance of Freeport has selected Elizabeth Guffey as its interim executive director.

Guffey has served ACAF as a member of its board of directors, webmaster and a member of its marketing committee. She formerly served as managing/artistic director of Freeport Players and has been active with other local arts and cultural groups. She is a singer, musician and writer of short fiction and plays, the latter of which have been performed at Portland’s Maine Playwrights Festival, at Stonington’s Opera House Arts and at the Sun City Festival at Arizona.

Guffey has been a part of arts and culture scene with the Freeport Players since 1997 and has been involved in all aspects of community theater both on and off stage. As managing/artistic director of Freeport Players, she was part of the exploratory group that eventually became ACAF, and was a founding board member of ACAF.

ACAF is a nonprofit organization formed in 2015 by residents of Freeport and representatives of local businesses and organizations. It is dedicated to fostering the Greater Freeport creative community and establishing Greater Freeport as a vibrant center for arts and culture for residents and visitors alike.

ACAF has launched a search for a new full-time executive director. For more details and a job description, go to freeportartsandculture.org. Applications can be submitted at [email protected]


Community college Students of the Year honored

Seven Maine community college students from across the state recently were honored as 2021 Students of the Year in an online presentation. They are: Andrea Atkinson of Southern Maine Community College; Jennifer Mae Hodgins of Eastern Maine Community College; Adrian Hoyt of Kennebec Valley Community College; Darci Marie Lentz of York County Community College; Caleb Michael McManus of Northern Maine Community College; Sarah Pierce of Central Maine Community College; and Jessica Stevens of Washington County Community College.

The students were selected by faculty and staff at their college for their academic success and their campus and community involvement. Each student received a John and Jana Lapoint Leadership Award in the amount of $1,000.

“These are all amazing students,” Maine Comunity College System President David Daigler said. “In this challenging year, they have more than persevered. They have risen above the challenges they faced and excelled not only in pursuing their studies with focus and excellence, but in helping their fellow students and communities.”

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