Rotary club presents annual awards

Since 2000, the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club has presented public, private, humanitarian and vocational service awards to individuals whose acts of kindness, generosity, and caring help to make their communities and the world a better place. The following individuals are recipients of those awards:
The 2021 Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club Private Sector Award, recognizing citizens whose good works are performed independently of their employment, was presented to Anne Marie Martin Rousselle. She developed a talent for sewing and knitting at a young age and has used those talents to help others over the years.  Rousselle has helped make hundreds of quilts for children at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital; has knitted hats to keep the less fortunate; and she has collaborated with others to make dresses for young girls globally as part of the “Dress a Girl Around the World” project, that endeavors to keep girls safe and helps them feel loved and better about themselves.

The 2021 Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club Public Sector Award, given to those who, in the course of employment or funding, serve the public with government and/or public monies, was awarded to Amelia Meier, assistant director of Saco’s Parks and Recreation Department. Meier was recognized for her creative vision to help fight local hunger and isolation while helping local restaurants that struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Her efforts addressed many needs at the same time, including providing residents and businesses in the community with hope.

The 2021 Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club Humanitarian Award, recognizing a citizen, private or public, who has done exceptional work to further the good of humanity in the community, was awarded to Conrad Welzel, who is always willing to go where he is needed to get things done. Welzel provides all of this help with an incredible sense of humility and family and with a sincerity that is unsurpassed.  For his willingness to put his family, his communities and those in need ahead of all else, Welzel also was honor the Rotarian of the Year.

The 2021 Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club Vocational Service Award recognizing exceptional work to promote vocational education and vocational programs was awarded to Paulette Bonneau, the newest member of Maine’s State Board of Education. A respected educator and leader in the Biddeford’s School District for over 27 years, Bonneau served as director of the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology for eight years, expanding programs and establishing unprecedented collaborative relationships among other school districts, community stakeholders, state agencies and legislators, and more.  At a time when technical education and a renewed commitment to students have become so important, Bonneau provided the leadership and vision to move the COT into the 21st century.

The 2021 Goodwin Outstanding Service Award, the BSRC’s most prestigious award, was given to Joe Moreshead He is a veteran of the club, a regular board member, former club president, and a known voice of reason among club members.

Paul Harris Awards, recognizing excellence in the work of rotary club members, were awarded to Brenda Pollock for her literacy work in the community on behalf of rotary; to Melissa Cilley, executive director of Apex Youth Connection, for her ongoing work with area youths; and to Marty Grohman for his leading work in many rotary projects, including blood drives, the Westbrook skating rink and promoting veterans’ issues. His willingness to help and to lead is inspiration to all of us to get involved.

President Donald Pilon also awarded Service Above Self plaques to Brenda Pollock and Brian Dallaire. And, President’s Awards were give to Joe Bassett, Susan Gajewski, Haley Thompson and Heather MacLean.


Kids’ theater camp has openings

Schoolhouse Arts Center still has openings its popular summer theater camp for children in grades 6 through 12. This years production will be Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.”

The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, Aug. 16 to 29. Deadline to register is Saturday.

Children will learn about taking direction, learning choreography, stage blocking, learning dialog, understanding lighting and sound, costuming, creating sets and props and building strong team cooperation. The camp ends with four performances of a full stage production from Aug. 26 through 29. The camp will be held at Schoolhouse Arts Center, 16 Richville Road, Route 114.

Schoolhouse will conduct this camp in full compliance with all COVID mandates for the safety of your child, our crew, and our teaching staff.
To find out more about this exciting opportunity or register your child, go to


Rotary club announces officers

The South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club has elected Dr. David Bagdasarian of Cape Elizabeth as its president for 2021-22. Bagdasarian will preside over a very active rotary club that in the previous year raised and donated $72,000 to a wide variety of charitable organizations and activities.

The following members compose the board of officers and directors:

President-elect Jim Britt of Cape Elizabeth; vice president Dan MacDonald of Portland; secretary Kathy Cotter of Cape Elizabeth; treasurer Nicole Albert of Cape Elizabeth; Peter Bennett, Tony Wagner and Michael Tranfaglia, all of Cape Elizabeth; Laurenz Schmidt of Scarborough; and Katelyn Estes and director at large and immediate past president Michael Geneseo, both of South Portland.


Mother Seton House receives donations

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church at Fryeburg and St. Anne Church at Gorham recently collected baby items and financial donations to benefit pregnant women, new moms and infants served by the Mother Seton House in Fryeburg.

The nonprofit house provides education, counseling, and other support services for pregnant women and new mothers.

A Baby Bottle Drive, organized by Knights of Columbus Council No. 10221 at St. Anne in Gorham raised more than $2,500.

Pregnant women and new mothers also picked up diapers, baby clothes, blankets, books, baby swings, bassinets and more at a baby items giveaway, held July 10 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.

And, this week, Knights of Columbus Council 2219 of Westbrook will present the house with $500 from a recent fundraiser.

Mother Seton House director Cyndi Broyer said the home provides a loving and safe haven for women as they prepare to give birth and nurture their newborns.s

“This safe, secure environment provides women with a chance to build confidence and acquire the skills needed to break the cycle of poverty,” said Broyer. “We help moms learn about cooking, nutrition, baby care, child development, budgeting, and housekeeping. Anything moms tell us they want to learn.”

For information on future baby item giveaways or ways to help the cause, visit


Chamber welcomes new vice president

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce has welcomed Brandi Meisner as its new vice president of operations. This is a new position for the chamber, with plans for Meisner to focus on member growth and retention, marketing, social media and website development.

A graduate of Skowhegan High School, Meisner holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in business, both from Thomas College. Formerly a community banker for Skowhegan Savings Bank, she also serves as vice-president of Main Street Skowhegan’s board of directors and is a member of its Community Engagement Committee.

Meisner lives in Skowhegan with her husband and daughter where they help operate family businesses: Maine Cedar Hot Tubs and the Skowhegan Wooden Rule.


Preble Street gets $95,000  nutrition grant

Earlier this month, Preble Street received a $95,000 Community Nutrition grant from No Kid Hungry to ensure that children and families experiencing homelessness, immigrant families, and families with children under the age of six are enrolled in the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer and Summer P-EBT programs. In a time when hunger is on the rise – Feeding America estimates 1 in 5 Maine children are experiencing food insecurity – these programs provide families with supplemental income for food.

The plan for this outreach and enrollment project came out of a collaboration between Preble Street and fellow members of the Maine SNAP Alliance, including Full Plates Full Potential, Good Shepherd Food Bank, Maine Children’s Alliance, and Maine Equal Justice.

“There are about 100,000 children in Maine who are eligible to receive this benefit, and 70,000 will receive it automatically because they are already enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” said Donna Yellen, Preble Street deputy director. “That means there are 30,000 children whose families need to enroll separately for the P-EBT and Summer P-EBT programs, and many of them are not even aware this benefit is available. Our goal is to reach as many of them as possible. We are so thankful to No Kid Hungry and our partners around the state for helping us make sure families with children in Maine have enough food to put on the table.”

Using the grant funds, Preble Street is conducting its own outreach and enrollment in southern Maine and has subcontracted five family shelters and four YMCAs (Bangor Region YMCA, YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston, YMCA of Greater Waterville, and YMCA of Southern Maine to conduct outreach and enroll families throughout the state. They are also providing $10,000 to support immigrant-led organizations in enrolling immigrant and refugee families into these assistance programs – a population especially vulnerable to poverty and hunger and who are less aware of these benefits due to language and cultural barriers. Preble Street has translated outreach documents into eight different languages for this purpose, and has partnered with Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition and Amjambo Africa to notify immigrant-led organizations of this funding opportunity.

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