Banking on it

Portland-based NBT Bank has donated $25,000 to Avesta Housing’s Silver Hearth Fund to help provide affordable housing and services for older adults in Maine and New Hampshire. From left are NBT Bank Maine Regional President Kimberly Twitchell, Avesta Housing President & CEO Dana Totman, NBT Bank President & CEO John Watt Jr. and Avesta Housing Director of Development & Communications Sara Olson. Contributed / NBT Bank

Conservation powerhouse honored by Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust


Penny Asherman, an environmental lawyer and president of the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust, has been named the 2021 Bates Conservation Awardee by the trust.

The honor recognizes standout efforts of local individuals, groups or companies to preserve special sites within the two communities and to improve the quality of place.

“Due largely to Penny’s judgment, leadership and hard work – all of it volunteer – CCLT has completed 10 conservation projects totaling more than 440 acres on her watch,” said Rod Vogel, president of the CCLT Board of Directors.

The pivotal projects Asherman has led for CCLT include the 163-acre Knight’s Pond Preserve, 52-acre addition to Rines Forest, 26-acre Spring Brook Farm and the 22-acre Broad Cove Reserve in Cumberland; and 24-acre Littlefield Woods and 1.8-acre Sanford Pond on Chebeague Island.

Asherman is an environmental lawyer whose career includes roles with the Massachusetts Office of Environmental Affairs and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She joined the CCLT Board of Directors in 2003. The Bates Award recognizes Asherman’s 18 years of service, including 13 as president, her commitment to safeguarding open spaces and her passion for the communities of Chebeague Island and Cumberland.


The National Endowment of the Arts has awarded a total of $150,000 in grants to nine Maine arts projects, including $20,00o to Palaver Strings Inc. of Portland to support a music and storytelling performance.


Portland Stage Company, Inc. was awarded $10,000 to support the world premiere of “The Last Ship to Proxima Centauri” by Greg Lam. Other awardees include Maine Fiberarts, $20,000 for an exhibit and research project documenting the history of fiber arts in Maine; 240 Strings of Portland, $10,000 for music education programming and Points North Institute (Camden International Film Festival) and $20,000 to support the film festival.

“From the performing arts to youth writing programs, these federal grants will go a long way to support Maine artists … ” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who announced the awards. Pingree is co-chairperson of the Congressional Arts Caucus and chairperson of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, which oversees funding for the NEA.

Giving back

To help low-income families who are struggling to pay their home heating bills this winter, Summit Natural Gas of Maine distributed $10,000 to the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program and the towns of Cumberland, Falmouth, Yarmouth and Clinton. Call 800-909-7642 or visit for more information.

Hires, promotions, appointments


Jennifer Bechard has been promoted to assistant vice president and human resources managing officer at Kennebec Savings Bank, which serves customers in Freeport, among other towns. Bechard joined the bank in 2015 as the payroll and human resource information system manager. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in marketing from Thomas College.


Jane Stevens of Portland has joined the Breakwater Group at Morgan Stanley in Portland at 100 Middle St. as a financial advisor. Formerly with Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company for nine years, Stevens holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona.


Midcoast Federal Credit Union welcomes April Chubbuck as its new member services representative at the Edgecomb and Bath locations. Chubbuck has a background in hospitality and hotel management and also worked in pharmacy settings.