CK Burns’ LEGO Robotics Team Places First for Robot Design at the Maine State Competition

The CK Burns School’s LEGO Robotics team placed first for Robot Design at the Maine State Lego League Championship. Pictured from left are Joshua Alley, Evan Marines, Hudson Kenniston, coach Holly Trottier, Aryanna Rivera, Robyn Hollenbeck, Adele Foy, Beryl Foy, Andrew Stevens, Audio Hollenbeck. (Missing from photo is Charlotte Letourneau) Submitted photo


Robotics team places first at state championship

The CK Burns School’s LEGO Robotics team placed first for robot design recently at the Maine State Lego League Championship.

Saco students competed against 24 other Maine teams.

“We are so proud of the CK Burns Robotics team for representing our district at the Maine State Lego League Championship,” Assistant Superintendent Meg Parkhurst said. “Their first-place robot design award is a testament to many weeks of learning and hard work on the part of students and staff.”

Students were challenged to design five robots and then vote on the best parts of each to put together in one final design. The nine Saco students worked as partners to create codes to accomplish five different challenges on the game board; they were all created on different computers. The team joined the codes onto one computer by using variables to connect the codes. Students maximized individual strengths in each design as they communicated how to join each other’s plan into one unique design.


“The challenges helped me learn how to work as a team and made me want to research more about real-life problems and solar power,” fourth-grade student Evan Marines said.

As a team, each member voiced their thoughts respectfully during their process, and the advanced coding skills they showcased won first place in robot design.

“Honestly, we weren’t expecting an award,” coach Holly Trottier said. “It is an honor for us, because it really highlights the process the team went through and the way every person was included in every aspect of the development of the final robot.”

The CK Burns School LEGO Robotics team was founded in 2017 and continues to grow each year. To learn more, visit the Robotics Institute of Maine at


Dog license renewals, holiday closures and services


The Clerk’s Office reminds residents that dog licenses expire Dec. 31. According to Maine State Law, any dog over age 6 months must be licensed by Jan. 1, 2023, with a late fee of $25 to be charged beginning Feb. 1, 2023.

License fees are $6 for spayed or neutered dogs and $11 for those unaltered. There will be an additional fee of $1 for online registrations.

Registration is available at the Clerk’s Office at Town Hall. Papers needed at the time of registration include a current Maine rabies certificate and a neutering certificate if the dog has been altered. Online registrations require a credit card, a rabies certificate, your veterinarian’s information, a license/tag number (if a renewal) and a spay or neuter certificate if applicable.

Town offices and facilities will be closed on Monday in observance of New Year’s Day. Town Hall is always closed on Fridays.

The Transfer Station will offer reduced hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Curbside trash and recycling will not be impacted by the New Year’s holiday. Place bins curbside by 7 a.m. to ensure collection.


STAR Student of the Month Gracie Laverdiere and one of her barrel racing competition horses.

STAR Student of the Month Gracie Laverdiere and one of her barrel racing competition horses. Submitted photo


Maine Connections Academy names Gracie Laverdiere its STAR Student of the Month

Maine Connections Academy, the state’s first online public charter school, selected freshman Gracie Laverdiere of Pittston as its December STAR Student of the Month. The recognition is awarded to a Maine Connections Academy scholar who represents the school’s values and spirit.

Laverdiere frequently spends days at a time on the road pursuing her passion of barrel racing at rodeo events nearly every weekend from April through the fall. She’s also invested much time in prepping for competitions. Soon, Laverdiere and her family will travel to Kentucky for intense training before heading to Florida in February 2023. She also trains and races in states up and down the East Coast, including competitions across New England. She previously finished second in two of the region’s biggest races – all while riding a new horse.

Laverdiere started riding horses at age 6. When the pandemic hit, sidelining her ability to play basketball, she started volunteering at a horse barn, which ultimately led to barrel racing with a horse of her own.

Laverdiere said she appreciates being able to attend classes and complete her schoolwork at Maine Connections Academy remotely while traveling, as well as the flexibility of the digital curriculum – completing assignments at her own pace.


“It gives me the time to work with my horses during the day and then do my schoolwork as my schedule allows,” Laverdiere said.

Though barrel racing can be a mentally demanding sport, Laverdiere said it’s all done in the spirit of friendly competition. She sees plenty of time at the rodeo in her future.

“It’s just something I’ve always loved to do,” she said. “I’m working toward building a career in barrel racing when I’m older.”


Ogunquit Museum of American Art names new board members

The Ogunquit Museum of American Art added three new members to its 2023 board of directors – Cynthia Fenneman, Philip Morgan and John Shapiro – with backgrounds in national television, manufacturing, banking and energy. The museum also named Karyn S. Morin, of Partners Bank, its new treasurer.


“We are grateful to have Cynthia, Philip and John join us as we steer the museum into its next phase. They bring a diverse set of leadership skills that will complement the talent of the other members of the board of directors,” OMAA executive director Amanda Lahikainen said. “We have already experienced the collective energy that these individuals will add to our exciting 2023 season.”

Fenneman was formerly the CEO of American Public Television, one of the nation’s leading producers for top-rated public television shows including “America’s Test Kitchen,” “Jacques Pepin,” “Biz Kid$,” “Roadtrip Nation,” “Doc Martin” and “Midsomer Murders.” Fenneman is a board member of the York Harbor Reading Room, the chair of Strawberry Banke’s Board of Trustees and was most recently the chair of the Museum’s National Council, an advisory body to Strawbery Banke.

Morgan is the retired former President and CEO of Morgan Construction Company of Worcester, designers and manufacturers of rolling mill equipment for the worldwide metals industries. The business was founded by his great-great grandfather in 1888. Morgan has extensive nonprofit board experience, including as a trustee at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Fay School in Southborough, Mass Biomedical Initiative in Worcester and The Worcester Regional Research Bureau. In Maine, he has served as a trustee for the York Historical Society and York Hospital and is currently serving on the board of The Ogunquit Playhouse.​

Shapiro has more than 35 years of experience in the banking and energy industries. In July 2021, he was appointed to the board of directors for Sprague Resources. Since November 2009, John has served as a director on the board of Blueknight Energy Partners, L.P., a master limited partnership headquartered in Tulsa and, since November 2015, has served as a senior advisor to Mountain Capital Partners, LLC, a Houston-based private equity firm focused on upstream E&P investments. Shapiro was an officer at Morgan Stanley & Co., from 1984 to 2008 in various capacities, ultimately as global head of commodities and a member of the firm’s management committee. Previously, he worked for Conoco, Inc. and New England Merchants National Bank.


Local banks keep roof over heads of domestic violence victims


Kennebunk Savings and Partners Bank each donated $10,000 to Caring Unlimited to make emergency repairs to the roof at its Transitional Housing Program.

The program provides safe, supportive housing to 11 families who are homeless due to domestic violence. Caring Unlimited executive director Susan Giambalvo said the York County’s domestic violence resources center was fortunate to have such great community partners: “Without their immediate willingness to help, we risked significant damage to our property and the temporary loss of housing for families already working their way out of homelessness and to safety.”

“Caring Unlimited is there for people at very difficult times,” Kennebunk Savings president and CEO Bradford C. Paige said. “The work this organization does is life-changing and vitally important for our community. We’re proud to get the chance to be there for them.”

At any given time, about 25-30 people, mothers and their children, are housed in Caring Unlimited’s Transitional Living Program. Families live in the program for up to two years and then transition to permanent housing in the community with Caring Unlimited’s help and follow up services.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: