Genealogy workshop takes place June 1

The Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society will hold an in-person genealogy workshop on Saturday, June 1, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the South Portland Congregational Church located at 301 Cottage Road. People are invited to bring their laptops to review and apply genealogy basics that have been explored over this last year. Non-members should email to register for this free program where attendees can collaborate and uncover their roots together.

Nora Freeman named valedictorian at Thornton Academy


Nora Freeman, a student described as having an “insatiable appetite for intellectual challenge” has been named Thornton Academy’s valedictorian for the Class of 2024.

Freeman earned a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.20 while taking nine Advanced Placement courses and 14 Honors classes during her four years at Thornton.

“She is an impressively bright young lady,” says Lucretia Wallace, a school counselor at Thornton. “She is a driven, mature, and thoughtful young woman who brings a seriousness of purpose to her education that results in impressive academic achievement and overall personal growth.”


In addition to her academic achievements, Freeman is a member of the Thornton Swim Team, Math Team, and also volunteers for Literacy Leaders, a program that brings high school students into elementary classrooms to encourage reading.

Freeman plans to study chemical engineering at the University of Maine.

Biddeford Mills Museum gets grant

The Biddeford Mills Museum has in its collections 94 early ledger books which date from 1837 through 1910. Recently, the museum was awarded an $800 grant from the Maine Historical Records Advisory Board and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. The funds will be used to have an outside consultant perform an assessment of each book in accordance with the museum preservation policy.

The earliest of the ledger books record the very first meeting of the Saco River Power Company which soon controlled the water rights from the New Hampshire border to the Atlantic Ocean. Ledgers from the Pepperell Manufacturing Company and the Laconia Mill contain payroll records, purchasing and sales records, and corporate dividend payments. All of the ledgers were digitized several years ago and some can be viewed today on the museum website,

Maine Congressional delegation accepting military academy nomination applications


U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, Jr., and U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Congressman Jared Golden have begun accepting nomination applications from Maine high school students for appointments to the United States service academies operated by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Merchant Marine. No nomination is required to apply to the United States Coast Guard Academy.

Students should apply for a nomination in the spring and summer of their junior year for admission to the academies in the summer of 2025.

For more information, contact: Senator Susan Collins, Contact: Karen Staples, 207-784-6969,; Senator Angus King, Jr., Contact: Katie Fellows, 207-352-5216,; Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Contact: Dorian Cole, 207-774-5019,; and Congressman Jared Golden, Contact: Kim Rohn, 207-249-7400,

Hope Acts receives Governor’s Service Award

Hope Act’s HHELPteam has been recognized by the state for their hard work teaching English to New Mainers with the Governor’s Service Award.

The Hope House English Language Program (HHELP) is a volunteer team of English teachers and tutors who contribute thousands of hours each year, helping asylum seekers and other new Mainers learn English.


Since 1987, the Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism have celebrated and recognized the role of citizen volunteers in the success and vitality of Maine communities, according to a Hope Acts press release. The program is managed on behalf of the Office of the Governor by Volunteer Maine, the Maine Commission for Community Service.

The award recognized the team as 2024’s Outstanding Volunteer Team which consists of Program Manager Sarah Gauvin, Program Assistant Francois Mayesi, Linda Carleton, Dorothy Cook, John Messer, Juliet Karelsen, Theresa McCarthy, Susan Gilpin, Naomi Menikoff, Joanne Mannell, Sally Connolly, and Magdelene Mbong Mai.

“It would never be possible without our volunteer team of teachers,” Hope Acts Executive Director Martha Stein said. “I am proud to have the HHELP program as part of Hope Acts, and would like to congratulate the team.”

HHELP teachers make lesson plans and teach a two-hour class at least once per week, which equals about four hours of volunteer time weekly. That’s around 172 volunteer hours per teacher per year.

In addition to designing course curriculum, making lesson plans, and teaching English in the remote classes, teachers also suggest and facilitate field trips in the greater Portland community. In the past, teachers have brought students to interact with native English speakers at the Portland Museum of Art, the public library, Mayo Street Arts, the Portland Observatory, local parks, and many others.

“English learned in the classroom is brought to life in the community, and a sense of belonging is felt by our students,” said Gauvin. “Our volunteers put everything into the program, and it is great to see that recognized.”


Currently, HHELP serves just under 300 students in remote classes. Since 2016, they have taught around 1,000 new Mainers English

United Way’s 211 Helpline receives $30,000 from Versant Power

Versant Power has committed $30,000 over three years to United Ways of Maine’s 211 Maine program. 211 Maine is a free, confidential resource that helps Mainers find services and supports that help them stay healthy, safe, and independent, according to a United Way press release.

“Our customers in northern and eastern Maine and all Mainers rely on critical services found through the 211 Helpline,” said Versant President John Flynn. “We hope our contribution helps 211 Maine continue to provide a range of helpful resources to positively impact the safety and wellbeing of our community members.”

211 Maine has been a statewide service since 2006. People can contact the Maine-based program 24 hours a day, seven days a week by dialing 211 or by texting a Maine zip code to 898-211. 211 Maine is a collaborative effort of the United Ways of Maine, the State of Maine, and The Opportunity Alliance as the Contact Center Partner.

Northeast Credit Union becomes Lighthouse Credit Union


Launching this summer, Northeast Credit Union will become Lighthouse Credit Union.

For over 87 years, the organization has been committed to serving members while building and supporting communities throughout New England, according to a credit union press release. As Lighthouse Credit Union, these commitments will not change. In the months ahead, Lighthouse Credit Union will be unveiling new offerings to include rewards for members, as well as the opportunity to make a direct impact through everyday banking.

“Our rebrand signifies an exciting phase in our credit union’s journey,” said Chris Parker, president and CEO of Northeast Credit Union. “As a mission-driven organization focused on making an impact on the communities we serve, Lighthouse Credit Union will represent the positive changes we have in store for our members. We believe our members will change the world, and we’re here to light the way.”

“Our members are at the heart of everything we do. We are constantly asking ourselves – how can we better serve our members to help them build a brighter future for themselves and their communities,” said Ryan Grace, vice president of brand for Northeast Credit Union. “We believe the new brand reflects our culture of putting the member at the center of our story, enabling them to achieve personal financial success that also benefits the world around them.”

This summer, Lighthouse Credit Union branding will start to appear in the marketplace, and new interior and exterior décor will be prevalent throughout its branches in New Hampshire and Maine. Members with current products and services will not experience any disruption. More information can be found at

Biddeford volunteer receives honor pin from Girl Scouts of Maine



Danielle Roberge, a longtime volunteer for the Girl Scouts of Maine (GSME) from Biddeford, recently received the Honor Pin for her above-and-beyond service and support of the organization this year. The Honor Pin is awarded to a volunteer or staff member who has provided exemplary service in support of delivering the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) with a measurable impact on two or more geographic areas, according to a Girl Scouts press release.

Roberge’s contributions to the Saco Bay Service Unit, especially her pivotal role in the successful joint camporee with Sunberries and Dirigo, underscore her commitment to enhancing Girl Scout experiences. Beyond coordinating events and managing details like patch ordering and venue access, Roberge’s leadership at the camporee’s archery station exemplified her dedication.

Aside from her roles within the service unit, Roberge is also a troop leader for Troop 1885, a multi-level group of older Girl Scouts. Remarkably, her continued volunteerism, even after her own Girl Scout aged out, sets a powerful example of selflessness and dedication for the Girl Scout community.

“There are no people more generous with their time, talent, and investment in growth than Girl Scout adults who go just that bit further, share just that bit more, to make the world a better place,” said GSME Director of Adult Learning Dawn Walker-Elders.

In addition, five York County residents, including Nichole Brunette of Saco, received the GSME Appreciation Pin. The Appreciation Pin is an award bestowed upon a volunteer or staff member who provides exemplary service in support of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) that has had a measurable impact on two or more troops in one or more geographic areas.

Brunette, a dedicated member of the Saco Bay Service Unit, has significantly contributed to events like the Veteran’s Day celebration and Parade of Lights. As a troop leader for Troop 280, she also crafted a DIY parade costume project for girls across the unit, showcasing her commitment to enriching Girl Scout experiences.


“There are no people more generous with their time, talent, and investment in growth than Girl Scout adults who go just that bit further, share just that bit more, to make the world a better place,” said GSME Director of Adult Learning, Dawn Walker-Elders.

York County residents Kelley-Ann Morgan and Amanda Downing of Kennebunk, Tara Molloy, and Paula Renaud of South Berwick also received the Appreciation Pin.

Alumni Band announces scholarship winners

The Alumni Band announced two winners of the Marcel ‘Mike’ Drapeau Alumni Band Scholarship.

Kaylin Penley, a graduating senior at Sanford High School and Grayson Needham, a graduating senior at Massabesic High School were each awarded $1,000 scholarships.

The winners were announced at the May 14 Scholarship Benefit Concert, held at Biddeford High School’s Steve White Gym. The Alumni Band performed along with Biddeford High School’s concert band, led by band director Michael Murphy.


Both candidates won given their superb musical talent and leadership skills, according to an Alumni Band press release. These achievements are particularly notable as they excelled during trying times when COVID had a major, injurious impact on high school music programs. These two students persisted, andt heir achievements are that much more impressive.

Kaylin’s musical skills are vocal. She is an accomplished soprano, having been selected to perform at the coveted Maine Music Educator’s Festival (MMEA) her junior and senior years, as well as performing at the District 1 Honor level, according to the release. Her passion for music is coupled with her passion for theater. She has performed in an array of musicals at her school, as well as at community theater and camps. What is also exceptional about Kaylin is her courage to advocate for music offerings at her school. When the Treble Choir/Chamber Singers was removed as a curricular class, she fought to keep that option available and helped retain that programming as an extracurricular activity. Future music students will benefit because of her courage to fight for what she believes in. Kaylin will pursue a degree in vocal performance with a concentration in musical theater at University of Southern Maine.

Grayson’s musical skills are instrumental, having exceptional command over baritone and alto saxophones. His skills have given him a number of accolades at the state level, a seat at the coveted MMEA All-State concerts for classical music three years and jazz two years. His skills have resulted in achieving the highest All-State scores for baritone sax for both bands. This is no small feat. He too has performed at District 1 Honor Band level. His achievements catapulted him further, having performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City with an international honors band. In addition to his musical skills, he is already exemplifying leadership skills. He was one of the first to participate in a new band leadership program. He has already learned teaching skills and applied them effectively with his peers. Grayson will carry forward what he has learned, and will pursue a degree in Musical Education at the University of New Hampshire.

For more information on the scholarship program, go to:

Mother and daughter team up on book

A local mother and daughter authored their fourth book in “A Puppy in Maine” series.


The new book, “Toby’s Bear Cub Encounter,” is about the adventures of Toby, a golden retriever, and his trek in the Rangeley area of Maine. In this story, Toby hears squealing in the woods and encounters some young bears who learn that a dare can become dangerous. Toby and his friends will learn about following directions and making safe choices.

“Our family went to Maine’s lakes and mountains region to research the environment for the setting of this book,” said author and illustrator Jennifer Cooley, a special education teacher. Maureen Lee, a physician in Biddeford, Maine, says that the visit was wonderful for the family, and they enjoyed hikes in the region with their golden retriever, Summer, the inspiration for the series.

Lee said, “Reading and writing has taken on a whole new meaning with the arrival of grandchildren.” She said she began reading to her grandson, Jeremiah, by 6 weeks of age. “His eyes were following the colorful pictures in the book as I read aloud; it was enjoyable and rewarding to watch the interaction between myself and Jeremiah during reading time.”

Both authors have a strong love for books and reading, and they continue to read aloud at local community libraries and on-line for local schools. Their hearts’ desire is to stimulate a love for reading at an early age and to encourage and foster a lifelong desire to read. The books can be purchased at Nonesuch Books in South Portland, and online. Visit them at The books can also be read at local libraries, and can be heard at the reading aloud event at the Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library, Kennebunkport, on Thursday, Aug. 8, at  1p.m.

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