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  • Full Plates Full Potential awards summer grants to feed hungry Maine children

    Twenty-one programs and over $53,000 invested

    By Ramona du Houx

    During the school year too many children from low income families rely on school meals being their one meal of the day. Federal and state cuts to programs have made states like Maine food insecure. What do these kids do during the summer months for food?

    In 2014, Full Plates Full Potential got underway. It is Maine’s only statewide child hunger organization. FPFP does it’s work by partnering with other hunger relief organizations, granting funds to schools and nonprofits  providing technical support to grantees and working with chefs, businesses and others to end child hunger. 

    Full Plates Full Potential (FPFP) has just awarded twenty-one statewide summer food service program grants totaling over $53,000. Summer sites will run from the end of June until the end of August and serve free meals to anyone 18 years old and younger. Summer grants range from $500 to over $6,300 and fund critical investments to feed more kids such as: equipment for sites, transportation, enrichment activities, outreach, staffing and food costs.    

    This summer an unprecedented amount of applications and funding requests were received. Thirty one applications were reviewed, requesting over $100,000. There are over 400 summer food service program across the state that served just over 750,000 meals last year.  

    “Summer time is a frightening period for a hungry child,” said Anna Korsen, Program Director for Full Plates Full Potential “these summer sites will potentially serve 43,893 additional meals to children whose bodies and minds need nutritious meals. Additionally, many of our summer sites will pilot best practices that could help many more children in 2019.”

    FPFP collaborated for the third year in a row with Good Shepherd Food Bank to run the summer grant program. Additionally, FPFP partnered with the Horizon Foundation and many FPFP Feed Kids Vendors like Bissell Brothers, IDEXX Laboratories, Big Tree Hospitality, and the Brew Bus to raise critical additional funding.

    “Full Plates Full Potential is so grateful to our partners. Their generosity means we can reach so many more kids and families this summer” said Justin Alfond, a director at Full Plates Full Potential. “Summer sites are playing bigger and bigger roles in our communities. They serve great nutritious meals, and offer fun programing for children allowing kids to have fun.”

    "The grant funding will allow us to take the next step in our summer program, said Wendy Collins, School Nutrition Director at Kittery School Department.. “We purchased a hot oven with the grant -- the oven will allow our program to offer a larger variety of food, kids will be happier and it will increase our participation. I can’t thank Full Plates Full Potential enough for supporting communities address food insecurity."

    Website: www.fullplates.org;

  • Rep. Alley’s bill for longtime Maine Downeast employees approved by Appropriations Committee

    By Ramona du Houx

      Rep. Robert Alley’s bill to protect longtime employees of the Downeast Correctional Facility earned unanimous approval on June 11, 2018 from the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, Appropriations.

    The bill LD 177, will allow employees with over 25 years of service but who have not yet reached retirement age to retire without a penalty.

    “There are a number of employees who have worked there for more than 25 years, yet have not attained the state minimum age of retirement,” said Alley, D-Beals. “They have set down strong roots in their communities and have few options. This bill would allow them to retire without having to pay the substantial penalty for early retirement.”

    Alley’s bill is now part of the compromise spending package included in LD 925, which earned unanimous support from the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. 

    The bill will be considered by the full Legislature during the special session on June 19,2018.

    “I hope when the Legislature meets we will  finally pass this bill,” Alley said. “We are only talking about a few people, and we owe these loyal, long-term employees who have given the best years of their working lives in service to the state at least this much.”

    Alley is serving his second term in the Maine House and represents Addison, Beals, Cherryfield, Columbia, Columbia Falls, Harrington, Jonesboro, Jonesport, Marshfield, Milbridge and Whitneyville. He serves on the Marine Resources Committee and the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.

     

  • Maine Legislature to Convene for Special Session June 19

    The Maine Legislature will return for a Special Session Tuesday, June 19 at 10:00 am. 
    "I am pleased we will be returning to the State House to finally address the many critical issues outstanding and I am optimistic that we will complete our work efficiently and responsibly," said Speaker of the House Sara Gideon.
    "House Democrats are eager to take votes that will assist access to healthcare for 70,000 Mainers, maintain pay for our direct care workforce, fund our county jails, and fulfill our obligation to public schools across Maine. We have remained steadfast in our commitment to moving Maine forward and we are pleased that all of our colleagues are joining us at the table.”
    There were nurmous issues still left undecided. Too many to address in this special session.
    But advocates for healthcare are hopeful.
  • Senate Farm Bill the Right Approach For Tackling Maine’s Growing Hunger Issues

    During the markup of the Senate Farm Bill, introduced as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, on June 13th, anti-hunger advocacy groups including Good Shepherd Food Bank, Preble Street and Maine Equal Justice Partners praised the bill’s bipartisan effort to strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, which is critical for hungry Mainers.

     Unlike the highly partisan House Farm Bill, H.R. 2, which failed to pass in the House in early June, the Senate’s bill could help stem Maine’s growing hunger problem. More than 16 percent of Maine households are food insecure, placing the state 7thin the nation overall, and the trend is worsening.

    “Maine should insist on a Farm Bill that strengthens and protects SNAP because it’s the single most effective tool we have for feeding hungry Maine families,” said Clara McConnell, director of public affairs at Good Shepherd Food Bank. “Food banks like ours offer essential food assistance, but cannot substitute for SNAP, which provides a regular source of nutritious food at a scale far greater than what charities do, and in a more accessible way. This is about families being able to put enough food on the table, and kids having enough breakfast in their bellies to learn and grow.”

    The Senate bill strengthens SNAP by testing new tools to further improve program integrity, supporting states like Maine that want to try innovative solutions to helping SNAP participants get and keep a job, and enhancing access and reducing burdensome paperwork for older Mainers and people with disabilities. 

    Advocates expressed support for the bill as drafted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow and urged US Sen. Susan Collins and US Sen. King to support the bill without any harmful amendments that could weaken SNAP.

    Preble Street’s executive director Mark Swann added, “We encourage Maine’s senators to follow the committee’s lead in protecting SNAP by opposing any amendments that would cut SNAP or make harmful changes that would take away food assistance from struggling families in Maine.”  

    While the Senate bill provides adequate funding and promotes program integrity in SNAP, the advocates expressed a desire to work with Maine’s Senate delegation to improve funding levels for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), a critical source of food for millions of individuals and families across the country. 

    The organizations applauded the Senate for not following the House’s lead on harsh and unworkable time limits and work requirements for SNAP recipients, a policy which Maine has tested unsuccessfully since 2014. In Maine’s experimentwith work requirements, thousands have lost benefits without finding work, leaving them hungrier and with few or no places to turn.  

    Chris Hastedt from Maine Equal Justice Partners cautioned, “Partisan changes to the SNAP program along the lines of Maine’s failed model wouldn’t alleviate hunger or help people find work. They would only make it harder for parents, people with disabilities, older workers, low-wage workers and people temporarily in between jobs to get enough to eat. The Senate is taking the right approach by providing more work-supporting policies and maintaining benefits for people in need.”

  • Yarmouth Grand Trunk Railroad Depot in Maine Under Contract

    The non-profit Maine Preservation announced on June 10, 2018 that the iconic 1906 Grand Trunk Railroad Depot, located on Main Street in the heart of Yarmouth Village, is under contract to Ford Reiche for use as commercial office space. Reiche has an enthusiasm for revitalizing historic properties and has already rehabilitated Halfway Rock Light Station off the coast of Harpswell and the Charles B. Clark House in Portland, both Maine Preservation Honor Award winners. He has also rehabilitated an historic train station on the Grand Trunk Line in Gilead that now serves as the Gilead Historical Society’s headquarters. This will be the fifth building listed on the National Register of Historic Places that Reiche has purchased and restored. All restoration work at the Depot will be coordinated by George Reiche, Ford’s son, who is a board member of Greater Portland Landmarks.

    Reiche’s passion for Maine and its history stems from his family’s many generations in the state. In 1989 he co-founded Safe Handling, Inc., a rail-based shipping and logistics company established to help paper mills and other Maine industries receive bulk shipments of raw materials through the state’s rail network. In 2008 he received both the US Small Business Administration’s Maine Small Businessperson of the Year Award and the MaineBiz Large Company Business Leader Award.

    “We received fourteen impressive and competitive offers on this property and are delighted to be working with the Village Improvement Society and Ford Reiche to ensure a dynamic future for this Yarmouth landmark,” said Real Estate Manager Sarah Hansen.

    The Depot has been owned and maintained by the Yarmouth Village Improvement Society (VIS) since it 1968 when it acquired the property from the Canadian National Railway to save it from demolition. Since the early 1970s until last year the building had been leased as a florist shop. After 50 years of faithful caretaking, the VIS decided the time was right to sell the property to a new steward and began working with Maine Preservation to find a preservation-minded buyer. 

    “Since saving the Depot in 1968 the VIS has been able to maintain and preserve this focal point of Yarmouth’s Main Street. Ultimately, we determined the Depot needed to be sold but only with preservation easements to ensure its future as a unique building,” said Linda Grant, President of the Village Improvement Society. “Maine Preservation has made this possible and we are thrilled the at Ford Reiche, who has previously saved historic buildings will be able to rehab and bring this building back to life on Main Street.” 

    Maine Preservation’s Protect & Sell program was established in 2013 to match owners interested in rehabilitating historic buildings with unique properties across Maine. Preservation easements on the properties allow Maine Preservation to protect them and guide their rehabilitation. The innovative program is operating statewide and has successfully sold significant properties in Buckfield, Pembroke, Bath and Norway. Maine Preservation’s mission is to promote and preserve historic places, buildings, downtowns and neighborhoods, strengthening the cultural and economic vitality of Maine communities.

     

  • ‘Forlorn Hope,’ story of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery in Civil War, to premiere June 18 in Bucksport

    The Maine State Archives, producer Dan Lambert, and the Alamo Theatre are co-hosting the premiere showing of “Forlorn Hope,” Lambert’s documentary film recounting the charge of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment at Petersburg, Virginia, on June 18, 1864. 

    The half-hour documentary will be shown at 2 p.m. at the Alamo, home of Northeast Historic Film, 85 Main Street, Bucksport, on the 154th anniversary of the Regiment’s charge, Monday, June 18, 2018.

    “Dan Lambert’s documentary captures the story of the 1st Maine Heavy’s ‘Forlorn Hope,’” said State Archivist David Cheever. “Matching the care he took in his earlier documentary about the sacrifice of the 16th Maine Regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg, he has added a skilled narrative to one of the bravest, and most tragic, attacks in the Civil War.” 

    The 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment is recognized as having suffered the greatest loss of men in a single battle of any Union unit in the war: The regiment arrived on the outskirts of Petersburg on June 16, 1864, and were told to wait there to allow the Army of the Potomac to assemble more fully. The two days the Union force spent waiting allowed the Confederate Army to reinforce its defensive position at Petersburg such that when the order came for the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery to make a full-frontal charge upon the entrenched Confederates, the Maine men were greeted with concentrated weapons fire.

    More than 850 soldiers undertook the charge. In fewer than 10 minutes, more than 630 men had fallen, either killed or wounded, and the Confederates would not allow the wounded to be recovered or the dead retrieved. Afterwards, General George Gordon Meade announced that there would never be another full-frontal assault conducted on an entrenched enemy position.

    The make-up of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery included hundreds of men from the Penobscot River area, extending through Hancock and Penobscot counties.

     

    “The Alamo Theatre is an appropriate choice for the premiere because towns such as Bucksport, Orland, Orrington and Bangor suffered the loss of many men in that charge,” Cheever said.

     

    There is no admission fee for the premiere. A second showing immediately following the first will be held, should the need arise. Producer/director Dan Lambert will be present to discuss the film with attendees.

  • Free park entry day, June 17, 2018 for all Maine Residents

    Free park entry day, June 17, 2018 for all Maine Residents! All vehicles bearing Maine license plates will be allowed free entry to Maine State Parks and Historic Sites; From 9:00 A.M. until Closing.

    No rain date will be available.

    Learn more about Maine State Parks at: www.parksandlands.com

    Free park entry includes: Androscoggin Riverlands, Aroostook, Birch Point, Bradbury Mountain, Camden Hills, Cobscook Bay, Colburn House, Colonial Pemaquid, Crescent Beach, Damariscotta Lake, Eagle Island, Ferry Beach, Fort Edgecomb, Fort Kent, Fort Knox, Fort McClary, Fort Point, Fort Popham, Fort Pownall, Fort O'Brien, Grafton Notch, Holbrook Island, Lamoine, Lake St George, Lily Bay, Moose Point, Mt Blue, Owls Head Light, Peaks-Kenny, Popham Beach, Quoddy Head, Range Pond, Rangeley Lake, Reid, Roque Bluffs, Two Lights, Sebago Lake, Shackford Head, Swan Lake, Vaughan Woods, Warren Island, Wolfe's Neck Woods

    *The open admission does not apply to Acadia National Park, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Baxter State Park, Peacock Beach, Scarborough Beach State Park, Swan Island, the ME Wildlife Park, the Penobscot River Corridor, or the Penobscot Narrows Observatory in Prospect, though admission to Fort Knox State Historic Site will be free that day.

  • Court Rules LePage Administration Has To Follow Medicaid Expansion Law


    By Ramona du Houx

    The Maine Superior Court today ruled that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the LePage administration must follow the voter-passed Medicaid expansion law and submit a State Plan Amendment. 

    The court set a deadline of June 11, 2018 for DHHS to comply.

    “Today is a victory for the 70,000 Mainers who stand to gain coverage from Medicaid expansion and for everyone who believes that health care should be a right for all, not just a privilege for a wealthy few. Thanks to today’s ruling, Governor Paul LePage will finally be forced to respect the will of Maine’s voters who voted overwhelmingly to expand Medicaid last November,” said the Democratic National Chairman Tom Perez. “It’s time for Republicans like LePage to stop playing political games with the health care of their own constituents and start getting serious about joining Democratic efforts to make it easier, not harder, for every family to access the care they deserve.”

    Maine Equal Justice Partners, (MEJP) Consumers for Affordable Health Care, Maine Primary Care Association, Penobscot Community Health Care and five individuals sued the Maine Department of Health and Human Services on April 30, 2018.

    “The governor cannot ignore the law,” said Robyn Merrill, executive director for MEJP. “Maine voters did not make a request at the ballot, they passed a law, and laws are not optional. Today’s ruling is good news for more than 70,000 Mainers who the law says can sign up for health care on July 2, 2018.” 

    The law Maine voters passed in November of 2017 required the state to file paperwork – a State Plan Amendment – with the federal government on April 3, 2018 so that Maine can draw down federal matching funds that will cover most of the costs for Medicaid expansion.  

    The LePage administration refused to file the State Plan Amendment. 

    The pro bono legal team in the expansion case is led by James Kilbreth and David Kallin of Drummond Woodsum, and includes Jack Comart of Maine Equal Justice and Charlie Dingman of PretiFlaherty.

    Maine Equal Justice Partners is a civil legal aid organization that represents Maine people with low income in areas of economic security, including access to health care. 

    Photo: Concerned citizens protested outside the Maine State Capitol when Governor LePage was giving his State of the State address. Their message: obey the law Governor and implement the healthcare we the people voted for.

  • Watershed School to celebrate 15th anniversary in Camden, Maine


    Each spring, seniors at Watershed School in Camden design and complete a semester-long graduation project that demonstrates mastery of the skills and understanding gained during their high school years. The projects, which range in topics from science to art to community engagement, all have one central requirement — they need to make the world a better place.

    Watershed seniors will present their senior projects on Thursday, June 7, at 5 p.m. at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Camden. This year’s projects include student health and wellness, cultural understanding via Tai Chi, environmental conservation, growing small businesses, promoting animal shelters, education immersion, art in midcoast Maine, and traveling/study abroad programs.

    Graduation will be held on Saturday, June 9, at 4 p.m. at the John Street United Methodist Church in Camden.

    Following graduation, Watershed School will celebrate its 15th anniversary at the school, at One Free Street in Camden, with music by the Gawler Family, contra dancing, food by Me Lon Togo, and more. 

    All are welcome to attend all the events.

    Watershed School is an independent high school located in Camden. Watershed is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, is a Maine State Approved High School, and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). College acceptances and awards have been significant this year, with Watershed students receiving over $1,000,000 in merit aid offers, in many cases from their first-choice colleges. 
  • Maine's Brooklin Boat Yard launches custom 91-foot Sloop

    By Ramona du Houx

    The Brooklin Boat Yard of Brooklin, Maine, has completed construction and launched a 91-foot custom cold-molded sloop. Built for a repeat customer, SONNY III is a high-performance cruising yacht designed for daysailing and blue-water passages. Construction on SONNY III took 18 months; the finished yacht launched last month and was christened in May 2018. She is just completed sea trials.
    "We're proud to provide SONNY's owner with a yacht that performs to his high expectations and accommodates his unique needs," said Steve White, president of Brooklin Boat Yard. "He's been a great collaborator on every boat we've built for him. This was a true challenge that required a lot of teamwork - a highly customized, 91-foot yacht built in only a year and a half."
     
    Designed by Bruce Johnson and the Brooklin Boat Yard design office, SONNY III is a larger replacement for the owner's current 70-foot yacht, also built by Brooklin Boat Yard. The owner is a retired senior with limited mobility who requested a yacht with more accessibility. SONNY III provides numerous solutions to the owner's mobility concerns, including chair lifts at each companionway, a power reclining chair in the master cabin, a side-boarding ladder and a transom-boarding platform.
     
    SONNY III has classic styling, including a completely flush deck. The yacht has an aggressively raked bow and reverse transom, a teak deck and a varnished teak toe rail. Her twin cockpit configuration keeps guests safe in the center cockpit while all sail handling is in the aft working cockpit. Low, varnished-teak cockpit coamings and canvas dodgers protect each companionway opening.
     
    "I consider SONNY III a great accomplishment," said designer Bruce Johnson. "I would expect a design process of six months for a yacht of this size and complexity before the yard could even begin to cut wood. Due to the aggressive build schedule we began construction six weeks after we started working with the owner. This project could not have been possible without Brooklin Boat Yard's in-house designers who were invaluable, producing exceptional construction drawings."
     
    SONNY III has a double headsail rig operated by hydraulic furlers that were built by Harken. The non-overlapping headsail configuration with chainplates pushed outboard greatly reduces loads and allows for a smaller mast section, winches and hardware. The mainsail has hydraulic in-boom furling. The carbon mast is from Offshore Spars with 3Di sails by North Sails.
     
    The interior layout includes a crew cabin forward with private head and stall shower, two guest staterooms forward of the mast, one with ensuite head and stall shower and the other with a day head, also with separate shower. The interior is finished in Herreshoff style with white and cream paintwork offset by American cherry joinery, leather upholstery and a teak and maple cabin sole.
     
    SONNY III's hull and deck have carbon reinforcements in specific high-load areas. The ballast keel is a steel foil with integral tanks and a lead bulb. The rudder is a carbon spade design.
     
    Due to the tight build schedule and other construction commitments, Brooklin Boat Yard subcontracted the hull and deck construction to Rockport Marine of Rockport, Maine. Brooklin Boat Yard has had similar arrangements in the past, including the construction of the composite deck for SONNY II by Front Street Shipyard and the construction of the hull for the 76-foot sloop GOSHAWK by Rockport Marine.
     
    "This project wouldn't have been possible without the collaboration and support of many partners," said White. "We achieved our high standard of craftsmanship within a consolidated time frame through teamwork and a shared vision."
  • Annual reports for business and nonprofit entities in Maine due Friday, June 1

    AUGUSTA, Maine – Annual reports are due on Friday, June 1, 2018 for all business and nonprofit entities on file with the Secretary of State's office as of December 31, 2017.

    Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is reminding those who must file that they can do so quickly and easily using the Secretary of State's online filing system. To file online, go to https://www10.informe.org/aro/index_on.html. Payment can be made by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, electronic check or with a subscriber account.

    The annual report fee is $85 for domestic business entities, $150 for foreign business entities and $35 for domestic or foreign nonprofit corporations. Entities that filed online in a previous year will be able to review the information provided at that time, and will simply need to update that information as necessary prior to filing this year's report. For account subscribers, the online filing service includes additional functionality to assist with managing multiple annual report filings. 

    Another online service allows noncommercial clerks or noncommercial registered agents to change their addresses. Additionally, this service allows an authorized individual of a foreign entity (organized outside of the State of Maine) to change the principal or home office address. Anyone wishing to make these address changes separately from the online annual report filing service should visit https://www10.informe.org/icrs/change/ . 

    For those who prefer to file a paper annual report, a preprinted form can be downloaded at: http://www10.informe.org/aro/form_download.html .

    A substantial late-filing penalty will be assessed, and may not be waived, on all reports received after the June 1, 2018 filing deadline.

    The Secretary of State's Corporations Division can assist with questions regarding annual report filing or changing an address. The division can be reached at (207) 624-7752 or by email at cec.corporations@maine.gov .

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