Photo by Judy Wilbur Craig of my Dad's Birthday Flag, June 14th, 2013
PENQUIS - Each year, the United Way of Eastern Maine recognizes an agency that goes above and beyond, with the award of Agency of Distinction. This year's recognition was given to Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance, an organization operating high quality programs which have great impact on the clients they serve. Every day, Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance works with individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by domestic abuse.
Incorporated in 1973 in Penobscot County, Spruce Run was the first domestic violence organization in Maine, and the third in the entire country. With support and guidance from Spruce Run, Womancare incorporated in 1979 to assist abuse victims in Piscataquis County.
Since those early beginnings, both organizations have changed tens of thousands of lives and have worked to foster communities that aim to prevent and actively respond to domestic violence. During that time both organizations have often collaborated with each other for assistance in dealing with domestic abuse.
In 2013, faced with the changing landscape of the state resource distribution to domestic violence programs, Spruce Run and Womancare decided to address the issue head on and embarked upon the ultimate collaboration, merging to form the Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance serving Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties.
The formal partnership allows the Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance to provide crisis intervention services such as the 24-hour hotline and emergency shelter; self-sufficiency services such as support and education groups and transitional housing. They are also working to impact the root of the issue through their youth education programs.
“The people who work for Spruce Run-Womancare are some of the most passionate and compassionate people you will ever meet, truly devoted to ending personal, institutional and community violence. Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance is a community treasure and we are honored to call them a partner,” said Shirar Patterson, of the United Way of Eastern Maine, in presenting the “Agency of Distinction Award” to Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance on May 28, 2014 in Bangor.
Join us at the 4th Annual Amy, Coty, and Monica Memorial 5K Race/Walk to End Domestic Violence on June 22, 2014. For more information or to register please visit our website at www.sprucerun.net.
DEXTER - DDATT and the Abbott Memorial Library in Dexter will be hosting a hands-on solar cooker workshop on Saturday, June 14th starting at 10 A.M.
The purpose of the workshop is to demonstrate how easily a cooker can be assembled just from materials to be found lying around in most homes. Several demonstration models will be available to view.
Participants can choose to make one of the demo models. All materials will be furnished and participants will leave with a cooker. If the weather cooperates, food cooked in the demonstration models will be served.
This workshop is intended for adults. Space is limited. Please call the library to make a reservation. 9247292.
Submitted by Sam Brown - In June 1921, Doc Woodcock graduated from NH Fay High School in Dexter. He boarded in town during the weekdays because his family lived in Ripley, seven miles out of town, an overwhelming distance for daily travel in those days. On June 6th 2014, Vaughan Woodruff, Doc’s grandson and the featured speaker at the regular First Friday public discussion at the Abbott Memorial Library, woke up that morning in Albany, New York, 383 miles away, and made it to Dexter easily by the evening.
Woodruff, who is the owner and promoter of InSource Renewables, a Pittsfield solar energy company, brought up the contrast between his grandfather’s world and his own (in less than a hundred years) to point out how changes in technology (our transportation systems, in this case) can affect our thinking over time. Doc would never have imagined traveling from Albany NY in six hours, much less feeling energetic enough to rouse a roomful of interested Dexter Dover Area Towns in Transition (DDATT) supporters with a lively explanation and investigation of the latest in Solar energy systems and policies.
After his own high school graduation (from MCI in Pittsfield) and then earning an engineering degree from UMaine, Woodruff, as did most of his peers, left the state to find higher paying jobs than could be found here. Yet the imprint of growing up in a small Maine town never left his mind, and he eventually returned, determined to convert his passion for renewable energy into a useful, thriving business in the central Maine area.
According to Woodruff, resistance to renewables is growing weaker as local people see more and more photovoltaic (PV) panels, small windmills, and solar hot water heaters around the area. He reminded the DDATT audience of the example that indoor toilets, when first introduced, were not an immediate success: “People would say: ‘Do what?! Where?!’, but once they saw that it worked for the neighbors, the whole system of indoor plumbing came around into acceptance and turned into an essential trade.” The rising awareness of Central Maine people about the cost of energy to heat and run their homes is driving interest in Solar energy systems. Woodruff believes that the solar “trade” has the potential to create new good-paying local jobs while increasing the quality of local communities, by making buildings more comfortable and less expensive to heat and cool.
His specialty is solar hot water, which offers the most energy bang for the buck, but he is also expert and up-to-date on solar electrical systems. Many questions from the DDATT audience kept Woodruff hopping: feasibility of powering electric cars, reducing heating demand by insulating houses better, where and how to put solar panels on a roof or rack, are mini split heat pumps a fit with photovoltaics, how long is “payback” on solar installations, and so forth.
The policies of government play a key role in the support of new technologies, so Woodruff spends more time than he’d like down in the halls of Augusta, patiently bending the ears of legislators and regulators about the finer points of solar energy’s suitability to Maine, and how its development is essential for rebuilding communities from the inside, instead of waiting and hoping for some factory or large corporation to come to town.
“As our youths leave, and as our dollars leave, we have less power.” He calculated that, in just our area towns, $26,600,000 is spent each year on residential energy, most of which goes out of state to oil and gas companies. With smart policy and encouragement to reduce energy demand and build solar generating capacity, Woodruff estimates we could reduce that number by 75 percent.
Woodruff’s fledgling business is not without struggles, but he’s optimistic about central Maine peoples’ spirits and resiliency and thrift (“I’m a tightwad and I bet most of you in here are too!”), and that we are in the midst of a major worldwide change in energy awareness that will encourage more use of solar systems. Adapting to changing technologies takes time. In June 2114, what will Vaughan Woodruff’s grandchild’s daily life be like?
PENQUIS - It is June in Maine and the thoughts of a certain segment of our population turn to golf. Area golf courses have emerged from winter dormancy to offer prime conditions for golfers. For several years, Pine Tree Hospice has hosted a fundraising golf tournament.
This year’s “Golf Open” will take place on the weekend of June 28-29th at two local courses.
On Saturday, golfers will tee off at 8:00 A.M. at the Dexter Municipal Golf Course (924-6477), and on Sunday at Foxcroft Golf Club (564-8887). 1:00 P.M. flights available as needed. A delicious lunch provided by Pine Tree Hospice volunteers will be served to all golfers.
There will be prizes awarded each day and to overall “Open” winners. The 2014 Golf Open gives area golfers a great weekend of golfing plus a chance to support Pine Tree Hospice’s service to individuals and families in our area living with life-limiting illness. Pine Tree Hospice receives no government funding or insurance reimbursement. As a volunteer hospice, it relies on generous community contributions and grants.
Cost for the tournament is $40 per person per course or $75 for the entire tournament (lunch included). Call courses to register and reserve carts.
Call Pine Tree Hospice (564-4346) for more information.
Programs that Allow Producers to Protect Land and Help New, Minority and Veteran Farmers Get their Start in Agriculture
WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that farmers, ranchers and landowners committed to protecting and conserving environmentally sensitive land may now sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The Secretary also announced that retiring farmers enrolled in CRP could receive incentives to transfer a portion of their land to beginning, disadvantaged or veteran farmers through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP).
"CRP is one of the largest voluntary conservation programs in the country," said Vilsack. "This initiative helps farmers and ranchers lead the nation in preventing soil erosion, improving water quality and restoring wildlife habitat, all of which will make a difference for future generations."
Vilsack continued, "The average age of farmers and ranchers in the United States is 58 years, and twice as many are 65 or older compared to those 45 or younger. The cost of buying land is one of the biggest barriers to many interested in getting started in agriculture. The Transition Incentives Program is very useful as we work to help new farmers and ranchers get started."
The Conservation Reserve Program provides incentives to producers who utilize conservation methods on environmentally-sensitive lands. For example, farmers are monetarily compensated for establishing long-term vegetative species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as "covers") to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat.
CRP consists of a "continuous" and "general" sign-up period. Continuous sign up for the voluntary program starts June 9. Under continuous sign-up authority, eligible land can be enrolled in CRP at any time with contracts of up to 10 to 15 years in duration. In lieu of a general sign-up this year, USDA will allow producers with general CRP contracts expiring this September to have the option of a one-year contract extension. USDA will also implement the 2014 Farm Bill's requirement that producers enrolled through general sign-up for more than five years can exercise the option to opt-out of the program if certain other conditions are met. In addition, the new grassland provisions, which will allow producers to graze their enrolled land, will enable producers to do so with more flexibility.
The Transition Incentives Program provides two additional years of payments for retired farmers and ranchers who transition expiring CRP acres to socially disadvantaged, military veteran, or beginning producers who return the land to sustainable grazing or crop production. Sign up will also begin June 9. TIP funding was increased by more than 30 percent in the 2014 Farm Bill, providing up to $33 million through 2018.
As part of the 2014 Farm Bill, participants meeting specific qualifications may have the opportunity to terminate their CRP contract during fiscal year 2015 if the contract has been in effect for a minimum of five years and if other conditions are also met.
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers CRP, will coordinate the various CRP program opportunities. For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA county office or go online to www.fsa.usda.gov.
Both the CRP and TIP were reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
PENQUIS - The Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District is a proud leader in educational youth programming in Piscataquis County and has been for 70 years. The staff at the PCSWCD is excited to announce that registration for both their Youth and Teen Natural Resource and Agriculture Summer Camps is officially open!
Once again, the PCSWCD is offering a Natural Resources and Agriculture Summer Camp to ages 7-12! This camp is based out of Foxcroft Academy's Student Center and runs Monday through Friday, 9AM to noon. Natural Resources Week will be July 28th – August 1st and Agriculture Week will be from August 4th -8th. Our youth camp is a great way for kids to learn more about diverse and beautiful natural resources and tour, taste and touch the expansive farms and farm products produced right here in Piscataquis County.
New in 2014, the PCSWCD will be offering a Teen Natural Resources and Agriculture Summer Camp! With generous funding provided by the Maine Community Foundation's Piscataquis County Fund, the PCSWCD will be offering this new full day, two week summer camp so that we can provide continuous exciting learning opportunities for youth of all ages in the Piscataquis County region. Natural Resources Week will be July 7th – 11th and Agriculture Week will be July 14th-18th. This camp is structured with teens in mind and gets them outdoors and exploring our natural world and the exciting offerings from local farms. Additionally, the campers will learn from presenters representing the Maine Warden Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Maine Forest Service, and local farmers how they became successful in their fields of work. This year, the PCSWCD is partnering with the Appalachian Mountain Club and taking the campers to beautiful Little Lyford Lodge for an overnight, fantastic programming and outdoor recreation. As an added bonus, the campers will be served delicious meals while staying at Little Lyford and have access to AMC's outdoor equipment, knowledgeable staff and lodge accommodations!
For the Teen Summer Camp, the PCSWCD is working with the STEM Guides Project to offer scholarships to families interested in financial assistance. It is a goal for the PCSWCD to make both camps affordable to families. The Lead Guide for the Dexter-Dover STEM Hub, Alyson Saunders, is thrilled to partner with the Conservation District to provide youth an opportunity to attend the summer camp. "As a Reach staff member and former teacher in the Dexter schools, I think the summer camp is a wonderful opportunity to significantly increase access to informal (out of school) STEM resources. It is a great way for youth to learn about science, technology, engineering and math as they relate to our natural ecology and working family farms." The Conservation District's Educational Coordinator, Kacey Weber, noted that "Piscataquis County has so much to offer our children. We are surrounded by beauty and our diverse farms and abundant natural resources are begging to be explored. Our Teen Summer Camp is a great way for teens to get outdoors and experience what our County has to offer, learn about sustainable agriculture, natural resource conservation, rewarding careers and have two weeks of summertime fun!"
In addition to the scholarships provided by STEM and the Maine Community Foundation grant for the Teen Summer Camp, both camps are made possible due to support from the local community businesses, schools, and civic groups, the guest speakers who donate their time to put on presentations, and also the farm families that host our youth. For more information about the PCSWCD's Youth and Teen Natural Resources and Agriculture Summer Camps, how to register or how to apply for a scholarship, please contact the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District, 42 Engdahl Drive, Dover-Foxcroft, ME 04426, 207-564-2321 ext. 3, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/PCSWCD.
The staff at the PCSWCD and all of the wonderful camp presenters are really looking forward to having fun with the kids this summer – please join us!
GARLAND - Garland Grange is asking the community to help support the troops and their families stationed overseas by supporting the “Coups for Troops” program.
The program was started in 2011 by Stephanie Almasy after attending a couponing class. She learned that military families could use coupons which were expired up to 6 months at the commissary. After packaging and sending to the military families, within a few months over four hundred families signed up to receive coupons, since then the program’s need has increased steadily.
Recently the Maine State Grange recently qualified as a satellite collection center where coupons are collected in bulk, then packaged and mailed directly to individual families overseas.
The premise of this program is simple. “All you have to do is use scissors,” says Andrea Rollins, program director. “We are simply asking people to clip out the coupons. You don’t need to worry about expiration dates. The only coupons which cannot be used the ones for specific stores.”
Garland Grange is asking anyone who wishes to donate any unwanted coupons to bring them to the Grange Hall on the second Friday of each month between 5 and 7 pm, which is when their monthly public suppers are held. You can also drop off them off on the their regular meeting night on the first and third Fridays of each month at 7:30 pm. The Garland Grange Hall is located on Oliver Hill Road in Garland.
“Dropping the coupons off during supper should be easy,” adds Rollins. “We already have supper patrons who come each month with their collection of Campbell Soup Labels, Box Tops for Education, pennies for House in the Woods, and soda can tabs for the Shriners.” Other pickup options of coupons is available by contacting 717-7027 or through their Garland Grange #76 Facebook page.
GUILFORD - Valley Grange, long known for collaborating with other organizations, recently experienced some first-hand benefits from teaming up with the Mountain View Youth Development Program in Charleston. A crew of youth and supervisors joined members to give the Valley Grange dining hall several coats of fresh paint from top to bottom.
The Youth Development outreach program is called "Helping Hands," with a goal of developing pro-social skills and competencies by allowing detained and "shock sentenced" youth to earn the privilege of completing community service projects and develop work skills in the process.
"Truthfully, we never expected such energy and commitment—and a great job!" admitted Jim Annis, master of the Valley Grange in Guilford. "The kids brought an abundance of energy and some large appetites, but one thing the Grange is famous for is providing food."
Lunch was part of the program as the crew came for two full days—the second day at their request so they not only could finish the job as planned, but also paint the entire 1200 square foot floor. The kids' energy inspired members to join in and work alongside the kids.
Grange Program Director Walter Boomsma coordinated the project and says he was not only happy to see the hall looking so much better, he enjoyed watching Grangers "join hands with Helping Hands." He says he's particularly impressed with how the program works.
"Instead of requiring community service as an almost punishment, the Helping Hands Program seems to have made it a reward and that's apparent from how hard the kids work and their attitudes while working," he said. "I think they thanked us as much as we thanked them."
Inspired by the help they were getting, Grange members and friends expanded the scope of the project to include a number of additional upgrades that included painting the huge wood-fired kitchen range, adding some hand-made tie-backs to the curtains, and a thorough spring cleaning. Community Service chairperson Mary Annis notes that the timing is perfect. "We have our big community night coming up on May 16th when we present our Community Citizen of the Year Award. This year we're going to really look our best!"
Boomsma said that he hopes the kids feel like they are part of the Grange and community as a result of their involvement. "We tried to explain that their work helps us and the community in so many ways. We could never maintain this building and do the work we do without people like these kids and their supervisors who give so much of themselves."
For additional information about Valley Grange visit http://valleygrange.com. Information about the Mountain View Helping Hands project is available by calling the Mountain View Youth Development Center at 285-0880.
By Mike Lange, Piscataquis Observer: DEXTER, Maine — The School Administrative District 46 board of directors approved a $13.17 million budget last week and will send the measure to voters at a district meeting on June 5 and a validation referendum on June 10. The overall increase is 1.77 percent.
The only dissenting vote was cast by Director Stephanie Watson.
Superintendent Kevin Jordan said that SAD 46 is facing the same constraints as "every other district in Maine. We're getting less in state allocation and asked to pick up more costs at the local level."
Some of the cost savings include reducing the assistant principal's position at Ridge View Community School to three-quarters instead of full time. The current assistant principal, Kristin Briggs, is leaving at the end of the school year for a principal's position in Hampden.
A vacant custodial position will be reduced to three-quarters and the ed tech position at the Dexter Regional High School Options program has been eliminated in the new budget as well.
Jordan pointed out that during the last six years SAD 46 has cut 27.5 positions and only reinstated a handful, usually at a less than full-time rate. "The budget as it is now is only 2.45 percent above the one we passed in 2009-10," Jordan said. "I looked at what the state requirements have added to the budget during the same period, and that's gone up 22.59 percent."
Dexter picks up 60.34 percent of the district's budget cost; Exeter, 15.45 percent; Garland, 15.16 percent; and Ripley, 9.05 percent.
SAD 46 directors also approved probationary and continuing contracts for several teachers at last week's meeting.
"I think we hit some home runs with our new hires during the last couple of years," Jordan said. "I highly recommend that these folks move on to the next level."
Directors also approved the purchase of a new 77-passenger school bus from Dattco Sales and Service for $77,555. Transportation director Mike Keyte, who is retiring at the end of the school year, said that the state will reimburse the local districts during the following year after the purchase. "They've been doing it for us since 1993, so I don't anticipate any change," Keyte said. He also said he's had "excellent service" from Dattco and prices "have leveled off during the past few years."
Directors also officially voted to accept the town of Athens as part of AOS 94 and send the measure to voters in a separate referendum next month. An exact date will be determined later.
Jordan said that the Athens school board "has been excellent to work with" and will share the principal already working at the Harmony school, eight miles away.
Towns in an AOS or Alternate Organizational Structure have their own school boards and budgets but share administrative duties, transportation and policies with another established district.
Athens residents voted to withdraw from Madison-based School Administrative District 59 in May 2013; Harmony has been part of AOS 94 since 2009.
We aim to offer the consumer the widest variety of products that we can that are locally grown & locally produced.
Interested producers are welcome to contact Judy Wilbur Craig at the store 207.924.DEXT(3398) or by email judy@DexterFarmProject.com
Click here for the Guidelines for Producers – adopted 05.2013 by DRDC Board of Directors.
For folks on Facebook we post our daily specials, pictures, new products at Facebook.com/FossasGeneralStore
Note: this is NOT the safest possible route to take, but it is a good service and much better than never running a virus check.
To check your computer, go to housecall.antivirus.com
Many people think that if they have a virus program on their system they are safe, BUT you are only as safe as your latest update. Yes, you do have to update your virus program frequently. (I do it every day!)
Download a FREE virus program that works well at www.free.avg.com
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