In Fort Fairfield, Maine winters can be cold…this past one was. Winters can be long…this past one was. As winter morphed into spring the hope of warmer temps, crocuses, and mouse-ear leaf buds did its best to warm the spirit, if not the body. “When is summer ever going to arrive?” could be heard at the gas pumps, the market, and around kitchen tables. The answer to that question has now been answered. Summer arrived this morning between 6:05am and 7:26am. How do I know?...because Rotarians Wayne and Carl, with a huge assist from the Public Works Department, hung the summertime banners on the lampposts up and down Main Street. So cue the Maine Potato Blossom Festival with its bike rodeo, parade, and other activities, but most of all…the warm summertime temps. Enjoy our Main Street friends, it’s looking pretty good.

WOW - I cannot get the font large enough or bold enough to say THANK YOU in a deserving manner for your support during this year’s Vidalia onions sales fundraiser. We set our goal at 600 bags but you far surpassed that, and today we placed the order for 640 bags. Thank you so much for your support. There are many deserving projects and people who will benefit as a result of this fundraiser. As it stands right now the delivery date to the club is May 16 at the old Graphics Utilities building, but that is of course Georgia-picking-weather-dependent. We’ll be posting a map and more detailed pick up information as soon as everything firms up. Oh, did I say, “Thank You”? Well just in case – Thank You.

Jack Foster (left) and Amber Stedt, Directors, Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp, accept a scholarships-support check from Carl Young, club President.

Jack Foster and Amber Stedt, Directors, Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp (ATLC) were guests at a recent club breakfast meeting and briefed the members on the ATLC Program. Jack spoke about the two-phased program which includes a late July five-day residential summer camp, and the school-year follow-up programs and activities. Amber spoke about her personal experiences as a student in the ATLC program and her more recent involvement as a program Director.

The ATLC website, http://atlc-camp.org/ , lists the following program goals: 1) to prevent or delay early use of alcohol and other illegal drugs by Aroostook County teens; 2) to increase favorable teen attitudes about not using alcohol and other illegal drugs; 3) to develop teen drug prevention leaders; and 4) to provide a teen support network for a drug-free lifestyle.

In order to achieve these goals the summer camp program provides leadership skills, drug awareness information, team-building, and coping skills development. The follow-up activities during the school year provide teens with the opportunity to continue developing and strengthening leadership skills while participating in a network of Aroostook County teens interested in living drug-free.

Amber and Rotarian Stephanie Beaulieu enjoy point made by Jack (left photo), and Jack and Amber take a question from the floor.

Jack makes a point, and Amber recounts personal ATLC experiences.

(left-to-right) Carl Young, club President; Barbara Ireland, Director of Medical & Therapy Services, TAMC; Sylvia Getman, President and CEO, TAMC; Jim McKenney, Vice President of Diagnostic and Support Services, TAMC; Kerri Watson-Blaisdell, Rotary club Program Hostess.

Sylvia Getman, President & CEO, The Aroostook Medical Center (TAMC), visited the club and presented TAMC’s “Roadmap to Becoming the Best Rural Healthcare Organization in America”. Focus areas include people (patient-focused team); service (exceptional, compassionate care); quality (patient care excellence); finance (support affordable patient healthcare); growth (consistent with community needs); and community (improve community wellness). Sylvia stated that the way ahead includes expansion/improvements in the following areas: cardiac, cancer, and orthopedic care centers excellence; expanded rehab services; changes at the Ashland and Fort Fairfield Heath Centers; OR renovations/expansion to mention but a few. TAMC is an Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems (EMHS) member. Additional information concerning TAMC and the EMHS may be found at www.tamc.org and www.emhs.org, respectively. Sylvia was accompanied by Barbara Ireland, Director of Medical & Therapy Services, Jim McKenney, Vice President of Diagnostic and Support Services, and Jason Parent, Director of Advancement.

April Flagg, Executive Director, Aroostook Aspirations Initiative, is welcomed by Carl Young, President, and speaks to County post-secondary education degree levels.

April Flagg, Executive Director, Aroostook Aspirations Initiative (AAI), recently addressed the club, providing insight regarding the AAI and the Gauvin County Scholarship Fund (GCSF). April spoke concerning the post-secondary degree levels throughout the state especially as related to The County. AAI/GCSF seeks to provide much needed scholarships for County youth, understanding that such an investment is an investment in the region’s economic future. Initially the GCSF plans to provide a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior, who plans to attend one of the four colleges in Aroostook County, from each of the 16 County high schools. April also spoke about the many opportunities for volunteering with the program. Additional information about the AAI and GCSF may be found on their web site: http://gauvinfund.org/

The club recently honored the Rotary Spirit Student Award (RSSA) recipients for the third Fort Fairfield Middle/High School (FFMHS) school-year quarter (Jan/Feb 2014). Sarah Watt and Jacob Bynion-Cullins, both sophomores, were chosen from nominees submitted by the FFMHS faculty. Sarah and Jacob received their recognition certificates at a club breakfast meeting where they were lauded for their academic achievements as well as their citizenship and personal development accomplishments. Sarah and Jacob are eligible for Rotary Spirit Student of the Year (SOY) recognition as a single recipient is chosen from the eight school-year RSSA recipients. The SOY receives a recognition certificate, has their name and photo added to the SOY perpetual plaque posted at the school, and receives a $300 cash award that is presented during the school’s annual Honors Night program. Sarah and Jacob were nominated by faculty members Kelly Koziol and Kerrie Alley.

Richard Duncan, Aroostook Hospice Foundation BOD, Chairman, was the speaker at the club’s regularly scheduled weekly meeting, noting that the foundation is the Aroostook House of Comfort’s non-profit arm. Rick provided overviews with respect to the initiative’s genesis, operations, and admission, as well as financial information. He also provided an architectural drawing that showed the facility’s care units, kitchen/dining area, chapel, planned spa, children’s playroom, nursing staff area, and other necessary spaces. Detailed information may be found by visiting http://aroostookhouseofcomfort.com/ . In above photos Rick displays an artist's facility rendition (left), and explains initative's genesis with architechural drawing in the background.

The club recently honored the Fort Fairfield High School (FFHS) Rotary Spirit Student Award (RSSA) recipients for the 2013-2014 school-year second quarter (Nov/Dec 2013). Gemimar Babin, eleventh grade, was selected from amongst the girl nominees, while Dalton Cassidy, tenth grade, was selected from the boy nominees. The honorees, nominated by teachers Kelly Koziol, Julio Morin, and Robert Osterblom, were accompanied by their families at the club’s breakfast meeting. The RSSA Program, in its third year, seeks to recognize students across grades nine through twelve displaying exemplary characteristics in academics, citizenship, and personal development both at FFHS and in the community.

 

 

Dalton with RSSA recognition certificate

Gemimar with RSSA recognition certificate

Dalton with proud family and (back row left-to-right) Kelly Koziol, nominator, FFHS: Tracy Copeland, RSSA Program Chair: Bob Osterblom, nominator, FFHS: Julio Morin, nominator, FFHS.

Gemimar with proud family and [back row left and left-center (respectively)] Kelly Koziol, nominator, FFHS: Tracy Copeland, RSSA Program Chair.

Tracy reads citations

 

Steve Eyler, Executive Director, Homeless Services of Aroostook, is welcomed by Rotarian Mike Bosse, Program Host, in left photo, and enjoys a lighter moment in right photo.

Steve visited the club’s regular Wednesday meeting and brought the members up to date with respect to services provided by the homeless shelter in Presque Isle as well as the statistics concerning shelter usage.

It turns out to be a somewhat good news/bad news situation. The good news, the shelter exists and provides services to as many of those who are in need as capacity allows. The bad news, with the shelter being the only one of its kind in the county (providing an alcohol/drug-free environment), the shelter is full to capacity most of the time. Although, Steve emphasized that anyone in need should not hesitate to contact the shelter as at any given time there may a bed(s) available.

All support, whether monetary or physical assets, is welcomed and received most thankfully by the shelter.

Proud new Rotarian displays membership certificate, and Tony Sullivan, proud dad and long-time Rotarian, affixes the Rotary International membership pin as Floyd Rockholt, District 7810, Assistant District Governor, looks on.

Lauren Sullivan became the club’s newest Rotarian at this morning’s meeting. Floyd Rockholt, Rotary District 7810, Area 1, Assistant District Governor, was present to read the induction citation, and thanked Rotarian Kerri Watson-Blaisdell, Lauren’s sponsor, for recommending Lauren for membership. Tony Sullivan, Lauren’s father and long-time Rotarian, was present to pin Lauren with her Rotary International membership pin. Carl Young, club president, welcomed Lauren and presented her membership certificate. Lauren lives in Fort Fairfield and is a Staff Accountant with the Chester M. Kearney, CPAs firm in Presque Isle. 

 

Floyd Rockholt, ADG, reads induction citation and Carl Young, President, welcomes

Rotary International pin is a perfect accessary 

 

 

 

 

The club selected the Rotary Spirit Student Award (RSSA) recipients for Fort Fairfield High School’s 2013-2014 school-year’s first quarter. Logan Bubar, Senior, was selected from amongst the girl nominees, while Noah Bernard, Senior, was selected from the boy nominees. Both recipients were nominated by their teacher Kerrie Alley. The RSSA program, in its third year, seeks to recognize students across grades 9 through 12 displaying exemplary characteristics in academics, citizenship, and personal development.

The club held its annual “Christmas with the Students” program at the local high school this week. The program, a time for Rotarians, school staff, and students to get together during the holiday season has been ongoing for over 15 years. Club members collecting “happy dollars” which are then presented to the school staff to purchase warm clothing such as gloves, mittens, caps, and the like for elementary school students who may have need for these warm wintertime items highlights the program.

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The Fort Fairfield Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, Fish and Game Club, and VFW came together with local businesses once again to provide a free Seniors & Community Thanksgiving Day dinner. A holiday tradition in Fort Fairfield for close to 30 years the event provided a free turkey dinner with all the fixings to Fort Fairfield senior citizens, residents who were homebound, and citizens who otherwise might not have had a holiday dinner to enjoy.

With the Fort Fairfield High School girls’ basketball team and other volunteers acting as servers, more than 75 citizens attended the dinner and enjoyed the fellowship and holiday music at the local VFW Hall, while close to 90 who are homebound and cannot come out had dinner delivered to their homes by volunteer drivers, many of whom have been volunteering for most of their lives. Leftover prepared-dinners were donated and delivered to the Homeless Services of Aroostook shelter in Presque Isle.

Click here to see photos

Dr. Michael E. Sonntag, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, UMPI, (left) is welcomed by Carl Young, President, FFRC, as Floyd Rockholt, Assistant District Governor, Rotary District 7810, looks on.

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Five bond issues appear on the November 5, 2013 Referendum Ballot. Question 2 (Bond Issue) states, “Do you favor a $15,500,000 bond issue to enhance educational and employment opportunities for Maine citizens and students by updating and improving existing laboratory and classroom facilities of the University of Maine System statewide?

Dr. Michael E. Sonntag, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Maine Presque Isle (UMPI), spoke at the club’s weekly meeting and discussed the bond issue and its implications as it relates to the UMPI classroom facilities available to students. Michael showed, using a visual aid presentation, and discussed numerous upgrades that will be made in the UMPI classrooms should the ballot initiative be successful.

Mike Eisensmith, Director of Regional Planning, Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC), spoke at a recent club meeting. Mike noted that NMDC’s effort to promote northern Maine manufacturing will get a boost from a federal government program, Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP).

The NMDC is scheduled to receive a $275,000 grant from the IMCP program. The grant money is to be used to help create a northern Maine biomass heating appliances manufacturing facility. Additional information on this program may be found at NMDC’s website at: http://www.nmdc.org/News/IMCP_grant.html

Winning 2013 Cash Draw ticket numbers were drawn at Saturday evening's dinner and dance.

Click here for winners and amounts list.

Congratulations! - The club wants to thank all our dedicated supporters. It is your continuing suppopan>rt that makes it possible for your local Rotarians to serve in the community, region, and around the world. Also, is it possible that what your local Rotary Club is doing is the same as what you want to do to serve? Please come by and visit with us at one of our regularly scheduled meetings. You may be surprised to find your friends and neighbors there having a great time networking, keeping up on local initiatives, and planning where and how they can best serve. Welcome!!!

Want to give a big SHOUT OUT to all our faithful supporters. Our 27th Annual Cash Draw fundraiser was a success thanks to our many friends of Rotary. When we speak about the various community projects and organizations the club supports, we know that it would not be possible without you. Please accept our heartfelt thank you for allowing us to serve in the community, throughout the region, and internationally.

Claudia Stevens (left), Executive Director, and Wanda Guiggey, Campaign Chair, United Way of Aroostook (UWA), accept a contribution from the Fort Fairfield Rotary Club presented by Carl Young, President. The donated moneys will be used to help fund various UWA-supported programs throughout The County, including the UWA’s newest program Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a reading program that promotes early childhood literacy by providing children free age-appropriate books from birth to age 5.

So, could tell you how many shopping days left until Christmas, but a more visible reminder that the seasons are changing and the holidays will soon be upon us is that the “Welcome to Friendly Fort Fairfield” banners no longer adorn the lamp poles on Maine Street. During the recent fair-weather days Rotarian Wayne Troicke with a big assist from the town’s Public Works Department once again took down the banners. Soon enough holiday decorations will replace the banners and a nippiness will fill the air, reminding us…