What do the following towns in northern Maine have in common? Caribou, Fort Kent, Fort Fairfield, Hodgdon, Easton, St. Agatha, Washburn, Dyer Brook, Mars Hill, Houlton, Presque Isle, and Stacyville. Wait for it….wait for it…awe; the picture probably gave it away. They all have a boys, or girls, or both, basketball team competing in the 2016 Maine Principals Association Basketball Tournament, quarterfinals round, in Bangor. Each will of course be hoping to be vying at tournament's end for a Gold Ball trophy, emblematic of a state championship in their class.

CONGRATULATIONS to one and all on your excellent season, and best of luck in the tournament! 

The club honored the Rotary Spirit Student Award (RSSA) recipients for the second Fort Fairfield Middle/High School (FFMHS) school-year quarter (Nov/Dec 2015). Meghan Everitt and Jacob Bynion-Cullins, both seniors, were chosen from nominees submitted by the FFMHS faculty. Meghan and Jacob received their recognition certificates at a club breakfast meeting where they were commended for their academic achievements as well as their citizenship and personal development accomplishments. Meghan 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 $500 cash award that is presented during the school’s annual Honors Night program. 

Rotary District 7810 encompasses the province of New Brunswick, Canada, and Aroostook and Washington Counties in eastern Maine, USA. Area 1 within the district is made up of the Caribou, Fort Fairfield, Fort Kent, Limestone, Mars Hill, Presque Isle, and Washburn Rotary clubs in Aroostook County.

These Area 1 clubs have joined together to launch Project GIIVE 2017 (Guatemalan Infrastructure Improvement Venture). To date, the Perth-Andover, and Woodstock, NB, Canada, and Houlton, Maine, USA Rotary Clubs have also joined in this venture.

January is Rotary Awareness Month so thought it appropriate to jot down some information about Rotary International and your local Fort Fairfield Rotary Club.

Did you know that there are over 34,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide with over 1.2 million Rotarians? Here in Aroostook County; Caribou, Fort Fairfield, Fort Kent, Houlton, Limestone, Mars Hill, Presque Isle, and Washburn all have local Rotary clubs with over 350 Rotarians serving these communities, the region, and internationally.

The Fort Fairfield Rotary Club was chartered in 1978. The club currently has 23 members and serves/supports over two dozen organizations/projects annually along with several supplemental project support requests each year.

The club places a heavy emphasis on our youth community. We support the Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp (ATLC), annual bike rodeo and princesses’ float during the Maine Potato Blossom Festival, the annual TAMC Survivor Camp, and Fort Fairfield High School’s Project Graduation, Rotary Spirit Student Award Program, Athletic Booster Club, “Tiger” Hoops Tournament and Camp, yearbook support, graduating senior scholarships, and literacy programs to mention but a few.

Additionally, the Special Olympics Snowdogs basketball team, Friends Helping Friends, United Way of Aroostook, and the annual Fort Fairfield Community/Seniors Thanksgiving Day Dinner are some other supported programs/projects.

On an international level, in addition to supporting Rotary International’s End Polio Now PolioPlus campaign through donations and Purple Pinkie projects, the club is active in the Guatemalan Infrastructure Improvement Venture (GIIVE). Project GIIVE is an Aroostook County area clubs-initiative that is gaining support and involvement from regional clubs such as the Rotary Clubs of Perth-Andover and Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada. This project seeks to improve the sanitation, cooking, and water infrastructure in villages in the Monterrico, Santa Rosa, Guatemala region.

Does this sound exciting to you? Or perhaps you know about other projects and programs that we might work on, together. Come join us Wednesday mornings 7-8AM, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church annex, 170 Main Street, Fort Fairfield, Maine and see if we can all work together and “Be a Gift to the World”. Oh, while a motel chain promises to “leave the light on for ya”, we promise to get you out by eight so that you can be to work on time. Have a great day.

The club recently sponsored Tim Caverly, Allagash Tails author, reading at the Fort Fairfield Elementary School fourth grade class and provided a book for each pupil. The class had a very enjoyable time and worked hard on a thank you card for the club. Our thanks to the class for this beautifully designed and prepared thank you card.

Sue Parks, Rotarian and Elementary School Principal, accepts Happy Dollars from club president, Carl Young

This week’s annual Christmas/New Year’s season meeting was held at the Fort Fairfield Middle/High School. During this season Rotarians are extremely “happy” for a great cause. “Happy Dollars” raised at this meeting are donated to the local school system to purchase winter clothing articles for those students who may not have mittens, gloves, caps, jackets or the like. The program is administered by school staff-Rotarians who are well aware of existing needs. This year happy Rotarians raised over $365 for this annual program. The high school’s Baking-4-A-Living class provided egg-sausage pizza, sticky buns, strawberry yogurt, orange juice and coffee for breakfast. Also, a Middle/High School coral group provided several seasonal songs that were enjoyed by all. 

Rotarians enjoy seasonal pieces provided by the Middle/High School coral group

 

Ken Hensler (left), Membership Committee, accepts the District 7810 Membership Retention Plaque for club-year 2014-2015 from Floyd Rockholt, Assistant District Governor, as Carl Young, President, looks on. This is the second consecutive year that the Fort Fairfield Rotary Club has achieved the District’s highest retention rate having received similar recognition for Rotary-year 2013-2014. Members are thanked for “Service Above Self”.

Kaitlyn Parady, a senior, and Dylan Jandreau, a sophomore, were recognized as the September/October 2015 Rotary Spirit Student Award (RSSA) Program recipients at a recent club weekly meeting. Kaitlyn and Dylan received recognition certificates and iTunes download cards helping kick off a five year-partnership between the club and Fort Fairfield High School (FFHS) for the RSSA Program. Kaitlyn and Dylan were nominated by FFHS teachers Jacquie Martin and Kelly Koziol, respectively, and are now eligible for Rotary Spirit Student of the Year consideration at school-year’s end. 

We’re friends. We’re neighbors. We’re Rotarians, Rotary makes a difference in the community, the region, and around the world. You can make a difference. Come visit with us. Get meeting information at: http://www.fortfairfieldrotary.org/club-info/meeting-information.html

Gary Sayers, President/CEO, Our Ladakhi Sisters and Pam Sayers, Rotary Club Program Hostess.

Gary Sayers, President/CEO, Our Ladakhi Sisters (OLS), recently spoke about the OLS outreach to assist local organizations in their initiatives to improve the well-being of the women, children, and families of Ladakh, India by promoting self-sufficiency through education and training, creating job opportunities, and providing emergency assistance and temporary crisis housing. Detailed information concerning OLS’ work may be found on the organization’s website: http://www.olscharity.org/ 

The club would like to take this opportunity to thank all veterans both locally and around the world. We understand that freedom is never free and salute you for your dedicated service to our country. This writer, being a USAF veteran, provides the following sonnet written by John Gillespie Magee, an American pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War. It has become the mantra of many airmen especially those who keep the skies clear over our brothers and sisters below.

“High Flight” – “Oh, I have slipped the surely bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split-clouds – and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence. Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long delirious burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, where never lark, or even eagle flew; and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod the untrespassed sanctity of space, put out my hand and touched the face of God.”

Pilot Flight Officer Magee died on December 11, 1941 when his Spitfire collided with another plane over England and Magee, only 19 years of age, crashed to his death.

Leaders to attend District 7810 training and learn about collaborative Future Visions Grant

During the weekend of November 13-15, 2015, Rotary District 7810, Area One Rotary Club leaders from Caribou, Fort Fairfield, Fort Kent, Limestone, Mars Hill, Presque Isle, and Washburn, along with nearby Rotary Clubs from Houlton and New Brunswick will be gathering at the University of Maine at Presque Isle to learn more about Rotary International (RI) and the process required to be in compliance as a Rotary Club.

After training sessions on Saturday, November 14, the Area One Future Visions Committee will host an informational dinner and silent auction fundraiser for Project GIIVE (Guatemalan Infrastructure Improvement Venture). The public is invited to join Rotarians at the Presque Isle Fish & Game Club, 583 Parsons Road, beginning at 4:30 p.m. for a vegetarian and beef stew dinner, $15 per person, and to hear more about a Future Visions Grant being jointly drafted by Area One Rotary Clubs and several New Brunswick Clubs.

Julia Phelps, Rotary International Director, will bring a welcome and direct message of how Rotary International, even a local Club, is a “Gift to the World.” Peter and Carolyn Johnson from the Rotary Club in Yarmouth, Maine, will tell about projects they have seen in Guatemala and how this involvement changed their lives. Carolyn serves as RI Assistant Coordinator for Zone 32, southern Maine and New England, and recently visited the proposed Project GIIVE communities while overseeing ongoing activities aligned with literacy, work with primary teachers, and small water projects funded through grants received by Districts in Zone 32.

Rotary District 7810 Governor Wayne Wornes and Foundation Chairperson Rick Rogers will also address Rotary’s emphasis on water and sanitation issues.

The planned Future Visions Grant is proposed to meet needs in villages near Monterrico, Santa Rosa, Guatemala, approximately 80 kilometers south of Guatemala City, in cooperation with the Guatemalan Rotary Club de La Ermita. The project funding goal for this initial project is approximately $50,000 with the implementation performed in stages, and Future Visions GIIVE Projects continuing to be developed for years to come.

The initial request will be for water filtration devices to provide safe drinking water and eco-stoves to provide healthy home cooking facilities. The grant will also include improved sanitation facilities with eco-toilets. The GIIVE group of Rotary Clubs is planning to submit its grant application by July 2016. Once approved and funded, the clubs will be sending Rotarians and vocationally-trained individuals to Monterrico, Guatemala, in the Spring of 2017.

The informational event will be held at the Presque Isle Fish & Game Club, 583 Parsons Road, Presque Isle, Maine, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the event are $15/person. Silent Auction items will consist of authentic Guatemalan apparel, jewelry, coffee and other items. Proceeds from the evening will help fund the Future Vision GIIVE 2016 Project. To RSVP, please contact Kevin McCartney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 207-492-4766 by November 8, 2015.

The Fort Fairfield Rotary Club currently maintains a membership of 23 individuals and is part of a world-wide organization of community volunteers. The Slogan of Rotary is “Service Above Self” and the club seeks to live up to this ideal to support a variety of causes for the betterment of the community.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about Rotary and its ideals can visit pages on this website or contact any Rotary member.

(left) Rotarians prepare for evening dinner
(right) Little future Rotarian helps out

The club wants to thank its many supporters as we recently held our annual Cash Draw fundraising event. Even the mid-October snow could not deter our friends from coming out for an evening that included a social period, dinner, and dancing to the Common Crossing band. An addition to this year’s festivities was the presenting of a Paul Harris Fellowship to local Rotarian Josefina Lopez-Aragon (see separate article). It’s likely that the photo-set can describe the evening better than this writer. Enjoy.

(left) Decorations are prepared
(right) All is ready to draw winning numbers

(left) Fort Fairfield High School National Honor Society members volunteer at the 50/50 table  
(right) National Honor Society (NHS) member Hannah Holbrook 
 accepts 50/50 proceeds ($200+) from Rotarian Kerri Watson-Blaisdell that will be used to support the NHS-sponsored Fall Fun Day

(left) Decorations in place and ready
(right) One last check by Rotarian Kerri and Rotary friend Becky

(left) Looking like all is ready for a fun evening   
(right) The Common Crossing Band instruments and amps are ready

(left) Rotarians Rachel Rice and Joy Barrasi-Saucier from the Presque Isle Rotary Club are ready at the Purple Pinkie table. Funds raised will support the End Polio Campaign     
(right) Looks like Rotarian Gary Sirois is getting his pinkie finger "purpled" to
support Rotary's End Polio Now campaign

Dancing the night away

 

(left) Friends enjoy the evening. Actually this is Pat and her Mom       
(right) More friends arriving to enjoy the evening

 

 

 

 

 

(right) Rotary District 7810, Area 1, Assistant District Governor Floyd Rockholt chats with a friend

 

 

 

 

  

(right) "Turn out the lights, the patry's over, they say that all good things must end..."

Rotarian Kerri Watson-Blaisdell, Program Hostess, introduces Jay Kamm, Northern Maine Development Commission who makes a point during the Brownfields Program presentation.

Jay Kamm, Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC), recently spoke concerning the northern Maine Brownfields Program. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website provides the following Brownfields definition and benefits statement:

(left) Rotarian Bill Campbell, Sponsor, presents Jim's Rotary pin, and (right) Carl Young, President, presents Jim's induction certificate as Bill and Floyd Rockholt, District 7810, Area 1, ADG look on.

James (Jim) Risner, Fort Fairfield Town Manager, recently became the club’s newest member as he was inducted as a new Rotarian. Rotarian Bill Campbell, Sponsor, presented Jim with his Rotarian’s pin, and Floyd Rockholt, District 7810, Area 1, Assistant District Governor was on hand to read the Rotary induction citation. Jim was welcomed by club Rotarians and is looking forward to a number of community and international service opportunities.

Know it has just slipped your mind, U.S. holiday weekend and all, so a quick reminder that there are only a few short weeks left to order your 2015 Cash Draw fundraiser ticket. This is the club’s primary fundraiser and it’s only through your generous support that it is possible for the club to support many worthwhile and important programs and activities throughout the year.

This year we are introducing a new activity at the Cash Draw event. That night the club is going to recognize the club’s Paul Harris Fellow recipient. Paul Harris Fellow recognition is the highest honor that a Rotarian may receive from the club.

Order your ticket now and come out to honor this year’s Paul Harris Fellow recipient while enjoying social hour, dinner, dancing to live music (Common Crossing band), and collect your winnings when your ticket number is called. (Of course you need not be present to win.)

Save, print, mail in. (FFRC, P.O.Box 181, Fort Fairfield, ME 04742) Ticket(s) promptly returned. Thank you!

 

The Rotary Spirit Student Award (RSSA) Program partnership with the Fort Fairfield Middle/High School kicked off its fifth year as Rotarians Tracy Copeland, Program Chairman, and Carl Young, President, visited with faculty and staff at a recent staff meeting. The Rotarians revisited the program’s purpose and procedural points, and answered staff’s program questions. The RSSA Program seeks to recognize students in grades 9 through 12 who display exemplary performance/characteristics in the areas of academics, citizenship, and personal development both at school and in the community.

Rotarian John Kaletta, Fort Fairfield Middle/High School (FFMHS) - Principal, recently spoke at a regular weekly meeting addressing some exciting changes at the school.

The first change is the transition from the familiar letter-based grading system, i.e., A, B, C, D, F, to a proficiency-based evaluation system. In a proficiency-based evaluation system students work towards graduation by demonstrating proficiency in subjects rather than accumulating credits to qualify for graduation.

Dear Friend of Rotary,

It is time for the Fort Fairfield Rotary Club’s exciting 29th Annual Cash Draw fundraiser. On behalf of our club and its many supported-programs’ recipients, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your dedicated support.  It is only because of the generous support from friends like you that this event continues to be an annual success allowing our club to continue giving to the many important organizations and causes we support.

Over the years this annual fundraiser has allowed the Fort Fairfield Rotary Club to support several Community Projects, College Scholarships, Aroostook County Youth Camps and Programs, Maine Veteran’s Projects, Special Olympics, various Student and Athletic programs, and projects supporting the County’s underprivileged, to name but a few, as well as International Service Projects.

For the 29th Annual Cash Draw, prizes include: 1st prize $3,000; 2nd prize $2,500; 3rd prize $2,000; 4th prize $1,000; 5th prize $500; 10 prizes of $200; 18 prizes of $100.  Additionally,two early bird prize drawings of $200 each will be drawn from amongst all tickets purchased by September 2, 2015.  (Early bird winning tickets will then be returned to the ticket pool for an opportunity to win additional cash prizes.)

This year’s annual fundraising event is on Saturday, October 17th at the Fort Fairfield Community Center, 18 Community Center Drive in Fort Fairfield.  Festivities will include a social hour (5:00 p.m.), a buffet-style dinner (6:00 p.m.), and dancing to live entertainment with "Common Crossing" during the cash drawings.

With only 350 tickets being sold and 35 prizes awarded, it gives our supporters terrific odds with a 1 in 10 chance of winning a prize! You might also consider teaming up with friends or coworkers to collectively purchase a ticket and share the winnings.  You do not need to be present to win.

This year Maine residents can take part in the exciting 29th Annual Cash Draw and Social Event by:

  • Ordering your ticket(s) today ($100 per ticket) using the Mail-in Order form
    • Each ticket allows admittance for two to attend the evening’s events
    • All tickets must be paid in full on or before October 17, 2015
  • Complete the Mail-in Ticket Order Form
  • Please make checks payable to – Fort Fairfield Rotary Club.
  • Return Mail-in Ticket Order form and payment check
    • Your ticket(s) will be promptly mailed back to you. 

Once again, thank you for your generous support and best of luck in the 29th Annual Cash Draw!

Sincerely,

Fort Fairfield Rotary Club

  • Orders using this Mail-in Order form are restricted to Maine residences and must contain a Maine, USA Postal Zip Code in the purchaser's address
  • Save ticket image - Print - Fill out - Mail in with payment (US Dollars)
  • NO CASH PLEASE
  • Please type/print legibly since ticket(s) will be sent by return mail to the address shown on the order form
  • Mail-in orders are handled on a first-come-first-served basis
  • USPS mark is used to determine Mail-in Order date
  • Orders/payments received after all 350 tickets are sold will be returned to address shown on the order form

Rain, what rain? The only reigning was by the Maine Potato Blossom Festival’s reigning princesses as they enjoyed their ride on the club’s Princesses’ float. Certainly no spirits were dampened and smiles were plentiful as participants and spectators alike enjoyed the afternoon.

Smiles aplenty and royalty waves

Special thank you to Theriault Equipment for the tractor