January 16, 2020

Riding To The Top elects new board member

Brandon Cohen

Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center recently elected Brandon Cohen of Cumberland Maine to its Board of Directors. Cohen is the President and owner of Head Light Benefit Group, Inc. He joins RTT board members Janis Childs, Cynthia Cyr, Casey Etter-Bobb, Steve Flynn, Gary Plummer, Carissa Robb, Hilda Sastre and Jim Small in leading the nonprofit.

About Riding to the Top
Founded in 1993, Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center’s (RTT) mission is enhancing health and wellness through equine assisted activities and therapies.  RTT is a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International).  Located just west of Portland in Windham, Maine, RTT is the state’s only year round PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center solely dedicated to serving people with disabilities through equine assisted activities and therapies. More than 250 clients visit annually, assisted by certified instructors, over 160 volunteers, and a herd of 18 horses, all specially trained to assist with therapeutic riding, carriage driving, equine assisted learning and hippotherapy. RTT is a community-based nonprofit, receives no federal or state funding and provides scholarships to over 60% of its clients.  For more information about client services, volunteering, or making a gift, please visit us at www.ridingtothetop.org or call 892-2813.


Overdose Recognition and Response Community Forum a success


By Joe McNerney

Anyone can be an addict, and most of us know someone who is or was. A common fear is what we should do in the event a person might overdose.

CPR and Narcan dispersal are two ways to
save a person's life if they experience a drug overdose
“A lot of people panic. The most important thing people always forget is to call 911. That alone can make the difference in saving someone’s life,” stated Community Health Promotion Specialist, Lizzy Garnatz.

Garnatz was one of the speakers at The Overdose Recognition and Response Community Forum and Training that took place last Tuesday, January 7th at Windham’s Veterans Center.

“When you call 911, we can assist you in CPR as well as Narcan dispersal,” she continued.
Narcan (naloxone) is an opioid antagonist used for the complete or partial reversal of opioid overdose, including respiratory depression.

The emergency operators ask many questions, and they do so for good reason. They are trained and have guides in front of them to assist you, which is why they need as much information as possible. Narcan nasal spray can be used again and should be timed appropriately for emergency services.

Laura Morris, Executive Director of Be the Influence was the host of the training event for Narcan and hands only CPR. The purpose of the forum was to educate the public on ways to help save the life of someone who has overdosed.

“It takes a village.” Laura stated of the collaboration.

Everyone from Windham’s Chief of Police to Portland’s District Attorney sat in attendance for this informative meeting.

“We’ve had a pretty good turnout both times we’ve done this” said Windham Deputy Fire Chief John Kooistra.

Many people seemed to know one another, giving words of encouragement.

Brittany Fearon, Assistant Program Manager/Maine Association of Recovery Residences spoke at the forum regarding her own personal experiences with substance abuse.

Being a resident of Windham for most of her life, Fearon as a young adult struggled with drugs and alcohol. This was something she battled for many years before finding the right path. Fearon stressed that addiction never really goes away. It’s a lifelong battle that takes constant work, made better by people you can rely on. Much of what helped her was finding others with similar experiences.
Anyone interested in learning more about overdose recognition and response should contact Laura Morris at director@betheinfluencewrw.org.


Mechanics and Biddeford Savings provide assistance to local food pantries

Centered on an unwavering commitment to the local communities they serve, Biddeford Savings and Mechanics Savings recently donated a total of $22,500 to local food pantries in their market areas to help fight the issue of food insecurity.

Maine ranks 12th in the nation for food insecurity. People of all ages are struggling to put food on
Maine Community Bank employees present $22,500 to nine
local food pantries. L to R: Jeanne Hulit, President & CEO;
Colette Gagnon, Windham Social Services Administrative Assistant;
Vickie McMullen, Vice President, Branch Manager & Loan Officer
their tables, but the trend is most distressing for the youngest and oldest citizens of our state. One in five children in Maine are considered food insecure, as are 16% of our senior population.

Food pantries must rely heavily on donations from area residents and businesses to continue to fill the need.  In the first week after the merger between Biddeford Savings and Mechanics Savings, both divisions wanted to address the issue of food insecurity with donations to several food pantries in the communities of Central and Southern Maine.

“Thankfully, there are many food pantries in our communities working tirelessly to provide fresh food and hot meals to our most vulnerable residents,” said Jeanne Hulit, President and CEO of Maine Community Bank, the parent company of Biddeford Savings and Mechanics Savings.  “Our colleagues donate to and volunteer at the food pantries year-round.  We’ve seen the need grow, especially after the holidays, and are in a position to help,” Hulit added.

The following food pantries each received a $2,500 donation to purchase food and other nonperishable goods: High Street Food Pantry in Auburn; Biddeford Food Pantry in Biddeford; Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick; Trinity Jubilee Center in Lewiston; Community Outreach Services in Kennebunk; Saco Food Pantry in Saco; Project GRACE in Scarborough; Windham Food Pantry and Clothes Closet in Windham; and Waterboro Food Pantry in Waterboro.

About Maine Community Bank
Biddeford Savings and Mechanics Savings have been financial partners to the people of Central and Southern Maine for the past 150 years. To help carry their commitment to the communities they serve, the two banks merged on January 1, 2020, becoming divisions of Maine Community Bank. The merger expands the lending capacity, product offerings, and branch service area, while keeping all decision making at the local level. They have branches in Auburn, Biddeford, Brunswick, Kennebunk, Lewiston, Scarborough, Waterboro, and Windham.






Become a hospice volunteer and make a difference

Hold a hand, lend an ear, run an errand, or provide a comforting presence. If you are a compassionate, reliable individual with a sincere desire to help, we encourage you to join our team of valued Northern Light Home Care & Hospice volunteers.

Volunteers are needed most to help hospice patients in Cumberland and York counties.
Healthcare experience is not required, and you will receive the necessary training and support
needed to help you enjoy a positive and rewarding volunteer experience.

Call today to learn about this opportunity and sign up for our upcoming training session!
Beth Simmons, LSW, Northern Light Home Care & Hospice Volunteer Coordinator
207-400-8852

Spring Schedule:
Dates: Tuesday, March 10, 17, 24, 31, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday April 7, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 50 Foden Road, Suite 1 in South Portland.

Information forum to be held February 12 to clarify confusion on REAL ID Driver’s License

By Lorraine Glowczak

With the deadline looming on October 1, 2020, Mainers will be required to update their Maine State Driver’s License in order to adhere to the mandatory minimum-security standards set by the Department of Homeland Security. Briefly, The REAL ID Act establishes security standards for state licenses in order to access federal facilities, to enter nuclear power plants, and to board federally regulated commercial aircraft. Maine is one of the last states to implement the REAL ID standards.

But there has been much misunderstanding and misperceptions as to how to go about making the changes necessary. “I have been receiving continual inquiries from people in this area, (Windham/Raymond) who are confused about the requirements necessary to obtain a REAL ID Driver’s License,” stated Senator Bill Diamond. “There is a lot of confusion regarding several issues including which personal documents are required by the Motor Vehicles Office in order to get the REAL ID.  There have been several contradictory statements regarding the need for original vs. duplicate personal documents.  Are there substitutes for the REAL ID? Does the state have personal REAL ID cards for those who don’t drive?  When is the best time to avoid the long lines at the Motor Vehicle offices?”  

As a result of the mounting confusion surrounding the REAL ID and the pressure of time running out before the deadline for getting the REAL ID, Sen. Diamond believes it is important to provide a forum for the people in this area to once and for all provide answers to the many questions.
The forum will take place on Wednesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. in the Windham Town Hall Council Chamber room. The panelists will include not only Diamond but Rep. Patrick Corey, Rep. Mark Bryant along with Maine Secretary of State, Matt Dunlap.

Everyone from the Sebago Lakes region area is encouraged to attend in person or to watch the forum Facebook live.

For more information about the forum or the requirements needed for the REAL ID changeover, contact Sen. Diamond at diamondhollyd@aol.com or by phone at (207) 287-1515.


January 10, 2020

Evergreen Credit Union names new VP Branch Administrator


Evergreen Credit Union names Richard (Rich) Folse to the new position of Vice President, Branch Administration. Rich comes from Gesa Credit Union in Richland, Washington, where he served as Assistant Vice President. He was responsible for leading and managing up to 10 service center managers and approximately 150 staff members.  

Rich Folse
“Rich brings significant expertise with credit unions in general and CU operations in particular,” stated Evergreen CEO Jason Lindstrom. “He will be a valuable asset to our senior leadership team. His passion for team building and strategic planning will help Evergreen’s staff continue to provide exceptional service to our members.” 

Folse, who is moving from the west coast and a larger financial institution, added “I recognize that mid-coast Maine is clearly a dynamic market. Evergreen is also growing rapidly, so I will introduce more branch leadership to improve our member experience and deepen our growing membership relationships.” 

Folse holds a master’s business administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. Additionally, he holds a master’s theology from Golden Gate Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts from Houston Baptist University. He is a member of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce and obtained CUDE Certification from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

Evergreen Credit Union is one of Maine’s largest credit unions, with branches in Portland, South Portland, Windham and Naples.


Modern Woodmen makes matching gift to RTT

Zack Conley and Tim Graham of Modern Woodmen of America visited Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center (RTT) recently to present a matching gift of $2500. The organization’s local members participated in RTT’s 12th Annual Triple B ~ Boots, Band & BBQ in October.
According to Graham, Modern Woodmen’s and RTT’s mission are a good fit as both seek to improve the quality of life for our communities. “One of the ways Modern Woodmen does this is by partnering with local nonprofits like RTT through its member volunteer activities.

Zack Conley, Tim Graham, Kate Jeton (Program Director 
and instructor), and rider, Joshua on Luke
Photo Credit: Riding To The Top
Sarah Bronson, Executive Director stated, “This generous matching gift from Modern Woodmen will support RTT’s clients, ages 3-93, participating in equine assisted activities and therapies, the majority of whom receive some level of scholarship.”  According to Bronson, hundreds of children and adults with disabilities are able to experience the healing power of horses at RTT thanks to financial and volunteer support from local businesses like Modern Woodmen. She went on to note, “The Triple B celebrates the special bond between humans and horses—a bond that is especially powerful and life changing for children and adults with disabilities! We are fortunate to witness this every day at RTT!”

About Modern Woodmen of America
Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial was founded in 1883. Ever since then, MWA has been helping families fulfill their financial needs and making an impact in communities nationwide. Their main purpose is to help members plan for their financial security through insurance and investments. Modern Woodmen fraternalism is about coming together and making a positive impact on each other and on our communities. It’s about being part of something bigger than yourself. For more information, contact Tim Graham at the Windham office at (207) 892-0302.

About Riding To The Top
Riding To The Top’s mission is enhancing health and wellness through equine assisted activities and therapies. Founded in 1993, Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center (RTT) is located on a 50-acre farm in Windham, Maine.  RTT is a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) and Maine’s only PATH Intl. Accredited Center providing year round equine assisted activities and therapies to children and adults with disabilities. Over 250 clients visit annually from over 40 communities in Maine and NH. Certified instructors, specially trained horses and over 160 volunteers assist up to 100 clients each week. Riding To The Top is a community-based nonprofit, receives no federal or state funding and provides scholarships to over 60% of its clients. For more information about client services, volunteering, or making a gift, please visit ridingtothetop.org or call 892-2813.