August 18, 2017

Legislative update from Rep. Jessica Fay


The first year of a Maine Legislative session is known as the “long session”. The session that just adjourned was the longest “long session” in Maine history. We passed a bipartisan budget that was signed by Governor LePage, made policy that will help increase economic development in rural Maine and passed some good laws to help our environment.
 
In the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, on which I serve, we heard bills on diverse topics. The Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which includes air and water quality, natural resource protection, shore land zoning, subdivisions, management and disposal of solid and hazardous waste, waste-to-energy facilities, mining, and the bottle bill, among others. 

One of the highest profile bills that the committee dealt with was the new law that will add a 5-cent deposit to 50mL liquor bottles (also known as “nips”). The original bipartisan bill would have added a new 15-cent deposit and that was reduced through compromise. Much of the testimony we heard was in favor of adding these small bottles to the list of returnables. LD 56 will become law on January 1, 2019 and will help keep trash off the road, give local bottle redemption centers a boost and maybe even help reduce drinking and driving.

Even though there was support in the committee for a mattress recycling program, also supported by landfill owners, municipalities and folks who like to use the woods for hunting and harvesting, a bill that would have set up this program was vetoed by the Governor. That veto was upheld. There are successful programs in other states and with some more work, Maine may eventually create one, too. 

Keeping waste and toxic chemicals out of the environment was a theme this session. There was good bipartisan work which resulted in a toxic flame retardant ban in new upholstered furniture sold in Maine. This law will help reduce the rates of cancer in first responders and had strong support from firefighters across the state. Maine has been a leader in banning toxic chemicals from our environment, protecting not only firefighters, but also our children and pets from unhealthy exposures.

The Environment and Natural Resources committee also discussed funding for the Youth Conservation Corps which provides jobs and training for youth and assistance to landowners with conservation projects, which protect or improve water quality. In addition, we heard bills regarding septic tank inspections, both in the shore land zone and statewide. Making sure that septic tanks are functioning as they should, particularly near water, can help prevent pollution that contributes to toxic blue green algae blooms, among other negative water quality impacts. I am hopeful that though these bills failed in final passage, we can revisit this issue in the future.

The Committee also worked extremely hard with the help from the DEP, environmental advocates and experts from the University of Maine and other academics, to craft a bill that would better protect Maine from environmental damage from mining. This new law has been characterized as one of the most protective in the country, if not the world. It bans “open pit” mining and the types of waste impoundments that have caused great environmental harm. The new law would also require any company seeking a permit, to have enough cash to fund a cleanup of any damage they might cause.

There were many bills on other topics, landfill closure, climate change risks and hazards planning, battery recycling, polystyrene bans, plastic bag bans, changes to subdivision rules, changes to shore land zoning rules and food waste and donation regulations. Not every proposal required legislation. Some will result in bills in the future; some were already being addressed by DEP in their everyday work. Overall, the committee worked in a bipartisan way to protect Maine’s environment, one of our most valuable assets.

If you have any questions regarding any of the legislation that the ENR Committee heard this session, or any other proposals that came before the Legislature, or general questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I can be reached by email at jessica.fay@legislature.maine.gov or by phone at 415-4218.

Jessica Fay is in her first term and represents Casco (part), Raymond (part), and Poland (part) in the Maine House of Representatives. She serves on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.



Award-winning Inventor and Eagle Scout Receives Distinguished Eagle Scout Award


Eric Fossum, Ph.D. has been awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award upon nomination by the Pine Tree Council and the Boy Scouts of America. This award is granted to Eagle Scouts who, after 25 years, have distinguished themselves in their life work and who have shared their talents with their communities on a voluntary basis.
 
Eric Fossum

Eric Fossum has distinguished himself through his career as an Engineer and Inventor and through his continued service to God, his country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. He has met community service needs through his voluntary actions.

Dr. Fossum, born and raised in Connecticut, received a Ph.D. in Engineering from Yale University.

He is best known for the invention of the CMOS image sensor “camera-on-a-chip” used in billions of cameras, from smart phones to web cameras to pill cameras and many other applications. In 1990, Dr. Fossum joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and managed their image sensor and focal-plane technology research and advanced development. During this time, he invented the camera-on-a-chip technology (aka CMOS image sensor) and led its development and subsequent transfer of the technology to US Industry. An early version of his image and camera are on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History’s Inventing in America exhibit. Fossum has received numerous awards for his work, including induction as a Queen Elizabeth Prize Laureate, the highest global honor for engineering, England’s version of the Nobel Prize.

“We are excited to honor Dr. Fossum for contributions to our nation and to the fields of science and technology,” said Eric Tarbox, CEO/Scout Executive of Pine Tree Council. “He exemplifies the ideals of Scouting and is a role model to all youth. We will honor Dr. Fossum with the prestigious Distinguished Eagle Scout Award at a campfire ceremony during our first ‘Enabled Scouts’ week, which will give Scouts with physical and learning disabilities the opportunity to experience a week of camp at their own pace.”  According to Eagle Scout and Pine Tree Council Board Member, Jack O’Toole: “It is important that we recognize the extraordinary achievements of Eagle Scouts such as Dr. Fossum to show our youth that professional and academic achievement can be attained by ANYONE if they apply themselves and persevere.”

The National Eagle Scout Association Committee, under the direction of Alumni Relations at the Boy Scouts of America’s National Office, selects the recipients of this award. The members of the selection committee are all recipients of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. Since 1969, more than 1,850 nominations have been approved. 

About the Pine Tree Council, Boy Scouts of America:

Serving more than 6000 coed youth and 2500 registered volunteers, the Pine Tree Council, Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s foremost youth programs of character development and values-based leadership training. For more information on Scouting, please contact Eric Tarbox, 207-797-5252.


Camp Sunshine Watermelon Festival fun an successful


It was definitely “watermelon central” on the lawn of L.L Bean on Saturday, August 12. The 2017 Camp Sunshine Watermelon Festival was a true success with approximately $25,000 raised.  A big thank you goes to L.L. Bean, Whole Foods and Texas Roadhouse, as well as local organizations, Hicks Productions, Westbrook and Modern Woodman, Windham for helping to sponsor the event.

Meg Hatch Photography joins national search for America’s beautiful high school seniors


Meg Hatch Photography is honored to be one of 50 photographers who’ve been chosen to participate in Beauty Revived’s 2018 Senior Campaign. This is an opportunity to shine light on a local high school senior who is beautiful. It’s an opportunity to find the good and tell a great story.


The senior campaign is looking for a unique member of the class of 2018. This is a person who shows their beauty through large or small acts of strength, kindness, leadership, compassion, grace and love; or any combination thereof.

The selected senior will receive:
A super-sized photoshoot with Meg Hatch Photography
Professional hair & makeup
Professional wardrobe styling
A chance to win a $1500 Beauty Revived Scholarship
A published article sharing their story in Beauty Revived January 2018 Print Magazine as well as the online version.

Hatch will be accepting nominations until August 25, 2017 and will then choose one senior to be featured.

“I am very much looking forward to this campaign,” Hatch stated. “I love working with high school seniors and I am especially excited for the opportunity to celebrate someone who is making service to others a part of their high school legacy. I am so hopeful that these young people will graduate and continue to blaze a trail that will make the world a better place for all of us!

Beauty Revived was started three years ago as a way for photographers to use their lens for good and shine light on the real beauty that was happening in our communities. In the past few years, more than 700 women, girls and children have been featured on their website and magazine.

“As a high school senior photographer, I started Beauty Revived because I saw the power that a photographer has in shaping perception and altering dialogue on beauty,” Michelle Gifford, Beauty Revived founder, said. 

“The photographers, who participate in our campaigns, not only have great technical and artistic talent but also have big hearts and a desire to be more than just a picture taker. They want to be a photographer who changes the world with their work,” Gifford said.

For more information about Beauty Revived, please visit www.beautyrevived.com. To nominate a senior, please visit: www.meghatchphotography.com/beauty-revived-50beautifulseniors/

Annual Popsicles with the Principal Event at Windham Primary School by Kyle Rhoads



I am inviting all Windham Primary School families to join me and some of the staff, for Popsicle and playing on the playground by the cafeteria on Tuesday, August 22. We will provide Popsicle, by the A-House Houplayground, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The rain date will be Wednesday, August 23. We hope you can join us for this fun, school community event.

When I became principal at Windham Primary in 2008, I used this event as one of my first opportunities to get to know the families of the students. The first Popsicle Event was very well attended. Families expressed enjoying this opportunity. 

The following summer, staff and families shared that they hoped I would continue the event and I decided to do so. When our new playgrounds were built, it also became an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy those as well!

Popsicles with the Principal Event highlights many important parts of our school community. This year we have the opportunity to meet our new assistant principal, Mrs. Diana Jordan. Often some of our new staff and returning staff attend this event and have the opportunity to meet families. Many teachers hold an open house right before the event so students can meet their teachers and see their classrooms and then head over to the playground.  

Many former students return with their younger siblings and it becomes a reunion. Most importantly, it provides a great chance for the students, staff and families to reconnect after summer and build new relationships while enjoying popsicles and our beautiful playgrounds!

We are looking forward to this opportunity to meet with the students and their families. The event is an indicator that school is returning and summer is winding down! Families attending should enter the school and playground by the road closest to the High School tennis courts.

Please call the WPS office at 892-1840 or email mvance@rsu14.org with any questions.

Creative writing workshop offered by New York author to benefit RHCC by Lorraine Glowczak


Whether one is experiencing writer’s block, looking for ways to hone in on their prose in progress or recently considered putting pen to paper, a creative writing class might be the perfect option to get the imagination into overdrive.


The Raymond Hill Community Center located at 7 Raymond Hill Road invites the public to an
evening with author, Diana Altman, as she teaches and inspires the participants in a creative writing workshop, The Prompt! Workshop on Thursday, August 24 at 6:30 p.m. The cost of the course is on a donation basis and proceeds will go directly to the upkeep and administrative cost of the community center.

A hands-on and interactive experience, participants will get an opportunity to dive into their imagination and let their words fly onto paper (or laptop) with ease. Writing prompts will be provided to get the words flowing. An opportunity to share will be available for those who wish to do so. No matter one’s individual writing goal or experience, one will build and walk away with a new level of creative confidence. 

For those who may be intimidated, Altman tries to put minds at ease, “Any creative endeavor requires confidence and it’s my job to help students gain that confidence,” she said. “This workshop is designed to increase the participant’s awareness of their own voice and confidence that what they wish to express is worth saying.” 

Altman has a long history in both writing and fine art – specifically in film. A graduate of Connecticut College and Harvard University, Altman is an independent film historian whose father was Al Altman, a well-known MGM talent scout who discovered Joan Crawford, Ava Gardner, Jimmy Stewart and Bob Hope – to name only a few. She has taught privately and in the public school system and has successfully published two books with one in progress. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times as well as in the Yankee and ForbesWoman Magazines and much more.

Her first non-fiction novel, “Hollywood East: Louis B. Mayer and the Origins of the Studio System” tells the story of how the movies evolved. The book expels the popular misconception that the film industry was the innovative evolution of Hollywood, when in fact New York was where the real innovation began and where the stars of the early industry were discovered. 

Author Diana Altman
Her second book, “In Theda Bara’s Tent” is a work of fiction that delves into the life of a young boy who loses his parents in a factory fire. Yearning for love and prosperity, the boy takes solace at the movies. He befriends the theater’s owner who one day becomes a Hollywood legend. Altman will not be accepting any reimbursement for teaching the workshop and there is a special reason for that. “I live in both New York City and Raymond,” said Altman. “I’ve had a house in Raymond for about twenty years and spend the entire summer here as well as time in the winter and fall. I feel a strong connection to Raymond and that’s why I am contributing my time to the new community center.”

Although each individual participant will take away their own personal awareness, Altman has her own wish for those who attend. “I’m hoping a writing workshop will call attention to the community center and attract people who will continue to support the efforts of this wonderful new gathering place.” 

Registration is not required for this event. Bring pen, paper or laptop.

For more information about the Raymond Community Center or the workshop, please contact Christina Keilt at 655-7355 or christina.raul@yahoo.com

Gorham Savings Bank promotes financial fitness in area high schools by Michelle Libby


For the second year, students at five area high schools including Windham High School, will supplement their financial learning with a program provided by Gorham Savings Bank and EVERFI Financial.
 
The program created by EVERFI covers the basics of money and is all digital and all online. Nine modules cover the topics most important to today’s teens. Students are given access to the program in class and to work on their own time. It was left up to each school how to administer the program. More than 200 students at Massabesic High School used the teaching tool.

Windham social studies teacher Kelly-Anne Rush uses the program with her students to reinforce a concept after covering it or to find out what the students already know before starting a unit. She has taught senior personal finance and citizenship for eight semesters.

“We are trying to accomplish a lot in a semester,” Rush said. 

Rush had used other online programs before, but they were older programs. “This seems more up to date. It has some cool interactives,” she said. “It has all the skills I want them to know. I use it sparingly though. Computers can never replace what a teacher can do,” she said. 

Approximately 344 students used the program last year for a total of 761 hours of learning. 

“We are giving the high school students the tools to manage their money more effectively,” said Dan Hancock, who manages the program for Gorham Savings Bank. “It’s kind of cool. They need one person who had a passion for it in a classroom. It takes a lot of time to put it together and administer it.”

The students learn about budgeting, saving and planning for college, how to rent or buy a home and what a credit report is. Everything is done in a fun interactive way on the computer through video, commentaries and questions in modules that average 40 to 45 minutes.

The schools in the program are Windham, Gorham, Massabesic, Bonny Eagle and Kennebunk. “These were schools that identified this as a need,” said Hancock. 

“What I love about this program is, at the beginning it tests student knowledge, and then sees what they’ve learned. The most learning happened with paying for college and that’s so important for that age,” said Hancock. The students who are getting ready to go to college understand what it means to make payments and how to minimize what they borrow after working that module. 

“They can apply it to their real lives. They are talking about things that really resonate with them. We’d like to expand upon their knowledge,” said Hancock.

The data for the program is accessible to the teachers. “I can see what they’ve done. The data helps me figure out if students need more on a topic, or review a trend they’re not getting,” said Rush.
When speaking to the students, they felt that the program peaked their interest in investing. “I wouldn’t have thought we’d see that in high school students,” said Hancock. 

Rush said that the most important concept the program teaches is building a good credit score and credit in general. “I really think it’s important for them to understand while they’re young (that credit) gets people into trouble,” Rush said. “Funding your future is a very pressing issue for my students,” she said. 

“Sometimes you made the right decision and sometimes you learn the hard way,” said Hancock. This program gives students better access to information that can put them on the right path to financial fitness. 

Students that Rush has taught have come back to class to tell her that they’ve put money in a CD or that they just leased their first apartment. “It just warms my heart. That makes it worth it.” 

Gorham Savings Bank is looking to grow the project at the five schools so that more students have access to this vital information. There is no “hard sell” in the program and there is no cost to the school to make it as accessible as possible, said Hancock. This is a way to be visible in the community. The bank wants its customers to learn what they can about money.  “If the students want to become customers of the bank, that’s okay, but it’s not required,” Hancock said. Gorham Savings Bank’s mission is, “to improve the financial and social well-being of our communities.”

“The more information the students have access to the more prepared they’ll be to manage their money,” he added.





August 11, 2017

Senators Collins, Coons introduce bipartisan bill to end preventable maternal and childhood deaths



Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act to strengthen U.S. government efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and young children in developing nations around the world.  

Every day, approximately 800 women, almost entirely from developing countries, die from
preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and the risk of a woman dying in childbirth is 47 times higher in Africa than in the United States. In addition, more than 16,000 children under five years old will die each day of treatable conditions.

“Although progress has been made in improving the health of mothers and children, it is a tragedy that so many preventable deaths still occur,” said Senator Collins. “By supporting simple, proven, and cost-effective interventions, our bipartisan legislation will improve the health and well-being of mothers and children in developing countries and bring us closer to achieving the goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths worldwide.”

“For too many women and families, pregnancy and childbirth are risky, life-threatening conditions that are filled with stress rather than joy and expectation,” said Senator Coons. “The Reach Act directs USAID to deliver a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes cost-effective, proven interventions to prevent these tragic deaths. This bipartisan bill will bring relief to mothers who can safely carry, deliver, and raise their newborns knowing that the care they need is now available."

The United States has been a global leader in reaching mothers and children in developing countries with life-saving interventions, including skill birth attendants, basic resuscitation options for newborns, vaccinations, and other cost-effective, evidence-based interventions.
The Reach Act has been endorsed by CARE International, PATH, RESULTS, Save the Children Action Network, and World Vision. The bill would provide the focus and tools necessary to accelerate progress toward ending preventable maternal and child deaths by:
Establishing the goal of ending preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths by 2030;
Requiring the Administration to implement a strategy to achieve this goal by scaling up the most-effective evidence-based interventions;

Permitting USAID greater flexibility to use “pay-for-success” financing models where foreign aid is only expended for results rather than inputs, and
 establishing a permanent Maternal and Child Survival Coordinator at USAID who would be focused on implementing the strategy and verify that the most effective interventions are scaled up in target countries.



Saint Joseph’s College Establishes Science Scholars Program with National Science Foundation Funding


[Standish, Maine] - President James Dlugos announced that Saint Joseph’s College of Maine has been awarded a five-year $647,000 grant, from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund the Saint Joseph’s College Science Scholars Program. This is a program designed to encourage academically-talented students, who have demonstrated the need of financial assistance, to enter into and succeed in a community of young scientists. The Saint Joseph’s College Grant Award–from the S-STEM NSF Program–is the only award of this nature in the state this year and the largest of its kind in Maine, to date. The grant, which recognizes the College’s innovative science education programming, provides considerable scholarship aid, ranging from $5,000 to $7,200 per year for each of the recipients’ four years in college. The first group of Saint Joseph’s College Science Scholars will be selected from first-year students entering in the fall of 2018 who are committed to studying in a range of science fields, including: chemistry, biology, environmental science, biochemistry, and marine science. 
 
“In today’s rapidly changing world, education in science, technology, engineering, and math has never been more important,” said Senators Susan Collins and Angus King in a joint statement. “This grant will be instrumental in giving students the opportunity to pursue promising STEM careers and become the next generation of trailblazers in their respective fields. Saint Joseph’s College has been a leader in equipping students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century, and we are pleased that these scholarships will provide more motivated, young people with access to this quality education.”

The selected Saint Joseph’s College Science Scholars will benefit from receiving:

Four years of scholarship support at levels ranging from $5,000 to $7,200 each of four years;

One-week field experience prior to the freshman fall;

Use of a laptop for four years;

Science Scholar seminars, conferences, and research experiences;
 
Support from faculty and upperclassmen mentors.

About the award, President James Dlugos, Ph.D. said, “This National Science Foundation Grant allows us to recruit and graduate some of the best science students from New England and beyond. With these funds, we can offer greater access to higher education in the sciences, offer an innovative approach to science career development, and help meet the growing workforce needs in STEM fields. 
Since the college has built new science laboratories this past year, it’s an opportune time for students to consider studying science at Saint Joseph’s College.”

Dr. Steven Jury, Assistant Professor of Biology and Principal Investigator on the grant said, “We are excited to have the opportunity to recruit excellent science students with diverse backgrounds and have them choose our Science Scholars Program. With our access to Sebago Lake, the Gulf of Maine, the White Mountains, and coastal estuaries, Saint Joseph’s College students not only study science, but will work as a community of scientists in the lab and field. We’re confident that our Science Scholars Program can serve as a model for other programs across the country.”

Dr. Johan Erikson, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences and Co-Principal Investigator
said, “Our students are securing jobs in the science field as soon as they graduate; jobs in water quality science, biomedical chemistry labs, and environmental science fieldwork positions. And yet, we need more students. We have biomedical corporations approach us and ask, ‘How can we increase the pipeline of science students who are available to recruit? We are having trouble filling available positions.’ Nationally, there is a shortage of critical thinkers and problem solvers in the science fields. We are trying to address this by creating a new model for science education at the college level.”

Dr. Marion Young, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Co-Principal Investigator on the grant said, “The Science Scholars Program fosters building a community of scientists, helping science students to become part of a team, part of something even bigger than the College. This project fits well with both Saint Joseph’s College’s core value of engaging community and the Sisters of Mercy’s critical concern for the environment.” As the social scientist on the grant, Dr. Young will research the impact of science students’ participation in the grant-funded program, including their persistence through the four-year college experience and after graduation.

For more information about the scholarship criteria and application process, see www.sjcme.edu/science or contact the Saint Joseph’s College Admissions Office at 800-338-7057 or admissions@sjcme.edu.