Waterville Creates! adds Bushee, LaLiberty to board

The Board of Waterville Creates! has announced the addition of Dana Bushee and James LaLiberty to its board of directors.

“We are pleased to welcome Dana Bushee and James LaLiberty to our board,” Chairman Larry Sterrs said. “Both Dana and Jim have demonstrated strong leadership skills and a commitment to making Waterville a great place to live, work and play.”

Bushee, of Waterville, is the Jobs for Maine’s Graduates specialist at Cony High School in Augusta, working with youths who have barriers to their education to guide them toward meaningful careers. Before JMG, Dana was communications manager for Hardy Girls Healthy Women and managed the organization’s Training Institute and popular Adventure Girls program for girls in second through sixth grades.

Bushee is in her second term as a Waterville city councilor, representing Ward 6. She is the mother of two young daughters and is a graduate of Emerge Maine, a political training program for women who want to run for office.

Dana graduated with a degree in communications and journalism from San Diego State University and worked as a community reporter for the Los Angeles Times before teaching at an all-boys high school founded for at-risk youth in East Los Angeles.

LaLiberty is an attorney at Jabar, LaLiberty & Dubord LLC and has practiced law in Waterville for 35 years. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Maine School of Law. His practice is concentrated in the areas of business and commercial law. Currently the Waterville Opera House board chairman, LaLiberty is also a member of the MaineGeneral Health board of directors. He lives in Waterville with his wife, Julie, a seventh-grade teacher at the Waterville Junior High School.

Disability Rights Maine to host 15th annual membership dinner, distribute awards

Disability Rights Maine will hold its 15th annual membership dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport on Friday, Oct. 16. This event honors outstanding individuals and businesses who have worked to enhance and promote the equality, self-determination, independence and inclusion of people with disabilities.

Laura Fortman, deputy administrator, Wage & Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, will deliver this year’s keynote address. Disability Rights Maine will also recognize the recipients of the 2015 Equal Access for All Award, the Helen M. Bailey Advocacy Award and the Disability Rights Maine Business Award.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act is landmark civil rights legislation for people with disabilities. Our membership dinner is an opportunity to recognize some of the inspirational leaders who have worked to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities across Maine,” said Kim Moody, executive director of Disability Rights Maine. “This year’s awardees have advocated for the employment of people with disabilities, broken down walls within the deaf community, and ensured that a popular Maine destination is fully accessible to all individuals.”

Sen. Roger J. Katz is the recipient of this year’s Equal Access for All Award. Currently serving his third term in the Maine Legislature, Katz has a long history of public service to both his state and his hometown. In addition to his significant public service, which includes his tenure as mayor of Augusta, Katz is a true friend to the disability community. Katz has shown an unwavering commitment to disability issues through his advocacy of community inclusion, employment of people with disabilities and access to justice for DRM’s clients.

John Dunleavy is the recipient of the 2015 Helen M. Bailey Advocacy Award. A politically aware and passionate person, Dunleavy became deeply involved in deaf issues upon moving to Maine in 2001. He joined and led many local social and political groups, including the Deaf Rights Group, the Deaf Tea, Senator King’s Disability Advisory Council, the Portland Disability Council, MEAD and the Maine Center on Deafness’ board of directors. In 2013, Dunleavy began working for Maine Center on Deafness, first as a civil rights advocate and then serving as the interim director. He held this position until April 2015, when he moved to New York.

The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is the recipient of the 2015 Business Award. The Gardens, located on 270 acres of tidal shore in Boothbay, is committed to providing guests of all abilities with a fun and inspiring experience. With its diverse topography and expansive acreage, achieving this goal has not always been easy. Despite these challenges, The Gardens is committed to ensuring that their facilities are fully ADA-compliant, both now and in the future.

O’Connor Auto Park receives GM Green Dealer Certification

O’Connor Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac is the first dealership in New England to achieve Green Dealer status. The award was presented to owner Randy Hutchins by Doug Henderson, GM zone manager, and Ron Bavier, district sales manager.

The GM Green Dealer Program was introduced in 2014 to recognize dealerships based on their eco-friendly activities. “When we built the new dealership from the ground up, we knew we were looking at a tremendous opportunity to embrace new technologies and lower our carbon footprint,” owner Randy Hutchins said in a news release. “The installation of our geothermal system to provide heating and cooling is the cornerstone of our commitment to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.”

General Manager Paul McGuire was the point man on the certification process and recalls the grueling application process with pages of written responses for inquiries about everything from heating and cooling systems to water usage, waste generation, light fixtures and more. The application was followed by hours of follow-up interviews with GM management. “They even wanted verification that our vending machines were high efficiency. Turns out that our new high efficiency vending machines use approximately fifty percent less energy.”

O’Connor’s “green” strategy includes a geothermal system that has, at its core, 18 wells drilled to a depth of almost 400 feet. This gives the heat pumps a huge reservoir of water at a stable temperature from which to draw heat. There are miles of tubing in the floor of the showrooms and the customer delivery area providing radiant heat. When cooling is required, the geothermally cooled air is moved throughout the building in air vents.

“Heating and cooling is a very large expense for most dealerships, and we’re able to provide a very comfortable environment for customers and employees at a small fraction of the traditional cost,” Hutchins said. “Bottom line is that in going green we are saving a whole lot of green which positions us to remain fiercely competitive for years to come.”

Dragatsi & Co. joins Maine Health Management Coalition as new member

The Maine Health Management Coalition, a nonprofit organization working to reduce health care costs and improve the quality of clinical services in Topsham, has announced the addition of Dragatsi & Co. as its newest member.

Dragatsi & Co. is a new patient engagement company that works to help patients to be active participants in their care. Their mission is to empower, educate, facilitate and enable a two-way dialog between patients and their healthcare providers. While their current focus is on pharmacotherapy, Dragatsi & Co. plans to expand into other areas as their business grows.

As membership grows, the MHMC is able to achieve change faster to support the state’s citizens with a continually improving healthcare system.

“Dragatsi & Co. is committed to helping the coalition meet its goals of improved healthcare quality and lower healthcare costs in Maine, and we are helping to achieve that goal by focusing on patients’ engagement in their care. Studies show that engaged patients have better health outcomes, and better outcomes mean lower costs. Membership in the Coalition seemed like a natural fit,” stated Alex Dragatsi, co-owner of Dragatsi & Co.

The MHMC currently supports over 70 members representing thousands of Maine healthcare beneficiaries. For more information on MHMC or its membership, call Marie Stuckey at 844-8106 or email [email protected]

Wood heat initiative flourishing in Farmington and Wilton

Participants in the Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative gathered Oct. 1 to celebrate the program’s success. So far, the program has helped install state-of-the-art, high efficiency wood pellet boilers in 23 homes and eight non-residential buildings. Participants have saved more than $180,000 buying wood pellets manufactured in Maine instead of fossil fuel from out-of-state sources.

The benefits of the program go well beyond the direct participants. Their switch to using a “local heat” fuel source has generated more than $500,000 in positive economic impact for the region. “We’re championing modern wood heat as a strategy for creating jobs in the forest economy and reducing net carbon dioxide emissions,” said Program Director Maura Adams of the Northern Forest Center. “Most of the boilers we’ve helped install have replaced oil heating systems.”

The Northern Forest Center and local partner Western Maine Community Action invited participants in the program to dinner and a celebration of the program’s success. “Farmington and Wilton are model neighborhoods for wood heat now,” said Adams. “They have a high concentration of homes and non-residential buildings that have switched to wood pellet boilers for their primary heat source. Everyone who participates is an ambassador for wood heat, and we want to keep the momentum going even after our program winds up.”

The Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative has financial incentives remaining to help fund installation of wood pellet boilers in two more homes and three more buildings of any type other than single-family residences. Homeowners in Farmington and Wilton are eligible for subsidies of 15 percent of the installation cost, up to $3,000 each. Homeowners anywhere in Maine are also eligible for up to $5,000 in rebates from Efficiency Maine.

The subsidies for buildings other than single family homes, up to $12,000 each, can be used by businesses, non-profits and municipalities anywhere in Franklin or Oxford counties.

“We’re looking for the right projects for the last several subsidies,” said Adams, adding that the subsidies for the non-single-family buildings are available only through the end of November. Anyone interested in the last subsidies should email Gabe Perkins at [email protected] or call 217-7262.

The fully automated wood pellet boilers hook into the existing heat-delivery systems. Pellets are delivered in bulk to a storage unit that automatically feeds the boiler when the thermostat calls for heat. Unlike wood pellet stoves, there is no need to carry bags of pellets, feed the stove or clean it out daily. High-efficiency wood pellet boilers produce a small container of ash that can be spread on lawns and gardens a few times a year.

The Maine Model Neighborhood is one of four that the Center has started with local partners to motivate homeowners and commercial building owners to switch to “local heat” across the Northern Forest.

Kennebec County 4-H launches fall Paper Clover Campaign

National 4-H Council has announced the launch of the fall 2015 4-H Paper Clover Campaign in partnership with Tractor Supply Company. This event marks the sixth year of collaboration between the organizations on the national in-store fundraiser, benefiting state and local 4-H programming in each of the communities where a Tractor Supply or Del’s Farm and Feed Supply store is located.

“It’s a great way for our Clubs to promote 4-H in the community, to speak to what they have learned through this program, and to help us offer 4-H opportunities in new areas,” says Alisha Targonski, Kennebec County 4-H agent. “While many people know us for our strong agricultural science programs, many might not know us for our awesome hands-on experiences in engineering, leadership or healthy lifestyles. It’s all about developing young people into future leaders of this community.”

The fall 2015 4-H Paper Clover Campaign began October 7 and will be held through October 18. Shoppers at the Augusta and Waterville Tractor Supply stores will have the opportunity to purchase paper clovers for a $1 or more at checkout. All funds raised will be donated to 4-H and will support 4-H youth development program activities in Kennebec County.

Funds donated during the national campaign will be tracked online and recorded by state and by store. Visit www.tractorsupply.com/4-H for more information on the fall 2015 4-H Paper Clover Campaign and to view the donation tracker.

Marden’s raises $50,000 for MDA summer camp

Fourteen Marden’s locations in Maine raised money to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association save and improve the lives of kids fighting muscular dystrophy and related life-threatening diseases that limit muscle strength and mobility by participating in the MDA Summer Camp mobile program.

All during August, Marden’s employees sold $1 and $5 pin-up mobiles that enable customers to help send local children affected by neuromuscular diseases to MDA Summer Camp Agassiz Village in Poland at no cost to their families.

“MDA summer camp is often considered ‘the best week of the year’ for our kids, and it wouldn’t be possible without support from partners like Marden’s and its generous customers and employees,” said Brittni Bonville, fundraising coordinator for the MDA of Maine.

During the program, the stores creatively displayed the purchased mobiles on their ceilings and walls, visually declaring steadfast support for helping children affected by muscle disease get stronger and live longer.

This is the fifth year in which Marden’s has supported MDA through its mobile fundraising programs, raising more than $50,000 in 2015 to help accelerate progress for people whose abilities to move are compromised, including everyday abilities such as walking, running, hugging, talking and even breathing.

Money raised from the mobile program also helps MDA search for treatments and cures and supports its clinics, including the MDA Clinic at Maine Medical Center in Portland and Eastern Maine Medical in Bangor.

Franklin Community Health Network hosting annual meeting Oct. 19

Franklin Community Health Network is inviting interested members of the community to attend its annual meeting 5-6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, in the Bass Room at Franklin Memorial Hospital. Attendees will receive a printed annual report along with updates regarding new medical staff, new services and programs, benefits of our MaineHealth membership, future plans and more. Presenters will include Rebecca Arsenault, FCHN president, and Joseph Bujold, board chairman.

The meeting includes a social hour starting at 5 p.m. with refreshments. The program will start promptly at 5:30 p.m. and last no longer than one hour.

One of the highlights of the program is the presentation of the annual Community Health Leadership Award to a deserving member of the community. Through the award, FCHN recognizes the unsung heroes who work to improve the health of our greater community and its members.

Arsenault is available to speak to civic and community groups to give a condensed update of information presented at the annual meeting and to answer questions.

Those planning to attend the annual meeting should RSVP to Jolene Libby, assistant to the president, at 779-2265. Community groups interested in having Arsenault as a guest speaker are also asked to contact Libby.

Compiled from contributed releases