Low-income nutrition benefit discount available at Gardiner co-op

The Gardiner Food Co-op and Cafe, having received a national grant, is offering more buying power for low-income customers seeking healthful foods.

Anyone receiving Maine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits will now receive a 50 percent discount on their eligible purchases when an electronic benefit transfer card is used.

The Gardiner Co-op is able to offer this program because it received funding through State Farm Insurance’s Neighborhood Assist Grant. The co-op was awarded the national grant because pf support through a Facebook voting contest.

The SNAP discount will be offered until the funding for the program is no longer available. Eligible product categories for this promotion include bread, bulk foods, dairy, herbs and spices, meat, produce, and general grocery items such as pasta, beans, cooking oil and baking ingredients. Products not eligible for this program include cookies, muffins, candy, chips, popcorn, crisps, crackers, bars, cold drinks, frozen foods and anything else already not accepted under EBT guidelines such as alcohol, health and beauty products, household products, hot food and drinks or gifts.

Healthy Communities of the Capital Area has also helped in making the SNAP discount program possible. Low-income families may also be eligible for scholarship memberships to the Co-op available through HCCA.

The Gardiner Food Co-op and Café is at 269 Water Street.

Three join Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice board

LEWISTON — Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice has announced the appointment of three people to the agency’s volunteer board of directors.

The new members are Jacqueline Fournier, of Mount Vernon, working at Central Maine Medical Center; Elizabeth Keene, of Farmingdale, at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center; and Chip Morrison, of Auburn, at Androscoggin Bank.

Other board members include Chip Liversidge, Rangeley, chairman; Miles Hunt, North Yarmouth, vice chairman; Christopher Gagnon, Windham, secretary; Alex Roy, Harrison, treasurer; Jeffrey Gosselin, Lewiston, membe at large; Christine Bosse, Sabattus; Sharon Cullenberg, Farmington; Jeffrey Lacroix, Auburn; Peter Mauro Jr., Auburn; Cyndi Robbins, Poland; Sharron Sieleman, Auburn; and Blake Whitaker, Turner.

International trade group confers 2 awards on Sprague & Curtis

AUGUSTA — Sprague & Curtis Real Estate has won two Member Achievement Awards presented by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a global community of more than 500 independent real estate firms, according to a news release from Sprague & Curtis.

The awards were presented to Bill Sprague on Feb. 25 during the network’s annual awards gala at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Florida. The presentation was part of the organization’s Conference Week, which drew nearly 2,500 real estate professionals from 25 countries.

Sprague & Curtis was presented the Highest Average Agent Production Awards in both units and in volume, which recognizes outstanding real estate sales productivity based upon the highest networkwide per-agent average for sales volume and number of transactions.

Sprague & Curtis is the central Maine representative of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, the largest network of locally branded firms in more than 50 countries, producing over 1 million annual home sale transactions.

Portland consulting firm, fundraisers’ association offer $5,000 scholarship

Demont & Associates, in partnership with the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northern New England, has opened nominations for a $5,000 college scholarship to a youth aged 10 to 17.

The AFP- NNE Demont Scholarship Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy recipient will be chosen from a pool of nominations by a New England Region Philanthropy Committee composed of development professionals working in the fields of education and youth services in northern New England.

The recipient will be announced Nov. 3 at the AFP-NNE’s annual conference during its National Philanthropy Day awards ceremony in Maine. Teachers, nonprofit leaders, development professionals and others working with young people are encouraged to submit nominations for the award. The deadline for nominations is April 18.

The nomination application is available online at http://www.afp-nne.org/youth-in-philanthropy-nomination-form.html.

The scholarship’s purpose is to foster greater interest among youth in the fundraising profession, according to Demont & Associates, a fundraising consulting firm based in Portland.

The 2014 scholarship award went to two Maine youths, Gabbie St. Peter and Alice Willette, while they students at George J. Mitchell Elementary School in Waterville. In lieu of birthday gifts, the best friends raised over $40,000 for what has been named the Purple Panther Food Pantry, located at the elementary school, which feeds hundreds of children attending that school as well as hundreds of younger children and their families at the Educare Central Maine early childhood school next door.

AFP-NNE began offering its first Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award in 2007.

Energy companies hosting two solar power events

HALLOWELL — ReVision Energy and Pika Energy are hosting a workshop Saturday, March 19, in Hallowell on new and changing solar energy options in Maine.

The companies also are offering a “solar energy 101” event Saturday, March 26, in the Spann Student Center at Thomas College in Waterville.

The focus of the Hallowell workshop will be current and forthcoming solar options, including growing options for battery storage. Attendees can learn how photovoltaic systems, especially when paired with heat pump technology for supplemental space heating and water heating, are a cost-effective way to reduce fuel usage immediately.

Current system pricing, financial incentives and loan programs, and community solar farm options in Maine also will be discussed, as well as potential changes to net-billing rules and other solar policies.

The workshop will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Maple Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast Inn and Conference Center, at 11 Inn Road in Hallowell.

Guests are encouraged to ask questions and bring their electric bills, and they will may sign up for a free solar site evaluation, The event is free and open to the public.

The Waterville session, scheduled for 9:30 to 11 a.m. March 26, also is open to the public.

Attendees can learn more about new solar options, including Pika inverters, storage technology and the growing number of solar farms in Maine, as well as a policy update on the future of solar power generation in Maine.

While on campus, they also can examine Thomas’ solar array, the state’s second-largest solar photovoltaic array. It is made up of almost 700 solar panels on the Alfond Athletic Center building, which produces almost 11 percent of the electricity used on campus. Thomas also has a geothermal building, the Alfond Academic Center.

MaineGeneral to mark prenatal program anniversary with mothers, babies, families

Recent MaineGeneral Medical Center maternity and pediatrics patients who were part of a group prenatal program giving support for mothers and their partners preparing for their newborns will celebrate the one-year anniversary of Centering Pregnancy this week.

The celebration is set for 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Alfond Center for Health, Conference Room 1, 35 Medical Center Parkway, in Augusta.

The program includes an individual health checkup followed by information sharing in a facilitated group setting. Women with similar due dates share experiences and get information on prenatal health, delivery and baby care.

Among the benefits to the 20 participating families, so far, in the program are zero pre-term births, a 100 percent rate of breastfeeding and a decrease in cesarean-section births.

Employers participate in Business Day event at State House

Employers from across Maine gathered Thursday at the State House in Augusta for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce’s eighth annual Business Day, according to a news release from the chamber.

More than 250 businesses of all sizes attended the event, which provides a chance for business leaders to discuss their priorities with lawmakers and state government officials.

Employers emphasized the importance of preserving and retaining existing jobs, strengthening Maine’s economy through the creation of new opportunities, and keeping Maine businesses competitive. Businesses also had the chance to showcase what they do.

Gov. Paul LePage’s senior policy advisor, John Butera, spoke at the event, along with legislative leaders, giving their perspectives on recent legislative activities designed to advance Maine’s economy and foster job growth.

Stained glass contest entries on display in Manchester

Stained Glass Express is inviting the public to see entries in its “Just for Fun” Glass Art Contest, on display throughout April, according to a news release from the company.

The annual contest, now in its 24th year, is held as part of the company’s celebration of National Stained Glass Month. Prizes are awarded by popular vote to winners in each of three categories. Categories include cold glass, for stained glass pieces; hot/warm glass, for flame-worked and fused pieces; and mosaics.

The contest received more than 60 entries last year from glass artists throughout Maine. First place winners received a $100 gift certificate; second place, $75.

Stained Glass Express invites glass artists working in any of the listed categories to submit their work by 5 p.m. Saturday, March 19. There is no entry fee, but entrants must agree to have their pieces on display for all of April at the company’s store, which is at 966 Western Avenue in Manchester.

For more information about the contest, including full contest rules and an entry form, go to www.stainedglassexpress.com/just_for_fun.html

Attorney Wilkinson joins Lipman & Katz

Attorney Les Wilkinson Jr. has joined the Augusta-based law firm Lipman & Katz, according to a news release from the firm.

Wilkinson has practiced law for more than 20 years in Maine, including for one of the largest firms in New England. He is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest peer-reviewed rating that service awards. He also was recognized recently again by The Best Lawyers in America for his excellence in corporate law and real estate law.

Wilkinson’s areas of expertise include business and real estate law, commercial financing, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and succession planning.

He has lectured at the University of Maine at Augusta and presented continuing legal education programs on real estate brokerage for the Maine State Bar Association and the Maine Association of Realtors. He is a past president and current member of the Maine State Bar Association, the Kennebec County Bar Association, the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Augusta Board of Trade. He also serves on several boards and committees in central Maine.

Wilkinson earned his law degree from the University of San Diego Law School and his undergraduate degree from Bates College in 1978.

Public relations program Friday to focus on crisis communications

AUGUSTA — The Maine Public Relations Council will continue its monthly professional development series with “Proactive Crisis Communications: Prepping Your Spokesperson,” a breakfast event scheduled for Friday, March 18, at The Senator Inn & Spa in Augusta.

Ethan Austin, director of marketing at Sugarloaf, and Nancy Marshall, CEO of Nancy Marshall Communications, will share tips and experience on crisis communications plans, preparing for a crisis and working with a variety of stakeholders in an interview-style format.

“Knowing the rules of engagement for dealing with a crisis before it happens is invaluable to your company and your brand. This session will provide you with the tools you need to get your plan in place,” said Kelly Barden, president of MPRC, in a news release.

The event begins at 8 a.m. with a half-hour of networking time. The program is scheduled for 8:30 to 10 a.m. Admission for MPRC members costs $20; for others, $35. Student discounts are available. A continental breakfast is included.

For more information and to register, visit www.meprcouncil.org or email MPRC at [email protected]

Compiled from contributed releases