Benedict makes Down East Best Of list

The Red Barn in Augusta was named Best Business Advocate in this year’s poll of Down East magazine editors’ favorites.

Thousands of Down East readers and editors voted February through April for statewide selections, according to a press release.

Red Barn owner Laura Benedict said in the release that the restaurant has raised almost $700,000 for local individuals and nonprofit organizations. When notified last year by the state attorney general that the restaurant needed a license to continue fundraising, Benedict worked with state Rep. Lori Fowle, D-Vassalboro, to get the Legislature to pass a law amending the charitable giving statute to make it easier for businesses to fundraise.

Benedict also created the Red Barn Cares Foundation to spearhead the business’s charity efforts.

“Receiving this award from Down East magazine leaves me a bit speechless,” Benedict said in the press release. “It is literally a dream come true.”

The press release says that, “based solely on popular vote, the winners represent the best of Maine as identified by the people who know Maine the best: residents and repeat visitors.”

“To be included in this list selected by the readers of Down East or the editorial team here means that you truly are part of what makes Maine so great,” said Editor-in-Chief Kathleen Fleury in the release. “Our readers and team take the task of selecting the Best Of very seriously. It really is an honor.”

The full list of businesses, places and more, appears in the July issue of the magazine.

Winthrop graduate opens lobster shack

Shannon Schmelzer, a 2006 Winthrop High School graduate, recently opened a lobster shack in Boothbay Harbor, Shannon’s Unshelled.

Shannon’s Unshelled, at 11 Granary Way, in Boothbay Harbor, features lobster rolls using fresh caught-daily lobster meat from Boothbay Harbor and served on a grilled sea-salted buttered roll. The roll comes with Maine manufactured soda and chips. Crabmeat rolls, hotdogs and Isamax Snacks whoopie pies are also on the menu, according to a news release from the company.

Schmelzer, 27, graduated from the University of Maine in 2011 with a degree in psychology, was prompted to start the eatery after working in the food industry, according to the release. The website is

Former United Way chief joins KBH

Tina Chapman, the former president of United Way of Mid-Maine has joined Kennebec Behavioral Health as director of development and communications, according to a press release from Thomas J. McAdam, KBH’s chief executive officer.

“We’re delighted to have someone with such a breadth of experience and skills join our team,” said McAdam in the release. The nonprofit KBH provides health care to more than 15,000 people in Maine and is the largest provider of mental health and substance abuse services in Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Chapman joined KBH’s management team on June 9. At the United Way of Mid-Maine, she directed the agency’s full operations including resource development, partner-agency funding allocations, community-impact initiatives, grant writing, strategic planning, volunteer management and board development. She had previously been healthy Maine partner director at the organization.

The Winslow resident previously worked for Kennebec Valley Community Action Program Family Planning in Waterville and was also admitting department supervisor at Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan.

Chapman graduated cum laude from the University of Maine at Farmington with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. She earned a master of business administration degree from Thomas College in Waterville. An active community volunteer, Chapman serves on the boards of Healthy Northern Kennebec, Waterville Rotary Club and the Maine Association of Nonprofits and is on the steering committee of the Central District Public Health Coordinating Council.

Local students recognized by Bank of Maine

Several area students are among the 24 high school seniors who were awarded a total of $24,000 in college scholarships by the Bank of Maine Charitable Foundation recently. This program provides $1,000 to selected high school seniors to be used toward the cost of attending college.

Since 1985, The Bank of Maine Charitable Foundation has awarded more than $367,000 in scholarships to 428 of Maine’s graduating high school seniors, according to a news release.

“The scholarships recognize academically successful students with a financial need who have displayed outstanding character through volunteer community service. The scholarship competition is open to high school seniors in all of the communities which the bank serves.

Central Maine students recognized are Faith Emery, Cony High School, Augusta; Jeffrey Pass, Erskine Academy, South China; Emalee Couture and Kristin Cosgrove, Gardiner Area High School; Galen Lichterfeld, Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, Fairfield; Erin Ballew, Hall-Dale High School, Farmingdale; Jason Stevenson, Maranacook High School, Readfield; Jacob Smith, Messalonskee High School, Oakland; Megan Barto, Richmond High School; Ben Wehry, Waterville High School; Maureen Tierney, Winthrop High School.

“The students represent the future leaders of our community. We are delighted to recognize their achievements,” said John W. Everets, chairman of The Bank of Maine Charitable Foundation, in the news release. “Providing opportunities for young people to further their education is an investment that benefits families and communities and helps build a stronger economic foundation for the future. We are proud to have assisted over 400 students in receiving a college education through The Bank of Maine Scholars program and look forward to seeing all that they will accomplish.”

New Marketplace businesses to open in summer, fall

Seven businesses are scheduled to open this summer and fall at Marketplace at Augusta, according to developer WS Development. The new openings will bring the number of shops and restaurant at the north Augusta complex off Civic Center Drive to more than 40, according to a news release.

New businesses set to open later this year include boutique Charming Charlie, restaurant Chipotle Mexican Grill, restaurant Elevation Burger, clothing store Maurice’s, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Supercuts and Yankee Candle.

Marketplace is owned and operated by Chestnut Hill, Mass., firm WS Development. It already includes Walmart, Home Depot, Barnes and Noble, among many other stores and restaurants. It recently lost clothing store Coldwater Creek when the company shut down.

Maine MEP center director earns Naval Reserve promotion

The Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership announced recently that its center director, Larry Robinson, received a promotion to full commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve. A 31-year active duty Navy and Naval Reserve veteran, Robinson oversees Maine MEP’s operations and is responsible for developing and implementing programs and partnerships to help the state’s manufacturers compete in the global economy.

“Maine MEP is proud to honor our center director’s service to his country,” said Muriel Mosher, president of the Maine MEP, in a news release. She said Robinson’s promotion “testifies to the leadership skills and commitment that he brings to every assignment. We are fortunate to benefit from his skills in leading Maine MEP’s operations.

Robinson was recently assigned executive officer of Naval Reserve Unit 0194, Naval Strike Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nev. With his promotion to commander, Robinson will be assigned to a new Naval Reserve within a year.

Maine MEP has a long history of supporting military service, Mosher noted. In addition to seeking the services of Robinson and other veterans on its own staff, Maine MEP has sponsored initiatives in the past to train veterans returning from service for careers in manufacturing.

In his role as Maine MEP Center director, Robinson is leading the implementation of a new business assessment service to help clients achieve their business objectives.

“In the very near future Maine MEP will be unveiling a new evaluation tool that we believe offers great value to manufacturers. Working with our project managers, companies will be able to quantify the key value drivers that contribute to their success and develop more focused strategic road maps for sustainable growth in the future. I’m very excited about this new initiative and look forward to my continued work with Maine manufacturers,” Robinson stated.

The Maine MEP is a program of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The national MEP system is a network of manufacturing extension centers that provide business and technical assistance to smaller manufacturers.

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