Conservation groups hire policy, partnerships director

Kathleen Meil has joined the staff of the Maine Conservation Voters and the Maine Conservation Alliance as director of policy and partnerships, according to the organization.

She will manage the Environmental Priorities Coalition and the Clean Energy for All program, among other duties.

Maureen Drouin, executive director of both organizations, said “Kathleen joins our team at an exciting time for Maine’s environmental future. Gov. Janet Mills has made climate change a centerpiece of her new administration, and we have strong conservation leadership in the House and Senate. At the same time, the Environmental Priorities Coalition is implementing its new strategic direction plan, prioritizing climate change, and building long-lasting power for the environment,” according to a release by the MCV and MCA.

Before joining MCV/MCA, Meil advanced clean, local, renewable energy as a policy advocate at the regional nonprofit Acadia Center, where she developed the Community|EnergyVision Action Guide, collaborated on regional transportation climate policies, and advocated for rural environmental health. She has experience in Maine’s energy efficiency sector, as an educator in public and independent schools, and as a candidate for public office. She holds a master’s degree in education from Lesley University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.



River Arts in Damariscotta appoints executive director

Daryl Burkhard, of Waldoboro, has been appointed executive director of operations of River Arts in Damariscotta. Burkhard has broad experiences in management, finance and creative arts, according to a news release from River Arts.

In addition to her Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and Master of Science degree in natural resource policy and planning from the University of Georgia, she has a Master of Accountancy from the University of Georgia. She pursued and developed her interest in art through a four-year program at Studio Incamminati School for Contemporary Realist Art in Pennsylvania, where she was awarded a Diploma of Fine Art.

Burkhard, who moved to Maine recently, was introduced at a recent opening reception at River Arts.

River Arts is at 241 U.S. Route 1 north in Damariscotta.



Care & Comfort donation aids Waterville animal shelter

The Humane Society Waterville Area was the recipient of a gift from the Care & Comfort Waterville administrative team’s Jeans Fund. Since 1970 this organization has provided sanctuary, care, and humane treatment for lost or unwanted pets while helping them find their homes, according to a news release from Cyr Associates Inc., in Bangor.

Animals arrive at the society’s shelter for a variety of reasons. They may be found as strays running at large who either have become lost after wandering from home or have been abandoned by their owners. Some owners, for a variety of reasons, may find that they no longer can take care of their pets, so they surrender them to the shelter for a new placement.  Through the efforts of the staff and volunteers, the shelter’s homeless guests are rehabilitated to support bonding and trust with humans, being fully vetted, spayed or neutered and microchipped before being ready for adoption. Those that arrived because they ran off also receive a safe, warm space in which to relax while waiting for their humans to arrive and take them home.

The Jeans Fund, an ongoing collaborative fundraising effort between Care & Comfort and their employees, has contributed more than $83,000 in the past 10 years to community-based nonprofit organizations. Every Friday staff may wear bluejeans to work in exchange for a donation. The agency then matches every dollar raised, and the employees of each branch select their local beneficiary semi-annually.


Waterville Creates! picks new board chairman


Waterville Creates!, an arts and cultural organization that also is a partner in improving the city, has elected Jim LaLiberty chairman of the group’s board of directors as of January, according to a news release from the organization.

As chairman, LaLiberty leads the board’s efforts to support Waterville Creates!’ goals to strengthen and promote Waterville’s arts and cultural organizations and offerings and advance plans to develop a new Downtown Arts Center.

The organization also recently added two new board members: Don Cragen, from Thomas College; and Debra Susi, from Maine Central Institute.

LaLiberty, an attorney at Jabar, LaLiberty & Dubord LLC, has practiced law in Waterville for 39 years. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Maine School of Law. He also is a member of the board of directors of MaineGeneral Health. He lives in Waterville with his wife, Julie, a seventh-grade teacher at Waterville Junior High School, according to the release.

Cragen is professor and chairman of the H. Allen Ryan School of Business at Thomas College, where his current research focus is in business strategy incorporating innovation adoption along with the use of a systems approach for business education. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration — accountancy and finance from Salem State University, a Master of Science degree in athletic training from Illinois State University, a Mater of Business Administration degree from Thomas College, a Master of Science degree in project management from Purdue University, and a global doctorate in sport management from the United States Sports Academy, according to the release. Prior to joining Thomas College, Cragen held the positions of collegiate athletic director, certified athletic trainer and union president. Cragen was a member of the editorial board for the national magazine Exercise for Men from 1999 to 2014.

Susi is a teacher and arts educator with more than 38 years of experience teaching students and actors from grades five through adulthood. In addition to directing more than 200 productions on a variety of school and community stages, Susi has served on a number of arts organization boards, including the New England Theatre Council board of directors, 2005-2009; the Waterville Opera House board of directors, 2016-2018; and the Maine Drama Council, 2005 to present. In 2009, Susi received a Maine Arts Teacher Fellowship to attend the La Mama Umbria International Symposium for Directors in Italy.


Compiled from contributed news releases


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