Community banker Karen Hart will retire at the end of the month after 37 years of service to Skowhegan Savings, according to a news release.

Karen Hart Photo courtesy of Skowhegan Savings

Starting her career as a teller in 1982, Hart is the bank’s longest serving employee, seeing four bank presidency changes during her tenure. She became the bank’s first marketing officer in 1989 and, in that role, the voice of the bank’s advertising for 24 years.

“Karen served in many roles at the bank over the past 37 years, but one consistent has been her dedication to the bank, our customers and our communities,” CEO John Witherspoon said, according to the release.

In 2014, she was promoted to branch manager of the bank’s Skowhegan locations, overseeing their day-to-day operations. Hart finishes her career as a community banker in the Somerset County region assisting customers with their mortgage and consumer loan needs.

“We wish her well in retirement and suspect she’ll continue to play a major role in making our communities a better place to live and work,” Witherspoon said, according to the release.

A Farmington native, Hart has a long-standing civic commitment to the area’s communities. She served on the board of Lake George Regional Park for 17 years, was on the board of Maine Street Skowhegan from 2005-2012 and acted as a cabinet member for the Mid-Maine United Way for two years. Currently, Hart has been on the Skowhegan Run of the River Committee since 2000, is chairwoman of the Western Mountains Committee of the Maine Community Foundation and is a member of the Skowhegan Rotary, where she was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship award in 2008 for her commitment to the organization.

Hart resides in Smithfield with her husband, Steve, enjoying just about anything the Maine outdoors has to offer and time spent with her two grown children, Andrew and Alexandra, who live in Portland and Brooklyn, New York, respectively.


Franklin Community Health Network president to retire at year’s end

Timothy A. Churchill, president of Franklin Community Health Network since 2016, has announced his retirement effective Jan. 1, 2020, according to a news release from FCHN based out of Farmington and Norway.

Churchill has led FCHN for the past three years and served as the president of Western Maine Health in Norway for 23 years.

With the announcement, Churchill draws to a close a successful career in health care leadership spanning four decades.

Timothy A. Churchill Photo courtesy of the Franklin Community Health Network

“We’ve been very fortunate to have Tim’s vision and steady leadership these last three years,” said Clint Boothby, chairman of the FCHN board, according to the release. “Tim has led us through a critical time, overseeing our integration into the MaineHealth system, including implementation of our new electronic medical record platform. We are very grateful to have had the benefit of his experience.”

Churchill was named interim leader of FCHN in 2016 following the retirement of Rebecca Arsenault. In February of 2018, the FCHN board decided to make Churchill its president on a permanent basis, sharing him with Western Maine.

“The people who work at Franklin, as well as at Western Maine Health, do an extraordinary job providing great patient care and promoting health in their community despite the challenges faced by rural hospitals in today’s environment,” said Churchill, according to the release. “I will miss working with them, but I know the people of the Farmington region will be well served by this amazing team for many years to come.”

Churchill was named president of Western Maine Health and its flagship, Stephens Memorial Hospital, in 1996. Prior to that, he held various executive posts in the health care industry dating back to the 1980s. His first leadership role was as CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Philadelphia in the early 1990s. He has also served as president of the Osteopathic Medical Center of Philadelphia and president of Windber Medical Center in Windber, Pennsylvania. Born in Lewiston and raised in Waterville, he holds an MBA from the University of Maine and a bachelor’s degree from King’s College in Pennsylvania.

“As a leader, Tim has set the standard across our system,” said Rich Petersen, president of MaineHealth, according to the release. “This is especially true when it comes to attracting and retaining top-notch physicians and other team members. People really enjoy working for the organizations he leads.”

Boothby said that his board, in consultation with MaineHealth leadership, has decided to replace Churchill with a president who will oversee just FCHN. He said this does not diminish the value of working cooperatively with Western Maine and other MaineHealth organizations, but there remain challenges at FCHN that are best tackled by a leader who can be there full-time.

“What we learned from sharing our president with WMH is that, first, there are real opportunities to leverage expertise and resources with a regional partner, and that work should continue,” said Boothby, according to the release. “However, there is also the reality that the geography that separates Norway and Farmington can be challenging for a leader who must oversee both organizations. We really appreciate the time and travel Tim has put in to make this arrangement work, but at this time, it makes sense to bring in a leader who can focus on FCHN full time.”

Boothby said his board will form a search committee by April 30, and that they hope to hire a new president by the end of the calendar year.


Kennebec Federal Savings to offer homebuyers assistance through FHLBank Boston

Kennebec Federal Savings in Waterville has been selected to participate in Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Housing Our Workforce program, according to a news release from the bank.

Launched this year, HOW provides assistance to FHLBank Boston financial institution members to help local homebuyers earning more than 80 percent and up to 120 percent of the area median income with down payments on owner-occupied primary residences. In Kennebec and Somerset counties, this is generally in the range of $48,000 to $72,000 in household income.

The $2 million program offers a two-to-one match of down payments made at the time of purchase by eligible homebuyers. Borrowers can receive up to $20,000 in assistance on a first-come, first-served basis.

Allan Rancourt, president of Kennebec Federal Savings, is delighted to participate in the HOW program. “Over the years, we have found that most homeownership programs are designed to assist lower-income individuals and families while leaving out those families with slightly higher income, who often face challenges to afford homeownership as well. What’s great about this program is it will help a greater number of borrowers achieve homeownership, which is vitally important to the economic well-being of our Central Maine community,” Rancourt said.

Kennebec Federal Savings is eligible to receive up to $100,000 in 2019 through Housing Our Workforce, depending on the availability of funds.


Bridging the Gap hires operations and service manager

Bridging the Gap has received a $20,000 grant from the Avangrid Foundation in partnership with Central Maine Power to increase capacity.

Bridging the Gap is one of many United Way of Kennebec Valley partner programs serving people in and around Augusta. In addition to the Warming Center, BTG operates Addie’s Attic Clothing Bank, Everyday Basic Essentials Hygiene Pantry, the No Person Left Behind Volunteer Program and offers resource connection and guidance to individuals seeking healthier, more stable circumstances. More than 3,000 individuals are reached via these services every year, according to a news release from Director Sarah Miller.

The $20,000 grant is funding a new position, an operations and service manager, responsible for the daily operations of the clothing bank and hygiene pantry and the overall functionality of the facility. Nicole Sciascia was hired and began work on April 2.

The Avangrid Foundation is the primary charitable arm of AVANGRID Inc. and invests in philanthropic efforts primarily in areas where AVANGRID and its subsidiaries, including Central Maine Power, operate.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support we’ve received from the Avangrid Foundation and CMP,” Miller said in the release. “We are pleased that the foundation recognized the importance of creating this new position and the positive impact it will have. Not only will the clothing bank and hygiene pantry receive more consistent oversight but we will also be able to re-direct some time toward strengthening the other components of BTG and its overall sustainability”.

“The Avangrid Foundation is committed to building on and honoring more than a century of community partnerships, investments and engagement that we have in places like Augusta,” said Nicole Licata, Grant Avangrid Foundation director, according to the release. “It is an honor to help BTG grow capacity that is so critical to a community that is also our home.

Bridging the Gap is a ministry of Emmanuel Lutheran Episcopal Church and is located at 209 Eastern Ave., in Augusta. Addie’s Attic Clothing Bank and Everyday Basic Essentials Hygiene Pantry are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for distribution on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to noon the first and third Saturdays. General office hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information or to make a donation, contact 248-1782.


Spread the love: Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive at Bangor Savings Bank branches in May

The eighth annual Bangor Savings Bank Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive will begin May 1 and continue through May 31 at all branches in Maine and New Hampshire, according to a news release from the bank.

The Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive began in 2012 to provide food pantries and other hunger prevention programs with a high-protein food item that is often in short supply and high demand. Donations of peanut butter and jelly jars can be dropped off inside any Bangor Savings branch during operating hours.

The donated peanut butter and jelly will be distributed to hunger prevention organizations throughout Maine and New Hampshire. The drive has collected more than 66,000 jars during the past seven years, and this year Bangor Savings is hoping to top the record one-year total of 12,645 jars.

“We continue to see the impact of food insecurity across our region,” said Bangor Savings Bank President and CEO Bob Montgomery-Rice, according to the release. “We are proud to help area food pantries through our Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive each year. We believe that together we can reduce hunger across New England, and we’re sincerely grateful for the continued support of our employees, customers and local businesses.”

The bank will contribute an additional two jars for every “selfless selfie” taken by a contributor when they make their donation at a branch. People can email their selfies to [email protected], and the photos will be posted on the Bangor Savings Facebook page to recognize supporters on social media.

And, every time #bsbpbj2019 is used on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram during the month of May, the bank will donate one more jar to the drive until the drive goal is exceeded, according to the release.

NewsCenter Maine is the media partner for the 2019 drive.

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