Ware-Butler Inc. Lumber & Building Supplies and the Giguere family have announced they will be joining the Pleasant River Lumber (PRL) family effective this month. Customers will notice little change as Ware-Butler will continue to operate as a stand-alone company under Pleasant River.

“We are happy to welcome everyone from Ware-Butler into our group. Ware-Butler has a great team and a very solid reputation. Our number one goal is to continue to provide the high level of service and value that Ware-Butler customers are accustomed to while utilizing our resources going forward to increase that value,” said Chris Brochu, co-president of Pleasant River Lumber.

For 95 years, Ware-Butler Inc. has provided exceptional service to its customers throughout central Maine and beyond, offering quality building materials and competitive prices. A modernized business that maintains old fashion values, Ware-Butler Inc. is a local family owned operation with three retail locations in Waterville, Madison and Livermore Falls.

“We are thrilled to work with the Brochu family to transition into this exciting new phase of Ware-Butler Inc. Our management team and I will be working conjointly with the PRL team to continue to increase the value of what we already offer to our loyal customers,” Richard Giguere, president of Ware-Butler Inc., said according to a news release from Ware-Butler Inc. in Waterville.

Pleasant River owns and operates lumber manufacturing facilities in Dover-Foxcroft, Jackman, Enfield, Hancock and Sanford that specialize in spruce/fir framing lumber and eastern white pine boards. In addition to the mills, they own Chaffee Transport, a trucking company in Clinton, Quality Saw Sales and Service, a full service saw filing and supply company in Enfield, and A&A Brochu Logging, a logging division specializing in commercial thinning, headquartered in Enfield.

“We have been interested in expanding into retail for years and are honored to be able to join forces with such a reputable and well managed company. We believe our culture and the culture of Ware-Butler are a perfect match and that both companies will be stronger, to the benefit of our customers, by coming together,” said Jason Brochu, co-president of Pleasant River Lumber, according to the release.


Melissa Guimond joins Fontaine Family — The Real Estate Leader team

Melissa Guimond has joined the Fontaine Family — The Real Estate Leader team at their Auburn location.

Melissa Guimond Contributed photo

She grew up in Sabattus, and attended Oak Hill High School in Wales. She then continued her education at University of the Arts, graduating with a major in dance. She instilled her love of teaching at The Dance Center in Auburn as a dance instructor and choreographer. To continue helping others, she also worked as a massage therapist at Family Chiropractic Center in Lewiston.

Guimond comes to Fontaine with her real estate sales agent license and looks forward to continuing her love of helping people find their forever home.

Guimond resides in Sabattus with her four children.

The Fontaine Family Team serves eight counties — Androscoggin, Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Oxford, Kennebec, Franklin and Somerset — in two locations, 336 Center St. in Auburn and 432 U.S. Route One in Scarborough.



Richard resigns as  Maine Arts Commission executive director

AUGUSTA — The Maine Arts Commission recently announced that Julie Richard has officially resigned from her eight-year post as the agency’s executive director, effective in December.

Julie Richard

Richard has accepted the position as the executive director to lead the Sedona Arts Center, a nonprofit organization in Sedona, Arizona.

“This has not been an easy decision for me,” Richard said in her letter of resignation. “I care deeply about the arts and culture sector in Maine, and I am very proud of what has been accomplished during my tenure.”

The Maine Arts Commission oversaw myriad accomplishments and policy changes under Richard’s leadership as she steered the cultural agency in a new direction. From the completion of the first comprehensive statewide cultural plan in 2015, to reforming the agency’s grants program to be more transparent and equitable, to the creation of ArtsEngageME, the statewide cultural network for arts advocacy, Richard’s tenure has helped foster a stronger and more vibrant arts and culture sector throughout the state.


In 2016, Richard oversaw the state’s first Arts Education Census which produced a comprehensive assessment of arts programming in Maine’s schools. The Census helped pave the way to launching several initiatives, one in which is currently improving access to the arts for six school districts in Washington County.

Between 2012-20, the Maine Arts Commission took on many challenges aimed at increasing the state and federal funding for the arts. The Commission has seen more than a $100,000 increase through its Partnership Grant with the National Endowment for the Arts over the past eight years. Within a typical fiscal year, the Arts Commission processes about 450 grant applications across multiple programs and artistic disciplines. In 2020, while enduring the difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Richard’s staff reviewed and processed 1,421 successful grants and provided much needed emergency relief to their constituents with additional funding from the NEA and CARES Act.

Under Richard’s leadership, the Maine Arts Commission also expanded its services, offering more professional development opportunities, workshops, and intensives for creative workers and their communities throughout the year. Thousands of artists and arts organizations that make up the agency’s vast network convened every other year when the Commission would host its biennial Maine International Conference on the Arts (MICA). The Commission staff is currently planning a Virtual MICA, after having to cancel the in-person conference that was slated for this autumn.

In the coming weeks it is expected that an interim director will be named who will work with the staff and Arts Commission members to ensure that ongoing progress will continue and planned programs, projects, grant deadlines and awards will proceed as scheduled.

Richard has offered to assist with the transition to new leadership by providing assistance and insight over the next few months as the Commission prepares for its next steps.

For further information regarding the Maine Arts Commission’s future leadership, please subscribe to the agency’s monthly e-newsletter at MaineArts.com or visit the Commission’s Facebook page.

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