Credit unions across Maine are committed to making a difference in their communities and collectively participate in the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger. In 2021, Connected Credit Union raised $10,574.06 throughout the year from various fundraisers for the Campaign for Ending Hunger. All proceeds will go to 14 different local hunger agencies, serving local communities in Connected Credit Union’s service area, according to a news release from the credit union.

Those who would like to help end hunger in Maine can consider making an online donation to the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger at

Connected Credit Union, with locations in Augusta and Winslow, is a member-owned financial institution that serves Kennebec, Somerset, Lincoln and Waldo counties.

Gifford’s Ice Cream opens three of five family owned stands

SKOWHEGAN — Gifford’s Ice Cream opened its Bangor, Farmington, and Waterville stands as of Friday. Hours for the three stands will be from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from noon to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The Skowhegan and Auburn stands will be opening in the coming weeks with dates to be determined, according to a news release.

Gifford’s is offering several new flavors at its stands, including Blue Monstah Cookie, Cone-y Pretzel Whirl, Maine Black Fly, Banana Cream Pie and Black Forest Cherry Fudge. Three new quart flavors will be hitting stores later this spring, including: Banana Cream Pie, Turtle Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie.

Bath-based trust names new executive director

BATH — The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust has announced that Becky Kolak will be the conservation organization’s new executive director.


Becky Kolak Submitted photo

She has been the acting executive director of the trust since June 2021 and brings a wealth of land trust experience and vision to the role, according to a news release from the trust.

Kolak moved from Illinois to Maine in 2010 for an AmeriCorps Maine Conservation Corps position. She joined the trust in 2011 to build awareness about the importance of clean water for softshell clams in the region. After discovering the joy of dissecting clams with fourth graders and connecting people to beautiful parts of the local landscape, she became the land trust’s first education coordinator in 2012. In this role, she built KELT’s nature-based education programming, providing programs year-round for thousands of community members, visitors, and local students.

Building on her love of conservation and education, she became the trust’s program director in 2017. Kolak has since then continued to grow the reach of KELT’s education programs while also leading the land stewardship program and supporting the organization’s fundraising and human resources. After a decade of dedicating time, innovative ideas, and delightful puns to the trust, she has supported almost all facets of the land trust’s work and has developed countless community connections. Her enthusiastic vision for KELT’s future includes providing new public landscapes to explore as well as increasing accessibility to nature for all.

“I feel extremely lucky to have found a work-home at KELT so many years ago. The organization has provided opportunities for me to learn and grow in my professional career and most importantly, chances to be creative and navigate challenges, all while working to protect the natural wonders of the Kennebec Estuary region,” Kolak said. “It’s the wonderful people — the fellow staff, volunteers, partners, and donors — who I’ve worked alongside that keep me feeling that my efforts have genuine impact. Now, I can’t wait to dive in and connect KELT to new projects and supporters.”

Marie Mason Submitted photo

Madison Area Health Center welcomes new physician assistant Marie Mason

This March, staff at Madison Area Health Center welcomed physician assistant Marie Mason. She brings nine years of experience in family medicine and wound care, according to a news release from the center.

Mason earned her master’s degree in Physician Assistant studies from the University of New England in Portland. She has treated patients across central and western Maine, providing acute, chronic, and preventative treatments for patients of all ages. She has worked in the Madison-area before and recently shared, “I am excited to be back and working in the Anson and Madison area again.”


Summit Natural Gas of Maine launches low-income program for customers

YARMOUTH — Summit Natural Gas of Maine has received approval from the Maine Public Utilities Commission to begin administering a low-income program for residential heating customers. The commission’s approval of this program allows Summit to better meet the needs of its customers during a cold winter where energy costs have been a concern. Summit’s low-income program is the latest step in the utility’s ongoing efforts to support its customers and communities, according to a news release from the gas company.

“This program will provide our residential customers currently enrolled in LIHEAP a significant reduction in their monthly bills,” said Matt Jacobson, Summit’s director of sales & marketing. “As a company, we are always looking for ways to support our customers. Though natural gas is still more affordable than oil or propane, this low-income program will offer those struggling to pay their bills additional relief. When our customers are sitting around the table at night, we don’t want them worrying about how they’ll afford to heat their homes.”

Summit will offer enrollees in the low-income program a 28% reduction in facility and distribution charges on their monthly bills. Beginning April 1, Summit customers receiving state or federal low-income home energy assistance will be automatically enrolled in the program and will see it reflected as a credit on future bills. Customers who are eligible for LIHEAP but do not receive funds due to LIHEAP funding limitations are also eligible for the program and with proof of eligibility for LIHEAP assistance.

Summit urges customers struggling to pay their bills to call their customer service department as soon as possible to learn more about payment assistance options including payment plans, budget billing, energy efficiency rebates, and information about heating assistance programs offered by the state and municipality. Customers should call 800-909-7642 or visit for more information.

Sydney Scott Submitted photo

Northern Light Inland Hospital hires Sydney Scott

Northern Light Inland Hospital welcomes physician assistant Sydney Scott. Scott joins its team at Northern Light Cardiovascular Care at 244 Kennedy Memorial Drive at the hospital campus in Waterville, according to a news release from the hospital.

Scott is an experienced physician assistant and is board certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. She received her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“It is important for both the provider and patient to listen to each other and to build a relationship of respect and empathy,” said Scott.

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