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SeniorsPlus reflects on Older Americans Month 2020

May is traditionally Older Americans Month, and 2020 is no different except the circumstances surrounding May this year are very different.   

With the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis, SeniorsPlus, Western Maine’s designated Area Agency on Aging, has faced expanded operations since March as a result of increased community demand that it has never seen before. Services at SeniorsPlus include information and assistance, short-term care management, Medicare counseling, caregiver support and respite, money management, and nutrition.

“Our staff will tell you they have never been busier,” said Betsy Sawyer-Manter, President and CEO of SeniorsPlus, noting that the organization has remained in operation throughout the pandemic. “In addition to the increased demand for food, our squad of social workers together with our other employees have had to develop new systems to ensure our interactions with our clients are not interrupted and remain strong.” 

Education Classes now offered online include “Coping with the New Normal within the COVID-19 Pandemic Support Group” and “Zoom 101,” as well as the usual exercise classes, health and wellness classes including evidence-based courses, and our usual array of support groups which includes Coping with Grief and Caregiver Support.

Edward Little class of 2020 top ten

Annabelle Pendleton, Rebecca Raby, Kegan Rodrigue, Alexis Jellison, Storm Jipson, Ryan Laferriere, Caroline Hammond, Emma Stoner, Benjamin Hallett and Jordan McKinnon-Cote

Edward Little congratulates all graduates of 2020 and highlights the top ten in order from first in class to tenth in class: Storm Jipson, valedictorian, Caroline Hammond, salutatorian, Emma Stoner, Ryan Laferriere, Kegan Rodrigue, Jordan McKinnon-Cote, Benjamin Hallett, Alexis Jellison, Annabelle Pendelton, Rebecca Raby.

Meservier and Associates to open new office in Auburn

Meservier and Associates, one of Maine’s top real estate agent teams, announces the opening of a new, independent company and a new office location in Auburn at 220 Main Street. 

Sue Meservier, the owner, has been an Auburn based real estate broker since 1987. She sees this as the perfect opportunity to expand her 15-agent team with her own company and in a new modern and state of the art office. Formerly associated with another real estate firm, the new office will provide the needed space for the company to expand and add more agents. It will specifically provide collaborative and solitary work environments to support agent growth and success. 

Sue Meservier and Meservier and Associates are well known throughout Androscoggin County for over 30 years of top sales results in residential real estate achieving top of the market sales positions for many years. Most important, Sue Meservier and Meservier and Associates is well known for their exemplary standard of service, proven real estate expertise, and attentive personal care of their clients’ needs. 

“I am absolutely thrilled to open this new, independent real estate brokerage office. This is the realization of a personal dream and has been a long time coming. I see excellent growth opportunities in the future,” said Meservier.

“We have an excellent group of real estate professionals on the team and together we are poised to help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals,” Meservier and Associates Top Producer, Tony Poulin commented. 

The team will be joined at the location by one of the top-rated mortgage brokers in the state, Harbor One Mortgage. “We will truly be one-stop shopping providing expert real estate services to the community of Androscoggin county,” said Meservier. 

“The building at 220 Main Street, Auburn will undergo immediate renovations. We expect to fully occupy the location within 3 months,” said Meservier. Temporary office space will be located at 79 Main Street in Auburn. 

More information about Meservier and Associates is available at ?www.meservier.com.

Out & About with Rachel Morin: Home project

This is the cottage near Willard Beach that Liz purchased as her first home (Photo by Elizabeth Morin).

As I write this article, we are in the month of May.  We are nearly halfway through 2020!  We are in the midst of the biggest pandemic, Covid-19, the world has known.  We are in quarantine and who knows for how long?  We have time on our hands and are adhering to Gov. Janet Mills wise advice, “Stay home.”

And so, daughter Liz and I, who have shared many projects over the years, decided one day last month, after eyeing her garage, that it was the day to tackle the garage and bring it back to its original pristine condition.

Out into the driveway went everything from the garage. Stuff lined neatly, up and down its length—neatly? No, helter-skelter, well, you get the idea.  The car had been moved to the street to clear the driveway for the contents of the garage.

We cleaned the interior of the garage and swept it clean.  We felt great about it!  We then returned 40 percent of what was in the driveway to the garage.  Yes, we deemed only 40 percent worth keeping! 

These items were placed in specific areas, keeping like things together, such as garden tools, rakes, shovels, winter equipment, summer equipment, wheelbarrow, lawnmower, leaf bags, etc.  

A bicycle that hadn’t been ridden in a year or two, was given space while Liz postponed the decision to keep it or give it away.

Her worktable, which is regularly used, held items for spring planting neatly arranged, and ready for her “I can’t wait to start my planting!”

Gone to Goodwill were surplus luggage, flowerpots, lawn chair, boxes of floor tile, ceiling lights, and finally, items destined for the dump, were hauled away.  We felt great and were proud of ourselves.  We kept returning to the garage to enjoy our results.

MSAD 52 Adult Education high school diploma graduate

Alex Boutot standing inside the house he is currently building while also completing his diploma studies online, being the first MSAD 52 Adult education 2020 student to finish!

MSAD 52 Adult and Community Education in Turner are very proud of all their students but would like to celebrate one very special and extremely motivated senior Alex Boutot! Alex Boutot not only accepted the challenges thrown at him during this stressful and uncertain time, but embraced them!  Boutot energetically exceeded expectations and managed to complete all of his coursework requirements early, making him the first adult education high school diploma graduate from the MSAD 52 Class of 2020. 

Boutot had a positive attitude right from the beginning, ever since he enrolled in the MSAD 52 Adult Education Program last year.  One of his teachers, Melanie North, noted, “Alex came to us with an incredibly positive attitude, and he has kept that optimistic and strong spirit throughout this entire journey.”  

Boutot was always the first student to lend a helping hand, whether that meant providing his classmates transportation to and from school or volunteering for community service activities offered through his Civic Engagement class. Through his Civic Engagement class, Boutot did things such as helping out with trash clean-up around Turner and participating in a homeless youth prevention forum through RCAM (Rural Community Action Ministry).  When asked how Boutot manages to stay so positive all the time, he answered, “I just think people should appreciate and embrace challenges because they can always teach you something and make you a better person.”  

Gov. Paul LePage interview

Seasoned healthcare leader joins Central Maine Healthcare

Steven G. Littleson, FACHE

A seasoned healthcare professional with leadership experience at multiple hospitals on the East Coast has joined Central Maine Medical Center as president. 

Steven G. Littleson, FACHE, who most recently served as chief integration and operating officer for Lancaster (PA) General Health, started his new role May 11.  

“Steve has more than 35 years of health care experience with progressive leadership and chief executive roles,” said Jeffrey L. Brickman, FACHE, CEO and President of Central Maine Healthcare. “He brings the talent and energy that a great institution like CMMC so richly deserves. He’s a dynamic leader with a passion for quality, innovation and excellence.”

Prior to his service in Lancaster, Littleson was the regional president of Jefferson Health in Philadelphia. He also served as president, hospitals division and chief operation officer for Hackensack Meridian Health (NJ). Additionally, Littleson has had senior roles at Meridian Health, Southern Ocean County Hospital in New Jersey, and Sentara Healthcare in Virginia. 

“It’s exciting to join Central Maine at a time of growth,” said Littleson.  “The medical center is not only an incredible community resource, it’s consistently at the forefront of high-quality care in the state of Maine.”

A fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Littleson served as an officer and chairman of the boards of the New Jersey Hospital Association and the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals. He has served on the boards of numerous community service organizations including Boy Scouts of America, United Way, Rotary International, American Red Cross, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He currently serves as an adjunct faculty member of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and he has been a regular guest lecturer for the Peking University Executive MBA program in Beijing, China. He is a certified youth lacrosse coach and served for ten years as the president of a recreational soccer league.

Littleson earned his Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Gettysburg College, his Master of Health Administration from Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University, and his Doctorate in business administration from Walden University. 

Central Maine Medical Center located in Lewiston, is a Level II Trauma Center serving Androscoggin County and the surrounding region. CMMC’s “Centers of Excellence” include the Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute, the Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Neonatal Intermediate Care Unit, and a Trauma Services Program. CMMC is also the southern Maine base for LifeFlight of Maine, the state’s only medical helicopter service. Supported by the latest technologies, CMMC’s skilled professionals provide outstanding care delivered with compassion, kindness, and understanding. Learn more at: www.cmmc.org. 

Central Maine Healthcare (CMH) is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving 400,000 people living in central, western, and mid-coast Maine. CMH’s hospital facilities include Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Bridgton Hospital, and Rumford Hospital. CMH also supports Central Maine Medical Group, a primary and specialty care practice organization. Other system services include the Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute, a regional trauma program, LifeFlight of Maine’s southern Maine base, the Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center, and other high-quality clinical services. 

Out & About with Rachel Morin: The Androscoggin River

The river can be quiet and still, compared to its polluted history.  It has come a long way – scenic and recreational activities thrive.

Story and photos by Rachel Morin

This is the first April in so many years I have not gone down to the Androscoggin Falls to take pictures of the Androscoggin River pouring wildly and furiously over the rocks.

It’s a glorious sight to behold and always a sizeable crowd is assembled, cameras clicking away.  Children, dogs and the roaring sound of the water add excitement and wonder at the sound of the water rushing by.

The Mighty Androscoggin, 178 miles long, originates in New Hampshire and twists and turns through Maine on its way, to join the Kennebec River at Merrymeeting Bay before it empties into the Gulf of Maine on the Atlantic Ocean.

The river has meant a lot to us Mainers and we take great pleasure in all it has to offer.  It has public boat launches and is a great resource for canoeing, kayaking and fishing.  It has biking, walking and hiking with river walks and multi-use trails.  But it is just the sight and sound of it that draws some of us.

We are proud of our Auburn River Walk that passes through the heart of the old mill district of the Twin Cities of Auburn and Lewiston.  The 1.6 mile paved and gravel path offers many scenic views of the Androscoggin River, the powerhouse that fueled the historic mill industry. 

A section of the trail crosses the Androscoggin River on a trestle built by the Grand Trunk Railroad in 1909.

Follow the path and one can read the historical markers and learn the history of Lewiston/Auburn and the river.  The segment is paved in bricks and offers benches for viewing wildlife.

Taking the right fork from Bonney Park carries you across the Androscoggin River on a 425-foot converted railroad bridge.  Viewing the river, you can appreciate the local efforts to clean up this waterway, once known as the most polluted in the state.  

As a young wife, I remember the heavy smell of river — especially on hot summer days — crossing the North Bridge and seeing the white gray foam churning below.  I so appreciate having the river walk as a place to bring my grandchildren to enjoy nature and admire the falls as their parents did.  We skipped stones and fed the ducks. 

After crossing the bridge, you will run into Simard-Payne Memorial Park, which serves as a welcoming gateway to the trail and river.  The park has several small walking paths that led down to benches along the river and a paved loop encircling the park.  At the top of the loop, a short trail leads to a gravel lot for parking and a picnic area.  Much of the description of the Auburn River Walk was taken from Traillink.com.

A footnote to how L/A residents feel about the Androscoggin River is the Logo for USM Lewiston Auburn Senior College. An Ad Hoc Committee was appointed to create a logo for the college.  The seven member group met several times during the fall of 2012 brainstorming and came up with a logo making it uniquely Lewiston-Auburn:  The Androscoggin River, falling over the rocks connecting (not dividing) Lewiston and Auburn — a landmark that is readily recognized as Lewiston-Auburn. The motto “Forever Learning” depicts the mindset of all Senior College members. Five versions of this Logo were presented to the Board in January 2013 and one version was accepted unanimously. 

In the midst of the world-wide pandemic of the Corona Virus, I have adhered to the rule of not going anywhere unless it is of prime importance.  It was hard not to go see the Falls in April as I always did. And so, I took solace in reviewing the hundreds of photos I took over the years.  I’ve enclosed a few here.   

Museum L-A launches Androscoggin River photo contest

 Museum L-A invites the public to participate in a photo contest as part of our upcoming gallery exhibit. The new exhibit dives into the history of the Androscoggin River to celebrate this waterway and its effects on the industrial development of many cities throughout Maine. Photographs submitted to the contest will help to showcase the natural beauty of one of the largest rivers in Maine.

Contest submissions must feature some part of the Androscoggin River from its headwaters to the shore. This includes general river views, shots of the Great Falls and other falls along the river, any Androscoggin watershed areas, and photos showcasing flora, fauna, or geographic features along or in the river. Museum L-A encourages submissions from anyone in the Lewiston-Auburn community and beyond to feature great views of this waterway throughout Maine. All submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee appointed by the museum. Winning photographs chosen by the committee will then be mounted in Museum L-A’s gallery for the duration of the upcoming Androscoggin River exhibit.

All photographs submitted for consideration must be accompanied by a completed submission form, available on Museum L-A’s website, before the submission deadline of May 23. Photos can only be submitted by the person who took the photograph. If the photo was taken by a minor (under age 18), their legal guardian must sign the submission form for them. Individuals can submit two photos for consideration in the contest. All submissions must be sent digitally using the online submission form available on Museum L-A’s website or by sending them to marketing@museumla.org

Additional information and a submission form can be found on Museum L-A’s website, www.museumla.org. Further questions can be sent to marketing@museumla.org.

Museum L-A wishes to thank Grow L+A for their commitment and leadership in the pursuit of an upgrade of the Androscoggin River water classification and their collaboration on this photo contest project.

Museum L-A is located in the Bates Mill Complex at 35 Canal Street in Lewiston, Maine. It is currently closed to the public, but its regular hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Special tour requests and large group tours outside of these hours are available by appointment.

Seniors Not Acting Their Age: Pandemic paddling

Canoeists paddle the upper St. George River

The pandemic has complicated our lives in many ways.  Like virtually everything else, paddling while complying with safe distancing guidelines is a difficult challenge.  Shuttles are particularly problematic.

The Penobscot Paddle and Chowder Society cancelled all trips until further notice.  Although paddling is an excellent source of exercise, the decision was made out of an abundance of concern for safety.  Mandated limits on group size and social distancing were the primary factors.  

Informally, Chowderheads have formulated a system to stay active paddling while complying with the current guidelines.  Essential is keeping the group size small.  Choosing outings that are comparatively easy minimizes complications and facilitates separation on the water.  

The shuttle dilemma can be addressed by several methods.  The easiest is to have a willing household member who is not paddling drive shuttle for a participant from the same household.  Traveling to the river in separate vehicles and biking the shuttle is a functional alternative.  Separating two people in a vehicle by six feet while both are wearing masks is another choice.

Recently, my retired friend Bud Gilbert and I decided to complete a paddle on the St. George River in Searsmont and Appleton utilizing the new system.  Bud and two family members would paddle two canoes and complete a vehicle shuttle.  I would take a kayak and bike my shuttle.

The Searsmont to Appleton section of the St. George is a relatively easy Class I/II five-mile excursion and is the location of a very popular downriver race held there each spring.  The race was originally scheduled for the day after our trip but cancelled.  

Since I needed more time than Bud to complete a shuttle, I drove to the launch site in Searsmont an hour early.  Cabling my kayak and paddling gear to a tree next to the river, I traveled to the takeout on Route 105 in Appleton.  Other paddlers were making shuttle arrangements, including some who were cycling.  Leaving my car, I completed the bike ride arriving in time to relax while waiting for Bud. While this may seem a tedious convoluted chore, in actuality biking adds an enjoyable dimension to the paddling experience I call a surf and turf.

Before club trips were cancelled, Bud and I had scheduled a St. George outing on this same date in memory of the late Skip Pendleton.  One of the oldest members when he died a couple of years ago, the St. George was Skip’s favorite river and he assisted with race safety for many years.  When he arrived, Bud announced he was paddling a seventeen-foot Old Town Tripper and Skip would be his bowman in spirit.  Counting Skip, there would be three old codgers on this escapade. Two of Bud’s young family members were paddling an identical Tripper.  Since I was in a kayak less than half the size, it would be a dinghy among aircraft carriers.

Embarking in flat water, a small beaver dam was soon encountered.  Undeterred by the impediment built by the pesky rodents, our boats were able to power over the barrier and slide down a narrow chute.  Calm water continued for about two miles to a giant rock midstream, a well-known landmark indicating whitewater was around the bend.

While the canoeists rested, I hurried ahead to take pictures at the end of the rapid near Ghent Road Bridge.  The stimulating Class II stretch of whitewater begins about three hundred yards above the bridge culminating with more substantial waves and a steeper gradient requiring an awkward maneuver at the finish.  Arriving in sufficient time to snap photos of both canoes, Bud negotiated a perfect route which he attributed to an effective draw by Skip.

Below the bridge, entertaining whitewater continued unabated for a long mile and then gradually diminished to quick water.  Following a short calm sector, a horizon line indicated Magog Chute was just below, the steepest drop on the river.  Fortunately, I was far enough ahead to jump out to photograph their descents.  Both canoes successfully navigated down a narrow channel with Skip receiving kudos for another assist.

Most or the remainder of the outing was flatwater except for some waves at the takeout.  Approaching the Route 105 Bridge, many fishermen were lined up on both sides of the river, all carefully maintaining six feet of separation.  

Our assessment, the trip was a great success.  Vehicles were awaiting our arrival.  The procedures had worked very well portending more paddling adventures.

Author of “The Great Mars Hill Bank Robbery” and “Mountains for Mortals – New England,” Ron Chase resides in Topsham. Visit his website at www.ronchaseoutdoors.com or he can be contacted at ronchaseoutdoors@comcast.net.


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