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This week’s edition!

Senior dogs at GAHS Fetch grant

Old dogs have something to wag about this summer, as The Grey Muzzle Organization announces the recipients of its annual grants, and dogs at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society (GAHS) are among the winners.    

GAHS in Lewiston is one of sixty-four animal welfare groups chosen from two hundred eighty-eight applicants to receive a grant to help local senior dogs. The winning groups received more than $510,000 in grants to help save or improve the lives of at-risk old dogs in their communities. 

“Senior dogs deserve the best in life but often need extra medical care, which can be a strain on shelter resources that are already stretched thin. We are so thankful for the Grey Muzzle Organization, for supporting us to help senior dogs thrive in our community” said Katie Lisnik, Executive Director of the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society. “This grant helped us give senior dogs like 8-year-old Wanda, the veterinary and dental care she needed; so she is now ready to go to her forever home,” said Lisnik. “No one is more grateful or loving than an old dog, and we’re looking forward to helping more senior dogs get the second chance they all deserve.”

Over the past twelve years, the national nonprofit Grey Muzzle Organization has provided $2.5 million in grants to support its vision of “a world where no old dog dies alone and afraid.”

“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’re delighted to help deserving organizations like the GAHS make a difference in the lives of dogs and people in their communities,” Grey Muzzle’s Executive Director Lisa Lunghofer said. “Many senior dogs in Androscoggin County are enjoying their golden years in loving homes thanks to the wonderful work of GAHS.”

The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society provides a safe haven for over 3,500 sick, homeless and abused animals in the greater Androscoggin area per year. The primary support for the Shelter comes from fundraising events and donations of concerned citizens.

The Humane Society is located at 55 Strawberry Avenue in Lewiston. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering at the shelter or adopting an animal call the Shelter at (207)783-2311 or visit the website at www.SavingPetsInMaine.org. You can also join them on www.facebook/GAHumane.

The national nonprofit The Grey Muzzle Organization improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and other nonprofit groups nationwide. For details, please visit www.greymuzzle.org https://www.greymuzzle.org 

Wanda is a sweet senior gal available for adoption at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society. For more information, please visit www.SavingPetsInMaine.org or call: 207-783-2311.

Dr. Cynthia DeSoi, MD Joins the Team at Androscoggin

Dr. Cynthia DeSoi, MD

Androscoggin Home healthcare and Hospice welcomes Dr. Cynthia DeSoi, MD as staff physician for their home healthcare, hospice and palliative care programs. DeSoi most recently served as a Nephrologist at Nephrology Associates of Central Maine where she established multiple outpatient satellite clinics in rural Maine and provided leadership in quality and safety initiatives in many inpatient and outpatient settings throughout the state of Maine. DeSoi’s training and experience in adult and pediatric management of serious illness has resulted in very high regard by her colleagues and patients alike.

DeSoi earned a B.A. in Biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College, graduating Magna Cum Laude. At Mount Holyoke College she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi, awarded prizes in Chemistry, French, and English, and was also both a Sarah Winston Scholar and Mary Lyon Scholar. In 1985 DeSoi earned her M.D. from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, New York. She completed her Internship and Residency in the Combined Medicine and Pediatrics Program at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics where she also served as Chief Resident and Instructor in Pediatrics. DeSoi also served as a Clinical Research Fellow, Section of Nephrology, at the University of Chicago from 1990-1991. DeSoi is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Nephrology.

     “We are so very pleased and honored to have Dr. DeSoi join our dynamic clinical team at Androscoggin” said Kenneth Albert, R.N., Esq., President and CEO. “Beyond her exceptional medical expertise, Cynthia’s lifework is authentically rooted in service to others. This aligns beautifully with our mission and values. I am particularly pleased that our patients and their families will be the real beneficiaries of our collaboration with Dr. DeSoi.”

DeSoi’s nearly three decades of experience includes an exemplary commitment to the health and wellbeing of Maine people. “I’ve cared for many patients and their families as they face serious and sometimes incurable illness, and have often not been able to deliver good news. What I’ve learned is that what matters most is often not the number of degrees, or credentials on your wall, or how smart you are, but simply listening, caring, and letting the patient know that no matter what, you will be there for them” wrote Dr. DeSoi upon joining Androscoggin.  “I believe this is a sacred relationship that can provide healing, even when cure cannot be offered. Providing care from the heart is what Androscoggin is all about, and why I wanted to be a part of this amazing organization.”  

Androscoggin Home Healthcare and Hospice is the largest, non-profit independent home health and hospice organization in the state. We focus on health – not illness – by making each individual’s quality of life the best it can be. To learn more about Androscoggin, including employment and volunteer opportunities, please visit www.androcoggin.org or call the Marketing and Development Office at (207)777-7740 ext. 1311.

Community Concepts welcome new finance director

Laura Gormley

Community Concepts’ Chief Financial Officer Laura Gormley is pleased to announce Sadie Reinhard has been promoted to the Director of Finance. Reinhard has been in the Finance department since 2015 and most recently was the Associate Director of Finance. She has experience in financial reporting, forecasting, cost models, analyzing budgets and process improvement. Reinhard has a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Thomas College where she was also inducted into the Alpha Chi National Honor Society and earned the Thomas Scholar Award. Reinhard also holds certificates in the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Guidance training and other not-for-profit finance courses.

Service dog needs surgery – plea for funding assistance

Diamond Accompanying Pam During at a Hospital Stay

Pam Whittier, of Auburn, has shed lots of tears since her service dog’s recent vet visit. The news was not good.  Diamond, a 5-year-old American Pitbull, is in urgent need of TPLO surgery (tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy), on her hind legs. Diamond’s ACL, meniscus, and fibula are currently impacted. The roadblock to get Diamond healthy is cost — $5,000 for the surgery. Whittier, who is cardiac disabled, cannot afford the surgery. 

Whittier, is a 38-year-old cardiac arrest survivor, has cardiomyopathy, tachycardia, and an implanted defibrillator.  She got Diamond as a rescue four days after her father passed away of the same heart disease in May of 2015. Diamond was then trained and certified as Whittier’s service dog. Since then, Diamond has been a lifeline for Whittier and is able to tell family members when Whittier’s heart rhythm is “off.” Whittier has had numerous cardiac procedures both locally and in Boston.

Whittier, who is completely devastated at the thought of losing Diamond, is currently spending her days cuddling and patting her. Diamond is being kept comfortable with pain medication, but the vet told Whittier that the medication cannot be used long-term, as they could negatively impact her vital organs.

A yard sale with proceeds to benefit Diamond’s surgery is being held August 8 and 9 at 114 Howe Street in Auburn from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. A Go Fund Me page has also been set up at gf.me/u/yifzwdWhittier notes, “We are praying for a miracle, and I am so grateful for anyone who can help me save Diamond. If my tears could save her, she would be in good shape by now.  Besides her hind legs, she’s in wonderful shape, and I need her so much as a support for what I endure with my heart. I cannot imagine my life without her.”

Out & About with Rachel Morin: Ten things to be positive about

Rachel and Liz take frequent walks along the ocean.

By Rachel Morin and Elizabeth Morin

My daughter Liz and I have been struggling with Covid-19 ever since mid-March.  We see our friends struggling as well.  

“It is hard and it’s getting harder.” says our friend Lucy.  

 “Our regular clocks are off” as noted on the 60 Minutes news (we like that one and repeat it often to each other), and our other favorite is one I came up with, “We have lost our bearings.” This last one really seems to resonate with us.  We have indeed lost our way.  Nothing feels right.  And yes, the simplest task takes effort and time.  It is hard.  For a few weeks, we found ourselves exhausted, frustrated, and crying at every news update.  But enough.  We have decided — with a little effort — to look for the positives to share with our friends and family.  Once we got going, it was not so hard.  This is a small start and we hope this will change our outlook.   Maybe there are many more positives that others will think of and share.  

Ten Things to be Positive About (In no particular order).

  1. I have more time to reconnect with my family. 

We are now making time with family count.  We actually schedule a time and place with a purpose in mind.  We call it a Soup Swap, but we don’t necessarily limit it to soup.  Not with the Morin foodies.  My family goes out of their way to outdo each other.  We gather in Liz’s back yard, bringing chairs, wearing masks, and each family brings something delicious packaged to go — a casserole, a soup, dessert, or a surprise.   We do this every month or so. Everyone looks forward to bringing home a different culinary experience.

  • Time to do big projects that we have procrastinated on.

 Oh, haven’t we pushed off many a big project “for when we have time!”  And of course, more projects are added for that elusive time going by.  Seeing as I am staying at Liz’s house temporarily, she gets the benefit of this.  I’ve already written about organizing her garage, but now, we have also tackled closets and eaves.  Lucky Liz!

  • Free time to garden more!

We both love gardening.   And despite the pandemic, we still got spring fever.  We were ready to plant flowers—annuals and our favorite perennials and vegetables.  We visited our two favorite greenhouses to peruse this year’s seedlings. We spent an entire weekend “putting in the crops” as Liz says, and we were exhausted but quite pleased with our efforts.  Each morning, we take a walk through the garden with our coffee and notice each new blossom.  

Seniors Not Acting Their Age: Riding the narrow gauge

Cyclists arrive at the Stratton Brook Hut Trailhead on the Narrow Gauge Pathway

By Ron Chase

One of the most unique bike trails in Maine is the historic Narrow Gauge Pathway in Carrabassett Valley. The trail follows the former Kingfield and Dead River Railroad bed used to convey logs to a sawmill situated in Bigelow at the northern terminus of the railway in the early 20th century.  Two-foot narrow gauge tracks were chosen instead of the standard size because they were easier to build and less expensive.  An added benefit, the smaller locomotives were able to operate more efficiently in the rugged mountainous terrain.  Passengers and freight were also transported on the once bustling train system. Disuse resulted in discontinuance of the railroad in 1927. The Town of Carrabassett Valley constructed the pathway in 2001.

Traveling next to the boulder-strewn Carrabassett River located in a deep valley between Sugarloaf Mountain and the Bigelow Mountain Range, serene and scenic describe the bucolic 5.2 mile crushed-stone and dirt surface trail. Wider hybrid or mountain bike tires are required on the rough surface.  Motorized vehicles including ATVs and snowmobiles are prohibited.  The trail is groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter.

Separated by the pandemic part 7: Schooner Estates

John Rice, Director of Operations for Schooner Estates, in front of the outdoor visitors’ area that the facility created to allow tenants to meet face-to-face with their family or friends. Separated by the double fencing, everyone is required to wear a mask for the face-to-face visits. (Photo by Nathan Tsukroff, PortraitEFX)

The following story is the seventh and final interview by Nathan Tsukroff of PortraitEFX to capture the effects of this pandemic on the people of Maine. 

Slowly but surely, restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic are starting to ease. For healthcare facilities such as Schooner Estates, a retirement community in Auburn offering independent and assisted living options for senior citizens, easing restrictions does not mean easing the care and oversight for the health of tenants and residents.

Currently, entrance to the building is only through the main front door, where everyone is greeted by a staff member for temperature checks and verification that they do not have any symptoms or known exposure to the Covid-19 coronavirus. 

Cindy Swift, RN, the Director of Nursing Services at Schooner Estates, said the facility has “a good medical team that is checking in on folks, too, making sure they’re not feeling isolated. And making sure that if there’s needs – like they’re not feeling great, that we get them seen, and set up a video visit with their doctor, if that’s the best way to support them during the isolation, and then get their needs met as well, medically.”

“That’s been working out really, really well,” she said. “We see the changes from the factors in the isolation that come into play, where they’re feeling more isolated and socially disconnected. But I think Schooner’s done a fabulous job, and we have tenants that are innovative and coming up with their own solutions” so they can visit with each other while still maintaining the necessary social distancing.  Residents and tenants are staying six feet apart indoors, while the spring and summer weather is allowing for outdoor visits and activities. “We’ve done a couple birthday parades where family members have come through and really done a lot of celebration that way”.

St. Mary’s welcomes Patricia A. Scherle as VP

Patricia A. Scherle 

St. Mary’s Health System recently welcomed Patricia A. Scherle as its Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. Pat will lead St. Mary’s nursing staff as well as oversee the implementation and coordination of programs and initiatives to ensure patients consistently receive the very best clinical care.  

“I was pleased to welcome Pat, who has extensive experience working in mid-sized hospitals and medical centers, to our health system and nursing team,” said Katherine Bechtold, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Covenant Health. “She has an excellent track record of improving both patient and staff experiences. I look forward to her contributions in expanding St. Mary’s reputation in the community for exemplary care.” 

“I’m honored to serve the St. Mary’s nursing team and clinical teams, as well as the community, to ensure we’re always striving to improve the quality, safety and delivery of patient care,” said Scherle. “Our ultimate goal is to reinforce St. Mary’s standard for clinical excellence, which will directly impact positive patient outcomes.”

Prior to joining Covenant Health, Scherle was the Vice President/Chief Nursing Officer at Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa., a 148-bed non-profit community teaching hospital. Her tenure at Tower Health | Community Health Systems, which includes Chestnut Hill Hospital, spanned 10 years in various leadership roles at multiple hospitals. 

Scherle holds a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa. and earned her Master’s in Healthcare Administration (MHA) from Widener University in Chester, Pa. She is also a Nurse Executive Advanced – Board Certified (NEA-BC) as well as a registered nurse (RN).

Modern Woodmen matching gift to CLT

The L-A Community Little Theatre (CLT) received a contribution of two thousand, five hundred dollars earlier this month from the Modern Woodmen of America Matching Funds Campaign. The gift was made in support of the very successful online silent auction that CLT held in June.  Financial Representative Mike Courtemanche from the Modern Woodmen Lewiston office noted that “as a fraternal company, we help the community in many different ways.  One of our more popular programs is our matching funds program, which is meant to get us into the community, help raise money and strengthen the community.” Courtemanche is pictured at right presenting the “big check” to Jennifer Groover, vice president of the CLT Board of Directors.

CMCC president Scott Knapp to retire in August

Scott Knapp

Maine Community College System President David Daigler has announced that Dr. Scott Knapp, president of Central Maine Community College in Auburn, is retiring on August 31, 2020.

Dr. Knapp, who took office in August of 1997, has overseen a tripling of the college’s enrollment, the bolstering of technical programs offerings, and the addition of three new campus buildings and an athletic complex. 

“Scott proudly regards CMCC as the crown jewel of the Maine Community College System. With strong financial stewardship, ever increasing enrollments, championship-caliber programs and dedicated staff, his leadership has guided CMCC to an enviable place in Maine and in the country,” Daigler said.

“Maine, the community colleges, and I will miss Scott’s vision, wisdom and calm, stable guidance,” Daigler said. 

Dr. Knapp, the longest serving college president in the state, said some of his proudest moments have come in recent months. 

“While the College has experienced tremendous growth other the 23 years, none of this could have been accomplished without the contributions of our dedicated faculty and staff, as well as the generosity of the leadership of the state of Maine and her citizens,” he said. “I am especially proud of the nearly 500 students who overcame numerous obstacles and graduated this spring.” 


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