Wells-Ogunquit Community School District announces new principal and assistant principal
As Wells-Ogunquit Community School District’s superintendant, Jim Daly, announced the hiring of former Wells High School assistant principal Joshua Gould as the new principal of Wells Junior High School. The district also hired Kevin Jackson as its new assistant principal at Wells High School.
Gould has served as Wells High School’s assistant principal for the past five years. Prior to that he taught English for 16 years at Noble High School in Berwick. He also has been an instructor of education at the University of New Hampshire.
Jackson is a graduate of New England School of Communications and earned his teaching certification requirements through the University of Maine system, completing his administrative certification at Endicott College. He has been an IEP coordinator and special education teacher at Noble High School since 2011.
St. James School touts initiatives for safe reopening
As Maine’s Catholic schools continue to prepare to re-open for in-person learning over the next two weeks, they have had creative assistance from community members.
At St. James School, Jimmy Godbout, of Jimmy Godbout Plumbing & Heating, is just one example. He stepped forward to assist the school convert its water fountains to hand-washing stations recently to help students maintain safety protocols in place at the schools.
According the St. James principal Nancy Naimey, a parent suggested putting in portable hand-washing stations. Naimey then had an idea of placing a temporary sink on top of the school’s existing water fountains and she approached Godbout. He offered to install them for free. Each of the new hand-washing stations also is equipped with an automatic paper towel dispenser.
“This is a man who is living the Catholic faith by helping others in need,” said Naimey.
Other initiatives that have been completed by St. James and other Maine Catholic schools include installing “traffic” patterns for students in the hallways, sanitizing and additional cleaning protocols, mandatory mask rules, social distancing guidelines, and the implementation of safe air circulation methods. In addition, clear dividers have been placed between many desks to ensure safe distancing. A virtual, remote learning option has also been established.
Besides St. James in Biddeford, the schools overseen by the Office of Maine Catholic Schools are All Saints School in Bangor, Holy Cross School in South Portland, St. Brigid School in Portland, Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn and Lewiston, St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick, St. Michael School in Augusta, and St. Thomas School in Sanford.
Community Development Office moves
The Community Development Office has relocated from the second floor of the Gorham Municipal Center to Room 142, adjacent to the town manager’s office on the first floor. The former Community Development (Planning) Office will provide classroom space for Gorham High School students while the School District ensures compliance with Maine Department of Education social distancing requirements.
The Community Development Office will be unable to schedule appointments and meet in person with the public until approximately Wednesday, when the relocation is expected to be complete. For assistance during this time, please call 222-1620 and staff will respond as soon as possible.
Eight Maine groups to receive AARP grants
AARP announced that eight Maine organizations will receive 2020 Community Challenge grants, part of more than $2.4 million awarded among 184 organizations nationwide. Grantees will implement “quick-action” projects to create more livable communities across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative that helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages.
The following Maine projects were recipients of the grants:
• Bicycle Coalition of Maine: Projects in three communities will improve pedestrian safety by increasing crosswalk visibility, shortening crosses and calming traffic.
• Citizens’ Association of Liberty Lake, Liberty, to increase safe access to swimming and easy entry into two public swimming areas; new steps, handrails, and other amenities will be added. Picnic tables and benches will also be installed.
• Eliot Aging in Place Committee, Eliot, to install five new benches at a public park stroll along the river.
• Fryeburg Age-Friendly Community Taskforce, Fryeburg, to create a recreation trail designed to be easily walkable by older adults and those with mobility challenges. The path will be a one-mile loop trail that features a pedestrian bridge, benches, and signage.
• Limestone Development Foundation/Age Friendly Limestone, Limestone, to create a walking path as part of a public park revitalization.
• Town of Dexter Age-Friendly Community Committee, to create “pop-up universities” to provide older adults with meaningful activities, and make improvements at Wayside Park to increase access by people with mobility challenges.
• Town of Millinocket, to add calming measures in high traffic areas throughout the town.
• Vision Hallowell, Hallowell, to purchase and install a 24-foot-long aluminum ramp to ease access to Hallowell’s busy waterfront bulkhead.
View the full list of grantees and their project descriptions at aarp.org/communitychallenge and view an interactive map of all of the Community Challenge projects and AARP Maine’s livable communities work at aarp.org/livable.
OLD ORCHARD BEACH
FEMA grant to support firefighter health
The Old Orchard Beach Fire Department has been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support firefighter health and wellness.
The approximately $47,000 grant will fund department initiatives to promote firefighter physical fitness, including the purchase of commercial physical fitness equipment. The department is also actively seeking opportunities for remote educational programming on the benefits of nutrition, sleep and wellness for staff.
Round One of the FY 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grants was awarded on July 31. Nationwide, 392 awards were received from a total federal share of approximately $59 million.
Library open, with limits and new books
The Carrabassett Valley Public Library is open for business and a shipment of new books has just arrived. Even though the facility is not open to the public for inside seating or long stays, patrons may use the patio area or visit the library for up to 15 minutes by appointment only during open hours. Those hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Fall hours will begin Sept. 8, adding Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Interlibrary loan is also now available through the Maine State Library. Curbside pick-up is available by request. All items are quarantined before and after sharing, with staffers disinfecting surfaces.
Call 237-3535 or see our Facebook page for more information.
Summer snack program reports record success
“Operation Summer Snacks,” an initiative of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Windham, annually collects food for children in need who receive bags of food from the Backpackers program during the school year but, in many cases, do not have the snacks during the summer.
After collecting over 2,500 snack items last year, organizers “didn’t know whether this program would work this year,” said Jill Russell-Morey, a parish catechetical leader who helped create the initiative in 2016.
As it turned out, the program was able to donate a staggering number of 5,197 individual snacks to the Windham Food Pantry.
“Thanks so much to all of our parishioners, friends and family members in the community, countless other supporters, and prayer warriors!” said Russell-Morey. “This summer, we more than doubled our record year last summer.”
“Operation Summer Snacks” works with the pantry to deliver the donations to those in need. A big change this year was that the pantry requested that the donations not be bagged by the volunteers, which enabled the operation to be conducted by Jill, her family, and friends out of her house.
“They wanted all original packages which allows for less handling of the packages and easier storage,” she said.
Additionally, the community generously came through with checks, cash, and Venmo donations.
State offers tips to avoid rabies exposure from bats
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention urges Mainers to take steps to limit exposure to rabies over the next few weeks, a season when bats are most active. Maine CDC encourages people to be cautious around bats, enjoy them from a distance, and know what to do following exposure to a bat.
Bats play an important role in local ecosystems, but they can spread viruses such as rabies, which can be fatal in humans, pets, and livestock. Timely treatment following a rabies exposure is effective in preventing disease in humans. Human rabies cases are rare in the United States, and Maine last reported a human rabies case in 1937. However, the rabies virus is naturally found in Maine wildlife including bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks.
The rabies virus spreads when infected mammals bite, and in some cases scratch, other mammals. Contact with an infected mammal’s brain tissue or spinal cord can also transmit the virus to humans and pets. The virus is not transmitted in blood, urine, feces, skunk spray, or dried saliva. A rabid animal may show a variety of symptoms or no symptoms at all, so always be cautious around wildlife, including bats, or any animals you do not know.
A bat exposure includes bat bites, scratches, or handling a bat without gloves, but may also include awaking to a bat in the bedroom or finding a bat in a room with an unaccompanied child or incapacitated adult. For pets and livestock, this may include holding a bat in their mouths or being in the same area as the bat, such as a living room or barn.
It may be difficult in some situations to tell if a bat exposed a person or domestic animal. Therefore, bat exposures should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and always treated with caution.
Contact your health care provider about any potential exposure.
For more details about trapping and releasing bats, submitting them for rabies testing, bat-proofing buildings or other, go to Maine CDC Rabies webpage: maine.gov/dhhs/rabies; Maine IF&W Bats webpage: www.maine.gov/ifw/fish-wildlife/wildlife/living-with-wildlife/avoid-resolve-conflict/bats.html; call the Maine CDC disease reporting and consultation line at (800) 821-5821 (available 24/7); and the Maine IF&W Game Warden Dispatch Centers (for bat pick-up and delivery) at: Augusta, 800-452-4664; Bangor, 800-432-7381; and Houlton, 800-924-2261.