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Author Archives: GW Editorial Staff

Dempsey Challenge 2021 is this weekend

Five things to know about this year’s event

From Dempsey Center

LEWISTON – The Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen Oncology has been the flagship fundraising weekend in Lewiston for the Dempsey Center every year since 2009.

However, the pandemic forced the massively popular ride, run and walk event to become a virtual-only event for last year.

Almost 150,000 people participated in the virtual event in 2020, completing a months-long activity challenge on Strava, joining Dempsey Center founder Patrick Dempsey on an interactive Zwift ride or choosing their own fundraising challenge. Many missed the in-person camaraderie and spirit provided by the annual event, which raises money for the Dempsey Center.

The 2020 version of the Dempsey Challenge was still able to raise $1.2 million to continue their mission to make life better for people managing the impact of cancer. This includes cancer patients, survivors, care partners, and family members of all ages.

Needless to say, event organizers, Dempsey Center clients, riders, runners, walkers and volunteers alike are gearing up to be able to safely gather again for this year’s events. 

Patrick Dempsey greets runner Jennifer Anne Jordan at a previous Dempsey Challenge event. The local Dempsey Challenge walking events on Saturday will be centered at Simard-Payne Park in Lewiston. (Photo courtesy of Dempsey Center)

It was announced in June that the two-day event would return, Sept. 25 and 26 in Lewiston, as well as a Global Challenge for anyone interested in participating who can’t make it to Maine during the fall.

“There’s this pent-up excitement about being back out and doing something as a community,” Dempsey Center events manager Deneka Deletetsky said.

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Gorham Cleans Up October 3

From Town of Gorham

GORHAM – The Gorham Conservation Commission is inviting everyone to help clean-up the town on Sunday, Oct. 3, from 8:30 a.m.-noon.

Rain date is Oct. 17, 8:30 a.m.-noon.

Areas of focus will be the Village and South Street from the Village to Route 22.

Meeting locations Hannaford for cleaning up the Village and South Street to Weeks Road; The Rt. 114 Park and Ride for cleaning up South Street from Weeks Road to Rt 22; and the Gorham Middle School for GMS students only.

To sign up or learn more information, please visit the Gorham Conservation Commission’s Facebook page at http://bitly.ws/gvaZ.

The GCC thanks volunteers for helping keep the Gorham community a beautiful place to live, work, and play!

Employment Opportunities

Residents interested in a career in local government can view current municipal and school department can find employment opportunities with the Town of Gorham on the Town website at www.gorham-me.org under the ‘Employment’ menu.

We are currently advertising a Patrol Officer opportunity with the Gorham Police Department, as well as other vacancies. Additional information can be found on the Town of Gorham website at http://bitly.ws/gvVA .

Sebago Brewing Celebrates Staff

From Sebago Brewing

GORHAM – After an extremely busy summer of brewing beer and hosting thousands of guests at its five locations, Sebago Brewing Co. took some time to celebrate in mid-September.

Company co-owners Kai Adams, Tim Haines, and Brad Monarch honored their hardworking crew with an outdoor party at the Tasting Room on Main Street in Gorham.

Sebago Brewing Co. honored its hardworking staff with a celebration in mid-September at the Sebago Brewing Tasting Room in Gorham. (Photo courtesy of Sebago Brewing.

Of their 161 employees, Sebago Brewing honored four employees who have worked at the company for 10 years, four 15-year veterans, and four marking their 20-year work anniversaries.

“From brewers and packaging crew to kitchen staff and servers, all of our employees have been working so hard to bring the Sebago Brewing experience to the public,” said Kai Adams, VP and company co-founder. “We weren’t able to host our annual party last year because of the pandemic, so we’re extra grateful that we got to celebrate together this year.”

Sebago Brewing employees were treated to lawn games, food, and, of course, beer. Local favorite FOG AVE provided music.

First Parish to dedicate redesigned building

From First Parish

PORTLAND – Next Tuesday, First Parish in Portland, a Unitarian Universalist congregation, will dedicate major accessibility and media additions to its historic building and garden.

The event will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the church’s new, accessible entrance in the rear plaza shared with Portland High School (PHS), and will include Mayor Kate Snyder and Steve Bromage, Executive Director of the Maine Historical Society.

The church is located at 425 Congress Street in Portland.

The redesign includes an elevator, improvements to the enclosed garden on Congress Street, upgrades to the interior sound and light systems, and renovation of the Community Room and its attached kitchen. It is funded by the “A Church for EveryBody” accessibility project, a $1.5 million capital campaign.

The new entrance at the rear of the First Parish Church’s historic building on Congress Street in Portland. The redesigned building will be dedicated in a ceremony next Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of First Parish Church)

The City of Portland awarded a Community Development Block Grant to the campaign to enhance the public events and performances offered there. Additionally, the City will collaborate with First Parish by making improvements to the plaza that include installation of new lighting and proposed upgrades to “Freshman Alley,” which PHS students use to great advantage during their lunch periods. The plaza and the alleyways invite pedestrians to enjoy the walkways linking Elm, Chestnut, and Congress streets.

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Ride to End Hunger raises $3.2K

From Casco FCU

GORHAM – On Saturday, Aug. 28, Casco Federal Credit Union conducted their 4th Annual Motorcycle Ride to End Hunger.

More than 25 motorcycles cruised around Southern Maine to raise funds and awareness for the Maine Credit Union Campaign to End Hunger.

Twenty-five motorcycles cruised around Southern Maine the last weekend in August in the Casco Federal Credit Union’s 4th Annual Ride to End Hunger, raising more than $3,200. (Photo courtesy of Casco FCU)

A record-breaking $3,241.85 was raised with the generous support of riders, volunteers, and event sponsors.

All of the proceeds from the Ride to End Hunger will be donated to three local food pantries – the Gorham Food Pantry, the Buxton Food Co-Op, and the Standish Food Pantry.

To learn more about how Team Casco is fighting food insecurity in our community, visit www.cascofcu.com or stop by one of their two branch locations in Gorham.

$6.2M for 29 Maine Fire Departments

From Sen. Collins

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) announced last week that 29 fire departments in Maine have received a total of $6,220,151 to upgrade equipment and support personnel.

This funding was awarded through the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grants and the FY 2020 Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants

“Firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect local residents, homes, and businesses,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This important investment will help improve the safety of Maine firefighters and ensure that our fire departments have the equipment and training they need to continue to protect our families and communities.”

Gorham Fire Department received $93,333 to purchase vehicle exhaust removal systems.

Albion, Waterville, Belgrade, China Village, Clinton, Fairfield-Benton, Madison, Oakland, South China, Winslow, and Sidney Fire Departments received a total of $627,385.45 to purchase mobile radios, portable radios, and pagers.

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Collins, Shaheen push for relief fund distribution

Money remains in Provider Relief Fund and other programs

From Sen. Collins

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Su­san Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) recently led 41 of their bipartisan colleagues in urging U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Secretary Xavi­er Becerra to distribute the funds remaining for healthcare providers.

Funding is still available in the Provid­er Relief Fund (PRF) and other health care relief pro­grams.

Over the course of the pandemic, Congress has appropriated $178 bil­lion for the PRF as well as an additional $8.5 billion for rural providers. The Government Accountabili­ty Office recently reported that about 25 percent of the funding remains unspent.

“Regrettably, the PRF funding distribution process has been uneven. Shifting guidance, difficul­ties in reconciling tax in­formation, the absence of a formal appeals process, and other technical prob­lems have plagued the pro­gram,” the Senators wrote. “Some providers are still waiting for funding from PRF distributions that were announced last year. Furthermore, plans for ad­ditional PRF distributions have been opaque.”

“Financial losses oc­curring between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 have not been ad­equately considered. In addition, some provider types, such as senior care facilities, have been un­derrepresented in previous rounds of funding,” the Senators continued. “As the health care provider community continues to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic, this funding should be re­leased without any further delay.”

The Senators asked that HHS announce and implement its plans for additional disbursement of PRF. Hospitals, nurs­ing homes, assisted living providers, health clinics, and other health care pro­viders need these funds to help weather the finan­cial difficulties created by the pandemic. In rural ar­eas in particular, the PRF has prevented facilities that struggled before and during the pandemic from falling into bankruptcy or closing entirely.

Senator Collins has long been a champion of improving access to health care, particularly in ru­ral and underserved areas amid this public health cri­sis. In February, Senators Collins and Manchin au­thored an amendment to replenish the Provider Re­lief Fund by $35 billion to help hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, assisted living providers and others with the increased costs and lost revenue brought on by the pandemic.

In addition to Sena­tors Collins and Shaheen, the letter to Secretary Becerra was co-signed by Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Lisa Murkows­ki (R-AK), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jon Tester (D-MT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tina Smith (D-MN), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mag­gie Hassan (D-NH), John Boozman (R-AR), Ra­phael Warnock (D-GA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Debbie Staben­ow (D-MI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Todd Young (R-IN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Ben­jamin Cardin (D-MD), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Angus King (I-ME), John Barrasso (R-WY), Rich­ard Durbin (D-IL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), James Lankford (R-OK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Jeffrey Merkley (D-OR), Robert Casey (D-PA), Alex Padil­la (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Bernard Sand­ers (I-VT).

Q Memorial events at end of September

From Q Memorial

GORHAM – The inaugural Q Memorial Events are fast approaching!

Proceeds from all Q Memorial fundraising events in 2021 will be used to award scholarships to Gorham High School students in memory of David Michael Quintal “Q” and his contributions to the Gorham community, especially with softball.

The events are being coordinated by the Q Memorial Scholarship Team.

Quintal died unexpectedly from a massive heart attack at the age of 42 in on Sept. 27, 2020.

The 2022 inaugural memorial scholarship will be awarded to a GHS senior who plays softball or baseball.

David Quintal at home with one of his daughters. The Q Memorial Scholarship was created in his honor after his sudden death in September, 2020. Fundraising events will take place in Gorham from Sept. 20-Oct. 2. (Photo courtesy of the Quintal family)

“Starting with the homerun Dave promised he would hit for me the day after we met, to the travel tournament Makayla (our daughter) played in the day Dave died and everything in between, baseball and softball were always a huge part of our family’s life,” said his wife, Sunny.

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BJ’s donates $1 Million

From BJ’s

WESTBOROUGH, MA – BJ’s Wholesale Club, a leading operator of membership warehouse clubs in the Eastern United States, donated $1 million from the BJ’s Charitable Foundation to Feeding America®, in August.

Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. BJ’s donation is part of the retailer’s efforts to help fight hunger by awarding grants to 50 Feeding America member food banks in the Eastern United States to support child and family food assistance programs.

 “BJ’s is committed to nourishing our communities by providing families with access to basic essentials including fresh, nutritious food. We’re grateful for our longtime partnership with Feeding America as we work together to help provide meals to families in need,” said Bill Werner, executive director, BJ’s Charitable Foundation. “We’re proud to donate $1 million to Feeding America member food banks to help fight hunger in the local communities we serve.”

 Feeding America estimates that 42 million people may experience food insecurity, including 13 million children, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. Moreover, households with children are more likely to experience food insecurity.

“Feeding America is grateful for BJ’s continued investment, which helps food banks expand access to more nutritious food for families who need it most,” said Casey Marsh, Chief Development Officer at Feeding America. “The need for food assistance increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and every community in the country is home to neighbors who face hunger. Our partnership with BJ’s will continue to provide member food banks with essential resources to help families thrive and build a path to a more food-secure future.”

BJ’s Charitable Foundation grant marks the fourth $1 million donation to Feeding America member food banks located in BJ’s footprint. Since 2011, BJ’s has provided ongoing support to food banks through the BJ’s Charitable Foundation and BJ’s Feeding Communities program, helping local food banks expand their programs for children and families within their communities.

BJ’s Feeding Communities program is a food rescue partnership, where the company donates all unsold perishable food to Feeding America member food banks in its footprint, helping to get wholesome food onto the plates of families. To date, BJ’s has donated more than 120 million pounds of food including meat, produce, dairy and bakery items to Feeding America member food banks.

To learn more about the BJ’s Wholesale Club, visit BJs.com.

Headquartered in Westborough, MA, BJ’s Wholesale Club is a leading operator of membership warehouse clubs in the Eastern United States. The company currently operates 222 clubs and 151 BJ’s Gas® locations in 17 states.

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry.

Visit feedingamerica.org

Lack of data stymies efforts to address firefighter shortage

By Vanessa Paolella of the Maine Monitor

BIDDEFORD – Even when he works two consecutive 24-hour shifts, Chris Aberle rarely sleeps at the fire station. 

Sometimes he tries. If he is lucky, he might pick up a couple hours of rest. But lately his shift has been getting calls at night.

“No one ever sleeps, you know, even if we had no calls from midnight to 8 a.m.”, he said. “No one really sleeps because you’re just waiting for that bell to go off.”

Twenty-four hour shifts can be exhausting, he said. Back-to-back 24-hour shifts are worse.

Due to small rosters of firefighters in many Maine fire departments, multiple departments must respond to a call. At least eight departments responded to this fire in Knox County. (Photo courtesy of Whitefield Fire Department)

“It’s tough to stay two days in a row. Because you’re like, if you’ve been up all night, I don’t want to be here another day. It wrecks your body. It wrecks your body and trying to do it all over again the next day, you’re like, ‘Here we go.’ ”

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