Shine-On Oakland benefits school food pantries

Colby Charette with some of the food recently collected during the Shine-On Oakland Day that will go to the Oakland School Food Pantries.The Shine-On Cass Foundation again partnered with the town of Oakland’s summer festival “Oakfest,” which featured three days of community events. (Photo courtesy of Monica Charette)

by Monica Charette

Oakland’s “ShineOn Oakland Day,” on July 27, collected a bus load of donated school snacks, bringing awareness to child food insecurity and the support needed for local families through Oakland School Food Pantries. The ShineOnCass Foundation again partnered with the town of Oakland’s summer festival “Oak­fest,” which featured three days of community events including an outdoor movie night, food and art vendors, local bands, a car show, triathlon and a “stuff the bus” event, where Oak­fest attendees climbed aboard a school bus to donate snacks that will be distributed to local students in need this fall.

The ShineOnCass Foundation organizes a kindness event to both support local families and give children the experience of giving back to the community as part of “ShineOn Oakland” Day at Oakfest. In addition to collecting hundreds of snacks, Foundation volunteers also hosted a “Kindness Matters Bookmark Project” where kids created positive messages on bookmarks to be placed anonymously in books in local libraries to help spread kindness. For information about the Kindness Matters Bookmark Project and other ShineOnCass initiatives, visit

The ShineOnCass Foundation was created to honor the spirit, continue the work, and encourage others to live the legacy of Cassidy Charette, whose kindness and passion for others Shines On. Cassidy was a 17-year-old Messalonskee scholar and athlete, and a devoted community volunteer who died in a hayride accident in 2014. The organization’s mission is to educate, inspire and empower youth to make their world a better place through volunteer charitable activities.

Oakland Public Library opens Cassidy’s Corner

Atwood Primary School kindergarten teacher Maggie Solis reads and leads a discussion about kindness at the dedication of “Cassidy’s Corner,” a new, outdoor reading space developed in memory of Cassidy Charette at Oakland Public Library.

Text and photos by Monica Charette

Storytime is part of most preschool and kindergarteners’ day, but it’s made even sweeter when a book is read outside in the sun, surrounded by flowers, friends, and topped off with jelly donuts.

“I am kind when I share my ice cream with my friend,” kindergartner William Mitchell shares with his 14 classmates from Atwood Primary School who came to learn about spreading kindness at the Oakland Public Library on Friday, September 20, as part of the opening of “Cassidy’s Corner,” a new outdoor reading space created by the ShineOnCass Foundation.

Kindergarten teacher Maggie Solis read aloud author Maria Dismondy’s kindness book, The Jelly Donut Difference, while her students and a group of homeschool and preschool-age children gathered around the new stone platform in the corner of the building outside of the library’s children’s room. Kids discussed ways they could be nice to their family and friends, and shared how they can help others in need. The group sampled jelly donuts and created ShineOnCass “Kindness Matters” bookmarks, leaving messages of how they will shine tucked away in children’s books for unsuspecting readers to find at the library.

“It’s a special day when we can shine Cassidy’s light by sharing her message of kindness and her love for reading with young children,” Mrs. Solis told the children after leading a discussion about the book’s characters and asking how each student there can show kindness today.

William Mitchell proudly displays his artwork on a ShineOnCass kindness bookmark he later tucked into a book to be discovered at the Oakland Public Library.

Cassidy’s Corner was developed to support the Library’s summer reading program and give local families a place to read outside throughout the year. Monica Charette, Cassidy’s mother and executive director of the foundation, said the project was a labor of love for the community that has supported their family the last five years.

“Cassidy’s love for reading was nurtured at a very young age at the Oakland Library,” Charette said. “Seeing children enjoy books and share their ideas about spreading kindness in the world fills our hearts. This is how Cassidy’s Light shines on.”

The project also includes plans for a free-standing “Little Lending Library” in the community, where families can borrow books after library hours. Funding for the project came from the ShineOnCass Foundation, with support from Waterville Area Women’s Club and an “Employee Ideas that Matter” program at SAPPI, in Skowhegan. Additional in-kind support was provided by Get Etched, of Portland, which created the ShineOnCass garden marker, and stonework by Somerset Stone and Stove, in Oakland.

The idea for Cassidy’s Corner came from Oakland Librarian Sarah Roy, who knew Cassidy since she was a toddler attending summer reading programs 20 years ago. Cassidy was a longtime member of the library and devoted community volunteer. She lost her life tragically at the age of 17 in a hayride accident in 2014. The ShineOnCass Foundation was created by her family to celebrate her life and legacy of kindness by supporting local programs and organizations close to Cassidy’s heart, and to encourage youth to give back to their communities.

For more information about “Cassidy’s Corner” at Oakland Public Library or the ShineOnCass Foundation, visit, or email

Maggie Solis reads to children at Cassidy’s Corner, a new outdoor reading space created by the ShineOnCass Foundation.

Atwood Primary kindergartner Luna Ripa creates a Kindness Matters bookmark to hide in a book at Oakland Public Library. The bookmarks were part of a kindness program held Sept. 20 by the ShineOnCass Foundation.

Peyton Belyeu raises her hand to share how she shares kindness, along with her classmates from Atwood Primary School, on a ShineOnCass Kindness Matters field trip to Oakland Public Library.

Wyatt Murphy, left, shares a pinky promise with ShineOnCass volunteer and Messalonskee student Nathalie Poulin at the dedication of Cassidy’s Corner at the Oakland Public Library.

Super Sunday: opening day for youth football

Messalonskee Youth Football quarterback Parker Doucette (7), runs with the football as Winslow Youth Football team members Michael Loubier and Zander Dickey move in for the tackle. (Photo by Beth Fisher, Central Maine Photography staff)

Super Sunday kicked off the PAL football season on September 1. Here, VFW and Sonny’s Pizza line up for a play from scrimmage. (Photo by Beth Fisher, Central Maine Photography staff)

Oakland woman joins Bar Harbor Bank & Trust

Jennifer Seekins

Jennifer Seekins, has joined Bar Harbor Bank & Trust as Senior Vice President, Treasury Services Sales Manager. Initially working from the Bank’s Hampden, Maine office, Ms. Seekins will lead the Treasury Services Group in providing commercial banking customers with Cash Man­agement and Mer­chant Services solutions to help them save time, prevent fraud, increase productivity, and maximize earnings on working capital.

Ms. Seekins has worked in the financial services industry for over 25 years. Her first job out of college was with Fleet Bank, in Waterville, where she was promoted from Teller Operations Supervisor to Senior Business Specialist during her ten years there. For the next 12 years Ms. Seekins worked at Bangor Savings Bank, in Augusta, starting as Cash Management Sales Services Officer and concluding her time there as SVP, Team Leader & Senior Treasury & Payment Services Officer. Most recently, Ms. Seekins was Chief Treasury Services & Business Development Officer at Androscoggin Bank, in Lewiston.

Jennifer earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine at Machias. She is a Certified Treasury Professional and a graduate of Leadership Maine. In the community Jennifer volunteers with the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, United Way, and Tree Street Youth. She has participated previously with Jobs for Maine Graduates, Big Brother Big Sisters and American Heart Association.

Jennifer currently resides in Oakland.

Students named to the University of Vermont dean’s list

Three area students were named to the dean’s list at the University of Vermont, in Burlington, Vermont. To be named to the dean’s list, students must have a grade-point average of 3.0 or better and rank in the top 20 percent of their class in their respective college or school.

Kayla Christopher, of Oakland, Natalie Palmer, of Augusta, and Kaitlyn Sutter, of Palermo.



RSU #18 receives delivery of propane powered buses

Lennie Goff, transportation director of RSU #18, with one of the new “Green Birds” propane-powered buses.

by Dan Cassidy

That’s right … A fleet of three new propane school buses arrived at the Oakland School Garage recently. What used to be known as the “Blue Bird” fleet of diesel engines are now called “Green Birds,” according to Lennie Goff, transportation director of Messalonskee RSU #18 school district.

“The biggest changes in the new fleet are that they run on Propane Autogas rather than unleaded or diesel fuel. And they are very quiet running and warm up faster during cold weather,” he said.

The new fleet includes 2020 propane fed engines. “Two are 78 passenger and one handicapped bus that is a 36 passenger equipped with wheel chair lifts and five wheel chair secured systems to be locked down with seat belts and harness straps worn by students during transit.

“The new buses will see that the fuel costs are going to be substantially less than the diesel or gas engines,” Goff said. “They cost about 30 percent less and are more environmentally friendly. Diesel cost is about $2.35 per gallon, whereas propane fuel is about $1.06 per gallon, plus we’ll get a 37-cent rebate bringing down the cost to under 70 cents per gallon,” he said.

According to Goff, the school district is looking to purchase two more propane buses through a Volkswagen emissions grant.

Colby-Sawyer College students fulfill internship requirement

Internships are field experiences designed to provide a student learning opportunity under collaborative supervision between Colby-Sawyer College faculty, staff, in New London, New Hampshire, and work site professionals. Internships offer opportunities for students to enhance their academic programs with work experience related to career interests in all industry areas in national and international settings.

Haley Carver, of Sidney, is completing Colby-Sawyer College’s internship requirement at Northern Light Health Inland Hospital, in Waterville. Carver is majoring in sociology and is a member of the class of 2020.

Chelsea Perry, of Oakland, is completing Colby-Sawyer College’s internship requirement at MaineGeneral Health, in Waterville. Perry is majoring in business administration and is a member of the class of 2021.

URI students named to the spring 2019 dean’s list

The University of Rhode Island, in Kingston, Rhode Island, is pleased to announce the Spring 2019 dean’s list. The students represent nearly all of Rhode Island’s cities and towns, all six New England states, New York and New Jersey, and many other states and countries.

The students are Alexandria Jarvais, of Madison, and Kristy Prelgovisk, of Oakland.

Local students on University of New Hampshire’s dean’s list

The following students have been named to the Dean’s List at the University of New Hampshire for the spring 2019 semester, in Durham, New Hampshire.

Matthew Murray, of Augusta, earning highest honors.

Madeline Lewis, of Augusta, earning highest honors.

Cody Short, of Fairfield, earning high honors.

Bradford Wilbur, of Fairfield, earning honors.

Carly LaRochelle, of Fairfield, earning highest honor.s

Elijah Caret, of Oakland, earning highest honors.

Hannah Duperry, of Oakland, earning highest honors

Adam Bovie, of Vassalboro, earning highest honors

Cash cashes in with two home runs

Messalonskee Middle School (photo source RSU 18 Messenger)

by Dan Cassidy

Cash Bizier, a seventh grade student at Messalonskee Middle School, in Oakland, recently hit his first out of the park home run on April 28, playing against the Famington Flyers with his 50/70 Sunday League at Purnell Wrigley Field, in Waterville.

His second home run came on May 15, his 13th birthday at the Sidney Pits vs. Ward Electric playing with his Rec League team. Cash plays mostly as a utility player. He pitches, plays second base, catcher, shortstop and plays in the outfield. He is the son of Shannon and Jeremiah Bizier, of Oakland.