Lovejoy Health Center welcomes Brandy LeClair

Brandy LeClair, LCSW

The staff at Lovejoy Health Center will be welcoming Brandy LeClair, clinical social worker, to the practice this winter. With the addition of Brandy to the team, the practice is expanding its counseling services as patients have been pleased with the opportunity to work on issues such as managing a chronic condition and other life stressors and crises right at the health center. Brandy brings experience in outpatient, community and residential social work.

Brandy obtained both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work at the University of Southern Maine. Her areas of expertise include children and adolescent individual and group therapy.

Brandy recently shared, “I have decided to join the team at Lovejoy due to my passion for holistic care. Lovejoy provides an environment to combine medical and social work, which has great benefits for patients.”

Brandy will be joining clinical social worker Deb Daigle as well as physicians Dean Chamberlain and David Austin, physician assistant Bobby Keith, family nurse practitioners Kaitlynn Read and Keiko Kurita, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner Marta Hall.

Leap year baby celebrates eighth birthday


Back in 1988, Aaron Conlogue, right, was born on February 29. Thirty-two years later, Aaron will be celebrating his eighth official birthday. His daughter, pictured with him at left, will be turning eight years old on April 30. So, they are both celebrating their eighth birthday in 2020. The third person in the photo is unidentified. (Contributed photo)

Oak Grove School Foundation offers grants

The Oak Grove School Foundation is accepting applications for grants to support the education and cultural needs of students and non profit organizations in the greater central Maine area.

Recipients must be educational, charitable or religious organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue service code.

Grant requests should be received by April 3rd, 2020. Funding decisions will be made in May and shortly after the funds will be distributed in July. Recent grants have ranged $500-$5000. The OGSF has also provided seed money for initiatives that last up to three years.

Groups interested in obtaining application forms and guidelines should contact Joann Clark Austin, Oak Grove School Foundation, PO Box 150 South China, ME 04358-0150 or Susan Briggs at briggsusan@gmail.com.

Please see this website: https://sites.google.com/site/ogsfoundationorg/

“Foundations of Investing” coming to Winslow Public Library

Sasha Fitzpatrick

“Foundations of Investing,” presented by local financial advisor Sasha Fitzpatrick, is coming to Winslow Public Library, 136 Halifax Street, on Wednesday, March 4, starting at 5:30 p.m. Ms. Fitzpatrick’s 30-minute overview presentation will clearly explain the basics of sound investing, and how developing an investment strategy can help you grow your money, so you can better finance your retirement, your children’s education, and more.

Illuminating today’s most popular investment options—including stocks, bonds, and packaged investments—Sasha will clearly explain each type of investment, and the potential benefits of each for those seeking to grow their money. She also will explain key investment terms and the importance of asset allocation.

Sasha’s 30-minute presentation will be followed by a Q & A session, in which attendees can receive specific answers to their questions. The event is free and nothing will be sold.

Now a financial advisor with Edward Jones® Investments located at 22 Common Street, in Waterville, Sasha Fitzpatrick previously was a language arts and math teacher at Winslow Junior High School, in Winslow.

The Vassalboro Ministry Association fundraiser set

The Vassalboro Ministry Association fundraiser flyer. Click for full page display.

The Vassalboro Ministry Association (VMA) has been helping with fuel assistance for Vassalboro residents in need Since 2005.

The Vassalboro Ministry Association Fuel Fund provides heating oil assistance for low income, disabled community members, and families with children experiencing financial hardship. Funds are raised through donations. An annual spaghetti supper is held in February at the Vassalboro United Methodist Church. Other fundraisers such as bake sales and an annual talent show is held throughout the year.

Heating assistance through the state can take months to obtain so it is especially important for neighbors to help neighbors through the chill of winter.

The spaghetti dinner fundraiser will be held February 29, from 4:30 – 6 p.m., at the Vassalboro Methodist Church. They will have a 50/50 raffle and special home-made pies donated by community members.

Donations are appreciated and may be sent to: V.M.A. Fuel Fund, P.O. Box 302, North Vassalboro, ME 04962, telephone (207) 616-9558.

Four Seasons Club fishing derby revived

The China Four Seasons Club (CFSC) and The China Village Volunteer Fire Department (CVVFD) are pleased to announce the first China Lake Ice Fishing Derby to be held on Sunday March 1.

It has been over 18 years since the town of China held an ice fishing derby. The derby, a town favorite, was previously organized by volunteers in China Village.

The China Four Seasons Club has become more active and wanted to bring back this local event. After talks with the China Village Volunteer Fire Department. It was decided that this year China will once again have an ice fishing derby.

The event is open to all legal waters in Maine but both clubs hope participants come join everyone on the local lakes. Tickets are on sale at many local stores, bait dealers, and available through members of both the China Four Season Club and the CVVFD. Entry tickets also serve as raffle tickets to win door prizes from local vendors. Ticket sales will end at noon on the day of the derby.

Food will be available for purchase from inside the China Village Fire Department along with coffee and hot cocoa to get help people get warm and enjoy fellowship.

Fish weigh in will be held at the Fire Department at 4 p.m. Many were very excited to hear of the return of this popular event and there are already plans to expand on it for next year. Families are encouraged to attend this great outdoor activity. The CFSC will also be giving sleigh rides behind their groomer.

This event is a great way for the community to come out and enjoy the frozen lakes, outdoor weather and celebrate winter. Please see the Facebook posts from the fire department and CFSC for more information, or contact a local member from either organization.

China/Vassalboro fifth graders help with revegetation program

Students at VCS helping with the revegetation project at the Masse Dam Site.

Fifth grade students from China Middle School and Vassalboro Community School are continuing the work started two years ago by fellow students helping with the revegetation project at the Masse Dam site, in Vassalboro. They are learning the connections between alewives, native plants and the restoration of Maine waterways back to their original state. The restoration of Maine waterways, also known as the Alewife Restoration Initiative, will allow river herring, an anadromous fish, to return to freshwater to spawn.

The site of Masse Dam, which was removed in 2018. (photo by Eric Austin)

Matt Streeter, from Maine Rivers, shared what has happened and is happening as dams are being removed allowing alewives and blueback herring to return to China Lake and Outlet Stream. Nate Gray from the Maine Department of Marine Resources provided information on alewives as a keystone species and what that means to our local environment. Anita Smith, a Maine Master naturalist, clarified the difference between native and invasive plants and why we need to focus our restoration efforts with native species.

This year’s seed collection were ones that would do well in wet to medium wet soils. Some of the seeds planted were Swamp Milkweed, Swamp Smart Weed, New England Asters, Wild Bergamot, Black-eyed Susan and Golden Alexander. Next fall students will go to the Masse Dam site to plant their young plants along the outlet stream. There is also a plan for the fifth graders to visit the site this spring. In the spring they will learn more about the history of the site, identify critters from the stream to determine if the stream is healthy or not, as well as plant shrubs along the stream’s edge.

Seeds for this project were provided by the China Lake Association.

Article and photos submitted by Elaine Philbrook of the China Lake association.

Students at CMS helping with the revegetation project at the Masse Dam Site.

China’s Anita Smith cited by statewide group

From left to right, is Olivia Grist, executive director of the Maine Environmental Education Association, Anita Smith, and Linda Woodard, of from the Maine Audubon Society. (contributed photo)

Anita Smith, of China, was recently presented the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maine Environmental Educators Association at the Maine Audubon headquarters located at Gilsland Farm, in Falmouth. This award recognizes Mrs. Smith’s many years of service promoting the benefits and rewards of being outside in nature. She has worked all over the state with schools, teachers, children, families, colleges and anyone curious about the wonders that can be found in nature.

Anita Smith is best known locally for her years of teaching in the China schools and her on-going work with the China School Forest, an “outdoor classroom” with trails and learning stations owned by the Town of China.

Along with her work in China, she is a facilitator and board member of Maine’s Project Learning Tree (PLT). Maine PLT uses the forest and trees as “windows” into the complex natural world. As a facilitator, Smith has presented a number of workshops to teachers throughout the state using the Project Learning Tree’s preK-12 curriculum materials. Helping educators make the connections to move a classroom from inside four walls to outside into the real world.

She is a trained Maine Master Naturalist. Her training increased her knowledge of the natural world so she could better help others understand the inner workings of nature. She currently is a mentor to this year’s participants in the Maine Master Naturalist program. This training enables participants to volunteer as teachers of natural history and encourage the stewardship of Maine’s natural environment.

Smith is a true believer of the importance of connecting not only children with the natural world but everyone. Knowing that as we become more knowledgeable of the inner workings of our natural world we become better stewards of the Earth and can make decision based on our experiences.

Congratulations to Anita Smith on her 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maine Environmental Educators Association recognizing her commitment to provide positive experiences for our community and giving us with a sense of wonder of our natural surroundings.

Polling places and times for March 3, 2020 primary

CHELSEA

Chelsea Elementary School, 566 Togus Rd.
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

CHINA

Portable Building China Town Office
7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

FAIRFIELD

Fairfield Community Ctr., Water Street
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

MADISON

Municipal Building, 26 Weston Ave.
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

PALERMO

Palermo Town Office
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

SIDNEY

Sidney Town Office, 2986 Middle Road
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

SOMERVILLE

Somerville Town Office
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

WATERVILLE

The Elm (former American Legion), College Ave.
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

WINDSOR

Windsor Town Hall (upstairs)
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

WINSLOW

MacCrillis-Rousseau VFW, 177 Veteran Dr.
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

To be included in next week’s issue, contact The Town Line at townline@townline.org.

Opioid Crisis Response: A plan of compassion, connection and communities

Gordon Smith, the executive director of the Maine Opioid Crisis Response task force. Photo by Jeanne Marquis.

by Jeani Marquis

The Maine Opioid Response Strategic Action Plan has five focus areas – Leadership, Prevention, Overdose Rescue, Treatment and Recovery – all leading to one goal. That goal is to reduce the negative health and economic impacts of substance-use disorder (SUD) and opioid-use disorder (OUD) on individuals, families and communities in Maine. The action plan reflects the understanding that substance abuse impacts the rural areas of the state as much as the urban.

“This is a chronic disease,” explains Gordon Smith, the executive director of the Maine Opioid Crisis Response task force, “we need to break down the stigma to stop shaming people for using drugs, encourage them, love them and wrap our arms around them and get them into recovery.”

The first of the five focus areas of the action plan provides strong state level Leadership using evidence-based and community-focused actions in response to Maine’s opioid crisis. State leadership means breaking down the silos between existing agencies to eliminate duplication and focus resources where they are needed. The Opioid Response, Prevention and Recovery Cabinet is comprised of representatives from Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Law enforcement agencies, other related state departments, an affected family member, person in recovery and the state’s Attorney General. Under their leadership, efforts will be made to increase the public understanding and reduce the stigma of substance and opioid use disorder.

The second of the five focused areas is prevention — working to deter our state’s youth from using addictive substances in the first place. The plan calls for preventive programs in our schools and not stopping there but also reaching out to community and youth organizations. Youth organizations play an important role in establishing self-esteem and decision-making skills needed to build resilient youth.

Community social services can identify and address adverse childhood experiences that can lead to future drug use if not addressed early in a child’s life. In some cases, prevention needs to begin before a child is born to a mother who is a substance abuser. In 2018, 904 children in Maine were born substance exposed. Maine is one of 10 states receiving a $5.3 million federal grant to help substance-exposed babies and their mothers to create more positive outcomes and lower future statistics. This grant funds the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) Initiative at the maternity department at hospitals throughout Maine: Maine General Medical Center, Maine Health, Mid Coast-Parkview Hospital, Northern Light Health, Penobscot Community Health Care and Pines Health Services. Pregnant substance users are urged to seek care with MOM program early in their pregnancy.

The third focus of the Opioid Crisis Response Plan is Overdose Rescue. The primary motivation is to keep the substance users alive so they can get into treatment. The task force is distributing 35,000 doses of naloxone to law enforcement, emergency responders, recovery center, correctional facilities and overdose prevention programs. To support the distribution of naloxone, the task force is providing education on overdose prevention, how to identify an overdose and how to administer naloxone. The task force wants to encourage families who have a loved one who is struggling with opioid addiction to ask their physician how to obtain naloxone for their household and get training on its use.

The fourth focus is to ensure that treatment is local, immediate and affordable. The plan is to get users into Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT) as soon as possible after a crisis by supporting emergency rooms and county jails in adding MAT programs. Medicated-Assisted Treatment is the use of FDA-approved medications to ease cravings and withdrawals, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. The task force is also working to increase MAT providers and shorten the long waits to entering treatment plans. Maine needs more prescribers who are qualified to treat addiction. Smith said, “We’ve almost doubled the number in a year. There is a lot more outpatient treatment out there, but it is still a patchwork. There’s so much to be done.” Smith went on to explain that Maine lacks adequate residential treatment for addiction. We only have two detox facilities in the state.

The last of the five focuses of the Opioid Response Action Plan is to support addicts in their Recovery and build recovery-ready communities. “Addiction is a disease of isolation; so, connecting people to back to a positive family, back to their friends, back to a recovery community is really important,” explains Smith. People in recovery need to be surrounded by positive people who know what they have been through and the struggles they face along the ups and downs of their recovery journey. That’s why the recovery coaches are vital as they are generally people in recovery who wish to help others who are beginning recovery. The plan increases the number of recovery coaches and funds additional recovery housing units and community-based recovery centers in key areas throughout the state.

When Smith was asked what the primary information was that he wanted the public to know if they have an addicted family member, he said he wants the public to call 211 to learn about addiction treatment resources. To see the Maine Opioid Response Strategic Action Plan in its entirety, visit http://senate.maine.gov/doc/3853. The task force is now planning their second annual Opioid Crisis Response Summit to be held July 23rd in Bangor to be more accessible to rural and northern Maine. They are expecting an attendance of 1500, an increase over last year’s highly successful summit in Augusta.