EVENTS: Chelsea to hold special Valentine’s free informational luncheon on dementia

Residents of Chelsea and neighboring towns are invited to attend a special Valentine’s session of Chelsea’s free monthly Informational Luncheons. This luncheon will be the same format that community members are familiar with from previous events, but with an added emphasis on creating a welcoming and accessible environment for people living with dementia. The place settings, decorations, and menu have all been designed to create a safe and comfortable sensory experience for all.

Age-Friendly Chelsea’s Informational Luncheons have been a community staple every third Thursday of the month since 2021. This monthly event provides time for socializing with friends and neighbors, a home cooked meal, and hearing brief talks on various topics. Every few months a chapter from the “Pathways to Well-Being with Dementia” is covered. February’s topic will be Emotional, Psychological, and Functional Health presented by Chelsea resident and Age-Friendly committee chairman Wilma Ware.

February’s luncheon is being held in partnership with UMaine’s Lifelong Fellows Program. This event is just one of the ways that Lifelong Maine is striving to support communities around the state interested in improving public awareness and inclusion for people living with dementia.

Social exclusion unfortunately is a common experience for people living with dementia and their families. Communities can lessen this impact by increasing public knowledge and reducing stigma and stereotyping. Dementia-Inclusive communities help people living with dementia to enjoy social connections and experience the best possible quality of life. All community members benefit from these more user-friendly environments.

Space for the event is limited! If you wish to attend, please RSVP by Monday, February 12, 2024. Call or leave a message at the Chelsea town office at (207) 582-4802 or email Dot Grady at agefriendlychelsea@yahoo.com

To learn more about the Informational Luncheons or Age-Friendly Chelsea please visit Chelsea’s town website or visit the Age-Friendly Chelsea Facebook page.

To Learn more about Age-Friendly Maine or Dementia Inclusive Programs please visit lifelongmaine.org.

EVENTS: Maple Sunday weekend slated for March 23-24, 2024

The Maine Maple Producers Association (MMPA) is pleased to announce the 41st Maine Maple Sunday Weekend on March 23-24, 2024. A favorite annual event, visitors are welcomed at local sugarhouses to celebrate Maine’s maple syrup in as many ways as possible.

“As always, our members are thrilled to host Maine Maple Sunday – maple producers are preparing creative ways to share their love of all things maple,” said Lyle Merrifield, president of the MMPA. “Over 100 sugar houses will be open in 15 counties, some on Sunday only, but many for the whole weekend so everyone can enjoy some sweetness.”

Activities vary from sugarhouse to sugarhouse. Many offer demonstrations of tree tapping, boiling, filtering, bottling and sugarbush tours, and some are offering horse-drawn wagon rides, farm animals to pet, full pancake breakfasts, live music and family-friendly activities. There will be many maple products to sample or purchase like maple syrup, maple candies, nuts, baked goods and popcorn.

Considered a tasty treat and preferred cooking ingredient by many, new research shows maple syrup’s advantages over other sweeteners, like refined sugar.

“Researchers from Québec and the University of Rhode Island have been investigating the potential health benefits of maple syrup, as compared to other sweeteners,” said Jason Lilley, the state’s maple industry educator for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

“Prior work had identified that pure maple syrup contains over 100 compounds such as vitamins and minerals, amino acids, phytohormones, and 67 phenolic compounds including many polyphenols. A recent clinical trial confirmed the suspicions that substituting other sweeteners with pure maple syrup increased participants’ glucose tolerance, meaning their bodies better managed their blood sugar levels after eating. Participants who consumed maple syrup instead of other sweeteners also had lowered blood pressure. Who knew that Maine’s official sweetener could not only support local businesses, taste delicious, and be a climate smart food product, but it’s good for you, too!”

To find a sugarhouse to visit, see the MMPA website for the full list of participating sugarhouses and their hours.

Since 1983, Maine Maple Sunday Weekend® has attracted thousands of visitors annually to sugarhouses throughout the state. Many producers create the four different varieties of maple syrup — golden with delicate flavor, amber with rich flavor, dark with robust flavor, and very dark color with strong flavor. These varieties are not often found in grocery stores and have different flavor profiles and uses.

The MMPA represents more than 250 of the 450 producers licensed to sell maple products in Maine. The majority of Maine’s producers are small, artisan businesses that focus on flavor over volume production.

EVENTS: Upcoming Area Caucuses 2024

Somerset County Democratic caucuses

All registered Democrats are welcome to attend the caucus in your area. If you are currently unenrolled or not yet registered, we will have registration forms at each caucus.

Region 1: Detroit, Pittsfield

Pittsfield Town Office, 112 Somerset Ave, Pittsfield

Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 1:00 p.m.

Region 2: Athens, Brighton Plt, Cambridge, Canaan, Harmony, Hartland, Palmyra, Ripley, St. Albans

Canaan Fire Department, 265 Main St, Canaan

Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 2:00 p.m.

Region 3: Cornville, Skowhegan

Skowhegan Community Center, 39 Poulin Dr, Skowhegan

Saturday, February 3, 2024 at 11:00 a.m.

Region 4: Fairfield

Fairfield Community Center, 61 Water St, Fairfield

Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 12:30 p.m.

Region 5: Mercer, Norridgewock, Smithfield

Norridgewock Town Office, 16 Perkins St, Norridgewock

Saturday, February 3, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

Region 6: Madison, Solon

Solon Fire Department, 119 S Main St, Solon

Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 1:00 p.m.

Region 7: Anson, Embden, Highland Plt, New Portland, Starks

Carrabec Community School, 56 N Main St, North Anson

Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 1:30 p.m.

Region 8: Bingham, Caratunk, Dennistown Plt, Jackman, Moose River, Moscow, Pleasant Ridge Plt, Rockwood Strip Twp, The Forks Plt, West Forks Plt

Moscow Town Hall, 110 Canada Rd, Moscow

Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

For additional information, please e-mail the Somerset County Democratic Committee at somersetcountydemsme@gmail.com.

Waldo County GOP to caucus

The Waldo County Republican Committee has announced that the Waldo County Republicans from all 26 towns in Waldo County will caucus on Saturday, February 3, 2024, at the Searsport MSHS, 24 Mortland Rd, Searsport. Registration will begin at 9 am, candidate presentations at 10 am, and town caucuses to follow.

The purpose of the caucus is to elect members to the Waldo County Republican Town Committees to organize for the upcoming elections. Voter registration sign up will be available. You must be a registered Republican to vote at the caucus. Delegates and alternates to the 2024 Maine GOP convention will also be elected. The Maine GOP state convention will be held April 26-27, 2024, at the Augusta Civic Center. All Waldo County Republicans are urged to attend this important event.

The snow date of the caucus is February 10. Weather cancellation will be announced on the Waldo County GOP Facebook page or contact waldocountyrep@gmail.com.

Lincoln County Democrats to caucus Feb. 3 and 4

Democrats in Lincoln County will gather for biennial caucuses Feb. 3 and 4 to begin organizing for the 2024 elections. All registered Democrats are invited to participate in their town’s meeting. Attendees will hear from candidates, conduct local committee business, and elect local delegates to the Maine Democratic State Convention held May 31 to June 1.

LCDC will also collect items for the organization’s Food Pantry Project, including paper towels, toilet paper, coffee and tea, hot/cold cereal and canned soups.

Doors open at start times below for voter check-in. Candidate speeches in most locations will begin shortly after check-in. In the event of a weather-related cancellation, caucuses will be held one week later at the same times and locations.

Saturday, Feb. 3

10 a.m. – Noon: Somerville

Windsor Town Office (2nd Fl), 523 Ridge Rd.

Noon – 2 p.m.: Bristol, Damariscotta, Newcastle, Nobleboro, South Bristol

Great Salt Bay Community School, 559 Main St., Damariscotta

2 – 4 p.m.: Alna, Jefferson, Whitefield, Wiscasset

Wiscasset Elementary School, 83 Federal St.

Sunday, Feb. 4

Noon – 2 p.m.: Westport Island

Old Town Hall, 1217 Main Rd, Westport Island.

2 – 4 p.m.: Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb, Southport

Boothbay Region High School, 236 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor.

Disclaimer: This event is not sponsored by the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School district, nor does it necessarily represent the values and opinions of the Board of Trustees, the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor School Committee, or the school community at large.

4 – 6 p.m.: Dresden

Pownalborough Hall, 314 Patterson Rd, Dresden.

4 -.m.: Bremen, Waldoboro

Miller Elementary School, 145 Kalers Cr St/Rte 32, Waldoboro.

Complete information about the caucuses, LCDC, its meetings, and other activities can be found at https://lincolncountydemocrats.com. Questions can be emailed to info@lincolncountydemocrats.com.

EVENTS: Smithfield celebrates leap year with winter events

If you are looking for something fun and engaging to do with your children this winter, plan on attending any number of free events planned by the Smithfield Leap Year Committee. Generous business sponsors helped make most everything free. Events are both indoors and outdoors so dress accordingly.

Kicking things off there is a child friendly movie on Thursday, February 29, at 6 p.m., at the Municipal Complex where free popcorn will be served. Bring a blanket and get comfy with the kids. Friday night is 21+ Chad the Hypnotist show. Adults will not want to miss this hilarious evening; $15 a ticket with free refreshments at the Fairview Grange #342. Seats are limited so get your tickets today!

Saturday, March 2, is a full day of happenings. Horse drawn sleigh rides, snowshoeing, tobogganing/sledding, Mr. Drew and His Animals, Too, hot chocolate bar and lunch courtesy of the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department, a workshop for children to build bird feeders to take home and rock painting, Northern Stars Planetarium dome will present The Wonderful Sky and after all of that fun, enjoy a potluck supper at the Smithfield Baptist Church, at 5:30 p.m.

Find all of the details on Face­book at: Smith­field Maine’s Leap Year Celebra­tion-Winter or www.smithfieldmaine.us website. Take a photo of the QR code.

Sunday, March 3, the North Pond Asso­ciation has part­nered with the town of Smithfield to host a Northern Pike Fishing Derby from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cash prizes for adults, $500 for top weigh-in and an incredible prize of a lifetime fishing license for the youth, 15U, who reels in the biggest pike! Get your derby tickets online.

There will be an ice rink sponsored by the Moonshiners Snowmobile club on the ice at the Grange Hall, free breakfast bagels from North by East, a hearty lunch for just $5 and various local nonprofit merchandise on sale, all at the Fairview Grange #342, along with Just a Kid From Smithfield hoodies, made by Catalyst for Change Wear and Smithfield winter hats. You can purchase them now at the Smithfield Municipal Complex in the town office. Derby awards and Leap Year cake will be served at the grange at this time. Find lots more detailed information on Facebook: North Pond – Leap Year Pike Derby. Call 207-362-4772 with any questions you may have.

EVENTS: Knox-Lincoln SWCD launches annual plant sale

Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District’s 2024 Spring Plant Sale Catalog is now available in print and online! Plants are available for pre-order, either online or by mail through Tuesday, April 16, 2024. They are offering curbside pick-up of your orders on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, and “Cash and Carry” on Saturday, May 11, at Union Fairgrounds. Quantities are limited so order early for the best selection!

This annual spring fundraiser provides more than 180 varieties to choose from: bareroot fruit trees and berries for the home orchard and garden; native conifers, deciduous trees, shrubs and vines for conservation, wildlife, and landscape enhancement; and native, organic, Maine-grown perennials and herbs in one-gallon pots for pollinators. The plant list includes new varieties in all categories and returning favorites. As always, the print catalog offers descriptions of the plants and cultural requirements to aid in choosing the right plant for the right place. Plant care fact sheets are available on our website.

The proceeds of this fundraiser support the youth and adult conservation programs throughout the year.

They are dependent on volunteers to help pack orders and distribute to customers. Volunteers receive some perks as a thank you for helping. If interested, please contact louisa@knox-lincoln.org.

Don’t wait to place your order, visit https://www.knox-lincoln.org/spring-plant-sale to download a catalog or to shop online; call 596-2040 or email julie@knox-lincoln.org to receive a catalog by USPS – and, think spring!

Kennebec Performing Arts Company is looking for conductors

With the recent retirement of its longtime leader, Charles T. Milazzo, the Kennebec Performing Arts Company (KPAC) board of directors is accepting applications for conductors of its three groups. KPAC is a regional, nonprofit music performance organization that includes a jazz band, a chorus, and a wind ensemble comprised of local musicians of all ages and backgrounds with the common goal of community fun and high-level music performance.

The schedule for each of the fall and spring seasons consists of a weekly rehearsal for 12 weeks, with two or three performances at the end of each period.

In addition to conductors, KPAC also encourages new members to join its groups. Singers and instrumentalists are always welcome.

Interested candidates can reach out via the KPAC website kennebecperformingartscompany.org to complete and submit an application through Google Forms.

Candidates may also request an application by email – kpacapp.board264@gmail.com. Candidates will be contacted for interviews and auditions.

Towns seek Spirit of America nominations (2024)

by Mary Grow

Several area towns, including China and Vassalboro, are seeking nominations for 2024 Spirit of America awards.

According to its website, the nonprofit Spirit of American Foundation was established in Augusta in 1990 to honor volunteerism. Initially, municipalities presented awards “to local individuals, organizations and projects for commendable community service.”

Since 2022, the program has included a Spirit of America Foundation School Award.

In a Dec. 11 email to municipal officials, Bruce Flaherty, President of Maine Spirit of America, invited them to seek nominations.

At the Jan. 2 and 16 China select board meetings, Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood encouraged China residents to recommend outstanding volunteers. The town has an on-line nomination form, found twice on the website, china.govoffice.com, under Town Clerk and Town Manager. These pages are under Administration, which is under Town Departments on the main page.

Deadline for nominations to be submitted to the China town office is Friday, March 1.

Vassalboro Town Manager Aaron Miller is also soliciting nominations from his town’s residents. Vassalboro has no form, he said; people wanting to nominate someone should call the town office at 872-2826 or email amiller@vassalboro.net.

Both China and Vassalboro have in the past presented annual Spirit of America awards at their June town meetings.

Flaherty explained that municipalities submit their awardees’ names to the state organization by June 1, and the names are forwarded to county officials for county-wide ceremonies in the fall.

EVENTS: UMaine Extension offers maple sugaring workshops

UMaine Extension 4-H offers maple sugaring workshops in Piscataquis, Penobscot, Somerset, Aroostook, Waldo counties starting Feb. 7.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is hosting a six-week maple sugaring workshop for youth ages 9 and up who are interested in learning about every step of the maple sugaring journey.

Participants in the “Maple Sugaring 101: From Sap, to Syrup, to Sales” will learn about tree identification, tapping trees, sap collection, using an evaporator, grading and canning syrup, and operating a maple sugaring business. Led by Extension and University of Maine experts, the program will include a combination of online meetings and in-person workshops.

The online meetings will take place on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-6:30 p.m., on February 7, February 14, and February 28. During these sessions, attendees will learn about the maple sugaring process and connect with other 4-H members. The on-site workshops will be held at participating sugarhouses on Saturdays, with dates varying by county.

Enrollment in 4-H is required for participation, but there is no cost to enroll. Interested youth can register online by visiting the program webpage. The enrollment period ends on February 5.

4-H is a community for all kids with programs that suit a variety of backgrounds, interests, budgets and schedules. Programs are grounded in the belief that kids learn best by doing. Participants complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles.

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation contact Andrew Hudacs, andrew.hudacs@maine.edu; 207.581.8204.

Another successful year at Kringleville

Throughout December, Downtown Waterville welcomed over 2000 families who gathered to meet Santa in his Kringleville cabin. Over 700 cups of hot chocolate with cookies and other baked goods were served, and 1200 candy canes and over 1000 books were given to children. Kids also had the chance to see snowmobiles, tow trucks, Jeeps, Elves, and Elsa; They could decorate ornament crafts, listen to a DJ, learn from the Children’s Discovery Museum mobile exhibits, engage in coloring activities, or choose a bookmark for their new book. Santa’s sleigh even made an appearance to transport Santa to and from the North Pole. They also served as a collection site for the Maine Children’s Home’s Holiday Program and filled an SUV with donations.

This amazing free event could not happen without Santa’s right-hand elf Jake. Jake the elf spends the rest of the year as Rick Bryant, a dedicated board member of the museum and Christmas-spirit keeper. He organizes all of the big man’s meetings, maintains the cozy cabin, secures financing and donations, and much much more. A huge thank you to him and all that he does for Kringleville!

EVENTS: Mary Matteson to lead sing-a-long

Mary Matteson

On Tuesday, December 5, the South China Community Church will offer a hymn sing-a-long at 1 p.m. Please come and join in singing many of your favorite hymns. Christmas hymns and festive holiday songs will also be sung. To add to the special gathering, they will have bells to ring and refreshments to enjoy after the sing.

New music director Mary Matteson is excited to share this special day with you. She is a retired music teacher who enjoys singing and making music with everyone.