Samantha Bonneau, of Skowhegan, was named to the College of Our Lady of the Elms spring 2023 dean’s list, in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Sydney Veilleux, a Lasell University student, from Skowhegan, was recognized by their peers for outstanding collaboration in the spring 2023 semester in their Retail Innovation Lab course, in Newton, Massachusetts.
Veilleux was selected as one of the two best people to work with in the course. Recipients of the Collaboration Recognition Award are selected by their peers for exemplifying superior skills in collaboration by sharing ideas and useful information, communicating in a professional manner, and cooperating in a way to ensure success.
The Collaboration Recognition Program at Lasell University was launched in 2021 as an opportunity to acknowledge students not just for their academic performance in a particular course, but for collaborative behaviors that are the key to success in professional environments.
Doctors from Redington-Fairview General Hospital, in Skowhegan, and the MaineHealth Institute for Research, in Portland, hosted six research session over three weeks in Waterville and Thorndike in an effort to collect data regarding PFAS exposure in central Maine.
PFAS refers to a family more than 4,000 chemicals present in a wide variety of consumer products, from non-stick cook wear and food packaging to water resistant clothing and stain resistant home goods. Since the 1970s, evidence of negative health outcomes associated with increased PFAS exposure has steadily grown, including decreased antibody response in adults and children, thyroid disease and dysfunction in adults, and increased risks of kidney, breast, and testicular cancers, but the evidence has primarily targeted water pollution associated with close proximity to chemical manufacturing plants and sites with heavy use of fire retardant foam, like military training bases. The high level exposure identified in central Maine in recent years is unique as the contamination has come from the application of sewage and industrial waste as fertilizer on farm fields, entering the food chain and watershed less directly.
When Dr. Rachel Criswell and Dr. Abby Fleish began seeing the impacts of PFAS exposure in their clinical patients, they sought to understand what ways this form of exposure differed from those that have been better researched. Criswell and Fleish applied for grant funding from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences to conduct a Time-Sensitive Environmental Health Study. Time-Sensitive Studies are typically carried out following natural disasters and other anomalous events, but the doctors convincingly argued that the degree of PFAS exposure in central Maine constituted a “slow-moving environmental disaster.”
The study they designed holds three distinct goals: to describe the extent and impacts of PFAS contamination among the diverse cohort; to clearly identify all possible exposure pathways (food, water, soil dust, other); and to quantify the mental health affects resulting from the stress of mitigating the contamination. To do this, Criswell and Fleish contacted by mail every individual in the three surrounding counties who had well water tested for PFAS by the Department of Environmental Protection, asking for participants to take part in their study.
At the September 19 event, held at the Waterville Elks lodge, more than two dozen respondents attended to participate. Following a brief overview of the study by Dr. Criswell, each participant was individually walked through an informed consent form and then asked to complete a short questionnaire that asked about personal diet and lifestyle habits before and after learning of PFAS exposure. Participants were then asked to provide a blood sample and those willing also had the option to provide hair samples, human milk samples, and stool samples.
Prior to the two events scheduled in Thorndike the following week, Dr. Criswell anticipated falling far short of the 300 participants they hoped to enlist, but was already making arrangements to extend enrollment in the study. Anyone interested in participating can contact Skowhegan Family Medicine at 207-474-6201.
Jonathan Strieff is a freelance contributor to The Town Line.
Taylor Hayden, of Skowhegan, is a Star Scout in Troop #485. He is 15 years old and attends Skowhegan Area High School. On Wednesday, September 13, Taylor stood before Scouting leaders from all over Kennebec Valley District to receive a plaque for his contributions to Scouting by designing the patch for the Spring Camporee which was held in May, at Camp Bomazeen, in Belgrade.
Taylor was pleasantly surprised when he learned that his had been selected: “It’s outdoorsy and very artistic in my way of drawing things,” Taylor said. He plans to hang the plaque in his living room where his other Scouting awards are displayed.
Skowhegan, Anson, Bingham, Canaan and Madison will collect from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Skowhegan Transfer Station, 29 Transfer Station Drive. This is open to residents of those towns, who must call their own town office to schedule a time slot (Skowhegan, 207-474-6902; Anson, 207-696-3979; Bingham, 207-672-5519; Canaan, 207-474-8682; Madison, 207-696-3971).
Winslow, Belgrade, Clinton, Fairfield, Oakland and Waterville will collect from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 21, at Winslow Public Works, 135 Halifax St. Residents must call their municipal office to schedule a slot (Winslow, 207-872-2776; Belgrade, 207-495-2258; Clinton, 207-426-8322; Fairfield, 207- 453-7911; Oakland, 207-465-7357; Waterville, 207-680-4200).
Those who don’t have an appointment slot made with their town will not be able to drop off that day.
Many chemicals commonly used around the home are hazardous, either alone or when combined with other chemicals, and need to be disposed of by professionals trained to handle hazardous materials, according to a KVCOG news release.
Improper disposal of these materials can disrupt the function of sewage treatment plants or private septic systems, contaminate ground water, and harm animals and residents. Items that are difficult to recycle or dispose of — such as electronic waste, batteries, paint, anti-freeze, chemical cleaners, yard chemicals, old fuels, oils and mercury thermostats — many of which can also become harmful if left unmonitored.
The council will have local law enforcement officials on hand in Winslow and Skowhegan to collect and properly dispose of any pharmaceuticals that residents want to bring in.
After what feels like a long time waiting, MacKenzie Dawe’s art will be on display at Joe’s Flat Iron Café, at 65 Water Street, in downtown Skowhegan, until October 14. Out of seven nominees this past April, she was chosen as the winner of the 2nd Annual $500 Wesserunset Arts Council Youth Scholarship. When Joe Almand took over the former Paper Klip/Warren’s Office Supplies space where WesArts has had Youth Art Displays since 2019, he assured the Council that he would continue to welcome youth art in his café once it was ready to open.
McKenzie Dawe is a very talented student who will be entering her junior year in the fall at Skowhegan Area High School.
In 2021, she was part of the National Youth Art Month Digital Art Show at the Portland Museum of Art and also won seven first-place ribbons and one second-place ribbon for her art submissions from the Skowhegan State Fair, and the Clinton Lions Fair. She is a fantastic fan artist who has painted beautiful portraits of rocker Ozzy Osborne and the character Glenn Rhee from The Walking Dead TV series.
Dawe wants to continue her current skills but move on from using traditional mediums such as colored pencils, watercolors, oil paints, acrylic paints, and oil pastels to using animation, sculpting, pottery, and three-dimensional design tools. Therefore, MacKenzie used the scholarship money to order mediums that will develop and expand her skills, such as sculpting compounds and tools, a drawing tablet, jewelry beading supplies, needle feltng supplies, fine-detail miniature paint brushes, and miniature drawing art pens. She said, “My intentions are to further develop my range of mediums I can work with and my desire is to create a career from my art, like being a content creator and/or designer.”
Students at Lasell University, in Newton, Massachusetts, presented original research, creative works, and academic presentations at the annual Connected Learning Symposium in April 2023, including:
Sydney Veilleux, of Skowhegan, presented information about studio1851, Lasell’s student-run, on-campus boutique, at Symposium.
Alexis Grant, of Athens, presented information about studio1851, Lasell’s student-run, on-campus boutique, at Symposium.
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