Covers towns roughly within 50 miles of Augusta.

Maine students among the most likely to drive the country’s tech future

CodeWizardsHQ, a provider of coding classes for kids and teens, has carried out a comprehensive study and identified the most and least progressive states when it comes to access and enrollment to computer science courses. Given the significance of computer science in the modern world, not having access to courses such as coding can put children at a significant disadvantage to their peers when it comes to opportunities when they are older. The study revealed that there are significant disparities based on the location and profiles of students.

The company analyzed data from Advocacy Coalition to determine a ranking from 1 to 50 (with 1 being the highest ranking) of each state’s I.T. progressiveness. The data revealed that Maine has a rural access rate of 55 percent and a minority access rate of 76 percent, with 60 percent of high schools offering computer science. This places Maine in 23rd position overall in America.

Ranking factors included: rural accessibility, race accessibility, minority student accessibility, female enrollment, economically disadvantaged student enrollment, and the number of high schools offering computer sciences to students. Overall, the United States has a national rural access rate of 49 percent for computer science studies and a minority student access rate of 72 percent.

Across the country, a total of 58 percent of high schools offer computer science as a subject, with a female enrollment rate of 31 percent. Topping the rankings as #1 most progressive state for computer science study opportunities is South Carolina.

Race in to give blood or platelets this fall

Now that fall is upon us, the American Red Cross is asking the public to start the season off with a lifesaving blood or platelet donation. While the leaves turn, the need for blood never changes. Those who give this fall play an important role in keeping the blood supply on track for patients counting on blood products for care – especially ahead of the busy holiday season. Book a time to give blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Kennebec County:

Augusta, October 10, 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Augusta Elks, 397 Civic Center Drive, P.O. Box 2206;

October 7, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., MaineGeneral Health, 35 Medical Center Parkway;

Belgrade: October 1, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Belgrade Center for All Seasons, 1 Center Drive.

Gardiner, October 15, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Knights of Columbus, 109 Spring Street.

Waterville, October 7, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Waterville Elks, 76 Industrial Street.

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Central Maine scouts attend camporee in Cobscook/Moosehorn

Christopher Bernier, Camp Director of the Camporee, leading the opening ceremonies, at Cobscook, for the camporee. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Scouts from all over Maine – with the largest contingent from Kennebec Valley District – garbed as brave knights, powerful wizards, elven maidens and stealthy rogues descended upon Cobscook Bay State Park, in Edmunds, for the 60th anniversary Cobscook/Moosehorn International Camporee on the weekend of September 16-18.

The event, organized by Christopher Bernier, of Winslow, and his staff, saw more than 100 Scouts and leaders competing in such themed events as Shield Decorating, Pennant Competition, Axe throwing, Catapult, “‘Tis Merely a Flesh Wound” (First Aid), Tug-o-War, Archery, mounted obstacle course to rescue the Princess, and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch (Shot put throw to destroy the evil stuffed rabbit).

Bernier said, “The Cobscook camporee has been in the works for a year and could not have happened without all of the staff who came together to pull it off. The weather cooperated and everyone had a blast.” Some traveled three hours or more to attend the highly-anticipated program that has become the longest, continuously-run annual Scouting event in the nation.

Declan Noyes, of West Gardiner, is a Cub Scout in Gardiner Pack #672. He said that his favorite part of the weekend was the Scavenger Hunt where each troop scoured the woods and the edge of Cobscook Bay looking for magic items of tremendous power or weapons to help them in their battles against evil. “I also liked looking out at the ocean,” he said.

Daniel Deprez, of Gorham, recently joined Troop #73 and this was one of his first Scouting events. “There was a lot of fun stuff to do,” Daniel said. “I’m having fun.” He dressed as a brave knight for the weekend’s challenges.

Isa Russell, of Randolph, is a member of Troop #2019. “I think dressing up in costume and being in character is my favorite part,” said the maiden of Scouting.

Other activities included cooking challenges and costume competitions.

Lincoln County Dems volunteers picnic kicks off fall campaign

Leaders of the Lincoln County Democratic Committee (LCDC) marked the kick off of the fall campaign with a Volunteer Appreciation Picnic on September 10, at the Sheepscot Community Center, in Newcastle.

More than 60 volunteers attended the event, which included activities for kids and food prepared by LCDC leaders and volunteers.

“Our volunteers have been working for months to support Democratic candidates and with activity picking up as we head into fall, we wanted to take some time to thank them for all of their efforts,” said Kelli Whitlock Burton, LCDC vice chair and the 2022 campaign leader. “They are determined to do everything they can to elect people who will work hard to improve the lives of all Mainers. Their commitment to our community and state is just so inspiring.”

More than 120 people have signed up to volunteer with LCDC this campaign season, with more joining every day.

Fall weather preview

Kayakers in Brunswick

Provided by Accu-Weather

It has been a hot summer across the United States with the mercury frequently flirting with the 100-degree mark in countless cities and towns across the country and even some of the longest-duration heat waves in a decade. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for those awaiting the return of hoodie weather, pumpkin-flavored beverages and even snow.

AccuWeather’s team of long-range meteorologists, led by veteran forecaster Paul Pastelok, has been cooking up the long-term forecast for this autumn, blending together data from computer models, analyzing weather patterns around the globe and reflecting on past years. After combining the forecasting ingredients, the team has boiled down the seasonal outlook into one word: warm.

Meteorological autumn officially kicked off on Thursday, Sept. 1, and continues through Wednesday, Nov. 30. This is consistent year after year, making it easier for scientists to compare one season to another. “With pretty good confidence this year,” Pastelok said, “I think it’s a mild fall setting up overall for the U.S.” Warmth will dominate the forecast from Connecticut to California, but AccuWeather forecasters break down what else the season may entail, weighing in on where rainfall will be a frequent visitor and which areas may face tropical threats.

Plus, will snow shovels be needed before the official arrival of winter? And will this autumn be a good year for leaf-peepers hoping to snap incredible photos of vivid fall foliage? Find out the answers to these questions and more with a complete region-by-region breakdown of the U.S. fall forecast:

October to bring major weather shift in Northeast. As the calendar flips from August to September, millions of residents across the Northeast might not feel much of a change as summer-like warmth extends its stay over the region, but big changes are in the offing with the arrival of October.

Above-normal heat paired with spells of dry weather throughout the summer allowed pockets of drought to develop across New England, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. As a result, small streams have run dry, lawns have started to change from green to brown and cooling costs have gone up.

The warmer-than-normal pattern is expected to continue into the start of autumn across the regions as students go back to school and football season kicks off.

For those looking forward to enjoying autumnal scenery, the widespread warmth could delay the peak of fall foliage in popular viewing areas. But, forecasters say the wait could be worth it this year as vibrant colors are likely to unfold on the hillsides across most of the Northeast.

AccuWeather long-range forecasters believe that an increase in moisture will help to promote rain across the Northeast heading into autumn, helping to wash away drought concerns, but that the rain will be a double-edged sword.

“The severe weather threat will pick up again,” Pastelok said. Some of the rain may not come in the form of severe thunderstorms, but rather from a named tropical system.

Last year, multiple tropical systems had significant impacts in the Northeast. “It is something to watch. But we just don’t have the confidence yet to say that a major strike is going to hit the Northeast at this point,” said Pastelok.

A stormy pattern could set up over the Northeast in late October into November, including the chance for the first snowflakes of the season across the interior Northeast.

AccuWeather is predicting that there will be 16 to 20 named tropical storms during this hurricane season, including six to eight hurricanes and four to six direct U.S. impacts. Last year, there were 21 named storms, seven hurricanes and eight direct U.S. impacts. There have already been three named storms so far this year, including Tropical Storm Alex, Tropical Storm Bonnie and Tropical Storm Colin.

Areas from Florida to the Carolinas are forecast to take the brunt of the activity this hurricane season.

EVENTS: KVCOG to hold hazardous waste collection day

The Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG) will be offering Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days for the following locations:

On Saturday, October 1, from 9 a.m. – noon, the towns of Skowhegan, Canaan and Madison will be collecting at the Skowhegan Transfer Station. All residents have to sign up by calling their individual town office.

On Saturday, October 1, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., the towns of Pittsfield and Palmyra will be collecting at the Pittsfield Transfer Station. All residents have to sign up by calling their individual town office.

On Saturday, October 15, from 8 a.m. – noon, the communities of Winslow, Waterville, Belgrade and Oakland and will be collecting at the Winslow Transfer Station. All residents have to sign up by calling their individual municipal office.

According to Jessie L. Cyr, Community and Economic Development Specialist with Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, “we are all municipalities and nonprofit but these events directly benefit the people within our county and we feel it is a necessity to find the funding to hold these collection events.”

He continued, saying that 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. 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. Difficult to recycle -or dispose of- items can also become harmful if left unmonitored, items like electronic waste, paint, old fuels, mercury thermostats, etc. We also have local law enforcement officials on hand that day that will be collecting and properly disposing of any pharmaceuticals that residents want to bring in.

Webber Pond one of six Maine lakes at high risk for toxic algae bloom

Blue-green toxic algae bloom.

No lakes or ponds have been put on advisory just yet

by Roland D. Hallee

Following the news that a couple of dogs in southern Maine had to be euthanized following their exposure to a blue-green toxic algae bloom, this news was released by Lakes in Maine.

According to them, six lakes in Maine are at high risk for a blue-green toxic algae bloom. In our immediate area, Webber Pond, in Vassalboro, in on the short list of six lakes.

While the algae has been spotted in Maine lakes in the past, this year no lakes or ponds have been put on advisory just yet. However, officials have rated the waterways in the state based on their likelihood of having it before the summer’s end.

Many lakes in Maine see algae blooms every year and officials are closely watching to make sure residents are aware of any blooms that become toxic.

The toxic blue-green algae is actually called Cyanobacteria and it thrives in warm water. This warmer water is not unusual here in the summer, which is why reports of it typically happen in the warmer months. Learn to recognize what this bacteria looks like when you’re checking for toxic algae.

Many lakes and rivers have seemingly foreign objects and foam floating in them. Most of these things are harmless. But the algae that can cause illness is known by its blue-green color. You’ll want to avoid it wherever you can. Children and pets are especially susceptible.

Those topping the list are, in alphabetical order: 1. Annabessacook Lake, in Monmouth, 2. Cross Lake, in Aroostook County, 3. Georges Pond, in Franklin, 4. Sebasticook Lake, in Newport, 5. Trafton Lake, in Limestone and 6. Webber Pond, in Vassalboro. There are plenty of great lakes in the state that are safe for swimming, or just hiking, camping, or enjoying views. Check out more about lakes in Maine that you can feel free to enjoy.

Coming into contact with the toxic algae can cause rashes, skin irritations, and even some gastrointestinal illnesses. You’ll see these symptoms even more severely in children and pets.

Officials urge folks to be mindful of any standing bodies of water. Always do a check for discolored water or “froth” that has a bluish color to it before you swim or come into contact with water. If contact is made, be sure to wash it off with clear and fresh water as soon as possible. You might be worried if you run into toxic algae in Maine, but there won’t be any long-term problems to worry about if you wash it all off right away.

Remember that fish can also be affected. If you fish in any water that might be affected by the blue-green algae, be sure to clean the it well before cooking at a high temperature.

To keep track of the Maine lakes at highest risk of cyanobacteria advisories, check out the official state website.

If you’ve been affected by any of the algae blooms this summer, they would like to hear your experience. Contact them at

Efficiency Maine announces funding to expand electric vehicle charging

A new initiative from Efficiency Maine will further expand the coverage of the state’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure by supporting installation of public EV chargers in rural communities. This is the first of a series of planned EV charging infrastructure incentives from Efficiency Maine using $8 million allocated by Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan.

Level 2 EV chargers add 20 to 40 miles of range per hour, and are suitable for hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and public parking lots where the vehicle can recharge for an hour or longer. Eligible projects under the funding opportunity being announced by Efficiency Maine can receive 80 percent of installation costs, up to a maximum of $5,000 per Level 2 plug for networked chargers or a maximum of $2,000 for non-networked chargers.

Thanks to the generosity of The Nature Conservancy, projects at local government-owned properties and public libraries in rural areas will be eligible for a bonus incentive of $2,000 per networked plug, with the total combined incentives covering up to 90 percent of the total project cost.

To be eligible for funding, proposed projects must be in a publicly accessible location in a rural community as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Projects in York and Cumberland counties, and the cities of Lewiston, Auburn and Bangor, are ineligible for this round, but future funding opportunities from Efficiency Maine are intended for areas not covered by this opportunity. To learn more about this funding opportunity, please visit the Efficiency Maine website. The deadline to apply is November 15, 2022.

EVENTS: Bryan Bielanski to perform in Warren Aug. 30

Bryan Bielanski

Imagine Nirvana and the Beatles had a kid together who became an acoustic rock singer-songwriter: that’s Bryan Bielanski! Although he is inspired by some of the rock greats like Tom Petty and REM, he has a distinct musical style and lyrics that make you think deep thoughts and feel like you’re really alive! This critically acclaimed globetrotting singer-songwriter has been touring the U.S. and the world for the last 10 years.

During that time, Bryan Bielanski has performed in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Austria, Belgium, California, Canada, China, Colorado, Connecticut, Costa Rica, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Italy, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Luxembourg, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Netherlands, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Poland, Russia, South Carolina, South Dakota, Switzerland, Tennessee, Texas, Thailand, United Kingdom, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Bryan Bielanski is full of fun energy and catchy songs and he is ready to entertain you!

Bryan will be performing Tuesday, August 30, 2022, at Saint George River Café, in Warren.



90-year-old veteran creates a hand-carved legacy for future generations

On Saturday, August 6, Alan Johnston, U.S. Army veteran and commander for the Maine Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars, led the dedication of a hand-carved wood eagle to Wreaths Across America’s founder Morrill Worcester, as part of the organization’s annual Stem to Stone event in Downeast Maine.

The eagle was carved by 90-year-old Navy veteran George Gunning and painted by his wife of 70 years, Donna, both of Windsor, as a gift of thanks to Worcester and all those who carry out the Wreaths Across America mission to remember the fallen, honor those that serve, and teach the next generation the value of freedom.

Over the last 15-plus years, the Gunnings have made more than 4,000 hand-carved and painted wooden, eagle-headed canes to donate to Maine veterans as an extension of the Eagle Cane Project started in Oklahoma. They do it as a labor of love for all those who served our country. The Gunnings were moved to create this larger eagle sculpture after learning more about the Wreaths Across America program and the impact it has had on veterans and their families across the country.

As part of the dedication, Johnston presented George and Donna a $1,000 check from the Maine Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars. A $1,000 donation was also presented by Johnston to Wreaths Across America Volunteer Location Coordinator for Togus National Cemetery, Deborah Couture, to sponsor veterans wreaths to be placed there this December as part of National Wreaths Across America Day – scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.

Wreaths Across America is the nonprofit organization best known for placing wreaths on veterans’ headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. However, in 2021, the organization placed more than 2.4 million sponsored veterans’ wreaths at over 3,100 participating locations nationwide. Throughout the calendar year you can tune in to Wreaths Across America Internet Radio, 24/7, to learn more about the mission and those who support it across the country, as well as the hundreds of local charitable efforts nationwide that are funded through wreath sponsorships.

You can sponsor a veteran’s wreath anytime for $15 at Each sponsorship goes toward a live, balsam wreath that will be placed on the headstone of an American hero as we endeavor to honor all veterans laid to rest, at noon on Saturday, December 18, 2021, as part of National Wreaths across America Day.