Andrei Llanto named to fall deans’ list at Nebraska

Andrei Llanto, of Waterville, has been named to the deans’ list at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in Lincoln, Nebraska, for the fall semester of the 2022-23 academic year.

Llanto, a freshman majoring in business and law, was named to the dean’s list for the College of Business.

Waterville’s façade & building improvement program announces new funding cycle

Complementing revitalization within downtown Waterville’s Main Street corridor, Central Maine Growth Council (CMGC) has announced the successful grantees of its Façade and Building Improvement Grant Program (FBIGP).

The grant program, funded by Colby College and the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation, provides a reimbursement of up to 50 percent of the total estimated project budget of up to $10,000. Eligible projects range from new awnings and signage to brick repointing and the creation of murals.

“Selah Tea prides itself on providing our customers with the best organic coffees, teas, and yummy food in addition to comfortable and welcoming spaces for conversation and community building,” states Selah Tea Café owner Bobby McGee. “Funding secured through the Façade and Building Improvement program will allow the café to invest in our main entrance to create a more attractive and welcoming entryway to our business; we look forward to our continued growth in Waterville in conjunction with Main Street’s continued development.”

The program was established in 2019 to broaden engagement in Waterville’s ongoing revitalization, activated by over $200 million in recent investment by private and public sector supporters. With the Façade and Building Improvement initiative now in its fourth year of deployment, the grant program encourages new and existing downtown property owners and businesses to invest in their commercial storefronts while restoring the original character of historic buildings. CMGC has deployed 36 grants totaling $175,950 since the program’s launch in 2019, supporting and stimulating more than $2.25 million in direct investment in less than three years.

“From business and downtown revitalization to historical façade restoration, we have been thrilled with the quality of past applications and look forward to another round of impactful downtown projects,” states Garvan D. Donegan, director of planning, innovation, and economic development at Central Maine Growth Council. “Coming at a time of new traffic patterns, elongated sidewalks and pedestrian improvements, increased redevelopment activity, and significant downtown investment, the façade program continues to support the community in building off the downtown’s continued momentum while encouraging business and property owners to expand and grow new downtown initiatives, incentivize landlords to beautify and improve their buildings and streetscapes, and preserve our historic downtown district while fostering the conditions for small business creation, retention, and recruitment.”

This year, the grant awards made through the façade program will stimulate more than $150,000 in direct investment in downtown storefronts and façades during the 2023 calendar year. 15 applications were submitted, and 10 were awarded.

Successful grantees of the 2022-23 FBIGP award include:

177 Main Street – Selah Tea Cafe, LLC.
147 Main Street – Soul Revival Yoga
129 Main Street – 129 Gudis, LLC.
90-100 Main Street/65-67 East Concourse – Sidney H. Geller Trust, LLC.
80-88 Main Street/55 East Concourse – Waterville Investment Properties, LLC.
74 Main Street – Lion’s Den Tavern
70 Main Street – Holy Cannoli
46 Main Street – The Framemakers
42-44 Main Street – Focus LLC.
5 Silver Street – Hinge Collaborative

To learn more about FBIGP, please visit

Waterville Mount Merici students raise over $1,300 for “The Lighthouse”

State Representative Bruce White, center left, and Carla Caron, president of the board of directors for the Waterville Area Soup Kitchen, were presented with a check representing the donation. (contributed photo)

A recent penny collecting competition at Mount Merici Academy, in Waterville, engendered friendly competition, laughs, and, most importantly, funds to support “The Lighthouse.”

“Bruce White, one of our state representatives, challenged the community to raise money to cover the cost of rent for Waterville Area Soup Kitchen’s ‘The Lighthouse.’ The students participated by collecting pennies and competing between classes in a ‘penny war’ to support the cause,” said Stacy Shoulta, director of mission and theology at Mount Merici Academy.

The Waterville Area Soup Kitchen operates “The Lighthouse,” a dining place at 38 College Avenue, where guests are invited to enjoy a tasty, nutritious meal and an opportunity for socialization every Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“The students raised $1,361.58,” said Stacy. “This was enough money to cover a month’s rent and then some!”

During an assembly this week, Representative Bruce White and Carla Caron, president of the board of directors for the Waterville Area Soup Kitchen, were presented with a check representing the donation.

“We chose the soup kitchen for our fundraiser because our junior high students volunteer there weekly as part of our service program,” said Stacy.

Over the last two years, “The Lighthouse” has served nearly 30,000 guests.

For more information about the program or to discover ways you can help the Waterville Area Soup Kitchen, visit

Opening to receive the gift

Kwayah with her mom, Lisa Lichterfeld. (photo by Gillian Lalime)

Waterville Mom writes book redefining the term ‘Special Needs’

by Gillian Lalime

When asked about parenting, Lisa Lichterfeld, author of My Name is Kwayah, a children’s book about her daughter, starts with some self-analysis.

Kwayah, at playtime. (photo by
Lisa Lichterfeld)

“I was the youngest of five. They say the youngest children tend to be more Bohemian. Some might even describe them as reckless and irresponsible. I tended to part ways with many conventions, and one could say there were more than a few misadventures in those departures. This resulted in two children born out of wedlock with different fathers, who chose not to participate in their children’s lives. When it became clear that my youngest had Down Syndrome, it felt like a judgment against me for all the poor choices I had made. Being a mother was the most important role in my life, and I felt a lot of guilt for the suboptimal conditions with which I had brought my son and daughter into the world.”

At the time of Kwayah’s birth and diagnosis, Lisa did not have any personal relationship with someone with Down Syndrome. Her learning curve took the form of an overwhelming amount of information explaining some frightening and unattractive qualities of the condition. “When you first find out, you are assailed with all of the possibilities of ailments your child is going to have: predisposition to hypothyroidism, speech difficulties, heart conditions, developmental delays, and more. This can be quite disheartening,” says Lisa. If you look up Down Syndrome, a majority of resources list challenges associated with the diagnosis.

However, when Kwayah was a year old something magical happened. A friend sent Lisa the book Expecting Adam, by Martha Beck, which is the true story of a spiritual awakening that takes place for a woman who is pregnant and finds out she is having a child with Down Syndrome. At the time Lisa finished reading the book, her daughter Kwayah started pointing at everything with the three fingers that sign “I love you” in American Sign Language. She had never been taught any sign language, but for the next year Kwayah’s hand identified everything around her with “I love you”. This marked the opening of Lisa’s eyes. She says, “Despite all of my failings, God had dropped a love bomb into my lap. From that point on, the blessings could no longer be disguised by whatever challenges appeared.”

When Kwayah turned 15, Lisa realized her daughter didn’t have any association with the words “Down Syndrome”. She thought it might be important for Kwayah to understand that she was born with this condition and know how it affects her. Lisa searched for books to see if there was anything that could aid the process of explaining Down Syndrome at a level Kwayah would be able to understand and relate to. Coming away from that search empty-handed, Lisa decided to write the book herself!

Part of Lisa’s process was to examine each quality that is different or would ordinarily fall into the category of deficit and ask: What is the strength or gift of this experience? Filled with family photos and colorful graphics, My Name is Kwayah is a children’s book that redefines the term “special needs” in a beautiful and thoughtful way. While the book is very specific to Kwayah, it explains that this condition is also called Trisomy 21, and the physical manifestations of it are related to the genetic variation of having a third 21st chromosome.

Before the book, Kwayah didn’t have any association with the words ‘Down Syndrome’. Now, she will sometimes quote directly from the book when talking to others! This book is written for anyone who would be positively impacted by a different vision of what Down Syndrome looks like, especially for families, teachers, and employers of someone living with Trisomy 21. It would be wonderful to have My Name is Kwayah in hospitals or at birthing centers, as a resource for birth workers caring for someone who perhaps unexpectedly has a baby with Trisomy 21, as was Lisa’s experience.

For this mother, there are two very important understandings.

First: Guilt gets in the way of seeing clearly.
Second: If you wear the glasses of “everything is coming together for my good”, you will always be looking for the good, and chances are you’ll find it!

It was through shifting her own perspective of Kwayah’s diagnosis that Lisa was able to embrace the gift she has been given by having a daughter born with special needs and special talents. This March marks the book’s one-year anniversary and celebrates World Down Syndrome Day, which falls annually on March 21. My Name is Kwayah can be found on Amazon or read at the Waterville Public Library.

EVENTS: Battle of Maine slated for March 25, 2023

Spectators and competitors gather for the National Anthem during last year’s 40th anniversary of the Battle of Maine. (photo by Mark Huard)

The 41st Battle of Maine Martial Arts Championships will be taking place at Champions Fitness Club, in Waterville, on Saturday, March 25, 2023.

The competition and demonstrations kickoff at 8 a.m., and will last throughout the day until about 5 p.m. There will be competitions and demos of forms, weapons, and fighting. All ages are welcome to attend this event! Spectator tickets are $10 each and $1 of each go to help the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.

Area residents named to dean’s list at UNE

Photo credit: University of New England Facebook page

The following students have been named to the dean’s list for the 2022 fall semester at the University of New England, in Biddeford.

Albion: Emma McPherson and Olivia McPherson.

Augusta: Valerie Capeless, Zinaida Gregor, Jessica Guerrette, Brooklynn Merrill, Daraun White and Julia White.

Benton: Jessica Andrews.

Fairfield: Caitlyn Mayo.

Jefferson: Mallory Audette.

Oakland: Kierra Bumford and Francesca Caccamo.

Palermo: Peyton Sammons.

Sidney: Sarah Kohl.

Skowhegan: Wylie Bedard, Elizabeth Connelly, Ashley Mason and Dawson Turcotte.

South China: Richard Winn.

Vassalboro: Adam Ochs.

Waterville: Mohammad Atif-Sheikh, Elias Nawfel, Grace Petley and Evan Watts.

Winslow: Juliann Lapierre, Kristopher Loubier and Justice Picard.

Golf Fore Kids Sake to be held at Samoset Resort in May

Photo by Monica Charette

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine’s 2023 Golf Fore Kids’ Sake, at Samoset Resort, presented by Dover Ford and Union Fair Auto, welcomes teams to participate in its May 26 tournament to support one-to-one youth mentoring.

The annual spring golf tournament is expected to raise over $50,000 for community and school-based mentoring programs across seven counties served by BBBS of Mid-Maine.

“We are excited to welcome a full course of supporters back on the green this spring to help raise critical funding for local youth,” said BBBSMM Interim Executive Director Mae Slevinsky. The tournament is limited to the first 28 teams to register.

In addition to Dover Ford and Union Fair Auto, Golf Fore Kids’ Sake is supported by Colby & Gale and Machias Savings Bank (Major Sponsor); Austin Associates, P.A. (Lunch Sponsor) and Scoreboard Sponsors: PDQ Door, Maine Coast Orthodontics, Rockland Hannaford, and Cape Air.

To sponsor, or to donate to the Golf For Kids’ Sake auction, email or call 207.236-BBBS (2227). For more information about Golf Fore Kids’ Sake, visit

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine will hold a second Golf Fore Kids’ Sake tournament on Friday, September 1, at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, presented by Kennebec Savings Bank. Team space is limited. To register, or sponsor, please call 207.236-BBBS (2227).

Big Brother’s Big Sister’s long-standing, successful mentoring programs pair children, ages 5-16 (Littles) with caring, responsible role models (Bigs) in one-to-one friendships in Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Penobscot, Somerset, and Waldo counties. By partnering with parents, volunteers and local organizations, children in the program have higher aspirations, greater confidence, develop better relationships, avoid risky behaviors, and achieve educational success.

For information about enrolling a child in our mentoring programs, or becoming a volunteer or mentor, please call 236-BBBS (2227) email, or visit

Waterville scout leader presented with highest honor

Garth Smith, left, and advancement chairman Luanne Chesley. (contributed photo)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Garth Smith, of Waterville, a leader in Scouting programs in Winslow, on Saturday received the highest award a local Scouting district can bestow on a volunteer – the District Award of Merit.

During the annual Scout Leaders’ Recognition Dinner held on Saturday, March 11, at Winslow V.F.W. MacCrillis-Rousseau Post #8835, District Advancement Chairman Luanne Chesley, of Vassalboro, presented the District Award of Merit to Smith.

“Garth has served in large ways and some small ways in the Kennebec Valley region,” Chesley said. “In smaller ways, Garth has helped out at various events sometimes in the background or making sure things run smoothly logistically. Some examples include delivering firewood for the Klondike Derby, running stations at the camporee, or simply moving things from Point A to Point B at Camp Bomazeen. On the larger scale, Garth has volunteered at the District Pinewood Derby. The derby has a lot of kids and a lot of chaos, but Garth has helped many years to ensure the event goes off without a hitch.”

Smith works at the Maine Center for Disease Control and is a graduate of Waterville High School before taking classes at Husson College and Merrimack College.

Smith, who is currently registered as the Committee Chairman for both Troop #433 Boys and Troop #433 Girls, in Winslow, has also served as Popcorn Kernel, Scoutmaster, and was recognized for helping start a new Cub Scout pack. He has been active in Scouting since 2011 with his son.

Outside of Scouting, Garth Smith is an active member of the Waterville Lodge of Elks #905, serving as an advisor to the Antlers Youth Program; assisting with the youth Hoop Shoot and the Trunk or Treats program the Elks hosts.

“I was very surprised,” Smith said. “Scouting is a valuable program for young people to learn leadership skills. It is an organization that promotes and provides opportunities for family bonding. I am proud to be a part of it.”

“Garth is all about the kids,” Chesley said. He was nominated for this award by Millard Davis, of Winslow Troop #433, and was unanimously approved by the District Award of Merit Selection committee. The committee approved the awarding of two such awards but the second will be presented at a later date as they were unable to be present at the dinner.

EVENTS: Maine Film Center announces 2023 Oscar Party

Dress to impress or come as you are to the Maine Film Center’s 2023 Oscar Party, on Sunday, March 12, 2023. Attendees can walk the red carpet and enjoy catered refreshments at a gala reception prior to a live broadcast of the 95th Academy Awards, celebrating the best films of 2022.

“We’ve shown seven out of 10 Best Picture nominees this year, and while we have our own predictions about winners, we’re curious what our community thinks!” said Julia Dunlavey, assistant executive director of the Maine Film Center. “Will it be Everything Everywhere All At Once (with a recent sold-out encore screening at MFC) or The Banshees of Inisherin (the highest-grossing film at MFC this year)? We’ll be watching with bated breath all night.”

Prior to the Oscars, cinema patrons are encouraged to fill out ballots with their predicted winners. The person with the most correct predictions will win one dozen free movie passes to the Maine Film Center, as well as free popcorn.

The gala reception will begin at 7:30 p.m., while the Oscar ceremonies broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets for the reception are $15 for the general public and free for members of Waterville Creates; admission to the broadcast is free. For tickets and more information, please visit

LIFE ON THE PLAINS: The Plains, circa 1950s; southern end

by Roland D. Hallee

Legend: 1. Intersection of Summer and Gold sts.; 2. The former Notre Dame church and school, now KVCAP; 3. South End Arena; 4. The southern tip of “the island”; 5. Site of Picher’s Furniture Store; 6. Silver St.; 7. South Grammar School, now the Muskie Center.