B2B Showcase canceled for 2020

Board member Emily Cates and Editor Roland Hallee sit at The Town Line’s booth at the Business-to-Business Showcase in 2019. (photo by Eric Austin)

Due to the closing of the Colby campus through the end of the year and the large gathering restrictions currently in place, it became necessary for the Mid-Maine Chamber to postpone the Business-to-Business Showcase to 2021.

According to Cindy Stevens, program director at the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, the showcase will be rescheduled, most likely to the usual late March date, assuming gathering restrictions are lifted by that time. In the event that Colby’s fieldhouse is not available an alternate venue is under consideration.

While no exact date has been announced at this time, all booth reservations will be honored, and all pre-paid deposits or payments applied to that event.

Once a date has been determined, the chamber will re-communicate to all participants with additional details.

Stevens concluded, “while we regret having to cancel this event for 2020, it is out of an abundance of concern for the health and well-being of everyone.”

Parochial vicar named to Corpus Christi Parish

Fr. André-Joseph LaCasse

Bishop Robert Deeley has announced a new priest assignment for Corpus Christi Parish, in Waterville and Winslow.

Effective September 1, 2020, Fr. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., has been appointed a parochial vicar at Corpus Christi Parish (Notre Dame Church, Waterville; St. John the Baptist Church, Winslow; St. Helena Church, Belgrade Lakes).

A native of Lewiston, Fr. LaCasse is a member of the Dominican Order, formerly known as the Order of Preachers (O.P.). For over 800 years, the mission of the order has been “to proclaim the Gospel to every corner of the world” so that every soul may come to know and love Jesus Christ.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Maine at Orono. In 1986, he entered the novitiate of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph, attending the Dominican House of Studies and receiving his S.T.B./M.Div. degree in 1992, when he was ordained to the priesthood. Since his ordination, Fr. LaCasse has served as a parochial vicar at St. Dominic Church, in Youngstown, Ohio; pastor of St. Patrick Church, in Columbus, Ohio; and, for the last ten years, pastor of St. Gertrude Church, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fr. LaCasse also holds a master’s degree in spirituality from the Pontifical College of St. Thomas (Angelicum), in Rome, Italy.





Waterville Rocks! returns for fifth year with the Rustic Overtones

Rustic Overtones are a seven piece rock band from Portland, Maine with a discography that spans 20 years. The bands unique version of indie rock is strongly influenced by soul music, garage punk, jazz and psychedelic music of the ‘60s and ‘70s. (contributed photo)

Waterville Creates!, one of Maine’s leading arts and cultural organizations with a mission to promote Waterville as a vibrant destination in central Maine, has announced the fifth consecutive year of Waterville Rocks! will happen thanks to a virtual Livestream Facebook concert with Rustic Overtones on Friday, August 28, at 7 p.m. This free concert will be streamed LIVE from the Waterville Opera House and available on Facebook.

The series of free and family-friendly outdoor concerts has in the past featured regional acts, including Enter the Haggis, The Mallett Brothers Band, and The Ghost of Paul Revere, in downtown Waterville’s historic Castonguay Square. Waterville Rocks! is hosted by the Waterville Opera House and sponsored by local businesses, organizations and patrons of the arts. The series is designed to provide free cultural programming for the community and offer a new way to animate downtown Waterville. The 2020 virtual Waterville Rocks! sponsors are Kennebec Savings Bank, Colby College, and MaineGeneral Health.

“It was obvious due to COVID that an in-person series of concerts just would not be possible given the limitations on gathering sizes and lack of touring groups performing during the pandemic,” says Tamsen Brooke Warner, executive director of the Waterville Opera House, the organizer and host of Waterville Rocks! “COVID has forced our organization and those like ours around the world to rethink how we serve our communities and remain fiscally solvent during a time when we cannot gather in person or sell tickets. This Livestream Event is our first serious foray into the world of streaming performances and we are looking forward to getting back in the business of entertaining, if only virtually for the time being.”

Waterville Rocks! is presented by the Waterville Opera House and Waterville Creates! and made possible by the generosity of Kennebec Savings Bank, Colby College, and MaineGeneral Health.

For more information visit: https://www.operahouse.org/shows/2020/4/24/rustic-overtones-in-concert.

Construction updates for downtown Waterville

Downtown Waterville

The North Street Bridge over Maine Central Railroad will be closed from Monday, August 17th through August 31, 2020.

BMB Construction has a contract with Maine DOT to rehabilitate the bridge on North Street over Maine Central Railroad. The bridge will be closed down on August 17 through August 31, 2020. Please feel free to contact Shawn McDougall with any questions, at smcdougall6@hotmail.com, or call 207-852-2585.

Downtown construction completed as of last week:

• The 8-inch main line was completed from Front Street to Main Street.
• The trench line was paved to a full depth of five inches.
• Pavement has been cut in preparation for excavation that was set to begin Monday on Hathaway Street.
• Main Street service trenches and sidewalks for 99, 103, 117 and 173 Main have received two inches of temporary pavement.
• There are two excavations on Main Street currently with compacted gravel awaiting completed foundation cores.

Taste of Waterville canceled due to large gathering restrictions

Plans for return in 2021

Restrictions on sizes for large gatherings into the fall have resulted in the cancellation of Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s 28th Annual Taste of Waterville scheduled to be held on Sunday, October 11, at the Head of Falls, downtown Waterville.

This year’s event had been moved due to construction on Main Street and the anticipation of increased limits for gatherings. According to the Department of Economic and Community Development, increases beyond the 100-person limit for outdoor gatherings are not expected for the remainder of the year.

President & CEO of the Mid-Maine Chamber, Kimberly Lindlof said, “It is with profound sadness that we announce the cancellation of this long-held tradition. However, as with other area events and exhibitions forced to adjust schedules, the health and safety of our attendees is of utmost concern. We will take this time to make next year’s event bigger and better – so watch for information regarding Taste of Waterville 2021 at Head of Falls.”

Committee Chairman Shawn Michaud added, “I love this event, and share Kim’s disappointment. However, the Chamber Taste of Waterville Committee will continue plans for next year’s event, with ample time to develop a format featuring cultural foods and demonstrations focused on the ethnic diversity of the area. The program will continue to be an adult-focused day-long event with a variety of food options, ethnic entertainment, and informative walks, along with live entertainment, beer/wine gardens and brew samples. Entertainment and activities will be announced in early summer 2021.”

For more information as it is determined, visit www.tasteofwaterville.com.

Northern Light Inland Hospital welcomes Robin Fuller

Robin Fuller

Robin Fuller joins Northern Light Sleep Diagnostics, in Waterville, located on the Inland campus. She has been a nurse for 12 years and is board-certified as an adult-gerontology primary nurse practitioner. Robin will be available for sleep consultations and sleep hygiene services.

Contact your primary care provider today for a referral to Northern Light Sleep Diagnostics.

Northern Light Sleep Diagnostics, 180 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville, 861-3000, Northernlighthealth.org/Locations/Inland-Hospital/Locations/Sleep-Diagnostics.

Kennebec Savings launches Chamber appreciation campaign

Kennebec Savings Bank has created the KSB Chamber Appreciation Campaign to provide relief funds to each of the local chambers within its service area.

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce was the recipient of a substantial grant as part of this effort.

The bank included an explanation for the establishment of the campaign on social media, “Our local Chambers of Commerce are working harder than ever on behalf of their members, despite facing their own set of challenges in the wake of COVID-19. Despite many obstacles, our local chambers continue to host virtual seminars and networking opportunities, keep us informed of legislative happenings, promote member businesses, and more to support our local economy.” The Facebook post continued, “To show our support for the important work they do, we have created the KSB Chamber Appreciation Campaign to provide relief funds to each of the local chambers within our service area. We encourage our community partners to join with us and support your local chamber. Donations to chambers, whether it is your time or your money, support our business community as a whole. If we all lean in and work together, we’ll get through this!”

Kennebec Savings Bank President and CEO Andrew Silsby said of the awarding of the grant, “We are so appreciative of the local chambers of commerce for the work that they are doing to help our small business community, in their time of greatest need.  Our chambers have pivoted all their traditional activities for businesses; becoming a vital, virtual connector to much-needed resources that businesses need right now.  We think it is especially important to appreciate the local chambers for all that they are contributing, at a time when their own resources are under a great deal of pressure.  I, personally, hope businesses that can will join their chamber, pay their membership early, or just send a donation along as a sign of our collective appreciation for all that they are providing to help our business community.”

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kimberly Lindlof acknowledges that the generous grant was completely unexpected and very much appreciated. She says the funds come at a critical time as the chamber was not eligible for federal or state funds (PPP) to assist with payroll. All staff were retained while working remotely, and upon the return to the office so that business needs could be addressed. While working remotely, the chamber introduced a Takeout Challenge to promote the restaurants offering takeout and curbside deliveries and a Waterville Works downtown promotion to assist businesses impacted by both the pandemic and the ongoing construction. A bingo promotion for June, July and August, supplemented by a July Summer Savings coupon campaign were implemented to build foot traffic and make residents aware that downtown is still “open for business.”

Following several postponements, a business breakfast series event “Back to Business: A Roadmap for Attracting and Retaining Employees” was held on June 11, at Waterville Country Club. Following CDC guidelines, this successful breakfast attracted nearly 40 local businesspeople.

Currently, the chamber staff is busy assisting with exchanges of Joseph Fireside Steakhouse gift cards for chamber gift certificates good at member restaurants. Owners Kevin Joseph and EJ Fabian requested the chamber’s help to assure the funds stayed in the area. To date, nearly $12,000 in gift certificates have been issued. Additionally, sales of regular chamber gift certificates have topped $90,000 since January 2020.

The chamber continues to move forward with other events, including another breakfast in July regarding topics in employment law, with Erik Peters – and the popular Chamber Golf Classic, rescheduled to August 18 at the Waterville Country Club. Additional sponsors are still needed for this event, given the delay due to the pandemic. Contact cindy@midmainechamber.com if you would like to participate.

Lindlof added, “During my 26 years of involvement with the Mid-Maine Chamber I have never seen this impressive level of cohesion within the community. The chamber team continues to pull together to offer support to our members. We are heartened and encouraged by the response from the business and nonprofit community, and by this show of appreciation from Kennebec Savings Bank for the work we do every day.”

Northern Light Inland Hospital welcomes Dr. Laviolette

Dr. Jessica Laviolette

Northern Light Inland Hospital is pleased to welcome Jessica Lavio­lette, DO. She joins our Northern Light Osteo­pathic Care practice at 180 Kennedy Memorial Drive in Water­ville.

Dr. Laviolette earned her undergraduate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts and her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Lansing, Michigan. She is a specialist in Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine, which complements traditional therapies and offers non-surgical options for acute and chronic neuromusculoskeletal (nerves, muscles, and skeletal conditions) and joint conditions. She also provides Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, which is a set of hands-on techniques used by osteopathic physicians to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury.

Dr. Laviolette treats a broad range of musculoskeletal conditions including low back pain, thoracic pain, neck pain, headaches, musculoskeletal pain in pregnancy, asthma in children, and newborn infants with fussiness or feeding difficulties.

Dr. Laviolette is accepting new patients. Talk to your provider today for a referral or call Northern Light Osteopathic Care at 861-7050 for more information.

KV Connect finds new way to help nonprofits

KV Connect traditionally hosts Waterville Green Drinks the second Tuesday of each month to raise money for local nonprofits while networking with other young professionals in the area. Since COVID-19 swept in, events have had to be canceled, but community needs continue to grow. KV Connect decided to pool its resources to continue to support the community.

“Our goal this year was to raise $2,020 during 2020 to help our local nonprofits. However, we needed to get creative due to COVID because we had to cancel our in-person fundraisers. We also have had to cancel our twice-weekly volunteer opportunity delivering food to the soup kitchen. We wanted to find a new way to engage members in the community and still have an impact,” said Samantha Burdick, president of the KV Connect Steering Committee.

KV Connect’s Community Service and Outreach Committee decided to take things virtual, by trying its first-ever digital fundraiser using Facebook. KV Connect launched the digital fundraiser on July 13 with hopes to raise $500 in five days. “Our goal was to raise $500 in five days to help United Way’s Community First Fund. We know that this fund helps so many non-profits in our region that have been impacted by COVID and our support would go where it is needed most,” said Courtney Squire, chairman of the Community Service and Outreach Committee.

The group was able to exceed its goal. By week’s end, a total of $740 had been raised for the Community First Fund with giving by 19 donors on Facebook. The money will be used to fund programs or projects that address needs in the region. Since March, over $55,000 has been awarded to local nonprofit organizations to help confront food insecurity and provide essential needs to families and children. “We strive to be a community partner, and help young professionals become involved in their community. We are blown away by the support of our members and look forward to continuing to support the community through our volunteer and fundraising efforts,” said Burdick. Those looking to get involved with KV Connect should contact Courtney at the Mid-Maine Chamber (courtney@midmainechamber.com).

KV Connect is a networking group for professionals in the greater Waterville area. Its mission is to connect young people not only to each other but to the many resources the community has to offer. It seeks to positively impact the community through economic, social, political, and community service initiatives.

United Way of Mid-Maine serves communities throughout Somerset, northern Kennebec, and western Waldo Counties. United Way of Mid-Maine is a community partner that works with local non-profit organizations to ensure the community has access to critical service in the focus areas of Strengthening Children, Youth, and Families, Promoting Independence, and Meeting Immediate Needs.

The United Way Community First Fund is accessible year-round to nonprofit organizations to provide extra funding for programs or projects that address a need in the community, or aid in the continuation of an organization’s mission.

The Community First Fund provides funding for programs or projects that are: Combating food insecurity, such as a food bank or meal program, providing access to basic essential needs like toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, baby essentials, providing family and child enrichment, such as book or arts programs, providing community relief for disasters such as flood or ice storms, and providing community support for a crisis such as COVID-19.

Waterville Creates! awarded grant for art kits for all program

Photo: Waterville Creates!

Waterville Creates!, a nonprofit supporting and promoting high-quality, accessible arts and cultural programs and institutions in Waterville, is the recipient of a $2,500 United Way of Mid-Maine Community First Fund Award for the collaborative Art Kits for All pandemic response program – an effort to help keep our community’s families engaged and entertained during this public health crisis by providing free art supplies and instructions for art projects that can be created at home.

“We’re utterly thrilled. This funding will make a huge difference to many local families who rely on our art programs, events, and scholarships to live a fulfilling and balanced life,” says Waterville Creates! President and CEO Shannon Haines. “Closing our doors during the COVID-19 pandemic was heartbreaking to us. Art Kits for All is an innovative, collaborative program designed to get art supplies into the hands of families and fulfill our mission to support and promote high-quality, accessible art experiences albeit in a completely reimagined way.”

The United Way of Mid-Maine’s Community First Fund supports community betterment and crisis recovery efforts, providing extra funding to local non-profit organizations by funding programs or projects that address a need in the community, or aid in the continuation of an organizations mission.

“We are honored to support Waterville Creates! and their effort to connect families with art resources,” says Bethany Drouin, Resource Development Director of the United Way of Mid-Maine. “The Art Kits for All program will provide value to the lives of families throughout our communities.”

A network of local nonprofits powers the Art Kits for All program, generously providing volunteers and supplies to keep this popular relief program engaging and informative. Representatives from the Colby College Museum of Art, the Kennebec Montessori School, Waterville Public Schools, and the Family Violence Project gather weekly to plan future Art Kit themes relevant to the community, obtain supplies, develop instructional materials, and pack the Kits.

Art Kits for All are distributed for free at the George J. Mitchell School and Downtown Waterville Farmers’ Market. The Art Kits are assembled at the Common Street Arts’ Studio, currently closed to the public. Masks and gloves are worn during kit assembly, and all art materials are disinfected to remove any risk of contamination. The kits are prepared and sealed a week prior to the distribution date to further minimize any transmission risk. Future Kit themes include activities inspired by the art of Bernard Langlais and Hew Locke on display at the Colby College Museum of Art, a Plein Air watercolor painting Kit, and a Pastels Kit. Past kits activities have included creating zoetropes, kite-making, and clay sculpting.

Community donations in support of this ongoing effort are requested; donors can sponsor one Art Kit for just $10, and all gifts are tax deductible. To donate, visit: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/waterville-creates/art-kits-for-all.