Friday, May 15, 2009

Shipyard Benefiting From Stimulus Package

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has received $24.4 million funding under the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The funds will be used for repair projects to upgrade key infrastructure and improve energy efficiency for a of number yard facilities.
There are five projects specifically identified to receive funding under ARRA. These include structural repairs and upgrades to berths; repairs and improvements to the waterfront building adjacent to Dry Dock 2; roof repairs to the main administrative building; and roof repairs and some window replacement to the training building.
Maine has received nearly $130 million in state stabilization through the ARRA as well. These funds will be allocated by the Maine State Department of Education formula already in place for state aid to education.
The school districts in Southern York County will share in the funding through that formula. According to a report on the department’s web site, York will receive $157,335 for the 09-10 school year while Kittery will receive $106,302, Biddeford $929,988, and Wells/Ogunquit $106,778.
School Administrative District 35 will receive $583,362 and School Administration District 60 will receive $605,844.
It is estimated that Maine will receive $1.2 billion, plus $650 million in tax benefits to its citizens, and a significant but unknown amount in grants for specific projects in a number of areas.
“I voted for the stimulus package because I know how important these investments are going to be for Maine,” U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said. “ Over half a million people in Maine will be getting a tax cut and well over a billion dollars will be invested in saving and creating jobs in education, health care and clean energy in Maine.”
Maine veterans and seniors are already receiving $250 checks as part of the federal stimulus package approved by Congress and signed by the president earlier this year.
“When we passed the stimulus package, we wanted to get money back into the economy as quickly as possible,” Rep. Pingree, said. “These stimulus payments to seniors, disabled veterans and SSI recipients do just that.”
Later this summer similar payments will go out to Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, followed by Veteran Compensation and Pension beneficiaries. Altogether, Maine residents will receive over $72 million in payments, Pingree said.
U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said the state stabilization funding will provide needed budgetary support for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education and for other high priority needs such as public safety, and the modernization, renovation, and repair of K-12 and postsecondary schools.
Sen. Snowe and Sen. Collins worked with a bipartisan group of senators to craft the legislation that became law in February.
According to the offices of the Maine Congressional Delegation other money coming to Maine includes $5,158,000 for water and environmental projects, $6,757,951 to support child care for working families, $11,281,300 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements, $41,935,015 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment, and $27,305,000 to the State Energy Program, available as rebates to consumers for energy saving improvements; development of renewable energy projects; promotion of Energy Star products; efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings; and other innovative state efforts to help save families money on their energy bills.
Funds to be used for health care include $2,590,713 to fund two new Community Health Centers, which will serve an estimated 11,170 patients and create a projected 85 jobs; $3,345,917 to expand services at 18 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 11,862 patients and create or save a projected 62 jobs; and $485,000 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
Also included is $9.6 million for state and local law enforcement assistance available through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. The program supports a variety of efforts such as hiring and support for law enforcement officers; multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces; crime prevention and domestic violence programs; and courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives.
These are a few of the Maine projects and programs supported by federal funds at this time as the state and nation deal with slow economic times.

Berwick Student-Athletes Cook Up
Hot Meals for the Homeless

Berwick Academy student-athletes Peter Jenkinson of North Hampton, N.H., Tell White of Newcastle, N.H., and Ethan Hawes of Eliot and St. Thomas Aquinas senior David Baxter of York have been cooking up meals for the homeless on the first Sunday of every month for over a year. The boys volunteer their time and donate the home-cooked meals to 50-70 people staying at Cross Roads House in Portsmouth, N.H., the largest emergency and transitional shelter in New Hampshire housing both individuals and families. The idea to become involved with Cross Roads came from Peter’s mom Vickie Jenkinson, after their family served dinner to the residents during the winter holidays in 2007. Since March of last year, Tell, Peter, and Ethan have been whipping up a different meal every month. On May 3, they brought a spread of salad, hot dogs, baked beans, green beans, and ├ęclairs for dessert.
The boys made the decision to become involved with the program on their own; it is not a school or sport related requirement. Uncertain of what to expect, all three admit they were nervous on the first day of volunteering because the experience was truly stretching them outside their comfort zone. Once they met the staff at Cross Roads and interacted with the residents, however, they realized how rewarding it would be. When asked why participating in the program was important to them, they all had the same thing to say; it is a gratifying experience that has grounded them, and has given them a greater appreciation of what they have in life. It has allowed them to realize and be grateful for certain luxuries they have always been accustomed to and has motivated them to continue with charity work like this indefinitely.
All four students are actively involved in several sports and activities both on and off campus at their schools. Peter, a senior, plays varsity soccer and lacrosse. He was an EIL All-Star and MVP on his soccer team this past season, and was an All-League player on his lacrosse team last year. He graduates from Berwick this June and will attend the University of New England in the fall where he will play lacrosse. He plans to continue doing volunteer work while in college.
Tell, a junior, plays varsity soccer and basketball and received the Coaches Award on his basketball team this past season. He traveled to Costa Rica for a community service program his freshman year and has played percussion instruments for two years.
Ethan, a junior, plays varsity soccer, basketball, and baseball. He was the class president his sophomore year and has participated in on-campus community service projects like the Red Cross Blood Drive. He also earned the Science Department Award as a sophomore.
David Baxter, a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas captained the varsity basketball team and was voted MVP last season. He also received an honorable mention for the Class I All state team. David will be attending University of Miami this fall. All four boys will volunteer at Cross Roads through the summer and although Peter and David go off to college this fall, both Tell and Ethan plan to continue, with the hope of making it a Berwick tradition.
Cross Roads House Volunteer Coordinator, Diane Bundow, commented, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the boys for the past year. The fact that they cook the meals at their homes and bring them to Cross Roads House has been such a big help to us. I am so pleased that they plan to continue volunteering through the summer and into next year. They have been such a wonderful addition to our volunteer program and I look forward to continue working with these boys as well as other Berwick Academy students in the future.”
Photo caption: From left – Peter Jenkinson (BA’09,) David Baxter (STA ’09,) Ethan Hawes (BA ‘10,) , and Tell White (BA ’10) have been cooking up hot meals for Cross Roads House residents for over a year. (Courtesy photo).

York County Community College Inducts
26 Students Into Phi Theta Kappa
International Honor Society

York County Community College recently held the induction ceremony of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, where they honored 26 students for their outstanding academic records and achievements. The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society requires the following qualifications of its members: each member must be matriculated in an associate degree program, carry a minimum of six credit hours per semester, have earned at least 12 credits at YCCC in an associate’s degree program, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, and in order for each member to maintain their membership, they must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and carry six credit hours per semester.
The mission of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society is to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students, and to provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming. Today, Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education and is the official honor society for two-year colleges.
The new inductees are: Andrea Baldwin of York, Stacey Bessette of Lebanon, Cassidy Bisson of Wells, Melissa Canney of Saco, Gary Collin of Saco, Mike Collins of Berwick, Matthew Colson of Kittery, Brody Ford of Wells, Joanne Goodreau of Sanford, Maria Kindelan of Saco, Kathleen McDonough of Wells, John McLean of Wells, Sean Moroney of Old Orchard Beach, Meagan Piantoni of Lyman, Sarah Quaker of Berwick, Elizabeth Quinn of Biddeford, Lindsey Riccitelli of Ogunquit, Christopher Richardson of Kittery, Alexa Schaffer of York, Dane Steffens of Alfred, Tarren Stiennen of Alfred, Kristan Stringer of Sanford, Nicholas Trent of York, Rebecca Vieira of South Berwick, Michael Wilford of Cape Neddick, and Jill Young of South Berwick. Also inducted as an honorary member, was Dr. Wesley Mills of York County Community College.
Photo caption: YCCC’s Phi Theta Kappa inductees: Front Row: Tarren S., Cynthia C., Maria K., Katie M., Kristan S., Liz Q., Melitta N., Second Row: Lindsey R., Nick T., Dane S., Stacey B., Cassidy B., Matt C., Meagan P., Joanne G., Third Row: Brody F., Sean M., Dr. Mills, John M., Mike W., Jen S., Ashley L., Sarah Q., .Alexa S., Rebecca V. (Courtesy photo)