Friday, April 9, 2010

Weekly Sentinel Presents Healthcare Reform Overview

One of the most closely followed and controversial pieces of legislation in four decades, the recently passed Federal healthcare reform legislation potentially affects the lives of all Americans. Much of the debate over the past year has featured political posturing and misinformation about what is actually contained within the legislation. Regardless of what people think, however, it is possible that the legislation will have an effect similar to that of Medicare and Social Security, entitlement programs that many Americans have come to depend on. The Weekly Sentinel has attempted to summarize highlights of the bill and provide more detailed explanations of certain important components of it. Those items can be found beginning on page 19 of the April 9, 2010 issue.

Obama Visits Portland to Explain Healthcare Law

President Obama reacts to a comment from the crowd at the Portland Expo on Thursday, April 1st. President Obama visited Portland to rally support for the recently passed health care reform law. Obama’s speech focused primarily on the parts of the law that will begin to affect Americans this year. (Devin Beliveau photo)

Area Residents Hone Work Ready Skills

Four Wells and one Arundel residents were among the fourteen area adults recently completing a 60 hour Work Ready™ training and were honored at a graduation ceremony on Thursday, March 4 at York Adult Education. The soft skills based training is designed to provide successful participants with not only skills essential in today’s workplace, but also a portable credential. WorkReady™ is an initiative of Maine’s Local Workforce Investment Boards and the Maine Department of Education and is supported by a statewide steering committee. The WorkReady™ Credential is endorsed by businesses throughout the state.
Many felt that the best part of the program was having the support of each other. Job hunting can be an isolating experience, especially in an age of online applications.
“It was the people,” said Anne Counts of Arundel, when asked what she thought was the best part of the program. “I felt so isolated, everything is online.” Counts has been out of a job for a year, having worked as a store manager in Kennebunk. She either wants to go back to retail, or teach preschool, she said.
Graduates can use the certificate when applying for a job. Each one learned job-seeking sills, listened to experts in the field and met potential employers. Each left with a finished cover letter and resume. “Over several weeks, we’ve seen students make a huge amount of progress,” said Amanda Cutrer, Work Ready™ Facilitator. “Best of all, they’ve become a great support for each other.” While the name “WorkReady™” may imply that the program is designed for individuals with little to no work experience, it is actually highly applicable to a wide variety of individuals with varying degrees of training, education, and occupational skills.
This Work Ready™ class was funded by a grant awarded to four local adult education programs, Wells-Ogunquit, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel, Kittery, and York. While the course was held in York, participants were from 7 towns in the seacoast area. They ranged in age from 18 to 61 and had a wide range of prior education and employment history.
Area businesses that partnered with adult education and conducted mock interviews, tours or presentations to participants included York Hospital, Kennebunk Savings Bank, Human Capital Corporation of Portsmouth, The Goldenrod of York Beach, Bonney Staffing Center, Goodwill Industries of NNE, Hannaford, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the Kittery Trading Post. Other community organizations that assisted with the training included Women, Work & Community, York County CASH, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, NextStep Up Career Coaching, Finance Authority of Maine, Noble Adult & Community Education and Saco/OOB Adult & Community Education.
The graduates are Anthony Donoghue, Debra Cobain, Patricia Pfeffer and Barbara Sanford of Wells, Anne Counts of Arundel, Alicia Perry, Maurice Gauthier, Michael Ford, Judith Lincoln and Timothy Finnigan of Kittery, Heather Danforth and Barbara Holden of York, Laurence Brown of South Berwick and Lisa Gianotti of Rolliinsford, NH.
The four adult education programs are hoping to offer the training again in the fall. First they have to secure funding. For more information about Work Ready™ or to place your name on a list for a future training in the area, contact Mary Angelini at Wells-Ogunquit Adult Community Education, 646-4565 or
Photo caption: Back row from Left to Right: Anthony Donoghue, Patricia Pfeffer, Timothy Finnegan, Maurice Gauthier, Michael Ford. Front Row from Left to Right: Amanda Cutrer, Alicia Perry, Heather Danforth, Judith Lincoln, Laurence Brown, Eleanor Holden, Anne Counts, Lisa Gianotti. (Courtesy photo)

Kennebunk Community Garden Committee Looks to its Second Season

The Town of Kennebunk’s Community Garden Committee is pleased to announce that it is now accepting rental applications for the 2010 season. Anyone interested in renting plots may register during regular Town Hall business hours. An individual or a family living at the same address may rent one or two seasonal 10’ X 10’ plots. The rental fee for the 2010 season is $25 for a 10’ X 10’ plot or $50 for a 10’ x 20’. Plots will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to register early as the Committee expects to sell out quickly. (For additional information, including rules, regulations and educational materials, or to download the three application forms, visit Planting is expected to begin Memorial Day weekend.
The garden is located at the end of Holland Road between the Animal Welfare Society (AWS) and the tennis courts in West Kennebunk. It has been developed in partnership with AWS and the Town of Kennebunk. AWS has allowed the Committee to use its land for the garden, while the Town of Kennebunk was instrumental in helping get the garden off to a great start last year and is continuing to support the Committee at every turn.
The Committee has been working hard over this past winter to ensure that all renters have a successful growing season. Toward this end, the soil is being amended with 100 yards of organic compost. Plans are also underway for the construction of a new garden shed to house tools and supplies; students from Kennebunk High School are volunteering their time to build the structure and Deering Lumber in Kennebunk is supporting their efforts. In addition, the Town of Kennebunk will install a more permanent fence and move the water spigot to the center of the garden. The area just outside the fence will also be treated for ticks.
In addition to approximately 44 individual plots, a large part of the area is dedicated to raising produce for local food banks and shelters. Renters are required to donate a minimum of six hours to the community garden, as stated in the Kennebunk Community Garden Guidelines. “This year, however, we plan to have more structured blocks of time during which a garden committee member or volunteer will be on hand to direct specific job activities, which include tending the community food program section of the garden,” says Committee Chairperson Bevan Davies. “Despite the tomato blight, last year we donated 500 pounds of produce to local food programs, and we are really hoping for even more this year.”