Monday, March 26, 2012

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Endures Through Recession

By Larry Favinger

Staff Columnist


While the economy of Southern Maine and Southeastern New Hampshire had its ups and downs during 2011, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard continued to be a huge, steady financial contributor to the local areas.

According to the Economic Impact Study released recently by the Seacoast Shipyard Association, the shipyard increased its employment, its civilian payroll, its military payroll, the purchases of more goods and services, and contracts in 2011.

The total of those activities is over $560 million.

Civilian employment at the Kittery yard has risen from 5,168 in 2010 to 5,187 last year with a corresponding increase in payroll. In 2011, workers earned $408,395,305 compared to $395, 166, 516 the year before.

Those figures break down to show $234,047,564 to 2,948 workers from Maine, $150,79,790 to 1,946 New Hampshire workers, $10,378,138 to 131 Massachusetts residents and $13,176,793 to workers from other states.

A breakdown of the number of employees in area towns and cities and the total payroll for them can be found in accompanying information boxes.

The number of civilian employees has risen each year since 1998 when there were 3,648 on the employment rolls.

The military payroll to the Navy and Coast Guard shows an increase over 2010 with $40,498,582 last year compared to $39,939,431 the previous year.

The shipyard purchased nearly $50 million in goods and services and over $63 million in contracted facility services, much of it from Maine and New Hampshire.

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the oldest of the Navy’s four remaining shipyards, is considered “the most efficient yard in the Navy”, according to Navy Capt. William McDonough, a retired shipyard commander, now a spokesman for the Seacoast Shipyard Association.

The Association is concerned about the possibility of the formation of another BRAC down the road to consider another round of facility closures across the military landscape.

McDonough said the economic study underlines that a closure of the shipyard would be “a devastating thing to the local economy, as well as the overall states of Maine and New Hampshire.”

McDonough noted the shipyard has “a good workload for the foreseeable future,” another positive situation. Following World War II the Navy had 11 shipyards but that number has since been reduced to four.

More good news for the shipyard is the recent awarding of two contracts totaling over $65 million for modernization work at the yard.

U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) welcomed the announcement.

“The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is an economic engine that drives the economy of southern Maine and New Hampshire," Sen. Collins a member of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee said. “I am pleased that the Navy recognizes the critical need for these investments at the shipyard. This will help improve the safety and efficiency of the terrific workforce that keeps our Nation's nuclear submarines ready for sea every day."

Sen. Shaheen and Sen. Ayotte are also members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We have strongly advocated for the Navy to address critical infrastructure and modernization needs at the shipyard, and we’re pleased that this important work is now moving forward,” said the Senators in a joint statement. “The projects announced this month will make a significant dent in the facility modernization backlog and help improve safety and efficiency at Portsmouth, whose workers set the standard for maintaining our nation’s nuclear submarine fleet.

“We are pleased that the Navy has continued to recognize and correct the critical need for investments at Portsmouth.”

Waban Telethon Raises $80,000


The 41st Annual Waban Telethon was held on Saturday, March 17, at the St. Ignatius Gym on Riverside Avenue in Sanford. The St. Therese of Liseux Parish sponsored this year’s Telethon. Even though the economy continues to struggle, and though many people are constantly challenged by the increased cost of living and ballooning gas prices; the community once again rose to the challenge. In spite of a continued economic recession, individuals, businesses and organizations came together and demonstrated their unflagging support of the programs at Waban by raising $80,122!

This was the 41st Annual Telethon, and, in keeping with the work that the dedicated staff at Waban does day after day and year after year, the theme was “Making a Difference.” In addition to the wonderful entertainment, fun events throughout the day and ice cream donated by Shain’s of Maine, there were several special ceremonies. The entire Telethon was dedicated to Waban supporter and Metrocast producer of the Telethon, Richard Gould, who passed away early this year. Waban staff member Dot Jowett received the Waban Making a Difference Award for her dedicated and inspirational service. In the community category, the Waban Making a Difference Award was given to Andy “Penny Man” Normand for his tireless work over the past twenty years in collecting and rolling $120,895 worth of pennies for Waban, subsequently having that amount matched by General Electric.

A crew from Metrocast Cablevision produced the Telethon while Metrocast Cablevision and Time-Warner Cablevision provided coverage with an expanded viewing area going from Kittery to Presque Isle. Unified Technologies provided the phone bank. This year’s hosts were Kevin Mannix of WCSH-TV and long time volunteers Kristen Guillemette Perfetuo, and RJ and Jim Legere.

St. Therese of Liseux Parish donated the use of the St. Ignatius Gym.

In addition to large business donations of goods and services from Central Furniture and Landry’s Furniture, there were many other large and small personal and business donors, too numerous to mention, that were instrumental in making the Telethon such a huge success.

The funds from the Telethon will be used for developmental therapy, specialized equipment, assessment services, therapeutic recreation and other educational and habilitation-based services for children who attend the Fraser-Ford Waban Child Development Center or who receive services from the Case Management Program.

Waban is exceptionally grateful and appreciative for all the tremendous support they received from the volunteers and donors both before and during the Telethon.

Photo Caption: Hosts Kevin Mannix and Kristen Perfetuo joined the dancers from Jazz Tappin’ Dance Academy onstage for a dance lesson at the 41st Annual Waban Telethon in Sanford. (Courtesy Photo)

Green Wedding Giveaway Winners Announced


The winners in Clay Hill Farm’s fourth Green Wedding Giveaway® were announced at an intimate ceremony with finalists and local contest sponsors. Clay Hill Farm’s annual wedding contest encourages couples to explore the parallel between a commitment to each other and a commitment to the Earth. Additionally, the contest asks engaged couples to creatively “pick their shade” of green and share it with the world.

Jessica Maillet and Tim Caouette of Massachusetts were named the winners of the Green Wedding Giveaway 2012 for their outstanding everyday commitments to non-profits and local food initiatives. A July 8 wedding is planned for the couple at Clay Hill Farm, with a nuptial package to include: garden ceremony and catered reception for up to 75 guests, wedding florals, handmade invitations, photography, videography, accommodations, formalwear, hair and make-up, cake, DJ services, rehearsal luncheon, wellness package, favors, trolley transport and more.

In a surprise twist, head judge Battista Remati of Remati Media—joining the finale via Skype—announced a surprising second wedding package reward due to the raised bar by this year’s finalists’ inspirational magnitude and dedication to the people of the planet. Nita Mohanty and Anthony Acevez, of Illinois, were awarded the EcoReach® World Humanitarian award for outstanding global outreach. Mohanty and Acevez, a pediatrician and Chicago policeman respectively, have traveled the world helping children in impoverished countries. A late summer/early fall wedding will be planned for the couple at Clay Hill Farm.

“We are so honored and humbled by the ability of these two couples to give back locally and globally everyday,” said Jennifer Lewis-McShera, founder of the Green Wedding Giveaway. “Our social outreach has always been about celebrating real people making a difference through the natural beauty of relationships, but our winners this year have surpassed our expectations. It will be a privilege to celebrate their special day.”

Read more about the winners on the official contest website;

(Courtesy Photo)