Friday, July 27, 2012

“Lawns for Lobsters” Grows as Result of Two Town’s Collaboration

Hunter and Sawyer LaChance plant a Lawns for Lobsters sign to let others know that their yard is maintained in a way that's good for the environment. (courtesy photo)
In an unprecedented alliance, volunteers at the Kennebunkport Conservation Commission are teaming up with members of the Kennebunk Conservation and Open Space Planning Commission to boost area-wide awareness about the impact of pesticides in the two towns.
Kennebunkport’s successful Lawns For Lobsters program presently addresses public awareness about pesticide runoff from lawns into local waterways. “Most of Kennebunkport’s streams begin in Kennebunk and both towns share the Kennebunk River,” notes Sarah LaChance, Chairman of Kennebunkport’s commission. “We all benefit from a healthy approach to the care of our lawns and gardens. Good practices about the use of pesticides are easy and less expensive in the long run.”
Alex Mendelsohn, chairman of Kennebunk's commission, describes how the collaboration between the two commissions is expected to foster wider understanding of how pesticides affect the environment. “While both towns have pesticide usage policies on the books, many citizens are unaware of these policies,” he said.
Maine's pesticide usage went from 800,000 pounds annually about ten years ago to well over 4 million pounds a year now. That works out to as much as three pounds of active ingredient per non-forested acre. “Off-the-shelf pesticides are widely available at retail stores,” adds Mendelsohn.
Official pesticide usage policies at both towns now cover town-owned lands, focusing on using established best practices for application, and the consolidated school district has its own pesticide policy.
“We’re now expanding our awareness campaign to the wider community,” Mendelsohn says. “These policies stem from a so-called Precautionary Principle that was spelled out a decade ago by scientists at the Wingspread Conference.
“The Precautionary Principle states that that when an activity poses a threat to the environment or to human health, precautions should be taken, even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established.”
Pests can include undesirable terrestrial and aquatic plants, as well as insects, fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes. Rodents, birds, and even some animals and microorganisms can also be declared as pests under some Federal and state laws.
Common examples of pests in turf grass are crabgrass, knotweed, poison ivy, chinch bugs, grubs, and a variety of plant pathogens. The use of pesticides to deal with these problems can affect people, pets, well water, surface water, and terrestrial and aquatic wildlife.

Wells Beach Parking Lot Attendant remembered at Dedication Ceremony

Ed Sarcione, who passed away May 1, 2011, was remembered Wednesday, July 18th by many who knew and loved him.  In attendance at the dedication of a plaque in his memory were Town Manager Jonathan Carter, Town Treasurer Leo Ouellette, Ed’s wife, Rike, and many friends. (courtesy photo)

17th Annual Eliot Antique Tractor & Engine Show

One of the many antique engines on display at the Raitt Homestead Museum, which hosts its 17th annual Antique Tractor & Engine Show, July 27-29. (courtesy photo)
ELIOT – This weekend (July 27-29), the 17th Annual Eliot Antique Tractor & Engine Show will be held at the Raitt Homestead Farm Museum at 2077 State Rd, RT 103, in Eliot. This is a fun-filled weekend for the entire family.  This year they are featuring Oliver Tractors & Gilson engines. 
“It’s a labor of love,” said Lisa Raitt when describing the weekend. “It’s an all-volunteer board. No one gets a dime.”
Visitors can enjoy antique tractor and engine displays, working demonstrations including a shingle mill, a 1920’s Hildreth wood splitter, pumps and engine displays.  Ladies are invited to try their hand at the Ladies’ Skillet Toss. There will be tractor parades, kids pedal tractor pulls, garden tractor pulling, antique stone boat pulling, and transfer sled pulling all during the weekend. Folks can visit the Colonial Encampment and take a spin on the barrel tractor ride. On Friday night, there will be a benefit auction, and throughout the weekend there are raffles, entertainment, great food, homemade desserts and an artisans’ alley. 
The show is sponsored by the Raitt Homestead Museum, a non-profit formed in 1996.
Raitt said it takes months of preparation for such a large show.
“There have been thirty to forty people on site for a few weeks now, some camping. We have to hay the fields. Now that we have the car show in June, we hay them early. But now we have to mow the eighteen acres every five days until the tractors show,” she said. “We have to haul out all the antiques. And we have hundreds of exhibitors. There’ll be quite a few people here this weekend.”
One hundred percent of the proceeds from the event goes directly to the preservation, restoration, and maintenance of the thirty-three acre Farm Museum buildings, property and equipment, which enables them to continue to educate future generations and the community at large about farming history. The Museum also offers on and off-site children’s programs.
The show costs $6 per person; children 6 and under get in free. For more information, visit, email or call 207-748-0860 for the schedule.  Open Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Center for Wildlife to Create Program for Challenged Youth & SeniorsSeniors

One of Nine Nonprofits Awarded York County Fund Grants

The Maine Community Foundation’s Community Building Grant Program recently awarded $37,095 in grants to nine York County nonprofits, including the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, which will use the funds to create a “Wildlife as Teachers and Healers” program for disabled or at-risk youth and seniors.
Other grant awards went to:
Across the River Collaborative, Hiram, for an after-school program to prevent youth substance abuse and reduce school dropouts and juvenile crime.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine, Portland, to expand site-based mentoring program to RSU 23, or Saco, Dayton, and Old Orchard Beach.
Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County, Kennebunk, for The Nurturing Program, a ten-week parenting class to help families build strong, healthy relationships.
Counseling Services, Inc., Saco, to provide mental health services to uninsured or underinsured children diagnosed with mental illness.
Habitat for Humanity York County, Kennebunk, for start-up capital to open a ReStore in York County.
Old Berwick Historical Society, South Berwick, to support the Revitalizing Local History Project, which will strengthen the three-year series of all-school walking tours of historic sites for elementary grades in South Berwick.
Sanford-Springvale YMCA, Sanford, to support professional development for teaching staff to strengthen child care programs.
A volunteer committee of York County residents and business leaders reviews grants and makes recommendations for funding through the York County Fund and York County Children’s Aid Society Fund. The majority of grants in York County are directed to programs that assist vulnerable youth. The next deadline for applying to the York County Fund is February 15, 2013. Application and guidelines are available at
A statewide organization with offices in Ellsworth and Portland, the Maine Community Foundation partners with donors and nonprofits to strengthen Maine communities. For questions or for more information, visit or call 1-877-700-6800.