Monday, November 23, 2020

Bar Harbor Bank and Trust Supports COVID-19 Testing Program for Island Schools

 


Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is demonstrating outstanding support for the Mount Desert Island community with a $37,400 grant to support MDI Hospital’s COVID-19 testing initiative, developed in concert with the Downeast COVID-19 Task Force. Bar Harbor Bank & Trust’s grant is targeted to benefit the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (AOS 91) as they strive to keep students, staff, and schools healthy and safe.


“MDI Hospital is grateful to Bar Harbor Bank & Trust for their continued leadership support in our community,” said Art Blank, President/CEO of MDI Hospital. “They have stepped up to help our Island schools stay on track during this pandemic, enabling a high-quality, evidence-based COVID-19 testing program.”


Initially, 500 staff members will be tested to establish a baseline and detect any existing cases. This will be followed by weekly sentinel testing of staff in pre-established cohorts. The AOS 91 tests will be conducted by MDI Hospital personnel and processed by Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) Health, an incubator for innovative start-up and testing facilities. CIC collaborates with 100+ organizations throughout the United States, conducting some 4,000 tests daily. CIC Health is a founding partner of the Assurance Testing Alliance, a collaboration of professional organizations working to streamline and lower the costs of COVID-19 testing.


“Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is passionate about supporting the communities we serve, especially MDI which has been our home for more than 130 years. Ensuring the safety of our schools has a significant positive impact to the entire community, and proactive efforts like this testing program will help limit the spread of COVID-19 throughout MDI. We are honored to help support this partnership between MDI Hospital and AOS 91 to help keep our kids, teachers, and neighbors safe.” said Curtis Simard, President and CEO of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.


An additional grant of $40K to support the AOS 91 testing initiative has been received from the Rural Health Hospital Program for expanding testing in rural communities. Thanks to these generous donations, COVID-19 tests will be conducted from November 2020 through June 2021 at no cost to district employees, and with no impact on current school budgets. “This testing program will be used to monitor our schools for evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in concert with current mitigation strategies,” explained Marc Gousse, PhD, Superintendent of the AOS 91 Mount Desert Regional School System.


The Downeast COVID-19 Task Force was established in the early days of the pandemic to explore community-based solutions and provide a forum for discussion of ongoing challenges around COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and education. Current members include area town and chamber of commerce leaders, local legislators and leadership from MDI Hospital, Healthy Acadia, the Jackson Laboratory, Mount Desert Island Regional School System, College of the Atlantic and Acadia National Park.


About Mount Desert Island Hospital
Mount Desert Island Hospital serves the close-knit island and surrounding communities through a 25-bed critical access facility in Bar Harbor and a network of area health centers—all designed to provide comprehensive healthcare for residents and visitors.


Since it was established in 1897, the nonprofit hospital has grown into a premier rural healthcare organization with a retirement community and eight regional health centers, including a full-service behavioral health center and a dental clinic. Today, MDI Hospital employs more than 500 people and is the second-largest employer on MDI.


The mission of MDI Hospital is to provide compassionate care and strengthen the health of its community by embracing tomorrow’s methods and respecting time-honored values.

For more information and the latest updates, visit www.mdihospital.org.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Welcome to new member Downeast Scenic Railroad!


 Please join us in welcoming our new Chamber member, Downeast Scenic Railroad.

"Join us on the Downeast Scenic Railroad, the first tourist-passenger rail to grace the historic Calais Branch Line in decades, for the best day trip in Ellsworth!
"A trip on the Downeast Scenic Railroad not only takes you back to a time of elegant travel in lovingly restored rail cars but also travels through a truly beautiful part of Maine.
"From canopied forest where the light sparkles through the treetops as chickadees and nuthatches bounce from limb to limb to open marshland where beavers, herons, turtles, and moose might be seen, the restored section of the Calais Branch Line gives you a view not seen since the wealthy rusticators traveled from the cities to their summer homes on the line.
"You travel over bridges, roll past schools and houses, hear the clack of the rails muffle on the thick woodland moss, and delight in the sound of the horn at the crossing. Watch as the powerful engine moves from the front to the back of the train to take you to Washington Junction rail yard, where you can see the heavy equipment that keeps the rail running and pass train components and cars currently being restored for use on the Downeast Scenic Railroad, before coming back to the Ellsworth depot.
"On the way, be sure to look for the nests of the giant osprey and the big beaver hutches in the wetlands! Enjoy exceptional views of wetland marshes, glacial erratic including massive boulders, and river and stream crossings. While traveling and working on this stretch of the line, we have also observed many forms of wildlife, including blue herons, bald eagles, moose, deer, snapping turtles, and even bears!
"The current traveling time is roughly 90 minutes and traverses a 13-mile section of the restored railroad.
"At the core of the Downeast Scenic Railroad Project is the rehabilitation of the Washington Junction/Ellsworth to Green Lake section of the Calais Branch Line to create a 24-mile round-trip excursion ride. Other project components include the construction of storage/repair facility at Washington Junction."

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Southwest Harbor Mourns the Loss of Chief Alan Brown


 Fox Bangor New's Kayla Fish reporting:

"The Hancock County law enforcement community is mourning the sudden and tragic loss of one of its own, as Southwest Harbor Police Chief Alan Brown passed away Friday morning.

"Ellsworth police say Brown was helping family working on a deck at a family camp on Green Lake in Ellsworth, when he suffered a possible heart attack.

"Family members and emergency medical personnel who responded gave Brown CPR, to no avail. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Brown was well-respected in the Hancock County law enforcement community, having served as an investigator for many years with the sheriff’s office before becoming chief of the Southwest Harbor police in 2015.

"Ellsworth Police Chief Glenn Moshier said Brown served with expertise, and his impact could be felt throughout the region. He sent his condolences to Brown’s family."


We at the Southwest Harbor Chamber of Commerce will miss Chief Brown. His good advice and assistance made our Fireworks Displays and Oktoberfest Festival events run smoothly and safely. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Healthy Acadia Announces Second Year of Mini-Grant Opportunities for Community Partners to Expand Youth Substance Use Prevention Initiatives


 Healthy Acadia is thrilled to announce the launch of a second year of mini-grant funding available to community partners working with youth. The Downeast Maine Partnerships for Success (PFS) initiative, coordinated by Healthy Acadia, is a collaborative effort to prevent youth substance use across Washington and Hancock counties, with a focus on alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use prevention. Mini-grants awarded will support community-driven, collective efforts to prevent substance use and promote the health and well-being of youth aged 9 to 20 throughout the region. 

 

Healthy Acadia and Downeast Maine Partnerships for Success will provide mini-grant sub-awards of $1,000 to $10,000 to community groups, such as schools, community centers, and non-profit organizations, that seek to provide new opportunities that support positive social development, resilience, peer-based mental health support, and/or structured, pro-social activities to support substance use prevention for youth. 

 

“I am so excited to see more projects in Hancock and Washington counties with the opportunities this funding creates to provide support and create positive social interactions and activities for youth,” said Sara McConnell, PFS Initiative Coordinator. “Last year, we funded 13 amazing projects that reached youth and communities throughout the region during a time when supports and opportunities were so needed: new after-school programs, virtual summer camps, outdoor recreation opportunities with corresponding equipment, mental health first aid training, and more.” 

 

Healthy Acadia will host informational sessions via Zoom to provide organizations interested in applying with opportunities to ask questions about proposed project ideas, last year's projects, the evaluation process, and more. Sessions are scheduled for October 21, 2020, at 10 a.m., October 29, 2020, at 3 p.m., and November 3, 2020, at 3 p.m. Contact McConnell at Sara@HealthyAcadia.org for login information. 

 

For more information and to view the request for proposals, visit Healthy Acadia’s website: www.healthyacadia.org, or contact Sara McConnell, Project Coordinator, at 207-255-3741 or sara@healthyacadia.org. Applications are due by Wednesday, November 4, 2020.  

 

Healthy Acadia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that engages in a broad range of initiatives to build healthier communities and make it easier for people to lead healthy lives across Washington and Hancock counties, Maine. Learn more at www.healthyacadia.org

 

This project is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under Partnerships for Success Grant # 1H79SP081695. Learn more by visiting www.samhsa.gov or by calling 877-SAMHSA-7. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Welcome to New Member, Around the Sound Catering!


 

Please join us in welcoming our newest Chamber Member, Around the Sound Catering!

Owner Dakota Hatton says. "We strive in making every event special, no mater the size big or small. Custom Designed Menus, Wine, Beer, Cocktail Pairing, Rentals, Local and specialty imported foods.

 "Planning an event can be stressful - Contact us today to see what we can do to help. We will arrange a meeting in person or by phone and send you a free estimate with a list of recommendations that your guests will remember. 

"We are a new catering company, However no stranger to the business. Owner and Operator Kelsea Squires and Dakota Hatton have many years in the business from cocktail parties, cooperate events, private dinner parties, backyard BBQ’s and Lobster Bakes and of course Weddings all over the coast of Maine. 

"Visit our website and contact us today: www.aroundthesound.me"

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Christopher Fogg's Obituary and the Fogg Family Memorial Fund

 


Christopher A. Fogg - age 54, died unexpectedly of a heart attack on Sept. 12, 2020 at Alfond Center for Health in Augusta, ME. He was born in Peterborough, NH, on April 4, 1966 the son of George L. Fogg and Katherine (McHugh) Long.

Chris grew up in New Ipswich, NH, and attended Mascenic Regional High School. Dubbed “the jock” by his family, he played baseball and many sports. He was always up for an adventure and lived in Florida and California before settling back in New England. It was there he began a long career in hospitality and tourism that culminated with leadership positions at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Bar Harbor Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Maine Tourism Association, where he most recently served as CEO. Chris became an expert in his field and loved the work-especially meeting and working with business owners across the state. Living in Maine, Chris developed a passion for golf and snowmobiling and forged new and life-changing friendships through those outings. He had an itch to travel and had fond memories of trips to China, Alaska and the Dominican Republic.

Always one to march to the beat of his own drum with determination, Chris made his own timeline in life. In his 40s he married his beloved wife, Erin (Hitchcock) Fogg-her practical nature balanced his spontaneity, and his sense of humor balanced her matter-of-fact approach to life. Deep into his career he proudly earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after having earlier received an associate’s degree.

He became a father later than most of his peers, but it served him well, as he had so much experience to share with the two joys of his life: his sons Isaac “Ike” and Lincoln Fogg. To his delight, the boys love sports as much as Chris did and they became inseparable in their passion for professional hockey, golf, baseball and football. He enjoyed coaching their baseball teams. Because of the pandemic, Chris spent the last six months of his life with the boys. He taught his sons to golf and enjoyed playing 18 holes day after day-they made memories to last a lifetime. He will forever be remembered as a devoted husband, a fun-loving and trouble-instigating dad, a carefree little brother, a lover of animals-especially his dogs-and a respected and hard-working professional.

Chris was predeceased by his parents, and by a sister, Kimberlee Fogg. He is survived by his wife and sons of Farmingdale, ME; one brother, Terence Fogg (Cheryl Weeks) of Rindge, NH; two sisters: Monica (David) Lemaire, and Pamela (Tom) Small, both of Shapleigh, ME; his in-laws, many beloved aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and important friends from every stage of his life.


Public Visiting Hours:

Public visiting hours are scheduled from 6-8 PM on Friday Sept. 18, 2020 at Plummer Funeral Home, 16 Pleasant St., Augusta, ME. Face masks and social distancing are in effect. Limit of 50 people inside at one time. Due to COVID-19, a private invitation-only celebration of life will be held at a later date.


Fogg Family Memorial Fund:

An account has been created to support Chris’ sons in their future endeavors. Contributions can be made payable to the Fogg Family Memorial Fund and be mailed to either Erin Fogg, 50 School House Dr., Farmingdale, ME, 04344, or c/o Kennebec Savings Bank, 1 Northern Avenue, Farmingdale, ME, 04344.


You can view Chris's obituary here:

https://plummerfh.com/book-of-memories/4331906/Fogg-Christopher/index.php?fbclid=IwAR0Hdt6FM6mFtt-t_YDLgsouO99I_UzVEIlafizeQqhBlgyNRU68FVEScMY

Monday, September 14, 2020

Welcome to our New Member, Island Connections!


 Please join us in welcoming our newest Chamber member, Island Connections. You may know that they provide awesome services here on MDI - here's a little bit about them:

Island Connections began in the mid-1990’s in response to an identified need in the Mount Desert Island community. Visiting nurses, social workers, and other health care agency professionals on MDI noticed that seniors and disabled neighbors in the community missed doctor appointments, had difficulty replenishing their food at home, and rarely got out of their homes to socialize with others. Betty Mitchell, director of the Mount Desert Nursing Association at the time, continually observed that transportation was a challenge for seniors and the disabled population.

Through the dedicated concern of area healthcare professionals and the Bar Harbor Housing Authority, the MDI Seniors Task Force was formed early in 1996. The results of a survey of more than 700 seniors and disabled confirmed that readily available transportation was the most basic necessity to maintain quality of life. The mission of “neighbors helping neighbors” was born. The Council of Churches of the Islands helped to spread the word at many church gatherings; the seed was planted and the organization now known as Island Connections: Neighbors Helping Neighbors launched!

In mid-1997, initial funding was awarded by a grant from the Faith in Action Program, underwritten by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the funds covered startup costs and the first 18 months of operation. A board of directors was recruited, and in October 1997, Michael Reisman was hired as Program Director. Island Connections received its tax-exempt, 501c-3 status in early 1998; at that time, 25 volunteers served 51 seniors and those with disabilities. With an average of 145 drives per month, Island Connections improved the quality of life for many on MDI.

Now, nearly 22 years later, Island Connections annually provides approximately 3,500 rides for 315 Neighbors, delivers 13,000 meals (averaging 250 weekly), and provides many rides in our wheelchair accessible van. We continue to thrive due to the generous time and compassion of so many, but we always need to recruit additional volunteer drivers to help us to meet the transportation needs of so many. Please consider becoming part of the Island Connections family by clicking here or contacting us at 207-288-4457.

So, now what? We are in our 22nd year of service on Mount Desert Island, we are putting a lot of effort into the sustainability of our organization. We have added new fundraising events to create greater exposure and household recognition as the number one provider of free transportation on MDI for seniors as well as people with temporary/permanent disabilities and to ensure sustainability of the organization for generations to come.