Bethel students get money for Maine books, author visit


BETHEL — Donations from an area service club and a local business are making it possible for seventh- and eighth-graders at Telstar Middle School to learn more about the Allagash region.

Superintendent David Murphy said the board on Monday accepted gifts of $150 from the Bethel Rotary Club and $1,027.48 from the Jolly Drayman at the Briar Lea Inn to purchase 30 copies of “A Wilderness Ranger’s Journal – Rendezvous at Devil’s Elbow” by Millinocket author Tim Caverly.

Lindsay Luetje, a middle school language arts teacher, said some of the funding will also pay for an all-day visit by the author to the middle school. He will direct a writing workshop, which will include music, and scenic and historic photos. That visit will likely take place in April.

She worked with the two organizations to get the funds for the books and visit.

Her enthusiasm for the wild outdoors as well as her experience in the Allagash region has prompted her during the past couple of years to introduce other books by Caverly to her students. She said the first set of Allagash books by Caverly, “Allagash Haunting,” were given to her for use in her classroom by Caverly two years ago.

“It’s important for the kids to connect with their local surroundings. We want to engage the kids in reading that is relevant,” she said.

Once the students have read Caverly’s newest book, many will create place mats decorated in the theme of Maine studies or tourism in Maine.

They will then be judged by the Rotary, Jolly Drayman and the SAD 44 board. The one chosen will become the official place mat at the restaurant and inn.

In other matters on Monday, Murphy said the board appointed transportation supervisor Ron Deegan to the combined position of buildings and grounds, maintenance and transportation supervisor. Deegan will be paid $15,000 more a year for the added responsibilities, bringing his salary to $57,806.

Murphy said combining the two positions results in an annual savings of about $30,000.

Bethel representative Lynn Arizzi was reappointed to a seat on the Region 9 School of Applied Technology Cooperative Board.