Chamber to hear House candidates

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LIVERMORE – The Jay-Livermore-Livermore Falls Chamber of Commerce will meet Friday, May 5, for breakfast at LaFleur’s in Jay. Speakers will be the two local candidates for Maine House Seat 81: Clark Souther and Gary Knight.

The chamber held its April 7 breakfast meeting at LakeShore. Member in the Spotlight was the SAD 36 and Jay Adult and Community Education Program represented by Director Carrie Castonguay.

Castonguay spoke on the variety of programs offered to the 1,100 to 1,700 people each year. Programming includes GED and high school completion programs; family literacy; adult basic education; community education; work readiness; PLATO; vocational programming; university classes; college transitions; and massage therapy school.

Last year 67 percent of the clients completed their educational goals, one of the highest success rates in the state, said Castonguay. With all the work that has gone into expanding the program, she said it is still the most under-used resource for workforce development in the area.

Several members and guests gave progress reports. Dennis Stires spoke on the May 19 Main Street USA Program. Phil Poirier announced that the revamped chamber Web site that is up.

Alison Hagerstrom reported on the progress being made on the development of the Jay Business Park, as well as the upcoming meeting of the chamber’s Economic Development Committee.

Jef Howell spoke on updating the chamber signs on Route 133, Routes 2 and 4 and Route 4. He also detailed development of the chamber’s scholarship program that will be open to seniors entering business or technical education.

Howell said it is one way the chamber can give back to the communities.

There was a brief discussion of reactivating the Adopt-A-Spot Program, which will be discussed further at the May meeting. Anna McCormick spoke on the Walkathon for Cystic Fibrosis on June 10.

Roland Poirier mentioned the possibility of a parcel of land in Livermore Falls becoming available for the Western Maine Paper and Heritage Museum. A physical location will enable the museum to secure grant funding.

Featured speakers were Jay School Superintendent Robert Wall and SAD 36 Superintendent Terry Despres. They discussed the differences and unique demands of educational organization configurations including SADs, school unions and municipal districts, which force superintendents to be more businessmen than educators.

Both speakers shared the expansion of offerings in their districts, including programs for 4-year-olds, reading programs to improve comprehension and phonetic skills and working with local day cares to improve literacy.

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