Chamber hears about climates


NORWAY – On the coldest night of the year, 250 people at the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce annual dinner listened to WGME-TV meteorologist Charlie Lopresti discuss the affect of weather on businesses.

“What’s going on?” he asked. “Is it global warming or El Nino? I lean toward El Nino.”

In his PowerPoint presentation, Lopresti showed slides of natural disasters over the years, including snow and floods. A chart showing warming trends in the last 10,000 years gave evidence that the most warming had occurred in the early years and is on the decline.

“We have to educate ourselves and not depend on media information,” he said.

“We have to be aware of politicians and the media who are trying to play scientist. Mother Nature will equal herself out. Sometime we have selective memory concerning weather in the past.”

He said, “New England has the most unique weather in the world.”

What does it mean for Oxford Hills economy when weather patterns change, he asked.

Warm winters and rainy summers affect hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, ski areas and other tourism- and recreation-based businesses. He said some businesses like the warm weather.

Lopresti said communities in Maine unite together to help each other when disasters strike. He mentioned the ice storm of 1998.

“Maine is unlike other areas of our country where recent weather disasters caused havoc. Maine didn’t wait for the government to come to the rescue, but took it upon themselves to help each other,” he said.

State Rep. Terry Hayes of Buckfield said the presentation was fascinating.

“It was interesting to learn more about the history of weather in our area and the impact on the economy. We do come together when natural disasters occur.”

Buckfield Town Manager Glen Holmes said, “The presentation was very nice. It was great to have a speaker of this caliber come to Oxford Hills.”

Dana Chandler, past chairman of the chamber board of directors, spoke of the changes occurring in the organization.

“As you know, the chamber is undergoing some changes. We feel no alarm with these changes that have taken place during this transition.”

John “Jack” Leyden Jr., was presented with the chamber’s annual Employee of the Year award, and the Rev. Donald Mayberry was given the annual Community Service Award. Leyden is wrapping up a long career at Hebron Academy as associate headmaster. Mayberry is minister at the 180-member First Congregational Church in Paris.

Leon Truman was remembered by John Williams for his dedicated service. In his 20 years of fundraising for the chamber through golf tournaments, the organization raised $600,000.

Brandon Holmes was recognized for redoing the chamber Web page.

The banquet was held at the refurbished Norway Armory with dinner served by Four Seasons restaurant in Paris.