Reporters’ notebook

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Seven-year-old Karen Nash has started another round of chemotherapy and will soon start radiation to battle a rare bone cancer.

Friends and family members – and perfect strangers – made sure she had a good Christmas.

“She got so many stuffed kitty-cats,” said her grandfather, Fred Nash II. “She said, ‘Boy, am I lucky.'”

Karen was featured in the Sun Journal a few days before Christmas. Readers were touched by her battle with Ewing’s sarcoma, and many called and wrote to the newspaper and the Nash family asking how they could help.

Some people dropped off Christmas gifts, including, to Karen’s delight, several stuffed cats. Others offered to share information about their own family’s battle with cancer. One family friend has decided to re-do Karen’s bedroom, complete with a TV and new decorations.

“That’s pretty darn nice,” Fred Nash said.

A couple of days after Christmas, Karen entered the hospital for a four-day round of chemotherapy. This week, she had an operation to change the location of her drug port and had a blood transfusion to boost her white count. She is scheduled to start radiation soon.

– Lindsay Tice

‘Talking’ defibrillator

A new defibrillator donated to Edward Little High School initially made educators a bit nervous about learning to use a medical device designed for people suffering heart attacks.

But once they looked over the machine, they felt more at ease. “Literally anyone could use it,” said Assistant Superintendent Tom Morrill.

He showed off the device – donated by United Ambulance – at a recent Auburn School Committee meeting.

He opened the machine and it began to “talk,” giving heart-attack treatment instructions in clear, easy-to-follow steps.

Even a person who hasn’t had training could save a life with the machine, Morrill said.

The high school’s coaches and other staff are receiving training, Morrill said. The machine will be good to have not only around athletes, but at big games where large crowds attend.

– Bonnie Washuk

A chipper future for bark processor

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Poland joins the long list of towns and cities that have a Pine Tree Zone designation.

M.B. Bark LLC, a bark mulch processor on Lewiston Junction Road, applied last year for the designation that entitles businesses to obtain state-backed incentives like payroll tax reimbursements.

“A majority of our property is located in Poland, with the entrance and office situated in Auburn. In order to get a Pine Tree Zone designation, we had to work with officials in both municipalities for approval of our application,” said John Adelman in a prepared statement. He is president of CPRC Group, the parent company of M.B. Bark LLC.

The move allows the company to expand. It purchased the assets of the former Morse Bros. in bankruptcy court in February when there were three employees.

“Our expansion plans call for another 25 employees to be hired. Reimbursement of taxes associated with those new employees will help us keep our business competitive and growing,” said Adelman.

The company produced more than 100,000 tons of mulch in 2006.

– Carol Coultas

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