Farmington welcomed the first baby of the New Year at 3:24 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2. Natalie and Brandon Harper, of Strong, welcomed Briar Mae, a 7 pound, 15.2 ounce baby girl into the world. Briar Mae is the Harpers’ second child – the little sister of three-year-old Declan. In a phone interview from her hospital room, Natalie said she was “surprised” that she delivered Farmington’s New Years’ baby as her due date was 11 days later.

Natalie shared concerns about the difficulties of what it means to bring a new child into the world amidst the pandemic. She said that there were, of course, concerns when someone would cough or sneeze near her while she was pregnant. “I also know people see babies and they want to immediately love on them,” Natalie added. “That’s gonna probably be hard to control.”

Fire Chief Donald Castonguay told Selectpersons Tuesday night, Jan. 4, that ongoing issues with Engine I have stepped up plans to purchase a new truck“Ever since we bought [Engine I] there have been electrical problems with it,” he said. “We started a truck committee last night, are looking into bids.” Voters approved $100,000 at Town Meeting last year, the second installment of a three-year plan towards purchase of a new truck. If $100,000 is approved this year that gives $300,000 to work with, $200,000 could be borrowed, Castonguay said. He is working with three different companies to get a bid.

There may be a year’s lead time to get a truck, Selectperson and firefighter Scott Richmond said. “It could be six months before we find what we want,” Richmond said. “Once you order the truck you are committed.

Local school districts suspended contract tracing in compliance with updated guidance from the Maine Center for Disease Control. Regional School Unit 73 where students attend Spruce Mountain schools. Regional School Unit 73 Superintendent Scott Albert notified the community of the change through emails and phone calls prior to the Board of Directors meeting Thursday night, Jan. 13, but also noted it during the meeting. With the omicron variant being so prevalent, the amount of time involved, kids out on quarantine it would be impossible to try to contact trace, he added. This temporary suspension allowed nurses and other personnel to focus on mitigating strategies like detecting and preventing infected people from being in schools via pooled testing and attending to sick students, Albert’s email earlier Thursday noted.


RSU 9 announced Wednesday, Jan. 12, that the district was temporarily suspending its contact tracing procedures due to the COVID-19 omicron variant’s “high transmissibility.” At RSU 9, which was enforcing a universal-masking mandate, a revised version of the district’s policy stated that communications about school exposures from Jan. 13 and on would not identify specific close contacts. However, the revised RSU 9 SOP would notify staff and families whose children “are in the same classes” as an individual with a positive COVID-19 test through text and email.

Ava Coate’s application to serve on the RSU 73 Board of Directors was approved – pending a student body vote at Spruce Mountain High School where she is a junior – by the Directors at the Nov. 18, 2021, meeting. Her first meeting as a member of the Board was Dec. 9 where she filled one of two student seats on the board. She replied by email to questions about her desire to serve on the board. “I initially got the idea because my mom [Lenia Coates] has been on the school board for two years,” she wrote. “I also have had friends that have been student representatives in the past. I thought the idea sounded fun. It’s an extra grade in school and it looks good on a resume as well. I’ve been in cross country, bowling and track for all three years at high school as well as middle school. I’ve been involved in drama with the plays since middle school as well. I’ve been in Envirothon throughout high school and I was in Robotics my freshman year and will be doing that again this year.”

David Fuller announced he would be retiring Feb. 17 after more than 24 years with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Franklin County. Fuller, the county’s Agriculture and Non-Timber Forest Products Professional IV, began working for Extension in September 1997. Previously he had been assistant manager of two Agway stores, an apple orchard manager, vegetable variety trial manager at Johnny’s Selected Seeds and low bush blueberry research assistant with UMaine Extension. “I will miss working with the wonderful people of Franklin County,” Fuller wrote in an email Jan. 20. “It has been a real privilege to serve all the folks over the years and I will also miss my co-workers dearly.”

Suzanne Hebert was remembered Saturday, Jan. 22, for her commitment to and support of first Jay and later Spruce Mountain athletics. “She attended too many games to count at Spruce Mountain Middle School and High School,” according to an email Monday, Jan. 17, from SMHS teacher Rob Taylor. “Suzanne was a regular at basketball games and was presented with a bleacher seat that said ‘#1 Phoenix Fan’ on the back.”

In February 2017 Sports Editor Tony Blasi wrote a Time-out column about Hebert who passed April 9, 2021. A copy of that column and her ‘#1 Phoenix Fan’ bleacher seat are displayed in a case at the entrance to the Phoenix Dome gym, according to Taylor. The high school had been waiting for an opportunity to remember her when fans could be in attendance, he noted. That time finally came prior to the girls basketball game against Buckfield. “She was born Suzanne Ouellette and grew up and lived her adult life just across route 4 from the school campus” Athletic Director Marc Keller said. “She began attending sporting events at Jay High School at 10 years old and became a fixture at athletic contests throughout her adult life.”



A public hearing was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, to discuss taking land at the end of Butter Hill Road in Livermore for a turnaround for plow trucks and buses. Sherry Estes and Mark Luse had owned the property since December 2018. The town was seeking to obtain about 3,280 square feet of it by eminent domain. The law gives a government or its agent the right to appropriate private property for public use, with payment or compensation.

Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller said Friday, Jan. 28, that the town had been working on this for years, but he first did Nov. 24, 2020, – three months after he was hired on Aug. 24, 2020. The owners had installed two posts and a cable across the road at the mouth of the turnaround, he said. It created a safety concern not only for the general public but for the Estes family as well, he noted. Having the turnaround would mean a loader wouldn’t have to be brought there after every storm to remove snow, Miller said.

University of Maine at Farmington junior Eve Fischer researched and developed solutions to deal with the invasive green crab species in Maine and across the country. In the wake of her findings, Fischer was offered the opportunity to present her discoveries to the Maine State Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee in January. Fischer is a Geography and Environmental Planning major studying environmental policy and political science. She began her foray into research of invasive green crabs as a Maine Policy Scholar. Her research, also in conjunction with an internship at Manoment (an environmental sustainability nonprofit), found major solutions to the green crab’s “aggressive,” negative impacts on native crustaceans, their habitats in Maine. This invasion subsequently impacted the state’s lobstering, clamming and overall seafood industries.

The research not only culled the green crab’s impacts, but also bolstered Maine’s economy and seafood, restaurant industries. The solution in question? Eat the crabs.

The Wilton Select Board authorized a marijuana business to apply to be the town’s first dispensary. The dispensary application was authorized, though not on the Feb. 1 agenda, after concerns were raised during the meeting by John Black, owner of Earth Keeper, a marijuana cultivation and medical retail business. Black was unhappy with the delay since he first filed the application to transfer from a retail to dispensary license. Town Manager Rhonda Irish explained that a retail store and two cultivation facilities in town want to “transfer to the dispensary category.” “It’s not a new category by the state, but it’s been expanded,” Irish said.

Following a public hearing Thursday, Feb. 3, Selectpersons voted to table until Feb. 15 moving forward on taking property for a turnaround at the end of Butter Hill Road in Livermore. During that time representatives of all interested parties would meet to try to resolve the issue. It was agreed the town could use the area as it previously had in the meantime. Selectpersons Tracey Martin, Randy Ouellette and Brett Deyling voted to table. Selectpersons Mark Chretien and Scott Richmond abstained. Deyling agreed to represent the board at those meetings.


People don’t know how they are going to pay their taxes, former Jay Board of Director and business owner Shari Ouellette told current Regional School Unit 73 Directors Thursday night, Feb. 10.  “In two years, maybe three that [Androscoggin] mill is going to be gone and then where are we,” Ouellette asked. “We need help.”

The cost of school funding for Spruce Mountain schools would increase in Livermore and Livermore Falls should the proposed $22.17 million budget for 2022-23 be approved, RSU 73 Superintendent Scott Albert said during a review of proposed revenue figures. The budget as presented to the Board of Directors Feb. 3 was $1.42 million over the current spending plan which ended June 30. If the budget were to pass, the town of Jay would pay $1.67 million less in taxes than last year, Livermore would pay $182,887 more and Livermore Falls $127,530 more, Albert said.

Wilton is moving forward with renovations at some parks & recreation facilities funded by Judith Bjorn’s $100,000 donation.  The Wilton Select Board authorized Parks and Recreation Department Director Frank Donald to spend up to $38,600 on renovations for the basketball courts at Kineowatha Park. Donald was authorized to spend the funds on purchases of poles, backboards and paving for the court. He anticipated they would enlist students at Foster Career and Technical Education Center to build the six poles. The town had previously enlisted Foster Tech students for other projects.

Donald said this was a plus for the students, town and community. For the town, it saved quite a lot of money, Donald said in an interview. And it allowed those kids to get some practical experience, take on different kinds of projects, he added. Donald said that it gave the students “a sense of pride in the community.”

Livermore Selectpersons Thursday night, Feb. 17, approved a town meeting warrant article seeking approval of $5,000 to help replace the furnace, oil, and hot water tanks at Brettuns Community Building. The annual town meeting was to be held by referendum vote 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at the Spruce Mountain Primary School, Gibbs Mill Road. The last couple of years because of COVID, the Livermore Community Building Association hadn’t raised as much money, association president Tim Cox said. Expenses were being paid, but they couldn’t come up with the extra, he said.

In 2014, the voters approved leasing the building on Church Street to Friends of Livermore for $1 per year for 99 years. In 2015, the lease was signed with the Livermore Community Center Association. Since then, the building has been insulated, indoors painted, and three quarters of the roof repaired, Cox said. “We’ve been maintaining our end as much as we can,” Cox said. “This is a pretty big hit.”


There were 35 rentals of the building last year with 29 for Livermore residents, Cox said. People from all over Maine had called about renting the building, association treasurer Pat Litalien said. “The word is out there, we don’t advertise it.” Rental fees are $50 for Livermore residents, $75 for non-residents, she said.


At the Feb. 17 Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors meeting, Food Service Director Laura Merrill said there is encouraging participation in the school meal program. Merrill compared data for the number of meals served on the 99th day of school this year and last.

“We served three times the number of meals this year as last year,” she said. Conservatively, about 40% of students were in house last year, she added. Fewer absent students and last year helped with participation, Merrill noted as two big factors affecting the number of meals served.

The Franklin County region saw a major fluctuation in temperatures in the last month. There was freezing rains, sunny days and sudden snow storms; days with -2 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures to 64 degrees Fahrenheit and back to below 0 in just over two weeks. The whiplashing weather had a big impact on some of the businesses and winter activities in the region.

The mother-daughter duo from Livermore Falls who founded Lifeline for ME, a mental health and substance use disorder services provider, had plans in the works to open Franklin County’s first recovery center. As the time, Franklin County was just one of three counties in the state without a recovery center.


Noreen Sprague and Amanda Ricci (mother and daughter, respectively) started Lifeline for ME after both worked in behavioral health services. Sprague said the duo saw the importance of the crossover of mental health and substance-use disorder services and wanted to “help the community.”

The Wilton Select Board passed a motion Tuesday, March 1, to send a letter to Gov. Janet Mills expressing concerns about a bill in the Maine Legislature that aims to protect residents from certain toxic substances, but that could increase costs to the town by thousands of dollars annually.

The legislation, outlawing the spreading of sludge known to contain so-called “forever chemicals” commonly referred to as PFAS [perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, was proceeding through the legislative process.

Individuals at Spruce Mountain High School are again being recognized for computer aspirations.

Spruce Mountain High School teacher Kymberly Bryant and her former student, Lily Bailey were recently named the 2022 Maine affiliate winners of the National Center for Women & Information Technology Aspirations in Computing Educator Award and Aspirations in Computing Award, respectively. They are both Regional Affiliate Award winners, Bryant said.

Earlier this year Bryant and SMHS received College Board’s Advanced Placement Computer Science Female Diversity Award, the only ones recognized in Maine.


Blue Crew 6153, made up of this year of students and mentors from Mt. Blue and Spruce Mountain high schools won the Chairman’s Award at the New England Pine Tree District Event held at Thomas College in Waterville March 11-13. The competition was part of FIRST [For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology] Robotics Competition. The game this year was Rapid React which explores the future of transportation. Teams built a robot and programmed it to carry out specific tasks related to the game theme. Spectators weren’t allowed at the Pine Tree Event.

The Regional School Unit 9 [RSU 9] Board of Directors discussed first reads of amendments to the district’s policies on curriculum-selections and wellness at the board’s Tuesday, March 22, meeting. The policies, IJJ and JLC, address how the district would approach the selection of educational materials and the promotion of behavior to foster “lifelong wellness” in students. The amendments to the Instructional and Library-Media Materials Selection policy address how the board would handle questioning of a curriculum selection.

Spruce Mountain Middle School student Summit Woodcock was working to address food insecurity at her school. “One in six children in Maine go to bed hungry,” she told Regional School Unit 73 Directors Thursday, March 10. “Food insecurity is defined by USDA as a lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle. Food insecurity is something children should not have to think or worry about.”

Woodcock with assistance from her peers and teacher/advisor Denise Acritelli and other teachers was creating a club to organize Phoenix Food Pantry at the middle school to help stop hunger.


Regional School Units 9 and 73 were among five Maine school districts reducing their carbon footprint through purchase power agreements with ReVision Energy’s solar farm on the Harold Souther property. A ribbon cutting was held there Saturday, March 26.


“The project is the first in Maine to provide most [96%] of its solar energy to public schools in the state,” according to a March 25 ReVison Energy release. “The 14,040-panel array is expected to produce roughly 6,478,200 kilowatt hours of clean energy annually, offsetting more than 6,348,000 pounds of carbon pollution from regional fossil fuel power plants each year. Maine-based ReVision Energy partnered with Aligned Climate Capital, an investment firm focused exclusively on clean solar energy and other sustainable assets, to bring the project to Western Maine.”

It may have been April 1, but it was no joke when Spruce Mountain Primary School Principal Michael Glynn kissed a pig and got a pie shoved in his face – twice. He wore a black T-shirt with the words, “Our students made me kiss a pig!” and a pink pig’s face.

The students participated in the national Read Across America Week, Feb. 28 to March 4 but the school extended it through March 31, Julie Bolduc, Title I reading specialist said Friday, April 1. The primary school students were challenged to read 4,000 books and chose kissing a pig as their reward.

The Wilton Select Board approved a new policy for the town’s ATV access route at the Tuesday, April 5, meeting. The ATV access route runs through Wilton to connect the Whistle Stop Trail to the Temple trail system. It starts at the Whistle Stop Trail Head on Depot Street, runs down Main Street to Temple Road with additional access to the boat launch via Canal Street.

The 21 articles considered at the Spruce Mountain district budget meeting passed easily Thursday night, April 7, with only a few drawing questions or comments from voters. The budget articles approved resulted in a $1.42 million increase over the $20.75 million approved for the Regional School Unit 73 2020-2021 school year.

Polls were open April 26 in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls for voters to validate the budget and consider staying with the current budget validation referendum process for the next three years. In addition to budget-related articles, voters approved establishing a $45,000 reserve fund for the HollandStrong tennis courts project with up to that amount being expended as needed. They also established a capital reserve account of up to $100,000 using balances left at the end of the 2021-2022 year to use for unexpected increases in utilities or maintenance needs the following year.


United Way of the Tri-Valley Area [UWTVA] charged a Youth Leadership Council [YLC] at Regional School Unit 9 to address and support community needs at the high school. The YLC was to be run by students at Mt. Blue High School and Foster Career and Technical Education Center and facilitated by Mary Redmond-Luce, the student services coordinator at the center.

The council first requested funding with UWTVA with a Request for Proposal [RFP]. They were then awarded a $1,500 grant that the council is now doling out among different initiatives and groups in this district.

During a special Livermore town meeting Tuesday night, April 12, about two dozen voters approved purchasing a firetruck and financing up to $382,373 of its cost. There would be a 10% increase May 1 in the truck’s price, purchasing it before then would save about $70,000, Fire Chief Donald Castonguay said before the vote.

In January, Castonguay told Selectpersons that ongoing issues with Engine I had stepped up plans to purchase a new truck. The issue seems to be with the modules, which cause the truck to ground while pumping and the problem hadn’t been found, Castonguay said then.

Locals and environmental advocates collected approximately 800-1,000 pounds of trash at Farmington’s 2022 Earth Day Cleanup Friday, April 22. Over 100 people gathered in front of The Pierce House to pick up garbage around downtown Farmington, Farmington Public Library Director Jessica Casey estimated.

The event was organized by Casey with the Farmington Public Library and Farmington Public Works Department Head Phil Hutchins. Participants were given a pair of gloves, handed trash bags and tasked with wandering the downtown to collect trash and litter. Local residents, members of the business community and activists all gathered to help clean up the town.


At the April 12 Livermore Select Board meeting using American Rescue Plan Act funds for upgrades at the transfer station and highway garage were discussed. Selectperson Brett Deyling said he had talked earlier with Administrative Assistant Aaron Miller about seeing what it would cost to put in a well, bathroom and hand-washing station at the transfer station.

“We have Covid relief funds available,” Deyling said. “It is a health and safety issue. As we move forward, we should take care of our people.” A soil test would be needed first, Selectperson Mark Chretien noted.


At the annual Town Meeting held by referendum vote Tuesday, April 26, Livermore voters passed all 51 articles put before them. “All articles passed overwhelmingly,” Deputy Clerk Jean Tardif said in a phone conversation Tuesday to report voting results. The number of yea and nay votes for each article were not available, as they had already been packed up, she noted.

A tally of the votes for each article was provided by Town Clerk Renda Guild Thursday. In addition to passing all department budgets, by vote of 218 to 36, a third $100,000 installment toward the purchase of a firetruck voted on during a special town meeting April 12 was approved. Voters on April 12 approved financing up to $382,373 of the purchase.

The Spruce Mountain High School Outdoor Club received permission from Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors Thursday, April 28, for a canoe trip on Moose River in Jackman. “This is a repeat of a trip that we took last year,” Athletic Director Marc Keller said. Four staff members, his daughter — who is a student at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington — and 15 SMHS students went, he said. The cost for the trip was $75 per student.


Some fifth grade students at Spruce Mountain Elementary School were giving up lunch with their friends and recess once a week to help spread kindness, positivity and good vibes throughout the school. The Good Vibes Club had been meeting about a month and a half, Jennifer Stone, the school’s social worker said Friday, May 6.

Some 32 students, in two groups of 15-16 each met in the library once each week during lunch and recess, she noted. Students signed forms agreeing to give up lunch and recess to participate. Parents also signed the forms. Within each group the students had formed art, student engagement, environment and media committees. Good vibes posters adorned school hallways, sticky notes in bathrooms stressed being kind and accepting, that everyone is beautiful.

Regional School Unit 9 [RSU 9] was facing new challenges following the results of lead testing in water fixtures across the district. Friday, May 6, RSU 9 administration had to cancel school district-wide to handle elevated lead levels in water fixtures across the seven schools.

In the announcement, Superintendent Chris Elkington explained that 54 of 117 [approximately 46%] tested fixtures used for drinking water and food preparation came back with elevated levels of lead. The levels exceeded Maine guidelines under LD 153, An Act to Strengthen Testing for Lead in School Drinking Water. The test results, required by the state under LD 153, showed 63 of RSU 9’s water fixtures were below 4 ppb, 38 between 4 ppb and 15 ppb, and 16 above 15 ppb.

Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors Thursday, May 12, approved school days for next year but tabled a decision on when professional development time would occur. Opening days, seminars and teacher workshops were the same, Superintendent Scott Albert said. The district was in alignment with Foster Career and Technical Education Center, there could be five dissimilar days and there were three, he noted.

One proposal for next year kept the late arrivals currently in place to allow for professional development opportunities for staff. The new one included early releases instead. Some staff mentioned the idea to Albert. “A couple hours would be beneficial compared to the late arrival,” he said. “Trying to work across different buildings, an hour is not a lot of time.”


Continuing a family tradition, Spruce Mountain High School junior Lucas Towers spearheaded a National Honor Society community service project to rebuild the raised garden beds behind the middle school. “The beds were broken down a few weeks ago,” society adviser Kyle Mclellan said May 14. “Lucas did some amazing fundraising, got about $2,000 for supplies to revitalize the garden beds.”

A rededication ceremony was planned for the fall, Mclellan said. “I have been so impressed with this effort,” he noted. “Lucas went above and beyond. It is very encouraging, the start of some good things to come over the next few years.”

Ten years ago National Honor Society student Trevor Doiron started the garden project and the National Honor Society had continued with it ever since, Lucas’ mother, Lynelle Morin-Towers, wrote in an email.

The 2022 Wilton Town Report was dedicated to outgoing Town Manager Rhonda Irish. “At the unanimous consent of the board, we have nominated Rhonda Irish,” Selectperson Tom Saviello announced at the Wilton Select Board’s Tuesday, May 17, meeting. Irish received the dedication in the wake of her announcement that she would be retiring as town manager Aug. 10, following 13 years in the role.

Select Board Chair David Leavitt read aloud the dedication during the meeting, stating “it is with great pleasure that the Board of Selectpersons recognizes and dedicates the 2022 Town of Wilton Report to Rhonda Irish.” The dedication summarized Irish’s history, from growing up on a dairy farm in Lisbon, to working for over a decade as the recycling and solid-waste coordinator for the Town of Jay and then working for the Town of Minot.



On Wednesday, May 25, Regional School Unit 9 Superintendent Chris Elkington released a memo to the community addressing the mass shooting where nineteen children and two elementary school teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24. The shooting had sent shockwaves across the country. Parents were expressing fears about sending their children to school, while activists, politicians and citizens alike urged the government to take action against gun violence.

“There are no adequate words to express how those of us who either send our children to school or who have made working in schools our life’s work feel about what we witnessed in Texas yesterday,” Elkington wrote. “Like you, I am deeply shocked by the news of the shooting at Robb Elementary School. And like you, I share in the heartbreak of those families and their friends who have lost a loved one and for the staff at Robb Elementary School, who I am sure loved these children as their own.”

Elkington referenced statistics about the rate of gun violence at schools in 2022. According to NPR, the Texas massacre was the 27th school shooting with injuries or deaths this year.

Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors voted Thursday, May 26, to schedule professional development time during early releases next year. Director Joel Pike was opposed and Directors Chantelle Woodcock, Patrick Milligan and Ava Coates were absent.

At the May 12 meeting Directors approved the school year calendar dates but tabled a decision on when professional development would occur. District schools used late arrivals on Wednesdays but staff had approached Superintendent Scott Albert about using early releases instead. Concerns raised at that meeting included hours of classroom instruction lost, the number of early arrivals in some months and students losing that extra hour of sleep midweek. Thursday Albert provided additional information on the slightly different calendar proposal.

All students were released early Thursday, June 2, and students at the middle and high schools were in lockdown for part of Friday after two different threatening incidents. The lockdown at Spruce Mountain middle and high schools was lifted later Friday morning and a 13-year-old girl was charged with terrorizing, officials said.


“The police have found the suspect and are dealing with them appropriately,” Superintendent Scott Albert wrote in an email around 10:30 a.m. regarding the incident on Friday. “We are out of lockdown at both the middle school and high schools and we will continue with our day.”

Officials did not disclose the contents of the note Friday nor where it was found. Nothing suspicious was found Thursday at Spruce Mountain Middle School after a bomb threat was found earlier that day.

Envirothon teams from Spruce Mountain High School took first and second place at the 2022 Maine State Envirothon Competition at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Outdoor Center in Augusta on Friday, June 3.

The Spruce Mountain Green Team took first place with a score of 414.45 out of a possible 500 points. It included juniors Abrahm Geissinger, Owen Schwab, and Dan Wilson as well as sophomores Leah Burgess and Liz Grondin. The team qualified to compete at the National Conservation Foundation Envirothon at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, July 24 – 30.

The Spruce Mountain Black Team, featuring seniors Ella Plourde, Kaila Godbey, Liam Brewster, Quin Fournier, and Isaac Parker took second place with an impressive score of 376.61 out of 500.

“Although we are small, we are mighty,” Spruce Mountain High School valedictorian Courtney Hogan told her fellow graduates Sunday afternoon, June 12. Salutatorian Leah Gilbert said she knew she would be speaking at graduation from a young age.


In his welcoming address SMHS Principal TJ Plourde spoke of the trials and tribulations the seniors had faced, particularly because of COVID-19. “Through it all, you have soldiered on and come out stronger because of those challenges,” he said. “We have experienced exceptional moments, magical moments and have created memories that will be fondly remembered years from now.

Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors voted unanimously Thursday evening, June 9, to remove health and physical education as requirements for adult learners to graduate and replace them with credits in financial and digital literacy.

Spruce Mountain Adult Education Director Robyn Raymond made the request. She said instructors had developed curriculum around health awareness through a financial literacy lens.

Monday, June 13, was a fun-filled day for students at Spruce Mountain Elementary School with the highlight seeing their principal getting dropped into a tank full of cold water. Names were drawn of students who had shown kindness the previous week. Each student picked had three chances to hit the bulls-eye to send Principal Pat St. Clair into a water-filled tank.

The first few students came close but St. Clair stayed on the bench. Finally a few students showed better marksmanship and hit the bulls-eye thus releasing the mechanism and plunging St. Clair into the cold water. It was almost more exciting for students to see the times the mechanism didn’t reset properly and he got dunked while trying to get back onto the seat.

An offer to build a career and technical education center at Mt. Blue Middle School received initial support from the Regional School Unit 9 board of directors. Richard Bjorn and the Bjorn Foundation would donate $2.5 million to establish the Bjorn Center for Career and Technical Education to “expand hands-on learning opportunities to sixth through eighth graders,” Superintendent Chris Elkington told directors at their June 14 meeting.


The center could include programs such as information technology, architecture, construction, hospitality and tourism with skill-based learning and “hands-on project based completion with three-dimensional work,” Elkington said. If there was room, students from other districts could also enroll in the programs, he added.

The impacts of a baby-formula shortage in America touched down locally. Renee Whitley from Franklin County Children’s Task Force (FCCTF) said that the organization’s supply of baby formula, which is donated to parents, was dwindling by the day.

FCCTF is “a child abuse and neglect prevention agency for Franklin County” that does so by “mobilizing community resources,” Whitley said in an interview. Alongside baby formula for parents in need, the organization provides after-school programming and summer programs for kindergarten through grade eight, diapers, free clothing, supervised visitation, parent education and home visiting, she explained.

Whitley said the baby-formula shortage came on FCCTF’s radar in mid-April when they were getting more requests from parents for specific formulas they were unable to find in stores. “And then it became very quickly a widespread situation,” Whitley said.

On Wednesday, June 22, one local museum surprised another with a large donation of historical information. “It was a big surprise,” Maine’s Paper & Heritage Museum President Greg Bizier told the Livermore Falls Advertiser. “I thought I was just hosting their meeting, giving a tour.”

An anonymous gift of several scrapbooks filled with photographs and information from local paper mills had been donated to the Livermore-Livermore Falls Historical Society, co-president Gary Desjardins told the Livermore Falls Advertiser.

“There were three major scrapbooks, other smaller ones from the Otis and Androscoggin Mills,” he said. “There was one huge one for the IP mill, way back to its beginning.” One book was three feet long, two feet wide and quite thick, he said. The scrapbooks were filled with great details, a lot of history, he added.

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