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Writing and Photography by Lee and Connie Rand

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Area schools plan rejected!

The Lincoln area schools were NOT invited to participate in Phase 2 of the Regional High School competition. RSU 67 Supt. Dr. Keith Laser received the letter from Maine DOE Thursday.
The three successful applicants were Madawaska, Houlton, and Greenville, with 38, 39, and 28 points respectively (out of a maximum of 40 points possible).
Our application received only 4 points out of 40. Our greatest loss was that we received 0 ( points out of the possible 30 points in the most important category ("Provide evidence of support...of at least two high schools....with a CTE school...."). So this was clearly graded as an all-or-nothing requirement, and we got nothing. Since we had FOUR high schools rather than the required two, It seems it is fair to conclude that Region 3's refusal to participate in the Phase 2 discussions cost us all 30 points in the largest category, and with those additional 30 points we would have been in third place and thus been accepted into Phase 2. (30 + 4 = 34 points, more than Greenville's 28.)
Many people gave a great deal of time and energy trying to get this new comprehensive school for our region. Many think we had an excellent application, except for the absence of a CTE.


June 30 - The year 2017 has brought much change and insecurity to healthcare, both nationally and statewide. The future is certainly uncertain and even though the legislature has postponed a vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, hospitals anticipate additional cuts to reimbursements either way. Additionally, the proposed state budget could lead to other cuts to reimbursement having a negative effect on Penobscot Valley Hospital’s already shrinking revenues. All of these detrimental changes have led to the decision to decrease the workforce at PVH as of July 1.

“We continue to see declining revenues across most service lines, attributable to a declining population, fewer people with commercial insurance, non-expansion of Medicaid, and more people utilizing high-deductible health plans with an inability to afford care,” states PVH Chief Executive Officer Gary Poquette, FACHE. “With these continuous declines, PVH has insufficient revenue to sustain its current cost structure.”

Over the last 12 months, PVH has sustained negative impact to the hospital’s bottom line, including:
· 26% decrease in inpatient revenues,
· 2% decrease in outpatient revenues, and
· 2% increase in deductions from revenue which rose from 37.22% to 39.27%.
PVH is not alone in its financial struggles. The Maine Hospital Association reports that in 2015, nearly half of all Maine hospitals lost money. There have been numerous reports in the media this summer of hospitals in Maine needing to make hard budgetary decisions in order to keep their doors open and continue to provide local care for their communities. These decisions have included reducing hours of service in some departments, and decreasing or eliminating some services altogether to shrink expenses immediately.

These survival tactics are not just confined to Maine. Hospitals and healthcare organizations nationwide are feeling the financial pressures. In the month of May alone, 13 healthcare organizations across the country -- some very large, well-known organizations like Blue Cross and Blue Shield -- laid off over 400 employees.

On Friday, June 30, PVH regrettably reduced its workforce by 5.

“We continue to make tough decisions in order to maintain quality healthcare services for the Lincoln Lakes Region,” adds Poquette. “Our Board and Administration understand that job cuts are very difficult not only for our staff and their families who are affected but to our community as a whole. We must do all that we can at PVH to ensure local healthcare options are available.”

The staffing changes do not include any direct patient care staff members.

Other changes at PVH have included positive news with the addition of gynecology, pediatric dentistry, and orthopedic services which are expected to see continued growth to enhance revenues. PVH has recently signed up with the Veteran’s Affairs as a participant in the Veteran’s Choice Program, allowing more services to be accessed locally by our respected Veterans. PVH has also recommitted to an enhanced culture of Service Excellence and is working to advance communications between departments and with patients.

The two Boards and Leadership Teams of PVH and Health Access Network, our local federally qualified health center, are assessing areas of collaboration to improve coordination of care and delivery for our region. Together we have hosted a legislative forum and visited Maine DHHS to gain legislative support for our region.

In addition to a reduction in force, PVH is taking strategic steps to ensure the continued viability of the hospital. This includes aligning with a strong health system that will help ensure retention of quality health services in this region. PVH recently completed an Opportunity Assessment with Eastern Maine Health Systems and expect to learn the findings of that assessment in early July.

“While it is very difficult to see staff members go, I speak on behalf of the Board in letting the community know we are actively engaged in doing all we can to sustain quality healthcare services for our region,” states Board Chair Phillip Dawson, Jr. “We thank the staff, providers, and leadership for all that you do and for the quality healthcare that you continue to provide for our patients.” 


New sign on I-95

June 15 - Angie Belk, owner of Lincoln's Tim Hortons, had an idea to promote our area as a recreational stop-off from I-95. With the help of State Sen. Rosen and Rep. Hannington , who helped guide the legislation through the Legislature, Belk's idea saw fruition as the sign, pictured here, was erected about two miles south of the Lincoln exit in the northbound lane on I-95 this week. Thank you Angie, for your efforts on behalf of our area of Maine.


Memorial Day observed in Lincoln

May 30 - Lincoln holds its Memorial Day observance on the traditional date each year. Today a ceremony was held at the Veterans Memorial on Goding Avenue, then a parade marched along West Broadway to the bridge over Mattanawcook Stream, where a wreath commemorating service members lost at sea was tossed into the water. The parade continued to Veterans Memorial Square in downtown Lincoln, where a wreath was laid. Short speeches were given, and prayers offered to God in thanks for those who gave their lives in defense of our country and asking for protection for our veterans and those corrently serving in the military. 

A small crowd gathered to mark the occasion, and MA music director Trevor Marcho led a fine band which provided the music.

Never forget that this wonderful country is here because brave people have fought, been wounded and many have died to protect it. If you meet a veteran or active duty service member, remember to thank him or her for their service. If you are currently serving or are a veteran, we appreciate your dedication to the United States of America! For a photo slideshow, CLICK HERE.

RSU 67 budget voting results

May 24 - The results of yesterday's vote on the RSU 67 budget are in. The budget narrowly passed, 158-137. The vote was as follows: Chester 10 yes, 12 no; Mattawamkeag 22 yes, 10 no; and Lincoln 126 yes and 115 no.

Truck driving champions announced

Ron Round, Publicity Officer for the Maine Professional Drivers Association, has announced the winners of the recently held Maine Professional Truck Driving Championships are as follows:

Step Van 1) Scott Wickstrom Fed Ex Express
2) Robert Cochran Fed Ex Express
3) Jeff Thoms Fed Ex Ground
Straight Truck 1) Butch Buzzell Walmart Transportation
2) David Gerding Irving Oil Terminals
3) James Hannigan Pottle's Transportation
3 Axle Van 1) Richard Roghelia Fed Ex Freight
2) Kevin Duran Sr. Hannaford/Delhaize America
3) Tony Saucier Walmart Transportation
4 Axle Van 1) Tony Archambault Walmart Transportation
2) Rick Magnuson Hannaford/ Delhaize America
3) Jesse Moore Old Dominion
5 Axle Van 1) Jack Roussell PAF Transportation
2) James Vatter A. Duie Pyle Inc.
3) Josh White Central Maine Transport
Flatbed 1) Daniel Bell Chapman Trucking
2) Scott Phillips WT Rand Transport LLC
3) Cory York WT Rand Transport LLC
Tanker 1) Ronald Round Pottle's Transportation
2) Alan Grindle Irving Oil Terminals
3) Dave Gagne Walmart Transportation
Sleeper 1) Steven Raymond RF Chamberland Inc.
2) Gregg Wickett Hartt Transportation
3) Bryan Young Walmart Transportation
Twin Trailers 1) Robert Pederson Fed Ex Freight
2) Dave Roberts Walmart Transportation
3) Donald Fortin Sr. Hannaford/ Delhaize America
Special Awards
Grand Champion Jack Roussell PAF Transportation
Rookie of the Year Matthew Conklin J&S Oil
Pre-Trip Inspection Butch Buzzell Walmart Transportation
Written Test Rick Magnuson Hannaford/ Delhaize America
Team Award WT Rand Transport LLC
Winners will represent the state of Maine at the National Truck Driving Championships which will be held
August 9-12 in Orlando, Florida.
P.O. Box 5672 Augusta, Maine 04332-5672 *
Maine Professional Drivers Association
“Committed to Safety, Courtesy, and Professionalism”
Winners of the Future Truckers Competition are as follows:
Straight Truck 1) Eliot Butts Westbrook Regional Vocational School
2) Reggie Johnston Tri-County Technical Center
3) Joshua Perry Tri-County Technical Center
5 Axle Van 1) Chandler Perkins Tri-County Technical Center
2) Joe Austin Northen Penobscot Region 3
3) Matt Bragdon Region 9 School of Applied Technology
Team Award Tri-County Technical Center

Bike rodeo a big success

May 20 - This year's bike rodeo in Veterans Memorial Square in downtown Lincoln was very well attended. The Lincoln police department held the free Bike Safety Rodeo, designed to encourage kids from age 4-10 to ride bikes safely. The rodeo included a helmet check, a bike mechanical check, and the chance to ride in a closed traffic skills course that teaches the rules of the road. Raffles were held for prizes, including bikes for a boy and girl. Students from Mattanawcook Academy were on hand to help the kids. 

For a photo slideshow, CLICK HERE. We also streamed part of the bike rodeo live on Facebook. You can see the video HERE.

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