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Writing and Photography by Lee and Connie Rand

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MA musicians honored at State Jazz Festival

Reilly Hesseltine, MA band director Trevor Marcho and Gabrielle Kyes are pictured at the Maine State Jazz Festival at Nokomis Regional High School on Saturday, March 18. Reilly and Gabrielle each earned one of five Outstanding Musicianship Awards, and the band earned a Bronze Award, and was the 3rd highest scoring band in their division. Each of the MA soloists earned the highest rating for their solos as well.

Congratulations to Mr. Marcho and all the musicians!

Telling Your Story

You heard Young People in Recovery tell their stories of overcoming substance use disorder. Now they're coming back to help you tell yours. Save a Life is hosting an evening about the power of language. Learn how to honestly talk about your journey to sobriety in ways that emphasize experience, strength, and hope.

"Recovery Messaging" is geared to individuals who are in recovery, to their family and friends, to educators, and anyone interested in supporting people overcome substance use disorders. This free, interactive workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 21, from 6-8 p.m. at Mattanawcook Academy's library.

Tina, a dynamic, engaging Christian parent who knows what is like to have a loved one with substance use disorder will bring her message of HOPE, Hold On Pain Ends, to the United Methodist churches in Lincoln (11 a.m.), Danforth (2 p.m.), and Vanceboro (4:30 p.m.) on Sunday, March 19.

For more information about these events or about local resources and events check out,, or call Cheryl at 794-8443. 

Partnering for a Sustainable Future in Healthcare

Penobscot Valley Hospital (PVH) and Health Access Network (HAN) are pleased to announce collaboration efforts through a $30,000 Maine Health Access Fund (MeHAF) planning grant. The focus of the grant work is to alleviate and avert the threatened loss of local services and access to care due to a significant downturn in the local economy. The group aims to strengthen the rural healthcare system as a whole.

Members of the planning network include: Penobscot Valley Hospital, Health Access Network, Veterans’ Affairs-Lincoln Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, Lincoln Economic Development Committee and the Save-a-Life Substance Abuse Committee.

The steering committee includes the organizations' CEOs, 2 board members, 4 senior leadership members, VA representatives and members from the participating committees. The goal of the project is to strategically research, review and develop evidence-based models of rural clinical, operational, and/or organizational integration to advance and strengthen the rural healthcare system in northern Maine.

MeHAF grant outcomes include:
1. Analyze different levels of integration
2. Develop viable models for an integrated rural delivery system
3. Improve coordination of care, including with our area veterans
4. Create transition plans to continue to address the community’s healthcare needs

“This grant work comes at a key time for Penobscot Valley Hospital,” states Penobscot Valley Hospital CEO Gary R. Poquette, FACHE. “To combat years of financial losses, our board, leadership and staff have been working for the last two years to redesign healthcare delivery in our community. While change can be difficult, it is necessary in these current economic times. Often times, it can bring about positive change as we have recently seen the addition of new services to meet the needs of our community in orthopedics, pediatric dentistry and gynecology.”

Three key strategies Penobscot Valley Hospital leadership have focused efforts on throughout 2016 include:
1. Revenue enhancement and expense reduction – PVH is working to analyze all services to ensure revenue exceeds cost. As demand changes, shifting from inpatient services to outpatient care, PVH is making those necessary adjustments to remain financially viable.
2. Explore viable models of Critical Access Hospital (PVH) and Federally Qualified Health Center (HAN) integration – site visits to three locations in Maine and Vermont have been made to gather integrative approaches including financial, legal and consultative advice.
3. Evaluate the feasibility of affiliation – the Board of Directors has been working to establish framework and guidelines if Penobscot Valley Hospital were to affiliate with a larger tertiary care hospital. Starting this month, representatives serving as ambassadors from PVH and HAN Boards, PVH and HAN medical staff and leadership will be visiting the three tertiary systems in Maine: MaineHealth in Portland, Central Maine Healthcare in Lewiston, and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems in Brewer. They plan to discuss how past partnerships have looked between tertiaries and Critical Access Hospitals, and what opportunities and improvements might arise for the Lincoln Lakes Region if PVH were to seek a healthcare partner down the road.

“Health Access Network, Penobscot Valley Hospital and the VA share many of the same patients,” states Health Access Network CEO Bill Diggins, RN. “In February, I visited the Lincoln Town Council to discuss the financial struggles in healthcare. Add to that Lincoln’s struggling economic climate and changes at the state and federal levels for reimbursement, and it culminates with a need to assess opportunities for HAN and PVH to remain financially viable. Our mission states that we aim to make a real difference in the health of our community, and we cannot do that without combined efforts from our hospital, VA, and community members.”

While it will be a considerable task, Penobscot Valley Hospital, Health Access Network, Veterans’ Affairs, Lincoln Economic Development Committee and Save-a-Life committee members look forward to collaborating with the community throughout this grant process to redesign the delivery of healthcare to meet the needs of the Lincoln Lakes Region for years to come. 


Scouts visit Camp Roosevelt

March 14 - Boy Scout troop 50 members spent the last weekend of their February break at Camp Roosevelt in Eddington. The theme for the weekend was "Zombies". The boys participated in many activities and came home with 7 trophies (including first, second and third place results). Cooking, outdoor winter camping, ice fishing, shelter building, and a "zombieathon " are some of the activities the scouts enjoyed over the weekend.

Poland Spring may build new bottling plant in Lincoln

March 1 - Water bottling giant Poland Spring, owned by Nestle, is looking for new locations for expansion, and Lincoln is on the list of communities with the kind of water supply the company needs. Plots of at least 100 acres of land in and around Lincoln are being investigated for a possible site for a bottling plant that would cost $50-$60 million to build. The plant would employ 40-50 people, with the jobs paying around $20 per hour. Poland Spring's Kingfield plant is about 200,000 square feet, and bottles around 175 million gallons of water per year. If a new plant is built in Lincoln, it will likely be similar.

Lincoln's aquifer, soil, access to I-95 and railway service are factors in this area's consideration for a new plant.

Local legislators introduce bill to PROMOTE LINCOLN

Rep. Sheldon Hanington

AUGUSTA – Senator Kim Rosen (R-Hancock), and Representative Sheldon Hanington (R-Lincoln) introduced legislation directing the Department of Transportation to place signs directing motorists to the Town of Lincoln on Interstate 95. Other cosponsors of the bill include Representative Beth Turner (R-Burlington), Rep. Roger Sherman (R-Hodgdon), Representative Michelle Dunphy (D-Old Town) and Senator Michael Carpenter (R-Aroostook).
“Over the last few years, I have become very troubled with the way rural Maine has been let down continuously in regard to economic development,” said Rep. Hanington. “By erecting a sign on Interstate 95 directing folks to our neck of the woods, we may be able to generate a positive revenue stream for our small business owners. Creating a scenic byway provides opportunities for tourism and recreation; both of which will be of great benefit for Lincoln and the surrounding area.”
In addition to local legislators testifying on behalf of the bill, local business leaders also drove to Augusta to address the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation. Angie Belk, Lincoln resident and owner of Tim Hortons in Lincoln, as well as William Davis and Denise Desaulniers-Kusnierz of the Lincoln Economic Development Committee, delivered testimony addressing the economic needs of the area.
“I would like to personally thank Angie, Denise and Bill for taking time out of their busy schedules to come to Augusta. These folks took time off from work because they know the importance of working together and taking steps to promote economic development in Penobscot County. I can’t thank them enough,” said Rep. Hanington.
LD 216 will go to a work session on February 28th. If it passes committee, it will then be sent to the Senate for consideration. 

Blizzard warning!

February 11 - The National Weather Service in Caribou has issued a Blizzard Watch, which is in effect from Sunday afternoon through late Monday night. The Winter Storm Watch has been cancelled.
* LOCATIONS...The Bangor region and Downeast.
* HAZARD TYPES...Heavy snow along with significant blowing  and drifting snow.
* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...16 to 24 inches possible.

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