Georges River Educational Fund support

The staff and students at Lura Libby School in Thomaston and Cushing Community School send a heartfelt thank you to the Board of Directors of Georges River Educational Fund. They have given us financial support, affording us the opportunity to implement activities beyond classroom curriculums.

Recently, we welcomed Melissa Sweet, Maine author and illustrator, who took students through the process of publishing a book from idea to product. Also, she covered the literacy and art aspects of her books. The children took with them a sketch book, new vocabulary words, and ideas for writing their own stories. Currently, GREF and Herring Gut grants are providing marine biology experiences for Lura Libby fourth-graders. The children have researched marine life and have gone on scavenger hunts at Drift Inn Beach. They will share the knowledge with the younger students. Grades two and three will join the fourth-graders for a day at the beach, and the kindergarten and first-grade students will experience a marine touch tank.

During this time of budget constraints, we consider ourselves fortunate to have GREF in our community, supporting academic endeavors. It’s so important for our children to be involved in academic activities beyond the school walls, especially experiences that are a part of community, making them aware of the rich culture that we have in the Midcoast. Kudos to Georges River Educational Fund.

Trish Mellor and Michelle Ford
Lura Libby School

The tannery property

I don’t know if I will be able to get to the Wednesday, June 15 evening Camden Town Meeting, and I can’t vote absentee on a floor vote, but I hope other people will get there. Town meetings haven’t been well attended in recent years. At the meeting, we are expected to vote on two articles, 6-A and 6-B, that relate to the disposal of the town’s tannery property, which abuts the Megunticook Riverwalk. I will not be able to vote against these articles, which are designed, in a misleading way, to do away with the current requirement for a public hearing and a secret ballot vote to permit the sale (or rather, gift) of this property.

The wording of these articles is confusing and seemingly innocent. There must be discussion and clarification of the meaning and effects of these articles when they come up at the meeting. I may be remiss but I hope others will not be. We should maintain our right to have a say about this choice in-town location, ideal for people to live, perhaps work and shop, and to enjoy the flowing river, right in the walkable town of Camden. Please go, and vote “No” on both Articles A and B.

Beedy Parker
Camden

Disciples of Christ commit to charity and benevolence

When the United Methodist Church of New England sent me to serve Aldersgate United Methodist Church, here in Rockland, two years ago, I was thrilled. Not only would I have the opportunity to serve the church in Rockland but also the Federated Church of Thomaston. Who could imagine a more idyllic environment to serve God and community?

I have found the parishioners at these two churches to be faithful God-fearing, community minded individuals. One could see fairly quickly that serving those in need both in our immediate community and throughout the world was of primary concern to these folks. Not only do the two churches budget for worldwide concerns such as homelessness, sickness and hunger via our national denominational support, both of these small churches budget for local issues as well. Both of these institutions are and have been active in facilitating and supporting our two local food pantries: AIO and Thomaston Food Pantry. In fact, both of these churches and the parishioners within them were instrumental in beginning these community services.

With this background in mind, it came as some shock to me to find out that the city of Rockland did not and would not consider Aldersgate United Methodist Church to be a charitable and benevolent entity, therefore not tax exempt under those conditions! As I understand it, tax assessor Dennis Reed and city attorney Kevin Beal have ascertained that since the United Methodist Book of Discipline states that the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, our church could not also be considered charitable and benevolent. While some would find this assertion insulting, perhaps there are those who do not actually know what being a disciple of Christ entails. Within our same book of discipline, one may read, “We insist that personal salvation always involves Christian mission and service to the world. By joining heart and hand, we assert that personal religion, evangelical witness and Christian social action are reciprocal and mutually reinforcing.”

Yes, I am proud to say that the parishioners and fellow taxpayers of Aldersgate United Methodist Church are disciples of Christ and that we hold to the highest standards of charity and benevolence. We continue to pray for our city officials and invite them to join us to find out firsthand how we can be united in edifying our beloved city of Rockland.

The Rev. Jacquelyn Brannen
Thomaston

Festival of Art success

A big thank you to all of you who came to our 2011 ninth annual Senior College Festival of Art at the UMaine Hutchinson Center May 12-15.

On Thursday night our opening reception was wonderful. We had 169 artists from across Maine exhibiting their works, along with the delicious food and warm friendship from the volunteers from Senior College. Hundreds of volunteer hours and people, from hanging the show to the partial tear down, security and greeters plus everything in between, made this our most successful event ever. Anne Spencer did a wonderful job in showing people how they can feel comfortable trying new things in watercolor and produce satisfying results. She was followed by excellent, hard-hitting marketing advice from Karin Wilkes (Courthouse Gallery owner from Ellsworth), practical tips from Dagney Ernest on how to get media attention, and an online display of many levels of electronic promotion opportunities from Thierry Bonneville, from www.maineartscene.com. Dagney also gave us wonderful media support with two extensive articles in VillageSoup and related publications. What an extraordinary multi-talented lady! Thierry Bonneville and art committee member David Estey also worked hard to finish for the occasion the beautiful new book and website on our guest artist, Robert Hamilton. And Friday night, the Kings Jazz group tore the house down! They play in Bar Harbor and Portland and sometimes in Camden. We were ever so fortunate to have them!

Saturday morning, Sue McCullough, Andrea Roullaird and I had the pleasure of giving out certificates and canvas bags to the RSU 20 students. These canvas bags featured their artwork on the front. What a thrill! Saturday afternoon, the Maine Masters video gave many people in the nearly full auditorium their first glimpse at what Robert Hamilton was really like and what he was trying to do. His wife, Nancy, very nicely and comfortably fleshed out his character and individual works with engaging stories about his interests, motivations and sense of humor. David Estey moderated the panel while Bill Irvine, Eric Hopkins and George Llyod added informed critiques and historical perspectives that helped put Robert’s work in context. Suzette McAvoy very beautifully described the remarkably resilient and positive attitude so evident in the upcoming CMCA exhibit of Robert’s last paintings, despite the adversity of his advanced age and near blindness. We could hardly have had a better outcome throughout every event and for the exhibit.

Thank you to all the visitors and volunteers for making this year’s festival perhaps the best yet, and seeing the genius of Robert Hamilton through the eyes of his friends, students and wife. We all love Senior College, the brilliant “diamond” in Midcoast Maine we all treasure! And special thank yous and love to my committee: Cathy Bradbury, Rainy Brooks, David Estey, Liz Fitzsimmons, Dianne Horton, Fran Torresen (with Jim Rose and Tish Robotham helping out), and Ray Smith. This year’s festival was dedicated to them.

Warm regards to all of you in Waldo, Knox and Penobscot counties and other visitors across the state.

Dorothy Alling
Co-chairman, ninth annual Festival of Arts