AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Forest Ranger Incident Management Team is returning to Maine today after helping with the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in New York City for the past 14 days.
Mobilized just two days after the devastating storm hit the city, the nine-member team spent this past week working with the New York City Department of Health and the New York National Guard in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. The Maine team managed three separate medical-assistance teams comprised of security personnel from the National Guard, paramedics and New York City health officials that conducted more than 21,000 door-to-door health and wellness checks in nearly 200 high-rise buildings affected by the storm.
“Maine was very fortunate to be spared from Sandy, and it is our honor and duty to help our neighbors to the south as they recover and rebuild,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “I want to thank this team of forest rangers and the many other Mainers who have also stepped up to serve for their efforts and for representing the great and generous spirit of our State.”
Commissioner Walter Whitcomb of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, which oversees the Maine Forest Service, agreed.
“We are very proud of the much-needed assistance provided by our Maine forest rangers and are glad they are all home safe and sound,” he said. “I know their extensive experience alleviated some of the pain and suffering still being endured by Hurricane Sandy victims.”
The goal of the health assessments organized by the Maine team was to check on the well-being of residents who live in high-rise buildings and to determine if they had any health issues. The three teams also helped fill dozens of medical prescriptions for those unable to get to their pharmacies.
Many of these residents have been without heat, hot water or electricity since the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy ruined electrical systems and flooded basement furnaces.
The Maine team members supported restoration efforts by tracking the number of buildings visited and prescriptions filled, providing detailed digital maps of the locations and facilitating meetings with federal, state and city officials.
Emily Ashton, a New York City Health Department senior advisor, thanked the Maine Incident Management Team for their efforts and said that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg daily reviewed the data they produced.
“Before the Maine forest rangers and the National Guard arrived, we were unorganized and were limited to groups of volunteers for the wellness checks,” Ashton commented. “The forest rangers provided clear, crisp direction and helped us get the job done way ahead of schedule.”
Maine Forest Ranger Jeff Currier, team leader, said he was pleased to be part of such a meaningful mission.
“It truly was an honor to help the Hurricane Sandy victims and support the New York City Health Department and the New York National Guard,” he said. “While the setting may be different than we are used to working in, our skills with managing large-scale incidents such as wildfires and hurricanes were utilized and appreciated.”
November 15, 2012
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
NEW YORK – The Maine Forest Ranger Incident Management Team (ME-IMT), mobilized to New York City on Oct. 31, has been successful in helping with the relief efforts for survivors of Hurricane Sandy. For the last few days, the team, made up of seven Maine Forest Service (MFS) forest rangers, a chief deputy sheriff and a communications specialist, has worked in a coastal area of the borough of Queens that was devastated by the storm surge and still without power.
“We have seen a lot of devastated areas hit hard from Hurricane Sandy,” said MFS Forest Ranger Jeff Currier, ME-IMT incident commander. “We are glad to be here and helping those in need. If the tables were turned, I’m sure our friends in New York would help us with a large-scale disaster in Maine.”
Many federal, state and city agencies are working together to provide much-needed supplies to those affected by the storm. The Maine IMT members are using their expertise in managing large-scale incidents to help organize and distribute much needed supplies such as food, water and blankets.
MFS forest rangers, under the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, also have visited dozens of emergency distribution sites and helped solve problems, such as making sure an engine assigned to the incident was delivered to one of the coastal volunteer fire departments. In this case, the storm surge had ruined the fire department’s vehicles and local firefighters had nothing with which to respond to fire and rescue calls.
Despite the evacuation order from the New York City Mayor’s Office, thousands of people remain in these areas, trying to clean up the mess from the storm. With the recent colder temperatures, there have been several structure fires and medical calls from people being careless with candles and generators.
The Maine IMT currently is working out of its Mobile Command Vehicle, which is located at the Logistic Staging Area at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Team members fortunately were able to get fuel for their trucks at this location. New York City residents currently are dealing with a gasoline shortage, due to the lack of power at the refineries.
For more information on the Maine Forest Service, go to: www.maineforestservice.gov
November 5, 2012
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will honor 16 York County lawyers at noon on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at the Biddeford District Court for their pro bono legal service to Maine’s poor and elderly.
Last year, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court created the Katahdin Counsel Recognition Program to acknowledge and recognize the hundreds of Maine lawyers who provide pro bono representation to Maine’s low-income and elderly residents. Active members of the Bar who have completed 50 hours or more of such work for the twelve-month period ending June 30, 2012, were eligible to register as a Katahdin Counsel. All qualifying attorneys will be recognized by the Supreme Judicial Court at several events across the state, and all Katahdin Counsel will receive certificates and lapel pins. They will also have the right to make use of the Katahdin Counsel designation and mark on their letterhead and printed materials.
A one-page FAQ document prepared by the Katahdin Counsel Commission is also available at the Court’s website – http://www.courts.state.me.us/citizen_help/attorneys/katahdin/faq.html
The Court will honor the following lawyers from York County: Diane M. Edgecomb, Rita M. Farry, Scott David Giese, Jennifer G. Hayden, Pamela S. Holmes, Lori A, Howell, Erin O’Reilly Jakan, Amy B. McGarry, Robert M. Powers, Amanda E. Ramirez, Craig John Rancourt, R. July Simpson, Charles W. Smith, Jr., Angela M. Thibodeau, Neal Weinstein, and Russell B. White.
The Katahdin Counsel award ceremony will follow the Supreme Judicial Court’s visit to Biddeford High School earlier in the morning, beginning at 8:45 where the Court will hear appeals in three cases before the students of Biddeford High School. The court will also meet with the BHS Mock Trial Team and journalism students.
October 19, 2012
Lewiston—The Lewiston CareerCenter announces October programming for job seekers and those who are considering training to upgrade their skills to increase their employability.
Workshops of note, in addition to the CareerCenter’s regular programming:
- Dollars and Sense: Budget Overhaul for Tough Times—Oct. 9, 10 a.m.–noon. This two-hour workshop will discuss the basic components for building a budget including money tracking, categorizing expenses, ways to save and cut back and short-term financial goal setting. This workshop will be presented by Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community; to register, call Laurie at 753-6612.
- Job Search, Resumes & Interview Skills from the Human Resource Professional Perspective: Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to noon: Amie Parker, Employment Manager at Bates College, will lead this informative conversation and answer questions and concerns about the job search and application process in today’s job search world.
- Transferrable Skills for Veterans: Oct. 29, 1–4 p.m. This workshop will help veterans take military experiences and “translate” them into civilian “language” for resumes and interviews. In addition to transferrable skills, job search process and resources will be discussed. Please call Rich at 753-9092 to register.
- The Job Quest: It’s a Competitive Job Market: Oct. 9 from 2–4 p.m. at the CareerCenter; Oct. 16, 3:30–5 p.m. at Central Maine Community College (for CMCC, call 755-5239 to register); or Oct. 22, 3–5 p.m. at the CareerCenter. This job search skills workshop offers the tools for a successful job search.
- Job Search, Resumes & Interview Skills: Oct. 11, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. at the CareerCenter or Oct. 18, 2-5 p.m. at the Auburn Public Library (call 333-6640 to register for the library session). This workshop presents an in-depth exploration of job search, resumes, applications, and interviews.
- Mock Job Interviews: Oct. 11, 1–3 p.m. or Oct. 25, 8-10 a.m. Interviewing success comes with practice and practicing in a workshop is risk-free and instructional. This workshop provides the tools needed to feel comfortable in an interview. Participating in the Resume/Interview Skills workshop is a prerequisite to attending this workshop.
- Introduction to Self-Employment: Oct. 18, 9 a.m.– noon: This introductory 3-hour workshop will help you decide if self-employment is the right choice for you. The class covers the pros and cons of owning your own business, the steps needed to get started, the major elements of a business plan, and the many resources available to help you succeed. Presented by Shirley Hamilton from Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community; please call 753-6612 to register.
CareerCenters, part of the Maine Department of Labor, offer a variety of services to help people find employment or upgrade skills. Each center provides several public-access computer workstations with Microsoft Office software, resume writing and cover letter software, Internet access and O’Net software for skills assessment. All CareerCenter services are free of charge.
Call 753-9005 (TTY users call Maine Relay 711) for additional information and to register for workshops held at the CareerCenter. The CareerCenter, located at 5 Mollison Way in Lewiston, is open 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also find more information at the CareerCenter website, www.mainecareercenter.com .
Maine CareerCenters are an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
October 4, 2012
CHERRY HILL, N.J. and PORTLAND, Maine, Oct. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — According to a new survey released today by TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®,60% of small business owners reveal their stress levels are increasing, with many identifying managing their money as the primary cause. Not having the customer support they need from their bank also causes stress for small business owners.
The Top Stressors of Owning a Business
TD Bank’s survey – which polled more than 400 small business owners across the bank’s Maine to Florida footprint – found that 60% of small business owners say their stress levels are increasing, and that the main culprits of their stress are:
- Managing finances (33%)
- Managing employees (20%)
- Sales/marketing (19%)
- Customer/client relations (17%)
- Working long hours (11%)
“Small business owners are clearly busy, and our survey found that that nearly half (46%) are spending more time managing their money than they’d like,” said Jay DesMarteau, Head of Small Business and Government Banking Distribution, TD Bank. “Small business owners can reduce stress by partnering with a bank that respects their time and offers convenient ways for them to bank on their own schedule.”
Stress from their Business Banking Relationship
According to the survey results, the majority of small business owners are also stressed about the service they receive from their bank.
When asked to identify what causes them the most stress from their business banking relationship, they said:
- Lack of available customer support (28%)
- Limited banking locations (20%)
- Limited hours of operation (19%)
- Credit delays for deposited checks (19%)
- Limited access to deposits (9%)
- Limited checking account offerings (5%)
“Running a business can be stressful enough, and small business owners deserve partners who help ease the burden,” said DesMarteau. “We strive to make business banking easier and stress-free for our customers by providing 24/7 live customer service, extended lobby hours, and a variety of customized lending, deposit and treasury management products and services with choices and great value.”
When It Comes to Business Banking, Customer Service Is Key
TD Bank’s survey also found that more than half (52%) of small business owners say exceptional customer service is what they appreciate the most from a bank. Respondents valued customer service above other benefits including convenient banking hours (21%), a large network of branches/locations (15%), and a variety of products and services that fit their business’ needs (12%).
“Small businesses place strong value on customer service and personal relationships, so it makes sense that they look for those same qualities in their bank,” said DesMarteau. “TD Bank takes that same approach, treating our small business customers the way they’d like to be treated, with respect.”
TD Bank is also using social media to educate and converse with small business owners with the creation of informative videos about small business banking on YouTube (www.youtube.com/TDBankUS) and live weekly Twitterviews (Q&A). Each Friday, Small Business Banking experts will be available for live #smallbizfridays on Twitter @TDBank_US (www.twitter.com/TDBank_US) to answer questions and share tips and advice.
About TD Bank’s Survey
TD Bank polled more than 400 small business owners within its Maine to Florida footprint to understand the recent stress levels and top stressors associated with running their business, as well as their banking relationship. The research was conducted in September 2012 by ORC International, and surveyed companies over the telephone with annual sales of no more than $5 million.
About TD Bank, America‘s Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing nearly 8 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at nearly 1,300 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Portland, Maine. To learn more, visit www.tdbank.com. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDMoneyLoungeUS and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.
TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank is one of the few banks in the world rated Aaa by Moody’s and trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol “TD.” To learn more, visit www.td.com.
SOURCE TD Bank
Oct 2, 2012
AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine’s annual fall foliage reports will get started next week, and the prediction is that it will be a great season for leaf peeping.
The first fall foliage report, issued by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF), will be available on Wednesday, Sept. 12. The reports will continue until the entire state has reached past-peak conditions, according to Gale Ross, Maine foliage spokeswoman.
“We’ve had nice dry, hot summer,” Ross said. “We’re setting ourselves up for an ideal foliage season.”
Ross noted that some stressed trees already have begun to turn, as have some swamp maples in northern Maine, but the bulk of Maine’s trees will put on their colorful fall clothes in the next few weeks.
Maine is the most forested state in the U.S., with more than 17.5 million acres of forestland making up about 95 percent of its land base. Maine residents and tourists from all over the world enjoy the beauty of the season.
Ross said she already has had numerous phone and email inquiries from potential visitors to the state, including one from China.
Since 1939, Maine Forest Service (MFS) forest rangers, now under the newly merged ACF department, have been collecting data for the weekly foliage reports. They make their on-the-ground foliage observations in seven zones throughout the state and provide the information to the public and state media representatives. Their data is collected and complied on Maine’s fall foliage zone map included on the official state website.
The MFS forest rangers use mobile collection devices throughout the year to collect vital information needed for the Maine Forest Service and also to provide on-site observations for flood and other natural emergency situations, Ross pointed out.
“This is just one of many ways our forest rangers protect and serve the people of Maine,” she said.
The Maine foliage website offers easy access on mobile devices as well as on computers. Leaf peepers can take photos with their phones and instantly submit them to the Maine foliage website, Ross said. The site also incorporates a link to Facebook, which allows leaf peepers to instantly access foliage updates, the foliage spokeswoman said.
“Our Facebook page makes it easy to share some of the most beautiful fall scenery in Maine,” she said.
Several Maine state parks will again be the sites of fall foliage activities, including hikes organized by Parks and Public lands staff. More information about the events will be available soon on the Parks website under “Events Calendar.”
For more information on the fall foliage site, go to: http://www.mainefoliage.com
For more information on Maine state parks and historic sites, go to: http://www.parksandlands.com
For more information about MDACF, go to: http://www.maine.gov/acf
September 7, 2012
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
AUGUSTA – Today Governor Paul LePage and Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb traveled to Misty Meadows Farm in Clinton to attend the Maine Farm Days, a two-day celebration of Maine agriculture.
“It is fitting that Commissioner Whitcomb and I were given the opportunity to speak with Maine’s farmers in Clinton, the milk capital of Maine,” said Governor LePage. “Maine farmers are small-business owners and the backbone of our economy. My administration will continue to build an environment where they can grow and prosper.”
Governor LePage and Commissioner Whitcomb made brief remarks to an audience of farmers, agricultural business owners, and other attendees. Commissioner Whitcomb and Governor LePage discussed a number of topics, such as the need for infrastructure improvements to transport Maine agricultural products, as well as the benefits of consolidating the Departments of Conservation and Agriculture into a new Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Following their remarks, Governor LePage and Commissioner Whitcomb toured the many exhibits and booths set up at the event and met with Maine Farm Day attendees, business representatives, and organizers.
“We appreciate the presence Governor LePage and Commissioner Whitcomb here at Maine Farm Days. Our local farmers had a chance to discuss their concerns and ideas, which led to a productive conversation with the Governor and the Commissioner. Dialogue like this makes Maine Farm Days both fun and informative,” said John Stoughton, co-owner of Misty Meadows Farm and one of the primary organizers of Maine Farm Days.
Maine Farm Days serves Mainers in both a recreational and informational capacity, by providing family-friendly events like ice cream making, a petting zoo, a whoopie pie contest, and a hayride, as well as pesticide use/safety courses, information on new equipment/technology, and discussions with state officials.
“Maine’s agricultural economy, always challenging, is growing in many ways. There are more small dairies producing cheese for farmer’s markets and large dairies milking many cows for major processing plants,” said Commissioner Whitcomb. “Governor LePage wanted to hear directly from the food and fiber producers in rural Maine and their suggestions for improving the economic climate. Many Maine Farm Day visitors enjoyed the chance to speak with the Governor.”
For more information on Maine Farm Days, click here
August 22, 2012
AUGUSTA – The Agricultural Fair season in under way in Maine and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maine Department of Agriculture would like to remind everyone to exercise good judgment while enjoying all that Maine’s fairs have to offer. Fairs are held from Acton to Presque Isle and in many places in between. They offer visitors a unique opportunity to enjoy agricultural events, exhibits, food, amusement rides and other attractions. Stephen Sears, State Epidemiologist, says it’s important to follow some simple rules to assure good health during the fair season.
- Do not attend a fair if you are ill. You are risking not only the people around you, but also the animals. Many animals are susceptible to human illnesses including influenza.
- Always ask the owner for permission before you touch an animal. Before and after touching animals, wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol hand gel. This will help reduce the risk of spreading illness from you to the animal and from the animal to you.
- Before eating, wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol hand gel. This will help reduce the risk of gastrointestinal illness, such as Salmonella.
“Agricultural Fairs are educational and just plain fun,” said Beth McEvoy, acting State Veterinarian, “and it is important that we do everything we can to make it as safe of an experience as possible, both for the people and the animals.” Maine’s fair season runs through early October, with 26 licensed agricultural fairs state wide.
July 31, 2012
YORK – Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho will speak to the York Rotary Club next Friday about her agency’s enhanced efforts to steward the state’s natural resources and ensure a strong, sustainable economy.
In her remarks as the guest speaker at the June 15 Rotary meeting at the York Harbor Inn, Commissioner Aho will give an overview of the DEP’s role in providing protections for Maine’s air, land and water resources and share its recent successes in improving permit processing timelines, expanding assistance offerings and advancing regulatory reform.
She’ll also take questions, and hear from members as to how the state environmental department can better serve their companies and their communities.
The Rotary presentation, which the media is encouraged to attend, is part of a full-day tour the Commissioner will take of York County with DEP Southern Maine Regional Director Jim Dusch. Others stops include Hussey Seating in North Berwick, Northeast Coating Technologies and George R. Roberts Company (aka “The Step Guys”) in Alfred, which earlier this spring received a Governor’s Environmental Excellence award from DEP and Governor Paul LePage.
WHO: Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho, DEP Southern Maine Regional Director Jim Dusch and members of the York Rotary Club
WHAT: York Rotary Club meeting featuring DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho
WHERE: York Harbor Inn, 480 York Street, York
WHEN: 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., Friday, June 15 (The Commissioner’s remarks are scheduled to begin around 8 a.m.)
June 8, 2012
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul LePage and Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner George Gervais announced Maine’s first certified business-friendly communities this morning during a press conference at the State House in Augusta. These nine communities were selected from a group of 19 nominees and determined to uphold quality standards for business excellence.
Maine’s first business-friendly communities are Augusta, Bath, Biddeford, Brewer, Bucksport, Guilford, Lincoln, Saco and Sanford.
Gov. LePage first announced the business-friendly certification program in March. The program is designed to recognize Maine communities for their commitment to job creation, reducing red tape and being “open for business.”
The nominees were evaluated in several areas including customer service, business involvement and collaboration, input from the public, and licensing and permitting. Each community was evaluated on an individual basis by a panel of business experts which included Amy Downing, Maine State Chamber of Commerce; John Butera, Sr. Economic Advisor for Gov. LePage; Chris Steele, CWS Consulting Group; Chuck Graceffa, Pierce Atwood; George Gervais, Commissioner, DECD; Peter DelGreco, President Maine & Company; and Andrea Smith, Office of Community Development, DECD.
“I want to congratulate and thank the recipients for their continued commitment to business excellence. These nine communities have set an example for others to follow as we move Maine forward as a place where businesses and communities can thrive,” said Gov. LePage.
DECD Commissioner Gervais promised his department’s commitment to the program.
“DECD will gladly work with any Maine community that wants to earn this designation; we want every Maine city and town to be business-friendly. Several of the nominees who did not qualify are now working diligently to enhance their practices to meet business-friendly standards so that they may be certified in the future,” said Commissioner Gervais.
June 6, 2012
Department of Economic and Community Development