Houlton Farms Dairy and Mike Clark, Houlton Rotarian

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 Amy Hocking, Houlton Rotary President and Mike Clark, Past President and speaker

Mike addressed Rotary with a history of Houlton Farms Dairy which began in 1938 and continued under his father’s leadership and ownership until 1978 when Milton Lambert took over for  4 years. In 1982 Alice and Leonard Lincoln took over and are still in charge along with their sons Eric and James. Mike showed photos of the beginning facility and more current facility as well as photos of all of the new products created by Houlton Farms Dairy.

New Member Induction June 29, 2015

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Jane Torres, incoming President, Dana Boardman, new member and Amy Hocking, outgoing president pose after the June 29, 2015 luncheon meeting.  Leigh Cummings performed the induction with Amy’s assistance.

Jane also announced perfect attendance awards and presented to those who were not at the Annual Meeting. Leigh Cummings, Amy Hocking, Dana Delano, Frank Thompson (5 years), Deb Clark, Mike Clark, Forrest Barnes and Paul Callnan received perfect attendance awards.

Amy appealed to those present for ideas to go forward this year in Rotary. There is a committee for speakers comprised of Julie Delano, Scott Dionne and Matt Nightingale. Quality speakers are being sought. Andy Mooers suggested changing tables more often and not getting stuck sitting in the same old place. Someone mentioned Classification which means that the speaker is a member of the Houlton Rotary and will inform Rotary more about themselves and their work, a kind of “get to know you” approach. Fred Grant mentioned the new growth with the Houlton Club and some of its effects and the sharing of skill sets in the group. Leigh Cummings spoke to the re-wording of some Rotary songs to incorporate women. Dana Delano suggested bringing your children to Rotary meetings to expose the next generation. Sponsor lists will be coming out soon. Frank Thompson suggested an annual art show as a community wide effort partnering with Southern Aroostook Community Arts Program, or otherwise known as SACAP.

Upcoming Rotary events, opportunities to wear the Rotary tee shirt and volunteer are July 16 in Monument Park handing out balloons during the Band Concert. Wings and Wheels is coming up and Jane will sign volunteers for this event. Also, July 3, 2015 between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. in Monument Park Rotarians are needed to hand out 500 flags for the support the veterans effort during the 4th of July celebrations.

Annual Dinner and Awards June 22, 2015

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Nancy Ketch received a special award this year as the embodiment of the “Spirit of Rotary” for everything that she does for the Houlton Rotary Club, working tirelessly to advance Houlton Rotary’s efforts in the Auction, Bingo, general programing and for perfect attendance for 8 years time. Nancy is shown in this photo with outgoing President Amy Hocking who gave the award and a lovely gift, shown in the photo.


In this photo from the Annual Dinner and Awards ceremony are Amy Hocking, outgoing President, Lauren Peabody Fitzpatrick, Nancy Ketch, Houlton Rotarian and fellow recipient of the award and new President Jane Torres. Lauren was honored for her brainchild The Houlton High School Alumni Association and Nancy for her work in the Association. Lauren served as the Alumni President for 7 years and Nancy is now on year 11. This is a new award titled Community “Service Above Self” Award.


In this photo are Amy Hocking, outgoing President, Chris Fitzpatrick recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award and Chris Anderson, Rotarian who presented the award.Chris is honored for his work in the community and the embodiment of the ideals of a Paul Harris Fellow as a non Rotarian. Chris serves on many boards in the area and gives selflessly to his community.


In this photo are Amy Hocking, President of Houlton Rotary , Darrell Malone, this year’s recipient of the Rotarian Paul Harris Fellow Award and Nancy Ketch who presented the award. Darrell is being honored for his years of service to  his church, his community and to law enforcement of the State of Maine. Darrell gave tirelessly to his career and to the greater good of law enforcement.

DSC03307In this photo are incoming Sargent of Arms, Julie Delano, incoming Vice President Matthew Nightingale, incoming President Jane Torres and outgoing President Amy Hocking, the officers for the year 2015-2016.


Angie Wotton introduces her work at Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District

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DSC03224In the photo are Amy Hocking, President of Houlton Rotary Club and Angie Wotton, Director of Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District. Angie began her talk with some history of the “Worst Hard Time” in 1935 when the dust storms took over Oklahoma and Hugh Bennet influence federal policy. It was determined that the government could not rule over the entire nation on soil and water conservation so each state was allowed to set up districts and govern usage that way. Maine has 16 districts. Aroostook County has 3 because of the size of the county and variations. The Southern Aroostook District was organized in 1942. The organization has a local board of directors comprised of different kinds of farmers, i.e. potato, dairy, hay or beef farmers. SASWCD partners well with the local University of Maine Extention Agency and the local Native American Band the Maliseets which has a department that focuses on water health. Soil health and soil erosion and rebuilding the soils are areas of focus for SASWCD. Currently some local farmers are interplanting nitrogen fixing crops with their potato planting. Angie’s work includes conservation education, a winter agriculture school, field days, and other workshops such as gravel roads with DEP and logging workshops. The district also has student education ongoing and an Envirothon and and other education in the classrooms such as worm boxes and composting classes. Angie answered questions from the audience about the financial support of the organization, soil banks, watershed projects and pesticide use. Angie can be reached at 207-532-2204 or at email angela.wotton@me.nacdnet.net.


Bob Dorsey, Houlton Rotary Club guest speaker, Aroostook Partnership for Progress

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bobdorsey1On Monday June 1, 2015 in this photo are Dana Delano, Rotarian, Bob Dorsey, of Aroostook Partnership for Progress, and Amy Hocking, President of Houlton Rotary Club. The club heard what Bob (a native of Fort Fairfield and currently involved with opportunities in Aroostook County) had to say about the focus and efforts of this initiative. One focus has been on LD-836 to increase rural broad band to the County. Also the group has supported LD-750 to develop mining rules in Maine. They are involved with Northern Forest Products Industry Cluster, manufacturing growth, Norinco rail car manufacturing as well as planning the 2015-2016 Teacher Awareness summit and are promoting diversified agriculture awareness. Bob gave the website of http://opportunitiesaroostook.com.

Some goals Bob addressed are new jobs in the wind farm industry. Economic forecasts predict 413 new jobs as a result of 315 millions dollars being invested. Many jobs are coming from First Wind. The group is hoping to increase collaboration with County groups, increase business participation and looks at economic development clusters. the website is http://www.appme.org.


Student Appreciation Luncheon

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In this photo are Houlton High School Principal Marty Bouchard, Houlton Rotary Vice President Jane Torres, Houlton High School senior and class officer Danielle Provost, Rotary President Amy Hocking presenting The High School Volunteer Award to Houlton High School, and Houlton High School senior and class officer Jill Howland.DSC_0041

In the photo here are two students from Southern Aroostook High School, Cassidy Lyons and Marissa Boulier, and Amy Hocking, president of Houlton’s Rotary. Marissa was reading the name of the students attending from her school.

The Annual Student Recognition Luncheon was a huge success serving 240 people, including Rotarians and students. East Grand High School, The Greater Houlton Christian Academy, Southern Aroostook High School, Hodgdon High School and Houlton High School students were honored and served a terrific lunch provided by Madigan Estates and the Rotary kitchen crew. The program featured guest speaker Houlton High School student Keegan Fitzpatrick who spoke along with Amy Hocking about the Rotary trip to the Dominican Republic and the service provided to a very impoverished population of Haitian sugar plantation workers. Keegan was impressed with how the poor people there value whatever they have and are proud to show and share what they have. Amy stressed the problem with hunger and how any contribution would help, even just enough to provide a bowl of cereal per day. The Houlton Rotary group assisted with water filtration systems this past February. Keegan and his sister Danica traveled with their grandmother  Rotarian Becky Day. They all had a life changing experience in their volunteer work.

Houlton High School is repeating Volunteer Day on Friday, May 29, 2015 this year if anyone needs a volunteer crew, please call 532-6551 for details.

Community Park Playground

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Marie Carmichael

In the photo are Marie Carmichael of Houlton Parks and Recreation Program, Rotarian Jon Harbison and Vice President of Houlton Rotary Jane Torres. Marie spoke to the group’s luncheon meeting on May 11, 2015 about the New Playground at Community Park for which Houlton Rotary was a large contributor, giving a total of $42,000.00 over the years of fund raising. The fund raising effort began in earnest in 2008 when a new renovation was considered but gave way to a total new plan when the old playground was found not to be up to code. 30 businesses, 20 families and 6 other organizations have donated over the years. Now the total raised is $108,000 enough to pay the best bidder for the equipment and perhaps have a contingency fund for maintenance. On June 6th Rotarians are invited to help with the assembly of the new playground in Community Park. Marie hopes everything can be done that day and not spill over into Sunday the 7th of June. Members are welcome to join in the fun . Don’t forget to wear your Rotarian At Work teeshirt!

Downtown Restoration

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DSC03198In this photo are left to right, Michael Lyne of JHR Development of Maine, Nancy Ketch, Houlton Rotarian, Lorain Francis, Senior Program Director of the Maine Downtown Center and Greg Paxton , Executive Director of Maine Preservation.

Rotarians were educated on what the different organizations are doing around the State of Maine to preserve and enhance downtowns. Lorain spoke first on her work with MDC which has been charged by the State Legislature  and National Trust for Historic Preservation to stimulate vibrant and healthy downtowns. Currently there are 10 nationally-designated MainStreet Maine and 20 Maine Downtown Network communities in Maine.  The 4 points of the Maine Street approach are 1. Organization, 2. Promotion, 3. Design (Heritage and Aesthetics), and 4. Economic Development. Houlton joined the Network Communities in 2011.

Greg informed the group of the work of the nonprofit organization titled Maine Preservation. They deal with real estate that is historic. They assist with getting started in building revitalization, the basics in development, Historic Tax Credits, energy efficiency, 2nd and 3rd floor usage and successful partnerships in downtown settings. The work that is done improves the tax base for the community and can be a catalyst towards economic revitalization. Greg showed examples that the organization has completed in Yarmouth, Biddeford, Lewiston and  a current development in Dover Foxcroft.


Breaking Ground at Houlton High School

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DSC03183In the photo are Amy Hocking, President of Houlton Rotary, Shelly Bouchard, educator at Houlton High School and Julie Delano, Houlton Rotarian at the April 27, 2015 meeting.

Julie Delano invited Shelly Bouchard to speak about “Breaking Ground” , a course that she originated and teaches at Houlton High School. Shelly explained the outline of the course which has nine sections. First, the students learn to maintain and harvest crops for sustainability. Second, they learn to recognize and collect wild plant species. Thirdly, they learn to recycle and repurpose common household items such as milk cartons. Next, they have established a school-wide composting program. Fifth comes fundraising, promoting and attending public events. Sixth, the course uses student ideas and initiatives such as the name and logo of the class. Seventh, the students participate in community service programs. Eighth, the class researches commonly used farming practices such as crop rotation. And ninth, the students sample new recipes when using the harvest of their efforts. Shelly showed photos of the 22 students in action in their various jobs and activities.  More information is available by googling Breaking Ground and finding their website under Kitchen Gardeners International.


Aroostook Aspirations Initiative

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In this photo are Houlton Rotary President Amy Hocking, Aroostook Aspirations Initiative’s April Flagg and Kristin Wells, and Rotarian Nancy Ketch after April’s presentation at the April 13, 2015 luncheon meeting.

April had spoken to Houlton Rotary one year ago but had new information for Rotarians on Monday April13, 2015. She laid out the philosophy of Aroostook Aspirations and the mission and goals of the organization. Sponsored primarily by Ray and Sandy Gauvin, the initiative helps one student per high school in Aroostook County to obtain a college degree. The concept is to keep talent in the County and to enrich the County by keeping our youth here to work and lead their lives. Students selected for a Gauvin Scholarship are first generation college students and come from under privileged backgrounds economically. The new goal is to aid 20 students  and to increase the number each year. It is found that 97% of AAI students do earn their degrees and 75% stay in the County. Because the population of Aroostook is declining, only 16% of Aroostook’ s population have college degrees and the average earnings per household is $10,000.00 less that the average of the entire state, the Aroostook Aspiration Initiative is committed to improving these numbers. Volunteers are welcome to mentor the students. Retirees from different professions can advise and encourage students. A monthly funding plan is available or fixed donations are welcome. For more information and contact information call 760-0558, visit 754 Main Street, Presque Isle, Maine or email info@gauvinfund.org and check  the website at www.gauvinfund.org. Remember Aroostook Aspiration Initiative’s mission is to reduce outward migration, increase degree attainment and grow Aroostook County’s economy.


New Member Chief Joe McKenna

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DSC03179In this photo are Houlton’s Rotary President Amy Hocking, Houlton Police Chief Joe McKenna and Rotarian and former Houlton Police Chief Darrell Malone. Chief Joe was inducted into Houlton’s Rotary during the meeting on April 13, 2015.


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