World Polio Day, October 24, 2015

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On October 24, 2015 Rotary International will celebrate World Polio Day. A challenge has been made by Torrey Sylvester to be 100 percent in giving one hundred dollars by all Houlton Rotary Club members. So much work has been done to eradicate polio and there are strains left in two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Efforts are constant to vaccinate all children. The Rotary magazine for October is filled with evidence of the hard work that has been done and continues to be done to eradicate polio world wide. Members are encouraged to support the cause and hopefully close the gap on the race to end this disease. Bring your check to a meeting, send it to the club or start a payment plan with the treasurer, Paul Callnan. Let’s be part of the big solution.

County Coop Presentation by Sarah Flewelling at July 20, 2015 Houlton Rotary Meeting

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Shown here in the photo are Sarah Flewelling, guest speaker representing the County Coop and Farm Store with Jane Torres, President of the Houlton Rotary Club. Sarah described the store and its contents as well as the mission statement and vision statement for the organization. With 136 members to date the co-op is member owned and controlled retail outlet store. Forty growers and ten bakers and orders from Associated Buyers all help to fill the space. Coffee is always available as well as cold beverages in the cooler. Products include meats, dairy items, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables as well as lunch specials and baked goods to eat in or take out. Members receive a discount and volunteers receive an even larger discount. The store is now managed by all volunteers who are on a rotating schedule. Sarah stressed that folks should think locally when grocery shopping. For every dollar spent on local products, sixty-seven cents stays here at home. The County Co-op and Farm Store was incorporated in July of 2013 and the store opened in July of 2014. Several fund raising occasions have been held in the store as well as a summer class schedule listed on the door. Learn about your soil, your health, back yard chickens and more. Be involved on the local level, Sarah urged the Rotary club.

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.


Membership Award

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In this photo we have Scott Dionne, center with Past President Lori Weston, left and Pat Perry, Past District Governor to the right in the photo. Scott has just received an award from Pat for his successful work in membership for the Houlton Rotary this past year.

Membership work award

Membership work award

Annual Dinner

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Stewart--PHF &Leigh


At the 2014  Houlton Rotary Annual Dinner several awards were given. The  top photo is of Elen Ellis,  Nancy Elllis, and Jerry Wilson as Jerry presents the SERVICE ABOVE SELF AWARD honoring Donald “Bones” Ellis posthumously for his years of service. The next photo is of  Brian Stewart receiving the Paul Harris Fellow Award from Leigh Cummings. The third photo is  of Cindy Callnan, Paul Callnan and Lori Weston. Lori presented Paul with the President’s  Award  for his continuing “career” as Houlton Rotary Treasurer since 1988. And last but not least Scott Dionne is also pictured receiving The Paul Harris Fellow Award from Nancy Ketch.

Dionne PHF--nancy

Rotary at Wings and Wheels

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Wings and Wheels

“Wings and Wheels—Fly In/Cruise In” first annual event of the Houlton Chamber of Commerce was held at Houlton International Airport on July 27,2013. This was a free event for community members to enjoy.  There was an antique car show, many planes on display; and unexpectedly, a Jetliner flew in to refuel.  The Forest Rangers and Border Patrol had their helicopters there for people to check out…a big hit!  The Border Patrol also had one of their dogs there.  Great music, food and lots of great vendors were enjoyed by all!!   Rotarians helped kids make airplanes and check the wind with pinwheels before sending their craft out into the wind.  Other Rotarians helped with parking, setting up and tearing down, and helping those unlucky few who got stuck in the wet field.  Our Rotarians aren’t afraid of a little mud!!   It was great to see “Rotarians At Work” helping out with a community event!!  This is definitely an event that will continue with the Houlton Rotary Club’s support!

2013 Service Above Self Award

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In reading the applications for this year’s Service Above Self Award, I was ever so impressed by your commitments to each of your communities. Each one of you has, in some way, contributed to making a positive change in the community around you and in turn, I am sure it has changed each of you too. Recognizing the needs of those around you and realizing that just the tiniest effort on your part can and does have such an incredible positive impact, is remarkable. Finding the time and energy beyond excelling at academics, athletics or extra-curricular acitivites, is simply inspiring. Each of you is leaving a mark on your school and communities that will long be remembered. Your applications prove that our future, in the broad picture, is going to be just fine, in fact it is going to be great. With such acts of goodness as: community wide clean up days, volunteering at after-school programs and other community events, mentoring programs that foster relationships between upper and lower classman, raising monies for Cancer Awareness and for the Sandy Hook Elementary School Community, participating in single events that brings communities together….the list is long awe inspiring and certainly represents what Rotary is all about …” Service Above Self”.

This year’s winner of the Service Above Self Award fully embodies the meaning of community service in so many ways. This school contributed over 170 hours to community service. They looked deeply into the needs of their community saw that two families within their community needed to have a winter’s worth of wood stacked and piled. Imagine the grateful hearts of those families! This school helped to harvest vegetables that were then distributed to the elderly and to needy families in their district. They grew their own corn and pumpkins in their school garden and then harvested those crops which benefited their own hot lunch program. Students knit hats that were then donated to people with emotional and development disabilities, assuring that they would be warm in the coldest of weather. Through a school grant, the students are building a greenhouse and planting a perennial bed for their school to better provide both healthy food choices and to beautify their school. It is the greater need of those around them that they are serving.

This year’s winner of the Houlton Rotary Service Above Self Award is:

Hodgdon High School


Backpack for Kids

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Shown in the picture (by Mike Clark) is Ryan Bushey and Moose Karnes from Backpacks for Kids

2013 has seen our program increase from serving 35-40 children to serving 40-46 children. We have had an increased interest for our program this year due to hard times with our economy. If we had the monies, we could serve up to 30-35 families. The cost to run our program, due to food cost increases, has gone up from last year by thirteen percent.

Our program is a 36 week project helping 40-46 children from 17 families with backpacks filled with food for the weekends. This is our third year for the program. With financial help from County Yankee, Houlton Rotary Club, Houlton United Methodist Church, and many single donation, we will be able to continue this needed program.

All the monies we collect go directly to the cost of the food. During the year 2012, the Backpacks for Kids program spent $10,500.

We would like to give a special thanks to Houlton Rotary and County Yankee for helping to make this program possible.

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