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 and check  the website at Remember Aroostook Aspiration Initiative’s mission is to reduce outward migration, increase degree attainment and grow Aroostook County’s economy.


Job-Driven National Emergency Grant

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Pictured here are Amy Hocking, Houlton Rotarian president, Ryan Pelletier, and Lance Albair of ACAP. Lance spoke about the Job Driven National Emergency Grant given to 32 states including Maine and some of its counties. Aroostook County received $1,00,000.00. JD-NEG connects dislocated workers to the workforce. If a person was unemployed for at least 27 weeks during the recession of December 2007 to January 2009 they are eligible for this program. JD-NEG pays for 50% of the training with the expectation of a full time position for the trainee. This is helpful to employers as well as to future employees. For more information, please contact ACAP at 1-800-432-7881 or email Lance at lalbair@acap-me. org.

Houlton’s Animal Shelter

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DSC_0008-1Shown here are on February 23, 2015 are Amy Hocking, President of Houlton Rotary, Heather Miller of the Houlton Animal Shelter, Kelly King of the Houlton Animal Shelter and Jane Torres, Vice President of Houlton Rotary. Heather showed a moving slide show of life at Callaghan Road’s Animal Shelter as she addressed the serious issues of running such an operation. Finances are a constant concern to keep the operation current in their fragile budget. The good news is that a generous person paid for this year’s heating costs and the building is almost paid in full. Volunteers are always in need to do any work or just play with the animals, cats or dogs and sometimes piglets! The shelter has been very successful working with southern shelters to bring up dogs for adoption. Heather gave a good solid report on her work and it is very clear that she had a strong grasp of the situation here in the County. For more information or to help, please visit the facility or call 532-2826 or stop by at 263 Callaghan Road in Houlton, between the Ludlow Road and the B Road.

The Carleton Project

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In the photo here are Amy Hocking, Houlton Rotary president, Alan Morris, president of the Carleton Project and Robyn Crone, Houlton Rotarian.

Robyn’s guest recently at Rotary was Al Morris. Al founded the Carleton Project after 20 years of teaching in public schools and seeing a need to match his vision. He opened his first private school in 1999 in the town of Presque Isle with 12 students. Today he has added 5 locations and has an enrollment of over 100 students. Al’s job is 1/3 education, 1/3 politics, 1/3 social work. He had a social worker on staff as well as educators. The Project’s mission is student success. A safe environment is created for learning to achieve the students’ goals. The schools run year round to keep the students engaged and successful and accountable. Students who could fall through the cracks are educated through exploration and habit formation to thrive. This is not a special needs facility as those needs are met elsewhere. Individuals are guided and supportive of each other through shared editing of their work to assisted learning in an alternative education format. Goals are set and students are held accountable. Al make sure that graduates have a one year plan before they graduate. 75% of the student body go onto higher education.

Al can be reached at His Houlton location is housed in the Higher Education Center on Bangor Road. For more information visit or email Al.

Department of Health and Human Services and Estela Lane

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In the photo here are Estela Lane of Adult Protective Services and Ann Torres Savage, Rotarian and DHHS employee. Estela spoke to Houlton Rotary recently about “elder abuse”. In 1981 the State of Maine’s legislature enacted legislation to protect our senior citizens. There is an intake unit available for people who suffer from abuse, neglect and or exploitation. Maine has the oldest population in the country and nearly 5500 cases are reported each year, not including unreported cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation. 70% of caregivers are family members. Estela stressed that the hot line number be used for any concerns about elderly citizens who need protection. Please call 1-800-624-8404.

Dolly’s Library

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Shown here are James Matilla, Rotarian and Board Member of United Way, Claudia Stevens, of the United Way of Aroostook and Amy Hocking, President of Houlton Rotary. Claudia educated the Houlton Rotarians about Dolly’s Imagination Library during the February 9th lunch meeting. Books are free to children under the age of 5 and Dolly Parton only expects the shipping to be covered. A child can receive a book once a month. This program is to encourage parents to read to their children and so that when they enter school their imaginations are sparked and studies have proven improved learning skills. Claudia handed out applications and is more than willing to answer any more questions. Her phone number is 764-5197 and the office is at 480 Main Street in Presque Isle.

Houlton and Woodstock History

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Terry Thomas, president of Woodstock Rotary of New Brunswick Canada is photographed here with Leigh Cummings of the Houlton Rotary Club, receiving a gift of a framed map of the area. The program on January 12, 2015 marked the 200th anniversary of the “Battle of Houlton”. Rotarians from the Woodstock club and the Houlton club gathered together in fellowship enjoying a terrific dinner at the Episcopal Church in Houlton followed by a program presented by Leigh Cummings. The guest speaker, Gary Campbell, whose book on the topic was being presented, canceled for the weather conditions. Leigh read Gary’s comments. Two hundred years ago to the day, the British marched into Houlton and made the residents take an oath not to take up arms against the British or they should depart for lands west of the Penobscot River as the British owned the land east of the Penobscot River. No weapons were found in the community and no one took up opposition to the British. No other conflict arose after this. The “twin” Rotary groups enjoyed getting to better acquainted and look forward to future cooperative events. Maple cream cookies were shared by the Woodstock Rotarians which rivaled the lemon cake dessert presented by the Houlton Rotarians. Good humor was felt by all present, a nice event on a snowy evening.


Youth Exchange 2014-2015

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DSC_0041Left to right: Hannah Jacobs, Emily Mooers, Sarah Abbotoni, Keegan Fitzpatrick and Rotarian Youth Exchange Officer Dana Delano

Houlton Rotary recently welcomed their 2014 youth exchange students Sarah Abbotoni and Emily Mooers to learn about their International Youth Exchanges last summer and to meet the 2015 youth exchange students, Keegan Fitzpatrick and Hannah Jacobs.

Sarah Abbotoni is a recent graduate of Houlton High School and is now a student at the University of Maine.  She experienced her exchange in Biella, Italy, a community in the northern mountain region.  “I had a wonderful time with my host sister, Carola and her family.  We explored many areas of Italy, from the beautiful mountains to the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea”, stated Sarah. “The food, the culture, and the people were unforgettable”.   Sarah visited the famous cities of Milan, Pisa, and Rome.  She loved the historical architecture, including the Vatican, the leaning tower of Pisa and the famous Roman Coliseum.    Carola enjoyed Maine lobster, toasting marshmallows and attending a Boston Red Sox game.  Sarah was so moved by the experience, she is taking Italian language courses at college.  Sarah is the daughter of Daryl and Heidi Abbotoni.

Emily Mooers is a senior at Houlton High School and experienced her exchange in Sinabelkirchen, Austria, a small town south of Vienna.  “I truly enjoyed my exchange sister Mady, and her family.  ”, stated Emily.   “Austria is so beautiful and rich with history and culture.    I saw amazing castles, churches and even a clock museum.”  Although the food was very different then what we have here in Maine, she tried it all and reported the ice cream was ‘awesome’.  “We also took a trip to Venice, Italy, which was very exciting to visit personally” exclaimed Emily.   Mady was excited to visit New Year City only to find it to be ‘overrated’, but enjoyed Boston and Harvard University’s campus.   She also loved Maine and had a blast waterskiing on Drew’s Lake.  Emily is the daughter of David and Nancy Mooers.

Houlton Rotary is pleased to introduce Keegan Fitzpatrick and Hanna Jacobs as their 2015 youth exchange students.  Keegan is a senior at Houlton High School and is the son of Brady Fitzpatrick and Jessica Fitzpatrick.  Hannah Jacobs is a sophomore at Houlton High School and is the daughter of Dan and Stephanie Jacobs.  Both students have an interest in Spain, however, The Netherlands and Italy are also being considered.

For over 75 years, students and host families have broadened their horizons through Rotary Youth Exchange. More than 80 countries and over 8,000 students each year participate in the program, which is administered at the regional level by Rotary districts and at the local level by Rotary clubs.  This program was established in the Houlton Rotary Club in 2003.   It is the objective of this program to advance the knowledge and world understanding of these students, as well as to foster world peace and good will at a personal level.  Dana Delano, Houlton Rotary’s Youth Exchange Officer states: “Sarah and Emily have been wonderful ambassadors of the Rotary Club, our community and Houlton High School.  We hope this experience has broadened their knowledge and interest in different cultures.  They have each certainly made a new lifelong friend”.


Historic Post cards from Henry Gartley’s Collection

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DSC_0166Pictured are Amy Hocking Club President, Henry Gartley and Vice President Jane Torres

Henry was the speaker at our meeting on December 15th. He showed us some great slides of his post card collection along with a few old photos, mostly of Houlton Maine. They were very interesting, it was a great meeting as I sat there surrounded by members that had lots of memories of many of the slides that were shown it was great to listen to them reminisce of times past! I am a “transplant” to the county, I think that’s what we are called? But looking at the old slides and listening to the comments and laughter made me feel like I belonged here as well. Henry shared a couple of these slides for your enjoyment as well, I am sure he would share more with you too…but make sure you have enough time because he has a large collection and you do not want to miss any of them.  Words from, Tammy Mulvey

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.

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