In this photo are Lorraine Monfils of Ark Animal Shelter, the guest of Rotarian Kathy Miskelly also in the photo on the right. Lorraine spoke about her efforts with the Ark and gave a history of the organization. The original building on the Old Woodstock Road unfortunately burned a few years ago. With a community bake sale effort every other weekend in front of Lorraine’s business on Main Street in Houlton called Hollywood Pet Salon and eighty thousand dollars in insurance funds, the new building is almost ready. This time it has 5 one hundred square foot cat rooms and an exterior area for the animals. Three thousand square feet of area provide the space the shelter needs on thirty-seven acres of ground. The only loan is on the purchase of the acreage. An nice donation in honor of the later Linda Severson of five thousand dollars and a couple of grants to purchase a computer and a washer and a dryer have rounded out the effort. Security cameras and motion detector lights are a must as well as an interior sensor for fire or intruders. Lorraine’s efforts are magnanimous. The shelter works with the Cleo Foundation to spay cats and the shelter keeps animals temporarily to place them in foster care.
In this photo are Rotarian Nate Bodenstab and President of Rotary Jane Torres. Nate shared his life path to Houlton and his work life with the club on February 1, 2016 at the luncheon meeting. Nate married Rotarian Paul Callnan’s daughter Sharon and they moved to Houlton about a year ago choosing to raise their three boys in Houlton.
Nate earned his undergraduate degree at George Fox University where he did a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics and a minor in Philosophy. Nate went on to earn his Masters and Doctorate in the field of Artificial Intelligence at Oregon Health and Science University. Nate interned with Google in Switzerland. He now works for a company named Nuance in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Nuance develops computer programs that work with voice recognition, self-driving cars, and other self-driving devices. Nate’s specialty is voice recognition and in eight languages going text to speech and vice versa. Nate works with a team of eight people around the world and on the west coast and east coast of the United States. Nuance has clients such as the Australian government, Air France, eTrade, Citibank, Best Buy and others. Nuance created Siri, Swipe, Spotify and Roku and is working on a Smart TV. Nate envisions an incubator space provided for people working in this industry needing a space to work from with excellent connectivity. Nate volunteers at the school teaching computer class and hopes for more education in this area. He helps to reinvent the relationship between people and technology.
In this photo are Houlton Rotarians Jerry Wilson, Moose Karnes and Kathy Miskelly. Moose spoke to the luncheon meeting about the work of Back Pack For Kids. This is a nationwide program to feed children over the weekends when they are not at school. Twenty-one million American children qualify for this program since they are classified as hungry. These children often are only fed at school.Feeding America has a website which explains the history of this program. In the Houlton area the Houlton Methodist Church has led the fund raising for this at seventy thousand dollars in 5 years with Rotary contributing seventeen thousand dollars. Back Packs are filled on Fridays and loaded onto the school buses that have the children in the program and the bus drive oversees the distribution. Generally a school nurse identifies the child in need and an application is sent home with the child which will also report on any allergies. In Houlton around twenty-eight back packs are handed out each weekend. The local schools involved are Mill Pond School, ACAP, Houlton Southside School, and some 6th graders, now at the high school in Houlton. Donations are welcome as it costs more each year to fill a bag. County Yankee donates to the cause as well as private contributors.
In the photograph is Kimberly Smith who spoke to Houlton Rotary Club on January 11, 2016 during their luncheon meeting. Kim is a grant writer for the City of Presque Isle, Maine. She brought much knowledge to the group with her twenty years of experience. She holds a masters degree from Husson University in Business and has served as an adjunct instructor for Northern Maine Community College, Husson University’s Graduate Program and the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Kim shared her experience and her success rate of two out of seven applications. She will be leading a workshop on January 23, 2106 on Grant Writing at the Houlton Higher Education Center. This costs forty nine dollars and interested persons should sign up by January 20th. The workshop will run from nine in the morning until noon.
In this photo left to right are Dana Delano, Rotarian and leader of the youth exchange program, Hannah Jacobs of Houlton High School and Jane Torres, President of the Houlton Rotary Club. The subject of Hannah’s talk was the Rotary Youth Exchange. This exchange program has been going on since 2003. Dana has been working on this since 2008. Each year two or three high school students from the area are involved. All expenses are paid for the students in this summer opportunity to go to a county in Europe that is selected by the student. The families of these students are very much involved since the exchange occurs at each student’s home. The host family has the responsibility to share the culture of their country with their exchange student. Hannah chose Italy and she began her journey in Milan, visiting Cannes in France and experiencing Bastille Day. She also visited a vineyard and the World Expo. She stayed at her host Sophia’s grandmother’s castle in Turin. Hannah noted two major differences in her experience from her home in Maine were walking everywhere and eating late, around eight thirty in the evening. Hannah shared slides of her trip and she thanked Houlton Rotary club for the opportunity. The club met the new exchange students who will be going to Switzerland and France. This exchange experience adds to the maturity of the students involved in the process.
In this photo are Jerry Wilson, Houlton Rotarian, Jane Torres, President of the Houlton Rotary Club and Moose Karnes. Jerry and Moose work diligently at the Aid for Kids project. Part of the funds raised this year by the club are going to aid children with prepared backpacks for the students to take home with them on the weekends.
In this photo are Scott White, Houlton Rotarian with his daughter Franki White. At the December 28, 2015 meeting Franki shared her Rotaract experiences of which she was a member while she attended the University of Maine in Orono. Rotaract basically prepares students between the ages of 17 and 30 to become members of the Service Above Self community. Franki learned during high school about such service when she traveled with her father and other Rotarians to the Dominican Republic to install water filters for the impoverished residents. She enjoyed her one on one relationships with the youth that she met there. Franki showed great poise and compassion and impressed the club with her maturity and sense of community.
In this photo from left to right are Ginny Joles from Presque Isle Rotary Club, and she is District Governor Elect for Rotary District 7810, Carl Young, President of Fort Fairfield Rotary Club, Josefina Lopez-Aroagon, Fort Fairfield Rotarian, Matthew Nightingale, Vice-president of the Houlton Rotary Club, Gina LeBlanc-Eggert, President Elect of the Presque Isle Rotary Club and Edward Wright of the Mars Hill Rotary Club. An effort is being put forth to aid Guatemalans who live along the coast where sea levels are rising. The project is called GIVE 2017. GIVE stands for Guatemalan Infrastructure Improvement Venture. The goals are to write a grant, assess the needs and size of the volunteer crew and raise the necessary funds with help from a local Rotary Club in Guatemala and a grant from Rotary International. The effort would install eco toilets, stoves and water filters to three villages. Awareness was raised for the Houlton Rotary Club by the visiting group and collaborative efforts are welcomed.
In this photo are Chief Joe McKenna, a Houlton Rotarian with Houlton Rotary President Jane Torres. Joe spoke to the club at the November 16th, 2015 meeting about his work at the Houlton Police Department. Joe has been busy upgrading the department with a new look and attitude. His concept is that law enforcement officials are public servants and he is working on a more visible presence. New uniforms and caps and updated logo patches are in order. The police cars have a new look with a silver color over the old white. Hopefully, officers will soon have laptop computers in their vehicles so that when they are in the car on duty they can do their reports rather than spending that time in the office. Parking a cruiser in front of a “meth” house discourages business to an otherwise very profitable business. The cars have new radios allowing officers to contact each other and to be there for backup. Joe is working with other law enforcement agencies and planning on current training to happen closer to home. Joe welcomes residents to call the station with any concern. He says such interaction strengthens the HPD. Joe is working on cooperation with local clergy to assist with crisis situations. Another emphasis is the prevention of heroin importation and the HPD is on top of this before it becomes a problem. Joe welcomed questions from the group and was well received for his informational talk.
Jane Torres, President of Houlton Rotary Club is pictured here with Tammy Mulvey, Houlton Rotarian and guest speaker at the Monday November 9, 2015 meeting. Tammy spoke on behalf of Pleasant View Farms that she co-owns with her husband Rob and son Alex. Beginning as a Christmas tree farm the business has grown in five years by three times its original size with the addition of a green house , a retail space, and landscaping work. Some products that have been added are mums in the fall and strawberries in the summer and a Christmas shop. Wreaths are decorated for sale that Tammy also takes to crafts fairs. Wreaths are also shipped out all over the country and Christmas trees are harvested and shipped as far south as Florida. The business prides itself in its community service donating garden work to the Ark Animal Sanctuary and trees to the Trees for Troops Project. Rob likes to give classes on apple tree pruning and manages other tree farms as well as his own. Photo by Nate Bodenstab and article by Diane Hines.