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News

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 "Congress shall make no law.... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press....." 1st Amendment US Constitution

Writing and Photography by Lee and Connie Rand

Are you witnessing news or local events? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and photos. Photo credit given if used. TEXT ANY BREAKING NEWS YOU SEE TO THE LINCOLN AREA WEBSITE AT 413-853-2327


MANY FAST-BREAKING LOCAL NEWS STORIES CAN BE FOLLOWED IN REAL TIME ON OUR "WELCOME TO LINCOLN, MAINE" FACEBOOK PAGE OR ON TWITTER @LINCOLNMAINEUS. *


 
 

"the 2017 Springfield Fair may be the last year for our little fair"

By Kirk Ritchie
The headline reads, “Springfield Fair To Make Chicken Salad out of chicken s…tuff”. As we have been telling our vendors this week, on August 1st the carnival backed out of our agreement and will not be coming to the fair. This is a carnival that has been with us for many years. Larry Cushing, of Cushing Amusements, sent us a one sentence email telling us that he would not be here over Labor Day weekend. No explanation. He has apparently walked away from our agreement and will not return phone calls or emails.
Obviously, we are all heartbroken, particularly for the kids. We are so sorry that this has happened. We know what the rides & games mean to the younger kids and teens. But, we have not given up all hope on having some carnival attractions. I have made many, many calls to a variety of carnival operators around New England. You may recall that this same thing happened 6-7 years ago and we were able to hire 7-8 rides for the younger kids. We may, or may not, have some success for this year – but, please know that we are trying.
At this point we do have the following coming: “Moose Main-eah” a monster truck ride truck, horse & wagon rides, pony rides, a mechanical bull, bungy jump and 2-3 large inflatable rides. MOST IMPORTANTLY – we will have all other shows, exhibitions, & attractions running as usual. As you probably are aware, the Springfield Fair regularly wins awards for the quantity and quality of our attractions, competitions and shows. This year will be no different. From truck pulls to the Adam Wakefield concert – we have an incredible array of entertainment. And because of our situation – our pricing will be lower. So please, make/keep your plans to come to Springfield Fair – the 167th. September 1-4.
Now comes the truly difficult announcement for me – the 2017 Springfield Fair may be the last year for our little fair to operate, at least as we have known it since 1851. Unless something changes drastically – a new owner is found and/or a good and reputable carnival can be hired, we will probably not be able to run as a full agricultural fair any longer. Although things could change over the course of the next few months, it is likely that the 2018 fair will feature motorsports, possibly a concert and a handful of other events. We may not be able to run the full fair any longer. Although we will not make up our minds until February of 2018. At that time we will know whether or not we can contract with a reputable carnival.
I have owned a portion of the fair since 1991 and I, along with a wonderful crew of friends and volunteers, have spent hundreds of hours each year to present Maine’s best small fair: We love the Springfield Fair and this area. This has been a labor of love for all of us, something of which we have been and are very proud. But it has been an all encompassing operation. In the meantime, because of the midway pulling out, we were forced to throw away 12,500 flyers. We are now re-printing them with the appropriate changes. You should know too that our premium books were also affected. But, because of the high cost to print them and the time involved, we cannot re-print. We are printing a sticker with pricing changes to go on the front of the booklets. All books & flyers should be available, in local stores, by the time this article is printed. Just keep in mind that any pricing information inside the book will be incorrect. You can also download the flyer from our website at www.thespringfieldfair.com.
So, after our initial disappointment, please get excited again for the 167th Springfield Fair. Come and enjoy the weekend. We have a ton of great shows, events and activities for folks of all ages. We actually have more animals and more exhibits this year than ever before. So, visit with friends and family, watch your kids/grandkids compete for prizes, trophies and ribbons, enjoy some fair food and be grateful for our health and opportunities.
We are looking forward to entertaining you and are very grateful for your support over these many years. Thank you. 

 

Boy Scout news

Members of Boy Scout Troop 50 have had a very active summer so far. A group of 6 boys and 5 adults took a week long trip on the Allagash starting on June 24th, 16 boys and 3 adults left for Camp Roosevelt on July 2nd for a week and on July 18th, Four of our Scouts left for National Jamboree in West Virginia with a stop at Hershey Park on the way home.
Photos by: Brynn Cote and Dan Aldrich. 

 

Area schools plan rejected!

The Lincoln area schools were NOT invited to participate in Phase 2 of the Regional High School competition. RSU 67 Supt. Dr. Keith Laser received the letter from Maine DOE Thursday.
The three successful applicants were Madawaska, Houlton, and Greenville, with 38, 39, and 28 points respectively (out of a maximum of 40 points possible).
Our application received only 4 points out of 40. Our greatest loss was that we received 0 (yes.....zero) points out of the possible 30 points in the most important category ("Provide evidence of support...of at least two high schools....with a CTE school...."). So this was clearly graded as an all-or-nothing requirement, and we got nothing. Since we had FOUR high schools rather than the required two, It seems it is fair to conclude that Region 3's refusal to participate in the Phase 2 discussions cost us all 30 points in the largest category, and with those additional 30 points we would have been in third place and thus been accepted into Phase 2. (30 + 4 = 34 points, more than Greenville's 28.)
Many people gave a great deal of time and energy trying to get this new comprehensive school for our region. Many think we had an excellent application, except for the absence of a CTE.

CHANGES AT PENOBSCOT VALLEY HOSPITAL: We just received the following MEDIA RELEASE from PVH

June 30 - The year 2017 has brought much change and insecurity to healthcare, both nationally and statewide. The future is certainly uncertain and even though the legislature has postponed a vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, hospitals anticipate additional cuts to reimbursements either way. Additionally, the proposed state budget could lead to other cuts to reimbursement having a negative effect on Penobscot Valley Hospital’s already shrinking revenues. All of these detrimental changes have led to the decision to decrease the workforce at PVH as of July 1.

“We continue to see declining revenues across most service lines, attributable to a declining population, fewer people with commercial insurance, non-expansion of Medicaid, and more people utilizing high-deductible health plans with an inability to afford care,” states PVH Chief Executive Officer Gary Poquette, FACHE. “With these continuous declines, PVH has insufficient revenue to sustain its current cost structure.”

Over the last 12 months, PVH has sustained negative impact to the hospital’s bottom line, including:
· 26% decrease in inpatient revenues,
· 2% decrease in outpatient revenues, and
· 2% increase in deductions from revenue which rose from 37.22% to 39.27%.
PVH is not alone in its financial struggles. The Maine Hospital Association reports that in 2015, nearly half of all Maine hospitals lost money. There have been numerous reports in the media this summer of hospitals in Maine needing to make hard budgetary decisions in order to keep their doors open and continue to provide local care for their communities. These decisions have included reducing hours of service in some departments, and decreasing or eliminating some services altogether to shrink expenses immediately.

These survival tactics are not just confined to Maine. Hospitals and healthcare organizations nationwide are feeling the financial pressures. In the month of May alone, 13 healthcare organizations across the country -- some very large, well-known organizations like Blue Cross and Blue Shield -- laid off over 400 employees.

On Friday, June 30, PVH regrettably reduced its workforce by 5.

“We continue to make tough decisions in order to maintain quality healthcare services for the Lincoln Lakes Region,” adds Poquette. “Our Board and Administration understand that job cuts are very difficult not only for our staff and their families who are affected but to our community as a whole. We must do all that we can at PVH to ensure local healthcare options are available.”

The staffing changes do not include any direct patient care staff members.

Other changes at PVH have included positive news with the addition of gynecology, pediatric dentistry, and orthopedic services which are expected to see continued growth to enhance revenues. PVH has recently signed up with the Veteran’s Affairs as a participant in the Veteran’s Choice Program, allowing more services to be accessed locally by our respected Veterans. PVH has also recommitted to an enhanced culture of Service Excellence and is working to advance communications between departments and with patients.

The two Boards and Leadership Teams of PVH and Health Access Network, our local federally qualified health center, are assessing areas of collaboration to improve coordination of care and delivery for our region. Together we have hosted a legislative forum and visited Maine DHHS to gain legislative support for our region.

In addition to a reduction in force, PVH is taking strategic steps to ensure the continued viability of the hospital. This includes aligning with a strong health system that will help ensure retention of quality health services in this region. PVH recently completed an Opportunity Assessment with Eastern Maine Health Systems and expect to learn the findings of that assessment in early July.

“While it is very difficult to see staff members go, I speak on behalf of the Board in letting the community know we are actively engaged in doing all we can to sustain quality healthcare services for our region,” states Board Chair Phillip Dawson, Jr. “We thank the staff, providers, and leadership for all that you do and for the quality healthcare that you continue to provide for our patients.” 

 

New sign on I-95

June 15 - Angie Belk, owner of Lincoln's Tim Hortons, had an idea to promote our area as a recreational stop-off from I-95. With the help of State Sen. Rosen and Rep. Hannington , who helped guide the legislation through the Legislature, Belk's idea saw fruition as the sign, pictured here, was erected about two miles south of the Lincoln exit in the northbound lane on I-95 this week. Thank you Angie, for your efforts on behalf of our area of Maine.

 

Memorial Day observed in Lincoln

May 30 - Lincoln holds its Memorial Day observance on the traditional date each year. Today a ceremony was held at the Veterans Memorial on Goding Avenue, then a parade marched along West Broadway to the bridge over Mattanawcook Stream, where a wreath commemorating service members lost at sea was tossed into the water. The parade continued to Veterans Memorial Square in downtown Lincoln, where a wreath was laid. Short speeches were given, and prayers offered to God in thanks for those who gave their lives in defense of our country and asking for protection for our veterans and those corrently serving in the military. 

A small crowd gathered to mark the occasion, and MA music director Trevor Marcho led a fine band which provided the music.

Never forget that this wonderful country is here because brave people have fought, been wounded and many have died to protect it. If you meet a veteran or active duty service member, remember to thank him or her for their service. If you are currently serving or are a veteran, we appreciate your dedication to the United States of America! For a photo slideshow, CLICK HERE.

RSU 67 budget voting results

May 24 - The results of yesterday's vote on the RSU 67 budget are in. The budget narrowly passed, 158-137. The vote was as follows: Chester 10 yes, 12 no; Mattawamkeag 22 yes, 10 no; and Lincoln 126 yes and 115 no.

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