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The boiler house of the International Woolen Company.

The boiler house of the International Woolen Company.

Compiled by Carolyn Cadigan

Sanford awarded EPA grants for assessment and cleanup of mill properties: On May 20, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the City of Sanford substantial funding under the EPA Brownfields Program in two categories. The first is an Assessment Grant for $500,000, which will be used to conduct ten Phase I and seven Phase II environmental site assessments. The focus area is the Historic Mill Yard, including priority sites such as the 7.2-acre International Woolen Mill site, the 9.5-acre Emery Mill site and the 3.53-acre Wasco Mill site. The second award, which is from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is a Cleanup Grant for $5 million. This grant will fund the cleanup of the International Woolen Mill Boiler House on Pioneer Avenue. The site, contaminated with various hazardous substances, will be remediated.

Library book sale raises additional funds: The donation-based book sale held at Goodall Library on May 17 and 18 raised $555 for the library. The money will help with operating expenses at the library’s temporary location. Director Ann Thomas and the library staff thank all those who supported the fundraising event.

Sanford native named DHHS acting commissioner: Gov. Janet Mills appointed Sanford native Sara Gagne-Holmes, deputy commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), as acting commissioner beginning June 1, temporarily replacing outgoing DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. Gagne-Holmes served as deputy commissioner for the past five years, and practiced law with a focus on health care at a Maine firm before serving as a health policy and legal adviser to former Gov. John Baldacci. Lambrew is leaving the department to take a teaching position at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and to serve as director of health care reform for The Century Foundation in Washington, D.C. According to a news release, Gov. Mills is still considering permanent candidates for DHHS commissioner and is expected to name a nominee in the coming weeks. Once a nominee is named, that person will be subject to a hearing before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee and confirmation by the state Senate.

Red Cross needs your help: Two local blood drives scheduled for June still have openings. The first will be held at the Alfred Parish Church, 8 Kennebunk Rd., on June 19 from 10 am to 3 pm. The second will be at the Preble Masonic Lodge #143, 16 Elm St., Sanford, on June 24 from 11 am to 4 pm. Log onto the Red Cross website here to schedule a time to donate.

Chocolate makes everything better: The recent Chocolate Benefit Spectacular raised $34,000 for the Sanford Backpack Program, which provides food to hungry students on weekends and in the summer. The fundraising makes possible the distribution of 30,000 meals annually, according to Ayn Hanselmann, an advisory board member of the program. “The program is extremely grateful to our sponsors, donors, chocolatiers (16 of them) and attendees who made it all possible,” Hanselmann wrote. Summer distribution, which was in doubt last winter, is assured thanks to Atlantic Federal Credit Union, according to Hanselmann. The first distribution of the summer begins at Willard School and Sanford High School on June 13 from 3 pm to 5:30 pm. Distribution continues every Thursday through Aug. 22.

Keller Williams volunteers

Keller Williams volunteers spend their day of service cleaning up at Sweetser.

Commitment to community service benefits Sweetser: As part of their RED Day annual day of service, Keller Williams team members recently volunteered at the Sanford office and Saco campus of Sweetser, the behavioral health provider. Volunteers landscaped at both locations, refreshing planting beds, raking and more. Special thanks to Eldredge Lumber and Hardware for donating 14 bags of organic mulch that the team used at Sweetser’s Sanford location. For 16 years, Keller Williams has reserved the second Thursday of May as RED Day, when its employees spend the day volunteering and making a tangible impact on the communities they serve.

Free training helps alcohol sellers and servers keep their communities safe: Alcohol retailers and servers/sellers of alcohol in York County play an important role in keeping the community and workplace safe and healthy. A free training session, Responsible Beverage Server and Seller Training, is designed for any establishment that serves or sells alcohol. To be held June 3 from 9 am to noon at Southern Maine Healthcare in Sanford, the training covers safe practices that help ensure the safety of workplace staff, customers and the community. Attendees will learn how to assess and prevent intoxication, detect impairment, identify false ID’s and build refusal of sale skills. Participants will receive a 2024 ID checking guide. To register, email stephanie.mastersplamondon@mainehealth.org.

Much thanks for an act of kindness: Dennis and Sharon Oliveira recently volunteered their gardening skills at the Trafton Senior Center at 19 Elm St. They planted beautiful annuals to make the center’s entry a welcoming space.

YMCA water system helps to reduce plastic waste: The Elkay water bottle refilling fountains at the Sanford-Springvale YMCA recently registered 150,000 water bottles saved from being added to the landfill or eventually to the ocean. The refilling fountains dispense cool, filtered water. Bring a refillable water bottle on your next visit to the YMCA and do your part to help the environment.

SCYA meeting welcomes those interested in helping homeless youth: The Sanford Community Youth Alliance will meet on June 6 at 4 pm at the Sanford Police Department. The organization’s goals are to provide homeless youth safe shelter expeditiously, help students access services and establish a youth center in the future. Anyone interested in the work they are doing to help unaccompanied youth in Sanford and Springvale is invited to attend. FMI, email Cindy Pattershall at cpattershall@sanford.org.

Aiming to give every child a great start in life: Parents in Sanford and Springvale who have children under the age of five can sign up for free Basics Insights, weekly science-based facts about development and activities to do with children. The information, aimed at boosting a child’s learning and brain development, is designed specifically for each child’s age. FMI about Basics Insights or to sign up for this free opportunity, email spalmer@sanford.org.

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