December 31, 2013

Augusta, Hallowell, Gardiner community leaders list goals for 2014

From feeding the hungry to finding a better work/life balance, these movers and shakers are ready for the new year.

By John Hale

Community and professional leaders in the Augusta region have been setting goals as the year ends, with hopes that 2014 will bring balance and prosperity.

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Tom Foster

Staff file photo

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HELPING HAND: Jack Walsh carries a dinner to a customer’s car recently at the Hallowell Food Bank, where he volunteers.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

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Jack Walsh, president of the Hallowell Food Bank, has an ambitious goal for the new year.

“Our goals are to make sure that everybody in Hallowell has enough to eat,” he said. “Another goal is to ensure that the people of Hallowell continue to support the food bank the way they have in the past. They’ve been very generous.”

The Hallowell Food Bank is in the basement of the Hallowell fire station on Second Street.

Stacy Gervais, owner of Stacy’s Hallmark and a women’s clothing business on Water Street in Augusta, said, “My New Year’s goal is to let go of the negative and to embrace the positive. It’s easier said than done.”

“My business goal is both increasing and improving our line of women’s sportswear and business attire,” Gervais said. “A lot of good things are happening downtown. Now we just have to get people outside of downtown to embrace it.”

Doug Ebert, chairman of the Board of Selectmen in Farmingdale and a firefighter, said he wants to help the fire department achieve new goals in the new year.

“Basically, this year I want to keep things rolling as smoothly as possible in town,” he said. “I want to take care of my family. And I want to do more to help the fire department move into the future.”

Ebert said the town of Farmingdale must recruit more firefighters for the department and evaluate its firefighting equipment.

“We’re still talking about a possible merging of fire departments with Hallowell,” he said.

“I just want to keep the town moving forward.”

Kim Silsby, Cony High School principal for the past year, said, “My goals for my life would be to find more balance between my work and my outside life. I’ll be looking for something like a yoga class or an exercise class.

“For school, we’re going to continue to look at student achievement and how we can improve our kids’ achievement,” she said.

She said being principal at Cony is “very, very busy but I love it. I’ve learned a lot through it.”

Silsby said Cony students have achieved several top honors in the past year, such as winning the state Class B football championship and scoring well on the SATs. “We knocked them out of the park this time,” she said of the SAT scores, “and our graduation rate is fantastic.”

Gardiner Fire and Rescue Chief Mike Minkowsky said one goal he has for 2014 is to seek out more training opportunities for Gardiner firefighters.

“All our firefighters are being trained to handle natural gas emergencies,” Minkowsky said. “Another current problem they’re being trained to handle is school shootings with large numbers of victims. They’re being trained to treat the injured as soon as possible.”

Minkowsky said Gardiner fire and rescue is going to come up with a management plan in conjunction with the police department for handling mass shootings.

The chief said the department will be doing more training with all three shifts of firefighters, including extrication training for victims trapped in vehicles.

“Our present cutters aren’t up to cutting people out of late-model vehicles,” he said. “My personal aspiration is to keep my firefighters trained and prepared.”

Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, said he wants to “be the best senator I can be.”

Katz holds the position of assistant Republican leader in the Senate. Katz and his wife, Birdie, have two grown children, Jonathan, 31, and Shari, 29.

“Generally, I want to concentrate on what’s genuinely important in life,” said the Augusta attorney. “I want to see at least one Red Sox game with my son. And I want to read more books.”

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Kim Silsby

Staff file photo

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Gay Grant

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Stacy Gervais

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Roger Katz

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