USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Virginia Manuel made a major announcement to Region II School of Applied Technology, in Houlton, on Friday. The School received the news that it will benefit from three USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants.
The grant funds will provide access for adult learners in rural Maine to improve their employability and obtain marketable technical skills. This project has three wings, with each wing of this network introducing a new configuration of rural end-users and content providers who will add value to the education network: Read more »
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel and staff recently organized an important visit to Maine for a high-level worldwide organization known as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The group, headquartered in Paris, France, established formal links with USDA Rural Development in Washington, DC over a year ago to review how renewable energy projects are supporting rural economic development in the United States. The six OECD officials on this mission represent the countries of Italy, Germany, Norway, Scotland, and the United States.
USDA Rural Development has invested $16.05 million in renewable energy projects in Maine over the last several years, including funding for the Fox Island Wind turbines on Vinalhaven. Read more »
Two-thirds of Maine’s population or about 780,000 residents live in the “wildland-urban interface.” In these areas structures intermingle with natural vegetation, and wildfire threatens lives, homes, and property.
The Maine Forest Service’s Division of Forest Protection established a Wildland-Urban Interface Committee in 2004 to facilitate completion of Community Wildfire Protections Plans in these areas. More than 4,500 homes were assessed to determine their risk factors. Of the homes surveyed, 88 percent were at “extreme” or “high” risk of ignition in a wildfire because of fuels buildup. Read more »
On August 30, 2011 USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel joined Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Curt Spalding and Maine DEP Acting Commissioner Pattie Aho in highlighting one of the most affordable and advanced wastewater facilities in the country. This was an excellent opportunity to highlight the unique project as well as the important partnership between USDA Rural Development and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Greater Limestone Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility is impressive for many reasons. The $21 million total project brought together federal, state and local partners to regionalize two aging rural wastewater treatment facilities in northern Maine (Loring and Limestone) into one state-of-the-art facility. Read more »
In July of 2008, Swan’s Island Library and former Old Atlantic Schoolhouse (circa 1903) was struck by lightning. The building and its contents were completely destroyed by fire, and along with it and important community gathering place and a treasured piece of history.
Three years to the month after the tragic incident, the community gathered for the Grand Opening of the new Swan’s Island Library. Read more »
Maine Fuels for Schools. The firebox for Poland Regional High School's new Recovery Act-funded biomass heat system is hoisted into the boiler house, as school Principal Cari Medd (hat) and guests look on.
In August 2009, a total of $11.4 million in U.S. Forest Service Recovery Act funds were made available to the State of Maine for grants to help rural, economically depressed counties support the conversion of heating systems to wood/dual-fuel heating systems for an estimated 15 public buildings. Read more »