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 »
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 »
On July 18, USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel joined Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos for a White House Business Roundtable hosted by local lender Bangor Savings Bank. Participants in the discussion included 15 leaders from the Bangor region representing a variety of sectors including business, healthcare, medical research, transportation, and energy.
During the Roundtable entitled Winning the Future with American Business, Maine leaders had the opportunity to voice their concerns about economic growth and the challenges they face as business owners/leaders. This Roundtable discussion also provided a chance for the Administration to ensure local business leaders are taking advantage of the resources and programs designed to help them create jobs and compete. Read more »
At an Earth Day celebration in Thomaston, Maine on April 23, members of the community gathered to hear an announcement that will have a major benefit to the surrounding environment and shellfish industry, helping to preserve 1,200 acres of clam flats in the area.
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel was joined by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree to announce that the Town of Thomaston will receive Federal funds to make numerous improvements to its wastewater infrastructure. The Town will also contribute funds to make the project possible. The announcement brings the total investment Rural Development has provided to the Town of Thomaston to a total of over $9 million. Read more »
The Maine Wind Energy Conference entitled Maine’s Wind Energy Future: New Opportunities, New Challenges, was held at the Augusta Civic Center on January 24 and 25. As State Director I was asked to address a crowd of nearly 200 stakeholders in Maine’s energy future, giving a keynote in which I addressed USDA Rural Development’s vital role as a leader in the future of renewable energy development in Maine and across the country. Read more »
Before partners broke ground on two important community projects on November 15, tribal member Dayna Boyce performed a sacred blessing over the Maliseet tribal land, offering tobacco to bless the earth and giving thanks to the earth for the land to build upon. The Tribe will soon have a brand new state-of-the-art health center and six units of much-needed affordable family housing, thanks to its own contributions and assistance from USDA Rural Development and partners. Read more »