EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Operators of the town office warming center are looking to expand the center’s hours, officials said Wednesday.
Frank Clukey, Recreation Department director for East Millinocket, Medway and Millinocket, is contacting local churches and other organizations that can provide volunteers to staff the center as it expands from one to two days a week, said Mark Scally, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.
“He’s going to let them know what days we do them on and see if there are volunteers who might want to come in,” Scally said Wednesday.
Dozens of residents gather from noon to 4 p.m. Mondays at the center — the basement kitchen and dining area of the town office — to stay warm and to socialize.
The extra day, and any expanded hours, have yet to be determined, Scally said, but it looks as if it might be a Thursday.
Clukey did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment on Wednesday.
Knowing that unemployment is rising, that 80 percent of Maine households use oil heat, and that many area residents are locked in to high oil prices, Katahdin region government officials support warming centers to help residents defray energy costs.
Millinocket’s Town Council voted 4-3 a week ago to approve using as much as $10,000 to fund using the Stearns Assisted Living Center as a place where residents can stay from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to reduce home heating bills. Some lunch service will be provided.
The center, the first that Millinocket’s government has funded, will start Jan. 5. Councilors Jimmy Busque, Michael Madore, James Mingo and Chairman Wallace Paul favored the idea. Councilors David Cyr, Scott Gonya and John Raymond were opposed.