FairPoint sponsor of Chamber drive
BANGOR — FairPoint Communications has made a significant commitment to promoting economic development in the Bangor region, announcing that it will sponsor the fall membership drive of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.
With its sponsorship, FairPoint will provide a $100, first-year dues subsidy to each new member who joins the Chamber between now and Dec. 1. The program will be offered to the first 50 businesses to join the Chamber.
“At FairPoint, we know that our success is closely tied to the success of the communities we serve. By working with an organization like the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce in its mission to promote a healthy business climate, together we can further the goal of growing Maine’s economy,” said Michael C. Reed, Maine state president of FairPoint.
“This is exciting in two important ways,” said John Porter, president of the Bangor Region Chamber. “First, it’s great to have a sponsor for our fall membership drive. But I think it’s even more significant that FairPoint is sending this strong message about its commitment to Maine. FairPoint plays a unique and vital role in our communications industry, and it is reassuring to know it is investing in Maine’s long-term success.”
The first-year dues subsidy will be open to all businesses that join the Chamber and have not been a member of the organization over the past three years. The program will be part of a larger effort by the Chamber to reach out to potential members during the fall.
As part of the campaign, an information session for new and prospective members is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Hollywood Slots. Also during the campaign, nonmembers can attend Chamber events for the same price as members.
“Our Chamber underwent a significant reorganization in 2010, and that process has put growing our organization at the forefront of our strategic goals,” said Porter. “We believe we need to go from about 800 members today to 1,000 members over the next couple of years to maximize our effectiveness.”
The base Chamber dues rate — for businesses with one to two employees — is $225 annually. Porter said that in this sluggish economy, even 62 cents a day is a lot when every penny counts.
“But over time, Chamber membership can pay big dividends,” said Porter. “Our members are able to connect with potential customers, vendors and future employees in a variety of ways. And of course, the Chamber is working to grow the regional economy and lift all boats. Our successful advocacy for the construction of a new arena in Bangor is one prominent example of this.”
Reed said his company’s sponsorship in Bangor is one of several initiatives across the state to strengthen the ties between his company and local communities.
“We want Maine people to know that we are committed to their success,” said Reed.
Louis Vafiades Award
BANGOR — The Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project presented Barbara Cardone of Bangor and Martha Novy-Broderick of Lincoln with the 2011 Louis Vafiades Award on Sept. 8 during the VLP’s annual volunteer reception at the Penobscot County Judicial Center.
The Louis Vafiades Award is presented annually to attorneys who have dedicated themselves to improving access to justice for low-income people in northern Maine through pro bono service.
This year, the award was presented to both Cardone and Novy-Broderick to recognize the extraordinary impact of their volunteer efforts.
“They have been the backbone of the Penobscot Bar Association Clinic” said VLP staff attorney Jim Mitchell. “In addition to taking on VLP cases pro bono, they have each volunteered to staff a clinic session just about every month.”
The Volunteer Lawyers Project coordinates the volunteer efforts of Maine attorneys and community members to help people of low income navigate the civil justice system. The VLP annually generates more than $1.6 million in donated legal services from private attorneys to low-income individuals in Maine.
The VLP operates several projects around the state including the Penobscot Bar Association Clinic, which was created in 2009 as a way for members to provide civil legal help to people who cannot afford attorneys. At the clinics, volunteers provide free legal assistance, including help filling out court forms, guidance on the court process and individualized legal advice.
Broadband grant awards
AUGUSTA — The ConnectME Authority recently awarded 23 grants to expand broadband communications services to unserved areas in Maine. Some $1.6 million was awarded to the recipients with total projects of nearly $2.4 million, expanding services to an estimated 2,300 households and businesses. The
grantees are listed fully on the ConnectME Authority’s website:
The ConnectME Authority was created in 2006 with the goal of expanding broadband access in the most rural, unserved areas of the state that have little prospect of service from a traditional provider. To date, the authority has awarded 76 grants, potentially serving more than 33,000 households and businesses with grant awards of $6 million and total project costs of $12 million. The authority is also the recipient of a $5 million federal grant for mapping, planning, capacity building and technical assistance broadband projects in Maine.
Grant applications were judged on criteria including the projected percentage of households that would be served; the level of public-private partnerships created; the level of community support for the projects; and the financial viability of the projects. Generally, successful projects are to be completed within one year of receiving the grant funding.
Among the recipients are:
• Cornerstone Communications, five grants: Charleston, South Chester, South Hudson, Lincoln and West Old Town.