Presque Isle Rotarians raising money with auction

Posted Nov. 29, 2011, at 8:19 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Nearly a year of planning and the work of 100 members of the Presque Isle Rotary Club will be on display over the next two days as the 64th annual Radio and TV Auction takes place.

The auction, which began Tuesday night and will run through Dec.1, will be broadcast from the Northeastland Hotel through live online streaming at http://pirotaryclub.org. This year’s auction will benefit seven nonprofit organizations in the region, as well as raise funds for this year’s special project, the St. Apollonia Dental Clinic.

Ralph McPherson, who is co-chairing the auction with Joy Barressi-Saucier, said Tuesday that more than $50,000 worth of items will be featured this year.

“All of our donors have been so generous, despite the state of the economy,” he said. “They always are. This year’s donation amount is the same as it has been in past years, give or take. Local businesses always come through for us.”

“We’re so pleased with the outpouring of support we’ve received from the community for this annual event, which raises money for so many important local efforts,” said Barresi-Saucier. “This is all about the community projects that we support. The organizations that have been selected this year, as we’ve seen in past years, are exceptional at what they do and they make such a big difference in the community. And as a Rotary Club, we’re only able to help them because of the support we get from the community.”

New features of this year’s auction include Internet-only items. These special collector’s items include everything from a New England Patriots replica helmet to a script of “Almost, Maine” signed by playwright and Presque Isle native John Cariani. Organizers said they decided to offer Internet-only items this year as a way to create more opportunities for community members to bid on these special collector’s items.

The club also will be offering nightly art items, including pieces by well-known local artists, including Voscar, John Murchison, Kathleen Ledger Cassidy, Ellyn Smith and Holly Hardwick.

The auction is expected to feature nearly 700 items given by more than 200 donors.

Proceeds from this year’s auction will go toward seven area nonprofit organizations that were chosen for funding: Homeless Services of Aroostook, Central Aroostook Humane Society, Presque Isle Garden Club, Wintergreen Art Center, Northern Maine Fair Association, Atlantic Salmon for Northern Maine and Grace Interfaith Food Table.

The Presque Isle Rotary Club also chooses a project or organization to receive special or major project status. This year’s special project goal of $25,000 is earmarked for a nonprofit dental clinic to serve the needs of disadvantaged children in the area. The St. Apollonia Dental Clinic is intended to fill an overwhelming need in Aroostook County, where an estimated 30 percent of residents have not had a dental visit in the last two years. Proponents suggest that disadvantaged children are at higher risk for dental disease, yet are least likely to have access to dental care. Currently there is only one dental clinic for qualifying persons in Aroostook County and it is located in Eagle Lake.

Last year, the club raised more than $60,000 for various organizations and charitable causes including Catholic Charities of Maine, Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery, Easton School Department, CANCER, Northern Maine Museum of Science, Francis Malcolm Science Center, Aroostook Football and the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about Rotary and its ideals can visit www.PresqueIsleRotary.org or contact any Rotary member.

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