Author Archives: Patti Mikkelsen

Patti’s Nov. 22 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

The 1857 George Stevens pipe organ at the First Congregational Church will be undergoing a restoration project on its wind chests this winter. A fundraiser for the project is now in progress. Photo courtesy of John Terison

Organ fund contributions inflate

In the early November edition of Church News, the Rev. Linda Gard thanks those who have made contributions and pledges to the scheduled January-February restoration project on the wind chests of their 1857 George Stevens pipe organ. The fundraiser goal has not been met to date, but it’s off to a strong start.

As an incentive, with any donation now through the end of the year, you can challenge somebody to pump the organ bellows throughout a hymn, pump the organ yourself or choose a favorite hymn of yours or a loved one’s to be played on the organ. There are special Organ Fund envelopes in the pews and at the entrances to the church for the convenience of donors. Alternatively, checks may be made payable to First Congregational UCC, with “organ” in the memo line. Mail check to First Congregational UCC, PO Box 114, New Gloucester, ME 04260.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to:

Strut Your Stuffin’

In partnership with Back 40 Events, a New Gloucester-based company, New Gloucester Recreation will be offering the first annual Thanksgiving four-mile road race, Strut Your Stuffin’, on Saturday, Nov. 23. The event will begin and end at Memorial School, 86 Intervale Road, and the route will take a scenic loop of the Upper and Lower Villages.

Runners will encounter both dirt and pavement surfaces. The start time will be 9 a.m., and the race fee will be $30 plus a $2.95 sign up fee. During a separate kids’ race, children will chase the Turkey who is a volunteer dressed in a turkey suit. The start time will be 8:45 a.m., and fee will be $5 plus a $2 sign up fee.   

Proceeds from the event will go toward establishing the New Gloucester Recreation Scholarship. This scholarship will be used to help families or individuals in financial need by subsidizing the cost of program enrollment.

Providing an event of this size takes many hands, and organizers are soliciting volunteers to help with the race. Volunteers, racers and participating kids are encouraged to pre-register online at

Patti’s Nov. 8 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Connie Justice, CEO of Planson International, left, Sen. Ned Claxton and Senate President Troy Jackson enjoy a lighthearted moment while the senators find out more about the practices of this successful business during their “Fighting for Maine Agenda” tour on Oct. 28.
Photo by Patti Mikkelsen

Senators visit Planson International

When Planson International, located on Penney Road, was recently named the Best Place to Work in Maine for the small business category, legislators promoting their “Fighting for Maine Agenda” took notice. One of their stated core objectives is gathering input from small business owners throughout the state, so a stop here filled the bill.

CEO Connie Justice and her son Nick Planson, who is the company’s sales director, briefed Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn, and Senate President Troy Jackson on their humanitarian-centered business.

As a specialized global IT solutions provider to international organizations, their focus is on development, sustainability and emergency response. Much of their work is accomplished in conjunction with the United Nations to help refugees in developing countries by providing technology and services for charitable projects worldwide.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to

Patti’s Oct. 25 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Herbalist Donna Strand, center, shows the Shaker Village gardens to the Pillsbury family at the Oct. 12 Fall Festival. The Freeport-based family includes Maura, Wyeth, Matt and Nolan (held by Matt). Photo by Patti Mikkelsen

Thanksgiving assistance

Gray-New Gloucester Caring Community coordinates getting Thanksgiving food baskets to families and individuals who request assistance. Application forms are now available and completed forms are due back by Nov 9.

These application forms have been sent out by the three elementary schools in school totes and SchoolMessenger. Additionally, they can be picked up and dropped off at all SAD 15 schools, the Gray Public Library and both Gray and New Gloucester town offices in GNGCC designated lock boxes, as well as the middle and high school’s guidance offices.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a family by providing all the fixings for a holiday meal, contact Kathy George at

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to

Patti’s Oct. 11 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Shaker Village’s annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12, is free fun for all ages. Highlights include barn tours, wagon rides and traditional craft demonstrations. 
Photo by Peg Becksvoort

Shaker Fall Harvest Festival

You’re invited to Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village for their end-of-season Fall Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Freshly picked apples from the historic Shaker orchards will be offered for sale along with free cider-pressing of apples purchased there, homemade Shaker apple and pumpkin donuts, plus more.

Chipman’s Farm will have a fresh bounty of seasonal produce for sale, along with preserves and baked goods. Maple syrup and maple candy will be sold by Passamaquoddy Maple from Jackman, Maine. Seasonal mums, other late-season bloomers and houseplants will be available from Donna’s Greenhouse. Also, there will be a book signing by Don Perkins, author of “Barns of Maine.”

Free activities will include wagon rides throughout the day, visits to the Shaker Herb Garden, tours of the Shakers’ barn given periodically by Brother Arnold Hadd, face painting for kids and gourd decorating. Free, traditional craft demonstrations will consist of wool fiber spinning, rug hooking and supplies by Parris House Wool Works; blacksmithing by Tim Greene; wood-turning by Peter Asselyn; and woodcarving by the Poland Woodcarvers. Chris Becksvoort will be on hand for a book signing and dovetail demonstration. There also will be tintype photography presentations and portraits by Cole Caswell, broom making demonstrations by Kent Russwick, a knife making demonstration and booth by Zay’s Knives, along with a beekeeping display and honey tasting.

Bluegrass songs will be performed by Albert Price and the Pseudonyms. Barbecue lunch plates will be available for sale, while supplies last. The Shaker Museum will be open for tours, along with the Shaker Store and Museum Gift Shop.

The festival will be held rain or shine; many activities will take place in the Shakers’ historic 1830s barns. Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village is located at 707 Shaker Road, off Route 26. For more information, contact the organizers at 926-4597 or

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to

Patti’s Sept. 27 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Hundreds of mourners turned out to celebrate the life and career of New Gloucester Fire-Rescue safety officer George Carman on Sept. 21. The service was a formal firefighter funeral with full honors. Photo by Patti Mikkelsen

Mushroom walk

On Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 5-7 p.m., join North Spore Mushrooms for an informative walk and talk centered on the cultivation of mushroom species indigenous to Maine. This Westbrook-based business specializes in fresh mushroom cultivation, along with producing mushroom spawn for home growers and mushroom farms.

Here’s your chance to get answers to all of your mushroom questions. Baskets or mesh bags and pocket knives are encouraged for collecting samples. The cost of the event is $25 per person and registration is required. Sign up at

Walkers should meet at the Pineland Farms Education Barn, 100B Valley Farm Road, a few minutes early. For more information, contact the Education Department at 650-3031 or

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to

New date for Library Book and Bake Sale

The Fall Festival of Books and Bake Sale at the New Gloucester Public Library, normally occurring in early October, has been postponed until early November. Beginning on Friday, Nov. 1, from 5:30-7 p.m., the First Dibs for Kids Book Sale will take place. Children’s-only items will be on sale – book prices will be 25 cents for hard covers and 2 for 25 cents for soft covers. Keep in mind that adults must be accompanied by a child to shop at First Dibs for Kids.

But wait … there’s more. On Saturday, Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to noon, all books, CDs, and DVDs will be for sale at great prices. Most books will cost 25 cents for soft covers and 50 cents for hard covers. And, treasures await, buried inside the buck-a-bag satchels. Don’t forget to stop by the bake sale, stocked full of homemade treats. The library is located at 379 Intervale Road where the phone number is 926-4840.

Patti’s Sept. 13 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

The cast of the library play “NGPL Guy + RedRay: What Lies Beyond” gets ready for their performance on Aug. 20. In the front row from left are Christian Lacadie, Daniel Pelkey, Serenity Klotzle and Haven Klotzle. Back row from left, Sarah Pelkey, Alexander Cookson, Sydney Cookson, Megan Frye and Isana Bell. Courtesy of SallyAnn Rogers

Apple pie from scratch

Orders are now being taken for apple pies made from scratch to benefit the New Gloucester Historical Society. Thompson’s apples will be transformed into culinary classics created by local bakers.

Pie pickup will be between 2 and 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at the Congregational Church Vestry, 19 Gloucester Hill Road. Pre-orders for this annual fundraiser are required, so call Avis Ford at 926-4561 to reserve your pie(s) and specify baked or unbaked. Both freeze well. The suggested price is $9 per pie.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to

Patti’s Aug. 30 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

New Gloucester resident Ruth York assembles packets for the Welcome, Neighbor project in April 2017. New Gloucester-based businesses, organizations and community groups are invited to donate 100 items, such as business cards or brochures, to be inserted in the packets being given to new residents. Photo by Patti Mikkelsen

Welcome, Neighbor provides orientation

Local businesses and organizations can obtain free publicity by participating in Welcome, Neighbor, a grassroots community volunteer project. It was developed to welcome new residents to New Gloucester by providing a packet of information to assist in their transition and encourage them to shop and support locally.

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Patti’s Aug. 16 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

A Wabanaki dancer performs while drummers provide the beat at a past Maine Native American Summer Market and Demonstration at Shaker Village. This year’s festival is slated for Aug. 24. Patti Mikkelsen photo

Native American festival

The 11th annual festival of Maine’s finest, award-winning Native American artists will be held at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 707 Shaker Road, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 24.

The Maine Native American Summer Market provides a rare opportunity to purchase museum-quality crafts directly from nationally recognized Wabanaki artists. A wide selection of crafts is offered for a range of prices.

More than 40 members of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac and Maliseet tribes will demonstrate traditional Wabanaki art forms including basket making, stone carving, bark etching, beadwork and jewelry. Additionally, there will be storytelling by Geo Neptune, as well as performances by the Burnurwurbskek Singers and Wabanaki Dancers.

Barbecue dinner plates will be available for sale to the public, while supplies last. The free festival will be held rain or shine.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: