SAD 41 residents approve $2.4M Penquis Valley facility upgrade

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 15, 2019 - 12:04pm

Stuart Hedstrom • March 15, 2019

MILO — SAD 41 voters heading to the polls on Thursday, March 14 overwhelmingly approved — via a combined count of 152 to 25 pending verification of voting results from the towns — a referendum for a $2.4 million funding package to carry out a heating system upgrade converting from steam to hot water and energy efficiency project at the Penquis Valley School.

The referendum was approved in each district community: 7-1 in Atkinson, 55-9 in Brownville, 19-5 in LaGrange and 71-10 in Milo.

Last May a $2.3 million project was voted down via a count of 161 to 111 across the four communities. Residents of Brownville, LaGrange, and Milo passed the question 106 to 42, but in Atkinson the referendum was turned down 114 to 5.

Atkinson is scheduled to deorganize and join the Piscataquis County Unorganized Territory (UT) as of July 1. Had the project been approved last year then the community would have been responsible for 10.4 percent of the upgrade debt moving forward. As part of the UT, Atkinson students will head west to RSU 68/Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft.

In December the SAD 41 directors approved an amendment to the withdrawal agreement with Atkinson in which the town would not be liable for new debt approved prior to June 30, 2019 in exchange for an agreement by Atkinson that its selectmen would strongly recommend to the community’s voters to support approval of the new debt by district voters.

Atkinson traditionally paid about 10.8 percent of costs and this 10.8 percent of the project would be absorbed by the other three towns based upon the amendment to withdrawal agreement. Atkinson will make a one-time payment of $275,000 to SAD 41 prior to July 1 withdrawal.

The Penquis Valley project has three objectives. The first is to update the steam heating system infrastructure that is beyond its useful life, to improve reliability, comfort, indoor air quality and safety. The other objectives are to reduce annual energy and operating costs and reduce future building repair costs.

The gross proposed project cost is $2,414,923, with a little more than $2.1 million for the steam to hot water system conversion, another $190,000 is for LED lighting upgrades and an additional is for $34,700 for building weatherization improvements.

The project would be financed under a 20-year bond through the Maine Municipal Bond Bank. The estimated annual bond cost, fixed for two decades starting with the 2020-21 fiscal year, is $177,694 but there would be various measures in place to reduce the costs.

SAD 41 would have a little more than $19,000 in existing budget savings for energy usage and another $40,000 in operating budget capital contributions. The Honeywell service contract would be reduced by $25,000, the maintenance budget could decrease by $2,500 and for the first year there would be a one-time...

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Three Rivers Kiwanis recognized as Distinguished Club

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 15, 2019 - 12:03pm


Office Closed March 28 & 29

Submitted by Cheryl Gormley on March 15, 2019 - 11:19am

5TH ANNUAL EASTER EGG HUNT!

Submitted by Brownville Library on March 12, 2019 - 4:02pm

Website Issues

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 12, 2019 - 12:37pm

We would like to apologize, as we are currently having some major issues with a lot of the code on our website.  Our host has forced us to upgrade to PHP 7, and a ton of our custom written code is so ancient, it no longer works.

We are currently working on updating the code, but this could take some time.  Several sections of the website will be unavailable until this issue is dealt with.  Included are the Calendar, Directory, and Memoriams.

Sorry for the inconvenience!!!


2019 Lake View Plt. Town Report

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 12, 2019 - 11:24am


2019 Milo Town Meeting

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 11, 2019 - 11:21am

The 2019 Milo Town Meeting is TONIGHT at 7pm at the Milo Town Hall.

We apologize for the late information, but we just found out about the meeting ourselves.  The Milo Town Office never advertised it anywhere :( 


Bissell Brothers releases its first sour beer made entirely in Milo

Submitted by Seth Barden on March 6, 2019 - 9:13pm

Nina Mahaleris, Bangor Daily News Staff • March 4, 2019

MILO — Bissell Brothers opened its newest brewery location in Milo last summer, making it the first brewery in Piscataquis County. Last Friday, the brewery that got its start in Portland celebrated the release of its first sour beer brewed from start to finish in Milo.

The beer, called Seed, has been in the works since last winter, before Bissell Brothers opened its Milo location, co-founder Peter Bissell said. It underwent a yearlong fermentation process in an oak foudre — a large wooden barrel that ferments beer over time — before bottling and more conditioning.

The brewery used berries from Bradbury Mountain Berry Farm in Pownal to give the sour beer a fruity taste.

Since opening in Milo in July 2018, Bissell Brothers has tried to make the location it calls Bissell Brothers Three Rivers a destination both for travelers and for people in Milo, where co-founders and brothers Noah and Peter Bissell grew up. Part of the idea was to contribute to their hometown’s revitalization.

“It’s an area that society has written off,” Peter Bissell said.

Last Friday’s Seed release drew a number of people from out of town.

For Portland couple Chrystina and Mike Nicolette, making the trip to Milo for the release was a no-brainer. The Nicolette’s are former Colorado residents who often exchanged craft beers with their friends from other states before moving to Maine in 2017. Mike tried out a Bissell Brothers IPA when it arrived in a package from the other side of the country, and he’s been hooked ever since.

Bissell Brothers “was the first stop off the plane,” Chrystina said.

While Bissell Brothers doesn’t track how far customers travel to visit the Three Rivers brewery, General Manager Hester Bissell said she’s carded people from overseas and various states, including Alaska.

For the brewers, Milo appears to offer the freedom to explore new approaches to beer making.

Since opening, the brothers and their staff have integrated the use of a coolship, a unique beer fermentation method adopted from Belgium. The coolship is a large metal vessel that holds wort — essentially the beer before it ferments. Windows in the coolship room allow natural yeast from the air to integrate into the wort, which then contributes to the fermentation.

Bissell Brothers calls beer made with this process “A Taste of Milo,” because it relies on the natural yeast unique to the Milo air and the taste cannot be replicated anywhere else.

Bissell Brothers’ long-term plans in Milo include buying land behind the brewery to grow fruits to incorporate into beer recipes. Peter Bissell also said they’re considering farming and beekeeping in the future, and maybe even yurts — circular tent structures — for on-campus lodging.

“It’s been a great adventure so far,” he said.

Seed are available for purchase at Bissell Brothers’ Portland...

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