Stuart Hedstrom, Piscataquis Observer • April 14, 2020
Following last week’s recommendation by Maine Department of Education (MDOE) Commissioner of Education Pender Makin, with the support of Gov. Janet Mills, regional school districts are extending remote learning plans until the end of the academic year.
In an April 9 email Makin acknowledged closing school buildings was a difficult decision made only after consultation with the experts, including guidance from the national and Maine CDC. “We are looking forward to the eventual development of a process for determining when it might be safe to resume in-person classroom instruction,” she said. Because we continue to see double-digit increases each day in the number of new cases in our state, the metrics for determining this have not yet been developed.”
Makin said the timing of her recommendation was made to give families and school officials time to plan and provide alternative ways to celebrate and conduct end-of-year events. “School administrators, staff, students and communities deserve as accurate a picture as we can provide with respect to this evolving situation, and it will require a longer term continuation of remote instruction,” she said.
The commissioner said Maine has joined other states in mandating or recommending schools not return to in-class instruction this spring. “This is difficult on everyone, but necessary to protect the health and safety of students, school staff, and community members,” she said.
“With the commissioner of education recommending to Gov. Mills that Maine schools should continue remote learning for the rest of the school year, and in coordination with RSU 68, I want to make it official that Foxcroft Academy will finish the school year with remote learning,” Head of School Arnold Shorey wrote in an April 9 letter to parents/guardians. “Though this is a decision I do not want to make, we live in extraordinary times that require extraordinary steps.”
“With this information, we are now able to plan for the close of the year and will share that information in the very near future,” Shorey said.
He said April break will still take place April 20-24, professional development days will be April 27-28 and the last day of school will be Friday, June. 5.
The head of school explained coordination will take place to have student lockers cleaned out, the contents placed in a bag with the student’s name on it and delivered to their home.
“Work is being planned to ensure that many of our traditional activities will continue in a different form and we will announce the dates, times and type of forum in the near future (Undergrad Awards Night, Senior Awards Night, etc.),” Shorey said. He said it is impossible to plan for the prom at this time.
“I am determined that graduation will take place but it will be later in the summer,” Shorey...Read More
Ernie Clark, Bangor Daily News Staff • April 2, 2020
MILO — When Milo lawyer Judson Gerrish purchased the 10-year-old golf course now known as the Katahdin Country Club back in 1940, there was some consternation within the family about the price tag.
“With the buildings that were there he paid $2,500,” recalled Gerrish’s son, Judson Gerrish Jr. “His father was a lawyer, too, and he felt my father was crazy to spend that kind of money.”
That investment proved wise for the Gerrish family, who operated the nine-hole, par-36 layout during challenging times for the sport during and immediately after World War II, and then through a subsequent boom in golf course construction that began later in the last century.
Recent times have proven less profitable for the 2,968-yard layout located on Park Street in Milo, so the Gerrishes have opted to close the 90-year-old course.
“Business just dried up over the last 10 years,” said Rick Gerrish, the third generation of his family to own the golf club. “It goes in cycles, I guess. It was good for a lot of years and then it dried up.”
Rick Gerrish said he had been considering closing the facility for the last two or three years, and agreed that the potential negative impact of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic on this year’s prospects for the course may have been the last straw.
“Probably,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it anyways and just decided it was time.”
Gov. Janet Mills issued an executive order related to the COVID-19 crisis on April 1 that, in part, added golf courses to the list of non-essential businesses that now must close until May 1.
The Katahdin Country Club, designed by Larry Striley of Bangor, was constructed in 1930 with local labor and originally had 50 members, who each paid annual dues of $50. Greens fees were $1 per day.
Judson Gerrish purchased the course a decade later and the business survived through World War II and its aftermath thanks in part to greens fees as low as 50 cents per day.
Judson Gerrish Jr., began working at the course in 1950 and eventually took over operations in 1970. His four children — Jane, Val, J.C. and Rick — all worked at the course, with Rick Gerrish taking ownership in 1999.
Rick Gerrish eventually became a one-person operation, attending to the pro shop as well as to the mowing, mechanical maintenance, blade sharpening and golf cart operations, despite struggling with allergies to grass, trees and mold he developed approximately eight years ago.
The Katahdin Country Club’s best years came during a boom time for the game during the late 1900s and into the early 2000s.
The number of golf courses nationwide increased by 44 percent from 1986 to 2006, according to the National Golf Foundation.
Maine was a significant participant in that growth. The Pine Tree State ranked eighth in the country with one golf course per 8,856 residents, ...Read More
Stuart Hedstrom, Piscataquis Observer • March 31, 2020
Milo Police Chief and Town Manager Damien Pickel died unexpectedly at his home Monday, according to police. He was 51.
No cause of death was listed on the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page or the Dover-Foxcroft Police page, both of which posted tributes to Pickel. A post on the town of Milo Facebook page said Pickel died due to natural causes. Messages left with law enforcement agencies Tuesday seeking more information about his death were not immediately returned.
Pickel took over as town manager in 2014 and had served as chief of the Milo Police Department since 2011. He first joined the department in 2009 as a reserve officer, then became a full-time officer and sergeant before leading the department.
Before coming to Milo, Pickel served 19 years with the New York City Police Department, including nine years as a detective and five years before as part of the mounted unit. He was working on Sept. 11, 2001, recalling in a 2016 Facebook post on the Milo Police Department page how that day he and many other detectives were assigned to schools around the city to protect the students. Pickel would be at Ground Zero later in the day after the collapse of the towers. Six months later, he was assigned to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner at Bellevue Hospital — the morgue. He wrote detectives were there to protect the chain of evidence, which included identification of victims.
“Long night here in the Piscataquis Law Enforcement family. We will watch over your family and your town. Rest In Peace, Chief Pickel. We have the watch from here,” said a post on the Dover-Foxcroft Police Facebook page.
In a post on his office’s page Piscataquis County Sheriff Bob Young wrote, “Milo Police Chief Pickel passed away last evening. Chief Pickel was an interesting guy. He served NYPD for 20 years, including through 911, the World Trade Center, and then came to the small town of Milo, Maine.”
Young also wrote that Pickel “quickly established himself as a good officer with a big heart, especially for those who were struggling. He never lost a desire to truly help people. Beyond the badge, he worked to get treatment for folks with opioid abuse disorders, setting up meals for kids, reaching out to the elderly, and reaching out to other law enforcement agencies to help any way he could. The folks of Milo have lost more than a police chief and town manager, they lost a friend who worked long hours to keep things safe and running smoothly. Our condolences to Damien’s wife and daughters, the officers of MPD and the folks of Milo.”... Read More
Linked from: WABI TV5
MILO, Maine (WABI) - Milo is mourning the loss of its police chief and town manager, Damien Pickel.
Chief Pickel passed away Monday night at his home..
There's no word yet on the cause of death.
Before he came to Milo, Pickel worked for the New York Police Department and was among the first responders during the 9-11 terror attacks.
Pickel was 51 years old.
Linked from: News Center Maine
Dover-Foxcroft Facebook page: "Rest In Peace, Chief Pickel. We have the watch from here."
MILO, Maine — In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Dover-Foxcroft Police Department posted on their Facebook page that Milo Police Chief and Town Manager Damien Pickel has passed away.
The post reads, "Long night here in the Piscataquis Law Enforcement family. We will watch over your family and your town. Rest In Peace, Chief Pickel. We have the watch from here."
NEWS CENTER Maine is following this story. Check back for more details.
Beginning Monday, March 23, we will be assisting the school in making sure our kids have lunches. As I posted earlier, the school will have a pick up on Wednesday's at the High School and that will take care of families through Friday. For Monday and Tuesday, we will be serving at our sites as shown on the photo. Due to the need for social distancing, we can't interact like we usually do. It's going to be "Grab and Go". Please follow the instructions from each site coordinator as things may vary from site to site. Keep in mind that we can't go door to door at this time. Get outside and get some sunshine and fresh air. Sunshine and fresh air can make you feel refreshed.