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Gorham notes – 5/16

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Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:19 am

Business group honors 

Allan and Jennifer Viernes of Greater Portland School of Jukado were honored at a reception on May 8 with Gorham Business Exchange’s 2013 Business Person of the Year Award.

Besides this award, they have been honored numerous times by their industry, the exchange said in a statement released by Dede Perkins, executive director.

The statement said Allan Viernes was named Instructor of the Year by the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, which is a testament not only to professional dedication, but also to the quality of character. Jennifer Viernes was inducted into the World Christian Martial Arts Hall of Fame for outstanding contribution to martial arts. 

“Even though the physical location for their business is in Westbrook, this year’s recipients are Gorham residents and donate a great deal of time to our community,” Perkins’ statement said. 

Allan and Jennifer Viernes have managed a program through the Gorham Recreation Department for eight years. They frequently volunteer at the elementary and middle schools, sponsor a martial arts club at University of Southern Maine and organize and participate in many community projects and events.

“Allan and Jennifer exemplify what it means to be dedicated and engaged community members,” said Becky Winslow, president of the Gorham Business Exchange. “Each and every day, they teach their students to be confident, respectful, disciplined people who affirm an ‘I Can Do It’ attitude.” 

Last year’s winner, Jon Smith of Great Falls Construction, presented the Vierneses with the Gorham Business Person of the Year traveling plaque.

USM graduation

in Gorham

Nearly 1,000 students received diplomas and close to 8,000 guests attended University of Southern Maine commencement exercises on May 11 in the field house on the Gorham campus.

For the first time, the university held two ceremonies on campus because of renovations at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.

U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins was the morning speaker and Mary G.F. Bitterman, president of the San Francisco-based Osher Foundation, spoke in the afternoon session.

“Please stay here and help to build an even better Maine,” Collins told graduates in concluding her address.

Bitterman said, “You will be able to move Maine forward with your talent, energy and subject-matter expertise.”

Take heed teenagers

With prom and graduation celebrations approaching, Gorham High School and Gorham Public Safety planned a mock crash at 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 16, at Gorham High School, 41 Morrill Ave.

The crash is a demonstration to educate juniors and seniors.

“The mock crash is going to be very realistic,” Lt. Christopher Sanborn of Gorham Police Department said this week. “We are going to try to make it as realistic as we possible can in an effort to educate students during a crucial time when they will be making decisions in a time to celebrate their accomplishments.”

The joint effort includes police, fire and rescue personnel in addition to Gorham school officials.

“As we approach our prom on Saturday and graduation on June 9, we aim to provide students with greater awareness of the risks they face as they choose how to celebrate, Gorham Principal Chris Record said.

Free meth lab awareness seminar

BioSpecialists of Gorham and Ohio Bio Hazardous Recovery are sponsoring a free meth-lab awareness informational session  from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, in Standish Town Hall, 175 Northeast Road, Standish.

Bill York, owner of BioSpecialists, which handles crime scene and tragedy cleanups, said the emphasis of the seminar would be the growing meth problem in Maine. 

York said the seminar would be “extremely beneficial training for police, fire and EMS personnel, as well as health-care workers and local business owners.” 

The workshop is free, but space is limited. For more information and to register, call 866-331-7731 or email or

Lawson scholarship recipient

Ian M. Lawson of Gorham has been named a National Merit Scholarship $2,500 winner.

Lawson is a student at Cheverus High School in Portland. The National Merit Scholarship Corp. reported that architectural engineering is Lawson’s probable career field.

He was one of 2,500 designees selected for the scholarships from among 15,000 finalists in the program.

Girl Scouts registration

Girl Scouts of Maine will be hosting a parent information and registration meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, at Great Falls School, 73 Justice Way.

Girls and adults are invited to attend the meeting to find out about the different ways today’s girls are participating in Girl Scouting and how the programs and activities inspire them to reach their personal best.  Participants will also learn about the flexible options and benefits of becoming a Girl Scout volunteer.  

Girl Scouts of Maine serves more than 12,000 girls statewide in grades kindergarten through 12.  For information on Girl Scouts or to volunteer, call 888-922-4763 or visit

Coleman to speak on human trafficking

Laurel Coleman, a geriatric physician from the Augusta area, will speak about human trafficking at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 31, at South Gorham Baptist Church, County Road (Route 22), Gorham.

The program is part of a continuing monthly series, Potluck With a Purpose, held at the church about human trafficking and modern-day slavery. A free potluck dinner will be served preceding the program.

“We’re delighted to have Laurel Coleman as our speaker,” Cindy Elder, who coordinates the speaking series, said in an announcement.

Elder said that Coleman works at Central Maine Medical Center and Maine Medical Center. 

“For about 10 years, she has been interested in the issues of human trafficking and modern day slavery and currently serves as the state of Maine coordinator for International Justice Mission’s advocacy efforts, working with state and national elected officials,” Elder said.

The public is invited to attend.

U.S. taxpayer debt

The Bureau of Public Debt reported on May 10 that the U.S. public debt was $16,753,992,575,790.14.

Welcome to the discussion.