Lakes Region Briefs


Physician announces
run for Brakey’s seat
AUBURN — A physician from Auburn has announced he’s running for the state Senate seat currently held by Auburn Republican Eric Brakey. 

Edward “Ned” Claxton said in a press release he intends to run for the District 20 seat, which includes New Gloucester, Auburn, Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland. Brakey is leaving the seat to challenge U.S. Senator Angus King. 

The Sun Journal reported that Claxton, 68 and originally from Massachusetts, is running as a Democrat. 

“I strongly believe that working together we can help make Maine a better place to live and work,” Claxton said. “My familiarity with the complexities of health care issues, experience in starting and growing a medical practice, and record of being a trusted listener will all help me contribute to the challenging work of our citizen legislature.”

Claxton moved to Maine in 1978 and founded Family Healthcare Associates in Auburn, according to the press release. He became the director of the Central Maine Medical Center Family Medicine Residency program in 2001 and has served patients of all ages as a family physician. 

Rep. Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester, has already announced her candidacy for the District 20 Senate seat. Espling, who currently serves as assistant minority leader in the Maine House of Representatives, has received endorsements from Brakey and Gov. Paul LePage. 

SAD 15 School Board member Amy Arata has in turn announced her candidacy to replace Espling in the House District 65 seat, and has received Espling’s endorsement. 

Farm-friendly discussion
Jan. 18 in Windham

WINDHAM — Two groups are organizing a public forum at Windham Town Hall next week that will feature a discussion about how communities and local farmers can work together. 

The forum is titled “Growing Farm Friendly Communities: How to create municipal agricultural commissions & other tools to support farms in your town” and is being organized by GrowSmart Maine and the Maine Farmland Trust. 

Organizers say “attendees will come away knowing how to enable their community to work together with current and future farmers to protect and build on Maine’s agricultural heritage and potential.” 

The event will be Thursday, Jan. 18, from 9-11 a.m. and will include a panel discussion moderated by Stephanie Gilbert of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. 

The six panelists will be Standish Town Planner Bud Benson, Mark Hews of M.E. Hews and Company, Topsham Planning Director Rod Melanson, Town of Winslow Agriculture Commission Co-Chair Kate Newkirk, and Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Agricultural Compliance Supervisor Matt Randall. 

The event costs $15 for Maine Farmland Trust members and $25 for the general public. 

OTT Communications
rebrands as Otelco

NEW GLOUCESTER — Telecommunications provider OTT Communications is re-branding as Otelco Communications. 

According to a press release from the company, the New Gloucester-based company is changing its name and logo in order to match the branding of Otelco, Inc.

The formerly named OTT Communications has and continues to be a division of Otelco Inc.,which provides telecommunications services in Maine, Alabama, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia. 

“We’ve been one company for quite some time, and internally, we’ve been improving our operations to further unify,” said Otelco CEO Rob Souza. “Across all seven locations, we have the benefit of broad operational knowledge and are able to work with team members in other states as if we’re in the same room. It’s how we brainstorm the development of new products and explore ways to continually improve our service and customer support — which are key attributes of the Otelco brand. As the culmination of that unification effort, it was time to bring the entire family of companies under one corporate name and visual identity.”

According to the press release, the company offers a variety of services including local and long distance telephone, digital high-speed data lines, transport services, network access, and cable TV. 

Nominations now open
for County Teacher of Year

PORTLAND — Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 County Teachers of the Year. It’s from among this group that the annual Maine Teacher of the Year honoree is chosen.

Do you know a great teacher? Someone who inspires students? A teacher who is a leader in the profession and deserves recognition for their great work with students? Here is your chance to nominate them.

Teachers may be nominated by students, parents, colleagues, principals, superintendents or anyone from the community who has an interest in honoring an outstanding educator.

The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. Feb. 5.

To be considered, a teacher must be employed by a public school, must have been teaching for a minimum of five years and be actively teaching students at least 50 percent of the time.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine in partnership with the Maine Department of Education. See for more information.

Blizzard impacts
blood supply

The American Red Cross reports in a press release that 10 blood donation drives were canceled because of last week’s snowstorm, leaving 227 donations uncollected.

The Red Cross said it has an “urgent need” for blood and platelet donations of all blood types.

A drive will be held 10 a.m.-3 p.m,. on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at Olympia Sports, 5 Bradley Drive, in Westbrook. To make an appointment, call the Red Cross 1-800-733-2767.