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Homeownership Provides Hope During a Pandemic

As most staff continue to telework, it is important to acknowledge that dependable program delivery is still the norm, and with the same exceptional customer service that Rural Development staff have become known for. Despite COVID-related challenges, the often life-changing programs the agency provides are making an impact on our rural people, businesses, and communities every day.

Students and Healthcare Services on Maine’s Island Communities Stay Connected

Maine’s island communities are scattered up and down the coastline, many of them miles out to sea - they’re rural communities carving out a life both in and on the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the distance from the mainland, the educators and healthcare workers in this remote area of the state are dedicated to providing the critical services our island residents depend on and have adapted to the necessary changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the elements of this adaptation has been through the use of telecommunications, and as State Director of USDA Rural Development in Maine, I’m happy our agency has been able to serve as a key partner in bringing this technology to our rural island communities.

“Our People Are Our Biggest Asset:” Determined Coastal Community Stands Up for Broadband

The bold and rugged coast of Downeast Maine is home to a rural community of 300, where the people have made a living off the land and sea for generations. The Town of Roque Bluffs contains a state park and boasts some of the most beautiful coastline in Maine - yet it is the people who are its biggest asset. When they saw an opportunity to bring broadband to their tiny town, they were determined to make it happen.

Dedication to both Work and Tribe

Patti Shay, management support assistant, has been with Rural Development for 19 years, at the Maine state office, in Bangor. She also is a tribal member of the Penobscot Nation, located in Old Town.

October is National Co-Op Month

Happy National Co-Op Month! It’s reason to celebrate because in America there are more than 40,000 cooperatives of all types, supporting jobs that provide more than $25 billion in wages. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin (PDF, 2.7 MB), funded in part by USDA, cooperatives have an estimated 350 million members. (Many people belong to more than one cooperative.)

Improving Dental Health in Central Maine

A standing-room-only crowd packed into a recent open house celebrating the new facility for Waterville Community Dental in Kennebec County, Maine. The overflowing room was a perfect indication of the immense level of community support for the clinic’s important services and mission. Waterville Community Dental’s small and dedicated staff serve nearly 4,000 patients from 11 surrounding rural counties annually. Seventy-five percent of these patients are children.

USDA Partnerships Provide for Those in Need and Save Farm Produce

Along the Midcoast of Maine, some people don’t have access to the fruit and vegetables they need for a healthy diet. At the same time, some area farms aren’t able to harvest or sell all of their produce, resulting in wasted food. To remedy this issue, nutrition educators in Maine, supported by funding from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), partner with local organizations and food councils to find solutions to benefit both parties.