HOULTON — The Southern Aroostook Development Corporation (SADC) held its annual meeting at the Houlton Regional Hospital’s Health Education Center on December 11, celebrating 15 years of achievements, growth and economic improvements.
Several elections of the 18-member board took place during the meeting. Chris Anderson of the F.A. Peabody Co., Scott Dionne of S.W. Collins, Chris Fitzpatrick of Machias Savings Bank, Fred Grant of WHOU Radio, Carl Lord. Jr. and Krista Putnam of Katahdin Trust were re-elected for another three-year term.
Doug Callnan, president of Agri-Cal, Inc., was elected to the board, replacing outgoing board member Marguerite Lawler of Machias Savings Bank.
AWARDED — Kristi Brannen, co-owner of Spring Break Maple and Honey of Smyrna, accepts an award for SADC’s Business of the Year from Jon McLaughlin, SADC executive director, as newly-elected president, Scott Dionne, looks on.
Scott Dionne was elected president and chairman of the board, replacing outgoing President Terry Wade of Smith & Wesson. Dionne is the fifth president since SADC’s inception in 1998.
Other officers elected were Josh McLaughlin, president of J. McLaughlin Construction as vice-president; Peter Chase, president of Buildings Etc. as secretary; Chris Anderson, president of F.A. Peabody Co. as registered agent and David Gates of Davis, Gates & Alward CPA’s as treasurer.
In other business, Jon McLaughlin, executive director, presented his annual report to the board members and over 50 guests in attendance, which ended with a section on how Houlton’s growth and taxes are very favorable to towns throughout the state that are of equal size to Houlton.
McLaughlin stated, “In a 10-year period from FY ’00 thru FY ’11, of all 46 towns in the 5,000 to 9,999 population range, Houlton had the fifth lowest increase in taxes. Eliot had the largest percentage increase with a growth of 140 percent, while Old Town had the lowest at 11 percent. Houlton’s was 31 percent for the same period of time.”
Guest speaker, Meg York Scott, talked about her business, Nature Circle Farms, and a new endeavor that is near and dear to her, The County Co-op & Farm Store.
She is co-owner of Nature Circle Farms with her father, Dick York. Nature Circle Farms is one of the largest organic farms in New England and they sell product all over New England in large natural based food stores such as Whole Foods. She runs the day-to-day operations of the farm and is responsible for marketing the several thousand tons of product they produce annually.
She is also president of the newly formed County Co-op & Farm Store, which recently held its successful “Taste of Winter” local produce tasting event that 200 local and regional guests attended. The Co-op is a membership organization that will be selling local grown produce and meats and featuring locally made unique products such as soaps, lip balms and many other items. The store is expected to be open sometime this fall.
The meeting culminated with an awards presentation. Outgoing Director, Marguerite Lawler, received a plaque acknowledging her 12 years of dedication to the board. Outgoing President, Terry Wade, was presented a plaque for his three years of service as president.
At the president’s discretion, he or she can award a “Presidential Citation” to folks that he deems as worthy for going over and above the call of duty in working to make southern Aroostook a more economically vibrant region. This award is not necessarily given out each year, but only when deserving recipients come to the forefront. This year there were co-recipients as the awards went to Lori Weston, Houlton community development director, and Jane Torres, Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce’s executive director.
The award for Outstanding Business of the Year went to Kevin and Kristi Brannen of Spring Break Maple & Honey in Smyrna. The Brannens took what was a hobby and have created a very dynamic and thriving business that in a few short years has become the largest maple candy producer in Maine. In fact, Spring Break is constructing an addition to their business, that will double the candy making production area.