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PROUDLY SERVING BERWICK, NORTH BERWICK, SOMERSWORTH, SOUTH BERWICK, ROLLINSFORD & BEYOND

News

  • 01/19/2023 1:58 PM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

    Dover, NH – Due to the winter storm that is predicted to arrive overnight and result in moderate to heavy snow, with the possibility of a freezing rain mix, including a light glaze of ice over the course of the day Friday, the decision has been made to curtail all morning service on Friday, January 20, 2023. “The timing, rates of snowfall, potential for a freezing rain mix, and total amount predicted makes it look like travel will be very tricky Friday, we feel this is the most sensible decision we could make based on the predicted conditions,” stated Rad Nichols, COAST Executive Director.

    Based on the current forecast, COAST plans to run their afternoon services on Friday. On Friday morning they will re-evaluate afternoon service based on the latest conditions.

    COAST fixed route operations should resume in staggered fashion after 12:15pm. For specific details, please visit COAST’s website at www.coastbus.org/upcomingservicechanges. COAST demand response services should also resume after 12:15pm Friday.

    COAST services will operate as normal through today, January 19. The expectation is that COAST will return to regular operations starting on Saturday, January 21. When COAST resumes service, expect delays as storm cleanup may still be affecting the roads and walkways.

    Nichols commented further, “As always, when traveling after the storm, please be safe on your way to and from bus stops. Please do not wait for the bus on top of snowbanks. Find the nearest driveway opening; make sure you are visible to the bus operator and wave as the bus approaches. In low light conditions wave a lit cell phone or flashlight to make you more visible to the bus operator.” COAST recommends wearing bright clothing, having reflectors and carrying a flashlight.

    For updated information on COAST services, please tune in to area radio and television news outlets. COAST will also be using its website at www.coastbus.org, Facebook page at www.facebook.com/COASTbus and twitter account @COASTbus to provide additional updates.

    The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) has provided public transit service to the Seacoast New Hampshire region since 1982. COAST is a public, non-profit transit system that relies primarily on federal and local government support to operate. COAST is governed by a board of directors representing the communities served, two regional planning commissions, and many local and state agencies.

  • 01/13/2023 10:54 AM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

    KENNEBUNK, ME – Kennebunk Savings once again wrapped up the year with what has become a holiday tradition: making a round of donations to local food pantries and meal programs. As part of the Bank’s $1.8 million in total giving to nonprofits in 2022, the holiday gifts of $30,500 were handed out by local Kennebunk Savings’ branch managers in each of the Bank’s service areas. Recipients of the 2022 seasonal donations include Community Outreach Services Kennebunks, Footprints Food Pantry, Gather, and the Seacoast Community Lunch program.

    “We’re seeing a lot of people faced with not enough money at the end of the month for basic needs,” said Mark Jago, Executive Director at COS Kennebunks. “I was speaking with one of our neighbors this week—her husband became ill and missed three weeks of work. They got behind on their bills. It came down to paying for rent or food. She was so grateful that they were able to get everything they needed at the pantry to feed their family. We are grateful for the support we receive to be able to provide food and help diminish food insecurities.” His organization sees a 25% increase in the use of their food pantry around the holidays.

    “The most important part of the holidays is bringing people to the table,” said Bradford C. Paige, President and CEO of Kennebunk Savings. “We’re a community bank and we’re here to serve our communities in every sense of the word. While our year-end giving is important, we understand food insecurity is not just an issue during the holidays.  As a result, we support efforts to alleviate food insecurity throughout the year with regular donations of both money and volunteer time.”


    Photo caption: (from left) Hampton Branch Manager Kaley Gagne, Jennifer Flynn, and Amy Wood from Kennebunk Savings drop off a donation check to Paul Nicholson, President at St. Vincent DePaul of Hampton.

  • 01/11/2023 9:28 AM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

    If you own a local New Hampshire restaurant, your business may be able to receive up to $15,000 to help offset COVID-related equipment and technology costs through the Local Restaurant Infrastructure Investment Program.

    Don’t wait because the application period closes at 4:00 PM EST on March 15, 2023

    Click here to learn more about the program or to apply, which is facilitated by the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR).

    EXAMPLES OF USE:

    • HVAC equipment:
      • airflow studies, system upgrades.
    • Drive-up or take-out capacity:
      • construction costs
      • certain structures for expanded outdoor seating 
    • Technology: 
      • online or tabletop ordering and payments, touchless payment systems, and ordering kiosks
      • equipment or services for mobile/online ordering, check in/table assignment, digital integration with large third-party delivery companies, and kitchen technology investments. 

    WHO CAN APPLY:

    • In operation prior to March 20, 2020;
    • Pay Meals & Rooms taxes to the State as a food service establishment;
    • Have annual gross receipts, including all affiliates, at or below $20,000,000, in tax year 2021 or not exceed annual gross receipts per New Hampshire location of $5,000,000;
    • Be submitting expenses for only New Hampshire locations; and
    • Not be:
      • A national chain (locations in 3 or more states),
      • A national franchise (locations in 3 or more states),
      • Delivery or take out only, or
      • Primarily catering.
    For additional information or questions, please review the program’s FAQ page or email GOFERR at info@goferr.nh.gov.

    To apply, visit the GOFERR Grants Portal.

  • 01/06/2023 2:30 PM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

    DOVER, N.H. – Wentworth-Douglass Hospital has awarded a $10,000 grant to Dover’s Triangle Club to support a new art and wellness program for those in recovery or struggling with substance use disorder.

    Triangle Club, a leading local center for substance use disorder recovery programs, implemented a new program last fall entitled ‘Arts & Wellness in Recovery’, which offers free weekly meditation, yoga, drawing, and painting classes.

    “Wentworth-Douglass is privileged to award these funds to assist our community in the continued fight against substance use disorders,” said Michelle Hanson, Director of Strategic Planning and Community Benefit at Wentworth-Douglass. “Triangle Club has selflessly served the residents of Stafford, Rockingham, and York Counties for 38 years and we’re confident this program will once again make a difference.”

    The ‘Arts & Wellness in Recovery’ program will offer 156 classes with a total of 1,500 slots available to patrons. The classes will be offered on a drop-in basis, with a cap of 20 attendees. The program will be available at no cost.

    “I’m extremely grateful to Wentworth-Douglass for both their generosity, and their recognition that substance use disorders can affect the whole person – including their body, mind, and spirit,” said Heather Blumenfeld, Executive Director of Triangle Club. “These funds will go a long way to help us accomplish our goal of creating a holistic approach to recovery.”

    Triangle Club offer over 55 support groups each week, including Alcoholics, Narcotics, Crystal Meth, and Heroin Anonymous. They also offer grief and peer support, serving more than 2,500 people annually.

    Wentworth-Douglass conducts a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years to identify where the hospital should focus its programs and services to improve the overall health of the individuals and families it serves. The funds donated are approved by the hospital’s Community Benefit Funding Disbursement Committee and are not raised through any public or private donations.


    About Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

    Wentworth-Douglass Hospital (wdhospital.org) is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable health care organization located in Dover, New Hampshire with a more than 115-year history of compassionate care and innovation. A member of the Mass General Brigham system, Wentworth-Douglass is strategically located in the heart of the Seacoast region of New Hampshire and Southern Maine, which it has served since 1906. The organization is a family of more than 3,500 employees, including more than 400 physicians and advanced practice providers dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of the region’s residents and visitors. The organization includes a 178-bed hospital, more than 30 primary and specialty provider practices and clinic sites, multiple express and prompt care facilities, an ambulatory surgery center, several medical office buildings, The Works Family Health and Fitness Center, and the Wentworth-Douglass Charitable Foundation.

  • 01/04/2023 3:30 PM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

    Rollinsford, NH- Step back in time at Rollinsford’s historic Colonel Paul Wentworth House on Saturday and Sunday, January 14 and 15, and meet Captain John Harmon’s Snowshoe Company of Rangers, a group of historical reenactors who portray the soldiers who patrolled the New England frontier during the 1740s and 1750s.

    Snowshoe companies were formed to patrol the colonial frontier during the long winters and protect the northern settlements from attack by the French and their Native American allies.  Members of Harmon’s Company will be in residence at the Wentworth House and will demonstrate the use of flintlock muskets and traditional snowshoes, plus the clothing, equipment and tactics used by the frontier militia. 

    Visitors may also tour the Wentworth House; warm up by the hearth and watch food being prepared in 18th century fashion; and experience other aspects of winter life in colonial New England. 

    Event hours are Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm.  Admission is $5 for adults; the event is free for children and ARCH members.   

    The circa 1701 Wentworth House is located on Water Street in Rollinsford and is maintained by the Association for Rollinsford Culture and History (ARCH).  For more information about this and other events at the Wentworth House, consult the ARCH website at paulwentworthhouse.org or Facebook at The Colonel Paul Wentworth House. 


  • 01/03/2023 9:56 AM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

    MVSB (Meredith Village Savings Bank) recently purchased $20,000 in tax credits through the New Hampshire Community Development Authority (CDFA) to support the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests(Forest Society) fundraising campaign. The Forest Society is in the process of renovating the 1884 Carriage Barn as a new program and event center, which will be known as the Forest Society North at The Rocks. The Rocks is a 1,400-acre property that serves as the organization’s northern New Hampshire campus and is an economic driver for the region.

    “A fire in 2019 destroyed several buildings at The Rocks and we saw it as an opportunity to rebuild and renovate the space,” said Jack Savage, Forest Society President. “The Carriage Barn will retain the historic exterior but convert the interior into a net-zero energy efficient building and feature event space, classrooms, offices, and Christmas tree sales. We are thrilled with the show of support for this project from community partners like MVSB.”

    “Serving on the Forest Society’s Board, I have seen firsthand the vital impact the organization makes to protect the more than one million acres of open space and promote land stewardship,” said Jason Hicks, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial and Risk Officer for New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp, the shared services organization for MVSB. “We are proud to support this project and we are excited to see the completed renovations this summer.”

    The Forest Society’s investment at The Rocks will also allow professional conservation staff serving the North Country to be based at The Rocks. The Forest Society owns 17 forest reservations in the North Country and is in the process of purchasing 3,750 acres in Shelburne, known as the Mahoosuc Highlands.

    The Forest Society is a nonprofit membership statewide land conservation organization dedicated to protecting the state's most important landscapes while promoting the wise use of its renewable natural resources. Go to forestsociety.org for more information.

    Unlike a stock bank, MVSB is a mutual savings bank that operates for the benefit of its depositors, borrowers and surrounding communities. As a result, MVSB has remained steadfast in fostering the economic health and well-being of the community since it was founded in 1869. For over 150 years, Meredith Village Savings Bank (MVSB), has been serving the people, businesses, nonprofits and municipalities of New Hampshire. MVSB and its employees are guided by the values of accountability, mutuality, excellence, respect, integrity, teamwork and stewardship. To learn more, visit any of the local branch offices located in Alton, Ashland, Center Harbor, Gilford, Laconia, Melvin Village, Meredith, Moultonborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Rochester or Wolfeboro, call 800.922.6872 or visit mvsb.com.


    Caption: From left, Jason Hicks, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial and Risk Officer for New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp, and Marcus Weeks, MVSB President present a check to Jack Savage, Forest Society President and Anne Truslow, Forest Society Vice President for Development.

  • 12/20/2022 11:30 AM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

    ROCHESTER, NH – This December, HRCU, on behalf of members, staff and volunteers, donated $30,000 to local non-profit organizations as a part of their 9th-annual Christmas Caring Campaign (CCC). This marks a total of $260,000 in donations since the campaign’s inception in 2014.

    “We are so proud and thankful to have come so far in just a short amount of time with our Christmas Caring Campaign,” said Brian Hughes, CEO & President of HRCU. “As challenges continue to face our community, we take pride in lending a hand this holiday season to help our neighbors in need. And for almost ten years, we have helped over 70 non-profit organizations in the Seacoast of New Hampshire and Southern Maine communities.”

    One of the donation recipients, Donald “Skip” Smith, Executive Director of the Rochester SHARE Fund said, “We have seen a 53% increase in the number of households requesting food assistance this year – And support from HRCU helps us to help our Neighbors in Need… This donation will ensure over 200 households continued support!”

    Heidi Chase, Executive Director of Friends in Action in Durham, NH, was another recipient in this year’s Christmas Caring Campaign. She said, “The donation from HRCU was such a welcome surprise. It is great to have a community business that looks after its nonprofits... Our donation will be used to support social and recreational activities for people with developmental disabilities. We really appreciate it!”

    This year, HRCU supported 32 non-profit organizations These organizations include food pantry services, shelters for the homeless, addiction recovery centers, and mental health and wellness services; each is committed to lifting the people up, keeping the community well, warm, and fed. For a full list of organizations who received donations, please visit www.HRCU.org/ChristmasCaring. 


  • 12/19/2022 1:18 PM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

    Dover, NH – Ridership on COAST’s fixed route and advance reservation demand response services grew by 7.6% over their past fiscal year (October 2021 – September 2022). This despite providing significantly less fixed route service due to ongoing service suspensions implemented earlier in 2022. This demonstrates that despite reduced service options demand is increasing. Luckily the tide has been turning for COAST and they have incrementally been lifting suspensions through the fall.

    During the final quarter of FY22, COAST’s average weekday fixed route ridership was at its highest level since March 2020. This is a key ridership measure that has thus far continued into the first part of FY23. Over the past year fixed route ridership grew by 6.6%. It is hoped that when service suspensions are lifted, which has slowly been happening through the fall, ridership will grow proportionately but that may also take some time.

    Ridership on COAST’s demand response services, generally targeted to older adults and individuals living with disabilities, grew 21.4% over the previous year and has been hovering just below or at pre-pandemic ridership levels over the past few months. Prior to 2020, these services had been seeing the strongest ridership growth and it appears that trend is beginning again.

    COAST’s recently approved FY23 operating budget was developed with the goals of rebuilding their workforce and resuming more suspended services. The budget included notable wage increases that should significantly increase COAST’s competitiveness in the highly competitive job market for bus operators, including the addition of a second shift pay differential.

    “With significant improvements to bus operator wages and benefits, COAST expects to be able to rebuild our workforce on the timeline we have established. We have already seen a significant uptick in applicants through referrals from our own employees.” commented Rad Nichols, COAST Executive Director. “At this point we are planning on lifting more service suspensions in mid-January as in the last few weeks we have successfully hired and are now training a number of new staff.”

    In other COAST news –

    With the passage of COAST’s FY23 operating budget the very successful and well-received free transfer pilot program was extended again. This time through September 30, 2023.

    Riders can now follow COAST buses in real-time on the Passio GO! app. The Passio GO! app can be downloaded from free from the Google Play or App Store. More information is available at https://coastbus.org/PassioGO .

    Purchasing bus tickets to donate to area non-profit agencies for the holidays? As part of the COAST Cares program, COAST will match individual contributions this holiday season, doubling the impact of these generous gifts. Simple actions with meaningful impacts can go a long way to helping those in need, especially in today’s economy. Nichols commented, “we have done this for years, and always to the surprise of those who are generously donating these tickets to area nonprofits.”

    The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) has provided public transit service to the Seacoast New Hampshire region since 1982. COAST is a non-profit agency, operating a regional public transit system that relies primarily on federal and local government support to operate. COAST is governed by a board of directors representing the communities served, two regional planning commissions, and many local and state agencies. COAST’s vision is to be an innovative leader in providing a broad range of public transportation services, connecting, and coordinating a robust network of transportation options for everyone.


    Photo Credit: Erin Thomas

  • 12/14/2022 1:24 PM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

    Rochester, NH – Cornerstone VNA, a local nonprofit home health and hospice care organization, recently received a generous donation of over $8,500 from The Fabulous Find, a boutique style resale shop at 139 State Rd (Route One) in Kittery, ME.  This unique resale boutique partners with different worthy, local nonprofit organizations each month, as determined by their Board of Directors, and Cornerstone VNA was selected as one of four nonprofit recipients for the month of October, alongside the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, Triangle Club and Pro Portsmouth. All four nonprofits received a check for over $8,500 each, which represents the total profits from the month of October.  Marcye Philbrook, Board President of The Fabulous Find notes, “The Fabulous Find is so happy to be able to partner with Cornerstone VNA. Most of us have had family members or people we know who have benefitted from the amazing care of visiting nurses. Cornerstone VNA is one of those quiet organizations that do so much good in our community.”

    Erika Lee, MHA, Director of Advancement shares, “Cornerstone VNA was so honored to have been chosen by this wonderfully resourceful store that gives so much to local nonprofits.” Lee adds, “The generous funds they awarded us will be used to support underfunded programs such as Palliative Care, non-reimbursable specialty training, such as lymphedema, as well as access to care for those in need.”

    Founded in 2010 by a small group of Seacoast Maine and New Hampshire women, The Fabulous Find has given over 2.3 million dollars to well over 150 area nonprofits. In addition to their monthly partners, there are schools and other organizations that they give smaller gifts to. To learn more about The Fabulous Find and how you can help, visit www.thefabulousfind.org or call (207) 439-8669.

    Cornerstone VNA currently serves Rockingham, Strafford, Belknap and Carroll Counties in New Hampshire and York County in Maine. The team at Cornerstone VNA provides award-winning care and support through five distinct programs: Home Care, Hospice Care, Palliative Care, Life Care-Private Duty, and Community Care. For 109 years, Cornerstone VNA has been committed to bringing services to people of all ages so that families can stay together at home, even when facing the challenges of aging, surgical recovery, chronic or life-threatening illnesses or end-of-life care. To learn more about Cornerstone VNA, visit www.cornerstonevna.org or call 800-691-1133.

    Ann Vennard, Assistant Director of Advancement at Cornerstone VNA (r) accepts a generous donation from Anne Hunter of The Fabulous Find.

  • 12/14/2022 8:57 AM | Emerson Doiron (Administrator)

    About NH PFML and Getting a Quote

    NH PFML insurance is available to all NH employers and NH workers.  NHPFML provides covered NH workers with up to 60% wage replacement for up to 6 weeks per year for absences from work for covered common life events.  NH PFML insurance can be purchased from MetLife, the state’s NH PFML partner.  NH employers that purchase NH PFML from MetLife are eligible for a BET tax credit of up to 50% of the premium they pay on behalf of their workers. Beginning this month, employers can contact MetLife for a NH PFML insurance policy quote and may purchase coverage for their workers at any time.

    If an employer does not offer NH PFML or equivalent coverage, workers can decide to purchase a NH PFML individual plan for themselves during an open enrollment period.  Open Enrollment for the NH PFML individual plan for 2023 coverage will be held from 1/1/23-3/2/23. Open Enrollment for 2024 coverage will take place in the Fall of 2023.

    The withholding of applicable premium deductions from employee pay and payment submission to MetLife is required of large employers (50+ employees) whether a worker is covered under an employer-sponsored plan or through an individual plan.

    For more information about NH PFML, go to www.paidfamilymedicalleave.nh.gov or call the MetLife customer Solution Center at 1-866-595-PFML (7365).

ABOUT THE FALLS CHAMBER

The Falls Chamber of Commerce is a professional association of businesses in  the falls area.  We are the catalyst that facilitates business growth , prosperity, partnership and success for our members. 

       

CONTACTS

Emerson Doiron, Executive Director

info@thefallschamber.com
603.749.7175
office hours by appointment: 472 High Street, Somersworth NH 03878

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