Generous UMF campus and local community members contributed 70 grocery gift cards to help students in need through the holidays. (Left to right) Scott Lavertu, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce; AJ Saulnier, UMF student from Wauregan, Conn. and key member of the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition; and Mark Pires, UMF sustainability coordinator and advisor to the Thrifty Beaver.FARMINGTON – The University of Maine at Farmington Thrifty Beaver and local communities are reaching out to UMF students who may need a little extra this year to help make ends meet. The Thrifty Beaver is a student-run campus food pantry and co-op whose mission is to help provide food and other essentials to students in need.With the holidays fast approaching, several UMF faculty, staff and alumni wanted to make sure students still in the area had the food they needed to stay healthy. They collected donations and used them to purchase 60, $20 gift cards at Food City, the local grocery store, which helped stretch the donation amount with a generous discount.Joining the effort, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce donated another 10 gift cards from the Gerry Wiles Holiday Food Basket Program, a longstanding food drive named in honor of Gerry Wiles, a local resident known for his charitable work in the community.“The Gerry Wiles Food Basket Program is in its tenth year. The Chamber received monetary donations from 84 area businesses and individuals. The support was overwhelming this year, as was the need. Two significant contributions were received from the UMF Community; one from the UMF Student Athlete Advisory Council, and UMF staff and colleagues. It was a welcomed opportunity to be able to donate gift cards to students through the Thrifty Beaver,” said Scott Lavertu, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.The gift cards were delivered to the UMF food pantry and are available to students on a first-come, first-served basis.“We are so grateful for the generosity of everyone involved in this endeavor,” said Mark Pires, UMF sustainability coordinator and advisor to the Thrifty Beaver. “So often, we see students in need who are putting in their best effort to meet these challenging times. Having the campus and community show they care about their health and wellness is a gift in itself.”The UMF Thrifty Beaver provides canned, frozen and non-perishable food to students with food insecurity. It also has a swap-shop with one-of-a-kind clothing and daily needs items. It is located on campus in room 004 in the Fusion Space on South Street. During the winter break, it is open Saturdays from 3 to 6 p.m., with special hours this Saturday, Dec. 19, 3-8 p.m. and closed on Sat. Dec. 26. For more information see their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/umfthriftybeaver/.
JUST AS the Russian Railways Ministry starts to implement its restructuring process which includes pulling out of non-core activities such as running towns and hospitals for railwaymen, comes news that it is to be granted the rights to mineral development along the Baikal – Amur corridor. Immediately after the BAM regional administration had been wound up (p149), Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Lobov approved a draft government resolution making the Railway and Economics ministries responsible for co-ordinating the development of gold, copper, titanium and oil reserves in the region.A new railway-owned subsidiary company Baminvest is to be formed to manage industrial production, and the ministries of Natural Resources, Fuel and Energy have been instructed to value the assets to be handed over. Lobov says the move will reinforce ’the geopolitical significance and importance of BAM for Russia.’ He expects the missing Severomuisk tunnel to be completed later this year, for opening to traffic during 1998. Railway Minister Anatoly Zaitsev has confirmed that work is under way on a rail bypass around Chechnya, which is expected to open in the third quarter of 1997. The link between Kizlyar and Makhachkala in the republic of Dagestan will create a corridor from Astrakhan to Azerbaijan along the Caspian sea coast. o
47 year old William Hawkins is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of a 95-year-old man in a nursing home in Port St. Lucie. On Jan. 5, police responded to the Tiffany Hall Nursing Home after receiving a 9-11 call about someone trying to smother a patient.Officers arrived and found a man dead.A certified nursing assistant told police he saw a bald-headed man wearing a dark sweater or jacket and shorts, enter the victim’s room. A short time later, the assistant told the victim’s nurse that an unknown man entered the victim’s room. The nurse saw the stranger in the victim’s room and alerted others.Staffers told investigators that the intruder must’ve had an access code to get into the facility. The executive director of the rehabilitation center told police the patient’s family had 24/7 access to the facility.Later in the morning, detectives identified Hawkins as a possible suspect after looking at names on the victim’s visitors list and comparing descriptions from witnesses. The arrest report says Hawkins had visited Morell at least five times at the nursing home and knew where his room was.Police say the motive may have been money, according to the suspect’s sister, “When their father died, they were supposed to get a large inheritance and they didn’t.”Police arrested Hawkins on the murder charge while he was in custody last week. He was initially arrested on Jan. 6, one day after the murder on grand theft, trespassing, petit theft and burglary charges.A staff member told detectives that she received a call from the Morell’s girlfriend earlier that afternoon. She said she had Power of Attorney and didn’t want Hawkins visiting Morell for fear that he would try to kill him by injecting insulin into his feeding tube. The victim’s girlfriend told police that she was in a relationship with Hawkins and that the victim knew about it.Police say GPS data in Hawkins phone shows he was at the nursing home at the time of the murder.Hawkins, according to police, broke into the victim’s girlfriend’s condo and stole her car keys one the day before the murder. Police found her car submerged in water and abandoned near 1400 E. Midway Road.Morell had been at the facility since Sept. 2019 following a procedure at a hospital to get a feeding tube installed. The autopsy showed he suffered broken or fractured ribs.