People & Business: Feb. 21

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Opera Maine trustee receives national award

Dr. John Serrage, a longtime Opera Maine trustee and supporter, has been selected by OPERA America to receive the 2018 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award. Opera Maine, formerly PORTopera, is one of 43 Budget Four opera companies in the United States that are members of OPERA America, and  Serrage is the only honoree recognized in this category. Chosen for his remarkable service and leadership, Serrage will receive his award at an event that is part of the annual National Opera Trustee Forum on Feb. 23 in New York City.

“This is a much-deserved honor for Dr. Serrage, who has done so much for the company from its beginning 24 years ago,” said Opera Maine Board President Arlene Palmer Schwind. “He was a founding supporter of Opera Maine in 1995, and he has remained committed ever since to the importance of the company’s mission and its contribution to the vibrant arts scene in Northern New England. As a fervent believer that opera companies have a responsibility to provide training opportunities for young singers, Dr. Serrage cultivated and managed Opera Maine’s Young Artist Program for many years. He has also set the tone for other trustees to follow in terms of his level of financial support and the elegant atmosphere and social milieu he has created around participation with the company.”

Serrage spent most of his professional career as director of neonatology at Maine Medical College in Portland and as director of maternal and child health for the state of Maine. After retiring from the medical profession, he attended Harvard University to earn a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies. He then spent 10 years working at archaeological excavations in Israel under the auspices of the University of South Florida. Serrage volunteers for Greater Portland Landmarks, teaches a course on opera at the University of Southern Maine’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and only recently retired as organist of his church. Serrage lives in Cape Elizabeth with his wife, Elizabeth.

Heart health will be made crystal clear at Go Red Luncheon

Crystal Heart Awards will be presented to Bill Caron, president of MaineHealth, and Pat Weigel, president & CEO of Norway Savings Bank at the 2018 Go Red Luncheon on March 13 at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland. The 9th annual American Heart Association event aims to educate attendees about heart disease and stroke in women while raising research funds to help educate, diagnose, and treat these diseases.

This year’s event is being led by Robin Hodgskin, senior vice president with Morgan Stanley, who has organized inspirational speakers, workshops, health screenings, a silent auction and a heart-healthy lunch with a goal to raise $350,000.

The 2018 Executive Leadership Team includes: Samantha Commeau, Bank of America; Charlie Craig, The Dunham Group; Catherine Desrochers, HUB/Norton Insurance & Financial Services; Chris Emmons, Gorham Savings Bank; Katie Fullam Harris, MaineHealth; Lucie Hannigan, People’s United Bank; Gail Hatem, Hannaford Supermarkets; Kate Healy, Verrill Dana; Ed Kane, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; Janice Latulippe, BerryDunn; Nicola Morris, WEX; Janet Ross, Norway Savings Bank; Kate Saucier, TD Bank; Lois Skillings, Mid Coast Hospital; Linda Varrell, Broadreach Public Relations; and Pat Weigel, Norway Savings Bank.

Spectrum Healthcare Partners is sponsoring the 2018 Go Red Casting Call to select the official Go Red spokeswomen for Maine. The women will be featured in a special video and photo display that will be unveiled at the event and shown throughout the year to help educate people about heart disease and stroke in women.

Media sponsors for The Go Red For Women campaign include The Forecaster and Maine Women Magazine.

News from nonprofits

This past fall the Cumberland/North Yarmouth Lions Club raised $1,000 from the sale of 250 pies during its annual “Give Thanks” Apple Pie Fundraiser to benefit the Community Food Pantry. Lions Jean MacBride and David Carlson, in turn,  presented a $1,000 check to the pantry Feb. 2.

On Jan. 26, the Scarborough Kiwanis Club surprised Peter Esposito, food services director for the Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth schools, with its Hero of the Quarter Award. The Kiwanians have been involved with the Scarborough Schools’ vacation food backpack program for many years. Before every long weekend and school vacation, Esposito’s staff sends home boxes of fresh food and non-perishable items for low-income students.

The Opportunity Alliance has been named the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council for Cumberland County. The Families Together CAN Council will provide services that include: public awareness activities, child safety education, parent education, referrals to services, and training for professionals.

Russ Donahue, Marc Foster and Kinna Thakarar have joined the board at Portland and Old Orchard Beach-based Milestone Recovery. Donahue is with HDS in Freeport; Foster is a broker with Vitalius Real Estate Group; and Thakarar is an assistant professor of medicine at Maine Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine.

The Greater Portland Board of Realtors presented Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland with a check totaling $13,458 on Jan. 24. Of the donation, $9,038 was raised at their Harvest Moon Dance in October. The Maine Association of Realtors Foundation matched the donation with $4,420 in grant funds.

Grants of up to $20,000 are available through the Maine Community Foundation to help nonprofits implement energy-efficiency measures in historic buildings they own. Funds are available for capital expenses related to restoration, including the cost of energy audits and energy efficiency upgrades. The deadline for applications is June 1. For more information and to apply visit

Hires, promotions, appointments

Maine Medical Partners announces the following new hires: Benjamin Felix, M.D., outpatient clinics, internal medicine care; Jillian Dur, D.O., geriatrician with Westbrook Primary Care; Leslie Bradford, M.D., women’s health; Jonathan Watling, M.D., orthopedics and sports medicine as an orthopedic surgeon; Ronald Zviti, M.D., pediatric specialty care, division of nephrology.

Mid Coast Medical Group – Neurology and Mid Coast Hospital welcome Christian Dinsmore, MD, to the medical staff. He joins the staff who provide care for the central nervous system at 81 Medical Center Drive in Brunswick.

Midcoast Federal Credit Union promoted Liza Reno to vice president Retail Services in Bath & Edgecomb.


Independence Association employees recognized for milestone anniversaries in January included, from left: Mary Leopin, James Loveitt, Nancy Scott, Laura Harvey, Kate Riordan, Matt Esculano. In front is Angela Alderete, who notes that she holds a black belt as well as a 10-year employment anniversary. Independence Association is a half-century old provider of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in nine counties.