People & Business: Feb. 22

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Topsham woman is a beautiful thing

The American Cancer Society of Maine presented cosmetologist Diane Yazwinski of Yarmouth with the 2016 Look Good Feel Better Sunrise Award for Outstanding Service during at the ACSM offices in Topsham on Feb. 7. She was the only person in Maine to receive the award this year. Yazwinski has volunteered for Look Good Feel Better for 20 years.

American Cancer Society Regional Executive Vice President Peg Camp said during the presentation, “Diane is a very dynamic and energetic person who cares deeply about the patients that she is helping. She is also very supportive of the Look Good Feel Better Program and serves as a role model for fellow volunteers. Diane goes above and beyond to ensure the success of the program in her area, often filling in at the last minute when another facilitator cannot make it. She provides her participants with a wonderful and supportive environment, and they always leave not only more knowledgeable in what she shared, but also feeling better about themselves and the cancer journey they are on.”

Look Good Feel Better is a free, national program dedicated to improving the lives of women undergoing cancer treatment by offering guidance and advice to help them cope with the appearance side effects of treatment.

Celebrated chef  invited to cook at James Beard House

The foundation that honors the memory of one of America’s greatest chefs has selected Maine’s Matt Ginn to prepare a menu and cook it at the James Beard House.

Matt Ginn is executive chef at Evo Kitchen + Bar, the 50-seat restaurant located on Fore Street in downtown Portland, where he has earned widespread praise for his oversight of menu creation and operations at the modern eatery.

The James Beard Foundation maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. Visiting chefs are invited by the  Foundation based on a number of criteria, including having a national or regional reputation and demonstrated excellence. Ginn will be in the Beard House spotlight on March 6. Ginn is preparing the special menu for March 6, and says that he will reveal it soon. Lucky diners will be able to enjoy the special menu without traveling to New York. On March 2, Ginn will serve a preview of his James Beard dinner at an exclusive event at the restaurant and reservations are required.

Ginn trained with acclaimed chef Steve Corry at Portland’s Five Fifty-Five. Then, at Boston’s Harvest restaurant, he served as sous chef for award-winning chef Mary Dumont. He learned the value of farm-to-table cuisine, and used fresh ingredients of the season to create extraordinary menus.

At l’Espalier in Boston, he learned more of his craft from James Beard award-winning chef Frank McClelland. And in a return stint in Portland, at Five Fifty-Five, as chef de cuisine, he helped that restaurant earn praise from newspapers and websites as one of the best restaurants in Maine.

Ginn’s pursuit of excellence continues as Executive Chef at Evo Kitchen + Bar, one of the highest rated restaurants in Portland. Focused on combining flavor profiles from the Mediterranean, Ginn is making waves for his innovative approach to utilizing local Maine foods in creative new ways.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to “celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.”

FCB stewards recognized for length of service, dedication

More than 100 volunteers and supporters of Friends of Casco Bay came out on Jan. 24 to recognize those who give their time to help protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. The Volunteer Appreciation Celebration was an opportunity for Friends of Casco Bay to thank all its volunteers, including those who monitor the water quality of the Bay, clean up shorelines, stencil storm drains, participate in community outreach events, and serve on the board.

Those Citizen Stewards receiving awards for milestones in Water Quality Monitoring in the 2016 season were:

Andy Bertocci is Friends of Casco Bay’s first 25-year Citizen Steward. He started volunteering in 1992, the pilot year of the water quality monitoring program. In addition to helping expand the program into eastern Casco Bay, he worked as the organization’s vessel pumpout program coordinator. He operated the pumpout boat to remove sewage from recreational boats and worked with marinas to establish pumpout facilities throughout Casco Bay. Bertocci also has had an extensive career in harvesting and processing rockweed, investigating viable uses for this seaweed resource.

Rick Meisenbach, a 15-year Citizen Steward, summered on the shores of Casco Bay during his youth. He traveled and lived all over the world before deciding that Harpswell was the ideal place to settle down and raise a family. He now oversees the water quality at Lookout Point in Harpswell. 

Jan and Tom Brudzinski of Orr’s Island are 10-year stewards who sample water quality on Harpswell Sound at a site that they can see from their house. Jan is a retired teacher. Also retired, Tom now applies his artistic, design, and marketing skills to “telling the stories of Maine lobsters.”

As a marine scientist and a science teacher, Debbie Debigun, a five-year steward, loves it when someone asks, “What are you doing?” as she tests the water quality at her site not far from the Muddy Rudder Restaurant in Yarmouth. Deb teaches marine science courses at Maine College of Art and serves on the Board of the Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association. 

Carol Nale, another five-year steward, grew up sailing on the South Shore of Massachusetts and settled permanently in Maine after graduating from the University of Maine. Now a Yarmouth resident, she is a retired special education teacher who enjoys kayaking, biking, golf, swimming, skiing, hiking and “everything that the great Maine outdoors has to offer.” Carol and Deb Debiegun share water quality testing responsibilities on the Cousins River site.

Rounding out the fiv-year stewards recognized, Mary Holman first became involved in water quality testing in the early 1990s. As a Board member of the Friends of the Royal River, she trained and supervised volunteers doing water quality testing at 28 sites along the river and its tributaries. in 2011, she and her husband moved to Chebeague Island, where she monitors two testing sites for Friends of Casco Bay.


Maine Public Relations Council announced its new board members for 2017: Kristin Melville, of Hospice of Southern Maine; Kevin Gove, of Rinck Advertising; and Marnie Grumbach, of Fluent IMC.