Find True Relief from Your Chronic Illness at Med Matrix in Chebeague Island, ME

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Functional Medicine in Chebeague Island, ME

Have you ever been to a primary care doctor and wondered why they focus on treating symptoms instead of addressing the root cause of your illness? Rather than take a patient-centered approach to address questions like, "Why are you ill?" they prescribe medications that alleviate symptoms but don't do much to solve the underlying issue that's causing you to be sick.

When you have a cough, you're handed a cough suppressant. When you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you're prescribed a pill that masks the issue. The truth is that this approach only masks symptoms and can even make them exponentially worse. Medication never treats the root cause; your body's dysfunction isn't due to a deficiency of the medication you're taking.

That begs the question: Wouldn't you prefer to deal with the underlying cause of the problem making you feel bad? At Med Matrix, we take a functional approach to medicine instead of simply treating the symptoms our patients have.

We ask questions like:

  • Why is your body making more cholesterol?
  • Why are you obese?
  • Why is your blood pressure higher than ever before?
Functional Medicine Practice Chebeague Island, ME

Med Matrix: Taking a Functional Approach to Healthcare

At Med Matrix, we delve deep to uncover the fundamental reasons behind your persistent health issues, offering you a path to lasting relief. Our team consists of knowledgeable doctors and skilled functional medicine experts who create caring environments focused on patient needs. We prioritize a holistic healing approach that looks beyond symptom management and aims to uncover and solve the core causes of your conditions for sustained wellness.

Are you:

  • Fed up with prescription after prescription and the side effects that come with them?
  • Seeking clear answers to complex health issues?
  • Craving a proactive role in improving your health?
  • Looking for a supportive, compassionate healthcare team in Chebeague Island?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above or cannot get relief through conventional methods, functional medicine in Chebeague Island, ME, is for you.

What is Functional Medicine from Med Matrix?

The functional medicine model of care offers a patient-centered approach to managing chronic diseases. It aims to answer the question, "Why are you ill?" so that you can receive personalized and effective care tailored to your needs.

Functional medicine providers in Chebeague Island, like Med Matrix, take the time to listen to you and gather your medical history. This information helps us identify the root cause(s) of the illness, including triggers such as:

  • Poor Nutrition
  • Stress
  • Allergens
  • Toxins
  • Genetics
  • Microbiome (the bacteria living in and on your body)

Once we identify the triggers, we can create a customized plan that helps you lead a healthy life. Your plan will address various aspects of your life, including physical needs such as nutrition, exercise, and sleep, as well as mental and emotional stressors related to social, work, and community life.

 Functional Medicine Meal Plan Chebeague Island, ME

The Med Matrix Difference

 Functional Medicine Testing Chebeague Island, ME

At our functional health center, we provide a full spectrum of services and cutting-edge technologies to support your path to optimal health. Our team is skilled in a variety of practices including functional medicine, health coaching, hormone therapy, ozone therapy, and nutrition. Unlike some clinics that prioritize profits, we use diagnostic tools such as genetic testing and comprehensive laboratory evaluations to obtain a deeper understanding of your health conditions. In short, we take the time to get to know you, your body, your needs, and your goals. That way, we can provide the most effective, longest lasting care possible.

We also introduce innovative treatments and therapies like regenerative medicine, IV nutrient therapy, detoxification programs, PEMF mat, peptides, exosomes, and more. By integrating the most effective elements of conventional and functional medicine, we offer a comprehensive approach to health care that is tailored to you - not someone with a similar body type, age, and chronic illnesses.

Our Philosophy

Med Matrix was founded on the notion that patients deserve personalized, comprehensive care and unwavering commitment. Our philosophy also includes:

Above Beyond
Going Above & Beyond

Conventional medicine primarily aims to label diseases and prescribe medications for specific symptoms. At Med Matrix, we believe in a more holistic approach. Functional medicine - our chosen path - perceives the body as a harmonious. We view it as an interconnected system rather than a mere collection of isolated organs. In essence, we treat your entire system by delving into the root causes of your symptoms rather than trying to alleviate them on their own.

Working Together
Working Together

At Med Matrix, we consider patients to be more than visitors. We believe they're valued partners on the path to optimal health. Our cohesive team of seasoned physicians, devoted nurses, and expert nutritionists has an unwavering commitment to steering every patient towards health and happiness - a state we affectionately term "Health Actualization." Our functional medicine clinic is your comprehensive destination for wellbeing, and healing that propels you toward a life full of energy and vitality.

Advanced Testing
Advanced Testing

We seamlessly blend time-honored Western medical practices with cutting-edge functional medicine diagnostics conducted within our state-of-the-art, in-house laboratory. We understand that every patient has unique health needs and goals. Our diagnostic testing helps uncover the underlying issues you're dealing with so they can be addressed effectively. We do so through individualized treatment plans and custom treatments, not generalized care. Whether your path to wellness includes supplements, botanical medicines, prescription medications, therapeutic diets, detox regimens, or stress-reduction strategies, we're dedicated to your health.

Patients First
Patients First

Our core philosophy revolves around patient-centered care. Our practitioners take the time to listen, truly understand your unique story, and make you an integral part of the discovery process. We firmly believe that there's no one-size-fits-all solution in healthcare. That's why we're dedicated to delivering the highest quality functional medicine in Chebeague Island, ME. Our approach to Health Actualization isn't solely about the absence of disease; it's about fostering vitality and overall wellbeing. Together, let's collaborate to achieve your path to Health Actualization.

Functional Medicine Memberships from Med Matrix

Our functional medical memberships are designed to optimize your health and prevent diseases from interrupting your wellbeing. These 12-month memberships feature the following core components and timeline:

Advanced Testing.png

Advanced Testing

Our advanced diagnostic testing takes into account more than 100 biomarkers, which helps us identify and ultimately address the underlying problems causing you to be sick.

Functional Medicine

Functional MedicineReview

We'll set up a one-hour meeting where you'll meet with an IFM-certified provider. During this meeting, your provider will get a better sense of who you are and the goals you have for your body and overall wellness.

Healthcare Plan

Personalized Healthcare Plan

Your healthcare plan is customized to your body and your goals and can include guidance on lifestyle optimization, diet optimization, supplement optimization, and hormone optimization.

Quarterly Testing

Quarterly Testing and Review

Once a quarter, you'll meet with a health coach from Med Matrix who will check on you and where you're at with your health goals.

Other benefits of signing up for a functional medicine membership include IV vitamin credits, access to a professional health coach, and discounted pricing on stem cell therapy.

Top 6 Reasons to Consider Functional Medicine in Chebeague Island, ME

One of the most popular questions we get from new patients at Med Matrix is why they should even consider functional medical services over those at conventional medical centers. We get it - if you've only known the traditional side of medicine, exploring treatment from a functional medical doctor might seem unnecessary or uncomfortable. Before you retreat back into your comfort zone, take these points into consideration.

 Functional Medicine Consults Chebeague Island, ME

Comprehensive Treatment Options

Unlike conventional doctors, who must work in a narrow scope of treatment, functional medicine opens the doorway to a wealth of therapies and treatments. For instance, at Med Matrix, when a patient presents with symptoms of depression, we don't simply consider which prescription medication to prescribe.

We thoroughly assess omega-3 levels, vitamin D levels, hormones, thyroid imbalances, gut issues, and inflammatory markers. Our goal is to identify the root cause of your depression. We seek to understand WHY your depression is happening. Some common functional medicine treatment options can include the following:

  • Health Coaching
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Diet Optimization
  • Holistic Treatments and Therapies
  • Hormone Balancing
  • IV Vitamin Therapy
  • Med Spa Services
  • Peptide Therapy
Healthcare-and-Wellness

Healthcare and Wellness Services Catered to You

Functional medicine recognizes that each person is unique, so their treatment should be personalized. We all have different genetics, upbringings, diets, stress levels, and backgrounds. As functional medicine providers, we aim to understand each patient's life story from birth and create a plan that is tailored to them. Common sense says that conversation could take some time, and you'd be correct. An initial consultation with a functional medicine provider from Med Matrix can last an hour or more. But that allows us to provide you with focused, one-on-one attention.

This approach is in stark contrast to an appointment with a primary care physician, which only lasts a few minutes and can make you feel like you're just a number. It's challenging to have a meaningful conversation and provide a comprehensive solution in such a short time. Doctors who practice functional medicine in Chebeague Island, ME, often see fewer patients per day, and for good reason - they're able to devote more time and energy to you, not processing transactions.

Education-that-Empowers

Education that Empowers

The primary objective of functional medicine is to equip and empower the patient to take charge of their health and enhance their quality of life. Since you can't visit a Med Matrix doctor every day, it's important that we continue your healing process using guidance provided by your functional medicine provider.

This guidance will cover important topics relating to your individual health, and may include protocols for optimizing your diet, lifestyle, exercise, stress, and supplements intake. We couple that guidance with advanced lab testing, condition diagnosis, and medication management. We understand that can be a lot to process in one or two meetings. As such, we may recommend health coaching and other services to help.

System-Based-Treatment-Protocols

System-Based Treatment Protocols

Functional medicine believes in treating the person, not just the disease or the symptoms. Most conventional medicine models prioritize prescription medications that match up to specific symptoms. In the world of functional medicine, that's a short-sided approach. Instead, providers at Med Matrix take a systems-based approach to care.

For instance, if you're concerned about enduring too much stress, we want to know that's due to inflammation, malfunctioning adrenals, G.I. problems, or something else entirely. To find out, we check the functionality of your kidneys, heart, gut, liver, thyroid, hormones, and even your vitamin D levels. The more we know, the better understanding we have of the systems we need to address.

functional-medicine-appointment

Uncover the Root Cause

Many people struggle to find answers to their medical conditions because they are passed around from doctor to specialist and back again. This happens frequently. Numerous patients have told us that they were informed, "it's all in your head" and "your labs look normal," despite experiencing severe symptoms indicating that something was wrong.

When you come to Med Matrix for a functional medicine appointment, it's almost like you're hiring a medical detective to uncover the root cause of your symptoms. Our doctors thrive on difficult cases and won't stop investigating until a solution is uncovered.

Preventative-medicine

Cost-Effective Treatment, Long-Lasting Results

Functional medicine goes by many names, such as integrative, holistic, personalized, and preventative. Preventative medicine is the most cost-effective form of healthcare. By preventing or slowing down diseases, you can save future healthcare costs that would have been incurred if a preventative approach wasn't taken.

For instance, let's consider Type II Diabetes. Patients who visit a functional medicine provider are proactive and start addressing blood sugar concerns well before conventional medicine does. Functional medicine providers monitor blood sugar levels even before they reach conventional pre-diabetes levels. When patients are informed and educated about diet and lifestyle before the onset of a disease, much better results are achieved in disease prevention. Once someone has a diagnosis or disease, it becomes more challenging and expensive to correct.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Maintaining Your Health

One of the major hallmarks of functional medicine in Chebeague Island, ME, is to stay healthy year-round by eating a healthy diet and exercising. While diet and exercise are crucial for wellness, many Americans don't get the necessary amounts of vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Whether you're working with a health coach or you're simply looking for diet tips, keep these important supplements in mind as you work towards a healthy life.

 Functional Medicine Treatment Center Chebeague Island, ME

Two words that send shivers down the spines of every man are "erectile dysfunction." Unfortunately, when your T levels are lower than they should be, this is one of the most common symptoms that men must endure. Being unable to get it up isn't just embarrassing - it can be downright depressing and lead to issues with mental health. It's a hard topic to discuss, but a personalized TRT plan from Med Matrix can help.

Natural sources of vitamin D include:

  • Sunlight
  • Fatty Fishes
  • Dairy Products
Functional Medicine Practice Chebeague Island, ME

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a crucial nutrient for supporting the immune system and overall health. In addition to its well-known role in preventing scurvy, vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, wound healing, and combating infections. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. Including vitamin C-rich foods in your diet or taking supplements can help ensure that your body has an adequate supply of this vital nutrient.

Natural sources of vitamin C include:

  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes
  • Cruciferous Veggies
 Functional Medicine Meal Plan Chebeague Island, ME

Anemia is a condition that affects millions of Americans, resulting from various factors including iron deficiency, which is one of the most common national deficiencies. Iron is crucial for maintaining healthy blood. It plays a key role in supporting the production of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

Natural sources of iron include:

  • Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Meat
 Functional Medicine Testing Chebeague Island, ME

Functional Medicine in Chebeague Island, ME: A Root-Cause Focus from Med Matrix

As a catalyst in the evolution of healthcare, functional medicine adopts a holistic approach to promoting health and wellbeing. It delves into the underlying causes of diseases and aims to restore optimal bodily function through a personalized and patient-centric approach. This approach complements conventional medicine and serves as a crucial partner in the overall healthcare landscape.

If you're sick and tired of relying on traditional models that push pills and prescriptions down your throat, it's time to make a change. At Med Matrix, we look beyond symptom management. We're focused on being proactive, not reactive. Our doctors of functional medicine are trained and fully equipped to help you reimagine what it's like to live a happy, healthy life.

If you're ready to take the first step toward true wellbeing, we're here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about our comprehensive functional medicine program.

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Latest News in Chebeague Island, ME

Kimberly Hamilton’s Favorite Maine Place

PREVIOUS GIGBefore coming to Island Institute, Hamilton was president of FocusMaine, an effort to grow the agriculture, aquaculture, and biopharma sectors.SUMMER TASKA listening tour around Maine’s islands and coastal communities.FAVORITE ISLAND CLICHÉ“‘Community spirit’ is a phrase that’s overused, but it’s a scarce resource, and it’s abundant on places like Chebeague.”By Bri...

PREVIOUS GIG

Before coming to Island Institute, Hamilton was president of FocusMaine, an effort to grow the agriculture, aquaculture, and biopharma sectors.

SUMMER TASK

A listening tour around Maine’s islands and coastal communities.

FAVORITE ISLAND CLICHÉ

“‘Community spirit’ is a phrase that’s overused, but it’s a scarce resource, and it’s abundant on places like Chebeague.”

By Brian KevinFrom our June 2023 Island Issue

The new president of the 40-year-old nonprofit Island Institute comes into her role at a time when there is, as she puts it, “no shortage of issues facing island and coastal communities”: dearths of affordable housing, a warming and rising ocean, fewer opportunities for fishing and traditional waterfront jobs. In the face of these things, to hear Kim Hamilton tell it, her organization isn’t out to shield island lifestyles from change but to facilitate adaptation. “I think we tend to think of our islands and coastal communities in a nostalgic way, as sort of preserved in amber,” she says, “but islands are actually these incredible examples of change and rebirth, something they’ve been doing for centuries.”

Generational memory stretching across those centuries, she says, is part of what makes island communities special. Eight generations of her own family have lived and worked on Chebeague Island, in Casco Bay, fishing and lobstering, quarrying granite, running a general store, and more. “Just drawing on all of their resources,” Hamilton says, “emblematic of what it takes to live on an island.” Her father, a dockworker, moved to the mainland as an adult, and Hamilton grew up in North Yarmouth, visiting her grandparents on Chebeague in the summer. “We’d spend a few weeks and just run all around the island,” she remembers. “One of the wonderful things about being young on an island is that you really can’t get lost.”

When she headed off to college, in Oregon, in the 1980s, she didn’t envision returning to Maine. She got a graduate degree at Johns Hopkins and a doctorate at Brown and went to work for a series of humanitarian and development organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Then, a few years ago, she felt Chebeague’s pull. “It was just time,” Hamilton says. “I think people just fall in love with island communities, and there’s this deep connection to place. When we moved there, I felt it at a cellular level.”

These days, she lives in what had been her grandmother’s house, along a dirt road, a short walk from forested trails at the Littlefield Woods preserve, where she played as a kid. “I get this sense of deep history there,” Hamilton says. “These are the same paths that my father and generations of island folks have walked on. To me, it’s almost a sacred place.”

Headshot courtesy of the Island Institute

Here Are 8 Islands In Maine That Are An Absolute Must Visit

Technically speaking, there are over 4,600 islands off the coast of Maine. This includes the largest actual island (Mount Desert Island) to tiny ledges that can only be considered islands during a very low tide. There are a fair few that fall right in the middle, perfect for exploring no matter what your budget might be. Here we&rsquo...

Technically speaking, there are over 4,600 islands off the coast of Maine. This includes the largest actual island (Mount Desert Island) to tiny ledges that can only be considered islands during a very low tide. There are a fair few that fall right in the middle, perfect for exploring no matter what your budget might be. Here we’ve compiled just a few options, ranging in price from “just-won-the-lottery” to “I’ve-got-a-spare-$5.”

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With so many island-hopping options in Maine, we’re sure to have missed some… or an insane amount. What are your favorite islands? Let us know over on our Facebook page!

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Tori Jane | June 10, 2022

How many islands off Maine are there?

We don’t mean to alarm you, but you might want to be sitting down for this. Believe it or not, there are more than 4,600 islands off Maine, many of which are scenic and visitable. Some are inhabited and developed upon. Some are only visible when the tide is low. Some are only accessible by boat, and others are designated nature preserves. Maine might be a smaller state (the 12th-smallest by area and 9th-least populous), but it seems to make up for its small size with 4,000+ islands and 32 state parks on top of that (some of which are on islands themselves).

Which are the best Maine islands to visit?

Obviously, “best” is subjective, but there are some islands in Maine that tend to be more popular with visitors than others. Head to Casco Bay and check out Chebeague Island, which is the largest island in the bay and the perfect destination for summer fun. It features 25 miles of gorgeous, scenic roads, and frequently makes “best hidden beaches in New England” lists. In Penobscot Bay, you’ll find Vinalhaven Island, which is home to the largest island community that lives there year-round. Talk about heavenly. Then, in the Outer Islands, there’s Monhegan Island, which is 12 miles off the coast and filled to the brim with natural beauty.

Which islands are the best islands in Maine?

The list of the best islands in Maine continues! Seriously, with more than 4,000 to pick from, how do you even begin? Give it a start by visiting Boothbay Harbor and checkout out Squirrel Island, which is much quieter than most of Maine’s islands and is great for low-key folks who would prefer to avoid the crowded, more popular islands. You’ll also want to add Mount Desert Island to your bucket list because there’s nothing else in Maine like it. It’s got 108 amazing miles of rocky shoreline, beautiful mountains, and the famed Acadia National Park. So, yes, best is subjective – but these are all excellent spots to start!

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Chebeague Island clerk promoted to top town job

Making Stone Wharf safer and updating the island’s public safety building are at the forefront of issues to be addressed by Viktoria Wood, the newly appointed town administrator for Chebeague Island.“I want to steer the town in the right direction. We’re a new town,” Wood said, referring to the island’s secession from Cumberland in 2007. “We don’t have the background and history as a town that many others do. We’ve made a lot of positive progress since we’ve been a town. I’m ...

Making Stone Wharf safer and updating the island’s public safety building are at the forefront of issues to be addressed by Viktoria Wood, the newly appointed town administrator for Chebeague Island.

“I want to steer the town in the right direction. We’re a new town,” Wood said, referring to the island’s secession from Cumberland in 2007. “We don’t have the background and history as a town that many others do. We’ve made a lot of positive progress since we’ve been a town. I’m eager to help improve it in any way we can.

The Board of Selectmen appointed Wood on Jan. 1 to replace Justin Poirier, who resigned to become Monmouth’s town manager, according to Select Board Chairperson Donna Damon. Wood, who since 2017 had been the island’s town clerk, has a two-year contract with a starting salary of $66,500 for the first sixth months. Pending a favorable performance review at that time, her salary will increase to $68,500. Poirier ended his tenure with an annual salary of $72,000.

Christine Auffant, who was Wood’s deputy clerk, will take over as town clerk with an annual salary of $47,840.

Wood said one of the biggest issues on the island is upgrading Stone Wharf, where the ferry from Cousins Island docks on the northern coast of Chebeague.

“It’s been a subject that has constantly come up,” Wood said, “so I hope in my time as town administrator we can make more progress towards accomplishing something down there.”

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Dredging is scheduled to take place between Stone Wharf and Cousins Island in February and March after an environmental engineering company determined the wharf is stable enough to withstand improvements, including being raised 2 to 3 feet to combat rising sea levels.

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Other issues Wood hopes to address include renovating the island’s public safety building and paving roads that are in disrepair.

Wood was adopted from Russia when she was 12 by Chebeague residents Stephen and Beverly Johnson. After growing up on the island and graduating from Greely High School in Cumberland, she lived off-island for about 10 years. She returned in 2014 before her oldest daughter started school so she and her husband could raise both their children on Chebeague.

Auffant spent her summers on the island with her two sons and her husband for 20 years. Five years ago, they made it their permanent home and she took a job as the deputy town clerk. She and Wood worked together as town clerk and deputy clerk for about five years.

For Auffant, day-to-day tasks, including marriage licenses, car registrations are key parts of her job. Auffant will also be responsible for keeping the minutes and posting agendas for Select Board meetings.

“These positions have to do with serving the community,” she said. “We know all of our customers pretty well and it’s nice to be able to help them with car registrations and whatever else they need.”

Wood said she and Auffant have a good working relationship.

“We’re such a small office and we all work really well together,” Wood said. “I think that’s one of the reasons that Chris and I have been able to work here for so many years, because we get along really well and make a great team.”

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Pre-kindergarten could be offered as soon as the fall semester in Yarmouth in an effort to level the playing field for children in the local school system.

Residents will weigh in on whether to add optional pre-K at the school district’s budget meeting June 7.

The initiative is being prompted in part due to the results of recent screenings: Of 104 Yarmouth kids screened this fall for kindergarten readiness, 21 did not meet benchmarks for receptive and expressive language skills, conceptual knowledge and motor skills, according to a presentation by Yarmouth’s pre-K task force last month.

The benefits of pre-K include higher graduation rates, lower incarceration rates later in life and better educational and economic opportunities for families, said Leann Larson, Early Learning Team coordinator at the Maine Department of Education. Public pre-K also reduces the number of students requiring academic or social intervention by an average of 10% by the third grade, the department says.

“Quite often, you see a decrease in the number of students later on who are identified for special education because public pre-K is a terrific form of early intervention,” Larson said. “They’re getting the instruction and additional support they need early on.

“Public pre-K is also a real opportunity in communities to build stronger relationships between the children, families and school systems in a community in the years before the kids are coming into the schools.”

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If approved in Yarmouth, the 2022-2023 budget for the program would be about $968,550, with the bulk of that coming from personnel costs, since teachers, educational technicians and specialists would need to be hired. Yarmouth has already been approved for a $181,300 state grant to support start-up costs and, according to Superintendent Andrew Dolloff, the district’s most recent information about state aid to education indicated that the majority of the total cost would likely be covered.

Offering pre-kindergarten classes has been a topic of discussion in Yarmouth since 2018, when it was identified in the district’s strategic plan as something to into.

Rowe Elementary School Principal Susan Lobel says the timing is now ideal to revisit that conversation for two reasons. The state began a grant program this year for starting or expanding pre-K programs, and Rowe’s expansion in 2020 provided it with more classroom space, she said.

The program would accept up to 96 students who turn age 4 by Oct. 15 for classes at Rowe, which now is a K-1 school. Students now attending come from about 25 different pre-K programs or did not attend pre-kindergarten. If pre-K is approved, Yarmouth plans to coordinate with providers.

“We talked about anything from professional development to sharing resources and information,” said Shanna Crofton, the district’s director of teaching and learning. “The other big piece we’re working on is transportation. We’re hoping to run an a.m./p.m., half-day program, making sure that if a student wanted to do a full-day program, we’re getting them to and from and working with that family’s schedule. That’s been a big piece of recent communication.”

In a survey of 150 Yarmouth families with children in kindergarten through grade 4, 137 said they would send their kids to pre-K, seven said maybe and six said they would not. Crofton said most of the concern was about changes to the school budget or if it would impact private providers. A survey to gauge community interest can be found on the district’s website.

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“This is why it’s important for us that we work with private providers. One thing we keep emphasizing is, this is an option for families, not a requirement,” Crofton said. “We’d be receiving funding from the state to be able to support the program development, so there’s not a significant increase to the budget.”

Yarmouth parent Trisha Merrill has a 3-year old son who is enrolled at North Yarmouth Academy, which is a private school. If pre-K is approved for Yarmouth, she said she will definitely enroll him. Her 5-year old daughter attended private pre-K and it allowed her “to build the social skills necessary to thrive in a classroom community,” Merrill said.

“Before having children I was an elementary school teacher in Boston for 10 years. I was able to see first-hand the academic and social gains children can make by attending pre-K,” Merrill said. “Kindergarten has become increasingly academic and can be very overwhelming for kids when it’s their first time attending school.”

Enrollment in pre-K across the state was steadily increasing before the pandemic but began declining in 2020, Larson said. In the 2018-2019 school year, 6,101 students statewide were enrolled in pre-K which increased slightly to 6,203 the following year. The 2020-2021 school year dipped, with only 4,746 students enrolled. That increased to 5,548 for the 2021-2022 school year. About 80% of all public school systems in Maine offer a pre-kindergarten program, Larson.

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Field guide: Why this 2,300-yard island golf course is definitely worth visiting

As GOLF’s chief photographer and visual editor, Christian Hafer visits some of the most gorgeous and exclusive golf courses and properties in the world. Here, in his Field Guide, he’ll take you along for the ride. Lucky for us, Christian never leaves home without his camera.Twenty minutes north of Portland, Maine, sits nine holes of golf tucked next to the waters of Casco Bay. Turning 100 years old this year, the mighty 2,300-yard Great Chebeague turned out to be one of my most memorable rounds of the year....

As GOLF’s chief photographer and visual editor, Christian Hafer visits some of the most gorgeous and exclusive golf courses and properties in the world. Here, in his Field Guide, he’ll take you along for the ride. Lucky for us, Christian never leaves home without his camera.

Twenty minutes north of Portland, Maine, sits nine holes of golf tucked next to the waters of Casco Bay. Turning 100 years old this year, the mighty 2,300-yard Great Chebeague turned out to be one of my most memorable rounds of the year.

It’s accessible only by parking in a gravel lot, hopping on an old-school bus and shuttling to the ferry dock on Cousins Island. From there, with clubs in tow, a ferry takes you to Chebeague Island. Wind-thrashed yellow flags dot the shoreline as you get closer.

Once I got to the other side, I was almost immediately stopped by the hitting mat on the corner of the docks. It’s the tee for a 140-yard-ish par-3 across the water to a little green that sits perched in the trees. I walked past and up the road that cuts through the course, turning off on the gravel driveway to the little white clubhouse on the hill. No one was there yet, but I managed to find a sign-in sheet tucked under a rock. I grabbed a scorecard, and away I went.

The small, scruffy course has all the charm and fun I want in golf. I brought a half set of clubs, the perfect fit for the fast and bumpy fairways of Great Chebeague.

When I crossed the 3rd fairway, two pick-ups came barreling onto the course, loaded with what I assumed was men’s league players. Staffers arrived by the time I reached the green, and they told me I was free to play as much as I’d like, but I had to let the league play through if they caught up to me. I kind of scoffed, but by the time I got to the 4th tee they were already at the 2nd green. My kind of crew.

You’ll cross Stone Wharf Road four times — and play off it once — at Great Chebeague, hitting across the water up the hill to a tucked green. All the while ferries arrive and depart and people come and go just feet from you. There are views of the water and surrounding islands on every hole. It’s a special place.

A big reason why I play golf is for the adventure and travel that comes with it, and spots like Great Chebeague — a solid golf experience for the locals and the few rare outsiders who find it — makes the journey worth it. The tiny course struggles to get through the winters and stays open with minimal staff, but 100 years later it’s still going. All for just $20 a round.

DIRIGO STORIES: Chebeague Island family reflects on unique adoption 20 years later

Updated Thu, December 27th 2018 at 2:30 PMCHEBEAGUE ISLAND (WGME) – Life on an island has proven to be an adventure for a family that formed half a world away.Beverly Johnson has lived on Chebeague Island most of her life, and has quite the resume: lobsterman, master plumber, and Olympic Torch Bearer in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.“I had always wanted to be in the Olympics ...

Updated Thu, December 27th 2018 at 2:30 PM

CHEBEAGUE ISLAND (WGME) – Life on an island has proven to be an adventure for a family that formed half a world away.

Beverly Johnson has lived on Chebeague Island most of her life, and has quite the resume: lobsterman, master plumber, and Olympic Torch Bearer in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

“I had always wanted to be in the Olympics at some point,” Johnson said.

She watched the “Miracle on Ice” in person.

“It's one of the most exciting moments of my life.”

Or so she thought. Little did Johnson know, nearly 20 years after that game between the underdog United States hockey team and the Soviet Union, she’d adopt three children from Russia.

“I think back now, and I think, ‘What if we hadn't done that? How boring our lives would be?’”

For all the adventures she has taken, Johnson’s greatest accomplishment is her family. Her daughter, Vika, is now the Chebeague Island Town Clerk.

“I got adopted to an island off the coast to a fisherman and a master plumber, who happens to be a woman,” Johnson said. “I think it's very unique and very different, but I'm very grateful for it.”

She’s grateful because Johnson was almost left behind. Originally, the Johnsons only adopted Vika’s younger brother, Denis, and sister, Dasha, in 1996. They didn't know Vika existed.

“One night I was putting them to bed, and Denis said, ‘Can we find my sister, Vika?’ Then he started to cry,” Beverly Johnson recalled during an interview with CBS 13 in 1997, at the time of Vika’s adoption.

They tracked down Vika to an orphanage and adopted her in 1997.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Vika said. “It doesn't feel like it was me, or it was my life.”

In Russia, Vika found herself acting as a parent to her younger siblings when she was only 9-years-old. Both their parents suffered from substance abuse.

“There would be two or three nights in a row where it'd be the three of us,” said Vika. “It was up to me to do what a parent-figure had to do.”

Social workers separated Vika from her brother and sister. She found they got adopted, and was crushed.

“I remember for many, many weeks after that just lying in bed and crying because I was so sad. Then, it was about six months later, the same person came to the orphanage and said the same people who adopted them, want to take you.”

20 years since the adoption, Vika and Dasha still live on the island. Their brother, Dennis, lives down south.

“It was a remarkable time,” Beverly Johnson said. “It was a good move, I was really happy we did it.”

So is Vika, who know has a daughter of her own, and is getting married this summer.

“I don't feel there's been a void in my life even though for the first 12 years I had nothing.”

It’s a life now full of family and island adventures. When asked what adventure the family will take next?

“I don’t know yet. We’ll see!” said Johnson.

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