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

Med Matrix - Your Partner in Vitality

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Functional Medicine in Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, 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 Cumberland?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above or cannot get relief through conventional methods, functional medicine in Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, ME

The Med Matrix Difference

 Functional Medicine Testing Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, 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
 Functional Medicine Treatment Center Cumberland, ME

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 Cumberland, 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.

Functional Medicine Practice Cumberland, ME

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.

 Functional Medicine Meal Plan Cumberland, ME

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 Testing Cumberland, ME

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.

 Functional Medicine Consults Cumberland, ME

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 Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, ME

Functional Medicine in Cumberland, 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 Cumberland, ME

Cumberland town councilors will not seek reelection

Cumberland Town Councilors Mark Segrist, Shirley Storey-King and Ronald Copp will not seek re-election for one at-large council seat in the June 11 election.Mark Franco, Tanner Storey, and Denise Thorsson will vie for one at-large council seat next month. Franco is a lifelong Maine resident with a double-major degree from Bowdoin College in economics and government and legal studies. He and his family moved from Falmouth to Cumberland in 2017, and Franco has served on the board of the Val Halla Golf Association and as president of the...

Cumberland Town Councilors Mark Segrist, Shirley Storey-King and Ronald Copp will not seek re-election for one at-large council seat in the June 11 election.

Mark Franco, Tanner Storey, and Denise Thorsson will vie for one at-large council seat next month. Franco is a lifelong Maine resident with a double-major degree from Bowdoin College in economics and government and legal studies. He and his family moved from Falmouth to Cumberland in 2017, and Franco has served on the board of the Val Halla Golf Association and as president of the VHGA.

Storey is a fourth-generation Cumberland resident who says he is seeking election to give back to the community that has “welcomed and served” his family for nearly a century.

“I want to help Cumberland continue to grow in a sustainable and fiscally responsible manner without sacrificing the unique rural charm surrounding us,” Storey said in his Meet the Candidates bio on the town website.

Thorsson is an Air Force veteran who moved to Cumberland with her family in 2022. She is currently a Cumberland/North Yarmouth Lions Club member, and regularly attends town meetings and workshops.

Town Councilor West

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Helene DiBartolomeo and Geoffrey Michalak are competing for one Town Councilor West seat in the June election. DiBartolomeo previously served as the town finance director.

“Now that the town manager is retiring, I believe it’s important to have as many town councilors as possible who are well versed in town business,” DiBartolomeo said in her Meet the Candidates bio.

Michalak was born and raised in Cumberland, and has continued to reside in Cumberland most of his adult life. He has a degree in industrial management from the University of Southern Maine, and worked for the town of Cumberland’s Public Works and Fire departments while attending college.

Town Councilor Foreside

Andrew Magoun and George Turner are running for one Town Councilor Foreside seat next month. Magoun moved to Cumberland from Washington, D.C., in 2012, where he spent nine years as an intelligence analyst with the Department of Defense. He is a board member of the Portland Parks Conservancy.

Turner has extensive council experience, having served in Cumberland as a member of the Lands and Conservation Commission, Coastal Waters Commission and the Planning Board.

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SAD 51 School Board

Jeffery DiBartolomeo, Jesse Lamarre-Vincent, Abraham Suresh and Sean Thurston will vie for two seats on the SAD 51 School Board this June.

DiBartolomeo moved to Cumberland in 2019 with his family. He is a finance professor at USM and the father of a Greely student. In his Meet the Candidates bio, DiBartolomeo said he firmly believes that all community members and stakeholders should have a say in the direction of the school district.

Lamarre-Vincent has lived in Cumberland since 2017, and has two children in the SAD 51 district. He is a member of the town’s Lands and Conservation Commission, Sustainability Committee and chair of the Cumberland Community Orchard Subcommittee.

Suresh has been a resident of Maine for 25 years, with the last 14 in Cumberland. He works for the U.S. Postal Service and has two adult daughters who graduated from Maine schools. Suresh is passionate about volunteering, and currently volunteers for his church and for the Chebeague and Cumberland Land Trust.

“As an immigrant, I am very happy to have enjoyed the wonderful ‘American Dream’ that this country offers,” Suresh wrote for his Meet the Candidates bio. “I would love to continue to see that same dream enjoyed by this community’s children.”

Sean Thurston was born and raised in Cumberland and is a retired member of the Coast Guard. His daughter attends Mabel I. Wilson School. Thurston runs a small business in the local area.

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Once again, Cumberland and York counties taking brunt of major storm

Southern Maine areas still recovering from an icy late March storm are taking a pounding again today, with nearly half of all Cumberland County residents without power and some roads in York County impassable.And while the March 23 storm iced-over power lines and tree limbs, this time the danger is heavy, wet snow that is predicted to fall for several more hours.“We’re asking people to stay off the roads if possible,” said York County EMA Deputy Director Megan Arsenault. “We’re getting multiple rep...

Southern Maine areas still recovering from an icy late March storm are taking a pounding again today, with nearly half of all Cumberland County residents without power and some roads in York County impassable.

And while the March 23 storm iced-over power lines and tree limbs, this time the danger is heavy, wet snow that is predicted to fall for several more hours.

“We’re asking people to stay off the roads if possible,” said York County EMA Deputy Director Megan Arsenault. “We’re getting multiple reports from first responders that live wires are on the roads. Many roads are impassable.”

In Cumberland County, just under half of Central Maine Power customers were without power on Thursday, a number similar to the March storm, said EMA Director Michael Durkin.

He said “911 calls are in the hundreds” and urged people to stay off the roads if they can.

Durkin warned that conditions could change in a few hours.

“Five to six hours from now it could be different,” he said. “The big thing is to have folks stay home unless they have to go out.”

Durkin also recommended following local towns on social media, checking the state’s website to see if warming centers are open and calling 211 for non-emergency help.

Thursday’s powerful spring nor’easter is just the latest severe storm to knock out power to thousands across the state during an unusual and unpredictable five months.

A major rain and windstorm Dec. 18 knocked out power to more than 400,000 CMP customers and nearly 100,000 Versant Power customers. Some of them waited days to get power back as line crews responded to tree limbs and other hazards, including severe flooding of several major rivers.

Businesses in downtown Hallowell and Gardiner suffered extensive damage as did buildings in Skowhegan and Bethel, where road washouts made travel difficult for days.

Then in January, coastal towns faced nearly back-to-back storms that came at high tide, surging water into buildings and homes and destroying vital fishing wharves and docks.

The December and January storms caused so much damage that the federal government declared them disasters, unlocking millions in federal funds to help cities, towns and residents recover.

And while the Thursday spring snowstorm has knocked out power to thousands once again, it is not expected to cause severe damage.

It’s also not likely to be one for the record books — at least not in Portland, said Stephen Baron, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gray.

The daily snowfall record for April 4 is 6.4 inches set in 1915, he said. So far, the city’s gotten 4 inches and temperatures are rising.

“Maybe they could get two more?” he said. “But it’s going to be hard to accumulate.”

Cumberland woman kept quiet about her talent as a kid. Now, she’s singing on ‘American Idol’

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For much of her young life, Julia Gagnon didn’t share her gift for singing because she didn’t want to stand out among her classmates in Maine. The Guatemala native says she’d been bullied and harassed for her looks and background, and that made her want to be quiet and blend in.

WHAT: Two public watch parties for Julia Gagnon of Cumberland, who’ll be appearing on ABC’s “American Idol.”

WHERE: Bicentennial Learning Commons at North Yarmouth Academy, 148 Main St., Yarmouth; The Quarry Tap Room, 122 Water St., Hallowell.

WHEN: The Yarmouth event starts at 7 p.m. Sunday. The episode is scheduled to air 8-10 p.m., but people can arrive at The Quarry Tap Room earlier.

WHAT ELSE: Gagnon plans to be at the Yarmouth event when it starts, then later sing at the Hallowell event. The show can be seen locally on Portland TV station WMTW, Channel 8, as well as on streaming services offering ABC programming.

But on Sunday night, Gagnon, 21, will be seen sharing her vocal passion and talent with the whole world on the televised singing competition “American Idol.” She’s doing it, in large part, to share a special moment and journey with her birth mother in Guatemala, Sara Ramos, who is seriously ill and fighting an infection.

“ ‘American Idol’ being such a big international thing, I know this was something she could see me do and that I could share with her,” said Gagnon, who lives in Cumberland with her adoptive parents, Meg and Jim Gagnon.

Gagnon auditioned for “American Idol” in Nashville in the fall, and her performance will appear on Sunday’s episode, airing from 8-10 p.m. on ABC. A video of her audition, showing all three celebrity judges giving her a standing ovation, has been used in online promotions for the current season of the show, but was recently taken down. For her audition, Gagnon performed a powerful version of Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” and was praised by judge Lionel Richie in the video.

On Sunday’s episode, viewers will find out if Gagnon gets eliminated or gets the “golden ticket” to the next round of the show’s competition in Hollywood. During the Hollywood competitions, a field of about 150 singers will be whittled down to 24 finalists, who will be flown to Hawaii and compete against each other for the rest of the season. The current season began on Feb. 18, with several episodes showing auditions, but the final episode date has not been announced.

Courtesy of American Idol and Fremantle

Gagnon didn’t feel comfortable singing in public until she was in middle school and her class at North Yarmouth Academy was putting on a talent show. She thought it would be fun and chose to sing “Popular” from the musical “Wicked” because she had just seen it on Broadway. Her performance impressed classmates and stunned her teachers, including her chorus teacher, Nora Krainis, who had never really heard Gagnon sing because she usually lip-synched so she wouldn’t draw attention to herself.

“When she finally sang for me, I was blown away. She had this deep, ancient, mature voice. I don’t think she had any idea what she had,” Krainis said. “Once I heard her sing I wanted to create every opportunity for her to sing in concerts or in drama. But I’d check with her mom (Meg Gagnon) regularly to make sure I wasn’t pushing her into anything she didn’t want to do.”

Gagnon sang in high school concerts and musicals but then stopped singing when the pandemic hit and she entered Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. After three years there, she wanted to come home to Maine and enrolled at the University of Southern Maine, where she is a senior majoring in history and is on a pre-law track.

Her first summer back in Maine, in 2023, she heard about a competition called Central Maine Idol, which is modeled after “American Idol” and held at The Quarry Tap Room in Hallowell. Gagnon had watched a friend compete in it and realized she missed singing. So she entered and won the contest’s $10,000 prize.

Gagnon said she only sings songs she emotionally connects to. Two of the songs she sang during Central Maine Idol were “Show Yourself” from “Frozen” and “Stand Up” by English soul singer Cynthia Erivo.

“From the moment she belted out her first note, we knew we had a very special contestant with an amazing talent,” said Brian Root, of Winthrop, one of the Central Maine Idol’s producers. “Every week, Julia brought people out of their seats with standing ovations. She’s all in with every song she sings.”

Gagnon will be busy Sunday night, attending two watch parties in her honor. She’ll be at the first one, at North Yarmouth Academy, around 7 p.m. Her parents will stay there while she travels to the other party at The Quarry Tap Room, hopefully arriving about halfway through the episode. She’ll sing for the gathering as well.

“It’s so sweet, so nice of people to do this for us,” Gagnon said of the watch parties.

Gagnon said winning Central Maine Idol gave her the confidence to try out for “American Idol.” She said she had told her birth mother about the win and could sense she was proud. But Gagnon thought “American Idol” would be something her birth mother could take part in with her, by watching.

Gagnon only found her birth family when she was 18 and has kept in touch. She said it’s given her “a new appreciation for my real parents,” who adopted her and have raised her. Gagnon’s long-term plans have involved going to law school and, because of her personal history, practicing family law.

But she said her experience so far with “American Idol” has made her think about the possibility of doing something more with music. The show’s judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, have all had successful careers in music.

“It has crossed my mind, to take this opportunity and possibly do something more for myself with my music,” said Gagnon. “Yeah, I definitely have some newfound dreams.”

Cumberland Voters to Weigh In On Controversial Drowne Road Affordable Housing Proposal

On March 5, voters in the Town of Cumberland are set to weigh in on a controversial proposal to construct a 107-unit affordable housing development on the municipally-owned land located on Drowne Road.As the day of the vote draws closer, brightly colored lawn signs have begun to crop up throughout the town, vehemently advocating both for and against the affordable housing proposal.Of the 107 units slated for construction, there would be 71 one-bedroom apartments, 21 two-bedrooms, and 15 three-bedrooms. 36 of the one-bedroom uni...

On March 5, voters in the Town of Cumberland are set to weigh in on a controversial proposal to construct a 107-unit affordable housing development on the municipally-owned land located on Drowne Road.

As the day of the vote draws closer, brightly colored lawn signs have begun to crop up throughout the town, vehemently advocating both for and against the affordable housing proposal.

Of the 107 units slated for construction, there would be 71 one-bedroom apartments, 21 two-bedrooms, and 15 three-bedrooms. 36 of the one-bedroom units are to be reserved for senior citizens.

As it is currently designed, all 36 senior units would be in one building, while the remaining apartments would be split between two additional buildings.

The project also includes plans to construct an entrance and exit for the development on Tuttle Road in order to discourage the excess traffic from being funneled through the existing neighborhood.

Eligible to rent in the development would be households earning less than 60 percent of the area median incomes (AMI), which falls between $49,740 and $70,980 depending upon the size of the household.

One-bedroom units would be available for $1,332 a month, two-bedrooms for $1,597, three-bedrooms for $1,647.

If approved, the Drowne Road Project would be built on the land that currently houses two town-owned baseball fields used by Cumberland North Yarmouth Little League (CNYLL).

Should the project go forward, the team would “swap” the two Drowne Road fields for “a plot large enough to accommodate a 4-field complex at Stiles Way,” according to a public statement provided by the CNYLL.

The project is estimated to raise the town’s annual non-educational expenses by $24,248.

According to figures provided by the town, Cumberland’s per pupil expenses are $16,230. Westbrook Development Corporation — the developers responsible for the project — have suggested that as many as 36 children could ultimately end up living in the Drowne Road apartments.

Click Here to Read the Town of Cumberland’s FAQ Document for the Project

While supporters of the project have lauded it as a way to increase affordable housing and help those who work in Cumberland to afford to live there, opponents raised concerns about the impact it would have on existing taxpayers, as well as the town’s education system.

Those who already live on or near Drowne Road have also voiced worries about the possibility of increased vehicular traffic to the area as a result of the development.

The Portland Press Herald has published a series of letters from Cumberland residents expressing both support for and opposition to the 107-unit proposal.

“Some have voiced objections to the project, fearing higher taxes and more traffic, among other complaints,” wrote Richard Wolfe of Cumberland. “But almost no one has disputed the need for affordable housing. Shouldn’t housing be the priority?”

“Yes, let’s keep trying to contain taxes and provide better tax credits/assistance, but don’t let aversion to taxes torpedo a worthy cause (especially when, for years, houses got built that brought in families with schoolchildren),” Wolfe said.

“Like many residents, I initially had reservations about the proposed affordable housing project on Drowne Road,” wrote another Cumberland resident, Eleanor Wright. “Concerns about taxes, schools and traffic were swirling in my mind.”

“However, I took the initiative to address these concerns head-on,” Wright continued. “Community meeting recordings and articles in the Town Crier provided reassuring answers. Visiting the site on Drowne Road helped me visualize how the three-story buildings would seamlessly blend into the landscape.”

“Most importantly, my niece’s words made an impact. She emphasized the need for denser housing to conserve energy and resources, especially in light of climate change and recent extreme weather events,” Wright’s letter said. “As I envision a sustainable future for my grandchildren, her perspective resonated deeply.”

“[I] support new approaches encouraging the development of affordable housing in town,” wrote Rick Doane, a Cumberland resident and former member of Cumberland’s Affordable Housing Task Force. “Unfortunately, I can’t support the proposed 107-unit Drowne Road affordable housing project in its current form.”

“This project has been rushed through by the Town Council without real scrutiny or negotiation, too many unanswered questions exist and it’s simply too big for its proposed location,” Doane wrote.

“Beyond basic issues like traffic, impact on the town forest and school crowding, there are three major issues needing attention that argue against approving this project at this time,” Doane’s letter said, pointing toward “tax impacts,” “replacement Little League fields,” and “a silent ‘Phase 2.'”

“We need affordable housing in Cumberland, but this project fails too many important tests,” Doane concluded. “It deserves to be sent back to the council for genuine, public evaluation, not pushed through to check a box. An affordable housing project on Drowne Road could work, but this is not it.”

“Nearly all of the Cumberland citizens who have spoken out against the location, design and process for this project have also made clear they do not oppose the concept of providing affordable housing in Cumberland,” wrote David Niklaus, Cumberland resident and retired city administrator in Minneapolis and Boston. “This project is the wrong project in the wrong location.”

“It will bring more kids into the overcrowded Cumberland schools and will seriously disrupt peaceful and settled neighborhoods in the area that were built according to the town plan,” Niklaus wrote. “It will also provide substantial negative impact on the town budget for the library, public safety and all public services leading to tax increases.”

Affordable housing has been a topic of discussion in Maine for some time now, particularly with the release of the state’s Housing Production Needs Study this past fall, which found that approximately 84,000 more homes will be needed in the state by 2030.

Many municipal-level discussions of affordable housing have centered around a 2022 state law requiring that a number of amendments be made to local zoning ordinances in the name of improving affordable housing access.

Among the changes mandated by LD 2003An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions — were the unconditional allowance of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on residential housing lots and the implementation of an “affordable housing density bonus” that automatically multiplies the maximum allowed density for an area by 2.5 times for qualified affordable housing developments.

[RELATED: Cape Elizabeth Brings Zoning Ordinances into Compliance with State-Mandated Affordable Housing Requirements]

Six of seven members of the Cumberland Town Council voted to put final approval of the Drowne Road Project before residents as a referendum.

The question presented to voters on March 5 will read:

Shall the Town Council accept the proposal from Westbrook Development Corporation dated November 2, 2023, and subsequent site plan proposals for the development of 107 affordable housing units to be constructed on Town-owned property located off Drowne Road adjacent to Town Hall?

Cumberland’s Shane exemplifies ‘good local government and what it can be’

File photo / The ForecasterCumberland Town Manager Bill Shane will miss his day-to-day talks about the town with his staff when he retires in June.“We have some of the most talented staff here in Cumberland,” he said. “I couldn’t have been the manager I have been without the staff I have here. They’re amazing.”He’ll also find it difficult to step away from his role as founder and leader of the Cumberland Community Food Pantry, where he has volunteered alongside his wife Li...

File photo / The Forecaster

Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane will miss his day-to-day talks about the town with his staff when he retires in June.

“We have some of the most talented staff here in Cumberland,” he said. “I couldn’t have been the manager I have been without the staff I have here. They’re amazing.”

He’ll also find it difficult to step away from his role as founder and leader of the Cumberland Community Food Pantry, where he has volunteered alongside his wife Linda Shane for 12 years.

“It’s special. That’ll be one of the hardest things to walk away from,” Shane said. “But I don’t want to be the guy who doesn’t know when to leave.”

Shane’s retirement announcement this month after 21 years on the job wasn’t a big surprise. He’d told the Town Council three years ago his new contract would be his last. The council is currently searching for Shane’s replacement.

“We are going to miss working with Bill when he takes his much-deserved retirement, but are also so very grateful to have had him at the helm for the past two decades,” Council Chair Mark Segrist said.

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“While I have only had the pleasure of working with Bill for the last few years, I can honestly say that he strengthened my view of and appreciation for good local government and what it can be,” he said.

As both an engineer and a town manager, Shane is a hands-on problem solver who also has the ability to communicate complicated problems in a friendly, light and easy-to-understand way, Segrist said.

A graduate of the University of Maine, Shane began his career as a civil engineer working for the town of Yarmouth, and transitioned into town management in 2003.

In Cumberland, Shane helped facilitate the secession of Chebeague Island, boosted the town’s commercial development by over 7% and preserved open green space and trail systems.

Shane said he’s looking forward to slowing down, spending more time with his four granddaughters, and focusing on his health during retirement.

While he plans to work at least part-time in a field like civil engineering for the next few years, Shane doesn’t know what else is next.

“I might be kicked out to the golf course every morning and my wife will say, ‘Don’t come home until 5!’” he joked.

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