The Presque Isle Rotary Club is gearing up for its 68th annual Radio and TV Auction, which will be held on Tuesday, Dec.1, Wednesday, Dec. 2, and Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, and broadcast live from the Northeastland Hotel. Co-Chairs Gina LeBlanc-Eggert and Mandy Pooler-Hall and more than 100 Presque Isle Rotarians are hard at work preparing for this year’s auction, which will benefit seven non-profit organizations in the region, as well as raise funds for this year’s special project, Quoggy Jo Ski Center.
 
“The Presque Isle Rotary Auction is a traditional event that takes a full year to plan and brings our communities together,” LeBlanc-Eggert said. “Every year, we are astounded by the continued support and generosity from our donors. I am so proud to be from the County and living in an area that makes a difference in the lives of people and families that are around us each and every day. The Presque Isle Rotary Club is reminded at this time of year that we could not do this event without all of you—the donors, the bidders, the Rotarians and our communities as a whole. With much gratitude to everyone who has and will play their part in this year’s auction, thank you.”
 
The auction can be followed in a variety of ways: Time Warner Cable - Channel 9, Big Country 97 (96.9), Facebook at presqueislerotary, Twitter @PIRotary and on the club’s website at www.presqueislerotary.org. Bids are only accepted by the phone numbers (207) 764-6100 or 1-866-902-2003 during the auction, which takes place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. each evening with items up for bid every half hour.
 
This year’s auction features over 600 auction items from over 190 donors with a total value of items estimated at more than $54,000. The auction has a long list of Three-Night items, One-Night items and Half-Hour items. The 27 Three-Night items include a $3,000 contribution toward a heat pump (Item # 1501) to a Honda Snow Thrower (Item # 1510). The three different nights of One-Night items include a dinner for two with a half-hour scenic flight (Item #1308) to a Samsung Galaxy Tablet (Item #1405). The Half-Hour items include many offerings, such as Photo DVD’s of Aroostook County, gift certificates to a wide range of County businesses and services, as well as passes to events such as the Shrine Circus.
 
Some very special art items will be up for bid as Three-Night, One-Night and Half-Hour items. Wintergreen Arts Center is taking part in the Rotary Auction with a “CHAIR-ity” theme. Local artists have taken chairs of all sizes and materials and transformed them into more than 30 works of art as part of the center’s CHAIR-ity Art Auction. Fifteen of these chairs will be featured and sold during the Rotary Auction. All proceeds from the art items will benefit Wintergreen Arts Center. Art pieces are currently on display at Wintergreen and links to photos of the chairs can be found on Rotary’s Facebook page.
 
Proceeds from this year’s regular auction will go toward seven area non-profit organizations that were chosen for funding, namely:
 
Aroostook Autism Support Group ($2,000) to support the Annual Aroostook Autism Conference 2016, which will bring trainings and resources to Aroostook County, and various vendors and agencies that provide assistance and support to individuals affected by autism.
 
Grace Interfaith Food Table (GIFT) ($1,300) for an upright refrigerator (24 cubic feet) and hand trucks to hold 600 pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables, milk products, eggs and cheese that all need to be refrigerated during a week’s time.
 
Presque Isle Fire Department ($2,500) to give its Fire Extinguisher Fill Station Ventilation Hood System the ability to fill empty fire extinguishers. This will allow the fire department to fulfill its duty to protect local citizens from small fires not requiring a water hose.
 
Presque Isle Historical Society ($2,000) to fund an Education Exhibit to educate the general public, primarily children and youth, as to the rich history of agriculture, farms and specifically potato farming in the area.
 
Presque Isle Snowmobile Club ($2,000) for the replacement of the club’s 6-burner gas range. The club offers its clubhouse to many non-profit organizations for Stew Nights, parties and meetings.
 
Northern Maine Veterans Cemetery ($1,263) for the purchase of 30 5-by 8-feet American Flags to be used to fly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, May through Veterans Day in November at the cemetery’s Avenue of Flags.
 
St. Apollonia Dental Clinic ($4,000) for the inhalation sedation equipment needed to treat children requiring care for extreme dental disease that would otherwise be referred to Bangor or further south.
 
The Presque Isle Rotary Club also chooses a project or organization to receive Special or Major Project status. Past major projects have included mammography, dialysis and other much-needed equipment for the local hospital, a new roof for the Catholic Charities of Maine warehouse in Caribou, upgrades to Mantle Lake Park, lighting at the Nordic Heritage Center, and the establishment of a non-profit dental clinic to serve disadvantaged children in the region, to name just a few.
 
This year’s Special Project goal of $25,000 is earmarked for Quoggy Jo Ski Center to help fund its Safety Project Campaign for Capital Improvements. This effort will address the much-needed replacement of aging equipment and help the ski center to provide safe, reliable and economical winter recreation activities—both day and nighttime—to the children and families of Presque Isle and the surrounding communities.
 
The Presque Isle Rotary Club maintains a membership of approximately 100 individuals and is part of a world-wide organization of community volunteers. The slogan of Rotary is “Service Above Self” and the club seeks to live up to this ideal by supporting a variety of causes for the betterment of the community. For over 65 years, the Presque Isle Rotary Club has held an annual auction to raise funds to support local charities and non-profit organizations. Last year, with generous donations from the community, the club raised over $32,000 for various organizations and charitable causes including Martha and Mary's Ministries, Catholic Charities, Wintergreen Arts Center, United Way of Aroostook, C.A.N.C.E.R, University of Maine Presque Isle - Geology Department, and Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp.
 
Auction co-chairs Gina LeBlanc-Eggert and Mandy Pooler-Hall, along with the PI Rotary Club as a whole, are looking forward to another exciting auction this year. The club could not successfully complete this enormous task without the support of donors, viewers, listeners, and bidders. Anyone who is interested in learning more about Rotary and its ideals can visit www.PresqueIsleRotary.org or contact any Rotary member.