Billie Jo Gates-Shorey

  • High School Scholarships

    With the new school season starting, I was thinking it might be a good idea to start collecting money for scholarships to be awarded to upcoming Stearns and Schenck graduates. The scholarships could be awarded to individuals that have made efforts to uplift the community. Maybe something like this would entice the students to get more involved with the Our Katahdin platform.

  • Have two economic engines for the Katahdin Region, both tourism and manufacturing.

    The Katahdin Region can rise again if it does exactly what the CBZ letter tells them to do. Millinocket has so much potential of becoming a tourist town. Obviously Millinocket is the gateway to Baxter State Park, Mt. Katahdin, and Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail to the north. Whitewater rafting on the West Branch of the Penobscot River and the Debsconeag Ice Caves to the west. And Gulf Hagas (The Grand Canyon of Maine/ the East) to the south. And Millinocket has a couple of art galleries in town. Also hunters, fishermen, ATV riders, and snowmobilers pass by a lot. Millinocket has a walking path (Mike Michaud Path) that runs parallel to Millinocket Stream. Tourists would love to walk around to explore and relax. And also the Katahdin Region can seek out for any manufacturing investment to come. So the Katahdin Region can have two economic engines for the prosperity to come. I don't see any reason why we can't have both the tourism and manufacturing industry up here.

  • Bus / Van Tours

    My idea is to start a bus / van tour business. I would suggest picking up tourists out of Portland for what would be a 3-day tour. The first day could be spent exploring the coast on Route 1. There are tons of picturesque places to stop. Maybe visit a lighthouse and stop for lobster rolls or a seafood dinner. Stopping at LL Bean might be another option. The second day could be spent in Bar Harbor. Passengers could take a trolley tour of Mount Cadillac or go on a whale watching cruise. The third day would be spent in the Katahdin area. Maybe explore Baxter State Park for a bit, take passengers to popular Moose hang outs or to watch the river rafters. Not sure if anyone offers boat rides on Ambajejus Lake or Millinocket Lake, but that might be a possible source of entertainment. Something like this could bring business to hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops. Another option would be to run two-day tours out of Bangor. One day could be spent in Bar Harbor and the other in the Katahdin region. The tours could be tailored to the seasons. I think something like this would be extremely attractive to someone visiting Maine for the first time. It would be an opportunity to see all of the best that Maine has to offer and not have to worry about self-navigation. As far I could tell, no one is currently offering an all-encompassing tour like this, or if they are, it isn’t being advertised very well and there is always room for another player. I feel like there has always been a separation between the coast and the mountains of Maine, but to me the coast and the mountains are equally beautiful and I don’t see why they can’t work off of each other. Maybe there are people that prefer the coast over the mountains, or vice versa, but I suspect there are quite a few that enjoy both and I think this would be a great way to promote the state of Maine, not just its individual parts.

  • Storybook Trail

    Is there a hiking trail somewhere that could be turned into a storybook trail? This could be a simple effort, for instance, displaying the pages of a book every so often along the trail for families to stop and read. On the other end of the spectrum, something more elaborate could be done, like building little storybook houses for children to visit (the three bear's house for example) or displaying fake plants and animals along the trail for children to find. Etc., the possibilities are endless.

  • Outdoor Antique Flea Market

    Outdoor Antique Flea Markets are popular on the coast of Maine in the spring, summer and fall. They are usually located right off of Route 1. Why not designate a Flea Market space for the tri-town area in a high-traffic location. People could sell there for a weekend, get rid of some unwanted items from their house and put a little extra money in their pocket, or others might be able to do something more permanent and turn it into a little antique business.

  • Revitalize Hillcrest Park

    $5,200.00 raised
    GOAL: $5,000.00

  • Little Italy Playground

    It seems as though the Little Italy playground is underutilized. I’ve seen a lot of parks with water fountain play areas for kids, see picture. With these systems, little streams of water randomly shoot up from the ground and kids just love to splash around in these fountains. They can even be made to light up at night. I think the Little Italy playground would be a great place to build a fountain like this and in addition a little frozen lemonade or slush drink stand could be stationed inside the playground. Another thought is to use this area for an annual Italian food festival or Italian heritage festival. I would love to see attention brought back to Little Italy. A group of Italian people took a chance and immigrated to town to help build a paper mill. I think it would be poetic to build Little Italy back up and symbolize a new era of taking chances.

  • Put the Italian back in Little Italy

    I would love to see some life brought back to Little Italy. I think Little Italy would be a great place to open a brick oven pizzeria. Maybe there could be some outdoor seating with a view of Millinocket Stream. There are a few brick oven pizzerias where I live and they are extremely popular, always packed. A couple other possibilities are an Italian bakery or Italian sub shop (Italian sandwiches, meatball subs, sausage subs). An Italian food truck parked near the Little Italy playground could be another option.

  • Paddle Boat Rentals at Jerry Pond

    I am not sure what the current condition of Jerry Pond is, but last I knew it was not suitable for swimming. If this is still the case, why not make it a place to rent paddle boats. Maybe a picnic area and a children’s play area could be built on the other side of the pond. Fairy houses are popular, so maybe some little fairy houses could be built in the trees and kids could make their own fairy houses on the ground with twigs, rocks and leaves from the forest. Another option might be to make it a challenge to travel all the way around the pond. Boxes could be set up around the pond with different colored tickets inside. Collecting all of the tickets would show you made it around the pond. I also think Jerry Pond would be a great place to build an ice cream shop.

  • Donn Fendler Safety Center

    I have always thought that something should be done to highlight the story of Donn Fendler getting lost on Mount Katahdin. The story is a reminder that the woods can be unpredictable and dangerous. Why not create a safety center somewhere along the way to Baxter State Park and use the story to help better prepare tourists for their visit to Baxter State Park. This center could display pictures and show an abbreviated video depiction of Donn’s story and in conjunction it could provide various types of safety advice, for instance, what to do if you get lost, hurt or come into contact with an angry wild animal, what berries are safe to eat, campfire tips, etc. This could also be a place to sell pertinent books, namely Donn Fendler’s book, and various survival supplies, first and foremost bug spray, ha. Maybe someone has a better idea, but it seems as though something should be done with this fascinating story.

  • Add comment (optional)

  • Night Water Festival at Jerry Pond

    There are some amazing things that can be done with water and lights, for instance, the water fountain show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the cute light parade on the lagoon at Disney World and the way they illuminate Niagara Falls. I was thinking why not hold a nighttime mini water and light festival. I think Jerry Pond would be a great location for such an event. Maybe there could be a little water parade. Have a couple of boats tow some floats decorated with lights around the pond. Maybe there could be some kind of fountain/light show. You could go big and buy a floating fountain system made for lakes and ponds for a few thousand dollars or do something more small scale and decorate the pond with illuminated floating swimming pool fountains for about $40 each, or just borrow the fountain from the Credit Union, ha, ha, just kidding. Another option might be renting a fountain system, or maybe there are companies for hire that put on fountain shows? Maybe there could be a little fireworks show in the middle of the pond from a wharf. The picnic areas could be decorated with lights and illuminated paper lanterns could hang from trees. Children could launch floating lanterns or little toy sailboats on the water with battery operated tea lights inside. They sell beach balls with glow sticks inside of them, so could have a few of those around for kids to play with. Maybe a few floating sky lanterns could be released. Everyone could toast marshmallows. Maybe there could be campfire stories for the kids. Vendors could sell food and glow products. The beach in Medway by the bridge or Millinocket Lake might be other possible locations? Since Millinocket Lake has several resorts, this might be a way to attract additional business, but because there are private camps on the lake, I don't know what types of restrictions there might be? In closing, I think this has the potential to be a unique and fun event.

  • "Mobile Movie Theater 2.0" for the Katahdin Region

    $2,707.00 raised
    GOAL: $2,707.00

  • Santa's Village

    While it's nice for the kids to have a Christmas party at the Stearn's gym, it isn't the Norman Rockwell kind of memory some of us have. When even just the Gazebo was decorated this year, the whole town seemed to come to life. Mrs. Ferland does such a beautiful job decorating storefronts. The beautiful park seems so underutilized. Someone moved to Millinocket from the same town I grew up in and we were talking about the wonderful memories we had. (And that's still providing memories after 100 years!!--Many generations enjoy it still.) I haven't figured out a lot of details yet, but I would love to do what it takes to make this happen. Starting small with maybe just a Santa's house, (anyone have an Ice Shack they don't use anymore?) staffed by volunteers and maybe a few wooden soldiers, wooden rocking horses (calling all wood workers looking fo a project???) The whole park could be Santa's Village.  We could get a lot of lights and decorations at yard sales and thrift shops. There's a family in town who has a relative that actually owns reindeer and although they live pretty far away and it is a busy time for Reindeer (lol), there's just so many possibilities.

  • Bicycle Rentals

    Is anyone renting bicycles in the area? If not, I think it would be a good business opportunity.

  • Phone App for Moose Sightings

    I spent several summers home from college working at the store on Millinocket Lake. One of the most frequent questions we got from tourists was where to find a moose. I was thinking that a phone app created for moose sightings might be a good idea. Someone visiting the area could look at the app to see where the most recent sightings have occurred. Young people are great with technology. Maybe this could be an extracurricular activity for the high schools. I don't believe moose hunting is allowed in Baxter State Park, so maybe Baxter State Park would be willing to partner with the area high schools to create this technology and give those that have never seen a moose better odds to find one. This is just an example, maybe there is potential for other sorts of apps. An extracurricular activity like this would be interesting on a college application and heightened technology would make for a better vacation experience.

  • This is just an idea, but lots of towns have harvest festivals. Since the Katahdin area is rich in blueberries, maybe you could label this a Katahdin Blueberry Festival and the cooking contest could be berry recipes? The area bars could have blueberry ale tastings. Maybe the area restaurants and stores would be willing to offer discounts on berry products? Was trying to think of some common theme all three towns could appreciate?

  • Walking Trail Around Jerry Pond

    At one point I heard plans to clear a walking path around Jerry Pond. Is that something that is really in the works? If not, I think it should be. I think that is a wonderful idea. That would be a great way for people to get out and get some exercise and explore nature. It would also bring back some much needed life to this little gem of a pond.

  • North Woods Aquarium/Museum

    How about building a North Woods Aquarium/Museum. This could be a place to view trout, salmon, etc. and learn about fishing. It could be a place to learn about the area lakes and rivers, past, present and future and it could pay tribute to river logging and the history of paper making.