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Jay board chooses Pixelle paper mill workers for Spirit of America Award

JAY, Maine (From news reports) -- Selectpersons voted Monday to award the annual Spirit of America Award to paper mill workers as a group for their volunteerism over more than 100 years.

The Spirit of America Foundation recognizes volunteerism in communities on behalf of municipalities.

Selectperson Lee Dalessandro nominated the workers.

Pixelle Specialty Solutions' Androscoggin Mill is expected to permanently close about April 30. The company made the announcement in September. Initially it was to close in the first quarter of 2023.

The closing means there will be no paper mills in the Jay, Livermore Falls area. The Otis Mill, which was initially owned by International Paper Co., closed in 2009 under Wausau Paper Corp. ownership. It had straddled the Livermore Falls line.

There are a lot of things the people at the mill have done over the years when help was needed, Dalessandro said.

Vice Chairman Tim DeMillo asked where the award should be displayed.

After discussion, it was determined it should be at Maine's Paper & Heritage Museum on Church Street in Livermore Falls.

A formal presentation of the award will be held at a time and location to be announced.

Dalessandro suggested the board could identify a few of the people, such as some of the older workers, to tell their stories.

Selectperson Gary McGrane said he thought about nominating individuals such as Deb Roberts who worked with others for a grant to rebuild the tennis courts at Spruce Mountain schools in Jay.

He also said he would recuse himself from the vote because he accepted a position on the board of directors of the Spirit of America Foundation.

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