* Agendas and Minutes






Minutes of MASSAC Meeting

Thursday October 22, 2009

at MITC, 4 to 6PM


In attendance:  Neale Duffett, Don Nicoll, Lisa Adams, Pat Parker, Anne Hurst Nanovic,  Suzanne Olson, Steve MacDougall, Naoto Kobayashi


Welcome. Our meeting began with Naoto-san sharing the posters created by Hall-Dale students recording their memories of their summer 2009 visit to Aomori.  It was a great pleasure to see the tangible evidence of how much these cross-cultural experiences mean to the young people of Maine.


Organizational news.  Lisa reported to the group that she was stepping down as Chair.  Happily for MASSAC, Steve MacDougall has agreed to serve as Chair and Lisa will begin steps to seek his appointment by the Governor.  Lisa spoke of Steve’s long history and enthusiastic involvement with Aomori.  Steve’s years as principal of Hall-Dale High School, his current involvement as a consultant to the Department of Education as well as his strong organizational skills will be of great benefit to MASSAC moving forward.  She also reported that Domenica Cipollone has retired from USM and is no longer able to represent that organization on the Council, though she has expressed an interest in being involved with Friends of Aomori.  After many years of faithful service Steve Simonds has also requested to step down.  JR Phillips has asked that another representative of the Maine State Museum serve in his place as the cutbacks at the museum have made it impossible for him to continue to dedicate time to MASSAC.  These three individuals have made great contributions to MASSAC and will be sorely missed.


MASSAC Structure and Functioning.  The group discussed the role of MASSAC moving forward.  Steve articulated the importance of revisiting the intent of MASSAC, who should be involved in the Council, and where best to dedicate time and energy to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the organization.  We discussed the possibility of amending the Executive Order that established MASSAC to restructure the organization and/or revise the mission.  We also talked about the need to reconsider how the Council seats are filled and how to help generate recommitted energy to the mission of the Council.  The group felt that Friends of Aomori should be allowed to lie dormant for the time being.  There is no urgency to obtaining the 501(c)(3) status and whether to do so will depend in part on other organizational decisions moving forward. The group agreed to a  3 to 4 hour-long gathering of the Council, (including certain past Council members and others with strong interest in the Maine-Aomori relationship – Domenica, Steve S., Lynn Thompson, JR, Deb Andrews) to consider in detail the future of MASSAC.


Current obligations of MASSAC.  While there was consensus that the principal focus of MASSAC in the next 12 months should be its structure and function, it was also acknowledged that certain ongoing commitments must be honored:

            Spring delegations to Maine and Aomori Don, Lisa, Anne and Steve agreed to meet to discuss in greater detail how best to proceed with the upcoming “twin delegations” that have been tentatively scheduled for the spring 2010 with a focus on energy. The group discussed the need to better identify the areas of mutual interest on the part of the two states in the field of energy.  In discussing the role of MITC in the upcoming delegations,  Anne reported on the fall 2009 State Trade Mission to Germany and Spain.  That group consisted largely of businesses (18 of them). There were few non-business participants, just  the Governor and Jack Cashman of the Public Utilities Commission and a representative of the Northern Maine Community College wind turbine maintenance program.   Anne expressed the view that the potential for sales/investment drive business participation in delegations, not research or exploratory talks.  Anne felt that it would be important for businesses to hear directly from Aomori about the potential for trade and Don suggested the possibility of a video conference during which Aomori could present information to Maine businesses.  We also discussed the possibility that involving businesses at this point might be premature and expand the focus of the mission beyond what is reasonably do-able at this point. We discussed the importance of clarifying roles and responsibilities in preparing for the delegation.  In keeping with the goal of limiting MASSAC’s role to primarily that of facilitating relationships between Maine and Aomori, it would be best if we could encourage participating entities to take on at least part of the responsibility of organizing the delegation visits. Anne has a power point presentation created by MITC on the state of wind energy in Maine that she will send to Lisa. This could be very helpful in our communications with Aomori.  Suzanne suggested MEMIC as a possible source for reproducing the Energy Brochure that we have struggled with due to inability to reproduce in black and white.  Steve will check with Capital Area Technical School on printing.

            Hello from the Other Side of the World book project.   Lisa reported on Sawada-san’s health and Scott Nash’s discussions with Penguin.  As Nancy Gibson Nash had reported in an email:  “Scott spoke to Lauri [at Penguin], who was concerned and sympathetic that Toshiki had a health crisis and suggested we just put the project on hold until he is better. Scott doesn't think it will jeopardize anything, she's just giving Toshiki time to heal and will re-visit the contract then.”  Lisa provided a website link in the agenda to a detailed description of bone marrow transplants for those who would like to understand Toshiki’s situation.   We understand that he is scheduled for a transplant in early November.  There is also a link in the agenda to the bone marrow registry. Lisa has joined and relayed how simple a process it is – just a few cheek swabs.  The registries are shared among many nations, a wonderful example of international cooperation.


Other brief reports:

            Cindy Burrell Mathews has agreed to take on the newsletter.   Lisa will be in touch with her about that.  We discussed moving to an electronic newsletter and suggested that the next newsletter announce the change and ask for email addresses as well as the names of any who prefer to receive a hard copy.  This issue would ideally be supported financially by an organization/business/individual whose sponsorship  could be highlighted in the newsletter.

            Scholarship Committee  $300 remains with JASM on behalf of MASSAC for scholarships.  The group agreed that MASSAC should not undertake fundraising and that the best response to inquiries regarding scholarships at this juncture is to share the fundraising tips put together by Ann Thompson.

            Website Development.  Steve offered to explore finding a student who would be able to help us develop a website, which all agreed was important.  The Garmin given to FOA when its account was opened at Key Bank will be offered as compensation.  All agreed that a web presence is critical and overdue.

Bath’s Annual Meeting.  We decided it was best at this point in time not to make a presentation about MASSAC as we work through our analysis of MASSAC’s proper roles.  Naoto-san was obliged to leave before this discussion, but we hoped to ask him if there was any possibility of a Taiko performance for Bath on October 28.



Respectfully submitted,


Lisa Adams