The Many Moments of March 2022 in Aroostook County
March 2022 in Aroostook County was eventful as we began to switch from winter to spring and moved the clocks ahead an hour. We saw triumph with local athletes taking claim to titles, and unspeakable tragedies on both ends of The County.
Kids, you may ditch the masks
As the previous month ended, many local school boards and districts made the decision to switch to a masking optional policy. Throughout the first 2-3 weeks of March many schools allowed their students and parents to make the choice not to wear masks in school, for the first time in 2 years.
Sights not seen before
Perhaps the most bizarre moment of March was the great bison escape between Fort Fairfield and Presque Isle. 11 bison wandered out of their pen and worked their way across the road and spent most of their day in the Quoggy Jo and Nordic Heritage Center area. The adventure quickly became statewide news and the rescue efforts took most of the day. Sadly, there was one from the herd lost when the bison collided with a truck.
There were many victories for student-athletes in Aroostook County throughout the month of March. The Southern Aroostook Warriors boys’ basketball team won the Class D State Championship for the first time since 1991! Winning was a community event, as the girls' team also won the Class D State title, sending the Dyer Brook area into a frenzy. Mapleton's Hudson Porter finished in 3rd place at the New England Regional Elks Hoop Shoot Competition. Presque Isle Youth Hockey had several teams win various tournaments across the state and in New Hampshire, and hosted a tournament at the Forum to close out the season.
Wednesday March 23 was a day that saw two young lives lost in separate tragedies. In Houlton an apartment fire displaced dozens of residents, and resulted in the death of 4-year-old Taimi Pinkham. Crews from multiple towns helped to fight the blaze throughout the entire day. That same day 12-year-old Ethan Townsend from Fort Kent died after a skiing accident on a school trip to Lonesome Pines Ski Trails. He was a student at the Valley Rivers Community Middle School in Fort Kent.
The Can-Am sled dog races saw one of the largest crowds ever turnout to cheer on the mushers and teams from the starting gate. Governor Janet Mills made an appearance and spoke to the crowd of supporters. Local schools announced MPA Principals Award winners throughout the month of March. Chloe Sleeper (Caribou), Hunter Burpee (Southern Aroostook), and Madison Picard (Wisdom) were named as MPA Principals Award winners for their schools.
There were three major coaching vacancies open up as basketball season ended for high schools in Maine. In Houlton, Shawn Graham stepped down as the girls' varsity basketball coach after 18 seasons leading the Shires program. Just one week later we learned that Jeff Hudson was retiring from coaching after a 23-year run as the head coach of the Presque Isle girls' varsity basketball team. One of the more surprising moments came when Terry Cummings announced his resignation as head coach of the Presque Isle boys’ basketball team and as the varsity softball coach.
So sweet and sugary
Maine Maple Sunday took place on the final full weekend of March. Many people flocked to local sugar shacks to sample some tasty treats made from sap. This was the perfect way for many to end a chaotic month in Aroostook County. Here is a picture gallery of these events and more from March in Aroostook County!