About Us


villages-vp-photo-sign-lows-covered-bridgeThe Villages of Piscataquis County Audio Tour is the result of a Penquis Leadership Institute Class of 2006 project. Not content to simply turn in a design at the end of class, a group of volunteer PLI students has continued to work on creation of an actual audio CD for each loop of the tour, providing travelers with guidance to Villages signs while also entertaining them with stories and songs along the way. This website and supporting print materials are also the result of that PLI 2006 class project.

Volunteers have had much to do. Funding must be secured for each sign, and wording worked out with local historians. Advertising must be sold to support print materials. Eventually, the entire package will come together, including the capacity for visitors to download the audio tour directly from our website. Be sure to check back often to see what new ground we’ve covered.

Gayle Worden, Project Director

Gayle Worden is Executive Director of Friends of Community Fitness, a nonprofit fitness and community center in Sangerville, ME. A graduate of the 2005-2006 class of the Penquis Leadership Institute, she agreed to chair the class project (Villages of Piscataquis County)to insure it’s completion. The class vision was to not only develop a blueprint for the project, but to make sure that blueprint didn’t set on a shelf and gather dust. By bringing together key talents within the community, she and George Barton have driven the project forward. Gayle has been involved in several community projects over the years including the Piscataquis River Festival, served as President of the Guilford Area Kiwanis, member of the Piscataquis Tourism Task Force and works on the board of other nonprofits in the County. To find out more about Gayle’s community work via her day job go to www.friendsofitness.com. Liberal Arts Graduate of UMA

Sheila Grant, Editor

Sheila Grant, EditorSheila Grant has been a writer/photographer for over a decade. Her work has been recognized by the Maine Press Association and the New England Outdoor Writers Association. She is a regular contributor to The Piscataquis Times, Bangor Daily News Special Sections, Northwoods Sporting Journal and to Game and Fish magazines covering Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and New England. Her work also recently appeared in Bangor Metro magazine and at www.OneNewEngland.com. Sheila’s background as an executive director of local non-profit agencies, and the county’s first PCEDC community development specialist, has provided her with a comprehensive overview of the region and its people, as well as the challenges and rewards of living in Piscataquis County. She lives in Parkman with her husband Gary, son Jonathan, daughter Becky, two dogs, one cat, three rats, a tank full of fish and a cockatiel named Ziggy. For more information, visit www.sdgrant.com.

Sid Stutzman, our “Audio Master”

Sid’s songwriting reflects a deep love for the land the and people, creating what he calls “the Maine Experience.” Being a third-generation farmer has given Sid a unique opportunity to observe the personalities of native animals, many of which are found in his original songs such as “Fly, Crow, Fly,” “The Chosen Ones,” and “Moose Blues.” Sid’s strong interest in local history has also helped shape the writing of songs such as “The Lost Child,” recorded by the Douty Hill Band in 1980, and “The Stream People,” which takes listeners back to the days of traveling carriage roads.

Suzette East, ArtistSuzette East, Maine Artist

Maine wildlife artist Suzette East, a member of the PLI Class 2006, created the Villages logo, custom artwork and coloring pages for this website. Suzette was born in Millinocket, a small Maine town located in the north woods at the base of Mount Katahdin. The area is rich with lakes, mountains, trees and, of course, wildlife. This setting seems to have set in motion a love of nature and a desire to emulate it in art form. Like most youngsters back then, Suzette picked up crayons and drew on anything, much to the dismay of her mom! That love of seeing an image evolve was strong, motivating Suzette as she moved to upstate New York and attended art classes at R.I.T. and U of R. After moving back to Maine, she devoted herself to creating colorful works of art depicting nature scenes around her Brownville home. She operates a small art studio in her “big ol’ house” where she lives with her husband, David, and an art critic coon cat, Lizzie Beth. When not painting commissions, Suzette and Lizzie can be found snuggling on the couch while sharing chocolate chip cookies and getting lost in a great novel.

George Barton M.A., Sign Coorindator

George graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1966 with a B.A. in American History. In 1975 he completed his Masters of Arts degree and wrote his dissertation was on the Governorship of Joshua L. Chamberlain. During service with the U.S Army he served as an instructor in Military History at The U.S. Army Armor School, Ft. Knox, KY.

Following active duty with the Army, he became an Adjunct instructor in American and World History at Walters State Community College in Morristown, TN and later for Eastern Maine Community College at the Penquis Higher Education Center in Dover-Foxcroft.

George moved to Dover-Foxcroft in the summer of 2004, after being away from Maine for 36 years. He returned to Maine to pursue retirement goals, and settled in Piscataquis County due to close family ties in the area. In the intervening years he was an annual visitor to the Sebec and Brownville area.

George is long time Kiwanian and has served as President of the Three Rivers Kiwanis of Milo and Brownville. George has also become engaged in local government, serving on the on several boards and committees. He is an elected Trustee of Hospital Administrative District 4. A veteran of 23 years of active and reserve military service he is a member of American Legion Post 41, in Milo.

Tom Lyford

Poet, humorist, and storyteller,’ Tom Lyford has been a featured guest performer at cafés, schools, andTom Lyford’s Book Cover libraries from Portland and Camden to Millinocket and Rumford. Tom frequently provides poetry and writing workshops for area schools, and performs monthly at local nursing homes. His poetry has been published in the Bangor Daily News and several Maine journals such as Wolf Moon Press, Bangor Metro, and Off the Coast. He was instrumental in initiating the first annual three-day Belfast Poetry Festival in 2005. In the last five years, Tom has published five poetry chapbooks, three of which have garnered positive reviews in Off the Coast poetry journal and the Bangor Daily News. In August 2009, he released his first non-fiction work, a sardonic memoir entitled, Work Aversion Trauma: A Lifetime of Suffering.

Media Coverage

Bangor Metro, December 2007:


Maine Biz, June 2008: