Rep. Arata's News from the Legislature

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Town of New Gloucester

385 Intervale Road, New Gloucester, ME 04260

(207) 926-4126 (phone) / (207) 926-4136 (fax)

Town of Poland

1231 Maine Street, Poland, ME 04274

(207) 998-4601 (phone) / (207) 998-2002 (fax)


Camping Reservations Open

ONLY Sebago Lake State Park beginning, February 1, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. EST* Online Campground Registration and Information

Group camping reservations are also underway…phone numbers are listed online here.

All Others - Friday, February 5, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. EST. for all 12 of the State park family camping sites.  (Storm date if Maine State Government is closed - Monday, February 8, 2021.)


Call for Artists - Allagash Wilderness Waterway Visiting Artist Program 2021

Applications may be submitted for the Allagash Wilderness Waterway 2021 Visiting Artist Program beginning Monday, February 1.  Application deadline is February 28.

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) has fueled the imagination of native Americans, rusticators, and artisans for centuries.  When Henry David Thoreau made his journey to Pillsbury Island on Eagle Lake in the mid-1800s, he was inspired to write about his adventure in The Maine Woods.  Since then, many visitors have attempted to capture the Allagash headwater lakes and lower river's beauty and solitude through stories, drawings, photography, and music.

To honor this history, the AWW is continuing its Visiting Artist Program.  The Program's goal is to immerse an artist in the exceptional AWW wilderness to interpret and share their experience through their art.

The selected artist will receive:

  • rustic cabin lodging* on the Waterway for two weeks during the month of August;
  • an orientation to the Waterway by AWW rangers; and
  • the opportunity to invite one guest to join them free of charge.

Please note that no stipend is provided.

* The one-room cabin provided is located at Lock Dam on the northern end of Chamberlain Lake.  It is approximately 10 miles from the boat launch at the southern end of Chamberlain Lake and 60 miles from the nearest town, Millinocket.  It does not have electricity.  It has hand-pumped running water, a woodstove, gas appliances (cookstove and refrigerator), and solar-powered lights.

Learn more about this program by:


  • visiting  the AWW Web page -  where a link to additional information and the online application is now live.


2-1-1 Maine -- Services and Support

Find services in your area by selecting an area of need or by searching by keyword.  You can also dial 211 or text your zip code to 898-211.

COVID-19 Information

Due to the spread of COVID-19, many agencies have changed how they offer programs and services.  Contact 2-1-1 Maine to learn about the types of assistance available during the pandemic.

Heating Fuel Payment Assistance

If you need help paying to heat your home, 2-1-1 Maine can help connect you with heating fuel assistance programs to keep you and your family safe and warm.


Learn about programs that offer rental assistance, subsidized housing, and housing vouchers that can help families, older adults, and individuals with disabilities afford housing.

Substance Use Resources

Find resources for drug and alcohol addiction treatment, support, and rehabilitation.  If you or a loved one are struggling with opiate addiction, 2-1-1 Maine can help you find information about local programs.


Maine Statewide Crisis Hotline

1-888-568-1112 (Voice) or 711 (Maine Relay)

The Maine Crisis Hotline helps to stabilize individuals and families while assisting in crisis resolution and action planning.  If you are concerned about yourself or about somebody else, call the 24-hour crisis hotline and speak with a trained crisis clinician who can connect you to the closest crisis center.

For more information, click here.


2021 Tax Filing Season Begins February 12

IRS outlines steps to speed refunds during pandemic

The Internal Revenue Service announced that the nation's tax season will start on Friday, February 12, 2021, when the tax agency will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns.

The February 12 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of IRS systems following the December 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of stimulus payments and other benefits.

This programming work is critical to ensuring IRS systems run smoothly.  If filing season were opened without the correct programming in place, there could be a delay in issuing refunds to taxpayers.  These changes ensure that eligible people will receive any remaining stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return.

To speed refunds during the pandemic, the IRS urges taxpayers to file electronically with direct deposit as soon as they have the information they need.  People can begin filing their tax returns immediately with tax software companies, including IRS Free File partners.  These groups are starting to accept tax returns now, and the returns will be transmitted to the IRS starting February 12.

Last year's average tax refund was more than $2,500.  More than 150 million tax returns are expected to be filed this year, with the vast majority before the Thursday, April 15, deadline.

Overall, the IRS anticipates nine out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically with direct deposit if there are no issues with their tax return.  The IRS urges taxpayers and tax professionals to file electronically.  To avoid delays in processing, people should avoid filing paper returns wherever possible.

Tips for taxpayers to make filing easier, along with key filing season dates, can be found online here.


Maine Immunization Program

Information pertaining to Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, including vaccination sites, can be found online here.  If you are in need of a ride to a vaccine appointment from New Gloucester or Poland, please let me know.  I am happy to help in any way I can.