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Sometimes tongs are more than just tongs.

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Highland Green Lifestyle Newsletter | 55 Plus Active Community | Maine

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Some specially designed handmade wooden implements represent much of what Highland Green is about: ingenuity, volunteerism, using one’s professional skills to be active, giving back to the next generation, creating a sense of community, and lifelong learning.

The Maine School Science Volunteers (MSSV) is a non-profit organization which recruits science professionals to volunteer in real science classes and with science clubs in several Maine school districts. Founded in 2003, the same year the first home was completed at Highland Green, MSSV uses the Highland Green Community Center as its headquarters and counts many residents as members. MSSV scientists’ areas of expertise include but are not limited to: Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Medical Science, Biology, Geology and Environmental Science.

norm-tongs-2The MSSV tongs were created after current club President John Ruid had worked in a middle school classroom on an experiment involving wood and different types of adhesives. It occurred to him and the students that some of their tools would make useful tongs. After some tweaks, three sizes were created with ergonomic designs and special center flexibility to allow a user to enjoy more surface space for grabbing than a traditional tong. They are now sold on a limited basis with any profit donated to MMSV and they have become a keepsake welcome gift for new club members.

At their monthly meeting in May MSSV welcomed four new Highland Green residents as members. Tom Burrage, a Biochemist recently from Guilford, Connecticut; Jerry Combs, a Nutrition Scientist recently from Grand Forks North Dakota; Ed Wolcott, an Aerospace Engineer recently from Providence, Utah; and Norm Curthoys, a Biochemist recently from Fort Collins, Colorado joined the group.

On July 15th, the MSSV held their annual barbecue picnic at the Highland Green Community Center. Tom Burrage noted the high quality and complexity of the food of the event: “Scientists are great cooks. They spend most of their careers experimenting, combining different elements, and training to be amateur chefs.”


At the event Norm Curthoys was presented with his new MSSV tongs. Highland Green Director of Marketing and Sales was also inducted as an honorary member, even though he was an English major.

The tongs can be found at Lisa Maries’ Made in Maine in Bath and Portland, at Edgecomb Potters, and at Shackleton Thomas Furniture online.

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