Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 95

A guy just jeopardized a good power cord connection for my laptop by trying to stretch the extension cord at the coffeehouse nearly across the room to plug in his cellphone charger. I’m not sure if it is that alone or the fact that he’s wearing a hideous floral shirt and a driving cap that made me not mention to him that his charger had come unplugged. … Oh, great! The coffeehouse had to listen to this guy for 45 minutes talking to someone about what has to be a real estate scheme and now he’s arguing politics with the person he tried to lure into a partnership. Um, is that really good business practices?
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Coffeehouse observation No. 94

Slow day at the coffeehouse. It happens.
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Next year, everyone will need a license to fish in Maine | DownEast.com

[I meant to link to this blog entry yesterday. – KM]

Next year, everyone will need a license to fish in Maine

Bucksport shaken by earthquake | Bangor Daily News

[I should have known that just as soon as I posted a link to a story about the earthquake that I would find something with far more detail. Here you go. -- KM]

Bucksport shaken by earthquake - Bangor Daily News

Bucksport quake had 3.0 magnitude | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Bucksport quake had 3.0 magnitude The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine House vote opens door for gambling expansions | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

House vote opens door for gambling expansions The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Baldacci signs bill slashing Maine budget | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Baldacci signs bill slashing Maine budget The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Coffeehouse observation No. 93

The music in the coffeehouse is a little heavy on the sax today. ... Oh, wait, now it’s heavy on ax so everything is OK. … Now they’re playing “Don’t Fence Me In.” This is out of control!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Concealed weapons in Acadia OK’d | Bangor Daily News

Concealed weapons in Acadia OK’d - Bangor Daily News

Earthquake in Maine – 3.0

The New England Seismic Network at the Weston Observatory at Boston College is reporting that there was a 3.0 magnitude earthquake not too long ago south of Bangor.

Here are a couple of links to find out detailed information if you want it.

NESN recent earthquakes spreadsheet: http://quake.bc.edu:8000/cgi-bin/NESN/recent_events.pl

NESN map of the epicenter location: http://quake.bc.edu:8000/cgi-bin/NESN/google_map.pl OK, the link to the map of the epicenter location doesn't seem to be working, but if you go to the previous link, there is a "Map" link to the right of the entry for the earthquake. Click on that and you'll find a map showing where in the state the earthquake happened.

NESN general information and earthquake history in the region: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/?regionID=19®ion=Maine

Maine Geological Survey: http://www.maine.gov/doc/nrimc/mgs/explore/hazards/quake/quake.htm

I live in California so earthquakes are a part of life, but the first earthquake I felt happened while I was living in Maine where I was born and raised. A fault runs under the St. Lawrence Seaway and one day it shifted, waking me from a fairly deep sleep. We lived pretty close to a busy road, so my first thought was that a logging rig had gone by a little too fast and shaken up the place. But the news coverage later showed that it had been a temblor.

Portland group wins top environmental honor | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Portland group wins top environmental honor The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Just a little bit of Spirit in a crate

I’ve seen a few, um, odd museums in my time, including the National Yo-Yo Museum in Chico, Calif., where is on display a Yo-Yo about 4-feet tall. I swear! I would not lie about something like that.

But a museum to a crate?! In central Maine?!

OK, this crate might be something. Here’s the DownEast.com trivia question for today.

What is Lucky Lindy Lindbergh’s connection with Canaan?

Answer:

The Lindbergh Crate Museum features the packing crate that held Lindbergh’s New York-to-Paris plane, The Spirit of St. Louis. Larry Ross’ private museum, on Easy Street, is built in, around, and about the crate. Admittance is by appointment only.

By the way, Canaan is on Maine Route 23 and U.S. Route 2 in Somerset County not too far from Skowhegan. Here’s a link to a bit more about the museum: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/6168 . There seems to be more there than just a crate.

Coffeehouse observation No. 92

I know that one cup o' joe was not nearly enough today. … I wonder if the coffeehouse delivers.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Maine syrup industry optimistic on yield - Bangor Daily News

Syrup industry optimistic on yield - Bangor Daily News

Good time to wet a line (Fishing season is open in Maine) | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Good time to wet a line (Fishing season is open) The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

March marching into the record books in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Month is marching into the record books The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Snowe faults Reid, Pelosi for blocking health bill changes | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Snowe faults Reid, Pelosi for blocking health bill changes The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine releases data on all low-achieving schools | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

State releases data on all low-achieving schools The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Monday, March 29, 2010

‘Lessons learned over java’ revisited

[Here’s something else that really isn’t a coffeehouse observation for Coffeehouse Observer, but I thought I’d share it anyway since the basis for it happened during a coffeehouse conversation. And, besides, the hard copy that I’m working from to transfer this into a blog entry has a huge coffee stain on it. That should stand up in any court in the land. I was the opinion page editor of The Reporter in Vacaville back in April 2004 when I wrote this column about a conversation I had with friend Kristen Simmons over coffee in a Vacaville, Calif., coffeehouse. This column was published April 21, 2004.]
Last week while on vacation I had the chance to have coffee with a friend and catch up, as we try to do every few months or so.

And each time we get together, we talk about education – she’s a teacher by raining – and about her niece and nephew she is helping her mother raise. We talk about politics, current events, the war in Iraq.

And nearly without fail, I walk away from these all-too-infrequent meetings feeling I have learned more about myself for having talked with her than I have about her. Perhaps it is the ability of truly natural teachers – regardless of if they ever step into a classroom in front of a herd of young minds – to have you learn without knowing that you are being taught.

Last week’s lesson was on the death penalty. My friend is against it, she says, because even with DNA testing there is still a chance of error. Human beings, after all, take the samples from the people who are being tested and human beings process the samples and human begins collect the data and human beings filed the data. And human beings are fallible.

Anywhere along the line, a sample or procedure or test result or paperwork can be botched or altered. Whatever tiny chance there is of making a mistake that costs a wrongly accused defendant their life is too much, my friends argues.

With the growing number of cases in which DNA evidence has been used to release wrongly imprisoned inmates after years behind bars, my friend has a strong point. Our system is not free of error.

That does not mean we should reduce the human element within the system that determines whether an inmate lives out his or her short days on death row. We might need more human beings in the system.

I have not completely given up on the death penalty. I still strongly believe that it can be used in certain cases where men or women have killed with an inhuman ruthlessness, coldbloodedness or cruelty, where men and women have displayed the evil that goes well beyond that which lies in the heart of an average person.

The U.S. Supreme Court this term is again taking up the issue. In one case, the court will determine if more than 100 killers should get new sentences based on a 2002 ruling that made jurors and not the judge the final arbiters of the death penalty.

Perhaps that would be a good thing, for it may be the adding of human begins – 12 on a jury – that ultimately causes us to retain capital punishment as a last resort. Or cause us to discard it once and for all.





Keith’s rides, Part 5: Driving a Nissan pickup into the ground to end up with a Sidekick

[This is the fifth of seven eight or so blog entries on the cars and other vehicles I have driven. It may or may not be of interest. Enjoy. Or not. It’s your choice. – KM]

I was hired in February 1988 to be the editor of The Mendocino Beacon, a small weekly newspaper on the famed California North Coast. It was my first job after having graduated from California State University in Chico and I was pretty excited about it.

By the way, that month between graduating and being hired by publisher Joe Edwards is the longest I have ever been without a job up until this past year.

What I needed for the job was a set of dependable wheels. A college buddy drove me around to a couple of the used car lots in Chico and I finally settled on a white Nissan unibody pickup. I mention the unibody only because it was the first half-model year in which the unibody was featured, or so the salesman told me.

The pickup was a repo – there was a cigarette scar on a floorboard and the owner’s manual was missing – and there was no radio, air conditioning, or power steering. It also had manual transmission, but it would be perfect for getting around for the time being.

I used the pickup to make several trips between Chico and Fort Bragg, where I lived the first few months I worked at The Mendocino Beacon. There are some very winding roads between Interstate 5 and the coast and it required quite a bit of wrangling to get the pickup with no power steering between the two cities. My hands were swollen and my shoulders achy by the time I was done moving from Chico to Fort Bragg.

My tiny studio apartment was in an old former hospital on the hill east of the lumbering and tourist community of Fort Bragg. I could see the Pacific Ocean from my apartment, which was fantastic.

When I say The Mendocino Beacon was small, I mean small. I seem to recall that the weekly circulation was about 2,300 readers, mostly locals, former locals, tourists, and people considering a move to the North Coast. (The region, also called the Redwood Empire or the Redwood Coast, is generally made up of Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties. The marijuana-growing part of that area is known as the Emerald Triangle.)

And when I say I was the editor, what I really mean to say is that I did pretty much everything. I wrote news, sports and features stories, I wrote the editorials, took photos, wrote headlines and cutlines, I edited the copy coming in from a handful of columnists, designed and laid out the pages, everything. I even sold classified ads if I was the only one in the office.

But a very lovely perk of the job was that I could stand up at my desk and see the Mendocino Bay and beyond that the Pacific Ocean. Perfection.

I used the pickup to commute from Fort Bragg to Mendocino for a while, but eventually moved into a studio apartment in Mendocino above the barn/garage of an elderly couple from France. They had the same last name as mine, but with a slightly different spelling. He had been in a concentration camp during World War II.

The yard was lovely with apple trees, flowers, and a fish pond. I did yard work to work off some of the rent and I sometimes used the pickup for that work.

[Fun story not related to one of Keith’s rides: I worked at The Mendocino Beacon when the Rev. Jesse Jackson was running for president, and some local Democratic Party leaders somehow had been able to arrange for Jackson to be at a rally on the Mendocino Headlands. As I recall, Jackson was quite a bit behind the frontrunners and I think the rally was to help gain support among environmentalists and the gay community. Anyway, I had the story that Jackson was coming on the front page on the third week from the week of the rally and the second week from the rally, but put the story on Page 3 the week before the rally. The story had not changed and there was other news happening. So, on the day of the rally, one of the local Democratic Party leaders leads the 3,000 to 5,000 people at the rally in booing me and The Mendocino Beacon because I had put the story on Page 3 the week before the rally. That was pretty humiliating for me given this was my first experience with that sort of thing. That was tempered a bit, however, because fog kept Jackson from landing at the Little River Airport. And by the time they had come up with a plan to bus him in, it was too late. Jackson never made the rally. Well, not until some months later when the rally could be rescheduled. And when he arrived, I stood within 50 feet of him … with heavy armed Secret Service agents between me and him, of course. Say what you will about Jesse Jackson, he is a moving orator.]

I stayed at The Mendocino Beacon for less than a year. The 70-hour weeks were taking their toil and I felt it was time to move onto something else. I was hired at The Daily Journal in Ukiah, Calif., where I covered crime, police and fire departments, county government, courts, the wine industry, and some environmental news. The pickup was great for moving from Fort Bragg to Ukiah, where I stayed for a couple of years.

On one day off I was driving into nearby Anderson Valley to pick up mill ends – the pieces trimmed off at sawmills to make various board lengths – for my then girlfriend to use in her fireplace. I was driving too fast, I admit it, when I came to a bridge. It was winter and the bridge was slicker than the regular pavement and I lost control.

The pickup skidded a bit – I recall that the pickup nearly hit a station wagon going in the opposition direction – and spun out of control. The pickup ended up perched on the edge of a stream bed with a sapling the only thing holding it – and me – from tumbling in to stream. I was able to climb out and the woman driving the station wagon was nice enough to stop, check on my wellbeing, and offer to call for a tow truck. I thanked her.

I also thanked that sapling for holding on long enough for the AAA tow truck to arrive and pull the pickup back on to the road shoulder.

I was driving the pickup on a rough city street in Ukiah just as the Loma Prieta quake Oct. 17, 1989. I was on my way home to watch the World Series on TV, but the earthquake put a hold on that. Many people in Ukiah felt the quake, but I didn’t. The pickup was a rough ride no matter what and on a rough city street I didn’t feel a little bit of shaking.

The pickup was used in moving to jobs in Woodland – where I lived and work when I paid off the pickup – and later Vacaville. Trust me when I say this – the summer heat of Ukiah, Woodland and Vacaville make you regret not having air conditioning. There were more than a few times when I thought I would melt into the pickup seat.

The pickup also help me stretched my incredibly limited mechanic skills. Apparently, Nissan at the time was known for having crappy starter motors. The first one I traded out took me about three hours. I got that down to about 20 or 30 minutes by the time I traded out my last starter motor on the pickup.

One other notable event with the Nissan happened while I was covering crime in Vacaville. I went out to a TC – traffic collision – and was gathering information about the crash and the person hurt in the crash. The victim was loaded into the ambulance and the ambulance driver – a fire captain for the Vacaville city department – promptly backed the city ambulance into the pickup, crushing the fender and flattening a tire.

The city of Vacaville paid to have that fixed.

It wasn’t too much later that I noticed that the pickup was not as peppy as it once was – I had driven it pretty hard for the time that I had it – and, besides, I started yearning for a new ride.

Of course, the problem was finances. A person does not get rich working for a newspaper.

Several friends in the newspaper’s advertising department knew that I was looking for a new vehicle. That’s how I ended up at a used car tent sale at the parking lot of the Nut Tree Restaurant. Vacaville and Interstate 80 landmark had been closed for a year or so, if I recall correctly. That’s how I ended up with the Suzuki Sidekick.

Rides of My Life … so far








Road Trip: Maine's World Traveler signs — you CAN get to Moscow from here. | Lewiston Sun Journal

Road Trip: Maine's World Traveler signs — you CAN get to Moscow from here | Lewiston Sun Journal

Maple syrup one of life's sweet mysteries | Bangor Daily News

Maple syrup one of life's sweet mysteries - Bangor Daily News

A quarter of children in 3 counties at high risk level - Bangor Daily News

A quarter of children in 3 counties at high risk level - Bangor Daily News

Report: 1 in 5 Maine kids live in poverty | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Report: 1 in 5 Maine kids live in poverty The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Rain could break record for March in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Rain could break record for March The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mentors return to Kennedy Park to aid scholars | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mentors return to Kennedy Park to aid scholars The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine conservation chief to be sworn in | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine conservation chief to be sworn in The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Maine Legislature passes bill to help create jobs for loggers | Bangor Daily News

Legislature passes bill to help create jobs for loggers - Bangor Daily News

Maine seeks $25 million to repair neglected railways | Bangor Daily News

State seeks $25 million to repair neglected railways - Bangor Daily News

Promotion of Maine lobsters seen as fix | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Promotion of lobsters seen as fix The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Environmentalists, business interests talk up wind power in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Environmentalists, business interests talk up wind power The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Golf season gets off to early start in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Golf season gets off to early start The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Friday, March 26, 2010

Maine passes first-in-nation product stewardship bill | SustainableBusiness.com

Maine passes first-in-nation product stewardship bill | SustainableBusiness.com

Readin’, writin’, and reality for an island teacher | DownEast.com

[I enjoy Ms. Murray’s wit – it’s a Maine wit. She does spend quite a bit of time of steering people away from island life, yet she’s been an island-dweller for more than 20 years. I think she’s just trying to keep a good – great – think to herself. – KM]

As a member of the Board of Directors of RSU #65, which means a school committee member on Matinicus Island for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, until Town Meeting does us part, and as a former island teacher myself, and a school bookkeeper, and the parent of two little island students in homemade sweaters, I feel like I know a thing or two about what an applicant for this job ought to think about.

The problem is we’re not supposed to talk about much of it.

When I made my way out here for my interview in May of 1987, the winds were fierce and the airplane flight was something like riding a buckboard over a dry-rutted ox track in the middle of the Oregon Trail. Teacher applicants, be advised: that ten-minute flight gets bumpy sometimes. If you’re afraid to fly or have a delicate stomach, you might think twice before you take this position. Oops, excuse me. I take that back. Only your professional qualifications warrant discussion.

My interview happened to fall on what I later found out was Subpoena Day, when most all the male residents of the island were wasting their time cooling their heels in Rockland, waiting to be called to testify in a case of some non-violent neglect of the rulebook. Many were not asked to speak, and came home generally aggrieved for the imposition. One of them was married to member of the school board.

Click on the link for the rest of this entry by Eva Murray in her “Sea Glass (and) Scrap Iron” on DownEast.com.

Is Maine Too Small To Fail? | DownEast.com

[There is a old Maine tourism slogan that goes something like: "The way life should be." Mr. Grant mimicks that sentiment. -- KM]

The collapse of mighty institutions all around us — big corporations, the State of California, and now perhaps the Grand Old Party — might be even more alarming were we not watching from the relative tranquility of a place where things are basically okay.

Now I don't claim that Maine is perfect. It probably doesn't qualify as the Last Good Place — though I must say it looked very much like that to me twenty-one years ago, which is why I've stayed. But it is a good place, a decent and civilized place, where the complex wheels of social interaction — neighborhoods, town committees, schools and churches, local papers, community suppers and concerts, PTA bake sales, worthy fundraisers, gatherings of like-minded friends — seem to be oiled and grinding away without undue friction.

We have our social ills. Many of our schools are under-funded, some severely so. There are drugs in the hallways. There are (I assume) meth labs in the woods, and caches of firearms, and angry people who think the Anti-Christ is sitting in the White House. Our police blotters are enlivened with crimes of amazing stupidity. Old people struggle to keep their homes warm in winter. Girls get pregnant in their mid-teens. Last week some boys dropped a block of ice off a highway overpass, almost killing an innocent driver.

Click on the link to the rest of today’s entry by Richard Grant in his “Coffee With That” blog on DownEast.com.

Maine program tries to halt foreclosure before it’s too late | Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine — Abiel and Bettyjo Martinez bought a home in Etna in 2005 with an adjustable rate mortgage, the only loan they were eligible for.
In two years, their interest rate ballooned to 12 percent and their monthly payment nearly doubled from $900 to $1,700.

They scraped by for a while until Abiel Martinez lost his job and watched several months pass before he could collect unemployment. Then his wife lost her job. So they went back to their lender to modify their loan.

“They told us we could modify, but we had to pay $3,800 to start that process,” he said. “How can we pay $3,800 if we can’t afford the mortgage?”

The mortgage company had no choice but to start foreclosure proceedings. The Martinezes and their three children were in danger of being forced from their home.

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Eric Russell in the Bangor Daily News.

Information about the state’s foreclosure diversion program is available at http://www.courts.state.me.us/court_info/services/foreclosure/index.html.

Ice-out breaks statewide records | Bangor Daily News

Seasonal thaw comes
earlier than expected

FORT KENT, Maine — Let Capistrano keep its swallows and Hinckley, Ohio, is welcome to its buzzards. Any Mainer knows the real harbinger of spring is ice-out.

Largely regarded as the time when a body of water may be navigated from one end to the other unimpeded by ice, the seasonal event has spawned countless contests, raffles, impromptu parties, webcams and even its own Facebook fans’ page for the lakes and rivers around the state.

This year, many of Maine’s lakes are already clear of ice days and even weeks ahead of schedule.

“This year is extremely unusual,” Tim Thurston, owner of Maine Lake Charts of Gardiner, said Thursday. “I would not be surprised if every lake in Maine has a record or near record for ice-out.”

Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Julia Bayly in the Bangor Daily News.

Obama coming to Portland area April 1 | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Obama coming to Portland area April 1 The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine jobless rate rises slightly in February to 8.3% | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine jobless rate rises slightly in February to 8.3% The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Coffeehouse observation No. 91

Pearl Jam on headphones is a great way to drown out a blowhard in the coffeehouse.
Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 90

Beautiful weather out and the coffeehouse is pretty full. Usually, good weather scatters to the wind even the most loyal patrons.
Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Keith’s rides, Part 4: Cross-country trip in a Caprice Classic, lunch in Wichita Falls and breaking down in New Mexico

[This is the fourth of several blog entries on the cars and other vehicles I have driven. It may or may not be of interest. Enjoy. Or not. It’s your choice. – KM]

I was at Chico State for a couple of years and always was able to make due without a car, either walking to where I needed to be, riding a bicycle or hitching a ride with friends.

I was nearing graduation when my mother decided to replace her Chevrolet Caprice Classic. For the time, it was a fairly stylish car with quite a bit under the hood. In other words, in today’s climate it would be considered a grandma gas-guzzler.

My girlfriend at the time and I flew out to meet my family in Portland, Maine, to pick up the Caprice Classic with the idea of driving back to California where I would use the car. My father had hired a local teen to give the car a once-over; unfortunately, the kid failed to clean out the air filter and the car died in a dusty town in New Mexico. Several years later, while helping a friend move from Indiana to California, we broke down in the very same town. Go figure!

Except for breaking down and some long days driving, motoring across the country was an exceptional experience and I recommend it highly. We headed down the East Coast for a time and cut through Virginia and Tennessee, both incredibly beautiful states. We then cut down to meet up with friends in the Dallas suburb of Denton where we spent a few days.

We did all the touristy things in Dallas – clubs, rotating restaurant, parks, Book Depository.

We then left Denton and stopped for lunch in Wichita Falls, Texas. Wichita Falls is the kind of place where everyone wears a Stetson or a cap carrying the name of a farm machinery manufacturer. We went into the restaurant, me wearing typical California wear – a tank top T-shirt, surfer shorts and flip-flops – and my girlfriend wearing something equally inappropriate.

Well, inappropriate for that particular diner in that particular Texas town, apparently. I quickly grew uncomfortable when the good ol’ boys at the counter turned in their vinyl-cover stools too peer at us – in an unapproving way – from under the brims of their Stetsons and John Deere caps.

I told my girlfriend we would be eating and leaving as quickly as possible.

And we did.

And we were doing fine moving westward until we broke down. I had to call home for help on that one since the mechanic found about an inch of Maine dust around the air filter and it took a couple of hundred dollars to fix the problem.

Out of New Mexico and into Arizona. We stopped off at Meteor Crater and then spent the night in Flagstaff before continuing on to the Grand Canyon. Awesome! Simply awesome! If you haven’t been, go before they pave it and put in a parking lot!

We then made it to Fresno, California, to visit briefly with my girlfriend’s sister and brother-in-law and we were off to Chico. We might have taken a detour to Napa where her parents lived, but I don’t recall that.

Tip: Every American should take at least one cross-country trip in their lives. Eat Maine lobster, see Boston Commons and take in a Red Sox game, see New York, drive the Jersey Turnpike, see the lush, lush green of states like Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, drive the interstate in an Arkansas hailstorm, see old windmills in the vastness of Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma, see the Grand Canyon, marvel at the Rocky Mountains, be impressed by the productivity of California’s Central Valley, and dip a toe in the Pacific Ocean. Say what you will about the people in politics or on Wall Street, this is one impressive country, from sea to shining sea.

Once back in California I drove the Caprice Classic for a while, until I was pulled over in Chico for having expired tags on Maine plates in California.

Knowing that it wouldn’t pass California emissions tests – my father years earlier had removed the catalytic converter – I sold the car for junk and moved onto the first vehicle that I personally purchased for myself, a Nissan pickup.

Rides of My Life … so far




Part 4: Chevrolet Caprice Classic




Coffeehouse observation No. 89

I believe it is official: I am a loon magnet. Yet another wingnut stranger just came up to me in the coffeehouse and attempted to engage me in a conversation that was neither short enough nor pleasant enough. This is the third time in about a week or so. ... I need to develop a repellant for Stockton’s crazies!

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Obama grants Maine disaster declaration | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Obama grants Maine disaster declaration The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

It's official: Go fishing | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

It's official: Go fishing The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Keith’s rides, Part 3: Getting stuck in the Duster while getting a box of sand

[This is the third of several blog entries on the cars and other vehicles I have driven. It may or may not be of interest. Enjoy. Or not. It’s your choice. – KM]

I went off to the University of Southern Maine in fall 1980 to begin college and spent the first two years there pretty much dependant on friends with wheels and the university’s bus service between the Gorham campus and the one in Portland.

It was an OK situation, I suppose, since I had plenty of friends willing to give me a ride and the bus stopped near the Maine Mall in South Portland where I had a part-time job at Olympic Sporting Goods selling athletic footwear and other assorted athletic gear.

But my sister was to attend USM, too, and my parents felt it was time for a more dependable vehicle to carry the two of us back and forth between Gorham and Aroostook County, typically a six-hour drive with a meal stop midway in Bangor.

If I didn’t make it clear enough, let me do so now: The Bug, in its physical condition, wasn’t particularly safe for the roads, especially wet and winter Maine roads.

My parents got rid of the Bug and purchased a used Dodge Duster. It was plain and brown, brown and plain. And plain. And brown. But it worked fine enough for a while.

I don’t even remember how or when we got rid of that car. It may have happened after I went to California via the National Student Exchange where I attended California State University, Chico. If I couldn’t walk, I usually was able to wrangle a ride from one of my floor-mates and later house-mates, much as I had done the first two years at USM.

I suppose the only road-trip story I have about the Duster involves getting stuck at a beach in the middle of winter.

You see, I was an activity assistant at Robie-Andrews Hall, one of the residential halls on the University of Southern Maine campus in Gorham. (USM also had a campus in Portland, Maine, and I believe it now also has a campus or satellite campus in Lewiston, Maine.) The winters in Maine can be demoralizing – long, dark and cold. So I suggested we have a beach party.

An assistant decorated some butcher paper with a beach scene, but I wanted to add to the scene. I jumped in the Duster and drove to a beach about 30 or 45 minutes away. I pulled into the parking lot. Cold, cold wind was cutting through my coat and snow blowing about, stinging any exposed skin.

I took a shovel and a box, trudged to the beach, dug up some of the beach sand, trudged back to the parking lot, and threw the shovel and box of beach sand in the trunk. I climbed into the Duster, started it up and nearly immediately found that the car was stuck in the blowing snow. Ugh!

Fortunately, a town snowplow drove by before too long and the driver offered to use the snowplow to pull out the car. I’m sure the driver, a Mainer through and through, had plenty to say to his buddies back at the plow barn about the college kid he helped out of a snowbank.

I got the sand back to Robie-Andrews and put it on the floor under the beach scene and changed into a tropical shirt for the party.

Here’s a tip: Never schedule a wintertime beach party on St. Patrick’s Day. College students tend to follow the green beer before they follow the box of beach sand.

Rides of My Life … so far



Part 3: Dodge Duster





Maine issues first red tide warning | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine issues first red tide warning The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Meredith Goad: Not your average Joe’s | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Meredith Goad: Not your average Joe’s | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

[I've never had a religious experience quite like those repressed in this food column in the Portland Press Herald, but I very much am a Trader Joe's fan and am happy that Portland appears to be getting its first TJ's. I visit the local Trader Joe's here in Stockton, Calif., at least once a week -- dry and hot cereal, bread, Indian dishes, cheese, hummus, crackers, spices, pasta and pasta sauce, olive oil, eggs, milk, booze and much more. I do stay away from some of the bagged produce because it doesn't stay fresh very long; part of that may be that much of it is organic so you have to use it pretty quickly anyway. The store here even carries Tom of Maine products. Overall, Trader Joe's is a good thing. Here's a link to the Trader Joe's website for a small idea of what they carry. -- KM]

Halfway to a green taxi fleet in San Francisco | ClimateBiz.com

Halfway to a Green Taxi Fleet in San Francisco | ClimateBiz.com

[I've not a big Gavin Newsom fan -- I can take him or leave him -- but this seems like it might be a great idea. I wonder if other cities are doing anything similar. -- KM]

Coffeehouse observation No. 88

A chocolate-filled croissant and a coffee – now that’s what I call lunch!

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Commissioner of Maine’s IF&W responds to Down East blogger | DownEast.com

Commissioner of Maine’s IF&W responds to Down East blogger | DownEast.com

[I immeatedly thought two things after reading the letter from the IF&W commisssioner: 1) this is what happens when non-journalistically trained writers (meaning the Down East blogger) are let loose; and 2) media in Maine should have known better than to run with the allegations presented without doing a extensive vetting of theinformation. Shame on the blogger. Shame on media in Maine. For full disclosure, I have linked to Mr. Smith's blog in the past. Now I may not do it as frequently as I once had. ... I must say, one of the commissioner's lines was great. It included the phrase: "were nothing more than unsubstantiated coyote cries into the night." -- KM]

Fleeing from war, African finds peace in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Fleeing from war, African finds peace in Maine - Bangor Daily News

Working on Girl Scout cookie-augmented girth


Yesterday I received a wonderful, wonderful surprise – eight boxes of Girl Scout cookies!

I’m not a big GS cookie fiend – I’m not the guy who is first in line to fill in the order sheet when someone plops one down in front of me – but it has been a while since I’ve indulged and I was due.

My sister, knowing that this past year has not been the best for me, and some of her much-appreciated helpers sent me the cookies from western Maine where she and her family live. A box each of Thanks-A-Lot Crunchy Fudge-Coated Treats, Thin Mints, Shortbread, Lemonades Lemon Iced Shortbread Slices, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Peanut Butter Patties (I like peanut butter), Caramel deLites, and, of course, Reduced Fat Daisy Go Rounds. (That was sort of like asking for a diet soda after ordering a large meal. Ah, well …)

Thank you, sister Sheri, nephew Max, niece Sophie, and brother-in-law Mark. (I believe Sophie may be a Brownie or member of some other paramilitary outfit that wields yummies instead of weapons.)

Oh, by the way, half of my next plane ticket home may be on them because after these cookies, I may have to purchase two tickets because I will be sporting Girl Scout-augmented girth.


Portland diocese penalizes homeless aid group | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Diocese penalizes homeless aid group The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Keith’s rides, Part 2: Um, there’s water splashing through the floorboards

[This is the second of several blog entries on the cars and other vehicles I have driven. It may or may not be of interest. Enjoy. Or not. It’s your choice. – KM]

A cousin and his wife moved into the log cabin next to my childhood home and one of the vehicles they owned was an orange Volkswagen Bug. I don’t recall the year. I just recall that the heater in the VW Bug my father owned years before wasn’t much of a heater, a necessity in the cold, dark North Woods of Maine.

Anyway, it came time for Phil to buy a new vehicle and my family bought the Bug.

My father painted it a grayish color and made repairs, including tacking up the floorboards that had corroded over the years under the onslaught of salt and sand distributed on the winter roads to make them passable.

I drove that Bug for a while, when the weather was not too cold or too wet – despite my father’s welding job, water would splash into the passenger compartment when I drove through puddles or streams.

It was a rough ride for the frost-heave-formed Maine roads, but it was mine.

Childhood friends Jeff and Todd came along with me for a ride one summer day. We loaded the Bug with snacks, fishing gear and beer – we were all 18, the drinking age in Maine at the time. Jeff or Todd brought along a battery-powered 8-track player – yes, I am old enough to have listened to music on an 8-track player – and some tapes. We rolled through the North Woods in that Bug, splashing through puddles and streams, fishing for brook trout, listening to the Steve Miller Band on 8-track, and sipping American lager.

We made it all seem a bit classier by pretending the Bug was a Porche and the player was a Jensen.

That Bug didn’t have much of a heater either. And every so often I had to crack open the hood – yep, at the rear of the car – to gap the points in order to start the car.

I don’t recall to whom my parents sold the car, but it may have gone directly to the Portage Hills Country Club to be used as a tractor. Yep, a golf course tractor.

Rides of My Life … so far
 Part 2: VW Bug




Coffeehouse observation No. 87

I arrived at the coffeehouse earlier than normal today and am sporting a fine caffeine buzz. But the sun is shining and calling me to go outside and play. Unfortunately, I must fight the urge. I must put out a couple of resume packages today. As much as I like the coffeehouse, I really need a real job.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Now I have proof! Cats are out to kill!

People who know me know this – don’t put a cat in my lap. Never. Ever.

And not a rat, either, but especially not a cat. In or out of a hat, it doesn’t matter.

I am allergic to ’em, you see, and simply think cats are too arrogant for their – and our – own good.

I once wrote that “catapult” had been property named. (Get it? catapult. Cat-a-pult. CATapult. Why does no one get that joke?)

Cats have a maniacal sixth sense that allows them to know when someone is allergic to them so they rub on legs when you are standing and climb upon beer bellies and sagging chests to be assured their dander will carry to the sinuses and lungs of their intended victims.

I am reading Alan Weisman’s “The World Without Us,” an interesting, intelligent, and occasionally witty work that looks at the harm we humans have caused to this planet and what would happen if we were no longer here. I’m not sure if the science is 100 percent pure, because I’m not all that sciencey. (And, yes, I’m attempting to establish “sciencey” as a real word, so get over it.)

Weisman takes what I find a witty gab at felines:

“Wisconsin wildlife biologists Stanley Temple and John Coleman never needed to leave their home state to draw global conclusions from their field research during the early 1990s. Their subject was an open secret – a topic hushed because few will admit that about one-third of all households, nearly everywhere, harbor one or more serial killers. The villain is the purring mascot that lolled regally in Egyptian temples and does the same on our furniture, accepting our affection only when it please, exuding inscrutable calm whether awake or asleep (as it spends more than half its life), beguiling us to see to its care and feeding.”

Weisman continues that cats, despite all the comforts that man forces upon them, have maintained their hunting instincts.

“Various studies credit alley cats with up to 28 kills per year. [“… 28 kills per year …”] Farm cats, Temple and Coleman observed, get many more than that. Comparing their findings with all the available data, they estimated that in rural Wisconsin, around 2 million free-ranging cats killed at minimum 7.8 million, but probably upwards of 219 million, birds per year.

“That’s in rural Wisconsin alone.”

Weisman estimated that nationwide, feline serial killers’ victims number in the billions.

And, on top of that, cats will do just fine without humans on the planet.

“Long after we’re gone,” writes Weisman, “songbirds must deal with the progeny of those opportunists that trained us to feed and harbor them, disdaining our hapless appeals to come when we call, bestowing just enough attention so we feed them again.”

See, cats are bad, bad, bad! It’s not just me saying this. Alan Weisman said it, too!

Local doctor offers 'pay what you can' medical care for uninsured for one day | Lewiston Sun Journal

Local doctor offers 'pay what you can' medical care for uninsured for one day Franklin Sun Journal

Advocate for Maine seniors says health reform a ‘good step’ | Bangor Daily News

Advocate for Maine seniors says health reform a ‘good step’ - Bangor Daily News

Falmouth students finalists in national 'green' school contest | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Falmouth students finalists in national 'green' school contest The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine maple syrup season short for many | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maple syrup season short for many The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mainers wait and wonder: How will reform affect us? | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mainers wait and wonder: How will reform affect us? The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Monday, March 22, 2010

Snowmobiles, ATVs, lobster boats used for census in Maine | AP Nation - Ledger-Enquirer.com

Snowmobiles, ATVs, lobster boats used for census - AP Nation - Ledger-Enquirer.com

[For full disclosure, I was born in the same city where Danielle Forino lives and where they are using ATVs and snowshoes to deliver census forms. It's a cool little bordertown, but rather remote. -- KM]

Keith’s rides, Part 1: My first ‘status symbol’ was a Jeep Commando

[This is the first of several blog entries on the cars and other vehicles I have driven so far in my life. It may or may not be of interest to anyone other than myself. Enjoy. Or not. It’s your choice. – KM]

Far too often a car is seen as a status symbol, a measure of the total man or woman driving the car.

An expensive car denotes success. Or, at least, it symbolizes money, whether it be old money or new.

A compact car, economy car or one that is broken down denotes failure, hard times, a lack of resources, when perhaps it really should symbolize a concern for the environment or thriftiness.

An expensive car denotes confidence and financial freedom.

A compact or economy car denotes insecurity and frugality.

An expensive car denotes virility.

A compact car … well, doesn’t.

Far too much weight is put on the type of car or vehicle a person drives.

I have had a couple of cars and other vehicles since the time I took driver’s education at Ashland Community High School in the late 1970s. None are particularly spectacular and most were either hand-me-downs or used vehicles.

But they are the rides I have had over the years.

Here’s a multi-part drive down the memory lane that are the rides of my past.

Jeep Commando

The first vehicle I was able to claim as mine was a Jeep Commando. So, I suppose the Jeep Commando – descendant of the vehicle that helped the Allies win World War II and took generations of woodsmen into the backcountry – is my first status symbol. I’m not sure what that says about me, but there it is.

OK, I really couldn’t “claim” the Commando since it belonged to my parents. It was used for plowing the driveway in the winter and woodland excursions in the spring, summer and fall.

Living in the Deep Dark Woods of Northern Maine means long, dark, cold, snowy winters. The driveway to my family’s home was a fairly long piece of gravel and shale, especially if you were using a shovel or snow scope to clear it after a significant snowfall.

Add to that, fairly steep front and back stairs from the house to the driveway, and you have some pretty significant snow removal going on.

You can imagine how pleased I was when my father brought home the Commando, complete with a small plow on front. I don’t recall where he purchased it or even if my mother had a say in it. All I know is that seeing that rig meant a little less work for me and my aching back.

It also meant I had a ride to various extracurricular activities – soccer, baseball and basketball practices and games, mostly. It is about 11 miles from Portage to Ashland and trying to catch the activity bus was a large hassle, so I was allowed to use the Commando from time to time.

I don’t recall the model year of the Commando, but it had a removable hardtop – in other words, it was a convertible – and pretty fun to drive around. I recall that my Dad ended up getting a broken down Commando for parts for the one we actually used, which he painted a metallic gray and added a blue softcover for the summer. He also added a rollbar, which was pretty cool.

According to Jeep-Commando.com – yes, there is a website – the Commando was manufactured from 1966 to 1971. Here’s a bit of what can be found at http://www.jeep-commando.com/.

Because of the short time of production, the Jeep Commando is a rare, hard to find Jeep. A lot of people say the Jeep Commando looks a lot like the International Scout and the Ford Bronco.

In 1966, Jeep, then owned by Kaiser, launched the Jeepster Commando to compete with the Bronco and Land Cruiser. The Jeepster Commando was available only in three models: a convertible, pickup truck, and a wagon (like the Jeepster, this was a really cool looking vehicle in my opinion). The (Kaiser) Jeepster Commando stayed in production until 1969. In 1970 AMC bought Jeep from Kaiser, and then in 1972 AMC shortened the name to just Commando and changed the grill design to look more like that of a Bronco, but it didn't catch on. The Jeep Commando was taken out of production in 1973. Check out The American Jeepster Club for more on these cool Jeep spin-offs.
I don’t recall when or how or why my parents got rid of the Commando. All I know is that I enjoyed driving that thing.

Rides of My Life … so far

Part 1: Jeep Commando






Coffeehouse observation No. 86

A woman who looks a lot like Penelope Cruz – especially around the nose and mouth and hair – just came into the coffeehouse and is sitting directly behind me. I don’t want to stare, but she is quite beautiful. There should be more mirrors in coffeehouses, I think.
Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 85

Yesterday spotted a guy roll up to the coffeehouse on a bicycle, come in, use the bathroom, come back out, ask a dude outside for a cigarette, and walk on when the dude refused. It was then that I noticed that the guy had the wrong pant leg rolled up to keep it out of the bike sprocket. I wanted to follow just a little while to see if the guy took a tumble. Is that so wrong?

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

1 millionth soldier arrives at Bangor airport

Maine Greeters regard
milestone with mixed feelings

BANGOR, Maine — Waving flags, cheering and shaking hands, the Maine Troop Greeters at Bangor International Airport hailed the 1 millionth service member to disembark at the airport shortly before 1 a.m., Monday.

The flight carrying the 1 millionth soldier to come through the Queen City was one of several originating from Fort Carson, Colo., carrying soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

The soldiers at the airport Sunday morning were part of that group of “Iron Strong” warriors who are destined for the wars in the Middle East.

The Maine Troop Greeters come to the airport from all over eastern Maine, day or night, to provide warm welcomes or supportive sendoffs to those who serve the United States in all branches of the military.

Many troop greeters at the airport Sunday morning said reaching the 1 million soldier milestone was something they hoped would never happen, but they will remain at their posts supporting the country’s soldiers for as long as necessary.

“We’re the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and neighbors of these troops who can’t be here,” Tom Kohl, a Vietnam veteran and chairman of the Maine Troop Greeters, said while standing in the airport Sunday morning surrounded by soldiers. “We feel honored.”

The troop greeters began counting the servicemen and women who fly through BIA in 2003.

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Nok-Noi Ricker in the Bangor Daily News.

Maine's legislative budget panel making final adjustments | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Legislative budget panel making final adjustments The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine's Michaud, Pingree follow party line in health vote | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Michaud, Pingree follow party line in health vote The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Portland schools get $500K to fight obesity | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Portland schools get $500K to fight obesity The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine issues new ATV trail map | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine issues new ATV trail map The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Moose rescued after falling into Moose Pond | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Moose rescued after falling into Moose Pond The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Saturday, March 20, 2010

UMaine Black Bears advance to league final - Bangor Daily News

Black Bears advance to league final - Bangor Daily News

In compromise, panel limits Maine pot dispensaries | Bangor Daily News

In compromise, panel limits pot dispensaries | Bangor Daily News

Marijuana patient calls law's limits in Maine impractical | Bangor Daily News

Coffeehouse observation No. 84

This may be the worst day ever. I spilled my coffee in the coffeehouse!!!! ... Fortunately, no burns.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Maine delegation's only 'undecided' is feeling heat over health care vote | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine delegation's only 'undecided' is feeling heat over health care vote The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

[For full disclosure, Rep. Michaud and I are not related. To the best of my knowledge, anyway. -- KM]

Friday, March 19, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 83

A woman who is more than 6-feet tall wearing 4-inch stilettos seems a bit like overkill in the coffeehouse. … Oh, and this is a different woman wearing different stilettos than earlier this week. Really!

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

DOE establishes joint institute for strategic energy analysis | SustainableBusiness.com

DOE establishes joint institute for strategic energy analysis | SustainableBusiness.com

U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory website: http://www.nrel.gov/

Thursday, March 18, 2010

DOE report highlights small businesses in clean energy sector | SustainableBusiness.com

DOE report highlights small businesses in clean energy sector | SustainableBusiness.com

Read the full report at the link: http://www.energy.gov/news/documents/Small_Business_Memo_Mar2010.pdf

Remembering a friend and colleague 9 years later

Cliff Polland in a photo taken by Rick Roach.

A Facebook post reminded me that today is the ninth anniversary of the passing of a friend and former colleague – Cliff Polland.

He had been ill, but far too young to die. He left behind many family and friends who continue to miss him to this day.

I recall that day quite clearly. Cliff had failed to come in to work at The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., where he had been a photographer for years and years. His boss and a close friend of mine, Reporter photo editor Rick Roach, was concerned. He had tried to call Cliff, but with no reply. Rick wanted me to go with him to nearby Winters where Cliff lived with a German shorthaired pointer named Lucy. They lived in a cool two-bedroom home a couple of blocks from downtown Winters.

We drove there in Rick’s pickup barely saying a word to one another. We knew that Cliff had been ill – in-and-out of the hospital ill – for a while and we knew there could be too many terrible reasons why he didn’t make it in to work or answer Rick’s calls.

We each had a key to Cliff’s house – I would house- and dog-sit when Cliff was out of town and Rick had one because they were buds and also checked on things if Cliff was away.

I still carry my key on my keychain to this day.

We arrived, knocked on the door, and Rick used a key to let us in when there was no reply. But he immediately backed out of the house.

“He’s in there. He’s dead,” I seem to recall Rick saying as he struggled to catch his breath.

I had him repeat it, because I wasn’t sure I had heard him correctly. I asked where exactly. He was in a living room chair he had crafted.

We could hear Lucy inside and we knew it would be better to get her out of the house and into Rick’s pickup before police and other officials arrived. Dogs, of course, can be protective of their people and homes and we didn’t want her to react in a way that would cause officers to pull their weapons, as we had reported upon before in other circumstances.

She wouldn’t come out the front door, the one next to where Cliff sat in his chair. So, I went around to the back to a garage door I knew would be either unlocked or rickety enough for me to bust open. I was able to call Lucy through her dog door leading to the kitchen of Cliff’s house and ran my belt through her collar to fashion a leash to lead her to the front and to Rick’s pickup.

Rick called the local police to report the death and not long afterward two officers and an ambulance arrived.

We left a short time later to begin letting the world know that Cliff was dead. Those phone calls over the next day or so were difficult and I wouldn’t wish any of it on anyone.

As the assistant news editor in charge of special sections at The Reporter at the time, I wrote about Cliff in my next column a few days later. That was not an easy thing, either, writing about the death of a friend and colleague. A few months later I wrote another column in which I mentioned Cliff’s death. Below are those columns.

(I believe I also wrote another column, one on his memorial service a few months later – Hawaiian shirts, good stories, cigars and more. It was a great way to remember Cliff. I cannot for the life me find that column. – KM)

Never good time for this

I hate writing these kinds of columns. I’ll never become accustom to it. Never.

I spent the better part of Monday helping in a very unpleasant task.

Longtime Reporter photographer Cliff Polland died over the weekend and I helped notify former Reporter employees and friends of the sad news.

Cliff’s obituary on Tuesday made mention of his professional achievements and gave a rundown of his career as a photographer.

But Cliff was more than a photographer.

He was restoring an old Porsche, piece by piece. Some of the parts, no longer available elsewhere, had to be sought out over the ’Net; some had to be manufactured. He was a mechanic, automobile historian and sports car restorer.

He loved music – jazz and blues – and could play guitar. He owned a couple of electric guitars and not long ago he picked up an acoustic guitar. So he was a music enthusiast and guitarist.

He loved fishing. He loved camping. There were fishing rods in nearly every corner of his Yolo County home. Camping gear in the remaining corners. So he was a fisherman and camper.

He loved making wines and beer. So he was a winemaker and brewmaster.

He liked tequila. So he was a tequila drinker, too.

He had a dog, Lucy. Lucy is energetic, to say the least, but a sweet dog.

She stayed by Cliff’s side after he died and had to be coaxed out of the house. I believe the joy he received in owning Lucy added years to his life.

He was a dog owner.

Cigars were another of his joys. Cheap ones, expensive ones. It didn’t matter much. He loved them while fishing or camping or just sitting around his home reading. So he was a cigar enthusiast.

He painted with watercolors. He painted fish – trout. So he was a painter.

He built furniture. He died sitting in a chair he made a few years ago. He was a furniture maker.

Friends gathered Monday night to reminisce. We poured Cliff a shotglass of tequila and lighted a cigar for him. We kept it burning until it was gone.

Then we lighted another. More than once during the evening, someone said Cliff was probably looking down at us shaking his head at the carryings-on.

He was modest, too.

He was more than a photographer. He was a friend.

The author, a former Vacaville resident, was the assistant news editor in charge of special sections for The Reporter when this column first appeared in The Reporter on March 21, 2001.

My ‘Gone fishin’ sign is out

By the time most of you read this, I will be long gone.

Oh, I hear the minstrels tuning their harps and people rushing to dance in the streets.

But don’t be so quick to rejoice. I’m only on vacation; I’ll be back next week.

By the time most of you have rubbed the sleep from your eyes, have caught the first refreshing whiffs of coffee, and made your way outdoors to fetch The Reporter from the bushes, I’ll be on my way to a piece of heaven in the Sierra Nevada.

My chariot this fine day is a forest green Chevy pickup loaded with camping gear and towing a fishing boat, also loaded with camping gear. My companions this fine day are my best friend for the past decade or so – who happens to be married to another of my best friends – and a German shorthaired pointer named Lucy.

We are running point for a biannual camping excursion that dates back 12 years. Some 30 or so others will follow, but we will be the first to take in the mountain air, the first to set up camp and the first to dip our lines in the upper of two very fine trout lakes with grand, glacier-capped mountains looking down on our every move.

And at night, with all of us gathered around a roaring campfire and mesmerized by its flickering orange, red and blue dance, we’ll renew friendships, partake in camping traditions better not discussed in a family newspaper, and each of us will at some point wish that the moment would stand still for all eternity. “Strangers” come along with us on these camping trips, but leave lifelong friends. It’s the way it’s been for a dozen years or so.

The bittersweetness, however, is that for the first time in a half-decade we’ll be without our friend, Cliff Polland. Lucy is – was – his dog. Now she stays with my best friends and their family, but I think, at least a little, she belongs to all of Cliff’s friends.

Cliff’s birthday would have been on Monday. We would have celebrated while camping, giving him goofy gifts, like a camouflaged baseball batting cap with dual beer can holder mounted on top with drinking tube.

We’re brewing some beer to bring with us, using some of the equipment Cliff once used. It’ll be a fine brew for a fine camping trip.

He’ll be there in spirit, at least, and having a good ol’ time along with us.

The author, a former Vacaville resident, was the assistant news editor in charge of special sections for The Reporter when this column first appeared in The Reporter on May 23, 2001.

Hearing draws mixed reaction on TransCanada Maine's wind power petition | Lewiston Sun Journal

Hearing draws mixed reaction on TransCanada's wind power petition Franklin Sun Journal

Maine chambermaid's slaying still unsolved after 45 years | Bangor Daily News

Chambermaid's slaying still unsolved after 45 years - Bangor Daily News

Forest service issues Maine fire warnings | Bangor Daily News

Forest service issues Maine fire warnings - Bangor Daily News

Protectors of the deep | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

[Short slideshow with this link. It's worth a peek. -- KM]

Protectors of the deep The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Jobs bill passes in rare show of accord | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Jobs bill passes in rare show of accord The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine report: Dropouts eight times more likely to go to jail | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Report: Dropouts eight times more likely to go to jail The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

King Middle principal wins top Maine award | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

King Middle principal wins top Maine award The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Maine's matchless matchbook collector | Lewiston Sun Journal

Matchbook collector City Sun Journal

Warm, dry winter means savings for Maine cities, towns | Lewiston Sun Journal

Warm, dry winter means savings for cities, towns State Sun Journal

Maine gubernatorial candidates respond to questions | DownEast.com blog

Maine gubernatorial candidates respond to questions | DownEast.com blog

12 Blaine House hopefuls to vie in primary elections | Bangor Daily News

12 Blaine House hopefuls to vie in primary elections - Bangor Daily News

Grass, brush fire season gets an early start in Maine | Bangor Daily News

[I spent three summers firefighting when I moved to California, so I'm always on the lookout for firefighting stories. The sort of grass fires show in the photos and video on this story happen all along California's railroads and freeways. -- KM]

Grass, brush fire season gets an early start - Bangor Daily News

Maine home foreclosures rise | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine home foreclosures rise The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine Gov. Baldacci seeks disaster declaration | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Baldacci seeks disaster declaration The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Heavy rain brings York County floods | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Heavy rain brings York County floods The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Monday, March 15, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 81

The coffeehouse I patronized the most – empresso – sure does hire beautiful young women.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 80

I’ve written this before, but good, sunny weather really cuts down attendance at the coffeehouse.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Former Unity president expected to get UMFK post | Bangor Daily News

Former Unity president expected to get UMFK post - Bangor Daily News

Field still big in Maine gubernatorial race | Bangor Daily News

Field still big in Maine gubernatorial race - Bangor Daily News

U.S. census forms arrive in the mail today | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

[Make sure to fill these out and return them. The information gathered determines who gets what in the good ol' US of A. -- KM]

US census forms arrive in the mail today The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine at Work: Reporter spills the beans about factory where nothing is half-baked | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine at Work: Reporter spills the beans about factory where nothing is half-baked The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sex & the Maine country | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

In a live-and-let-live swath of rural western Maine, entrepreneurs have turned to exotic dancers as a viable -- and even welcomed -- business model.

Sex & the country The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine couple duped out of $240,000 | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine couple duped out of $240,000 The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 79

It’s beautiful weather out, but the coffeehouse is crowded. I almost want to stand up and yell: “Run! Run! Go play outdoors!” … But, alas, the coffeehouse is in a theater and I don’t want to cause a panic.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 78

Stiletto heels in the coffeehouse? Why not. … Um, to be clear, I’m not the one wearing the stilettos. I just spotted ’em is all.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Two firms very interested in Maine sardine cannery, officials say | Bangor Daily News

Two firms very interested in sardine cannery, officials say - Bangor Daily News

Maine congressional delegation sends off 1136th in crowded ceremony at UMaine | Bangor Daily News

Congressional delegation sends off 1136th in crowded ceremony at UMaine - Bangor Daily News

‘Maine Friends of Haiti’ is woman’s way of pitching in

Web site to link Maine resources
for Haiti aid uses woman’s media skills

Mary Doyle doesn’t have medical expertise or a lot of disposable income for charitable donations, but she wanted to do her part for the people of Haiti and the Mainers who are helping there.

She does have a knack for bringing people together and developing Web sites, so she tapped those skills to create the Maine Friends of Haiti Web site.

The site lists the large number of Maine groups working to help the people affected by the Caribbean nation’s devastating earthquake, which hit Jan. 12, killing more than 200,000 people and leaving 1.5 million more homeless.

“I tried to think of something that could be helpful,” Doyle said. “There was no Web site or group that was tying all the different efforts together.”

Click on the link for the rest of this story by David Hench in the Portland Press Herald.

And here’s a link to the Maine Friends of Haiti website: http://www.mainefriendsofhaiti.org/mainefriendsofhaiti.org/Home.html

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nation’s first forest fire tower built in Maine

OK, I have a special reason to like today’s DownEast.com trivia question. Two of them, actually.

When I was a kid there was a Disney TV movie, “Fire on Kelly Mountain” (1973), in which Larry Wilcox played a young guy who works in a forest fire lookout tower, becomes bored, and ends up fighting a lightning strike.

And because I ended up being a wildland firefighter for three summers while attending college in Chico, California.

Where was the country’s first forest fire lookout tower built?

Answer

In 1905, on Squaw Mountain, since renamed Big Moose Mountain.

Big Moose Mountain is in Piscataquis County, Maine, by the way. It’s near Moosehead Lake.

Maine panel seeking ways to clarify pot proposal | Bangor Daily News

Panel seeking ways to clarify pot proposal - Bangor Daily News

Bangor Hydro's parent company to buy northern Maine utility | Bangor Daily News

Bangor Hydro's parent company to buy northern Maine utility - Bangor Daily News

Defendants not guilty in lobsterman shooting trial | Bangor Daily News

Defendants not guilty in lobsterman shooting trial - Bangor Daily News

Coffeehouse observation No. 78

Coffee is not merely a “lifestyle choice.” It is life itself. There is no choice.
Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 77

Rain all day outside. Coffee all day inside. Life – today – is good inside.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 76

I wonder what it is that makes nutcases come up to me and start spouting their insane notions. Is it written on my face: “Lunatic, come forward and be heard!” I think not!

A guy just came into the coffeehouse, ordered a coffee and, as he’s leaving the coffeehouse, makes a beeline right to my table and starts asking me if I had seen some internet broadcast about a half-dozen conspiracy theories.

Or, at least, I think that was what he was saying. He was not particularly coherent.

Um, I’m guessing “nutcases” and “lunatic” are not the preferred words.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Roadmap report for ramping up sustainable business

Roadmap Report For Ramping Up Sustainable Business

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 75

Some days are more normal than others at the coffeehouse. Really.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Sneak peek: L.L.Bean shows new Signature line | Lewiston Sun Journal

Sneak peek: L.L.Bean shows new Signature line Lewiston Sun Journal

One syllable is enough

I haven’t been sharing DownEast.com’s trivia questions lately because the feature apparently went green and was recycling a bunch of questions I had already shared. It didn’t make sense to share them again.

But when I first read today’s question, I immediately thought: “Well, it’s the shortest name. … Oh, wait, there’s Texas and Idaho” and probably another that I can’t think of just yet.

Anyway, a Mainer might say that one syllable is all we need.

What is unique about the state’s name?

Answer:
Maine is the only state with a single-syllable name.

Jury begins deliberations in Maine lobsterman shooting case - Bangor Daily News

[Deliberations have started, apparently. -- KM]

Jury begins deliberations in lobsterman shooting case - Bangor Daily News

Maine 'lobster wars' trial illustrates case of bad blood on Matinicus | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

[I posted a link to a wire story about this trial earlier, but this has far, far more details. -- KM]

Trial illustrates case of bad blood on Matinicus The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Proposal would set ‘real Maine’ apart from rest of state

[Every so often someone in California offers up a proposal to split up California into two or three states. It usually falls flat on its face pretty fast. I sort of get the mindset that Rep. Joy is trying to express, but I don’t get this proposal, especially since he admits the chances are “slim to none.” Maine would lose more than gain. Rep. Joy perhaps should spend more of his time helping in the cutting of the state budget shortfall rather than cutting the state in two. – KM]
For Mainers who tire of summer traffic and wish those tourists would just stay away, Rep. Henry Joy, R-Crystal, has a solution: Split Maine in two.

If a bill he has proposed gets any traction – a possibility he described as “slim to none” – there would be a “real Maine” up north, and the rest would go back to its former landlord: Massachusetts.

“Some of them are sort of upset because I call this Northern Massachusetts, but their lifestyle is like those in Massachusetts,” he said.

Joy knows something about the Bay State. He traces his lineage to the first Joy in Boston, Thomas Joy.

His hometown – Crystal, in Aroostook County – is nowhere near Boston, however. In 2000, Crystal had 285 residents with a per-capita income of $14,338.

“I’d rather have my roots in Maine,” Joy said.

The new Maine Joy imagines would encompass Oxford, Aroostook, Piscataquis, Somerset, Franklin, Penobscot and Washington counties, and part of Hancock County. All others would become the new state of “northern Massachusetts.”

Click on the link to read the rest of this story by Ethan Wilensky-Lanford in the Kennebec Journal.

Maine's budget hole again altered for the better | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Budget hole again altered for the better The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Closing arguments today in trial of Maine lobsterman | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Closing arguments today in trial of lobsterman The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Hearing today on Maine's medical pot plan | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Hearing today on medical pot plan The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine high court upholds state wind farm law | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine high court upholds state wind farm law The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Senate bill expands offshore wind incentives to 2020

Senate Bill Expands Offshore Wind Incentives to 2020

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Maine’s official dessert?

[Just a quick note on this somewhat funny story in the Bangor Daily News. The high school mentioned in the third paragraph is the one I attended years ago. (Class of 1980) Go Hornets!! And the teacher, Sarah Brooks, is a longtime local educator and I believe she still owns horse stables in Nashville Plantation, just south of Portage, Maine. And for full disclosure, I thoroughly enjoy whoopie pies and blueberry pie equally, so I’d be interested in a compromise. Clicking on the link below will bring you to the story and there is a recipe for whoopie pies in the story. I pasted the recipe below in the event you are not interested and going to the story. Enjoy! Or not! It’s your choice. – KM]

A lover if whoopie pies
campaigns for state action

Amos Orcutt is so passionate about whoopie pies he’s taking it to the governor. Well, not quite yet — but eventually. Orcutt earlier this year filed the paperwork for a bill to recognize the chocolate and cream confection as Maine’s state dessert.

“It’s a sense of pride for Mainers. We need to promote products from Maine and focus on those little niches that we have,” said Orcutt, president of the University of Maine Foundation. “We have all these great foods and products that come out of Maine, and they’re part of what makes us unique. Whoopie pies are definitely one of those things.”

Orcutt recently enlisted the help of a group of Ashland High School students, led by teacher Sarah Brooks, to support his measure in last weekend’s mock legislation session in Augusta. Part of the Maine Youth in Government program, the students from Ashland traveled to the Capitol to debate with fellow students from around the state several items — including the whoopie pie bill.

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Emily Burnham in the Bangor Daily News.

Sandy Oliver’s Whoopie Pie

Makes about 14 to 16 3-inch whoopie pies This whoopie pie recipe ran April 14, 2007, in the Bangor Daily News.

2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift together dry ingredients. Cream together shortening and sugar, beat in the egg and vanilla, then add the dry ingredients and milk alternately. You will have a fairly stiff cake batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving room for them to spread somewhat. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing them to a rack.

Whoopie Pie Filling

2 egg whites

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the egg whites until they are fluffy, gradually adding 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar. Then spoonful by spoonful add the shortening and the rest of the sugar to the egg white mixture until it is smooth and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla. When the cookies are cool enough to handle, make pairs of similarly sized ones and spread the filling on one half and top with the other half. Wrap in plastic wrap or put into an airtight container.

3 Maine women honored as WW II pilots | Bangor Daily News

3 Maine women honored as WW II pilots - Bangor Daily News

Maine Gov. Baldacci releases $79M bond package | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Baldacci releases $79M bond package The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Garciaparra retires as member of Red Sox | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Garciaparra retires as member of Red Sox The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

January jobless rate rises to 8.2% in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

January jobless rate rises to 8.2% in Maine The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Trader Joe's eyeing Portland | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Trader Joe's eyeing Portland The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 74

I don’t get it sometimes how a person can loudly carry on a conversation in a public place. This guy at the next table at the coffeehouse was trashing his brother and the brother’s girlfriend. Come on, Dude! Take it outside at least.
Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Police probe death of Mainers linked to California pot growing operation | Bangor Daily News

Police probe death of Mainers linked to California pot growing operation - Bangor Daily News

More Maine Guard soldiers going to Afghanistan | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

More Maine Guard soldiers going to Afghanistan The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mainers encouraged to complete census forms | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mainers encouraged to complete census forms The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

A vision for the Maine’s North Woods

In delicate talks, the many factions
of landowners are forging a plan
that tries to satisfy all of their interests

The long-simmering debate over the future of Maine’s northern woodlands is about to move back to the front burner.

A group called the Keeping Maine’s Forests steering committee is working on a proposal to protect millions of acres of the working forest from further development. The committee is close to having a final plan and will deliver it to federal officials as early as this month.

People already are lining up to oppose it with competing plans for the more than 10 million acres known as Maine’s North Woods. It’s the largest unfragmented forest east of the Mississippi River, with most of it in private hands.

The steering committee grew out of an effort, organized by state officials, to get the traditionally warring factions of landowners such as Katahdin Timberlands, environmental groups such as Maine Audubon, outdoor recreational organizations such as the Appalachian Mountain Club, and members of the forest products sector such as the Forest Products Council, to forge a plan that would satisfy all of their interests.

“The fact that we got them sitting down at one table is unprecedented,” said Alec Giffen, director of the Maine Forest Service.
Click on the link for the rest of today’s story by Beth Quimby in the Portland Press Herald.

Here’s more:

The Maine Woods

• Maine is the most heavily forested state in the nation, with trees growing on 90 percent of its land base, or 17.8 million acres.
• The Maine woods are home to more than 20,000 species of wildlife.
• As an economic resource, Maine’s forests directly employ nearly 23,000 people.
• About 95 percent of Maine timberland is privately owned, with small, non-industrial landowners holding more than 6.2 million acres.
• The Maine woods generate $1.15 billion in revenues from forest-related recreation and tourism activities.
• Maine’s forest industry harvests 6 million to 7 million cords of wood each year to build homes and make furniture, paper and other products.

Source: Maine Forest Service

Steering committee members

• Eliza Townsend, Maine Department of Conservation
• Wolfe Tone, The Trust for Public Land
• Rosaire Pelletier, adviser to Gov. John Baldacci
• Sherry Huber, Maine Tree Foundation
• Karin Tilberg, Office of the Governor
• Mike Tetreault, The Nature Conservancy
• Alec Giffen, Maine Forest Service
• Patrick Strauch, Forest Products Council
• Ted Koffman, Maine Audubon
• Roger Milliken, Baskahegan Co.
• Marcia McKeague, Acadian Timberlands
• John Williams, Maine Pulp and Paper Association
• Eleanor Kinney, Environmental Funders Network Council
• Karen Woodsum, Sierra Club
• Brownie Carson, Natural Resources Council
• Alan Hutchinson, Forest Society of Maine
• Peter Triandafillou, Huber Resources
• Walter Graff, Appalachian Mountain Club
• Don White, Prentiss and Carlisle
• Mathew Dunlap, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine
• Rich Merk, Small Woodlot Owners of Maine
• Ken Elowe, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 73

I’m not sure why they were playing disco music earlier in the empresso, but I’m sooo very happy they’ve changed to something else.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Taking a hard look at government in Maine | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Taking a hard look at government The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Anthem, public assess reasons for hiking rates in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Anthem, public assess reasons for hiking rates The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Clean challenge: Public financing elusive for some | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Clean challenge: Public financing elusive for some The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Dozens run for Maine governor: A measure of nation's discontent | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Dozens run for governor: A measure of nation's discontent The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine adoptees mark a year of finding themselves | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Adoptees mark a year of finding themselves The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Heart and soul in Haiti | Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

The Rev. Marc Boisvert left Lewiston
12 years ago, and knows he will spend
his life – all of it – helping on this island

LES CAYES, Haiti – Saturday morning, as the Rev. Marc Boisvert rode in an SUV through the busy streets of downtown Les Cayes, a young man on a motorcycle pulled up alongside the open window.

“Respe, mon Pere!” the man shouted to Boisvert.

“Merci,” replied Boisvert before the motorcyclist turned sharply and zoomed down a side street.

What had the man said?

“He said, ‘Respect to you, Father,’” Boisvert said.

The compliment was well earned.

He was born and grew up in Lewiston. He went to a seminary high school in Bucksport.

He’s served as pastor at Roman Catholic churches in Castine and Stonington, a chaplain at Maine Maritime Academy and as a Navy chaplain at, of all places, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

But that's all in his distant past. Twelve years, three months and six days ago – he knows because it happened on Jan. 1, 1998 – Boisvert left life as he knew it and came to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Bill Nemitz of the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram.