Tuesday, August 31, 2010

They’re all logged on: Serous outdoors competitions kick off Woodsmen’s Day | Kennebec Journal

WINDSOR – Lynn Faustino and Carol Grime found their stance, gripped the handles and tested the teeth of a two-handled crosscut saw before ripping through a log.

The two women from Rochester, Mass., teamed up for the women's crosscut saw competition Monday at the 14th Annual Woodsmen’s Day at the Windsor Fair.

Blistering heat continued Monday on the second day of the fair, which ends Labor Day. But Faustino, a 42-year-old registered nurse, and Grime, 60, who works for a logging company, were barely breaking a sweat.

They made the first cut. Then a second.

The saw vibrated as its teeth ground into the wood fiber, dislodging sawdust and spilling it onto the ground.

Faustino said lumberjack competitions are great exercise, and they get to meet a lot of nice people.

“My husband got me into it,” Faustino said after her match. “I did it for six years and just started up again because my son’s doing it now. It’s really great fun, and we get to travel a lot.”

Click for the rest of the story by Mechele Cooper in the Kennebec Journal.

Sugarloaf unveils plans to double size of ski slopes | Bangor Daily News

Sugarloaf resort expansion to Burnt Mountain.

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine – Sugarloaf Mountain is celebrating its 60th anniversary as a ski resort and thousands call Maine’s second highest peak their home mountain. For as long as skiers have hit the slopes there, they’ve looked longingly to the east and wondered “what if?”

What if the neighboring mountain was open to skiing, too?

“We’ve been talking about Burnt Mountain for 59 1/2 years,” Sugarloaf General Manager John Diller said at a Tuesday press conference.

The talking is over.

Click for the rest of this story by John Holyoke in the Bangor Daily News.

Coffeehouse observation No. 195

They are tearing up the parking lot outside Exotic Java today and paving tomorrow. Exotic Java will be closed on Wednesday, according to the folks here, but stop buy later in the week for a Red Eye or other fine caffeinated beverage.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 194

A woman just walked into the coffeehouse with hair the color of red neon. Um, I don't think it is a natural color. ... And, no, I will not walk up to her and ask to take her photo.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 193

Pretty busy day so far at the coffeehouse. A few people must have a “case of the Mondays” and need an extra jolt. An “Office Space” reference can never go wrong.

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Body of Maine climber missing since 1989 found | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Body of Maine climber missing since 1989 found The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine revenues nearly meet budget | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine revenues nearly meet budget The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Folk festival planners pleased by size, spirit of crowd | Bangor Daily News

Folk festival planners pleased by size, spirit of crowd | Bangor Daily News

Effects of Hurricane Earl could be felt all the way to Maine | Bangor Daily News

Effects of Hurricane Earl could be felt all the way to Maine Bangor Daily News

Woman crashes car into gate of Stephen King’s Bangor home | Bangor Daily News

Woman crashes car into gate of Stephen King’s Bangor home | Bangor Daily News

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Northernmost Maine? I-95 won't get you there | NPR

Northernmost Maine? I-95 won't get you there | NPR

I’m not sure how I missed this part of the NPR package on Interstate 95 the other day (Paying a local price for I-95’s global promise | NPR), especially since it includes information on where I grew up. I was born in Fort Kent, traveled to Caribou to eat and shop, and drove those roads in my late teens and early 20s.

Extending Interstate 95 to Fort Kent or Madawaska would be good for the region to get goods and services that far north and products back south, but the comments point out that there are other pressing needs as well.

Coffeehouse observation No. 192

I’m a bit distracted by a beautiful woman at the coffeehouse. I was distracted yesterday by another woman, also beautiful. I suppose I’m easily distracted.

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Finding the quiet delight of Maine: Visitors from state, beyond continue to discover beauty of state parks | Maine Sunday Telegram

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – When Scott Thompson, the Aroostook State Park manager, was invited to a trade show in Boston this spring, he didn't let an opportunity pass him by.
Thompson, the manager of Maine’s northern-most state park, looked at the convention center full of intrepid tourists and seized the chance to send them 10 hours north.

“I was told to just hand out brochures. But I just thought, ‘Here we go,’ ” said Thompson, a Presque Isle native.

The affable and amusing Thompson told as many people as he could about the beauty of Aroostook County in summertime, about the 15 miles of Nordic ski trails he grooms around the state park in winter, and about the booming winter carnival held there now, which increased in attendance from 100 to 700 in three years.

Thompson must have intrigued a few tourists because attendance at Aroostook State Park is up 30 percent this year, according to the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

Click for the rest of the story by Deirdre Fleming in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Weather, talent kept Folk Festival hot | Bangor Daily News

Here are links to a couple of Bangor Daily News stories on the American Folk Festival held this weekend on the Bangor Waterfront. There are stories, photos and video at the other end of these links back to the Bangor Daily News.




Watson wows crowd on Bangor Waterfront | Bangor Daily News

Weather, talent kept Folk Festival hot | Bangor Daily News

Plenty of sun but rain needed in northern Maine | Bangor Daily News

Plenty of sun but rain needed in northern Maine - Bangor Daily News

Interest in Presque Isle balloon festival on the rise | Bangor Daily News

Balloons at the Crown of Maine Balloon Festival. Photo by Kelly McInnis

Here are photos and links to a Bangor Daily News story on the Crown of Maine Balloon Festival.

It was held this weekend, so plan for next year. While I would NEVER get into a balloon – I covered too many balloon mishaps in 23 years as a journalist – it does look like it was great fun. And there were other activities that went along with this year’s event.

I’ve also included a link to the festival’s website for those who are really interested.

And the photos come via Kelly McInnis, a high school classmate who still lives in The County. The photos are reprinted here with her permission.

A dog balloon at the Crown of Maine Balloon Festival. Photo by Kelly McInnis
Balloons at the Crown of Maine Balloon Festival. Photo by Kelly McInnis
Balloons at the Crown of Maine Balloon Festival. Photo by Kelly McInnis
Interest in Presque Isle balloon festival on the rise | Bangor Daily News

For information go to the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest website at http://www.crownofmaineballoonfest.org/ or call the Presque Isle Area Chamber of Commerce at (207) 764-6561.


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Saturday, August 28, 2010

New camper fulfills stricken boy’s wish | The Morning Sentinel, Waterville, ME

New camper fulfills stricken boy’s wish The Morning Sentinel, Waterville, ME

Offering viewers a sneak peek of autumn: Dry summer gives some trees early start on foliage season | Portland Press Herald

Here’s a photo I posted a few days ago showing the early change in color of foliage. This photo was taken not long ago near Jo-Mary Lake Campground in the shadow of Mount Katahdin. Photo by Kelly McInnis
The fall foliage season has started, at least for some trees.

Some species are turning yellow and shedding their foliage earlier than normal because of the dry summer. But forestry experts do not expect conditions to affect the prime leaf-peeping season.

“We have noticed it especially with paper and yellow birch,” said Bill Ostrofsky, a tree pathologist with the Maine Forest Service.

Touches of red and gold always appear on some trees in the Maine landscape in late August. But the dry conditions have led to more color this year. Until this week, no significant rain had fallen over much of the state since June.

The lack of water caused leaves to droop, then drop, on bushes and trees where the soil was especially dry.

Click for the rest of the story by Beth Quimby in the Portland Press Herald.

Mall stores report a strong summer | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mall stores report a strong summer The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Coffeehouse observation No. 191

In the coffeehouse I was just struck by something, something I’m sure others have thought about. I’m suddenly concerned that a whole generation of American music lovers will think that The Who is covering the “CSI” theme song.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 190

I find it, um, strange that the coffeehouse music includes a Peter Framptonesque talking guitar version of “Rocket Man.” There’s something very wrong about that.

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Sixth annual American Folk Festival: The biggest party in Bangor | Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine — The crowd began gathering around 4 p.m. to welcome the sixth annual American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront. With full sun, mid-80s temperatures and cloudless skies forecast for the weekend, the biggest party in Bangor was off to a rousing start for the nearly 100,000 people estimated to attend this year.
The Pride of Maine Black Bear Marching Band took formation in West Market Square around 6 p.m. and performed for a crowd of several hundred, some of whom arrived early to snag a seat at one of the downtown eateries. Band director Chris White stood atop a platform and conducted the band through a selection of pop hits and the ubiquitous “Maine Stein Song,” the anthem of the University of Maine.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Andrew Day, service manager at Paddy Murphy’s Pub, located just off West Market Square. “We had people get here early to watch the parade from inside. It’s definitely been a boon. West Market is the heart of downtown, and there’s nowhere else the festival should start.”

Click for the rest of the story by Emily Burnham in the Bangor Daily News, along with photos and video.

Paying a local price for I-95’s global promise | NPR

Paying a local price for I-95’s global promise | NPR

This NPR story caught my eye because Interstate 95 is the closest interstate highway to where I grew up in Aroostook County.

State Route 11 was the only paved road in and out of Portage, but as an adult I’ve lived in cities bisected by several interstate, U.S. and state highways.

Route 11 still is the only paved way in and out of Portage and I’m pretty sure no one living there is interested in adding any commuter lanes or interchanges or bypasses. My mother used to lament about the “traffic” on the road when we lived on Route 11 leading into Portage. There were too many logging trucks going too fast for her.

The northern terminus of I-95 is at Houlton, Aroostook County’s county seat and a border crossing into Canada. The oldest and longest of the interstates, I-95 runs from Houlton to southern Florida.

Whenever we wanted to visit points south we would drive south on frost-damaged state Route 11 – also known as the Aroostook Scenic Highway – through Ashland. Farther south we would turn east at Knowles Corner onto state Route 212 to Symrna Mills and onto southbound I-95. Or we would bypassed the Knowles Corner turnoff and continued on Route 11 through to Patten and then to I-95.

I’ve driven a lot of interstate highways in the past 30 or more years and I-95 through Maine’s North Woods must be among the most remote interstates in the continental United States. It was not uncommon to drive from Houlton, Symrna Mills or Patten and not see another vehicle for miles and miles of forest-lined concrete highway. It was difficult sometimes not to nod off just a bit and it is not unusual to come across a moose or black bear standing in the middle of the lanes.

Mount Katahdin
From doorstep to Bangor was about a three-hour drive, with about two-thirds of that on I-95. There is a section that opens up just a bit and allows a scenic view of Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine and the official end of the Appalachian Trial. (Some believe the Appalachian Mountains actually continue to Mars Hill, Maine, and there was a report earlier this summer that a section of the mountain range was left behind in Europe when the tectonic plates shifted. Also, a few days ago I posted photos of Mount Katahdin taken by a high school classmate, Kelly McInnis. http://lettersfromaway.blogspot.com/2010/08/camping-in-maine-in-shadow-of-mount.html)

I-95 goes through or near such Maine communities as Old Town, Orono, Bangor, Waterville and Gardiner, where the road splits into I-95, which swung out to Lewiston, and I-295, which was a straighter shot to Portland, Kittery and the rest of New England and the World. It would take about six hours to drive from my home in Portage to Gorham, Maine, where the residential campus of the University of Southern Maine is located and where I attended college for a time.

The NPR story has a couple of nice features: a list of little known facts, an interactive map showing the construction of the highway over the decades, and a list of places along I-95 to visit.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

‘Who wouldn't want to own a lighthouse in Maine?’ | Portland Press Herald

Bidders drawn by the charm, desire to preserve
Ram Island Ledge Light take a closer look

CASCO BAY – From his home in Cape Elizabeth, Scott Raspa can see Ram Island Ledge Light taking a pounding during nor'easters, or standing sentinel in calmer seas

On Thursday, the software consultant joined others on a Coast Guard vessel for a closer view of the lighthouse, about a mile northeast of Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. The visitors were registered bidders in a federal government auction of the five-story tower, which has helped mark the main channel to Portland Harbor since 1905.

Conserving the lighthouse was a common motive among the bidders. A couple of them also thought ownership of the lighthouse could dovetail with their business plans. One had a notion that it could serve as a bed and breakfast for adventurous types, but wasn’t yet certain what he would do. All seemed charmed by the prospect of owning a wind-swept lighthouse off Maine’s rocky coast.

The Coast Guard doesn’t have the budget to maintain all of the lighthouse towers that house navigational aids, which in this case consists of a light and a foghorn. Under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, lighthouses are offered to groups such as local governments and nonprofits at no cost before being put up for auction. The Coast Guard continues to maintain the navigational aids in lighthouse towers that are sold.

Raspa likes the idea of being the owner of a nearby lighthouse, with all its mystery and history. He doesn't yet have a concrete plan should that become the case.

“We were thinking about having cocktail parties there. I don’t know if that's possible,” he said.

Click for the rest of the story by Ann S. Kim in the Portland Press Herald.

Amity slayings: A son’s questions, a mother’s anguish | Bangor Daily News

AMITY, Maine — A little more than two months after his father and half-brother were stabbed to death inside their home during a brutal triple slaying, Shannon Ryan’s mind keeps wandering.

What time did his father, Jeffrey Ryan, 55, his half-brother Jesse, 10, and close family friend Jason Dehahn really die? Was there someone else involved in the crime besides 20-year-old Thayne Ormsby, who has been charged with three counts of murder? And most of all, he wonders, why hasn’t the man who admitted helping Ormsby conceal evidence of the crimes been arrested?

“Why in the world hasn’t he been charged or arrested?” the 35-year-old Ryan asked during a phone interview Wednesday from his home in Texas. “I think that question boggles the mind of everyone up in that area and probably in the state.”

Jamie Merrill, Jeffrey Ryan’s ex-wife and the dead boy’s mother, is having the same thoughts and feelings, she said Wednesday.

“There is no way that that 20-year-old got it in his mind to kill these people alone,” she said from her home in Lewiston. “We know that he did not get rid of evidence of the crime alone. The police have said that. And I think this was planned beforehand and Ormsby didn’t act alone.”
Click for the rest of the story by Jen Lynds in the Bangor Daily News.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three trail systems to link in Augusta | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Three trail systems to link in Augusta The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Augusta company teams up with Boeing | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Augusta company teams up with Boeing The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Rainfall unlikely to curtail drought | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Rainfall unlikely to curtail drought The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Only in MAINE: Human ingenuity, natural processes have left weird and entertaining marks on our state | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Et cetera: Only in MAINE The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Work fatalities fall; fishing and logging still most dangerous | Bangor Daily News

Work fatalities fall; fishing & logging still most dangerous - Bangor Daily News

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 189

A copy of Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone” is on the coffee table at – where else – the coffeehouse. I haven’t read “The Dead Zone” in a long time, but I just finished King’s “Cell” and am in the middle of “Dreamcatcher.” My favorite single Stephen King novel – in a coffeehouse or elsewhere – has to be “The Stand,” a King novel that seems to divide even the biggest King fans. I really enjoyed the Gunslinger series, too.

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Camping in Maine in the shadow of Mount Katahdin

Every so often I am reminded that I know some pretty talented people and some of them I’ve known a very long time.

Kelly McInnis was a high school classmate of mine at Ashland Community High School, MSAD No. 32. It was a consolidated high school with students coming from several different area communities. Portage Lake, where I grew up, was one of those communities.

Kelly, who still lives and works in The County, has a practiced eye when it comes to shooting photos. I seem to recall a photo of her from our high school yearbook, her red hair tied back and her wearing a baseball undershirt, the kind with the black three-quarter sleeves. In the photo, if I recall this correctly, she’s holding a 35-mm camera with which many of the other photos in the yearbook were shot.

But that was … holy, cow, about 30 years ago, so my memory may have faded a bit.

Anyway, Kelly shares here photos on Facebook and he graciously allows me to post them on “Letters From Away.”

Here’s Kelly McInnis’ campsite at Jo-Mary Lake Campground in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, the official end of the Appalachian Trail and the highest point in Maine. Photo by Kelly McInnis

Kelly was camping recently at Jo-Mary Lake Campground. The North Maine Woods Inc. at www.northmainewoods.org describes the amenities of the campground like this:

70 campsites along the shore of Jo-Mary Lake accommodate tents or camper trailers and most have a view of Mt. Katahdin. Boat launch, showers, flush toilets, dumping station, Laundromat, ice, fire wood and propane available. Sand beach provides excellent swimming. Five mile long Jo-Mary Lake provides fishing for landlocked salmon, brook trout, white perch and lake trout.

Sounds pretty plush for camping, but Kelly swears she roughed it by sleeping in a tent.

And there is Mount Katahdin, about 50 miles north of the Jo-Mary Lake Campground, according to the North Maine Woods Inc. website. Photo by Kelly McInnis

The campground is within the KI Jo-Mary Multiple Use Forest within 5 miles of the Appalachian Trial, with Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin, the highest point in Maine, just 50 miles to the north. I don’t recall ever going to this campground, but I would now if I had a chance. It appears to be a wonderful spot.

By the way, I believe Mount Katahdin is still considered the official northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, even though as a youth I heard Mars Hill was considered by some to be the end of the trail, as it were.

But earlier this summer I read a wire story about how a portion of the Appalachian Mountains actually may have been left behind on the European continent when the tectonic plates shifted.

Anyway, a couple of Kelly’s photos show Mount Katahdin in the background.


Here’s another shot of Mount Katahdin in the background and rock piles in the foreground. Kelly wasn’t sure who might have made the rock piles, perhaps bored children, she said. I think aliens from another planet may have had a hand – if they had hands, that is – in the creation of what I like to call Ancient Rock Towers of Maine’s North Woods. Photo by Kelly McInnis

Kelly didn’t know what the piled rocks were in some of the photos. Perhaps they are the product of a bored pack of children? Perhaps something more natural and mystical, such as the work of local native people? Perhaps something more mysterious still, such as the work of aliens from another planet? I think I’ll just call them the Ancient Rock Towers of Maine’s North Woods. I’m sure that will start showing up in search engines any day now.


Here’s another shot of the Ancient Rock Towers of Maine’s North Woods. Photo by Kelly McInnis

Another photo appears to be shot at the edge of a stream or other water source and shows the beginning of foliage changing. It has been a rather dry summer in Maine and some of the leaves are changing sooner than they normally would, as documented by Kelly’s photos and, well, my Mom. She said the same thing when I called her Sunday.


Kelly took this shot to show the beginning of the changing foliage. Maine has gone through a very dry summer and some of the leaves are changing sooner than they might have otherwise. It also shows a pretty typical opening in Maine’s North Woods – slightly boggy and surrounded by thick woods. Photo by Kelly McInnis

And there is a whimsical shot of a dedicated Maine fisherman.


Hey, buddy, whatcha usin’ for bait. Kelly’s response to that was that he was using the worm from the tequila bottle. Actually, the creation of the fisherman and the shooting of it with the camera both show a bit of dry Maine whimsy. Photo by Kelly McInnis

The photos are printed with Kelly’s permission.

Coffeehouse observation No. 188

The guy outside empresso is relentless. He is sitting at one of the tables out there strumming an electric guitar – no amp. And asking each attractive woman the time as they walk by and then he introduces himself. It’s as if he’s trolling and “Excuse me, do you know what time it is?” is the bait. A friend just suggested that it was nothing more than short-term memory loss. Um, I don’t think so.

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Troops still deploying to Mideast from BIA | Bangor Daily News

Troops still deploying to Mideast from BIA - Bangor Daily News

Early tidal power test in Eastport called a success | Bangor Daily News

EASTPORT, Maine — The Coast Guard’s 41-foot search and rescue boat eased away from the dock Tuesday morning, its batteries fully charged by electricity generated from the waters beneath its hull.

Since Aug. 18, a tidal energy generator developed by Ocean Renewable Power Co. has been producing clean, grid-compatible power for the Coast Guard boat. On Tuesday, the renewable power company and Coast Guard officials welcomed dignitaries and local residents to view up close what they described as the first-ever successful implementation of tidal energy at a federal facility.

“This has put Eastport on the world map,” said Chris Sauer, president and CEO of ORPC. “Folks in Australia, the UK, Chile, New Zealand know all about Eastport, Maine. They’re watching us and hoping it happens to them.”

Sauer called Eastport the “Kitty Hawk” of the developing tidal power industry, which has the potential, he said, to become a $1 billion industry in the city.

Click for the rest of the story by Rich Hewitt in the Bangor Daily News.

Coffeehouse observation No. 187

Two guys at the next table at the coffeehouse are talking about how to establish an urban garden in Stockton. I finally had to put Foo Fighters on the headphones to keep from eavesdropping, because I also want to do something as productive and meaningful as creating an urban garden. But instead I have to continue the job search.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 186

It’s coffee. Of course, it’s going to be hot.

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Witch’s curse or a stain? You judge | DownEast.com

I did not grow up near Bucksport, but I heard of this legend, very probably from my high school history teacher Ron Stevens.

Like most teachers, he occasionally strayed off the lesson plan and talked about fun things he liked.

And he had a strange sense of humor back then so he sometimes talked about Maine horror lore. And the DownEast.com trivia question covers one of them.

What stone memorial has a stain shaped like a woman’s foot and leg?

Answer:

A stone memorial to Bucksport founder and Revolutionary War hero Jonathan Buck. The mark has prompted various legends explaining its origins, most concerning a witch’s curse, but the most plausible explanation is that the stain was caused by iron oxides in the stone.

The way I heard it – and this comes from Ron Stevens, I believe – locals took efforts to grind it down or otherwise remove the foot from the monument. … And it always came back. (Insert scary organ music.)

Hockey team helps to right wrongs in cemetery | Lewiston Sun Journal

Hockey team helps to right wrongs in cemetery | Lewiston Sun Journal

Three arrested for cemetery vandalism in Lewiston  | Lewiston Sun Journal

Pool of money keeps YWCA open | Lewiston Sun Journal

LEWISTON — The YWCA of Central Maine will stay open after all.
Since announcing its closure last Thursday, the 130-year-old institution has gathered $75,000 in donations and the promise of another $125,000 by the end of the week.

Leaders also plan to immediately begin a $1 million statewide fundraising campaign, aimed at erasing more than $700,000 in debt and making energy efficient improvements to the YWCA’s nearly 40-year-old East Avenue building.

“We’re running so fast,” said Lee Young, president of the YWCA’s five-member board of directors.

On Monday morning, one week after they voted to close, the board voted to remain open.

Click for the rest of the story by Daniel Hartill in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Coast Guard celebrates tidal power project in Eastport | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Coast Guard celebrates tidal power project in Eastport The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine scores 33rd in Race to the Top | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine scores 33rd in Race to the Top The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Phish to perform in Augusta in October | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Phish to perform in Augusta in October The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

19th-century music score found inside auctioned picture frame | Bangor Daily News

19th-century music score found inside auctioned picture frame - Bangor Daily News

Despite big donations, folk festival still $226,000 short of goal | Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine — The American Folk Festival committee is $50,000 closer to — but still almost $226,000 short of — its 2010 fundraising goal of $960,000 three days before it starts.
“We’ve received a number of donations at various monetary levels, but we received one $40,000 contribution and another $10,000 gift within the last week from two donors who wish to remain anonymous,” said Heather McCarthy, the American Folk Festival’s executive director. “To date, the festival has raised $734,291.”

Still, McCarthy and other festival officials are aggressively seeking to close the funding gap as quickly as possible for the three-day extravaganza, which begins Friday centered on the Bangor Waterfront.

“We’re a little more comfortable with the money we’ve raised, but it doesn’t change the tone of our message to festival-goers because we still feel the sustainability of the event, long-term, depends on educating them on what they’re getting for little to relatively no cost.

“We have to educate people [about] the value the festival provides not just for attendees, but also the surrounding community.”

Click for the rest of the story by Andrew Neff in the Bangor Daily News.

Donations to the Folk Festival can be made by calling Mary Brann at (207) 974-3217 or by mailing them to American Folk Festival, 40 Harlow St., Bangor ME 04401.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our View: California shows how pot dispensaries can work | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Our View: California shows how pot dispensaries can work The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Annual Maine law enforcement summer pot harvesting under way | Lewiston Sun Journal

MEXICO, Maine — Law enforcement officials in Western Maine say there could be a bumper crop of marijuana this year, based on outside growing conditions and the number of plants seized so far.

Police are finding that plants cultivated outdoors are doing much better than in the past two years put together, Oxford County Marijuana Eradication Coordinator Chancey Libby said.

“Two years ago, we were finding pathetic-looking plants that were over-watered and drowned by all the rain," Cpl. Libby said.

The lack of rain this summer, however, means people who cultivate marijuana outdoors have to work that much harder to grow it, which increases the risk of getting caught, Libby said.

“We've had such a nice, dry summer that these people will have to tote more water in,” he said.

The county's biggest haul so far came on Aug. 3 when 298 plants were seized in Andover.

Click for the rest of this story by Terry Karkos in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Greats Falls Balloon Festival marks successful second day | Lewiston Sun Journal

LEWISTON, Maine — Thousands of people crowded into Simard-Payne Memorial Park on Saturday for the second day of the Great Falls Balloon Festival.

For some, the festival was a way to make money for charity. For others, it was a way to have fun with family.

For 7-year-old Adriana Ellis of Farmingdale, it was all about the balloons.

“Mama, look at that one!” she squealed, jumping up and down as a rainbow-colored balloon slowly rose above the crowd Saturday evening. “I want a ride!”

Festival-goers and balloonists enjoyed some of the best weather the festival has seen in years. With little wind and clear skies, all 28 balloons took to the air Saturday morning, rising in waves until the sky was filled with color.

“It’s probably as beautiful of a launch as we’ve had,” balloon meister John Reeder said.
Click for the rest of the story by Lindsay Tice in the Lewiston Sun Journal

Jobless rate drops in 18 states, rises in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Jobless rate drops in 18 states, rises in Maine - Bangor Daily News

top50employment may 2010

‘Perfect’ Machias Wild Blueberry Festival draws thousands | Bangor Daily News

MACHIAS, Maine — The sky, the pies, the berries and the banners all shared the same hue. Even some of the faces were looking blue, but only on those who wanted to smear them with a sticky goo as they competed to be the first ones through.
The pie-eating contest, the music and food put thousands of people in a good mood on Saturday as they celebrated a small edible berry at the annual Machias Wild Blueberry Festival.

And the combination of sunny weather and pleasant temperatures helped draw people in, according to Ellen Farnsworth, co-chairwoman of the annual event. She said last year’s festival was hot and that in 2008 it was rainy. On Saturday, there were almost no clouds in the sky and outdoor thermometers read approximately 70 degrees.

“This is perfect,” Farnsworth said of the weather.

As usual, the Centre Street Congregational Church was the center of action Saturday, as it is for the festival every year. The church sponsors and organizes the festival, which has been held every August since 1975. The church is where the festival play is staged, where the blueberry pie-eating contest is held and where many of the musical acts perform.

Click for the rest of the story by Bill Trotter in the Bangor Daily News.

More information is available at http://www.machiasblueberry.com/.

Coffeehouse observation No. 185

I just spotted two middle-aged white guys fist bump on the patio of the coffeehouse and thought it, um, odd. Is there an age limit on fist bumping? One Facebook friend says that it’s all a matter of “coolness quotient” and she says I am cool enough to pull it off, even if I am 48. Another Facebook friend says 17 is the limit and another says I should find another place to hang out. But too many pretty college girls come in and it would cut into things I can post here. Oh, the sacrifices I make.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Potato Feast Days attracts crowds in Houlton | Bangor Daily News

HOULTON, Maine — Although the potato fields aren’t as plentiful as they were 50 years ago, Houlton's annual Potato Feast Days celebration is still a crowd pleaser for young and old.
Evidence of its popularity was on display Saturday, as hundreds of people flocked to downtown Market Square and to Community Park for the 51st annual celebration to laud the area’s most famous cash crop.

“We've had a wonderful day,” Lori Weston, the executive director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, said Saturday afternoon. “There are a lot of people in town.”

When the festival was first launched in 1959, farmers and potato fields abounded, and the fete was the last big celebration in the area before growers started harvesting. Although the celebration has changed over the years, many of the original activities are still in place.

Click for the rest of the story by Jen Lynds in the Bangor Daily News.

Maine Farm Days offers view of real farm life | Lewiston Sun Journal

LEEDS, Maine — More than 1,500 farmers, vendors and visitors came to the Barker Farm on Friday to see what real farm life is like.

“It’s real animals. People are actually making a living out of it. It’s not the pretty picture people usually think of. It’s reality,” said Larry Thornburg, a beef cow farmer from Richmond and a member of the Maine Farm Days Committee.

Jane Heikkinen of the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, one of the sponsors of this year's Maine Farm Days, said unlike Maine’s Open Farm Day, which allows people to visit many farms across the state each summer, this two-day event, which continues Saturday, concentrates on only one working farm.

“It focuses on one farm that has usually been given awards for excellence,” Heikkinen explained. The farm that is selected is usually located in the central Maine area for convenience. This is the second year that the five-generation Barker Farm in Androscoggin County has been selected to host the longtime event.

Click for the rest of the story by Leslie H. Dixon in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Baldacci touts renewable power in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Baldacci touts renewable power in Maine The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Grievances aired over wind turbines on Vinalhaven | Bangor Daily News

Grievances aired over wind turbines on Vinalhaven - Bangor Daily News

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sssssensational! No poisonous snakes in Maine – mostly | DownEast.com

I was a wildland firefighter for three summers while attending college and we were always told to watch out for rattlesnakes.

And paying for green fees in California, Nevada and other western states might come with a warning to avoid certain areas on the golf course infested with snakes. (“Sooo, is that a 7-iron, then?” – a reply to a warning about snakes at a golf course in Carson City, Nevada.)

The answer to the DownEast.com trivia question should calm any concerns for parents in Maine about letting their children play in the outdoors.

Is it true that Maine has no venomous snakes?

Answer:

Yes. Though a small number of timber rattlesnakes, considered transient, have been spotted in southernmost Maine, the state is considered the only one of the Lower 48 to have no native venomous snakes.
OK, here’s a family-lore story. The story goes that my father, sister and very probably my mother and I were outside. My father and mother very likely were doing yard work; my sister and I were too young.

At one point my sister wandered to the edge of the property and brought back with her a run-of-the-mill garter snake and tried to show it to my father. Apparently, my father was particularly frightened of snakes – and the little garter snake was no exception. He apparently backed away from my sister, yelling at her to drop the snake.

No one was harmed, not even the snake.

There may be a problem with the trivia question answer, however, and it might require a mild clarification. I just noticed in a Wikipedia entry on garter snakes that

“Garters were long thought to be nonvenomous, but recent discoveries have revealed that they do in fact produce a mild neurotoxic venom. Garter snakes are nevertheless harmless to humans due to the very low amounts of venom they produce, which is comparatively mild, and the fact that they lack an effective means of delivering it.”

So there you have the skinny of snakes.

Maine tourism gets its glow back: Sun-filled summer has businesses thriving again after a dreary 2009 | Portland Press Herald

PORTLAND — Maine’s tourism industry is rebounding from last year’s miserable summer, and the state's restaurants, campgrounds and hotels are getting a much-needed boost in income.
Although many consumers remain cautious about spending because of the sluggish economy, this summer's sunny weather has been a huge improvement over last summer's rainy and cool weather, said Steve DiMillo of DiMillo’s Floating Restaurant in Portland.

He said his restaurant has been serving 1,000 meals a day – a 10 percent increase over last year. “Great weather trumps everything,” he said. “The sunshine is obviously our friend.”

Sales at restaurants in Maine are up 2 percent to 4 percent this summer over last summer, according to industry estimates.

Click for the rest of this story by Tom Bell in the Portland Press Herald.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Maine stuff in my California apartment No. 10 – hearing ‘Acadia’

Scan of the cover of "Acadia," a CD by Jim Chappell inspired by Maine's Acadia National Park.
Today’s photos – scans really – are of a CD cover and a couple of pages from the accompanying booklet. It is an instrumental CD by Jim Chappell that came out in 1996, I believe, and was inspired by Acadia National Park.

The CD, of course, is called “Acadia.”

My mother gave me the CD as a gift many years ago. I don’t recall if it was a birthday gift or a Christmas gift or just a gift from out the blue. Moms do that from time to time, give gifts for no reason at all.

The music is very soothing, relaxing and comfortable to listen to – piano, violins, cello, French horn, flute, that sort of thing. It’s not Radiohead or The White Stripes, but not everything has to be.

The CD had been lost among other CDs on a bookshelf that I recently went through. I’m listening to the CD at the very moment that I am writing this entry and I’ll very probably hit replay once it plays through.

Part of the booklet reads:

“The quiet solitude of the deep woods … the rumbling roar of surf crashing on the rocky coast of Maine … the silent sweep of a falcon high above a shimmering lake and the whelping sound of seals on tiny inlets. This is Acadia National Park. It is a meeting of mountain and valley, forest and meadow, ocean and land in a symphonic splash of salt, spray and foam. It is sunrise from the glacier-flattened top of Cadillac Mountain, bathing the sea and nearby cliffs with a caress of soft pink and gold as lighthouses flash like fireflies from the surrounding headlands.”

Scan from the booklet that came with the CD "Acadia" by Jim Chappell. The music was inspired by Maine's Acadia National Park.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to Acadia National Park, but that passage hits it pretty well on the head. I don’t recall the part of “lighthouses flash like fireflies,” but it was a pretty long time ago. It is Maine, after all, with lighthouses on nearly every other coastal bluff.

The CD carries song titles that will be familiar to those who have visited Acadia National Park: “Cadillac Mountain,” “The Carriage Road,” “Southwest Harbor,” “Long Pond Canoe,” “The Loop Road,” and “Jordan Pond,” among others.

Scan of another page from the booklet that came with Jim Chappell's CD "Acadia," with music inspired by Maine's Acadia National Park.

For total disclosure, I am again stretching the whole Maine-stuff-in-my-California-apartment thing with this entry. The album was inspired by Acadia National Park as Chappell spent a week hiking around Acadia and humming into a cassette recorder – remember, this was in 1996 and it was a little early for digital recorders – the melodies that became “Acadia.” But the booklet indicates the music was recorded in California – Sebastopol and San Anselmo. Let’s just agree that it is Maine-inspired stuff in my California apartment.

I tracked down what seems to be Jim Chappell’s official website, where you can find more information about the guy and order his music. Apparently, he’s still at it and his latest CD is being released later this month.

The booklet also mentions Friends of Acadia, a nonprofit organization working to preserve Acadia National Park. According to the booklet, 15 percent of the profits from the sale of the CD go to the group. Donations to Friends of Acadia can be made by mailing them to the group at 43 Cottage Street, P.O. Box 45, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609. There’s also information about the park, how to join Friends of Acadia, and more on its website.

This is an occasional multipart series of photos of things related to Maine that can be found in Keith Michaud’s California apartment. All photos in this series are shot by and are the property of Keith Michaud.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SunChips' green packaging comes under fire for creating a racket | Business | GreenBiz.com

[I bought these chips the other day simply because of the ecofriendly packaging. Yes, it was a little loud, but not really a problem. Although, I would back the warning issued regarding selling the chips with that particular packaging at movie theaters. -- KM]

SunChips' Green Packaging Comes Under Fire for Creating a Racket Business GreenBiz.com

State, local governments lack policies for green job creation | SustainableBusiness.com

State, Local Governments Lack Policies For Green Job Creation

Camden Windjammer Festival 2010 is Sept. 3-5

Taken from the website for the Camden Windjammer Festival:
The Camden Windjammer Festival is a community-led celebration of Camden’s maritime heritage and living traditions. From the great age of sail when four, five, and even six-masted schooners were launched into Camden Harbor, through the birth of the windjammer business here in the 1930s and continuing with the elegant yachts that visit or call Camden home every summer, sailing ships have always defined this gorgeous community where the mountains meet the sea.

Every year on Labor Day weekend thousands of visitors from as far away as Alaska and as near as Bay View Street in Camden gather along the wharfs and parks to explore the ships themselves, learn salty crafts and skills, and swap sea stories and songs in talent shows and concerts that appeal to landlubbers and swabbies alike. Now in its sixteenth year, the Camden Windjammer Festival has become a wildly popular event for tourists as well as locals.

This festival recognizes not just what makes Camden unique but also the important role maritime heritage plays in shaping the lives of all who live here. And, most of all, to celebrate it!

Investors plant the seeds for slow money: Mainers getting behind effort to fast-track the slow money movement for local food | Maine Today Media

While brokers tempt investors with derivatives, hedge funds and collateralized debt obligations that are able to zip around the globe at lightening speed, venture capitalist Woody Tasch wants to see a return to a slow but steady gold standard with more long-term security than a blue chip stock.
His plan? Invest in soil fertility.

Tasch, who lives in New Mexico, is the leading figure in an emerging movement called slow money. The concept is catching on across the country, including here in Maine.

Slow money brings together socially-responsible investors with proponents of local and organic food, in a collaboration aimed at fundamentally shifting how money moves through the economy and where it gets invested.

“There’s a growing awareness about the importance of local food,” Tasch said in a recent interview. “But there’s also a broader concern from investors that the global financial system is out of control.”

Click for the rest of the story by Avery Yale Kamila of Maine Today Media.

SLOW MONEY MAINE MEETING
WHEN: 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Viles Arboretum, Augusta
HOW MUCH: Free; RSVP at 236-4703 or bonnierukin@gwi.net
AUTHOR/ACTIVIST WOODY TASCH
AT COMMON GROUND FAIR
MEET WOODY TASCH, Slow Money founder and author of "Inquiries Into the Nature of Slow Money," at the Common Ground Country Fair at 11 a.m. Sept. 25. Tasch and representatives of Slow Money Maine will give an informal meet-and-greet session.

Jetport project tapping Earth’s energy: Expansion plans include an ‘underutilized technology’ that cuts new terminal’s need for oil by 90 percent | Portland Press Herald

PORTLAND — Drivers who use a new parking lot at the Portland International Jetport won't notice, but their vehicles will be atop more than 11 miles of plastic tubing.
If they could slice open the earth, they would see 120 loops extending 500 feet into bedrock. And if they could peer through the tubing, they would see fluid circulating at 500 gallons a minute.

Drill rigs will run every day for the next month to turn the land under the new parking lot into a giant heat exchanger. The fluid will absorb some of the earth's stored heat in winter and help warm a new addition at the jetport. The process will be reversed in summer, with heat being dumped into the cooler earth.

When the jetport's $75 million expansion opens in 2012, it will be heated and cooled by Maine's largest geothermal system. The system is expected to cut the amount of oil that would otherwise be used for the new terminal by 90 percent -- nearly 102,000 gallons a year.

Click for the rest of the story by Tux Turkel in the Portland Press Herald.

Maine company says underwater turbine is a success | Bangor Daily News

Maine company says underwater turbine is a success - Bangor Daily News

Teenage girl rescues three brothers in house fire considered total loss | Bangor Daily News

Teenage girl rescues three brothers in house fire considered total loss - Bangor Daily News

Maine's Open Lighthouse Day is Sept. 18

Lighthouses

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ol’ smoke eater, news hound suspects grass fire, finds none

My father was part of the volunteer fire department in Portage when I was a child and I’m pretty sure for a time he was the fire chief, but I could be wrong about that.

He also was in charge of fire protection at the lumber mill where he worked. I remember him running out of the house if the fire whistle in the middle of town sounded or if he received a call from the mill that something or other had caught fire. I also recall going to the mill with him one winter day and him using a frontend loader to mix snow into a waste wood pile that had caught fire by spontaneous combustion.

And given that I spent three summers humping up and down the Sierra Nevada and its foothills breathing in smoke and dirt as part of a firefighting hand crew, it is a bit surprising – at least to me – that I did not make firefighting my life’s work.

In all honesty, however, it sort of was my life’s work since as a reporter I spent much time chasing fire engines and ladder trucks and ambulances while covering cops, crime and chaos.

But I haven’t covered a roadside grassfire or a wildland fire in quite some time.

I was sitting on my balcony the other day reading a Stephen King novel – what Mainer hasn’t read at least one of King’s novels? – when I noticed a rice-paper delicate speck floating into my view. It was the size of a dandruff flake, really.

Then I noticed a dozen or so more drifting over the apartment from the west.

My first thought was “ash” and “fire.” OK, my first two thoughts.

I sniffed the air, but did not detect smoke, so I didn’t panic.

But I did briefly think back to the wind-driven Quail Lakes fire in Stockton during June 2008 in which dozens of families were forced to flee from their homes because of a roadside fire that spread into a condominium complex and a neighborhood, destroying homes and other property. It was truly devastating and I wasn’t planning to go through what those families were forced to endure.

I made a quick mental checklist – computer, change of clothing, get the car out of the gated underground garage – should smoke begin to bellow over the apartment from points west.

I took a quick look out the front door and spotted no browning of the air and smelled no smoke and went back to reading the novel.

More rice-paper ash – my guess was that it had to be from a grass fire perhaps along Interstate 5 that bisects Stockton – floated over the apartment and in to my view. And I noticed a slight browning of the air, even though I could not smell smoke.

I heard no sirens so I figured the fire had to be some distance away, especially since I could not smell smoke.

Giving in to the instincts of the ol’ fire-eater and news hound in me, I decided to hop in the CRV and take a look. After all, if I planned to blog about it, I surely needed to find the fire.

Or not.

I drove around the neighborhood to the west of my apartment for 30 minutes or more and never found fire or smoke. Frankly, Stockton has a pretty good fire department and firefighters are quick to jump on roadside fires. They are not interested in reliving the Quail Lakes fire.

Grass fires don’t normally make it into the local paper. This one didn’t either or I would have added a few more details.

Ah, well, nothing but a couple flakes of ash, a slight browning of the sky, and fruitless evening drive in search of a grass fire. It could have been a much more exciting evening.

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Crops early, plentiful: ‘It’s excellent for farmers’ | Lewiston Sun Journal

Crops early, plentiful: ‘It’s excellent for farmers’ | Lewiston Sun Journal

Sierra Club: Maine has 3 'Cool Schools' | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Sierra Club: Maine has 3 "Cool Schools" The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Jackson Lab says it has developed typhoid mouse | Bangor Daily News

Jackson Lab says it has developed typhoid mouse - Bangor Daily News

Sighting of two fugitives’ car reported in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Sighting of two fugitives’ car reported in Maine - Bangor Daily News

Monday, August 16, 2010

Camp!/Swim!/Hike! | DownEast.com

When Maine’s state park system was created by the legislature in 1935, it consisted of a single area of land. Since then, it has grown to more than forty diverse properties, from ocean and lake beaches to picnic areas and campgrounds to trail-laced mountains and lush forests. To celebrate the state parks’ seventy-fifth anniversary and to guide you to the place that suits your mood, here’s a play list — play as in walk, boat, swim, and splash. These suggestions are somewhat whimsical. Most parks are, after all, destinations for many different kinds of activities, not just the ones highlighted here. Find out more about an individual park’s natural features and facilities at the Maine Department of Conservation’s Bureau of Parks and Lands Web site, www.maine.gov/doc/parks, or call the bureau at 207-287-3821 and ask for a brochure.

Click for the rest of this piece by Virginia Wright in Down East Magazine.

Taking pot ‘out of the shadows’: Advocates say the availability of medical marijuana leads to a greater general acceptance of cannabis

OAKLAND, Calif. – Steve DeAngelo didn’t come west just to open the world’s largest medical marijuana dispensary.

He has bigger plans.

“I’m all about creating a cannabis distribution model that will be accepted in the heartland of America,” DeAngelo said.

He may be getting closer to that goal. DeAngelo’s creation – Harborside Health Center – will be one of the models for Maine’s first medical marijuana dispensaries.

Eight storefront dispensaries are expected to open in Maine this winter. They will expand access to the drug for patients in and around Portland, Augusta, Bangor and five other communities. They also will take marijuana out of the shadows and put it in plain view.

“We create an environment where people can look at cannabis and re-evaluate the way they feel about it,” said DeAngelo, who is not involved in Maine.

No one expects Maine to turn overnight into Oakland, perhaps the country's most pot-friendly city. Mainers are already pretty comfortable with medicinal pot, however, having first legalized it in 1999 and then, last fall, voting to establish dispensaries. Now, activists hope, dispensaries will get Mainers even more comfortable with cannabis.
Click to read the rest of John Richardson’s story in the Portland Press Herald.

Northeast officials discuss energy future, economy | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Northeast officials discuss energy future, economy The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Older workers face different type of harassment | Bangor Daily News

Older workers face different type of harassment - Bangor Daily News

Loggers descend on Maine to take on tests of skill | Bangor Daily News

Loggers descend on Maine to take on tests of skill - Bangor Daily News

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 184

I was going to tell the guys at the next table that they were being far too loud in the coffeehouse -- they needed to use their “inside voices.” But then he noticed the motorcycle “club” jackets and decided to let it slide.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 183

I was sitting in the coffeehouse and a Blue Moon delivery truck outside was casting a bright glare into the coffeehouse. It made me thirsty for beer.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Publisher-agent who championed Stephen King dies Bangor Daily News

Publisher-agent who championed Stephen King dies - Bangor Daily News

Like father like sons: 2nd-generation Mallett Brothers topping Maine music charts | Bangor Daily News

Like father like sons: 2nd-generation Mallett Brothers topping Maine music charts - Bangor Daily News



For information, visit mallettbrothersband.com.

Picturesque Ram Island lighthouse for sale, but it's not for everybody | Bangor Daily News

Picturesque Ram Island lighthouse for sale, but it's not for everybody - Bangor Daily News

For more information or to place a bid, visit: http://www.auctionrp.com/

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Backyard ballgame: Wild for Wiffle | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Backyard ballgame: Wild for Wiffle The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine loses a 'visionary' on energy alternatives | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine loses a 'visionary' on energy alternatives The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine educators taking agriculture lessons back to the classroom | Bangor Daily News

Maine educators taking agriculture lessons back to the classroom - Bangor Daily News

Matinicus man lobsters by hand — 'zero-carbon lobster harvesting' | Bangor Daily News

Matinicus man lobsters by hand — "zero-carbon lobster harvesting" - Bangor Daily News

Task force had mandate to promote wind power, not study it | Bangor Daily News

[It appears The Bangor Daily News just posted the second of three parts on the Wind Energy Act of 2008. Below is a link. – KM]

Task force had mandate to promote wind power, not study it | Bangor Daily News

Some who created wind-power fast track now questioning the goals they set | Bangor Daily News

[Below is a link to the first in a three-part series by The Bangor Daily News in association with the Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting about wind power in Maine. The first part raised some very interesting issues about transparency in passing the law to deal with wind farm development. The first part also pointed out several other flaws in the Wind Energy Act of 2008. I support the idea of alternative, sustainable energy, so I really hope they figure out how to do what’s best for everyone. I’ll attempt to share each part of the series. – KM]
Some who created wind-power fast track now questioning the goals they set | Bangor Daily News

Tomorrow: Examining the changes in rules recommended by the task force and the resulting law.

Maine stuff in my California apartment No. 9 – One more moose with a taste for south of the border

Today’s photos are of a moose shot glass. I really should have included it with the other moose entry, but I forgot I had this shot glass. I don’t do shots quite like I did in my younger day.

Found moose shot glass rinsed and ready for tequila. (For some reason, Blogger won't let me place this as a vertical photo. Aw, well.
I don’t recall where or how I received this shot glass. I very probably purchased it on one of my last visits to Maine and I very probably purchased one like it for my friends Rick and Michele.

I was pulling down another glass from a high shelf in my glass cabinet in my California apartment when I spotted this shot glass and another with an image of the University of Arkansas hog. That was a treasure from Rick and Michele following a visit to his native Arkansas.

Moose shot glass filled and at the ready.

Since I had some Jose Cuervo Especial left over from margaritas I decide to use the glass for a single shot of tequila. (And, yes, it was just one shot.) I went down nicely.


Aww, just a slight bit of tequila residue left behind. And Blogger doesn't seem to want this photo as vertical, either. ... I swear I'm not drinking tequila as I'm posting this. I promise. :)


This is an occasional multipart series of photos of things related to Maine that can be found in Keith Michaud’s California apartment. All photos in this series are shot by and are the property of Keith Michaud.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 182

There are a couple of big, black restaurant booths in Exotic Java. They must be made of pleather. Anyway, they’re making the back of my legs sweat.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 181

Some days you need a LARGE Red Eye instead of a medium. This is one of those days.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 180

It is amazing how incredibly rude people can be. Within sight in the coffeehouse I see one woman working on her laptop, but she placed her coffee and pastry on the next table so now other patrons cannot use it. And two tables over are several people talking so loudly that I had to put on my headphones to listen to White Stripes. And I can still hear them. Thoughtlessness really should be a misdemeanor.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

State’s push for offshore wind energy intensifies | Lewiston Sun Journal

State’s push for offshore wind energy intensifies | Lewiston Sun Journal

Bill Nemitz: Monster firm bares its teeth over trademark | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Godzilla vs. Grill Zilla BBQ? ... There may be too many lawyers.

Bill Nemitz: Monster firm bares its teeth over trademark The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Grill Zilla BBQ website.

A hometown celebration: Accomplishments of George Mitchell to be recognized at Alfond Youth Center | Waterville Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — No matter how important his job or mission, George Mitchell never lets his hometown stray far from his thoughts.

After all, it is here that his three siblings and much of his extended family live, and here that his earliest memories were made.

“Like most people, I’m a product of my upbringing – my parents, the schools I attended, the community I lived in – so I think my growing up in Waterville has had a large and important role in my life,” he said.

Indeed, Waterville is the place where a young man who one day would be asked to step in as chairman of the troubled Walt Disney Co. got his first taste of the free enterprise system, cleaning at the local Boys Club.

It’s where Mitchell, who later in life would be called upon to investigate steroid abuse in Major League Baseball, learned to love the game – and the Red Sox.

It’s the place where a boy who grew up to be one of the world’s leading diplomats was first recognized as someone who could bring people together.

Click for the rest of this story by Amy Calder in the Waterville Morning Sentinel.


Mitchell believes ‘peace can prevail’

Anger, frustration from longterm unemployment

The Reporter was gracious enough to again print something I wrote. It's a bit more personal than the last piece they published.

http://www.thereporter.com/opinion/ci_15710395

If that link doesn’t work, try this one.

http://keithmichaud.wordpress.com/writing/

Or you can simply read it here:

Anger, frustration from longterm unemployment | The Reporter, Vacaville, Calif.

Posted: 08/08/2010 01:04:20 AM PDT

By Keith Michaud

There is no feeling quite like the one that comes from long-term unemployment, especially for a person willing, able and hungry to get back to work.

Thursday marked 17 months since I was laid off after 22 years in the newspaper business, working as a writer and editor for print and Web sites.

At no time in those two decades – actually, at no time in my life – have I felt this demoralized, this useless, this much a burden on society. Never before have I felt such a void of confidence. Never before have I been without health insurance.

What? You don't care if I'm demoralized, lacking in confidence or have no health insurance? Well, then be uncaring enough for every one of the 14.6 million unemployed Americans.

I know things will improve. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote so in a New York Times op-ed piece on Monday. But how much longer will it be before the economy really, truly turns around? How much longer will corporate America turn an uncaring shoulder to hard-working Americans who have no jobs?

Corporations are holding onto trillions of dollars, some say over concerns about possible future federal regulations. It is hard to believe that U.S. firms can be so callous, so shortsighted.

Meanwhile, those millions of Americans – of which 6.8 million are considered long-term unemployed – go without work. Members of that latter group are endangered of becoming unemployable because corporations insist on hiring Americans who are already working or who were only recently laid off and whose skills are considered sharper.

I am frustrated and mad that I was laid off in the first place. I am frustrated and mad because my job search has been protracted. I am frustrated and mad because corporations – mostly Wall Street bankers and the like – received huge federal bailouts and then turned around to pay executives millions of dollars in bonuses for finding innumerable ways to charge consumers new fees. I am frustrated and mad that Congress took so long to extend unemployment insurance benefits. Democrats and Republicans alike let down Americans across the land.

I am frustrated and mad that the U.S. Federal Reserve is failing in one of its main objectives, zero unemployment. I am frustrated and mad that my next-best option is to clear out a meager personal retirement fund, lean on credit cards, and depend on family and friends who themselves are struggling.

Long-term unemployment does more than demoralize the unemployed. It demoralizes their families, concerns their friends and causes worry even among their former co-workers. Long-term unemployment hurts the economy by eliminating consumer spending and making a downsized economy the norm. Long-term unemployment undermines this country by impeding economic recovery.

Without care for the unemployed, without job creation, without bold effort by politicians and corporate America, we can expect the economy on all levels to shrink and for unemployment to rise.

We 14.6 million unemployed are frustrated and mad, but we lack a focused voice. We, too, must be bold. We must shame the Obama administration, Congress, the Federal Reserve, and especially corporate America to get Americans back to work. There should be no comfort, no vacations, no getaways until the unemployment rate is halved.

The author, a journalist for 23 years and Reporter employee from 1993 to 2006, lives in Stockton, Calif.