Sunday, October 31, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 219

I’m in the coffeehouse trying to put the finishing touches on a cover letter, but I’m hearing voices. ... Well, actually, it’s the voice of the guy sitting behind me having an argument with himself ... and losing. ... Aw, Stockton, your list of characters would fill a phonebook.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 29, 2010

Economist: Maine growth slow, state budget stable | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Economist: Maine growth slow, state budget stable The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Isn't it grand? Trader Joe's opens | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Isn't it grand? Trader Joe's opens The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine tourism traffic up this summer | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine tourism traffic up this summer The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Coffeehouse observation No. 218

I just spotted a guy wearing a Kinko’s apron walk into the coffeehouse. This is the fourth or fifth time this week that he’s been in here wearing the apron. I’m pretty sure doesn’t work at Kinko’s. He just likes wearing the apron. … And to clarify, he is wearing other clothing, as well. He isn’t wearing JUST the apron.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maine stuff in my California apartment No. 12 – Maine Black Bears T-shirt and Fryeburg Academy sweatshirt

The other day I was wearing Maine stuff on my sleeve – and back and front and … . Well, you get the idea.

I woke a couple of days ago, had breakfast, showered and pulled on a T-shirt that just happened to be Maine stuff in my California apartment.

It is a gray University of Maine Black Bears T-shirt.


University of Maine Black Bears T-shirt.

The university in Orono is the largest in the state system, I believe, and has a fine reputation as a state institution of higher learning and for some of its sports teams. It also is involved with research in alternative energy and providing housing – tents – for deployed servicemen and women that are more resistant to explosives than current housing.

The T-shirt was sent to me by my sister, as I recall, several years ago. I’m not sure exactly why she sent it since she and I both attended the University of Southern Maine with campuses in Portland and Gorham. (I believe there is now a satellite campus in Lewiston, as well.)

It’s a cool enough shirt, as you can see from the photo.

Fryeburg Academy sweatshirt.


And as I was stepping out the door, I pulled on a Fryeburg Academy sweatshirt that my sister sent me a couple of years ago. Fryeburg Academy, in Fryeburg, Maine, is a college prep school and has a fine reputation. I like the sweatshirt very much.

So, I have plenty of Maine stuff.

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.




Bookmark and Share

Coffeehouse observation No. 217

A great Dane just plopped down on the coffeehouse floor next to his owner and the owner’s toddler son. … Now it’s trying to be a lapdog. … Now the boy is climbing onto the great Dane and the dog is letting him. … Pretty much a gentle giant.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Bookmark and Share

First Wind cancels initial stock offering | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

First Wind cancels initial stock offering The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine haunts to visit if you dare | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine haunts to visit if you dare The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sneaking a peek at Trader Joe's | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sneaking a peek at Trader Joe's The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

UMPI recognized for climate leadership excellence | Bangor Daily News

UMPI recognized for climate leadership excellence | Bangor Daily News

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Dance Party with 'Thriller' Workshop | Bangor Daily News

Halloween Dance Party with "THRILLER" Workshop Bangor Daily News

Maine stuff in my California apartment No. 11 -- wild blueberries, moose and lobster



These dish towels, about 16 inches by 24 ½ inches, are decorated with the image of one of Maine’s most iconic images, wild blueberries. I received these as a gift from my family years ago. Photo by Keith Michaud
  I have not added an installment of this feature for quite some time. That does not mean that I have run out of Maine stuff in my California apartment; it just means I have been distracted by other things.

But I wanted to add this entry before we moved too far beyond the blueberry season, which probably ended about a month or so ago.

Beginning years ago and over the course of several Christmas seasons, my family sent along to me several aprons, oven mitts, and dish towels printed with reminders of Maine. Several, of course, were printed with the famed Maine wild blueberry.

Blueberries are as much a symbol of Maine as are lobster, moose, L.L. Bean, and Patrick Dempsey. (Yes, Dr. McDreamy grew up in Maine and regularly returns to help raise funds for a cancer center in Central Maine.)

It may still be the case – I’m not sure – but once Maine wild blueberries accounted for very nearly all wild blueberries. And by “all,” I mean the entire world’s annual harvest.

So blueberries are something we Mainers, whether living in our homeland or “from away,” discuss with a certain amount of pride.



Here is a closer look at the image on the dish towels. They look nearly good enough to eat. Photo by Keith Michaud


This is one of two oven mitts decorated with wild blueberries that I received from family over the years. There’s a matching mitt … somewhere in my apartment. I’m not exactly sure where it is. Photo by Keith Michaud




An apron decorated with wild blueberries also was among the gifts over the years. Photo by Keith Michaud

Today’s photos include the apron, dish towels and an oven mitt on which Maine blueberries are printed. For full disclosure, the dish towels never have been used as dish towels, simply as ornamental accents in my apartment’s kitchen. And the lone – and rather well used – mitt has a mate, but I cannot seem to find it. I know it is here somewhere, but I’m just not sure where.

By the way, I do have two other aprons on which Maine symbols – on one, lobster, and on the other, moose – are printed.


Wild blueberries are not the only iconic Maine images. Moose are big in Maine, not just in size but in state image value. Here’s an apron decorated with the tall antlered creature. Photo by Keith Michaud


Here’s a closer look at the images on the moose apron. Photo by Keith Michaud


Among the most familiar icons of Maine, of course, is the lobster. And what kind of family would I have if they had not mailed to me an apron decorated with lobster. Photo by Keith Michaud


Here’s a closer look at the images on the lobster apron. Photo by Keith Michaud


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.

Bookmark and Share     


Lewiston teacher wins national award | Lewiston Sun Journal

LEWISTON — After her name was called out, jubilant Montello Elementary School teacher Kristie Clark ran to the podium. Delighted students screamed and applauded.
“What a way to start a week! Woo-hoo Montello!” Clark cried out during a K-3 student assembly.
During the surprise assembly students were told they'd soon learn about a secret: Clark is the winner of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award for excellence in teaching. Only one teacher in Maine will receive the award this year, according to the Maine Department of Education. The announcement was made by Education Commissioner Angela Faherty.
As a Milken Award winner, Clark becomes a model teacher for Maine and the nation, wins an all-expense paid trip to California in April, and receives a cash award of $25,000.

Click for the rest of the story by Bonnie Washuk in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

As a football fan, this Mainer is a can't-miss | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

As a football fan, this Mainer is a can't-miss The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

THE NEVER MISS A SUPER BOWL CLUB


• DON CRISMAN, of Kennebunk: He was living in Denver when he was given tickets to the first Super Bowl by the insurance agent who was handling his mortgage, and continued attending with him even after he moved to Maine.

• TOM HENSCHEL, of Natrone Heights, Pa., and Tampa, Fla.: He compares the Super Bowl to “the Fourth of July and New Year’s put together.”

• ROBERT COOK, of Brown Deer, Wis.: He was introduced to the other three at Super Bowl XXXIII by a member of the Green Bay Packers front office, who vouched for his perfect attendance.

• LARRY JACOBSON, of San Francisco: Attended the first Super Bowl with a date he was trying to impress. She didn’t like football, so he stopped seeing her.

To see the Visa commercials featuring Crisman and his friends, go to: www.visa.com/advertising.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pot stores slowed by glitches, resistance | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Pot stores slowed by glitches, resistance The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Fort Kent man, 94, surprised with long-overdue diploma | Bangor Daily News

Fort Kent man, 94, surprised with long-overdue diploma | Bangor Daily News

Plenty of Maine natives living ‘from away’

I spotted a sign the other day that was sort of out of place – “Mainely Stampin’.”

It was out of place because I spotted it in Fairfield, Calif.

I would have stopped in to find out more about Mainely Stampin’ – obviously the Mainely part caught my attention – but I was on a schedule and did not have the time. So I went to Mainely Stampin’s fairly limited website and learned this under “About Us”:

“We are a friendly stamping and scrapbooking store located in Fairfield, California, and have been opened since January of 2006. The owner is from Maine, which explains the name Mainely Stampin’, and has enjoyed a stamping hobby for many years. When she moved to California in 2001 she soon got a job working at a local stamp store and enjoyed meeting new people and helping them with their hobby of stamping. After the store closed she opened her own store and with the help of many friends and supporters the store is gaining popularity and is known for its warm atmosphere and a sincerely helpful customer service.”

See, there are plenty of Maine natives now living “from away.”

Oh, and the motto apparently is “The way stampin’ should be … Fun!” Part of that, I’m pretty sure, comes from a Maine tourism motto from a few years ago: “Maine: The Way Life Should Be.”

By the way, Mainely Stampin’ is located at 1318 W. Texas St., in Fairfield, Calif., in Solano County, the edge of the North Bay Area.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Political change has familiar feel, George Mitchell says | Maine Sunday Telegram

It was November 1988. Maine’s own George Mitchell had just been elected Democratic majority leader of the U.S. Senate. And high atop his to-do list was a sit-down with then-Republican minority leader Sen. Robert Dole.
“I said to him, ‘This job is hard enough under the best of circumstances. It’s impossible under bad circumstances,’ ” Mitchell recalled last week.

And so Mitchell and Dole agreed on a few ground rules:

Never surprise each other.

Never try to embarrass each other.

And finally, be as fair as possible to each other under whatever circumstances might arise.

“We kept our word for six years,” Mitchell said. “Bob Dole and I never had a harsh word pass between us – in public or in private.”

Ah, the good old days.

Click for the rest of the column by Bill Nemitz in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Fish passage is the next step for Presumpscot | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Fish passage is the next step for Presumpscot The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Coffeehouse observation No. 216

It must be October. I woman walked in a little while ago and she was wearing a very bright orange – nearly DayGlo – top. And her hair was dyed to match. And then a short time later another woman with very bright orange hair came into the coffeehouse. See, October.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Bookmark and Share

Maine moose season yields stories of success | Bangor Daily News

For the better part of a week, Shandy Schroder had a moose hunt that many would have described as miserable. The weather was foul. And the moose didn’t cooperate.
“Come the end of the week, everyone starts wondering,” the Bangor woman said. “I never said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to get a moose.’ I kind of tried to stay positive and said, ‘I’m not going to see anything if I’m not out there hunting.’
On Tuesday it rained. On Wednesday her rifle scope broke. On Friday the remnants of a tropical storm rolled through.

And still, she left the comfortable Ludlow camp she and her husband, Matthew, own, and went hunting.

“Rain, shine, mud, tired, hungry, I went out there,” she said.

Friday, she said, was the worst day of the week.

“I couldn’t have been any wetter if I had fallen in the pond. I was soaked. But I was still out there, every day,” she said.

When Saturday, the final day of her six-day season, dawned brighter — and without rain — Schroder rose early … again … and headed back into the woods, hoping for the best.

Chick for the rest of the column by John Holyoke in the Bangor Daily News.

Moose beckons Conn. wildlife photographer to Baxter | Bangor Daily News

For information about John Fast and to see more of his photos, visit http://www.johnfastphotography.com/ or imagingthenaturalworld.com. For information about the Digital Imaging Association, visit digitalassociation.org.

Maine hockey team sweeps No. 2 North Dakota | Bangor Daily News

Maine hockey team sweeps No. 2 North Dakota | Bangor Daily News

New DVD preserves language of Maine’s Swedish Colony | Bangor Daily News

NEW SWEDEN, Maine —There is no doubt that the Swedish culture is still alive in Maine’s Swedish Colony in Aroostook County.

Signs in the colony are written in both English and Swedish, many families still fly the Swedish flag in their yards, and children learn Swedish songs and dances every spring for the annual MidSommar celebration.

When the colony was established in northern Maine in the 1870s, the Swedish language was predominant. But as families saw the need for their children to become more Americanized, English became the language of choice in most households. Over the years, the language began to die off, and only about 30 residents in the colony still speak Swedish today.

Several years ago, Brenda Nasberg Jepson, a Madawaska Lake resident and filmmaker who owns Crown of Maine Productions, decided that she had to do something to preserve what was left of the language before it was lost forever.
Click for the rest of the story by Jen Lynds in the Bangor Daily News.

The DVD can be purchased at http://www.crownofmaineproductions.co/m and soon will be available in stores throughout The County.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 215

Coffeehouse was busy earlier, mostly with people meeting friends or for a professional meeting or two. There was a lull after that, but now it’s busy again, this time mostly with college students meeting study partners.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Bookmark and Share

Author, humanitarian to speak at USM | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Author, humanitarian to speak at USM The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Lobster competition came down to chef’s confidence | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Lobster competition came down to chef’s confidence The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mitchell Institute gala raises $150,000 | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mitchell Institute gala raises $150,000 The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sunday River opens first ski trail in the U.S. | Bangor Daily News

Sunday River opens first ski trail in the U.S. | Bangor Daily News

Maine knocks off No. 2 North Dakota | Bangor Daily News

ORONO — The University of Maine men’s hockey team didn’t waste much time welcoming the North Dakota Fighting Sioux to Alfond Arena Friday night.

Maine scored just 43 seconds into the game en route to a five-goal outburst in the opening period that carried the Black Bears to 7-3 win

over the nation’s second-ranked team in front of 5,216 fans.

Maine snapped a three-game winless streak and improved to 2-1-2. North Dakota fell to 3-1-1.

The teams will play again tonight at 7.

“We played Maine hockey tonight,” said Maine junior right wing Gustav Nyquist, who had a goal and two assists. “We got the puck down low, we worked hard, we moved our feet and we were tenacious.”
Click for the rest of this story by Larry Mahoney in the Bangor Daily News.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some clarity around new Maine political poll | DownEast.com

[I haven’t had a time to read or analyze this poll, so I won’t comment about the candidates and issues, but I thought I’d offer it up for those of you in Maine who might be voting in the coming election. The link below is to Mike Tipping’s blog on DownEast.com and there is a copy of the poll results attached to the blog entry. I recommend reading Tipping’s comments – and reservations – on the poll before diving into the poll itself. – KM]

Some clarity around new Maine political poll | DownEast.com

CI Tracking Fall2010 Final

In Greenwood, a turn for the better: Mills offer new opportunities | Lewiston Sun Journal

GREENWOOD (AP) — Many people gave the Saunders Brothers manufacturing plant up for dead when it closed its doors and went to auction last spring, a victim of the sour economy and cheap imports flooding in from overseas.
Less than five months later, machines are humming and the smell of sawdust is in the air again as a skeleton crew puts out rolling pins, brush handles, dowels and other wood products.

Maine's wood products industry has been on the slide for years. Numerous plants that made hundreds of everyday things — toothpicks, tongue depressors, Popsicle sticks, pepper mills, checkers pieces, clothespins, you name it — have gone out of business.

Now, a Portland woman and her partners have bought not only the shuttered Saunders Brothers factory, but three other plants as well in hardscrabble areas of interior Maine. Louise Jonaitis says she intends to bring the plants back to life in regions where times are tough and jobs are scarce.

“I grew up knowing a mill of any size was the life of a community in Maine,” said Jonaitis, 49, whose father worked in a paper mill when she was growing up in Rumford. “What I've been seeing as plants close is the decline of the social fabric in Maine. And I thought, ‘What else do we have?’”

Click for the rest of the story by Associated Press Writer Clarke Cainfield found in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

5 things to do this weekend | Bangor Daily News

5 things to do this weekend | Bangor Daily News

Yacht maker offers to buy Eastport’s Boat School | Bangor Daily News

EASTPORT, Maine — One of the world’s premier yacht makers, who has previously focused his manufacturing efforts in Taiwan, China and Tampa Bay, Fla., has made an offer that could turn around the financially struggling city of Eastport. David Marlow of Marlow Yachts approached the City Council during a workshop this week and floated a proposal to buy The Boat School, which is owned by the city and leased to Husson University.
His plans include expanding The Boat School program from a two-year to a four-year marine trades program while keeping Husson University involved. He also plans to revamp the campus, expand the existing boatyard and build an on-site yacht manufacturing facility that could create 100 new jobs.

“This could be a godsend for Eastport,” City Manager Jon Southern said Thursday. “This business is compatible with every city goal for our working waterfront. It is ecologically friendly. It would create high-quality jobs. It protects The Boat School and retains the partnership we have with Husson.”

Click for the rest of the story by Sharon Kiley Mack in the Bangor Daily News.

Three Maine newspapers restore online comments | Bangor Daily News

[This is what MaineToday Media probably should have done from the beginning rather than eliminate the comments all together. Close monitoring is essential. I was part of the online team that monitored comments on recordnet.com, and some online users simply are looking for a way to be anonymous bullies. That should never be allowed. One more thing, this flip-flop move by MaineToday Media simply makes them look as if they lack the abilty to make carefully consider decisions. That is never good for a business, especially for a newspaper. -- KM]


Three Maine newspapers restore online comments | Bangor Daily News

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Man recognized for energy-efficient home | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Man recognized for energy-efficient home The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Cookbook of favorite Maine recipes links past to present | Bangor Daily News

Cookbook of favorite Maine recipes links past to present | Bangor Daily News

Bangor crime rate highest in the state | Bangor Daily News

Bangor crime rate highest in the state | Bangor Daily News

State buys northern Maine rail line for $20.1 million | Bangor Daily News

State buys northern Maine rail line for $20.1 million | Bangor Daily News

Rainfall washes away much – just not memories

Rain showers soaked much of Northern California the other day. It was not enough to cause serious problems beyond localized street flooding, but it was a nice, steady, wet change of pace for a region that regularly sees summertime temperatures above 100 degrees.

The showers washed away dust and soot and grime and brought with it that cleansing smell that comes with the first real rainfall of the year, the smell that reminds us of childhood things. It permeated the air for much of the day.

It was nice.

It was refreshing.

And beyond the gray skies, it was illuminating.

Stockton needs a good washing from time to time. Stockton is a dusty, crusty, musty city and dusty, crusty, musty cities need washing on a regular basis. Otherwise, they turn to dry silt and blow away on the winds of indifference.

The water gurgled through the drainpipe just outside an opened balcony door and the sound of raindrops hitting the leaves just beyond was audible. A ping, ping, ping came from the stove vent as the drops crashed onto the vent’s hood on the roof.

Cars splashed by up and down the street. With ample time since the last major rainfall, oil and dirt had built up on the street surface. California drivers very likely had forgotten that the water from first real rainfall of the year loosens that oil and dirt from the street, causing slippery driving conditions.

And many people abandoned outdoor adventures for the comfort of homes and HD televisions and the National Football League or a movie classic.

The rain reminded me of my childhood spent in the North Woods of Maine. Why wouldn’t it? Mark Twain – or someone else – wrote about the weather:

“If don’t like the weather in New England, wait 15 minutes. It’ll change.”
Or something similar, at least.

The point is that New England weather – especially in Maine – is a fickle thing and occasionally a very harsh thing.

In the North Woods of Maine there is plenty of precipitation and there is much time spent bundled up against the weather – rain, sleet, wind, snow, and more snow. As a child growing up in Aroostook County, it seemed that rain came nearly any time of the year, even in winter if it was warm enough to turn snow and ice to sleet and then rain.

Despite being well-suited for the weather, Mainers make a sport of grumbling about it. If it rains too much, it’s bad. If it rains too little, it’s bad. If the wind blows, curses!

But we worked in it and we played in it and the forest grew green because of it. And rivers flowed and lakes rose because of it.

And the National Weather Service and the local weathermen – they were all weathermen then – were slandered and their manhood questioned whether their daily weather prognostications were correct or not.

I recall a childhood memory in which my mother is driving my sister and me north to Eagle Lake or Fort Kent or Saint Francis to visit family. Outside the very bright red Chevrolet Cheville it is raining – the windshield wipers slapping back and forth and the wheels splashing along the roadway. My sister and I are arguing over which of us will be Mom’s “co-pilot” on the trip north, along the way imagining that the car is a plane and the ornamental buttons on the passenger door and dashboard are plane controls.

Truly, neither my sister nor I were “pilots” of any kind; at the time, our young legs could not reach the car’s floorboards.

Later on, in a newer memory, I recall camping on the shores of Perch Pond with the rain coming down hard for what seemed like days. Part of the memory includes playing games in the Cormier’s sprawling family tent, part of it includes being perpetually damp, part of it recalls the thin thudding sound the raindrops made as they hit the canvas tents, part of it recalls the heavy, clinging, soaked clothing.

A memory from about the same time recalls a trip into the woods to pick fiddleheads, raindrops hitting the hood of a windbreaker I wore for the trek into the woods not far from Portage Lake. The forest was drenched. Each step brushing against the ferns and grass and small trees brought an even more thorough drenching, soaking shoes and socks and pant legs and the human legs under those pant legs.

I remember watching the splash the drops made – millions upon millions of them – in the nearby river and the sound of the drops slapping the trees above and the accumulated water tumbling from saturated leaves to the saturated ground beneath. It seemed prehistoric.

Still later, while in high school, we practiced soccer in the rain – and occasionally in the snow. The rain then did not seem to cleanse things, but to make them simply sodden and muddy and heavy from the weight of the water. Soccer shoes and socks became heavy, sweatpants and sweatshirts clung to shivering teen boys, and baseball caps worn in practice and on the sideline in a futile attempt to ward off the rain became soaked. Water and mud and grass stains infused in the clothing and the body by the rainfall.

Other memories of New England rain abound, of course, because rain is so much a part of the history of the place – the forest and the land and the water and the air – and of the people.

But rain washes away dirt and grime and occasionally flushes away things made by man and Mother Nature, but rarely does it wash away memories.

After all, memories are merely refreshed by a good rainfall on a fall day.

Coffeehouse observation No. 214

Apparently, comb-overs are really, really big at the coffeehouse early in the morning. … Not me, of course, but those other older, balding guys.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 18, 2010

Phish in Augusta: Why not? | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Phish in Augusta: Why not? The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

40-turbine wind project under way | Bangor Daily News

40-turbine wind project under way | Bangor Daily News

Castine center to test tidal energy turbines | Bangor Daily News

Castine center to test tidal energy turbines | Bangor Daily News

Stephen King fan repairs mangled front gate | Bangor Daily News

Stephen King fan repairs mangled front gate | Bangor Daily News

Coffeehouse observation No. 213

Four college-age women just came into the coffeehouse like Paris Hilton and her entourage. … I’m wishing I was someplace else.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 15, 2010

Appalachian Trail thru-hiker proposes on snowy Baxter Peak | Bangor Daily News

Appalachian Trail thru-hiker proposes on snowy Baxter Peak | Bangor Daily News

Storm continues to knock out power | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Storm continues to knock out power The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Fryeburg to remember grad who left school $15 million | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Fryeburg to remember grad who left school $15 million The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge open house this weekend | Bangor Daily News

Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge open house this weekend | Bangor Daily News

Additional information can be obtained by calling the center at (207) 328-4634 or by calling FANWR President Betty Rinehart at (207) 498-2173.

Potato crop ‘looking great’ thanks to rain in September | Bangor Daily News

Potato crop ‘looking great’ thanks to rain in September | Bangor Daily News

5 things to do this Oct. 15 weekend | Bangor Daily News

5 things to do this Oct. 15 weekend | Bangor Daily News

Web Comic: 10 Reasons You Should Hire a Journalist

Web Comic: 10 Reasons You Should Hire a Journalist

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Presque Isle fireman pleads guilty in case of warehouse arson | Bangor Daily News

Presque Isle fireman pleads guilty in case of warehouse arson | Bangor Daily News

Concert series puts Bangor on the map, but will it stay? | Bangor Daily News

Concert series puts Bangor on the map, but will it stay? Bangor Daily News

Bangor passes medical marijuana ordinance, repeals moratorium | Bangor Daily News

Bangor passes medical marijuana ordinance, repeals moratorium | Bangor Daily News

Stephen and Tabitha King fund classes for rock ’n’ roll wannabes in Brewer | Bangor Daily News

Stephen and Tabitha King fund classes for rock ’n’ roll wannabes in Brewer | Bangor Daily News

Starbucks tests how coffee cups fare in NYC’s recycling stream | GreenBiz.com

[I like small coffeehouses over the chain places, but this story about Starbucks on GreenBiz.com is worth spreading around. Below are the first couple of paragraphs and a link to the rest of the story. – KM]
OAKLAND, CA — Starbucks is using New York City as a testing ground for recycling its ubiquitous coffee cups. If successful, it could mean the 3 billion cups it uses each year could go to recycling bins instead of landfills.

During a nine-week test, which started in mid-September and runs through November, 86 Starbucks locations in New York City will provide in-store recycling bins for cups and send them off to be recycled.

“We are testing the capability of the infrastructure to handle and accept our cups in the system,” said Jim Hanna, Starbucks' director of environmental impact. Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) has a self-imposed goal to only provide reusable or recyclable cups by 2015.


Click to read the rest of the story by Jonathan Bardelline on GreenBiz.com

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 212

I’m in empresso coffeehouse and putting off deciding if I will stop procrastinating today.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Bookmark and Share

Maine joins 50-state foreclosure investigation | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Maine joins 50-state foreclosure investigation The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Firewood exchange on Maine Turnpike this weekend | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Firewood exchange on turnpike this weekend The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Foliage season moving along at full speed | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Foliage season moving along at full speed The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dying Kansas man makes it back to Maine | The Associated Press in the Lewiston Sun Journal

Dying Salina man makes it back to Maine | The Associated Press in the Lewiston Sun Journal

Presque Isle man receives France’s highest honor | Bangor Daily News

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — On June 20, 1944, just four days after his 19th birthday, Eugene E. Sawyer was embroiled in World War II, far away from birthday cake and a party with family and friends in Houlton.

Sawyer, a member of the U.S. Army’s 9th Infantry Division, 47th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, was in Normandy, participating in the Allied forces’ retaking of the Cotentin, also known as the Cherbourg Peninsula. A machine gunner in H Company, Sawyer soon became involved in the infamous “hedgerow fighting” around St-Lo, France.

“It was the dead of night, around 3 a.m.,” the now 85-year-old Presque Isle resident recalled Sunday, sitting in his apartment surrounded by personal war memorabilia. “We couldn’t see a thing.”

Crowded into a foxhole with five other people, Sawyer said he and the other men decided to look around and find out where they were. It was, he acknowledged Monday, a big mistake.

“We were right on top of a tank,” he said. “It was so dark and the tank was camouflaged so well that we didn’t see it until it started firing. They shot us point-blank.”

Sawyer suffered shrapnel wounds in his left shoulder, an injury that led to his first medal, a Purple Heart. By the time his military career was over, he had accumulated 13 more medals.

Sawyer thought that the medal count was final — until Sunday evening.

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

Maine Forest Service airlifts injured hiker from Mount Katahdin | Bangor Daily News

Maine Forest Service airlifts injured hiker from Mount Katahdin Bangor Daily News

Monday, October 11, 2010

Samuelson just misses yet another milestone | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Samuelson just misses yet another milestone The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Rescue under way for injured hiker on Mount Katahdin | Bangor Daily News

Rescue under way for injured hiker on Mount Katahdin | Bangor Daily News

Appalachian Trail hikers stop before Mount Katahdin ascent | Bangor Daily News

Appalachian Trail hikers stop before Mount Katahdin ascent | Bangor Daily News

Wildlife refuge on former Air Force base, atomic weapons storage site | DownEast.com

There was a time when Loring Air Force Base outside of Limestone, Maine, was at the very front line of the Cold War. After all, it was the military base on U.S. soil that was closest to Europe.

Carved out of the North Woods of Maine and named after Air Force Maj. Charles J. Loring Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient during the Korean War, the base was home of the 42nd Bomb Wing flying B-36 Peacemakers and later B-52 Stratofortresses and KC-135 Stratotankers.

It also was home for a Nuclear Weapons Storage Area and was the first U.S. site specifically constructed for the storage, assembly and testing of atomic weapons.

I knew about the B-52s because a friend of the family was retired Air Force and the huge jets occasionally flew over my home in Aroostook County. And the KC-135s make sense to keep the B-52s flying. But I had no idea growing up that there had been a Nuclear Weapons Storage Area there, too.

The idea that there was work done there on atomic weapons is pretty stunning, really, given how very remote and rural the region remains to this day. But then again, that may be the point, to be remote and out of the view of everyone, including others in the military.

But things have changed, of course, as the base was closed to military use in the mid-1990s and reverted to civilian uses.

Some of the most remote areas of the former base – perhaps some of the area where the work on atomic weapons was carried out – now is a wildlife refuge. I didn’t realize that until I read today’s DownEast.com trivial question.

What wildlife refuge is located on part of the former Loring Air Force Base?

Answer

Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge. It was established in 1998 when 4,700 acres were transferred from the U.S. Air Force to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge also administers some 2,400 wetland conservation easements throughout Aroostook County.

Coffeehouse observation No. 211

Love that feeling when I realize my drink card has been stamped often enough for a free coffee. Free coffee good!

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Farm families find fair experience valuable for children | Lewiston Sun Journal


FRYEBURG — What kid wouldn’t want to spend a week at the Fryeburg Fair?
Jaylee and Brayden Bean did — and they got to skip school for the whole week, too.
They came with their parents, Jenn and Lance Bean, leaving their farm in Woodstock on Oct. 1.

But it wasn’t seven days of Ferris wheel rides and candied apples. It was pretty much all work in the draft horse barn until Friday when Jaylee, 8, and Brayden, 11, got to go play.

“They’re out of school, but they worked harder this week than they would have in school,” their father said. Like many farm families, they stay at the fairgrounds for 10 days in their camper.

Click to read the rest of this story by Paula Gibbs in the Lewiston Sun Journal. Also enjoy the photos and video.

Network launch begins Internet gains for Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Network launch begins Internet gains for Maine The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Conservation bond issue vitally important | Bangor Daily News

Conservation bond issue vitally important | Bangor Daily News

Fall hikes immerse you in nature’s wonders | Bangor Daily News

Fall hikes immerse you in nature’s wonders | Bangor Daily News

Belfast couple integrates energy efficiency, modern design into home | Bangor Daily News

Belfast couple integrates energy efficiency, modern design into home Bangor Daily News

National magazine calls Maine’s House speaker ‘the next Nancy Pelosi’ | Bangor Daily News

National magazine calls Maine’s House speaker ‘the next Nancy Pelosi’ | Bangor Daily News

Thursday, October 7, 2010

European nations approve Appalachian Trail extension | Bangor Daily News

AUGUSTA, Maine — The North American leg of the International Appalachian hiking trail got a major boost Thursday as chapters in several European countries endorsed the project, which promises to become the world’s largest trail network.

Trail clubs in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, England, Ireland and Wales formally joined the International Appalachian Trail during a meeting in Aviemore, Scotland, IAT officials said.

The IAT is an extension of the Appalachian Trail, which extends from northern Maine to northern Georgia along the Appalachian Mountains. The IAT begins near Maine’s Mount Katahdin and extends through eastern Canadian provinces. Hikers can continue on the IAT by crossing the Atlantic Ocean by boat or plane and picking it up in Greenland and Iceland, IAT officials said.

“By joining, they [the international chapters] will set up a trail in their territory,” IAT geologist Walter Anderson said. “Now we have jumped the pond.”
Click for the rest of the story by Glen Adams of The Associated Press in the Bangor Daily News.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pretty in pink: Portland, South Portland firefighters raise cancer awareness | The Forecaster

Pretty in pink: Portland, South Portland firefighters raise cancer awareness The Forecaster

Old-time farm machinery shows what it can do at the Fryeburg Fair | Lewiston Sun Journal

Old-time farm machinery shows what it can do at the Fryeburg Fair | Lewiston Sun Journal

Paralyzed Palermo man develops adaptive shooting system | Bangor Daily News

Paralyzed Palermo man develops adaptive shooting system Bangor Daily News



[Please note: The header on the wmv file was not placed there by anyone associated with "Letters From Away." To complain about the wording, please contact the Bangor Daily News. -- KM]

Wind power students describe summer in the field | Bangor Daily News

Wind power students describe summer in the field Bangor Daily News

Amazing Graze | Bangor Daily News

Amazing Graze Bangor Daily News

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall in New England: Nature’s colorful mosaic

Fall in the North Woods of Maine turns the landscape into a colorful mosaic. Photo by Kelly McInnis


Thousands flock to New England this time of year to catch the changing colors at its peak. In the North Woods of Maine, the peak has already come.
Fortunately for me, a high school classmate, Kelly McInnis, shares her photography with her Facebook friends and then I often share them on “Letters From Away.”

I love the yellow leaves against the brilliant blue sky in the first photo. It’s wonderful.

This is Haystack Mountain in the fall. Photo by Kelly McInnis

The other three photos are a reminder of my youth. Haystack Mountain – not much of a climb, really – is located along the road from Ashland to Presque Isle. I lived in Portage, but went to middle and high school in Ashland. Presque Isle was the largest city in the area and the location of grocery stores, movie theaters, and other services, so we drove by Haystack Mountain a couple of times a month. And we usually climbed to the top every other year or so.

A high school teacher, Lynwood McHatten, told his students of a time when he was a teen and boys would go to the top of Haystack to set old tires on fire to give the impression that the long-dormant volcano was coming alive. It was good for a laugh.
This is the view heading toward Ashland from Haystack Mountain. Haystack is a great place from which to view the fall colors. Photo by Kelly McInnis


Here's another view of Haystack Mountain along the road between Ashland and Presque Isle. Photo by Kelly McInnis

Writing a journal: It’s not as difficult as some think

A journal – especially for a first-time journal writer – does not have to be an elegant and expensive leather-bound tome. Start off with a composition notebook. You can buy a more expensive journal later one once you’ve learned if journal writing is for you. Photo by Keith Michaud

[Author’s note: This entry is on general journal writing, the kind of writing everyone can do and should attempt at least once in their lives. This entry is the result of an email from a reader who asked my advice about writing and how to get started. Writing a journal is the easiest way to write in a disciplined way, to practice the craft of writing, and for a person to get a feel for whether they would like to pursue writing as a profession. Below are some of my thoughts on journal writing and a few tips for those who have not written a journal before. – Keith Michaud]

A journal is more than a mere diary. A diary tells about what happens in a person’s life and how they feel about it. A journal is different in that it is constantly evolving as a document. It can do for a person what a diary does, but it can do much more.

A journal:

Allows a person to recall, rethink and analyze the events of the day, week, month, year, and lifetime;

Allows a person to work out decisions by providing a place to list pros and cons;

Allows a person to work out problems by providing a place for an internal discussion that is written down and analyzed;

Allows a person to express views they might not feel comfortable expressing in a more public forum;

Allows a person to draft letters – letters to family and friends, letters to the editor, letters to companies, etc.;

Allows a person to draft passages, poems, essays, etc.

Allows a person to doodle or sketch;

Allows a person to plot goals and aspirations;

Allows a person to plot the progress in achieving those goals and aspirations;

Allows a person a place to keep photos, papers, movie ticket stubs, postcards, letters, newspaper clippings, etc., that are personally important;

Allows a person to keep track of books read, movies seen, wine tasted, places visited, and more;

Allows a person a simple reminder to write, write, write.

To me a diary is written by a person about what has happened in their life. A journal is that, but more. A journal can be a place to put down on paper a more analytical view of things going on in a person’s life and around them, to add perspective to events in a person’s life. A journal can be used to work out drafts of passages or poetry, or to work on writing exercises, and to outline longer, broader works. Really, a journal is what a person decides to make it.

Keeping a journal can be incredibly cathartic and there are many reasons and motivations for starting and maintaining a journal. A traumatic event in a person’s life might spark in them a desire to put down on paper or on a memory stick feelings about that traumatic event. A person wanting to express themselves in words – prose, poetry, lyrics – might use a journal to organize those thoughts. A person setting goals or documenting accomplishments or jotting down information to be used later can do that in a journal.

I’ve written in a journal off and on for more than 30 years. And for that I blame Janice Webster, my high school English teacher. She had students in her class write in journals. She was supportive of my writing efforts and I just kept it up.

It wasn’t until I attended California State University at Chico, however, that I had an inkling that writing might actually be a career for me. It was there that I changed my major to journalism, it was there that I joined the campus newspaper, it was there I earned a journalism degree, and it was from there that I went on to work for more than two decades in small- to medium-sized newspapers in Northern California.

There’s quite a bit about journal writing on the Internet. Some of it is good information. Some of it is unnecessary for a typical journal.

Where to start

My personal choice is to write in a journal rather than tap out journal entries on a computer. I have a couple of blogs and do enough tapping on the keyboard. So the tips I’m giving are more related to old-style journal writing.

• Picking a journal is a personal choice. It can be as simple as a composition notebook. It can be as elaborate as a leather-bound tome. I would recommend for someone just starting out in journal writing to go with an inexpensive composition notebook. I’ve used them before and they work well for the task. If you take to journal writing – or if it takes to you – consider investing in a nicer journal later and after the composition notebook is filled. (The big bookstores – Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc. – often have journals on their sale tables. Look there before spending a lot of money on a leather-bound journal.)

Spend as much time deciding on a pen with which to write in your journal as you do on the journal itself. But go with black ink and go with a pen that writes smoothly. You can spend a lot of money on a good pen, but Parker retractable with black gel ink works very well. Photo by Keith Michaud
• The writing instrument is often overlooked when journal writing. It should not. It is incredibly important equipment in journal writing and some time should be devoted to selecting the writing instrument that is just right for you. Make that writing instrument your journal writing instrument. Do not use it to jot down a grocery list or things-to-do lists. It is for the journal only. I highly recommend black ink over all others; it’s the color of ink that writers use. I also recommend an instrument that deliveries the ink smoothly. I would go with a smooth ink delivery system over a flashy pen, unless you have the money for a flashy pen that writes smoothly. I use a simple black and silver Parker pen with black gel ink. It is not flashy, but it writes beautifully. (Some might think that fountain pens were made for journal writing. I have used fountain pens in the past. Two large problems: 1. the ink smudges easily; and 2. water can wash away the ink quite easily.)

• Find the right place to write. It should be quiet, either a quiet corner in your home, a quiet corner of the coffeehouse, a quiet corner in a park. Find a place where you can concentrate on writing.

What to write

• What a journal writer writes about in a journal is up to journal writer. There are several suggestions given above. But there are also several websites that provide ideas for writing. It might be as simple as describe a person’s earliest memory. It might be a list of goals for the next five years, 10 years, 20 years. Then write, write, write. Write about what’s going on in the world; write about things that bother you; write about something overheard in conversation; pets.

• Write, write, write may be the best piece of advice. Writing will help improve your writing. Write, write, write.

• Read, read, read may be the next best piece of advice. Writing is improved by reading what others have written. It does not mean reading Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Mailer … unless you want to read Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Mailer. Read about history and popular culture; read about philosophy and entertainment; just read. A person who reads a lot can write better than the person who does not read regularly.

A couple more tips

• Always date each entry. Multiple entries on the same day might include a time or “Later” to help give context later. (One online article about journal writing suggested that the first few pages of a journal could be devoted to a table of contents complete with headers and page numbers. That seems a little much. If having a table of contents is so critical to a journal writer, using a computer and a writing software that allows for a table of contents seems a better way to go.)

• Set a goal to write at least something every day. It can be a paragraph, a page, something. But write every day.

• Journal writers should not become frustrated – especially when they first start – because they feel what they write isn’t very good. It will improve with time. And bad writing can be rewritten. Keep writing.

• Go back every so often and scan earlier entries. The journal writer then can update progress made on goals that were set or update a life circumstance or simply update progress made in writing.

• Find a special place for the journal and pen. A desk drawer or book shelf should do for most people. A more private person might want to lock the desk drawer or put the journal in another secure place. But put it in the same place each time and return it to that place after each use.

Really, there isn’t much more about journal writing that a new journal writer won’t learn along the way. Writing in a journal will lead to better writing and the germination of new topics on which to write. Just write, write, write. It will be worth it in the end.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fryeburg Fair opens Sunday for eight days | Lewiston Sun Journal

Fryeburg Fair opens Sunday for eight days | Lewiston Sun Journal

Additional information may be found at http://www.fryeburgfair.org/.

More than 4,100 people to join the Dempsey Challenge | Lewiston Sun Journal

More than 4,100 people to join the Dempsey Challenge | Lewiston Sun Journal

For more details, check online at http://www.dempseychallenge.org/.

A fine forecast for grouse, woodcock hunters | Bangor Daily News

A fine forecast for grouse, woodcock hunters | Bangor Daily News

Color of purple in Maine … and yellow and red and ...

Changing of the foilage in Maine. Photo by Kelly McInnis
Changing colors of the foilage at Echo Lake in Aroostook State Park
near Presque Isle, Maine.
Photo by Kelly McInnis
Here are a couple of photos shot by Kelly McInnis, who is a high school classmate of mine and an amateur photographer. I’m not sure where the top shot was taken, but the bottom one was shot at Echo Lake, which is in Aroostook State Park near Presque Isle, Maine. Click on either photo to get a slightly larger view.

Here’s a map and links for those interested in a last-minute trip to Maine for the peak of colors.

For foliage information, visit http://www.mainefoliage.com/. For more about scenic byways and destinations mentioned here, visit www.byways.org/explore/states/ME/. For information on Maine State Parks and Public Lands, visit http://www.parksandlands.com./

Scenic byways great for views of foliage | Bangor Daily News

Scenic byways great for views of foliage | Bangor Daily News

For more about byways and destinations mentioned here, visit www.byways.org/explore/states/ME/. For information on Maine State Parks and Public Lands, visit http://www.parksandlands.com/. For foliage information, visit http://www.mainefoliage.com/.

Friday, October 1, 2010