Friday, November 2, 2012

Maine Diner Offers Myles Henry Scholarship to Local Scholars

Seniors at Wells High School can apply for a student-athlete scholarship honoring the former restaurant owner

The Maine Diner, an award-winning family-owned restaurant on Route 1 known for its hallmark hospitality, speedy service and hearty home-cooking, is awarding annual academic scholarships to deserving Wells High School student athletes in honor of former Maine Diner owner Myles Henry. To date, two students have been awarded the scholarships. Applications for 2013 graduates are being accepted at this time.
Henry, one of the beloved owners of the Maine Diner, died unexpectedly in 2010. To know Myles was to know of his love of sports - all sports - whether it was golfing, basketball, surfing, baseball, football and even curling. To celebrate this love, his close friend Vinny LoBello helped to set up The Myles Henry Scholarship Fund. The $1,000 scholarship recognizes a Wells High School student athlete senior 'who exhibits honesty, sportsmanship, integrity, passion and enthusiasm on and off the field of play.' Each year essay submissions are reviewed and chosen by Henry’s wife Trisha Wilson.
“When I read through these essays I try and read them through the eyes of my husband, looking for the essay that embodies the essence of the scholarship the best.” Wilson said. “It is a very emotional and meaningful night for Vinny and I when we stand up and give out the award. We both loved Myles so much. I am so proud of what he has done, creating such a sense of community. It means so much to me,”
The first recipient of the award was Ben Durfee of Wells, who went on to study at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. Noah French was the 2012 recipient. He is a freshman studying engineering at the University of Maine in Orono. At Wells High School he was a wrestler, soccer and lacrosse player.
“It meant so much to me to be awarded this scholarship. I felt it was made for me,” French said. “Of all the scholarships awarded in Wells this had a really good feeling because there is a name and a story behind it.”
Community involvement is part of the Maine Diner’s history. Over the years the Diner has supported the Make-A-Wish Foundation through benefit art shows, Gary Pike Day to help support cancer patients at Gary’s House in Portland, and special golf tournaments.
“We have supported events near and dear to our hearts…and this scholarship honoring the memory of my brother Myles certainly is important to us and falls into that special category,” Maine Diner owner Dick Henry said. “Myles and I always loved sports. We have so many happy memories surrounding them.”
Students interested in applying for the Myles Henry Memorial Scholarship should contact their guidance counselors at Wells High School. An essay entry is submitted for review.
To help keep the scholarship going, people in the community who would like to contribute to this fund may do so in the memory of Myles Henry by donating to the address below.

The Myles Henry Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 579
Wells, Maine 04090

Pink Power Earns Some Green in Battle with Breast Cancer

The Pink Pals are (from left to right) Ellen Baldwin, Barbara Conda, Cathy Barnhorst and Leslie Ware. (courtesy photo)

Celebrities donate designer purses to help raise money

By Pat Sommers
Staff Columnist

Four area residents have harnessed the “power of pink” to earn some serious green to help women battling breast cancer.
Ellen Baldwin, Cathy Barnhorst, Barbara Conda and Leslie Ware are finalizing plans for their third gala fundraiser, “Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” The dinner and auction, held at the Portsmouth Harbor Events and Conference Center, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Thursday, November 15, will offer about 160 high-fashion handbags, including a collection of seven designer purses donated by celebrity Oprah Winfrey.
The four organizers – known as the Pink Pals – will donate proceeds from the event to York Hospital’s Breast Cancer Living Well Program where the funds will be used to support women receiving treatment in ways that typically fall outside the parameters of health insurance coverage.
According to Dawn Fernald, hospital director of marketing and new service development, the fund established by the four Pals may, for example, provide a wig for a woman who has lost her hair as a result of chemotherapy but cannot afford a suitable hairpiece on her own. Or, it could help a woman and her family with the cost of traveling to and from cancer treatment facilities.
“York Hospital is honored to have the Pink Pals work so hard to help our patients and their families,” said Fernald. “Over 25 percent of patients diagnosed with cancer at York Hospital are diagnosed with breast cancer, making it the most prevalent cancer in our community. The funds raised by this event will undoubtedly affect the lives of many in our community.”
It was Leslie Ware who first posed the idea of hosting a designer handbag auction.  “Leslie came up with the idea,” said Barbara Conda, noting Ware had friends who had hosted a similar event. She networked with those friends, and the Pals set to work planning their own event in the Seacoast region. It was Ware who also dubbed the gala “Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”
The Pink Pals, who laughingly decline to give their ages but describe themselves as “mature professionals,” enlisted the help of friends, relatives and hospital staff members to serve on planning committees for the dinner-auction. “We have women of all ages, from young to old, from late 20s and early 30s to women in their 80s,” said Cathy Barnhorst of the inter-generational effort.
Leisa Smith, a dietitian with the hospital’s Dining and Nutrition Services, was tasked with contacting Winfrey, a favorite with the hospital staff, to ask if she would donate a handbag. To catch the attention of the entertainment icon and the staff of her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Smith and her team created a video on which they sang, “Oprah, we want to OWN your handbag” to the tune of the early Beatles hit “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”
The video was uploaded on YouTube and shared through social media sites in an effort to draw notice by Winfrey. It did. Just two weeks after the video was launched, the hospital was contacted by an OWN staff member from Los Angeles who promised a handbag autographed by Oprah.
And just a few days later, York Hospital accepted shipment of two large cartons containing not one but seven signed designer handbags – from Versace to Ferragamo – all straight from the closet of Oprah.
Signed purses donated by actress Sally Struthers, a favorite at summer productions at Ogunquit Playhouse, and by Emmy-winning television star Carson Kressley, will also go on the block, as will a purse contributed by chef Mary Ann Esposito, whose “Ciao Italia” is America’s longest-running TV cooking show. Esposito, who is expected to attend the event, donated a glittery pink bag she selected especially for fundraiser while on a recent trip to Italy.
In their first two fundraising efforts – spectacular fashion shows hosted under tents on the grounds at Ogunquit Playhouse – the Pink Pals brought in about $200,000. They hope to top the $300,000 mark with proceeds from “Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”
“Ellen and I started the first fashion show, but we had never done a show of that size so we asked Cathy to help us put the show together,” Conda said. Leslie, who was literally recruited on the street outside a shop - “She was carrying a clipboard and she looked organized…” - completed the fundraising quartet.
Money raised by that first fashion show was donated to York Hospital toward its purchase of a digital mammography machine. “But we didn’t want to raise money for a machine,” said Conda of the subsequent effort. “We wanted it to go to women who were going through cancer treatment.”
The Pink Pals met with hospital officials who agreed to establish and administer such a fund.
“We embrace the power of pink,” Barnhorst said of the Pals.  None of the four has personally received a cancer diagnosis, she said, “But cancer has touched all of us in some way… family, friends.”
 “Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag” will open with a champagne reception with butlered hors d’oeuvres. A silent auction will be conducted during the 90-minute cocktail hour. A four-course, small-plate dinner and live auction will follow. The Pals also promise several surprises, including a special dessert planned for the fundraiser.
An Oprah-donated handbag will be awarded as a door prize, as will a Christmas tree decorated in a pink color scheme and a handbag motif.
Because the 300 tickets offered for “Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag” sold quickly, a waiting list has been established. Should cancellations occur, those on the list will be contacted.
Seacoast residents can also vie for the chance to own a gorgeous designer bag, including one carried by Oprah Winfrey, through an online auction now in progress. The online auction offers twenty bags of all shapes and sizes and in all price ranges. Several are signed by celebrities. Bidding will continue through Sunday, November 18.
Visit and click on the pink auction button for details on both the November 15 gala and the online auction, or call 207-351-2385.

Students Learn About Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Students from Biddeford Regional Center of Technology (courtesy photo)

Students from the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology (BRCOT) joined Maine business, engineering and energy leaders to learn about the next generation of alternative fuel vehicles and check out a collection of electric and natural gas trucks and automobiles.
The Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech) and Maine Clean Communities (MC2) hosted more than 120 attendees at a two-part forum and workshop on electric vehicles (EVs) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles at Texas Instruments in South Portland on October 25. Instructor Eddie Driscoll brought his Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Aided Drafting class to the forum “to promote the concept of learning outside the classroom and stimulate their interest in becoming part of Maine’s future technology workforce.” BRCOT serves high school students from Biddeford, Thornton Academy, Kennebunk, Old Orchard Beach, and Massabesic.
“The transportation sector is the largest source of energy costs and petroleum use in Maine,” said E2Tech executive director Jeff Marks. “We want to encourage high school and college students to become engaged in the innovation industry in Maine and help find solutions to reduce our dependence on oil, improve the environment and save money. What better way to do this than introduce them to Maine’s best engineers, business owners and energy experts? And, having cool, environmentally friendly sports cars on hand doesn’t hurt either.”
“It's not too often you get to see 89 miles per gallon with that kind of horsepower,” said Connor Morrison, a BRCOT senior from Biddeford after sitting in the driver’s seat of the Tesla Roadster electric sports car. Rhyan Paquereau, a junior at BRCOT agreed, “Interesting to see an electric car that can compete so well with its gasoline rivals.”
Panelists presented an overview of EVs and infrastructure, and John Carroll from Central Maine Power described the utility’s new pilot program to evaluate electric vehicles and to explore how to put more vehicles on the road in fleet and private use. In addition to the Tesla Roadster, Chevy Volts, Nissan Leafs, a CMP bucket truck, a natural gas van, solar charging station and even a 100 percent biodiesel car were on display.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Farm-to-School Week Ends with Bountiful Harvest

Wells Junior High School student volunteers and staff pose with green beans that they picked on Spiller Farm in September. From left to right are Samantha Jones (Grade 5), Jessica Licardo (Grade 7), Abigail Bourque (Grade 7), Beth Cilluffo, Ethan Huber-Young (Grade. 7) Mary Rand, Caden Gibson (Grade 6) and Kerry Georgitis. (photo by Saul Lindauer)


Local farms’ food now in school lunches

‘Farm to School Week’ in the Wells-Ogunquit CSD concluded on September 30. Since 2005, this annual week-long event aims to bring locally grown food to the District’s lunch rooms in order to improve nutrition and create a greater appreciation for food from hometown farms.
Over the past seven harvest seasons, the WOCSD Nutrition Services, directed by Tyler Goodwin, has steadily increased the purchase of food from Chase Farm, Spiller Farm and Sunny Acres Farm, all located in Wells.
This year not only saw a continued increase in the purchase of locally grown food but the introduction of student and staff volunteers to participate in the harvest. In September and early October, up to twenty student volunteers and six Wells Junior High School staff took bus trips after school to Spiller Farm to help harvest bushels of carrots, green beans, and potatoes. The student and faculty participation on the farm was organized by WJHS science teacher, Saul Lindauer.
This year Spiller Farm agreed to devote space specifically for growing food for the District. Produce harvested from this area was sold to the District at a reduced cost. This new arrangement will allow Goodwin and staff to process and freeze a much greater volume of vegetables that can be offered throughout the school year.
Goodwin admits that buying locally adds work and costs to preparing school lunches but said that “the trade off is worth it to get farm fresh veggies” for students. Goodwin indicated that buying locally grown food provides fresh food high in nutritional value, a real “hands-on” education for school children in the growing and harvesting of food, the reduction of a school lunch program’s carbon footprint and support for local farms.
For several years, the Maine Department of Education has encouraged schools to buy more locally grown food to support the Farm to School initiative. Goodwin firmly believes that what goes into growing and preparing food should be a part of a student’s learning.

Story provided by Reg Bennett

OgunquitFest 2012 Winners

Littlefield Village's winning entry in the scarecrow contest (photo by John Hurley)

The 4th Annual OgunquitFest was held last weekend, featuring wild costumes, crazy races, fun for all and funds raised for some good charities.
Contest and race winners are listed below, as well as a mention of the beneficiaries and the money raised.

OgunquitFest Scarecrow Contest:
1st place: Littlefield Village
2nd place: Anchorage by the Sea
3rd place: Beachfire Bar & Grille

High Heel Dash:
Best Time: Lance Powers
Highest Heel: Bryan Wilson (platform); Robert Coles (non-platform)
Most Outrageous Costume: “Gigi”

Money raised from registration for the High Heel Dash and donations from the crowd during the race generated more than $2,000 for the Frannie Peabody Center in Portland. The donations included a check for $500 from Donato Tramuto, local business owner. This is the 4th annual high heel dash and Frannie Peabody has been the charity recipient all four years.

Bridge to Beach Bed Race:
Best Time: Meadowmere Resort
Second Best Time: Anchorage by the Sea
Old Timers
Best Time: Hot Flashes
People’s Choice: Hot Flashes
Beautiful Bed by the Sea (best costumes & decorations): Meadowmere Resort
Broken Spring Award (craziest): Hot Flashes

Money raised from the Bridge to Beach Bed Race went to the American Cancer Society the Animal Welfare Society, and the Marginal Way Preservation Fund. More than $3,000 total raised for those three organizations.

Keep South Berwick Warm Community Supper

Volunteers serve up a warm meal, and help raise money to warm houses this winter (courtesy photo)

The 5th annual Keep South Berwick Warm community soup supper will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 7, at Spring Hill Restaurant on Pond Road in South Berwick. The proceeds from the supper will pay for fuel or weatherization for local families in need.
“This event can really make a difference in local families’ lives over the winter,” said Pat Robinson, an organizer of the event with the Keep South Berwick Warm program of the local non-profit, SoBo Central.
Donations will be accepted at the entrance to Spring Hill in a large soup pot to be used to help families get through challenging economic times.
Soups, breads, and cookies at the annual event are made by local restaurants, bakers and community members. Raffle items have been donated by residents and a South Berwick Seniors sponsor the bake sale.
Local restaurants and bakers generously providing food at the supper include: Nature’s Way Market, Pepperland Cafe, Fogarty’s Restaurant, The Catered Event, The Redbarn at Outlook Farm, The Black Bean Cafe, The Brixham General Store, Spring Hill Restaurant, King Tut’s Cider, Isidore on the Rocks, Borealis Bread and When Pigs Fly Bread. River City Jazz will provide the entertainment with acoustic jazz music.
Those who can’t make it to the supper are invited to send donations now or any time during the year to SoBo Central, c/o Fuel Fund, 46 Witchtrot Rd, South Berwick, ME 03908. All donations are tax deductible.
SoBo Central is a non-profit organization that oversees the Food Pantry, Hot Summer Nights concert series, Friends of Powderhouse Hill and Home for the Holidays, as well as Keep South Berwick Warm. Its mission is to nurture the town’s unique character by connecting and engaging citizens in community life.
The organization’s signature event, the LanternFest, has drawn thousands of people to Spring Hill in August. More information about SoBo Central is available at or on the SoBo Central facebook page.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Salman Rushdie Talks about Fatwa, New Memoir

Salman Rushdie says it's "Get-Along Time"

Story and photo by Timothy Gillis

Best-selling novelist Salman Rushdie spoke at the Music Hall last week, about his new memoir called "Joseph Anton" and the life he lived in fear since the 1989 "fatwa," or death sentence, imposed on him by the Ayatollah Khomeini.
The fatwa was for his allegedly blasphemous novel "The Satanic Verses," which Rushdie said is actually one of his least political works, much less so than "Midnight's Children," which took on the public life of India or "Shame," which was based on "genuine political confrontation" in Pakistan.
Rushdie seems to have weathered the storm, though the 600-page book is a harrowing account of the effects of the fatwa decree, including the dissolution of a dying marriage, his raising of his nine-year-old son, and living with a 24-hour security detail from Scotland Yard.
He was shocked at the reaction to "Satanic Verses," especially the accusations in the British press that he did it on purpose to attract attention.
"'Joseph Anton' is how my real life turned into a novel, stranger than anything I had ever made up," Rushdie said.
A dream sequence from the work, in particular, seemed to incite Islamic tension. Rushdie read from this episode to start his talk, and emphasized that "Satanic Verses" was a novel "primarily about migration," he said.
"In the middle of it there was this dream sequence... about a prophet, not called Muhammad, living in a city, not called Mecca, inventing a religion not called Islam. And the person having the dream was losing his mind and going insane. This is what we, in the trade, call ‘fiction.' Unfortunately, it wasn't read like that."
The serious thing that this passage talked about, Rushdie said, was the nature of revelation, or "how does a new idea come into the world?" Also integral to the contentious passage was "what do you do when you are strong? When your enemies are at your mercy?"
After a short break, Rushdie returned to the stage with Virginia Prescott, host of Word of Mouth, for an interview. The Music Hall house band Dreadnaught played the Platters "Great Pretender," and Rushdie noticed the tune and sang along.
Prescott asked how Islamic culture has changed since he was a child. Rushdie said he grew up in a house that was "happily godless," where his father and his father's friends would discuss whatever they wanted. Rushdie was free to think and express himself. That did not mean his opinions went uncontested. There just wasn't a threat of violence for unapproved thoughts. Then came Valentine's Day, 1989, when the fatwa was issued, and there began "the difference between rhetoric and reality," said Rushdie, exasperated after all this time at the extreme reaction.
"Books are books. If you don't like it, don't read it. This is why they have books by more than one person in bookstores," he said. The United States is a very divided country, he pointed out, where half the people are often saying things that the other half of the country can't stand, "but it doesn't occur to either half to burn the country down."
Rushdie was often light-hearted and humorous on the night, belying the years of living in fear. Asked if he was still fearful or looking over his shoulder, Rushdie motioned to the audience and said "Look, there are hundreds of them in the dark. They don't seem that scary."
Audience reaction to Rushdie was overwhelmingly supportive of his plight, even if many in attendance knew more about his life's story than his written works.
Peter Randall, a filmmaker on local farms, was invited to the talk by a friend. He said he was interested in the whole story of Rushdie and the fatwa against him.
"It's ridiculous," Randall said. "I don't understand why people get so upset about something written. An act, I can see, but it's just words."
Henry Linscott said he was in grammar school when the fatwa was issued. "I didn't know what the book was about, but it sounded scary."
Twenty-four years after the fatwa, Rushdie feels it's "get-along time" now and looks forward to discussing the literary merits of "Satanic Verses," a work which has been analyzed through political and religious lenses, but has remained unstudied in the language of literature.
Rushdie said he is proud of the novel, but would have changed its history if he could. Related to the "Satanic Verses," an Italian translator was stabbed, a Norwegian publisher was shot, and a Japanese publisher was killed.
Rushdie lived in hiding, in England first and then in the United States, and tried to provide a normal life for his young son.
"Joseph Anton" tells of his hidden life and was his alias with the police, based on two of his favorite writers, Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov. His case, called Operation Malachi, was considered the most dangerous assignment for the police, and they served by volunteering instead of being required to do so. Despite the disdain from some higher-ups who didn't feel he had done anything to deserve their protection, hadn't "performed a service to the state," Rushdie grew close to many of the police officers who were protecting him. He thought they had it tougher than he did, since "sitting around, looking out the window, wondering what to do next" was the typical life for a writer.
"Joseph Anton" was originally written in the first person, a standard voice for a memoir, but Rushdie changed it to third-person.
"I had to get beyond the anger and resentment. That's why I waited so long to write it," he said. The objective voice also gives him some emotional distance and allows him to write more "novelistically."
"The thing about an autobiography, in the end, is to tell the truth," he said. "Otherwise, why write it?"