Friday, October 31, 2008

Newest Submarine USS New Hampshire Receives Commissioning at Shipyard

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

KITTERY –
The USS New Hampshire has sailed down the Piscataqua River, taking another step toward becoming a working member of the fleet.
New Hampshire, a Virginia Class submarine, was officially commissioned Saturday at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. She is the fifth in the Virginia class and the fourth Navy vessel to carry the state’s name.
The boat’s sponsor is Cheryl McGuinness of Portsmouth who lost her husband, Tom, a Navy veteran, on Sept 11, 2001. He was the co-pilot of the hijacked American Airlines plane that crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
John P. Casey, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat that built the New Hampshire, said McGuinness was “an inspiration to us all” and noted that the New Hampshire was delivered under budget and early.
It was Mrs. McGuinness’ honor to be the one who called the ship’s crew onto the newly commissioned ship at the close of the ceremonies.
“Thank you for this honor,” she said. “It is truly a privilege.”
She said, “We appreciate you very much” for “putting your lives and dreams on the line” and reminded the crew that when they are at sea “we’re standing with you. We celebrate you, our heroes.”
She then offered the simple order, “Crew of New Hampshire, come aboard and bring this ship to life.”
The commissioning took place across the river from Portsmouth and in the area where the first United States Navy ship, the Ranger, was built.
Cmdr. Michael Stevens, New Hampshire’s captain, said it was fitting that the commissioning of this “remarkable warship” should take place “in a historic location.”
Cmdr. Stevens is a native of Tacoma, Wash., and a 1990 graduate of the Naval Academy. He has served on the USS San Francisco, the USS Alaska, and the USS Kamehameha. He assumed command of New Hampshire (SSN778) on Sept. 5, 2007.
Stevens said the first vessel was manned by young volunteers, just like the USS New Hampshire, and said his crew is “in many ways like those who manned the Ranger” and contributed “to what was to become the world’s greatest sea power.
“I am honored and humbled to be their commanding officer,” he said.
Turning to Mrs. McGuinness, he said she was “a worthy sponsor” and the officers and men are “proud you have sponsored us.”
Adm. Kirkland Donald, director, Naval reactors, said the USS New Hampshire is “worthy of all the pomp and circumstance we can put into it (the ceremony)” and cited the state of New Hampshire as “a truly unique state.”
He said the officers and crew of the New Hampshire were “ready to take on the call to take the ship to sea and into Harm’s way. Our expectations are high, our confidence supreme.”
Vice Adm. Jay Donnelly, the commissioning officer, said since the Navy was established it has protected “freedom of the seas in the four corners of the earth” and all vessels, including the New Hampshire, serve “in the prevention of conflict while standing ready to respond in case of hostilities.
U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., was the keynote speaker and told the gathering of more than 2,500 that it was “a great honor to have this boat named after our state.”
He noted the history of the more than 200-year-old shipyard and said it was “absolutely appropriate this is being held in Portsmouth.”
The USS New Hampshire, an attack submarine, joins a fleet that already includes a submarine named for her sister state, Maine. The USS Maine is an Ohio Class submarine commissioned in the mid-1990’s.
Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, also attended the ceremony.
The USS New Hampshire is 377 feet long and 34 feet wide, displacing 7,835 tons and travels through water faster than 25 knots. She can dive to depths greater than 800 feet.
She carries a payload of 40 weapons, including Tomahawk missiles and Mark 48 ADCAPO Torpedoes.
The other ships named New Hampshire included a battleship built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and launched in 1864. In 1904 she was renamed the Granite State to make room for the second New Hampshire, a battleship finished in 1906 in Camden, N.J. She was decommissioned in 1921.
The third New Hampshire, a Montana-class battleship, was authorized in 1940 but cancelled in 1943 before her keel was laid.
Caption: The crew of the USS New Hampshire line the the top of the submarine presently in the Piscataqua River. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Marshwood Middle School to hold Veteran’s Day Celebration

ELIOT –
On November 7, 2008, Marshwood Middle School will commemorate its 7th Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration. The school-wide assembly, which starts at 9:30 AM, features various tributes from our students and faculty to our local veterans. Last year over 170 veterans attended their gathering. Many veterans are invited by Marshwood students because they are grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, neighbors or community members who have served our country and/or active duty as full-time military or are part of active reserve units.
Local dignitaries including town officials and selectmen, local politicians such as past and present state representatives, school board members and members of the South Berwick, Eliot, Kittery and Berwick Fire, Emergency and Police Departments will also attend the celebration to honor our veterans. All guests form a reception line at 9 AM down the corridor to the entrance of the gymnasium (where the celebration will be held). As students are called down to the celebration, they enter the reception line and greet our guests with handshakes and small talk. The reception line emphasizes a personal touch for every student to actually meet our guests and sets the respectful tone of our event.
As everyone gathers in the gym, patriotic music will play on the sound system. Once everyone is seated, the veteran guests will enter. For the next hour, various tributes are presented to the guests in form of song, music, poem, readings, power point presentations and writing.
Our school is made up of six communities (two per grade level). Each community presents a tribute at the assembly. Academic teachers in these communities work with students and are necessary to make this celebration occur. The teachers have been very supportive with their time, energy and creativity which is reflected in the tributes presented by the children. After the event, there is a reception in the library.
It is extremely important for students to understand the sacrifices made by our veterans. The veterans are touched by the sincerity and respect and enjoy the school-wide assembly. We all take our freedom for granted. This celebration encourages us to remember that “Freedom is never free.”

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ogunquit News


Members of Ogunquit Rotary created this and other scarecrows for Rotary Park in Perkins Cove. It was entered in the annual Chamber of Commerce Scarecrow Contest for OgunquitFest October 24-26. (Pete Woodbury photo)

Central School “Dungeon” Receives Make-Over


SOUTH BERWICK –
When it comes to supporting her third grade son’s education, Robin Pastor is getting creative. The week before school began this year, Pastor completed a comprehensive mural that adorns the walls of the South Berwick Central School cafeteria. “I wanted to make the cafeteria an enjoyable place for the kids to eat in,” she explained. “They should be able to come in here and have a cheerful place to have their lunch.”
The hot air balloon-themed mural covers almost every part of the long cafeteria walls, and it took Pastor a solid week in August to complete. “It was supposed to be a joint project, but it ended up just being me. My husband Peter helped twice. And it included at least a couple long 11-hour days.”
The reactions by members of the school community have been positive. “The kids sent me letters. One little girl said: ‘It’s just so beautiful!’ and just to hear that was so priceless! To hear them say how much they love it and enjoy it just made the whole thing worth it.”
This is not the first time Pastor has made South Berwick Central School a more colorful place to be. During the summer of 2007, she painted a mural inside the school library. Her first mural, depicting children enjoying some outdoor summer reading, stretches from the library floor all the way up and onto the ceiling tiles.
Pastor has been recognized for her valuable artistic contributions to the school not only by the students and teachers, but also in a letter from her local state legislator Bonnie Gould. “This is addressed to me?” was Pastor’s initial reaction. “It turned out her kids went to school here ‘when it was a dungeon’. Then she thanked me for doing the mural, and that was so cool – It meant a lot.”
The school is hoping Pastor has at least one more project left in her. “I was approached for a large one that I’m not sure about – they’re looking for an athletic-type mural to go over some large windows that are now covered over in the gym.”
Pastor is a graphic design artist by trade, but is currently enrolled in courses to become a medical assistant. Why not paint full time? “I’m not sure how much demand there would be in this economy. But I love to do it, so I volunteer.”
Caption: The Central School cafeteria, or “the dungeon” as Bonnie Gould recalls from her childhood, was recently brightened by Robin Pastor’s handiwork. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Petition On School Consolidation Carries over 61,000 Signatures

AUGUSTA –
The first step in the possible repeal of the school consolidation act has been taken.
A citizens initiated petition with over 61,000 certified signatures has been filed by the Maine Coalition to Save Schools, according to Lawrence “Skip” Greenlaw, the coalition’s chairman.
“Our message is quite simple,” Greenlaw said in filing the petition. “The governor, the commissioner of education, and some members of the legislature told us that school consolidation would save us millions of taxpayer dollars. Having worked with the law for a year, we now know that there will be no net savings. In fact school consolidation will cost local taxpayers millions more in increased property taxes.”
The legislation, passed in June 2007 as part of the budget resolution, calls for a reduction in the number of school districts in Maine. One of its stated purposes was to reduce the amount of money spent on administration.
The legislation has impacted the Kittery School District that is still seeking a district with which to partner. Unsuccessful talks have been held with York and Well-Ogunquit but no suitable agreement has been reached.
The original legislation called for the reduction in school districts from the 290 to 80. The idea was to combine administrative operations, not to close schools.
“In such stressful economic times, why are our elected leaders in Augusta so adamant about imposing a law which costs more than it saves?” Greenlaw asked. “This insanity must stop. The law must be repealed.”
“We trust that the members of the 124th Maine Legislature will enact our petition and repeal the school consolidation law as soon as possible,” Greenlaw said.
Depending on the action of the legislature the process begun with the presentation of the petition with over 6,000 more signatures than required by state law, could end with the voters having an opportunity to vote for or against the repeal in November of next year.
Greelaw thanked “all the volunteers who have worked so hard and who are committed to protecting the education of our children” and well as coalition members.

Friday, October 17, 2008

OgunquitFest Returns for the Fifth Time

An entry from last year’s OgunquitFest Scarecrow Contest.
OGUNQUIT –
Ogunquit celebrates the Fall season with the 5th Annual OgunquitFest on October 24-26, 2008. The event will begin with the annual scarecrow contest from October 10 to October 26. This year will be the first with a theme, “The Greening of Ogunquit” as the Ogunquit Chamber and the Ogunquit Conservation Commission have joined forces to make Ogunquit a “greener” town. While scarecrows do not have to adhere to the theme, visitors will be able to vote on the “greenest” scarecrow as well as their overall favorite. Previous scarecrows have rowed gondolas, climbed trees, played chess, sung gospel and more.
While the 5th Annual OgunquitFest brings back some of the previous favorite events such as a craft fair, pumpkin decorating, storytelling and the costume parade, several new events are also planned. The Ogunquit Chamber introduces a new children’s event each year, and this year that will be cookie decorating. In place of the hour-long treasure hunt, the Ogunquit businesses will host a weekend long “Painted Pumpkin Pursuit” as oddly painted pumpkins will be hidden in seasonal displays with merchandise, or merely on check-in counters. Participants will keep track of where they saw the pumpkins so that the team that finds the most will win a prize. Also, the Ogunquit Playhouse Theatre Guild is bringing the Don Campbell Band to the Ogunquit Playhouse on Saturday night.
But perhaps the new event which is generating the most “buzz,” is the Bridge to Beach Bed Race scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Up to 16 teams will decorate double beds, put them on wheels and race them, complete with someone riding, up and down Beach Street! Participants will be dressed in costume – and to make it even more interesting, halfway through the race, the rider will be required to change clothes and positions with a racer before they can finish the course. Participants have the opportunity to win cash prizes, while visitors will be able to vote on their favorite bed decorations, with proceeds from the voting to fund Ogunquit Chamber member charities.
The Ogunquit Chamber invites everyone to join us October 24-26 at the 5th Annual OgunquitFest weekend. More information, including the brochure, Scarecrow Contest ballots, and the Bridge to Beach Bed Race registration forms can be found at www.ogunquit.org.
OgunquitFest 2008
Schedule of Events
We’re kicking off our festivities on October 10 with the start of the Scarecrow Contest. Vote for your favorites! Our theme this year is “The Greening of Ogunquit” to celebrate the Ogunquit Chamber and Ogunquit Conservation Committee’s dual effort to make Ogunquit “green”. “Green” scarecrows may be made of recycled materials, they may have a conservation theme, or they may literally be the color green! Scarecrow Contest sponsored by Kennebunk Savings Bank.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Ghostly Tours 6:30pm & 7:30pm. A ghostly walk through the streets of Ogunquit and the Marginal Way. Are they myths or is there more to Ogunquit’s nightlife than meets the eye? Tours conducted by the Friends of the Winn House. Bring your flashlight - it’s dark out there! Tours originate at the Ogunquit Heritage Museum, 86 Obeds Lane. $5 adults, children under 10 free. Sponsored by Meadowmere Resort.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Monster Mall Marketplace 10am-4pm, Dunaway Center. Find that one-of-a-kind special item from crafters, artists and local retailers - get an early jump on your holiday shopping! Bring an item for our local food pantry or pet food for the Animal Welfare Society, and receive a free cup of coffee/soda.
Pony Rides 10am-2pm. At King’s Court Motel on Beach Street. Sponsored by Walker Stables at Johnson Farm. $5 per ride.
Horse Drawn Wagon Rides 10am-4pm. $5 per person.
Great Pumpkin Patch Presentation 10am-Noon. Upstairs at the Ogunquit Firehouse. An autumn delight for kids of all ages. Pumpkins, paints, markers, stickers, etc. supplied. No carving please. All parents will receive a ChildPrint ID Kit. Sponsored by The Milestone, Gorges Grant Hotel, Raspberri’s Restaurant and Juniper Hill Inn.
Cookie Monster Decorating Noon-2:30pm. Downstairs at the Dunaway Center. Kids can decorate their favorite cookie, and eat it too! Cookies and decorations will be provided. Sponsored by Sparhawk Resort and Barrel Stave.
Graveyard Golf 2:30pm. Footbridge Beach. Miniature nine-hole golf for adults, on the beach! Bring your putter. Prizes will be awarded. $5 per person. Weather permitting. Sponsored by Ogunquit Rental Properties & Scotch Hill Inn.
Children’s Fall Story Telling 3-4pm. Ogunquit Library. Listen to local storyteller Diana Abbott tell seasonal tales. All parents will receive a ChildPrint ID Kit. Sponsored by Animal Instinct & Baby Instinct.
Bridge to Beach Bed Race 4pm-5:30pm. Beach Street bridge to the Main Beach parking lot and back. It’s utter bedlam as teams of bedfellows and their beds zoom down Beach Street. Vote on the bedazzling bedspreads and costumed bedclothes! Prizes will be awarded at 6pm at the Front Porch. Sponsored by Peoples Insurance, Village Food Market, Team Wunder (RE/MAX Realty One),
Julie’s Ristorante & Provisto, Front Porch and Mariner Resort.
Don Campbell Band 7:30pm.Presented by the Ogunquit Playhouse Theatre Guild at the Ogunquit Playhouse. Tickets $19 each.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Monster Ball Marketplace 10am-3pm, Dunaway Center. See Saturday description.
Pony Rides 2pm-4pm. At King’s Court Motel on Beach Street. Sponsored by Walker Stables at Johnson Farm.
Costume Parade 11:30am-12:30pm. Costumed kids, adults, and canines welcome! Ogunquit Square to the Winn House. (Weather permitting. Rain location: Upstairs at Fire Station - sorry, dogs are not allowed at the Fire Station). Sponsored by Yardarm Village Inn Wine, Cheese & Gift Shop and Walker Stables at Johnson Farm.
Painted Pumpkin Pursuit 12pm. You have been noticing painted pumpkins throughout town all weekend. Now hand in your tracking sheet by 12pm at the Monster Mall Marketplace. If you find the most painted pumpkins, you win the prize! Sponsored by Norseman Resort, Captain’s Quarters and Kreative Paintworks.
Caption: An entry from last year’s OgunquitFest Scarecrow Contest. (Courtesy photo)

South Berwick Determined to Keep Everyone Warm

SOUTH BERWICK –
Soups and breads from nine local restaurateurs and bakers, raffle prizes from local merchants and a bucket at the front door for cash donations… On October 29, the people of South Berwick are holding a very special supper at Spring Hill. It is an old-fashioned community fundraiser being held by townspeople working with Social Services to help local families deal with sky-high heating costs this winter.
Just like days gone by, there’s no set donation or entry fee. There will be a bucket by the door where people can give whatever they can to help their neighbors get through this difficult time.
Vicki Desilets, Social Services Director, says “We believe that many more families in town will face the prospect of not being able to afford heating oil this winter. At this point, whatever help the community – we, neighbors – can offer is desperately needed.”
To that end, restaurants in South Berwick and York are pitching in and providing soups and breads for the event. Among them are: Nature’s Way Market, Pepperland, Fogarty’s, The Catered Event, The Red Barn at Outlook Farm, The Brixham General Store, Spring Hill Restaurant, Muddy River Smokehouse and When Pigs Fly Bread. The South Berwick Senior Center and the Red Hat Hotties are hosting a bake sale. Local merchants like The Little Hat Company, The Kittery Trading Post, Salmon Falls Gardens, Sobo Book and Bean, Vacuum Village, South Berwick Yoga and Childlight Yoga are providing prizes for raffles to be held during the event. Tickets are also available ahead of time from SoBo Book and Bean and The South Berwick Pharmacy.
“With the help of a $1000 donation from Steve Lizio of South Berwick and the money we raise from this supper, the raffle and the donations that are made directly to the town, we will give some families a few hours of heat,” says Pat Robinson, one of the key organizers. “The support we’ve gotten from the local restaurants and merchants has been very enthusiastic. If we see that the community responds the same way, the event should really make a difference in local families’ lives this winter. If people can’t come, we hope they’ll mail in a donation. We really hope to make sure that all of the families of South Berwick stay warm this winter.”
If you can’t make it to the dinner, donations can also be made directly to the Town of South Berwick, c/o Fuel Fund, 180 Main Street, South Berwick, ME 03908. For more information, call Pat Robinson at 207-337-2792.

Friday, October 10, 2008

24th Annual Harvestfest Returns to York



By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

YORK –
A year ago, those estimating the crowd attending Harvestfest set the number at about 35,000. A similar or even larger crowd is anticipated this year.
This will be the 24th annual celebration sponsored by the Greater York Regional Chamber of Commerce and, as always, even though some events won’t be repeated there are new ones to take their place.
Events are scheduled throughout the Oct. 17-19 weekend in York and York Beach. A complete listing of events, times and places is included in this week’s edition of The Weekly Sentinel.
The weekend begins Friday night with one of the new events, the first annual Lobsterfest, sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank under the tent at the baseball field in York Beach. The gates open at 5:30 with serving beginning 30 minutes later. The cost is $30 per person.
Another new event is the Corn Toss Challenge, described by Carrie Eisner, the Chamber’s program development coordinator, as a beanbag toss meets horseshoes.
She said 25 teams have already registered for the event but “we welcome more” to come aboard.
The registration fee for the event supports the York Education Foundation. It will be held Saturday, Oct. 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the big tent in York Beach.
Fireworks will also be part of the celebration, thanks to the sponsorship of the Woods Family Inc. The display is set for Saturday night at 7:30 in York Beach.
The popular pumpkin stroll will be held Saturday at York Beach from 5 to 8:30 p.m. with decorated pumpkins for all sizes and shapes on display. “Every year it grows,” Esiner said of the event.
Seniorfest featuring entertainment, information, displays and live entertainment is scheduled on the green in York Village “just for our senior citizens,” Eisner said.
There will also be an Old Fashioned Marketplace/Food Festival on the green Friday. Those events will be featured from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The celebration begins with the Annual Sidewalk Sales at Short Sands at York Beach this Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 11, 12 and 13, where the shops move their merchandise to the sidewalks for their end of the season sales.
Other Saturday activities in the village include Kidsfest and the Esplanade, showcasing non-profit organizations of York.
The highlight for the celebration Sunday in York Beach will be a Classic Car Show, crafts at the ballpark, and a Native American POW-WOW under the big tent at the Short Sands ball field.
More than 200 crafters from all over New England will present their wares during the weekend on the village green and at York Beach.
Parking will be available at Ellis Park in York Beach, at the York Middle School on Organug Road, Coastal Ridge Elementary School and York High School with a trolley shuttle providing transportation from those sites to the activities.
More than 150 volunteers will be working at the various sites over the long weekend.
For more information call the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce at (207- 363-4422. Major sponsors for the event are Kennebunk Savings Bank, the Cutty Sark Motel and Guest Suites, Tapley Insurance Agency, and Woods Family, Inc.
Caption: Last year the grounds of York were covered with the many tents of vendors and held demonstrations such as this parade of militia. (Courtesy photos)

Fire Department Receives New Waterproof Defibrillators


By Ron Long Staff Columnist and Cindy Hunt
WELLS –
The story starts about a year ago. It was Monday, October 22, 2008 in Cocoa Beach, Fla when Ted and his wife Cindy were vacationing staying at a friend’s condo. They had been in town for just three days and were spending as much time as they could at the beach, knowing they wouldn’t seeing weather like that in Berwick for a very long time. Ted and Cindy were walking along the sidewalk adjacent to Cocoa Beach eventually passing a riptide warning sign. Then a man came running up, exasperated, pleading that he needed help because his wife was caught out in a riptide current and couldn’t to make it back to shore.
Ted didn’t say anything; he just looked at his wife, took his wallet and cell phone out of his pocket and headed into the water. Cindy hollered “Well, at least take off your sandals,” Ted kicked off the sandals and took off his shirt, and dove right in.
Cindy watched as Ted and the other man reached the stranded woman, who was Maureen Jennings, a Canadian novelist. At first, everything seemed to be going fine. Ted and the other man reached Jennings, and swam with her sideways, parallel to shore, to get out of the riptide — right by the book.
But all of a sudden, the other man got pulled back by the riptide and became separated from the group.
Fred started to get pulled back, too. As the current was taking him back, Ted gave Jennings a final push sideways. The effort forced Jennings past the edge of the riptide, and she was able to swim back to shore.
Cindy started getting nervous as she saw Ted was struggling to stay afloat with all the waves crashing down. She watched him float on his stomach, trying to save energy.
Rescue workers arrived a few minutes later. They got the other man out of the water, but took longer to reach Fred. When they finally found him, it was too late. Seeing the rescue workers bring him back on shore and try to give him CPR, Cindy knew Ted was gone.
The loss of Fred Hunt also known as Ted has brought the communities of Berwick Me, Cocoa Beach Fla., and Wells Me all a little bit closer.
It was a beautiful night, perfect for a “Sunset Kayak Paddle” fundraiser on August 28, 2008 for the Ted Hunt, Jr. Memorial Fund. Plum Island Kayak, http://www.plumislandkayak.com/plum, in Newburyport, Massachusetts generously donated their time, kayaks, life vests, and transportation. Fifteen participants set off in kayaks up the Merrimack River into the tranquil waters of the Joppa Flats for an evening of memories, stories and plenty of laughs.
Guide, Ken Taylor gave everyone a warm welcome, an introduction and the purpose of the first Sunset Paddle in memory of Ted Hunt who lost his life saving another caught in a rip current in Cocoa Beach, Florida, on October 22, 2007. Ken followed this with a short orientation about paddling, steering and communication on the water, and then everyone made their way to a colorful kayak. It was a little tricky maneuvering past the moored boats at the launch site, but under the careful supervision of John, Ken and Carrie Metcalf we were headed in the right direction on the open river.
After rescheduling twice due to inclement weather from the original June 17th date, it seemed the night was meant to be. Ted’s youngest daughter, Lauren was home from Texas for the weekend and his oldest daughter, Chelsea and fiancĂ© Jay, all paddled together with Cindy, Ted’s wife of 30 years.
Ken and Danny Sullivan, Ted’s co-worker/friend, found a common family connection as well as a Plum Island Kayak employee previously employed by Textron, leading to “who knew who” and a session of ‘six degrees of separation’. It was a mix of family, friends and friends/coworkers of Ted’s former employer Textron, and Cindy’s employer at UNH coming together to honor the memory of a great friend, father and husband. It was a special evening of bonding, stories, water fun, and an elegant sunset.
All monies generated benefits the memorial fund in honor of Ted Hunt. Funds are being donated to the Wells Fire Department for one of the two needed waterproof AED’s (Automated External Defibrillator) for the Wells Beach area where the Hunt family spent many days and evenings with friends, family and as a couple savoring the soft, sandy beaches, waves and canoeing up the river side. Books on ocean currents and water safety are also being donated to the Berwick Public Library in Ted’s memory.
The memorial fund will merge with the Sea of Dreams organization, (www.seaofdreamsinc.org) in Cocoa Beach, Florida as founder Randy Smith, a long time family friend, along with many dedicated volunteers have strived to make changes on their Florida beaches in Brevard County. Currently, Brevard County Commissioners have approved 12 fulltime lifeguards, 5 year round lifeguard towers and 13 seasonal towers. Brevard’s force was terribly inadequate compared to other counties along the East-Central Florida coast with just two full-time staffers.
Thirty part-time seasonal lifeguards, mostly high school or college students with about one year of experience have been on Cocoa Beach in Brevard County comparing with an average of eight to 15 years’ experience for full-time lifeguards in other counties. Commissioners finally began to act in late August, 2008 when they approved hiring 12 full-time lifeguards through Sept. 30 during their final budget votes.
“Ted lost his life saving another in Cocoa Beach, and I feel this is the best honor to Ted’s sacrifice, where the money will improve safety for many others. He would smile to see our friends gathered on the water in his memory” says Cindy Hunt, Fred/Ted’s wife of 30 years. Ken summed up the evening as he and Cindy floated down the river and Ken commented that it was a perfect evening with a perfect sunset and it was as if Ted was looking down and enjoying it with us.
Caption: Molly the dog, Carrie Metcalf, Lauren Hunt, Ken Taylor, Cindy Hunt, and Chelsea Hunt. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Celebrity Helps Kickoff Green Wedding Giveaway

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

YORK –
Who better to launch Clay Hill Farm’s The Green Wedding Giveaway than a celebrity relationship expert?
“When it comes to marriage, I have been quoted as saying don’t do it,” Steven Santagati said during the official kickoff of the unique project at Clay Hill Farms last week, “…because most people are not fully aware of the commitment it takes to make a marriage work for the long haul.
“However, I’ve discovered that people who are aware of matrimonial reality are usually aware of other things as well; safe driving, health, and yes, the environment. So will a couple’s common sense transcend the relationship and carry over into their green practices? I think so.”
Santagati has appeared as a relationship expert on the Today Show, Oprah, Rachael Ray, Fox News, CNBC, VH1, The View, and The Tyra Banks Show. He is the author of “The Manual” and has appeared in more than 70 national and international television commercials.
Clay Hill’s Green Wedding Giveaway is a contest of commitment in which couples are encouraged to explore the parallel of a commitment to each other and a commitment to the earth.
“We’ve always wanted to give a wedding away,” Jennifer Lewis-McShera, founder of the project and daughter of Clay Hill Farm owners Gordon and Donna Lewis, said, and when Clay Hill Farm was one of the first businesses in Southern Maine to be a state certified Environmental Leader, the time seemed right.
The project is looking for couples to come up with creative ways to commit “to each other as well as the earth.” Lewis-McShera said, noting that “green is a process, not an end result.”
She said in putting together the contest entry couples can become aware “of the little things they can do” to help the earth and realize the “little things they do are important.”
The green wedding will be a daytime wedding ceremony and reception at Clay Hill Farm June 21, 2009, that is appropriately the Summer Solstice. Rehearsal dinner, ceremony, catered reception, flowers, hand-painted watercolor invitations, photography, DJ services, live cocktail music, cake, hybrid bridal transportation, spa services, organic beverages, tuxedo rentals, wedding-night suite and honeymoon week…are all part of the Grand Prize package.
Couples are asked to submit a play, a poem, a painting, or a song, along with a two-minute video or a photograph and essay that creatively answers the contest question and demonstrates an understanding of the contest message.
Applications for the giveaway along with contest rules and complete details are available at www.greenweddinggiveaway.com. Engaged couples must complete their online applications and mail their entries on a CD or DVD by Dec. 31.
The top-five couples will be decided by a panel of Clay Hill judges and will be revealed at a bridal fair in Portsmouth Jan 11, 2009. The public will vote and pick the winner on line at www.greenweddinggiveaway.com. The winning couple will be announced February 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
In addition to the grand prize, wedding package valued at over $30,000, the top-four couples will be awarded prize packages, and random prizes will be awarded to contestants and voters.
“We are really proud of the Green Wedding Giveaway Contest,” Lewis-McShera said. “It is a great way to give back with a positive message of connectedness and empowerment.
“So much about green today is overwhelming and intimidating. How can we fit in?” she said. “The truth is, we are all green in some way. So, pick your shade and shout it to the world. It’s time to feel good about all that we do, commit to improvement and celebrate all contributions.”
Caption: Steven Santagati, celebrity relationship expert, addresses a crowd at Clay Hill Farms. Jennifer Lewis-McShera, founder of the Green Wedding Giveaway, stands to the right. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Bill Irwin to Share Tale of “Blind Courage” in Kennebunk

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

KENNEBUNK –
The only blind person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail from North Georgia to northern Maine will speak at the Sea Road Church Sunday at 10 a.m.
Billl Irwin took eight and a half months to cover the more than 2,000-mile trek in 14 states in 1990.
Irwin, the author of “Blind Courage”, the account of his life and incredible journey, now shares his message of hope and encouragement with students and adults.
“I try to get the message across that life happens,” Irwin said in a telephone interview earlier this week, and while life goes on, it sometimes “appears as though God doesn’t care about us. That’s not true.”
Irwin said, “We can persevere (with God’s help) and do it with peace and joy.”
“The Trail was a pilgrimage to share God’s love with all those whom I met while hiking,” Irwin said. “My book is an account of my experiences and shares the plan of salvation with every one who reads it. I believe that nothing happens by mistake. And at age 67 I am learning that being a Christian does not guarantee one that there won’t be trouble in life, but it does guarantee one that they will never have to endure their suffering alone again! This is the most important lesson in life except that of salvation.”
Irwin was accompanied on the trek by Orient, his seeing-eye dog and he knows it would have not been possible without God’s help.
Irwin was blinded by a rare eye disease when he was 28 years old and believes that happened so the power of God could be seen in his life and to give others hope.
“Once you know Bill’s story, you will never forget him,” Wayman Spence, chairman of WRS Publishing, said. “Bill was an angry, middle aged man with few prospects and fewer friends. His four marriages had failed. He was an alcoholic, a five pack a day smoker, a manipulator and a user.”
“For 26 years I was an alcoholic and lived my life out of control,” Irwin writes on his web site. “I never even thought of God much less sought a personal relationship with Him. Through the surrender of an addiction to cocaine of my youngest son I was able to get a good look at my life the way God saw it and it was not a pretty picture. I was to the place in my addiction that I was drinking around the clock and thought that I would die without it.
”God dramatically and completely delivered me from the desire to drink,” he writes. “Two months later He delivered me from my five-pack a day cigarette addiction. God provided these miracles without my asking for help or even having a desire to recover.”
Once Christ came into his life everything changed.
“He changed me and helped me overcome all the things that prevented me from being a happy person,” Irwin concludes. “I experienced the peace and joy that only comes when one is willing to surrender and allow Jesus Christ to become first in their life.”
Sea Road Church is located at 140 Sea Road in Kennebunk.
Caption: Bill Irwin, the only blind person to hike the entire Appalacian Trail from North Georgia to Northern Maine will speak in Kennebunk at 10am on Sunday. (www.billirwin.com photo)