Friday, November 28, 2008

FEI Equestrian Susan Jaccoma Awarded Educational Training Scholarship by New England Dressage Association

The New England Dressage Association recently named nationally-ranked dressage competitor Susan Jaccoma as the 2008 award recipient of a $2,000 educational scholarship to further her riding education in training sessions with an Olympic coach this winter in Florida.
Jaccoma, who placed 5th at the 2008 National Intermediare Dressage Championship in San Juan Capistrano, California this season, was selected from a pool of finalists for this prestigious honor. Intermediare is one of the top levels of dressage -only Grand Prix is higher. With her eye on the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, Jaccoma will utilize the funding to train intensively with renowned Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) trainer Lars Petersen of Denmark with her two horses Wadamur and Donatella. Petersen, a 5-time Danish National Champion, has competed in an Olympiad, two World Cup Finals, and three World Equestrian Games and was recently ranked #2 in the world.
“I am so excited to have this wonderful opportunity to further my education and work toward my competitive goals; I can’t wait!” Jaccoma said. “Lars possesses an amazing depth of knowledge in training Grand Prix horses and riders and has a program that is in sync with my own. When he recently helped me at the national championship our personalities just clicked and the chemistry felt right.”
The mission of the 15-member New England Dressage Association (NEDA) Scholarship Committee is to provide educational opportunities to its members who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to and excellence in the sport, as well as service and ambassadorship within the association. The program exists to further two specific objectives - to provide the widest possible range of dressage education to the greatest number of members, and to support the development of dressage in the field of international competition. Scholarships are awarded to professionals and amateurs alike.
“Our committee looked very hard at numerous objective criteria regarding each individual application, from the competition level of the rider, their length of time with the organization and their degree of volunteerism,” NEDA President Paul Cormier said. “Sue fit the criteria extremely well.”
That sentiment was echoed by Scholarship Committee Chairwoman Sue Edelen.
“Sue is a wonderful rider who has an exciting and successful young horse coming along. While our selection of candidates is strictly objective based on points awarded for factors we weigh, Sue is the type of person and professional we like to help if we can,” Edelen said.
Jaccoma heads to Florida in December and will invest her time into both of her horses in four sessions with Petersen a week. Her California partner is the superstar Wadamur, an 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Weltmeyer and Sandro Hit. Six-time US Olympian Robert Dover calls “Moe” a “world-class horse” who showed Grand Prix potential right from the start. This past season the young horse competed in the high performance classes and qualifiers at the United Equestrian Team Headquarters at Gladstone in the Pan-Am Selection Trials and at the Intermediare championships. They are currently named on the United States Equestrian Team Developing Young Horse list, and are ranked third on the high performance list for Intermediare with a score of 68.583%.
Her second horse Donatella, 9, is an Oldenburg mare by Donnerhall out of Nina Ricci. As her established Grand Prix partner, Donatella is ranked 12th in the country by the United States Dressage Federation this year.
“It is extremely exciting to have two young Grand Prix horses poised to advance and compete at Grand Prix in this stage of our careers together,” Jaccoma said. “I feel blessed.”
About Susan Jaccoma: Susan Jaccoma, a native New Englander, has competed at the highest FEI levels in the sport of dressage, winning numerous championships at many levels up to Grand Prix on horses she has trained herself. She has been on the United States Equestrian Team long list since 2000 and is a United States Dressage Federation Gold Medalist. Over the years Jaccoma has represented the United States in Sydney, Australia at the Nation’s Cup in 2000, earning team and individual gold medals; has successfully competed at several Can-Am Challenges; and competed as a member of the US Team Quadrille for the Challenge of the Americas to benefit breast cancer. When not competing, Jaccoma shares her knowledge and experience by coaching other horses and riders from Maine to Florida.
Caption: Susan Jaccoma on her horse.

Quaint South Berwick Village Launches Holidays in Style

South Berwick’s 2008 Home for the Holidays celebration on the first weekend in December will feature for the first time a caroling parade run by a church, the opening of the Sarah Orne Jewett House and an artist’s reception at the newly opened South Berwick Art Gallery.
The fourth annual South Berwick Home for the Holidays, led by local volunteers with the group SmartGrowth South Berwick, has grown from a small grassroots operation into a mainstay of the town’s holiday season. Dozens of business owners – retailers, restaurants and realtors -- open their doors to the public in one of the village’s most festive occasions.
Just a few weeks after 200 people packed town hall to hear a national speaker address the importance of small independent businesses, downtown South Berwick will hold its holiday festivities. From 5 - 8pm on Friday December 5, businesses from the toy store and yoga center to the florist and the framer will offer food, crafts, raffles and merry-making.
The celebration annually draws hundreds of people to stroll the village sidewalks. Home For the Holidays reminds residents that shopping downtown is more fun, more efficient and a better way to support the local economy.
At the heart of the celebration is the Women’s Holiday Art Sale. Now in its 9th year, the sale will open Friday from 5 - 8pm, featuring the work of two dozen women on the third floor of town hall. The sale continues Saturday from 10am - 3pm. The jewelry, leather goods, pottery, soap and other items for sale are all made by women from the area.
The Sarah Orne Jewett House will open its doors Friday and Saturday to visitors to visit the first floor and to browse for unique gift items, including redware pottery, glassware, books and stationery. At 10am Saturday, the Jewett House will invite children to a special children’s program featuring the reading of Jewett’s1884 Christmas story, “The Becket Girls’ Tree”. Children will be invited to stay and make simple Victorian ornaments and use them to decorate a tree. Refreshments will be served. Reservations are requested and can be made at 384-2454.
The South Berwick Art Gallery at the South Berwick Yoga Center will hold an exhibit reception in conjunction with the open house at the yoga center. The artist’s reception will be for local artists Rose Theriault of southern New Hampshire who works includes watercolor, gouache, printmaking, and drawing, and John Klossner, a cartoonist from South Berwick.
Santa Claus will welcome children at P. Gagnon; Ocean Bank will set up areas for children to write and decorate letters to Santa; Edward Jones will host Mrs. Claus reading stories, and The Little Hat Co. will have children making ornaments and helping to decorate the store’s Christmas tree. York Hospital invites children into the community room for face painting.
Strollers are invited to enjoy spiced wine at Abby Chic flower shop, cider at the Little Hat. Co. apple-cranberry cider at the Catered Event and homemade treats at the South Berwick Pharmacy.
The Masiello Group will host local videographer Tim Benoit’s work, “South Berwick” featuring montages of present day scenes and photos from the Old Berwick Historical Society.
The brochure is online at
Caption: Logo from Home for the Holidays Brochure (Courtesy photo)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oldest School in Maine Receives Largest Single Gift in its 217-Year History

Berwick Academy Head of School, Greg Schneider, recently announced that the Academy has received the largest single cash gift in its 217-year history. The bequest totals $3.5 million dollars, and has been left to the School with no restrictions. The gift speaks to the passion of Berwick alumni, a group that the institution has been engaging with renewed vigor in recent years.
Berwick Academy was named a beneficiary to the estate of Helen Hasty Perreault, widow of Berwick Academy alumnus, Victor Perreault ‘33. Victor was a Navy veteran of World War II, and he spent the bulk of his career as a proofreader at a government printing office in the Washington, D.C. area until his passing in 1962. His widow, Helen, continued to live in Arlington, Virginia, until her death in the summer of 2007. Helen was an editor at the Bureau of National Affairs and a member of the Maine State Society, a “home away from home” for Mainers living and working in the Washington area.
Born in South Berwick, Maine, Helen had three siblings who, like her husband, are Berwick Academy alumni. She is survived by her sisters Zana Littlefield ’35, of Ogunquit, ME and Carolyn Bragdon ’49, of Wells, ME. Her brother Wesley Hasty ’41, of South Berwick, passed away in December 2001. Mrs. Perreault’s decision to donate to Berwick in honor of her husband, reflects their great commitment to the community of South Berwick and Berwick Academy.
Head of School, Greg Schneider commented, “The Perreault bequest is transformational for the Berwick Academy community on many levels. It embodies the lasting power of the Berwick experience, and it is inspiring to see an alumni family moved to make such an extraordinary planned gift. This gift, the largest single gift in the School’s 217-year history, sets the stage for additional gifts of this significance in the future. Beyond the immediate financial impact of the Perreault bequest, it has served as a catalyst for the Board of Trustees to discuss increasing financial aid resources.”
Founded in 1791, Berwick Academy is an independent, coeducational country day school located in South Berwick, Maine.
Caption: Victor and Helen Perreault (Courtesy photo)

The “Help is Here Express” Offers Help While Raising Awareness on Chronic Ills

By Larry Favinger Staff Columnist
The “Help is Here Express” bus was in Maine last week.
The tour, whose national spokesman is television star Montel Williams, is part of a nationwide effort sponsored by America’s pharmaceutical research companies to help financially-struggling Americans access information on various programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free while at the same time raising awareness of patient assistance programs.
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) also seeks to “raise the awareness of chronic diseases in the United States,” Jeff Gilbert, director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said sitting in the conference room at The Weekly Sentinel. He said there is “a very big rate” of chronic illnesses in Maine.
Jerry Mathers of “Leave it to Beaver” Fame, who suffers from diabetes, was with the crew on the bus for part of the journey through Maine with stops in Fort Kent, Presque Isle, Bangor, Houlton, Lewiston, Rumford and Bridgeton.
Gilbert said the program, signified by the bus that is stocked with phones and laptop computers, has worked with thousands of people “getting their prescriptions” for free or at reduced rates directly from the pharmaceutical companies.
“Many of these programs have been around for years,” Gilbert said, but have gone unpublicized. The program as it now stands help people cut through the process to make it easy for them. “It is easy and fast,” he said.
In fact, he added, since the program began in 2005, the two buses have helped an estimated 5.3 million people, including more 21,000 Mainers.
Since its inception in April 2005, the PPA bus tour has visited over 2,000 cities and towns in all 50 states. Upon leaving The Sentinel, the bus was going to Rhode Island for its next stop.
Specially trained staff members provide help in many ways ways, Gilbert said. People can visit the bus and receive first hand help in making application by laptop computer and learn quickly what programs they may be qualified for.
If they qualify, the forms needed to send to the company are printed right there for them to take home, attach the necessary prescriptions and send to the company. The medicine can be obtained in a matter of days.
There is no age limits in the program. “Everyone can apply,” Gilbert said. About 70 percent of program applicants are under the age of 65. Many applicants are covered by Medicare Part D but, Gilbert said, “We’re still able to help some people over the age of 65.
Income levels are based on 200 percent of the federal government poverty level.
Gilbert said if a single person is making $19,500, without prescription medication insurance, “there’s a very good chance you’ll qualify for” some of the programs. A family of four with an income level somewhere in the $38,000 to $39,500 would qualify.
There are more than 475 patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 offered by pharmaceutical companies, Gilbert said.
The two buses involved with the program have traveled an estimated quarter of a million miles including more then 850 in Maine. They have visited the state four times.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that many of these programs, if not all of them, have been around for 50 years,” Gilbert said.
The effort to make more people aware came “because we wanted to cut through the process and make it simpler for people,” Gilbert said.
There appears to be no limit on the how long these program will be available. “It won’t go away,” Gilbert said. “As I said it’s been around for 50 years of more. It’s not going to go away. If may change form, we may have a bus, we may not have a bus, but may do it differently, but we’re always going to try to come up with new ways to reach people we haven’t yet reached.”
Gilbert said there are rewards for those working on the bus.
“We see a lot of sad faces coming on the bus, people looking down,” Gilbert said. “To see that same person coming off the bus smiling” because of the help received is a very good feeling.
When the “Help is Here Express” bus moves on, people can visit PPA’s Web site ( 24 hours a day or call the toll-free phone number (1-888-4PPA-NOW) during business hours when trained operators field calls in 150 languages.
Caption: The “Help is Here Express” bus visited the office of the Weekly Sentinel while touring Maine to raise awareness on prescription assistance and chronic ills. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Local World War II Veterans of the “Greatest Generation” to Speak

America is losing World War II veterans at a rate of 1200 a day. Several veterans of this war who live in and near South Berwick will take part in a panel discussion at 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 20 at Berwick Academy.
Moderated by Ernie Wood of South Berwick, panelists will share experiences and photos of the war and the era in which they and our country came of age. The discussion was put together as part of the Old Berwick Historical Society’s monthly lecture series.
Representatives of the US Army, Navy, Marines, Merchant Marine, and Air Force will share stories and answer questions about the challenging times in which they lived and served. These veterans that have been called the “greatest generation” and this panel will give audience members a glimpse of why.
Among those invited are Bob Perham, former teacher in the Marshwood school district; Phil Lawrence, who was interviewed by Tom Brokaw of NBC news; Franklin West, who served in both theatres; Charles Colwell, who served under General George Patton; Paul Colburn, who served in the Merchant Marine and traveled the Atlantic and the Pacific, and Tom Keelty, who knew most of the South Berwick young people who served during WWII as he did.
Moderator Wood indicated that “time is running out to hear, honor, and bear witness to those who history has rightfully labeled the ‘greatest generation’”.
The program will be held upstairs in Berwick Academy’s Fogg Memorial building on Academy Street. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served by volunteers. This program is part of the Old Berwick Historical Society’s 2008 series of talks, walks, and historical events. The series, supported by a grant from Kennebunk Savings Bank, includes seven monthly Thursday presentations, all starting at 7:30 pm at Berwick Academy, as well as other local history events around South Berwick, including the society’s Counting House Museum.
FMI: On all the Old Berwick Historical Society’s programs,, or call 207-384-0000.
Caption: Albert Jalbert, James Doherty and Donat Parent stand before the roll of honor in South Berwick ceremony, November 1, 1944. (Courtesy photo)

Best Investment for Maine’s Future May Lie in Childhood

By York County Sheriff Maurice Ouellette, Ogunquit Chief of Police Patricia Arnaudin, Kennebunkport Chief of Police Joe Bruni, Kennebunk Chief of Police Robert MacKenzie, Saco Chief of Police Brad Paul, and Wells Chief of Police Jo-Ann Putnam; all members of Fight Crime: Invest In Kids.
As the state of Maine and our nation elect our future leaders, it is important that we communicate to them why greater investments in quality early child care and education must be a priority. By providing children with solid social and educational foundations, they have a far better chance of graduating and staying away from a life of crime, making our communities safer for everyone.
During a recent York county-wide community conversation, we sat down with area business leaders, educators, legislators, providers and community leaders to work toward public policy changes needed to focus targeted resources to support Maine’s youngest citizens – our future workforce and leaders.
As federal, state and local budgets get tighter, it is important that we prioritize the investments that will yield the highest return. Invest money in quality programs to give children a better start in life, and we will see a tremendous return on that investment in the future. In fact, it is in the first three years of a child’s life that they develop the foundations for all their future physical, cognitive, emotional, and social developmental needs.
If we wait until our youngsters become teens to intervene, the results are much more expensive and not nearly as effective.
As law enforcement leaders, we have watched as too many young people are sent away to juvenile facilities.
Consider this alarming statistic: in the next hour, across America, law enforcement officers will arrest approximately 250 teens. That translates to more than 2 million teens per year.
While Maine does not experience the same rate of serious crimes as most other states, in 2006 there were still 78 young men and 16 young women in our state sent to state juvenile facilities following sentencing because of either the repeated or serious nature of the crimes they committed.
Here’s another shocking fact: preventing one child from adopting a life of crime saves $1.7 million in jail, court and other law enforcement costs.
When we consider the loss of human capital as well as the millions of dollars spent on juvenile detention and incarceration in Maine, it is more important than ever that we begin to invest wisely in our children.
Maine’s law enforcement community knows that one of the best investments the state can make is in high quality early education programs like Head Start, Early Head Start, Pre-Kindergarten and quality child care.
A long-term study at the Perry Preschool* found great success for its participants in curbing future crime. By the time at-risk kids who were kept out of the program turned 27 years old, they were five times more likely to have become chronic lawbreakers than similar kids who participated in the program.
In addition, a recent national survey found that adults who attended Head Start as children were nearly 10 percent less likely to be arrested or charged with a crime than their siblings who did not attend Head Start.
By starting early, we set our children on a path to a brighter future. The right tools at an early age make all the difference. Maine’s wisest investment in our future generation and crime reduction is investing when we can have the greatest impact – in the first years of a child’s life.
*High/Scope Education Research Foundation’s Perry Preschool Project is a longitudinal preschool-effectiveness study now in its third decade. It reviews the study’s cumulative findings and most recent conclusions, and considers why some early childhood programs have long-term effects. It also examines the generalizability of this study’s findings to other children living in poverty and to other high-quality, active learning preschool programs. The program is defined as a high-quality, active learning program for 3- and 4-year olds. High/Scope’s Home Page is
Caption: Today’s children are our future leaders and workforce, and therefore perhaps the best investment for Maine. (Metro Creative photo)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Syndicate19 Drummer Wins Maine, Heads for Massachusetts

Leigh Leavitt, 28, of Wells, will be representing Maine in the Guitar Center’s Drum Off competition in Natick, MA on November 11th.
Leavitt is one of 4,000 drummers across the country that began competing this past September at Guitar Center stores nationwide. He is now one of the 214 contestants competing at a district level at 24 locations. The Guitar Center’s Drum-Off Champion will be crowned next January after 2 more rounds of competition – regional and grand finals.
Each contestant performs on a 5-piece acoustic drum kit complete with hardware, cymbals, cowbell and throne. The only personal pieces of gear each contestant can use are their own drumsticks, bass pedal, drum throne and snare drum.
Those who saw Leavitt playing at the South Portland store preliminaries and store finals a few weeks ago could witness his diverse and powerful drum solos. With only 5 minutes to set up and 3 minutes to perform, Leavitt had the audience’s attention captured from the second his drumsticks hit the drums. In Natick, MA, Leavitt will perform another 3 minutes solo.
Born in Hawaii, but raised in Northern Maine to New Hmpshire, Leavitt began playing drums at the age of 14. His father Jay Leavitt taught him how to play drums, inspired and encouraged him in every step. His practicing and persistence paid off within a few years when he joined a few different local bands such as Sanguinus Feminae (NH), Mourningside (MA), Psyren (ME), and a Boston hardcore punk band Toxic Narcotic for a very short time.
Leavitt’s friends call him Affable Maverick not without a reason. It is common to see him with vivid zebra contacts, a mohawk or a shaved head on a regular basis. His over spilling individuality and creativity makes him stand out of the crowd. The musician’s drumming style is a mix of metal, funk, jazz and progressive. His influences are Terry Bozzio, Dennis Chambers, Mike Portnoy, Danny Carrey, and a few more.
Now the South Portland store Drum Off winner is a full time drummer for a local Southern Maine (Wells) band called Syndicate19. Leavitt and his band mates Paul Chase, Randy Runnels and Mike Tomasini can be seen playing at some local venues on a regular basis. You can find their schedule and also watch Leavitt’s solo videos on
The Drum Off grand finals winner will walk away with a prize package that includes $25,000 Cash, $2,000 Guitar Center Shopping Spree, a write up in Modern Drummer magazine, Monster Energy Drink Endorsement Deal and a lot of different drum equipment with a total prize value of $45,000.
Previous Drum Off winners have gone on to enjoy successful music careers, record albums and tour the world with noteworthy artists. Drum Off Champion 2002, Cora Coleman, is currently performing with legendary recording artist Prince. Eric Moore II, Drum Off 2003 Champion, has also achieved notoriety by performing with psychedelic funk band Sly and the Family Stone as well as singer Bobby Brown.
This article was submitted by Vaida Lowell, freelance journalist.
Caption: Leigh Leavitt plays at the Guitar Center’s Drum Off competition, South Portland store finals. (Bridgett Owen-Chase)

East Impresses the Nation

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Reporter
East may be a relatively new local Chinese restaurant, but it has already garnered national recognition. This visually stunning Wells restaurant, which opened in June, recently received notice that it ranked among the 100 best Chinese restaurants in the US according to Chinese Restaurant News (CRN). CRN, based out of San Francisco, distributes its monthly magazine to over 43,000 restaurants, and September’s cover featured East’s proud owner Ri Teng Li standing in front of his business.
“I am very excited,” commented Li. “We are the first Chinese restaurant in Maine history to win this honor. Usually it’s only the restaurants in California and New York and places with large Chinatowns.”
CRN sends undercover diners to its subscriber restaurants to secretly evaluate the restaurant in 8 categories: décor and atmosphere, exterior, interior, cleanliness, sanitation, service, food, and server. East received a perfect score in every category, earning a 100% rating in the comprehensive 172-point undercover evaluation.
Asked about CRN’s evaluation process, Mr. Li said, “the food quality is very important, and I think they were particularly impressed with the décor.”
In addition to gracing the cover of CRN’s magazine and receiving a framed award to display in his restaurant, Mr. Li has been invited to CRN’s convention in Las Vegas, Nevada in January, where he will find out exactly which number ranking East received within the top 100 Chinese restaurants.
More information is available at CRN’s website:
Caption: The proud owner of East Restaurant, Ri Teng Li, standing in front of his business. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Maine Bureau of Veterans Services Seeking

By Larry Favinger
Staff Reporter
Veterans who have served their country since the beginning of World War II and received the Purple Heart and former prisoners of war or their surviving families are eligible for Maine’s Silver Star Honorable Service Medal.
The Maine Bureau of Veterans Services has awarded nearly 550 medals but there are many who deserve the medal who are not known, Peter Ogden, director of Veterans Services, said.
Ogden said he has a lit of 435 names of people who could qualify for the state award.
“They’re looking for people who have been missed,” Janet Hooke of North Berwick, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 87 who is aiding in the search in southern York County, said. She said many lists have been gone over looking for veterans to honor, including those with Purple Heart license plates.
One veteran who qualifies but has not yet been honored was found in North Berwick.
Ogden said formal awards ceremonies are being scheduled “in local communities whenever possible” throughout the state as it is often difficult for veterans to get to Augusta. The next ceremony will be held in Farmington. Gov. John Baldacci attends the ceremonies if possible.
The Silver Star Medal was first awarded to Maine veterans in August of 2006. It came into being with the legislature and financial support of Gov. Balducci along with the 122nd Legislature that gave the authority to the director of the Bureau of Veterans’ Services to strike medals, coins and certificates to honor Maine’s veterans.
Ogden said at this time only living veterans with the Purple Heart are eligible but the families of former POW’s who have died are to be honored because of the “life changing event” of having a loved one captured. “Their lives were a lot harder because of that,” Ogden said, noting that many families had situations to deal with for years after their family member returned.
Ogden said the bureau “loves people who help us” get the word out but approval of the award comes from his office
Info and application forms are available online or by calling the Bureau of Veterans Services at (207) 626-4464 or by contacting Hooke at (207) 676-9409.
Caption: Maine’s Silver Star Honorable Service Medal. (Courtesy photo)