Friday, August 27, 2010

Run for the Fallen: Honoring Maine’s Deceased War Heroes and their Families

By Scott Andrews
and Larry Favinger

Staff Columnists
Former President George W. Bush joined several hundred who gathered Sunday for a lobster bake at Fort Williams Park, the culmination of the third annual Run For The Fallen, a yearly event that commemorates the 65 Maine soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan and honors their families.
The 65-kilometer run began early Sunday morning in Ogunquit and wrapped up by mid-afternoon at Monument Square in Portland. Each kilometer of the route was dedicated to one of the fallen: 64 men and one woman who died in the military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. A souvenir program book, titled “Maine’s Fallen Heroes,” provided photos and written vignettes of the 65 soldiers.
Nearly 300 family members and loved ones participated in Sunday’s gathering. They were joined by several hundred friends, well-wishers and sympathetic Mainers.
The principal organizers of the Run For The Fallen hail from Ogunquit. “The purpose of this event is to honor the fallen heroes of Maine and to honor their families,” said chief organizer John Mixon.
Gordon Lewis, a volunteer from Ogunquit, pointed out that because of Maine’s large geographic spread, some family members of the 65 soldiers find it difficult to share their grief with others in the same situation. Each year the Run For The Fallen helps family make connections with others to bridge that emotional gap.
Some drove from Aroostook County and other distant cities and town. “By bringing these families together we are able to show our support and give honor to their fallen loved ones,” said Lewis.
Earlier Sunday morning Veterans Park in Ogunquit was covered with memorials to the 64 men and one woman with Maine connections that have given their lives in the battle against terrorism. There were approximately 200 runners who left Ogunquit shortly after 8 a.m., including Steven DeSalvo of Ogunquit, an Army veteran of Desert Storm.
He said he was taking part to “pay respect” to those who have been killed and to further “show respect for their families.”
Due to the length of the run, the group of runners was escorted by two trolleys in which participants could hitch a ride until ready to run again. The escort also included an ambulance and police cruisers in front and back.
“This is not a race,” the runners were told prior to the start of the run. “The whole point is to stay fresh” and “stay together” for the trek up Route 1 to Portland.
DeSalvo said he felt the run was an “awesome” idea and he was “going to try to make it the whole way” if at all possible.
The short opening ceremonies included the reading of the names of each of the fallen, followed by the single ring of a bell. There was also a 21-gun salute and the singing of the national anthem.
Bush, who ordered the American military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, was an unannounced guest at the Cape Elizabeth event. He and wife Laura arrived shortly after the lobster bake began and were warmly welcomed by all. The Bushes greeted and hugged hundreds of grieving family members plus many U.S. military veterans.
“I don’t miss the presidency,” Bush remarked. “But I do miss being commander-in-chief of these great troops.”
Photo caption: In Ogunquit’s Veterans Park, memorials to each of Maine’s fallen soldiers were placed for the opening ceremony. (Larry Favinger photo)

York Hospital’s “Family” Donation More Than Matches $1 Million Gift

With 100% participation from the Board of Trustees and Hospital Leadership, as well as significant contributions from the medical staff, employees and volunteers, Jud Knox, President, announced that the York Hospital “family” has donated just over $1.2 million to the Hospital’s For Every Patient Campaign to raise $7 million for various hospital projects and services.
Mr. Knox commended “the Hospital family’s enormous generosity.” He added, “This is a testament to how caring the folks are at York Hospital. They are dedicated to taking care of our patients and our patients’ families and they understand how vital this campaign is to York Hospital and the community.”
In fact, the York Hospital’s “family” donation was inspired by a generous $1 million gift made by the Peterson Family of York Harbor. “We are thrilled that our family gift has helped motivate others to also give to this important campaign,” said Carolyn Peterson, ambassador of the “For Every Patient” campaign.
Additional donations, including a $250,000 grant from the Baldwin Foundation and a $100,000 grant from Kennebunk Savings Bank, along with gifts from many individuals and area businesses, have brought the campaign total to $4 million raised thus far.
“To date, donations have helped immensely,” said Lorraine Boston, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “The hospital has been able to convert many of the patient rooms on the Strater Wing from semi-private to private rooms, has completed a new, dedicated helipad for emergent transport needs, and has opened Phase I of the Surgery Center Expansion, but there is more to do.”
Fundraising will continue as the capital project moves forward to Phase II: which includes the opening of two new Operating Room Suites and the completion of the Surgery Center Addition; the addition of Breast MRI services to the diagnostic capabilities available in York Hospital’s Breast Care Center, and the renovation of the Hospital’s Biewend Wing to convert inpatient semi-private rooms to private rooms.
Dr. Thomas Albright, chairman of the medical staff campaign, said, “The generous donations of the medical staff validates the importance of providing patients and the community with modern, private hospital rooms and up-to-date surgical care facilities.” He added, “These improvements will position the Hospital well to respond to the changes that are coming in the delivery of medical care.”
Crystal Butler, chairman of the employee campaign, said she has been impressed by the across-the-board support from housekeepers to nurses to the administrative staff. “It’s not even about the amount; it’s about working as a family. People just feel like they’ve been touched by the Hospital in some way and this is a way to give back,” she said. Many donations also have been made in memory of others. For instance, more than $15,000 has been donated in memory of long-time Hospital employee Bob Masi, who died of cancer in 2004. Those who donate will be honored on a donor wall or with a naming opportunity.
Roberta Sullivan, chair of the volunteer campaign, also commended those who not only volunteer their time but have made contributions to the campaign, noting, “Our volunteers are wonderful people. We are so fortunate to have them at York Hospital because they truly make a difference.”
To learn more about how you can make a difference by supporting the For Every Patient Campaign, contact Susan McDonough, Lead of Development, at 207-351-3522 or at

Friday, August 20, 2010

Run for the Fallen Set for Sunday in Ogunquit

On Sunday Aug. 22nd, the 3rd annual “Run for the Fallen Maine” will take place. The starting ceremony will be at Veterans Park in Ogunquit Center at 7:45 a.m. The Ceremony will consist of a reading of the names of all 65 men and women that have lost their lives in this country’s war on terror since 9-11-2001. The ceremony will also have a reading of a poem written by one of the family members, the singing of our National Anthem, the 125th Marine Corps Honor Guard and other fitting tributes to our Fallen Heroes. All 65 were either born and brought up in our State or had strong family ties to our State. The run will start at 8 a.m. The run consists of a 65 km run along a route predominantly on Route 1 from Ogunquit Center to Monument Square in Portland. Each kilometer will be marked with a picture and a short bio of each of our Fallen Heroes. We expect to arrive in Monument Square with all the runners at about 2:30 p.m. Runners only run as many miles as they want to. We have 2 trolleys from Ogunquit Trolley Co. that travel with us and act as a moving locker room/aid stations. All 65 kilometers (aprox. 40 miles) will be covered by the runners. Some have registered to run all 65 km’s and some as few as the single 1 for their fallen hero. We are still working on a squadron of F-15 jets to perform a flyover at some point during the event.
This event is non-political and non-commercial. This is an all volunteer event with all funding and contributions coming from within our Maine Community by both businesses and individuals. Our goal is to raise awareness and help our neighbors remember the sacrifices of these brave individuals and their families. We recognize that these families are still suffering and want to show them that we as their Maine community care deeply about their sacrifices and honor the memories of our Fallen Heroes. We have created a personalized book, to be handed out, with photos and memories submitted by family members to help us all know them better as sons, daughters, fathers, brothers and friends and not just soldiers
The event will culminate with a celebration of the lives of these 64 men and 1 woman at a Lobster Bake at Ft. Williams. Over 250 family and friends of our heroes are registered to participate. We believe that this is one of the only events left in the country that honors our Fallen heroes of the war on terrorism both individually and collectively. All are invited to participate in some way, run, volunteer, stand at the markers as we run by or simply come to Monument Square for the finish. For more information about registration and logistics please visit
Photo caption: The 3rd Annual Run for the Fallen Maine is Sunday, Aug. 22, beginning in Ogunquit ( image)

High Waters

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor

Many people might assume the book “Role Models” would be film maker John Waters’ attempt to enter high culture. But, those who are familiar with Waters’ celluloid schlock and guffaw antics know better. Ironically, Waters’ trademark cinema of “bad taste” has been elevated to high culture in many circles.
Waters begins his iconography with meeting the inimitable Johnny Mathis. There are many parallels that Waters draws between himself and Mathis, and many stark differences. While Mathis is only rumored to be a homosexual, Waters has been out for decades. They seem to have an appreciation for art, music, and literature. However, Waters admits he’d be embarrassed to have Mathis look at the books on his bookshelf, or the subject matter of the paintings and photographs he hangs on his walls, and feels his liking of Provincetown might be seen as distasteful to the more discrete Mathis, but then again, maybe not. The contrasts of these two men bring a sense of irony to their meeting for this book.
Tennessee Williams is another off-center icon that Waters has followed. In contrast to Mathis, Waters knows that Williams would be more at home with his sensibilities for the profane and the obscure, but perhaps Waters’ most shocking connection is with former Manson family member Leslie Van Houten.
Waters once had a morbid fanfare for the court trials of the Manson family, and had attended some of the trials. He eventually wrote a letter to Van Houten, and as time came along they became friends. Waters’ moves into the murky territories of innocence and guilt, childhood naiveté and morality with criminal justice. Neither Waters, nor the latter day Van Houten are forgiving or condoning of the murders, nor is there much slack given for her participation. But, Waters pointedly mentions Nazi war criminals had served less time than she, and the brainwashing and fearful environment didn’t seem too different from the Manson commune. To say the least he gets readers thinking in directions we are reluctant to go.
This book seems to have all of the ingredients that Waters tends to combine. Stereotypical people who beautifully fit their stereotypes, filth, wealth, poverty, and people who break every stereotype for their demographic. An example of an anti-stereotype, Waters tells the story of a lesbian burlesque dancer who collected welfare, used drugs and was a registered Republican. Waters loves contradiction just as much as he does simplicity, and it all fits together so well in his work.
As we learn the origin of his pencil mustache, his ill-fitted clothing, his LSD consumption, and his love of oddities and campy kitsch, Baltimore and Hollywood are both three ring circuses and John Waters is the ringmaster, and makes no apologies. As far as his movies go, “Pink Flamingos” is only suitable for the most daring movie goers with its many perverse juxtapositions of humanity while “Serial Mom,” “Hairspray,” “Cecil B. Demented,” and “Pecker” are gems that any filmgoer with an eye for the offbeat would happily devour.
With “Role Models,” John Waters acts as equal parts sociologist, tabloid writer, and peeping Tom without a strain or awkward leap. Like his many films, “Role Models” is a guilty pleasure worthy of a million cringes. Highly Recommended!
Photo caption: The cover of John Waters’ “Role Models” ( image)

Maine to Receive $1 Million to Crack Down on Health Insurance Premium Hikes

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Aug. 16 announced the award of $1 million to Maine to help crack down on health insurance premium increases. Maine will use this Affordable Care Act funding to help improve the oversight of proposed health insurance premium increases, take action against insurers seeking unreasonable rate hikes, and ensure Mainers receive value for their premium dollars.
“The Affordable Care Act puts in place critical market reforms to improve quality and reduce the cost of health care for employers and individuals. Increased competition, lower insurance overhead, and better risk pooling in health insurance Exchanges in 2014 are expected to reduce premiums in the individual market by anywhere from 14-20 percent according to the Congressional Budget Office,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Between now and then, we will continue to work with States to ensure consumers are receiving value for their premium dollars and to avoid the kind of double digit premium increases seen recently. The State proposals approved today demonstrate the need and desire for new resources and tools to help them protect against unjustifiable premium increases.”
The Affordable Care Act provides States with $250 million in Health Insurance Premium Review Grants over five years to help create a more level playing field by improving how states review proposed health insurance premium increases and holding insurance companies accountable for unjustified premium increases. Applications for the first round of Health Insurance Premium Review Grants were made available on June 7.
The grants build on the Obama Administration’s work with States to implement the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this year, Secretary Sebelius called on certain insurance companies to justify large premium increases and encouraged State and local officials to obtain stronger health insurance premium review authorities under State laws. This increased scrutiny by the Administration and by several States has led to the withdrawal or reduction of several proposed health insurance premium increases that in some cases turned out to be based on faulty assumptions and data.
This grant will be used for the purposes detailed in the approved application. The following is a general summary of how Maine intends to use its funding:
Expand the Scope of the Review Process: Currently, Maine has prior approval review authority for all individual and small group market products. Carriers may elect to meet a three-year average medical loss ratio guarantee (meaning they will spend a certain percentage of premium dollars on medical care rather than overhead or profits) and avoid prior approval in the small group. Maine will expand its current practice of health insurance premium review by collecting and analyzing small group market data from carriers electing the loss ratio to inform the Department if additional statutory authority is needed.
Improve the Review Process: At present, Maine’s informational filings lack sufficient detail to determine full compliance with the law. The State plans to collect additional information on small group rates. Additionally, Maine will collect historical and projected cost and utilization trend data to establish benchmarks.
Increase Transparency and Accessibility: Maine posts extensive rate filing information on its website, and encourages consumer participation in the rate filing process by hosting field hearings in addition to formal hearings. Maine will encourage increased participation of consumer advocacy groups in rate hearings and will compile submitted rate filing information into a consumer-friendly format for posting on its website.
Develop and Upgrade Technology: Maine will upgrade its systems to improve efficiency and aid in the health insurance premium review process. The State will also establish a data center to compile and publish fee schedule information.

Friday, August 13, 2010

For Former York Teen, It’s All About Apps

By Betsy Caron
Staff Columnist
Harrison White has a Mac. He’s had all the latest Apple gadgets over the years and uses iTunes every day. But 14-year-old White isn’t carelessly spending hundreds of dollars on Apps — he’s creating them.
“Back when I was about 2 years old, I enjoyed taking things apart and explaining to my parents how it worked,” said White, who added his favorite subject in school is math. He even used to ask his mom for multiplication tables on his napkins for lunch.
Now, the former York, Maine, resident lives in Burlington, Iowa, and has four published iPad and iPod applications for sale online in the iTunes Store, each of which he programmed himself: iPiano Player, BigText, Scrambler and Conversation. Each App sells for $.99.
“The very first step is to think of a good idea that people would like,” White said. “Something that people would be interested in downloading to their device.”
White has been creating and programming Apps for about a year. His first App, iPiano Player, was rejected by Apple the first time it was submitted, but White refused to let one failed attempt stop him and his creativity.
“I wasn’t completely devastated,” he said. “It got rejected a couple times. The first two were for name issues. Afterward it was just a user interface problem. They have these guidelines for what your applications should and should not look like when presenting the interface. I just made a small correction on that.”
IPiano Player serves as a virtual piano for the iPad and was officially released on April 20, 2010.
“It’s like a life-size piano so the user can feel like they’re actually playing the piano,” White said. He has perfected the App with a recording feature, visualizer for playback, metronomes and pedal features. “With a lot of other piano Apps, the whole interface takes up a lot of the space and I wanted to make this as realistic as possible.”
Although modest about his musical talent, White has taken piano lessons since he was in Kindergarten and said his piano teacher was excited about the virtual piano. Other friends and family are also impressed with his achievements.
“A lot of people have always known that I’m pretty good with technology and a lot of people were excited that I made this accomplishment,” White said.
While he’s already successfully completed programming for Apple, White said he doesn’t have a set career path in mind yet, and may even consider following his dad’s footsteps in the medical field.
“I’m not quite sure what I want to do when I grow up,” he said. “I definitely have an interest in [computers], but I’ve only been doing this for about a year so it’s a little iffy.”
A few weeks ago, White received his first payment from Apple: a $280 check. But he said the money isn’t the reason he invents his Apps.
“You can actually use what you know to make something useful,” he said.
In the end, whether White ends up as the next Steve Jobs or as a piano teacher, he certainly will have come a long way from the kid in school with math problems on his napkin.
Photo caption: Harrison White, formerly of York, has published four apps for sale by Apple. (Courtesy photo)

Wedding Cake House to Open Again for Tours

Kennebunk’s Most Famous House will be open for Public Tours Aug. 15 through Sept. 15, 2010.
Jimmy Barker, owner of the Wedding Cake House on Summer Street in Kennebunk, has announced that his home will be open for Public Tours beginning Aug. 15, 2010. This is only the second time in the history of the house that it has been opened for Public tours.
The house, which is world renowned for its gothic trim that adds a frosting look to the Federal Style home, has been photographed and painted countless times by amateurs and professionals alike. From postcards beginning in the early 20th Century to contemporary coffee table books and wall paintings, this ship builder’s home is easily recognized by locals and tourists.
It was built by George Washington Bourne; he and his wife Jane moved into the home in late 1825 or early 1826. He had been raised in the home next door and both homes were in the midst of the Landing Road shipbuilding. His father had been one of the foremost shipbuilders of the times and George later joined his father in the family business renamed John Bourne & Son. Later when his father retired the business was changed to Bourne & Kingsbury to reflect the addition of his brother-in-law into the family business. The two partners grew the business and were well-known for their business astuteness. George was also active in the Unitarian Church, commonly now known as First Church in the upper village of Kennebunk.
In the early 1850’s the ship building industry decreased in the Kennebunk area and George retired from the business in 1852. Shortly after that the house’s barn burned and George took to rebuilding and as he did he decided to add Gothic buttresses, pinnacles and other elements inspired by the Cathedral at Milan, Italy. He liked the look and continued with an assistant to add this decoration to the house itself.
In 1855, George, his wife, their daughter Lucy, and a niece Lizzie Bourne took a family vacation to Mount Washington, where his niece died and George’s health deteriorated as a result of his efforts to save her. He died the following year but his wife continued living in the home for another 40 years. Her daughter Lucy predeceased her and the house was inherited by the grandson, George Bourne Lord. Following his death, his wife continued to own the house until it was sold to Mary and Anne Burnett in 1983. The Burnett’s were not related to the Bourne family but they loved historical homes and made a major renovation of the house.
In 1998, Jimmy Barker and Kenneth Douglas bought the home and filled it with antiques and treasures of interest from their own lives. In 2005 the owners opened their home for Public Tours as a benefit for the Katrina Relief Fund. The current tours will help to benefit area food banks.
The tours will run Aug. 15 through Sept. 15 daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission will be $10 per person. The home is not handicap accessible and parking is free on the grounds of the property. Ticket sales will be in the barn on the day of the purchase. FMI call 207-251-6968.
Photo caption: The Wedding Cake House in Kennebunk will open for tours from Aug. 15 to Sept. 15. Proceeds will benefit local food pantries. (Courtesy photo)

Property Tax Relief Program Available

State Reps. Kathleen Chase (R-Wells), Windol Weaver (R-York) and Sally Lewin (R-Eliot) want to alert area residents that the application period for Maine’s Property Tax and Rent Refund Program opened Aug. 1 for taxes and rent paid during 2009. Under this program, commonly known as the “circuit breaker,” Mainers who qualify are eligible for refunds of up to $1,600. It is the state government’s primary program to provide property tax relief.
Under the guidelines, you may qualify for a refund if you do not have a spouse or dependents and your 2009 income was $64,950 or less. If you have a spouse or dependents, you could have made up to $86,600 in 2009 and still qualify. Also, to receive a refund, your 2009 property tax must have exceeded four percent of your income. It is important to remember that this is tax relief to which you are entitled, not welfare.
Renters qualify if the rent they paid in 2009 exceeded twenty percent of their income. Seniors do not need to meet this property tax or rent requirement if their household income was below $14,700 for those living alone or below $18,200 for those living with a spouse or dependent.
The application is available online through the Maine Revenue Services (MRS) website at In addition to a copy of the paper application, which you may print out and mail to MRS, you will find a link to the online application site. Online applications are easier for you, as they automatically perform all necessary calculations; and they cost less to process.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hussey Seating Celebrates 175 Years in Business

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The Hussey Seating Company celebrated its 175 years as a family-owned business last week at its headquarters here.
A series of events were held to mark the milestone, including tours of the facility, remarks by Hussey family members including CEO Tim Hussey and a keynote address by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on the green at the corporate headquarters, and, off site, a lobster dinner and fireworks.
Hussey, the maker of seating for many facilities including high schools and professional sports organizations, is reported to be the 49th oldest family owned business in the country and the oldest in Maine, Hussey said.
It was founded by William Hussey, a Quaker, in 1835 and has evolved over the years from the maker of unique plows to help farmers deal with Maine’s rocky soil, through the makers and installer of fire escapes to one of the world’s leaders in arena seating.
Among the places they have provided seating for is Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, home of the New England Patriots, Hadlock Field in Portland, home of the Portland Sea Dogs, a AA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and Ford Field in Detroit, Mich., the new home of the Detroit Lions of the NFL.
Senator Collins, a fitting speaker for such a celebration, noted that for years she thought her family’s business, S.W. Collins in Caribou, was the oldest in the state but Hussey Co. was nine years old when the Collins business was established.
She put the span the business has been in existence in perspective: “Many heroes of the American Revolution still lived and many heroes of the Civil War had yet to be born.”
At that time, she continued, much of the state of Maine was unexplored and the invention of the lobster trap was still 16 years away.
Nearly 50 Hussey family members were in attendance along with more than 200 currently and retired employees and their families, some suppliers and friends.
“This is indeed a rare event,” Tim Hussey said. “The odds of making it this long are small.”
Hussey said family businesses are not uncommon. He said approximately 80 percent of businesses are family owned. But the longevity of Hussey is uncommon indeed.
“Less than 30 percent of family businesses make it to the second generation,” he said, and only between 3 to 5 percent make it to the third generation. Hussey is in its sixth generation.
“Basically we better not screw it up,” he said. “We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors. We have a great sense of family in this business.”
He thanked the company employees, past and present, for their help in helping sustain the business through good years and bad. “You’re also family,” he said.
The company has been a leader. Hussey said it was the first in Maine to offer profit sharing to its employees and was the first smokeless business in the state as well.
In conclusion, Sen. Collins said Hussey Seating “is an industry leader around the world. Hussey stands tall when people need a place to sit.”
Photo caption: 6th and 7th generation Hussey family members followed by guests lead a procession at Hussey Seating’s 175th Anniversary celebration on Friday, July 31st. (Courtesy photo)

Circus Smirkus Hosts Former President George H.W. and Barbara Bush

Circus-goers may expect calliope music, but at a Circus Smirkus performance here on Aug. 2 “Hail to the Chief” filled the Big Top as President George H.W. Bush and his wife entered the tent.
The invitation to the Bush family was extended last month by Circus Smirkus, the 23-year-old, award-winning, international youth circus based in Greensboro, VT. Kids ages 11 to 18 are stars, on high wire and trapeze, as jugglers, clowns and acrobats.
“It was amazing,” said a smiling, 15-year-old Noah Nielsen of Montpelier, VT, who was part of a diabolo juggling act. “It made us realize that what we do is really important, to have a president and his wife in the audience.”
“It was incredible -- just a joy and an honor to have them here,” said 18-year-old juggler Aaron Dewitt of Buckfield, ME. Aerialist Daniel Sullivan’s family, from Denver, CO, was seeing the show for the first time. “To have my family, and President Bush in the audience at the same time... it was incredible, an adrenaline rush,” said the 17-year-old performer.
Each summer, Circus Smirkus travels the Northeast with its Big Top Tour. This summer, the troupe is performing 70 shows in 16 cities and towns in a seven-week period. It is the only traveling youth circus in the nation to tour “under canvas” (that is, with its own big top tent).
This marks the fifth year that the circus has performed in Kennebunkport, sponsored by the Kennebunkport Consolidated School Parent-Teacher Association. According to Jeni Kingston, a volunteer active with the PTA, the group has raised $75,000 by presenting Circus Smirkus, and has used the funds for many projects at the elementary school including extensive renovations to the gymnasium/auditorium, field trips, artist-in-residency programs, visiting authors and more.
Mr. and Mrs. Bush appeared to thoroughly enjoy the show, posing with performers and crew for photos at intermission. When the two-man Smirkus band -- composer Tristan Moore and percussionist Ryan Gray – hammered out “Hail to the Chief” from their perch high above the ring as Mr. Bush entered, the former president smiled with apparent delight and the audience rose to its feet, applauding. Mr. and Mrs. Bush beamed and clapped as the young Smirkus troupers performed as jugglers, clowns and acrobats. “We’ll be back,” said President Bush as he left the tent.
Circus Smirkus Executive Director Ed LeClair said he was thrilled. “Smirkus has been honored to host a number of well-known visitors over the years,” he said, citing guests like chef Julia Child, actor Michael J. Fox and renowned mime Marcel Marceau. “But a presidential visit is an honor like no other.”
Photo caption: George H.W. and Barbara Bush with the Circus Smirkus crew (Courtesy photo)

Beach Bike Ride for Charity Donates $8,000 to the Be Like Brit Fund

Over sixty cyclists partnered with local sponsors, donors and volunteers to raise over $8,000 for the “Be like Brit Fund” in honor of Britney Gengel, a summer resident of Wells and a victim of the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake tragedy in Haiti.
The check for $8000 was presented to Cherylann and Len Gengel, Britney’s parents, on behalf of the Be Like Brit Fund. “The generous contributions of many will greatly help our efforts to honor our daughter’s wish to help the poorest of the poor in Haiti “ stated Len Gengel.
Riders and volunteers began their ride at 7 a.m. on Saturday, June 19, to complete their 10 mile journey along the Wells and Moody seacoast.
Vacationers and local folks alike joined together to cheer riders along and support this worthwhile cause. Wells police and town parking employees provided the necessary support to make the ride a success.
In recognition of the costs related to building an orphanage in Haiti, it was announced that next year’s Beach Bike ride would continue to be in support of the Be Like Brit Fund, said Mike Fairweather, volunteer for the Beach Bike ride. “It was our hope to bring the Wells community together for a great cause. The result was beyond our expectations, thank you to all who participated,“ he said.
Riders may register for next year’s 2011 Beach Bike ride by contacting There you can also see videos and pictures of this year’s ride.
The Be Like Brit Fund is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization and may be reached at The Beach Bike Ride is managed by volunteer residents of Wells, Maine. For more information contact Donations may be made on line or by check and sent to “Beach Bike Ride for Charity,” PO Box 68, Wells, ME 04090.
Photo caption: (L to R) Sally Fairweather, Mike Fairweather (volunteers), Len Gengel, Cherylann Gengel, ( parents of Britney Gengel, Haiti earthquake victim) (Courtesy photo)