Friday, December 31, 2010

Local Elves Make Annual Donation Trip

“Elves” from Wells and Ogunquit recently made their annual trip to the Waban Child Development Center in Sanford. Armed with plush toys and the man in the red suit, the group visited with the classes where the children had an opportunity to chat with Santa and relay their wishes.
This annual tradition started in 1991. Participants have included members of the Wells and Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce staff and Board of Directors, Rotarians from the Wells and Ogunquit clubs and residents who wish to get involved.
The group travels to Waban in a trolley from the York County Community Action, donated by the Board of Directors of the Wells Chamber of Commerce. The toys are provided by Animal Instinct in Ogunquit with the help of the Ogunquit Rotary Club and Santa.
Photo caption: Elves from Wells and Ogunquit recently made their annual trip to the Waban Child Development Center in Sanford. (Courtesy photo)

Opening Scenes

By Chip Schrader
Movie Review Editor
The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, opens with surveillance equipment set within a van that oversees a Paris estate. Elise Ward, played by Jolie, struts through the gate of the estate, and the van slowly follows her seductive stride to a cafe in a populated square where she awaits breakfast and a note. Upon reading the note, she burns it, causing the agents to scramble after it.
From scene one, Jolie’s character is identical to numerous other roles she has played in the past. She mostly goes through the motions of the stock role of femme fatale in this updated noir. The character is somewhat convincing, but very Hollywood at the same time. Jolie’s makeup does a majority of the acting for her as she keeps the run of the mill stone faced performance. While Jolie fans will get what they expect, she does not contribute anything new to the screen.
Depp’s role, on the other hand, has some nuance. “Frank” is quite the gentleman, who hands people luggage off of a train for them, smokes electronic cigarettes, and teaches math for a small college in the Midwest. Depp plays a very serious role in this film, but in line with his signature style, he adds some fanciful humor to his body language and persona in suspenseful scenes.
One example comes during a chase where Frank is pursued among the terracotta roofs of Venice. Depp daintily flails his arms out like a juvenile ballerina wearing striped pajamas as he leaps and bounds across the Italian rooftops. His character also tries to speak Spanish with Italian officials after getting nabbed for dumping an officer in the canal. Long time Johnny Depp fans get another treat to his self-mocking style in this film.
The cinematography is exquisite, traversing from one European city street to another. The action takes place on foot, by car, plane, and by boat in the canals of Venice and are shot masterfully with the evening lights reflecting off of the water, and in the midday amongst the many exotic street sides and bridges. The gadgets and technology are a fun piece of the film, and the supporting cast does a crack job holding down a great deal of screen time playing as government agents and organized crime members.
Fans of classic Hitchcock’s mistaken man and espionage thrillers will enjoy this cliffhanger. The suspense is drawn out in believable ways that don’t appear as obvious devices to delay the story. Another notable element is the quotable dialog that establishes a playful chemistry between Depp and Jolie as they challenge each other’s intelligence. Some films also make the mistake of using dialog to make obvious cues as to what is happening, and what the conflict is. The Tourist is clearly written while viewers don’t depend on obnoxious story points made in the dialog.
The scenes are long, giving the film a deep attention span affording the audience to get acquainted with the intrigue that keeps them guessing until the last scene. Duplicity, twists, and action without gore make The Tourist a tasteful international thriller that is reminiscent of a weekend getaway in an Italian villa. There is a good reason this film brings Oscar buzz in Depp’s direction despite Jolie’s standard performance. 4 out of 5.
Photo caption: (Courtesy movie poster image for “The Tourist”)

Severe Winter Storm Impacts Blood Collections

The severe winter storm causing hazardous snow conditions in the Northeast is impacting American Red Cross blood collection efforts across New England. Approximately 780 units of blood are likely to be uncollected due to blood drive closures and low turnout at drives that were able to run. The current weather and cancellations comes at a challenging time to collect blood, as donations typically decline during the winter holiday season.
All blood types are needed. Type O-negative blood donors are especially needed as the inventory has dropped to critical levels. O-Negative blood is the universal blood type. It can be transfused to anyone and is often used in emergency situations when there is no time to obtain the patient’s blood type. Since Type O-negative blood can be used for all patients in need, it is critical that there is a sufficient supply.
The American Red Cross needs the help of all who are eligible to donate blood to please make an appointment to donate now to help ensure blood is available for patients. Also, the Red Cross urges all those who were unable to keep their appointments due to weather conditions to please reschedule. The only source of blood is a generous, volunteer blood donor.
In the U.S., someone needs blood every two seconds. Every day, the Northeast Division must collect approximately 3,000 units of blood just to meet the basic needs of patients.
Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.
All presenting donors in Maine will receive a buy one get one ski pass to either Shawnee Peak or Mt. Abram. Prizes are non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. To schedule an appointment or to sponsor a blood drive, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit today.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Power Line Construction in Maine Set to Add up to 1,000 New Jobs

Central Maine Power Company has selected three contractors to lead the transmission line construction of the company’s $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Program (MPRP). The contracts, worth a total $524 million, were awarded to MYR Group, Inc., Irby Construction Co., and Hawkeye, LLC.
These contractors will share responsibility for the construction of nearly 440 miles of high voltage transmission lines as part of a project team of more than 150 consulting firms, contractors, and suppliers, including nearly 120 Maine-based companies. CMP plans to host a job fair for individuals, contractors, and suppliers in mid-January.
“We’re building a stronger, smarter grid for Maine,” said Sara Burns, president of Central Maine Power Company. “Nearly 1,000 people have worked on this project to date, and we expect as many as 1,000 jobs will be added in this next phase of construction. The Maine Power Reliability Program is creating jobs when Maine really needs them, and it ensures Maine will have an efficient, reliable grid with benefits for consumers and the environment long into the future.”
The Maine Power Reliability Program is the largest construction project ever undertaken in Maine. A 2009 study of the economic impacts of the project by the Maine Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine estimated that direct employment on the project could spur as many as 800 more jobs in indirect employment. Signs of these indirect benefits have already spread quickly to communities along the transmission route as local businesses began catering to the workers preparing transmission corridors for construction.
CMP’s Maine Power Reliability Program includes the construction of five new 345-kilovolt substations and related facilities linked by approximately 440 miles of new transmission lines. The company broke ground on the project in September after a two-year review by local, state, and federal agencies. The lines run through 75 cities and towns from Eliot to Orrington, providing reinforcement for the company’s 40-year-old system and creating greater capacity for the integration of new generation in the New England region. The company expects to complete the project by mid-2015.
“While the MPRP is first and foremost a reliability investment, it’s also part of a broader strategy to add transmission capacity, improve efficiency, and integrate new technologies in our system,” said Burns. “With the support of our parent company Iberdrola, we’re making investments in Maine’s infrastructure that will produce enormous benefits for consumers and the environment.”
CMP expects the new contractors to start work soon, beginning with an effort to find local subcontractors and employees to fill out their workforce. CMP has scheduled a daylong MPRP Business and Employment Expo to be held at the Augusta Civic Center on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.

Students Take Downeaster to Bring Toys to Children

Excitement was in the cold air in Wells on the morning of December 14 as the second grade class and multi-age 1-2 students from Wells Elementary School boarded the Amtrak Downeaster at the Wells Transportation Center. They were embarking on a rail journey to Portland to deliver new toys to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
The students, their teachers and 35 chaperones (mostly parents) were invited to take this free round trip excursion courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and Amtrak. Each student was carrying one toy to donate to a child in need this holiday season.
“I am not sure all of our students have been on the Amtrak,” said Principal Marianne Horne about children under her watchful eye minutes before they boarded the train. Horne indicated the trip was not just a train ride but also an opportunity for students to demonstrate one of the school’s core values, compassion. “So today is our day, December 14th,” added Horne.
The trip to Portland took about 40 minutes with a couple of stops along the way. At the Portland Transportation Center in Portland, students handed their gifts to representatives of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Once the toys were transferred, students had about an hour’s wait before their return trip to Wells. They boarded their waiting train, ate lunch and listened to stories, such as the “Polar Express.”
Photo caption: An Amtrak conductor looks on as elementary students, teachers and parents board a train to Portland from Wells to deliver toys to Toys for Tots on December 14. (Photo by Reg Bennett)

York Art Association Awards Scholarship to Local College Student

The York Art Association’s scholarship committee is pleased to announce that York resident, Isabella Rotman, was selected to receive the 2010 Letitia Moore Charitable Trust Scholarship in the amount of $7,500. Rotman is a sophomore Bachelor of Fine Arts student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Letitia Moore passed away in 2007 and named York Art Association as her primary beneficiary. The Letitia Moore Charitable Trust Scholarship was established by the York Art Association in 2009. The scholarship honors Moore’s wish to provide tuition scholarships to deserving art, and/or art history students. Moore was an artist herself, a member of YAA, and a generous benefactor. Recipients of the Letitia Moore Charitable Trust Scholarship must have completed one year at an accredited college or university, be enrolled in a studio art or art history program, and have a GPA of at least 3.0.
Rotman is a graduate of York High School, and was the recipient of York Art Association’s scholarship for high school graduates in 2009. Despite her young age, Rotman has already received many accolades, including: being a recipient of a School of the Art Institute of Chicago Merit Award, The Maine Arts Education Award upon graduation from high school, Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (both national and state-level awards), a Seacoast Art Association Scholarship, an Ogunquit Playhouse Scholarship, and even a Haystack Student Weekend Scholarship. Rotman works in many mediums, but is especially passionate about drawing. Rotman hopes to someday work in the exhibits department of a science and natural history museum. She recently interned at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago where she was able to gain experience in creating models, working on dioramas, and an overall understanding of the realities of her chosen career path.
Rotman exemplifies an excellent work ethic and is already giving back to her community. In order to offset her college expenses, Rotman worked three jobs this past summer. One of these jobs involved teaching art classes through the York Parks and Recreation Department to children ages three through ten.
The York Art Association feels confident that it has successfully chosen a candidate that Letitia Moore would have been proud to have helped reach their educational goals. Rotman is extremely thankful to all the members of the York Art Association scholarship committee for selecting her as this year’s Letitia Moore Charitable Trust Scholarship recipient. She says that, “It is going to do more for me than any of them could possibly know.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Festival of “Fostering” Trees a Success

The 5th Annual Festival of “Fostering” Trees was a tree-mendous success once again this year, raising over $5,000 for youth in foster care, over $500 for the York Food Pantry, and an overflowing box of toys for Toys for Tots. The American Legion Hall was transformed into a magical enchanted forest of 140 Christmas trees, including every shape, color, size and theme that could be imagined, and bringing smiles and joy to all who attended. Organizer Janalee Moquin states, “I would like to personally thank everyone who participated this year, all the families, children, businesses, school groups, church groups, scout troops, and more; we couldn’t have done it without you!”
Photo caption: This year’s Festival of “Fostering” Trees was a big success, raising more then $5,000 for local charities. (Courtesy photo)

Christmas by the Sea Parade Celebrates the Season

On Saturday, December 11, a variety of local businesses and organizations came together to celebrate Christmas by the Sea by participating in the Christmas parade associated with the annual festivities. Awards were given to the best-decorated floats. First place went to Five-O Shore Road, Second Place to The Ogunquit Playhouse, Third Place to Coastal Contractors and 5 Honorable Mentions to: Bread and Roses Bakery, Eldredge Lumber, The Gazebo Inn, Maine Street and the Snow Queen, and the Meadowmere Resort. Special thanks to The Beachmere Inn, The Gazebo Inn, Genesis Day Spa, John Mixon and Spoiled Rotten, who all sponsored the annual parade.
Photo caption: Five-O Shore Road’s float won first place in the Christmas by the Sea parade that took place on Saturday, Dec. 11 in Ogunquit. (Photo by Molly McCoy)

All the Lonely People

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
In “The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise,” Julia Stuart puts forth a fun and fantastical novel set in modern day England, but decorated with its checkered and humorous history.
Balthazar Jones is Beefeater. In England, this is a distinguished post held by retirees of the Queen’s guard. Part of Balthazar’s duty is to guard and live in the old tower that held many prisoners, and consequently many beheadings and other grizzly executions handed down by the monarchy. While he stands guard awaiting any question from the tourists, he developed the curious hobby of studying the rainfall of England. He has classified numerous types of rainfall, and collects them in perfume vials, much to his wife’s displeasure.
In the first one hundred pages, we get acquainted with Balthazar and his wife, Hebe, and even more interestingly, the history of this tower. Hebe works for the London Underground, and holds the many items lost on the tube train by the travelers. Everything including ashes of the deceased and a glass eye, which Hebe’s coworker indulges a game of marbles with, have been lost and reclaimed. But, Hebe and Balthazar lost one piece of their lives that cannot be retraced: their young child Milo, who took them twenty hard years to conceive.
While the quirky characters with quirky names all seem like a part of the Beatles’ song Eleanor Rigby, the book does not fall too deeply into pity or drama. Even though there is plenty of suffering, the prose has a typically stiff upper lip and offbeat humor the English are noted for. In the beginning, some of the jokes are easily missed, they are so subtle, but as the reader gets a rhythm for the prose, the chuckles roll forth. This reads like a classic Jane Austin novel, and is in the same league as Peter Mayle’s works that include “A Year in Provence” and “The Vintage Caper.”
As the marriage hits some rocky spots, other characters fall in love and perform exorcisms on the haunted portions of the tower, the story lines kick into high gear after a hundred pages. Every character is delightfully strange, the tower seems to collect sad and strange histories, and at the same time, the reader wonders if it is the tower that makes these lives so strange. As a menagerie of the Queen’s pets are moved in, and under Balthazar’s care, this quirky and humane “dramedy” deepens.
“The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise” is a clever means to scale back at life’s challenges. It allows the distractions and absurd details we all encounter to distract us from the difficulties that life often imposes, and permits the reader to laugh in the face of despair. The prose is playful, light and frothy, and with a bite just like a fine chocolate mousse. It takes a little time to get used to the English humor and style, but any history or Jane Austin fan will devour this with delight. This is Stuart’s follow up novel to “Matchmaker of Perigord.” (August 2010, Double Day Books)
Photo caption: Book cover for “The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise” by Julia Stuart. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wells Resident to be Remembered Dearly

Myles Kingsley Henry
Age 54
Myles Kingsley Henry, 54 years, a resident of Wells, Maine died unexpectedly on a golfing trip with his lifelong friends in Marco Island, Florida. He was born in Biddeford, Maine on August 22, 1956, and grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire. He graduated from Bishop Guertin High School and studied Hotel Administration at the University of New Hampshire. Myles began an illustrious restaurant career as a bus boy at Lord’s Restaurant in Wells, worked as a chef at several New England eateries and managed several Red Lobster Restaurants throughout the country.
He and his brother Dick became co-owners of the Maine Diner in 1983. The popular Wells restaurant was recently featured on the nationally televised Food Network program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and was recently recognized as the 2010 Maine Restaurateur of the year by the Maine Restaurant Association. Myles had a unique marketing talent that helped promote the Diner with appearances on the Today Show, The Phantom Gourmet and enjoyed participating in the New Orleans Food Festival. He created the Diner’s award winning Seafood Chowder, which has become one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant.
Myles was an avid surfer, golfer and New England sports fan. His love of the Rolling Stones connected him and his wife, Trish, with a network of fans called the Shidoobees. They traveled around the world following the Stones and their Shidoobee friends.
Myles was loved by so many people, including several employees who have worked at the Diner since he and Dick started the business. They have been supportive of many charities and Myles will be remembered for his generosity.
Myles is the son of the late Claude and Phoebe Henry. He is survived by his loving wife, Trisha Wilson Henry and his two children Sara Henry of Watertown, MA and Derek Henry of Kennebunk, ME, four brothers, Karl, of National Park, NJ, Dick, of Wells, ME, Bruce of Kennebunk, ME, Todd of Freeport, ME and two sisters, Claudia of Brunswick, ME and Tala of Queensbury, NY.
Visiting hours will be on Friday, December 10 from 6 – 9 p.m. at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 111 Chapel Road in Wells. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 11 from 12 – 3 p.m. at the Coastal House on Route 1 in Wells. Officiating the memorial service will be Rev. Peter W. Leon, Pastor of Wells Branch Baptist Church.
Should friends desire, memorial donations may be made to the Myles Henry Scholarship Fund c/o Wells High School – 200 Sanford Rd., Wells, ME. 04090. The scholarship will recognize a Wells High School student athlete senior “who exhibits honesty, sportsmanship and passion on and off the field of play.”
Arrangements are in care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043,
Photo caption: Myles Henry, well-known co-owner of the Maine Diner in Wells, died unexpectedly on Friday, Dec. 3, in Marco Island, FL. (Courtesy photo)

Nortonlights Returns to Wells, Makes Dreams Come True

By Molly McCoy
Staff Columnist
What began as a sibling rivalry in 2006 has escalated to remarkable proportions. This year, the aptly named “Nortonlights” is returning to Wells for another season, and the Norton family is thrilled to share the holiday magic right outside their door.
Each year, Stan and his family (wife, Melissa, and two sons) decorate their yard for the holidays. Now, we’ve all started seeing the satiric holiday commercials for one product or another, each playing on the classic neighborly competition for the most decorated house. Take those commercials and turn them up a notch…or ten.
As you head off to the Norton’s home in Wells, prepare yourself for the real deal. According to Stan, approximately 34,000 lights illuminate their yard, and passersby can take in a choreographed music and light show lasting just over ten minutes and featuring a variety of Christmas music favorites.
“Last year’s song was the fireworks song from Epcot. This year, we found one song early, actually another Disney one, ‘Illuminations.’ We kind of went with that,” says Stan.
The song they focused on was shorter than last year’s, allowing them to include “Everybody Loves Christmas” by Eddie Money, The Carpenters rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Wizards of Winter” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and another Disney classic, “When You Wish Upon A Star.”
“‘Wizards of Winter’ is one of my father-in-law’s favorite Christmas songs, so we included that as sort of a tribute to him. He’s helped out a lot with setting everything up,” says Stan. “The second Disney song is in honor of our partnership with the Make A Wish Foundation.”
Every year since its beginning, Nortonlights has worked to benefit a local cause. The first year they did an animated show, the Nortons collected cans for the St. Mary’s food bank right here in Wells. Last year, the Nortons expanded to a Halloween show and can drive, dubbed “Operation: Scare ‘n Share.”
“We didn’t want to do two can drives back-to-back,” says Stan. “We wanted to have a bigger impact in the community and do something different.”
They found a partner in the Make A Wish Foundation of Maine. Working at the Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire, Stan was familiar with the organization because of their presence at the base, often granting wishes to aspiring pilots and firefighters. “They’re a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful group of people that work down there. It just seemed like the perfect fit,” says Stan, glowing about the work that this organization is able to do. Last year, Nortonlights raised just over $6,000 for the Foundation, making them official “Wishmakers” for Make A Wish of Maine, and inspiring them to give again.
You can find an official cash donation box on the Norton’s property when you come to view the show, and Stan even makes “Stanta” rounds to visit cars, collecting donations on those colder nights. “You can stay in your car where it’s warm,” says Stan, laughing, “and you’re still able to give.”
While he might miss some cars on slower nights, Stan remains outside from 5 p.m. until the show ends on busy Friday and Saturday nights, welcoming people, collecting donations, and handing out candy canes.
“There was an hour-long wait [to see the show] at one point last year,” Stan recalls.
This year, the Nortons are estimating about 3,000 to 3,500 people will view their decorated home over the course of its December – January run. “That’s what we’re figuring for candy canes, anyway,” says Stan. The Nortons stop collecting Make A Wish donations on December 31, and find out soon after whose wish they are granting.
To view this spectacular show, simply visit the Norton’s home at 213 Canterbury Road in Wells, Maine, tune your car radio to 88.9FM, and wait for the next performance in the loop to begin. Sometimes Stan puts out speakers for his walking guests, but he comments, “They’re more for me, so I know where we’re at in the show.”
Anything else? As my interview ended, Stan wanted to make one thing very clear: “I just want to make sure that everyone is courteous to my neighbors. They are a wonderful group of people and they put up with a lot with the shows I do.” Stan asks that visitors drive carefully and keep one lane of the street open for traffic at all times, so his kind and patient neighbors can get in and out. “They pull their blinds, but it’s because they can’t see their TVs!” remarks Stan. “When the show starts, they can actually just turn on their radios and sit in their windows. They get a front row seat!”
For more information, directions, and to view a video of last year’s show, visit
Photo caption: Stan Norton and his family present “Nortonlights,” a choreographed holiday light show on the Norton’s front lawn in Wells. Last year’s light show raised just over $6,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation of Maine. (Courtesy photo)

Howe Brothers “Keeping Busy” in Waterboro

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
It seems there’s never a dull moment for Howe and Howe Technologies.
Mike and Geoff Howe are the designers and builders of Ripsaw MS-1, the world’s fastest dual track vehicle that goes from zero to 50 miles-per-hour in 5.5 seconds and can crash through buildings and over sand dunes. It is controlled remotely and designed to aid the military in scouting areas without endangering the lives of the combat troops involved. It is currently under testing by the military.
But the brothers aren’t the kinds who sit around and wait to see what happens to their inventions.
They are working on an aquatic version of the Ripsaw, named Riptide, that has been tested in Ogunquit. “We do a lot of our work in Maine,” Geoff Howe said in a telephone interview. “Maine is very important to us.”
“We’ll do everything we can do to make sure anything we develop stays in Maine,” Mike Howe said.
They’ve been contacted by firefighters and are working on a robot specifically for firefighting applications.
In addition, a New Zealand mining company has asked about developing a robot to aid in disasters.
“Here’s a Maine based company being called, the international spotlight being put on us,” Mike Howe said. “We’re going to be developing a robotic platform” basically for search and rescue in mining situations.
Oh, yes, then there is a vehicle they designed and built for an Augusta man who is confined to a wheelchair and wanted to go fishing with his son for the first time in 20 years.
In there somewhere the Howes have done one season of a reality show on the Discovery Network, Black Ops Brothers, that had, Geoff Howe said, the best premiere numbers in the Discovery Channel’s history.
The brothers will debut a second season of Black Ops Brothers Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 10 p.m.
Geoff Howe said the show is “like no other show in the history of television” because it is “real, about two brothers who are trying to make it in business. You’re going to see the real deal.”
The Howes have appeared on other channels as well as Discovery, including the military and history channels and were courted by others but settled on doing the show for Discovery.
Mike said doing the show “was a double edged sword” because “it could help us or hurt us but we decided to do it. We’re innovators and part of innovation is in getting your technology out there. That’s the end result.”
While accomplishing all that, the company has relocated from its 4,000 square foot facility in Eliot to a 55,000 square foot site in Waterboro that includes a retail store to give people access to all kinds of merchandise featuring their company logo.
Howe and Howe’s employment level varies with the contacts they are working on.
After the first season on Discovery, the Howes received what they termed “a lot of contacts from all around the world saying ‘can you guys build a wheelchair for me,’” Mike Howe said, including one from Augusta.
It was a Navy veteran confined to a wheelchair who said he hadn’t been able to go fishing with his son for 20 years. Rocky told the brothers the wheelchair he was in couldn’t even go on gravel roads.
Mike and Geoff Howe decided to build an off road wheelchair. What they designed and built was a platform onto which a normal wheelchair could be rolled and strapped in.
The brothers said the day Rocky arrived at their facility with his son and was able to go fishing in the Ripchair was one of the most profound days they’ve experienced.
Mike Howe noted that the chair gave Rocky back some of the freedom he has lost fighting for freedom for the rest of us.
“He can actually go out to the woods, go hiking, go hunting, go fishing, and nobody has to wheel him around,” Mike Howe said.
In the near future, thanks to the Discovery Channel, Rocky will own the prototype the Howes built.
“It brought Geoff and I outside of our box,” Mike said. “Outside the commercial, capitalistic box and said let’s do something for someone else.”
Photo caption: The Howe brothers, of Howe and Howe Technologies, designed this vehicle for a man in Augusta who is confined to a wheelchair. The so-called “Ripchair” allowed the user to go fishing with his son for the first time in 20 years. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, December 3, 2010

“Wreaths Across America” to Stop at Wells Junior High

Christopher Chessie, Principal of Wells Junior High School (WJHS), has announced that “Wreaths Across America” will make a stop at WJHS at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, December 6. This stop has become part of the journey that this organization takes on its annual 750-mile trip from Harrington, Maine, where the wreaths are made at the Worcester Wreath Company, to Arlington National Cemetery. The convoy will be carrying thousands of “remembrance” wreaths to be placed at gravesites of veterans in Arlington and at many other cemeteries in the country.
After the convoy arrives at WJHS, there will be a brief wreath laying ceremony to honor deceased veterans at Ocean View Cemetery. All local veterans and the general public are invited to attend. For more information, please call Principal Chessie at WJHS at 207-646-5142.
Photo caption: From left to right are Mrs. Laura Bohlmann; fifth grade students Kayla Looper and Charlotte Merrifield; Gerald “Gerry” Dillon, a veteran of the U.S. Army and Navy; and Robert Bohlmann, Director of the York County Emergency Management Agency and a veteran of the U.S. Army, at the Dec. 7, 2009 “Wreaths Across America.” This year’s exhibit will be on Dec. 6. (Photo by Reg Bennett)

Local Library Seeks New Ground

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The Rice Public Library is interested in moving its operation onto the Frisbee School property, and has taken the first step in that direction.
The library, established 1888, currently operates out of two buildings in downtown Kittery, neither of which is handicapped accessible.
The library Board of Directors has voted unanimously to make the move. The town has already proposed that the Kittery Community Center, a theater, and the library be located on the former school site.
Rachel Dennis, chairwoman of the library trustees, said the Frisbee Revitalization Committee has given the library until the end of December to make a final decision.
She said several things had to be done before that decision could be made. These included getting an estimate on the value of the current facilities, a process that is ongoing, and hiring a consultant to look at the options. The buildings are mortgage free.
These options include doing nothing, putting an addition onto the current Rice building, and moving to the Frisbee site.
Ms. Dennis said the consultant’s report is not finalized as yet, “but it was finished enough to give us enough information that we could comfortably vote unanimously that we wanted to move.”
She said the final report will probably be presented to the revitalization committee early in January.
The library is now located in two separate buildings, neither of which is handicapped accessible.
“We’ve had phone calls and letters over the years from people who are in wheel chairs … they can’t get into our buildings,” Ms. Dennis said. “It’s been very, very difficult for us to say ‘there’s nothing we can do.’ The time is right, Frisbee closed. There is something we can do about it now.”
“We’re far away from that,” she said, “but at least we’ve gone that first hurdle and voted that we’re wanting to do this.”
She said the Rice building itself is a wonderful structure but it is “not a library for the 21st century.”
Ms. Dennis said having the community center, the theater and the library on the same property would create “sort of a one stop shop” for the people of the town.
Ms. Dennis said that being in one building is “a big piece for all of us” who have been working with the library over the years.
The library is not a town department but receives about 97 percent of its operating cost from the town.
Kittery Town Manager Jon Carter said the library is one of the “three participants envisioned moving to the property” but noted, “They will have a long way to go.”
Voters have already approved a bond issue for work to begin on the Community Center project.
According to its web site, the library currently contains 54,765 volumes and circulates an average of 71,769 items each year. The web site sets Kittery’s population at just over 9,000 people.
Photo caption: The Rice Public Library in Kittery is beginning the process of moving to a new facility. The Library has until the end of December to make a final decision. (Photo courtesy

Points in History

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
“Decision Points” is former President George W. Bush memoir surrounding one of the most turbulent periods of American History. His presidency endured 9/11, two wars, and ended during an economic meltdown. As with any presidency during turbulent times, many of his decisions were questioned and criticized.
“Decision Points” is an attempt to get beyond the soundbites that satisfy the Television World’s attention span, and he details how his background, knowledge, friends and associates shaped his decisions. Rather than doing a chronological account of his presidency, he breaks the memoir up around pivotal issues he faced serving his term to allow for a clear extraction of incidents and anecdotes that lead to his decision.
While avid Bush supporters are sure to desire this read, critics will have plenty of interest in what Bush has to say. Some incidents, like his decision on stem cell research, or to go to war with Iraq will remain controversial after reading this. However, there is an opportunity for understanding why he made these decisions. Rather from shooting from the hip, as it appeared, Bush weighed every opinion regarding using stem cells.
Eventually, he decided to compromise and allow the current stem cells to be used, but after that, to allow research find another way to get these cells. As the current administration has learned, compromise only makes both sides angry.
One issue that takes up a bulk of the book, as it should, is the war in Iraq. Bush recalls the unilateral call to deal with Iraq after Afghanistan. He stated in a debate in 1999, in opposition to Gore, that nation building should not be a priority of our foreign policy. He admits that during the Afghan War, his opinion had switched upon seeing the liberated people rejoice and stand in line for their first free election. According to Bush, 80% of registered voters showed up to the poles facing threats from extremists.
While Iraq and Afghanistan were completely different situations, it’s apparent that Bush had the same vision for a free Iraq. This war began, Bush assures, after several sanctions Hussein failed to abide by, and using UN money intended to feed his people to build weapons. Whether one agrees with him or not, he lays out his thoughts, feelings, and knowledge of the issue so that skeptics can at least see it was a very difficult decision, and a great deal of reason was applied to the decision process. At the beginning of the book, Bush admits that time will tell with some of these decisions.
Decision Points is a forum where Bush uses Abe Lincoln’s advice to convince readers they’re his friends to make allies. His anecdotes are sensitive, funny, and told with colorful language at times. His writing is enjoyable, even when the reader doesn’t see eye to eye with all of his decisions. What he does achieve, though, is he paints himself as a compassionate, fiery, and caring person who spent a great deal of his time weighing the hefty consequences of his decisions. This book could well serve as a great document of our nation’s history beside the writings of Kennedy and Clinton. Recommended for righties and lefties!
Photo caption: Book cover for Decision Points by George W. Bush (Courtesy photo)