Friday, June 17, 2011

Local Students Design and Build Historic Memorial Bridge

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
Twenty-one model bridges have been built at Shapleigh School, each of them a possible replacement for the historic Memorial Bridge that spans the Piscataqua River joining Portsmouth and Kittery.
The designing and building of these structures was a seventh grade program to teach ratio and proportion, said math teacher Robyn Angus earlier this week in her classroom at the school, and was selected because the Memorial Bridge “affects our community greatly.”
Nancy Sebert, a language arts teacher who was also involved with the project, said it was a way to get students “involved in community issues and complex problem solving” with the trial run of a bridge building project.
The 67 students participating in the project were divided into 21 teams to design the bridges. The actual structures are made of Popsicle sticks, glue, string and toothpicks and measure about seven feet in length.
Building bridges at the school is not new, but the scope of this year’s project was considerably larger. In previous years the bridges, made of toothpicks, have been designed for the Kittery Point area. This year the Memorial Bridge span was selected.
“We wanted students to learn more about the importance of this bridge to our community, so we used as much real work application as possible to have students design, build, and persuade an audience that their company (team) should be hired to replace the Memorial Bridge,” Ms. Sebert said in a prepared release.
She said the bridge was selected because of its historical, structural, and commercial worth to the Seacoast area.
It is to be replaced in the next few years.
Part of the project was to learn from various people about the bridge and its importance. Those speaking to the class included Keith Coda, the project manager of the Memorial Bridge Reconstruction project from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation; Jon Carter, Kittery town manager, and Thurston Powell, a retired tugboat operator.
The 21 groups were divided into two boys’ rooms and two girls’ rooms. Each group selected its own project manager, architect, and accountant with specific roles to accomplish. “We were trying to make it as realistic as possible,” Sebert said.
Each had a budget of $90 million, the estimate for the actual replacing of the Memorial Bridge as reported in local media.
Sebert said each group also had to write a proposal including project scope and project phases including costs. Each project will be judged and the winners of each room will receive a plaque.
The winners will then go before the school’s student body and the one voted best will receive another plaque.
“We are learning a lot about bridge design, working as a team, budgeting measurement, accuracy, and problem solving when there are no easy answers,” Sebert wrote. “Both students and teachers will play a crucial role in revising this project each year to improve on it and make it even more expeditionary.”
Sebert said this year’s project did not include a requirement for a lift in the bridge to allow for the large ships entering Portsmouth Harbor, but that will be included in next year’s project.
(Nancy Sebert contributed to this report.)
Photo caption: Two of 21 bridges designed and built by students at Shapleigh School (photo by Larry Favinger)

Get Ready for the 36th Annual Strawberry Festival

Always the last Saturday in June, this year the festival will be on Saturday, June 25th. The South Berwick Strawberry Festival officially kicks off summer for the quaint, southern Maine town of South Berwick. All over town one can see the bright red, white, and green strawberry flags that not only line the main streets, but can also be seen flying from many houses. The day is filled with food, entertainment, games, and crafts.
For thirty-six consecutive years, hundreds of volunteers from South Berwick have come together for this South Berwick tradition. As always, official Festival activities will take place only on the grounds of Central School on Main Street in the center of town. A stop at the Strawberry Festival Information Booth is a must to find out more about the day’s schedule for entertainers as well as where all the various activities are located.
Preparation of the strawberries start on Friday, the morning before the Festival, at the Community Center where over a hundred and fifty volunteers get together for a good old fashioned social to hull, slice, and sugar the berries. Other volunteers slice the biscuits, prepare the whipped cream and move everything under the Strawberry Shortcake tent so all will be ready for the Festival goers when it opens at 9 a.m. and runs to 4 p.m.
Old Fashion Trolleys
Transportation to and from the Festival is free via an old fashion trolley ride. Running every 20 minutes, the trolleys will provide transportation to the Festival from parking locations at Marshwood Great Works School on Rt 236, the Community Center on Norton Street, Powder House Hill, and Agamenticus Field.
Strawberry Tent and Food
Strawberry shortcakes have always been a favorite of the Festival. They will begin serving at 9 a.m. until it is all gone. Last year over 250 cases of fresh strawberries, 80 gallons of whipped cream and over 330 dozen biscuits were used.
In addition to shortcakes and cheesecakes there is also a huge Food Court. There will be a pancake breakfast from 6 to 10 a.m. Throughout the day there will be other various food items sold by local non-profit groups. The Fire Dept will be selling hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and cold drinks. The Community Pantry will be serving up frozen lemonade, Knights of Columbus will serve fried dough, the Masons will serve chicken BBQ and other assorted non-profit groups will be serving sandwich wraps, teriyaki, nachos, fruit cups, cotton candy and water.
Road Race
The day’s activities begin at 8 a.m., with a 5 mile Road Race and 2.5 mile Fun Walk, sponsored by the South Berwick Recreation Department and local businesses, kick off is from Marshwood Middle School on Academy St.
Throughout the day, a variety of entertainers from around the area will be performing on two stages set up around the grounds.
Over 100 juried artisans will be on hand to display and sell their hand-made wares, including clothing, pottery, jewelry, paintings, photographs, candles, furniture, and more. These crafters will be located both at the side of Central School and in the area around the food court.
Visit for a complete schedule of events.
Photo caption: Patrons create a long line for the strawberry shortcake, but it’s well worth the wait. (Courtesy photo)

When Pigs Fly Expands to a Wood-Fired Pizzeria

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

A new pizzeria and company store will open on Route 1 Thursday (June 23rd), the design of which, along with many of its offerings, is unique.
When Pigs Fly Artisan Bread and Wood-Fired Pizzeria will offer not only pizza made with the sourdough the bakery by the same name is noted for, but also appetizer plates, salads, draft beers and draft wines.
The 160-seat pizzeria includes seating within the building, and on a screened-in farmer’s porch and a back deck. There is parking for 80 cars on site as well.
In addition to the restaurant, the bakery store, now located in a company store just south of the new building, will be included in the new quarters, selling the items already on sale at the present store. At the current company store one olive oil is sold and that will be increased to three at the new facility.
The wine and beer bar will offer 20 beers including many craft brews and several from Maine. There will also be eight draft wines, four reds and four whites.
The pizza will be Neapolitan style from wood-burning ovens, made with all natural ingredients including fresh mozzarella daily. A garden is planned on site to grow the needed herbs, Ron Siegel said.
“We’re also going to have a lot of really nice appetizers,” he said, and three or four salads. Other items on the menu will include red Portuguese style chowder, grilled octopus, meatballs, steamed mussels and more. They will also have their own line of gelato.
The new businesses will employ about 40 people to start, he said.
The building was designed by Ty Par of Portland and, Ron Siegel noted, includes reclaimed wood and metal throughout, resulting in some very unique designs in the bar, lighting and other aspects.
“I always wanted to do pizza,” Ron Siegel said. “I liked the idea. I had a restaurant a long time ago that served pizza. It something nice to do and it complements the bread.”
The project began with the idea of putting a small wood-burning oven at the company store. That advanced to tearing down the company store and building new, and from there to building the new facility on a larger piece of land with landscaping.
Ron Siegel said something will be done with the current company store building.
When Pigs Fly was founded in 1993 by Ron Siegel in a small building in Wells where he baked 80 loaves of bread a day. He was joined by his brother, Andrew, who came east from California in 1994, and the two worked long and hard to meet the demand for their product. They hired their first employee in 1994. Today there are 60 employees working at the bakery.
The business soon outgrew that initial facility and they relocated their business to York. About 18 months later the brothers relocated again, this time in a larger tract of land just off Route 1 in York where the bakery remains to this day.
The new facility on Route 1 in Kittery will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.
Photo caption: L-R: Andrew & Ron Siegel, owners of when Pigs Fly Artisan Bread & Wood-Fired Pizzeria (L. Favinger photo)