Friday, June 27, 2008

Spirit Of Giving

The Adoptive & Foster Families of Maine recently honored The Spirit of Giving Committee for outstanding community service. ( photo)

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

“They are amazingly wonderful.”
That was the way Bette Hoxie, program director of the Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine and The Kinship Program described those people involved in the Spirit of Giving program based here.
The Spirit of Giving Committee has recently received a special Thank You Award from the Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine.
Jason Corbin of Admirals’ Inn, and Jeff Porter of Five-O, two of the organizers of the program, said it is aimed at helping those less fortunate in the state, especially children.
Adoptive and Foster Families provides services for adoptive, foster parents and kinship providers. These include families who find them-selves responsible for relatives’ children for one reason or another, including grandparents who may be living on fixed income.
Ms. Hoxie said that in some cases retired people have had to leave retirement communities in order to live where children were allowed, thus increasing their living expenses dramatically.
Many of those families accepting children “get no reimbursement” of any kind, Ms. Hoxie said. “These families are hurting.”
Corbin said the children involved with the program write down two items they would like to have and that is submitted to AFFM. He recalled one request from a seven-year-old who wanted a toothbrush. Others have asked for sweatshirts, a coloring book and crayons.
“It makes you realize how lucky we are,” he said. “It’s an awakening every year.”
“We do not accept any money,” Corbin said of the Spirit of Giving program. There are no administrative costs. “The gifts that come through the door go to the kids.”
Those who want to give money are asked to buy gifts cards at Hannaford or from an oil company.
The program helps children up to the age of 18.
“We want people to experience” the giving of gifts that are needed and fulfilling to some degree the holiday dreams of children of all ages. “That’s the whole spirit of giving idea” Corbin said.
Corbin, a native of Maine, was familiar with a similar program when he was in the Boston area and brought it with him when he returned to Maine.
“There’s something special about the Ogunquit, Wells, York community,” he said. “The people are very caring. They help one another out. It’s that whole Maine tradition. Something that’s different from other states.”
The original committee was about seven, he said, with people from the Wells, Ogunquit, and York area. At this point that group has grown to up to 15. There is no chairman, as such, with the
decisions made by the committee as a whole.
Last year the program, which was created in 2005 and helped over 85 kids, provided gifts for more than 300 children and this year the aim is to provide gifts for between 350 and 400 children. The Kinship Program has more than 650 children at this point.
The first invitations to join in the program will go out next week. Those wishing to help can contact a member of the committee and receive a list as to whether the child is a boy or age, what the age is, what their size is.
The names of the children are confidential, known only to those who run the Kinship Program. The monetary limit was $35 a child but there has been discussion of raising that to $50. In the past, Corbin said, some people have provided more than just what is asked for.
“A lot of the donors will take two or three kids,” Corbin said.
The gifts are brought to a special party, this year on Dec. 7 at Main Street, with color coded trees from different drop off points, seven in all. Following the party, which is put on with all donated foods, gifts are loaded on a truck and delivered to drop off points “all the way up to Old Town,” Corbin said.
From that point the Kinship Program takes over the actual delivery of the gifts.
Those interested in being involved can consult the group’s web site but as of this writing it is not yet available.

Caption: The Adoptive & Foster Families of Maine recently honored The Spirit of Giving Committee for outstanding community service. ( photo)

South Berwick’s 32nd Annual Strawberry Festival

Always the last Saturday in June, the South Berwick Strawberry Festival officially kicks off summer for the quaint, southern Maine town of South Berwick. The kids are out of school, camps are open and the weather is getting warm. 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-two consecutive years, hundreds of volunteers from South Berwick, have come together to put together a 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 the entertainers, as well as where all the various activities are located and to purchase strawberry festival memorabilia.
For more info visit our website at www.southberwick

Wells Couple – Long Lasting!

Francis and Nathalie Chick celebrated their 72nd Wedding Anniversary recently. They were married in the Old Unitarian Church in Boston in 1936. This long lasting couple are 95 and 93-years old respectively, and have raised two children, two grand children and four great grand children. They are long-time Wells residents, having built their house on Clark Road in Wells Branch by cutting lumber from their own land and making their own shingles. Francis continued the endeavor by making their furniture as well. At “Soup’s On” in Wells, Mr. and Mrs. Chick were presented with a cake while by-standers sang “Happy Anniversary.” They remain active, going out for lunch every day, but haven’t done much ballroom dancing lately.
Nathalie and Francis Chick (Courtesy photo)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Warrior Memorial Field, Filled with Graduates

Wells High School held its 105th commencement exercises on Warrior Memorial Field Sunday afternoon, June 8th.  It was estimated that close to a thousand traveled to brave a hot, humid day and observe family members and friends graduate.
Commencement began at 1:00 pm with Junior Class Marshals Hope Beisswanger and Christopher Hebert leading the marching seniors dressed in red and white caps and gowns to their seats.   Their march was accompanied by the traditional Pomp and Circumstance played by the WHS Concert Band.
Members of the audience dealt with the direct sun as best they could by using their programs for fans.  Some were standing hundreds of feet away near the field’s surrounding woods for shade.   The temperature climbed into the 90’s.
Brianna Cilley provided the Salutatorian Address.  She talked about the seniors being together for the past four, eight, and, for most, the past 13 years, but by the end of her brief speech she advised classmates to look forward by quoting writer W.M. Lewis: “ ‘The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon but that we wait so long to begin it.’ So, with that said,” Cilley urged,” lets go out there and do it class of ‘08.  Good luck and thank you.”
Principal Jim Daly spoke briefly and reminded the students that they did not get to graduation day without some help, a sentiment Valedictorian Jesse Hamilton echoed by sharing a touching story about his Kindergarten teacher, Nancy Talbot, who, one day, supported him in trying the seemingly impossible monkey bars at the playground.  The next day he confidently went the whole way on the bars.  Later in his address, Jesse quoted Albert Einstein: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” He spoke of the power of self-motivation and made the point that one needs inner motivation as well as the help of others to succeed.  “I believe each of us has unlimited potential,” he said.  “And even if we falter in striving to achieve our dreams – effort and dedication are what matter most.” Hamilton closed with an enthusiastic “Congratulations.  We have earned the right to celebrate!”
This year’s commencement speaker was the Honorable Susan M. Collins, U.S. Republican Senator, originally from Caribou, Maine in rural Aroostook County.  She pointed out that she faced some of the same uncertainty the graduates were facing when she graduated and went off for her first year at college. She found herself in school with many kids from big cities. However, she soon realized the advantages of coming from a small town like Caribou and Wells, a point she drove home by sharing stories of Mainers from small towns who achieved great things in areas as diverse as human gene mapping and baseball.
Following Collins’ speech students flipped over their tassels and tossed confetti and their caps into the air to celebrate becoming graduates of Wells High School.  Superintendent Edward McDonough, School Board Chairperson Damon Russell and Principal Daly stood up to confer diplomas upon the graduates. Senator Collins remained on stage at the end of the line to greet each graduate. “I so enjoyed being the commencement speaker,” said Senator Collins about her visit to Wells. “This is a real milestone in the lives of these students.  From everything I’ve heard, they’ve been an excellent class.  Wells High School does a terrific job and it is a tribute to the teachers, the principals, the staff, the school board, the whole community.”
When asked about the 90 plus degree heat of the day she joked.  “Oh it was brutally hot but at least that was an incentive for all of us to keep our speeches shorter then they might have otherwise been.”

Class Marshals Hope Beisswanger and Christopher Hebert leading the soon-to-be 2008 Graduates to their seats. (Reg Bennett photo)

Greeting Senator Collins at Wells High School are some of the members of the Wells-Ogunquit School Committee. Left to right: Sue Pollard, Vice Chairman David Johnson, Assistant Superintendent Ira Waltz and (behind the Senator) Chairman of the School Committee, Damon Russell. (Reg Bennett photo)

Ogunquit Rotary Dedicates Flags

On June 11, 2008, the Ogunquit Rotary Club held a Flag Dedication Ceremony at the Perkins Cove Rotary Park. The Invocation was said by Gordon Lewis, the National Anthem sung by Ellen Farber, the history of National Flag Week explained by President Ben Oliver and “I am the Flag of the United States of America” read by Tracy Smith. (Courtesy photo)

Regatta Banquet and Conference Center


The Regatta Banquet and Conference Center at Eliot Commons has opened for business. A ribbon cutting ceremony with the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce will be held at the facility on Thursday, June 26 at 3:00 pm.
The facility has two state-of-the art function spaces: the Regatta Room can host 300 seated guests – perfect for conferences and weddings – and the more intimate Optimus Room accommodates up to 70 seated guests for board meetings, press conferences or upscale private dining or wine-tasting events. There is also a dressing room with private bathroom and shower facilities, perfect for VIPs, brides or talent.
The facility boasts a world class culinary team in a luxury commissary facility and top of the line, wireless audio/video equipment and multiple screens to accommodate any and all business or social functions. Efficiency Maine helped incorporate green technologies into the design which include such features as: heated sidewalks; interior, exterior, and parking lot lighting; low energy, high efficiency kitchen motors; recaptured heat from refrigeration motors; preheated water; and cooking systems that utilize steam generated by natural gas.
With the opening of this new facility, area residents now have a local, state-of-the-art event center to host business and social events of all kinds.
The Regatta Banquet and Conference Center is located at Eliot Commons on Route 236 right next door to the Shipyard Brew Pub. FMI:

Captions: Regatta Banquet and Conference Center can be seen from Route 236 in Eliot Commons. (Weekly Sentinel photos)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Guinness Book of World Records

By Ron Long
Staff Columnist

That will be the case if Jack Schoff has his way. The North Berwick resident will be submitting an application to the Guinness Book of World Record officials for having the most working clocks. The application must be accompanied by verification which will come next week when North Berwick Police Chief Steven Peasley and North Berwick Town Clerk Jan Belmain will be on hand to verify that Schoff has the 1,080 different clocks. The verification from these two officials, along with a video of the clocks, and a catalog of photographs of Schoff’s clocks will be all the proof that the Guinness Officials need. Then Schoff will take the record currently held by Germany’s Ulrich Kriescher who owns 921 working clocks. After eliminating duplicate clocks, Schoff will have the new world record of 1,080 clocks!
Forced to retire because of health problems, the 64 year old former pipe fitter and business owner resorted to fixing clocks for a hobby to keep his hands busy. Schoff had promised his mother who has since passed that he would be the Guiness Book of World Record holder of this category. The idea moved along quickly when his ten year old granddaughter, Taylor Schoff, helped him contact the officials needed to accomplish this dream.
The last steps needed to finalize his application, include verification by video and a photographic catalog. If any readers would like to help Schoff in his endeavor, please email

Caption: Jack Schoff in front of only a few of his many, many working clocks. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Walk Through South Berwick History

Historic New England offers a walk through South Berwick history with a series of unique walking tours the second week in June.      
The series begins on Wednesday, June 11 with a Landscape and Garden Tour at Historic New England’s Hamilton House located on Vaughn’s Lane. Take part in a special opportunity to learn about the landscape and gardens at Hamilton House with Historic New England’s Piscataqua Region Landscape Manager Gary Wetzel. Imagine the changes in the land as wilderness yielded to a busy commercial waterfront, then to farming, and finally, to formal gardens. Learn about the flowers, trees, and other plants that surround Hamilton House and how Wetzel and his gardeners maintain the beautiful formal gardens. Tour begins at the Garden Cottage at 10 am. Historic New England members $8, non-members $12. Registration required.
In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of Sarah Orne Jewett’s former haunts. Explore downtown South Berwick with your tour guide and imagine what life was like during Sarah’s lifetime. Each participant will receive a copy of the new Sarah Orne Jewett Walking Tour brochure recently produced by the Jewett Eastman Committee. This wonderfully informative and easy to follow brochure is available for free in downtown shops and establishments and will serve as a jumping off point for the guided tour on June 11. The tour will include historic photographs, excerpts from Jewett works describing her beloved home town, and stops at places Jewett family members knew and frequented. The tour begins at the visitor center on the Main Street side of the Sarah Orne Jewett House at 1pm. Historic New England members $5, non-members $10. Registration required.
The Historic New England series of special tours continues on Saturday, June 14 with the return of the popular “The Way They Were” tour at Hamilton House. On this tour go behind-the-scenes of Hamilton House to learn about the daily routines of domestics, grounds keepers, and others who worked for families like the Tyson’s early in the twentieth century. See the fourth floor attic space where servants lived and enjoy the stunning view of the river from the rooftop skylight. Explore the grounds and discover where the chauffeur once slept. Tour begins at the brown garden cottage at 10:30 am. Historic New England members $8, non-members $12. Registration required.
Also on June 14 is a Burial Ground Walking Tour of the Oldfields Burial Ground located on Vine Street and the Goodwin family cemetery located on the grounds of the Hamilton House. Enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery as tour leader Dr. Neill De Paoli takes you on an exploration of the evolution of gravestone art and mourning practices. Read the long epitaphs of Jonathan Hamilton and his wife and seek out the headstone of a local woman kidnapped by Indians. Tour begins at 2:30 in the Hamilton House parking area. Historic New England members $8, non-members $12. Registration required.
For more information visit

Caption: The Hamilton House near Vaughn’s Woods (Courtesy photo)

Community Organization Rallies Support
for Family in Need

The Ogunquit Rotary Club rallied to support the Spearin family of Wells that recently lost everything as a result of a house fire.      
Ogunquit Rotarian Gordon Lewis, who is also the Assistant Coach for the Wells/York Legion Baseball team, coached Hunter Spearin last summer. Lewis heard of the Spearin family’s loss and requested a $500 donation from the Ogunquit Rotary Club. As the request was being discussed, the Ogunquit Rotary Club decided to “pass the hat” to match the monies donated by the Club. As a result, a total of $1,115 was collected.
Hunter will play out his High School baseball career with the Wells Warriors and, hopefully, help carry them into the State playoffs. He will again play Legion baseball this summer and hopes to play next year in college.
The entire Ogunquit Rotary Club wishes the Spearin family good luck as they work on rebuilding their home and lives.

Caption: L to R - Wells High School Baseball Coach Chuck Chadbourne, Hunter Spearin, Gordon Lewis and York High School Baseball Coach Richard Sirois. (Courtesy photo)

South Berwick Woman Leads Hong Kong Volunteers in Fight Against Polio

As of May 29, Volunteers from Hong Kong have departed for India to help immunize children against polio, a devastating disease that still paralyzes and sometimes kills children in parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
These volunteers are members of Rotary, a worldwide humanitarian service organization that has polio eradication as its main philanthropic goal. Leading the group is polio survivor and Rotary member Ann Lee Hussey of South Berwick.
“I witnessed first hand the devastation polio had caused to the people of India. I saw crawlers, young and old, begging in the streets, dragging themselves by their hands and arms with legs twisted in unimaginable contortions,” said Hussey.
Beginning on June 1, the Rotary members will have joined other volunteers and health workers to administer drops of oral polio vaccine during a sub-National immunization program that will target 75 million children under age five in nine critical states in India: Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharash, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.
“Rotary has promised to give a world without polio to our children,” said Hong Kong Rotary member Kenneth Yuk Shing Chow. “We must fulfill our commitment. “
To that end, Rotary members in Hong Kong have appealed to local clubs in an effort to raise US$500,000 toward Rotary’s $100 million challenge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
New methods and more effective oral polio vaccines have led to steady progress in India. Yet to date, India holds the highest number of polio cases of any single country this year, having reported 222 cases in 2008.
Overall, tremendous progress has been made toward a polio-free world in the last two decades. To date, the number of polio cases has been reduced from 350,000 children annually in the mid 1980s to 1,312 in 2007. Only four countries: Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, are still polio-endemic.
Rotary has contributed US$84.3 million to fight polio in India, and more than US$700 million worldwide – a figure that will increase to $850 million once polio is eradicated. Besides raising and contributing funds, over one million men and women of Rotary have volunteered their time and personal resources to help immunize more than 2 billion children in 122 countries during national immunization campaigns.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
For further information, visit or