Friday, January 30, 2009

York Resident, Berwick Academy Alumna Receives Nationwide Writing Award

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

A 2008 graduate of Berwick Academy was presented the Cum Laude Paper – 2008 nationwide writing award Monday by The Cum Laude Society.
Katherine Edkins of York won the award for a work, “Sixty-four Square Feet” which she submitted during her senior year at the academy.
“It was a complete surprise,” Ms. Edkins said of winning the award. “It’s been totally unexpected.”
Ms. Edkins is a freshman at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and made the trip to South Berwick to receive the award from head of school Greg Schneider at a gathering of Upper School students and faculty.
“This achievement is truly extraordinary for Katie, and it has brought tremendous recognition to Berwick Academy as well,” Schneider said. “In some ways, we should not be surprised at this outcome given Katie’s remarkable career at Berwick. Her essay demonstrates an extraordinary integration of description, innovative structure, self-analysis, and a hauntingly shared sense of coming of age for both author and reader alike.”
“I believe that this is the first time in the competition’s five-year history that the national winner has come from a District I school,” said William Prescott, the regent for the Society’s District 1. “As I said to Katie in a recent message I sent to her, I hope she continues to write while in college - and not necessarily just for specific course work. She has a gift, and I’m pleased to have had an opportunity to share in recognizing and honoring it.”
When Ms. Edkins learned of the competition last year she was quick to decide to enter.
“I consider myself to be a writer,” she said, “This is what I love to do and I might as well give it a shot.”
Just what she’ll do when she graduates is up in the air. She mentioned law school, and is taking English and Chinese classes. She is really enjoying the latter, noting it’s exciting to be “learning something entirely different.” And there’s that love of writing.
“I want to see where I am after all this,” she said of her years at Dartmouth.
Ms. Edkins, the daughter of Bill and Laurie Edkins of York, moved to York when she was in seventh grade from St. Louis, Mo. “I really, really love Maine,” she said.
She also expressed her thanks to Berwick Academy.
Her essay was selected from submissions from the Cum Laude Society’s 350-member schools from all over the world. In addition to a plaque she also received a cash award of $1,000.
The Cum Laude Society, an international academic honorary founded in 1906, said the annual competition is designed to recognize and celebrate outstanding academic achievement in high schools.
Ms. Edkins was inducted into the Cum Laude Society as a junior and the National French Honor Society as a sophomore.
She also earned a departmental recognition award in English, was involved with the Math Team, Honor Committee, and co-founded the literary magazine with her sister Maggie, a member of the Berwick Class of 2009.
Ms. Edkins also participated in the National Youth Leadership Forum and the Stanford Education Program for Gifted Youth.
Berwick academy was founded 1791 as an independent, co-educational country day school. For over 200 years the academy has pursued its mission through a purposeful blend of strong academics, arts, and athletics.
Berwick currently serves over 600 students in grades K-12 from the seacoast area of southern Maine, New Hampshire, and northern Massachusetts.
Photo caption: Katherine Edkins of York receives the Cum Laude Paper – 2008 nationwide writing award from Berwick Academy head of school Greg Schneider. (Courtesy photo)

Local Restaurant Receives National Award

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist

A local restaurant has just received national recognition. East, a restaurant featuring Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine, has recently been honored as one of the top 10 Chinese restaurants in the entire nation by Chinese Restaurant News (CRN), a trade publication in San Francisco, Calif. with a circulation of 43,000 throughout the country.
Owner Ri Teng Li was notified in December that East had been awarded Top 100 status by CRN’s annual competition, and was invited to a ceremony in Las Vegas, Nev. to witness the unveiling of his restaurant’s official number ranking.
Before leaving for Las Vegas in early January, Li was notified that East was voted into the Top 10 in the “overall quality” category. At the CRN ceremony, he discovered East was voted no. 1 overall in the “décor & atmosphere” category.
“It was really exciting,” said Li. “Everybody’s working hard here, the manager, all the employees. I think this award really belongs to everybody at the restaurant.”
These two achievements are especially impressive considering the thousands of Chinese restaurants in competition from the big cities of New York, San Francisco, and everywhere in between. He is especially proud about taking home the no. 1 prize in “décor & atmosphere.”
“Everything here, the materials, the colors, the lighting has been done so beautifully and professionally. To be number one in the country is a true honor, ” Li reflected.
This is the first time a Maine Chinese restaurant has been honored as a Top-10 restaurant by CRN.
Li received official congratulations at the Las Vegas ceremony from Master Chef Martin Yan (host of the popular cooking show on TV, Yan Can Cook) and from Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. Li and Yan then together graced the cover of a recent edition of CRN.
Li believes news of the award is already helping his business.
“People are now coming all the way from Portland and New Hampshire. Business is better than expected,” remarked Li.
Restaurant manager Johnny Zhao agrees.
“Last weekend for Saturday dinner we had a full house. We even had a long waiting list,” Zhao commented.
CRN determines its rankings by sending undercover diners to competing restaurants who then rank the restaurants on numerous checkpoints in several categories. East is located at 636 Post Rd (US Rte. 1) in Wells. For more information, visit
Photo caption: Left to right: Owner Ri Teng Li, Master Chef Martin Yan, and Li’s wife We Li at the ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Clock is Running on a New Era of Confidence

By Magen Petit
Staff Columnist
A few days have passed since the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th President of the United States of America and most people are interested in what Pres. Obama has in store for the next four years.
As a country, we wanted change. As a country, we voted for Obama. As a country, we want to see relief from this horrific recession and depressing economic times. We want the country to turn itself around. We want something positive shed upon us. We want everything yesterday, but as with most everything else, time will tell all.
After arriving to the White House around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 21 after all the celebrations from the previous day, Pres. Obama was reportedly in the Oval Office around 8:30 a.m.
Pres. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended a prayer service at the National Cathedral. Following that, reports show Pres. Obama met with advisers to “discuss the variety of problems facing his administration and the country.”
Already, the President sought a suspension of the trial proceedings in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
According to reports from the Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. and the Associated Press, Pres. Obama is putting a freeze on the pay of White House employees who make more than $100,000 a year.
“The freeze would hold salaries at their current levels for about a hundred employees,” reported IBS and AP. “It was part of a presidential memorandum that was issued Wednesday when Obama attended a swearing-in for staff at the White House.”
Pres. Obama has begun supporting statements he made during his inaugural address.
The report goes on to say, “In a statement, Obama said ‘families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington.’”
Part of Pres. Obama’s speech read, “…the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”
And so, we shall see what the future and Pres. Obama has in store for us as a nation, afterall we’re looking for a new era of peace and confidence.
Be sure to visit the special section of the historic 44th inauguration in this edition of The Weekly Sentinel.

2009 Chocolate Extravaganza in Kennebunk

There’s only one place to be Sunday, Feb. 1, the Kennebunk’s 2009 Chocolate Extravaganza held at the Kennebunk Town Hall from 12 to 4 p.m. It’s been an annual event since 2001 and with free admission for everyone and with everyone receiving chocolate giveaways, it’s the ‘can’t miss’ winter event in Maine.
“February brings “cabin fever at its finest,” according to event organizer Danie Connolly. “We figured everyone loves chocolate so what better excuse to face the winter elements than to sample every kind of chocolate there is!”
Every year the event features a chocolate sculpture. In the past the sculptures have been a chocolate covered heart, a sand castle with an edible top, and a chocolate dipped man. Last year an eight-foot lobster was built and then covered in chocolate. This year is a 10-foot tall white and dark chocolate lighthouse with a working light!
Although the main purpose of the event is to beat cabin fever, two charities also benefit from the fun. The Art of Kindness is a fuel assistance fund that supports the local fuel fund and will be selling winter prints of the area for anyone that might like to purchase one for the charity.
In addition to them, Ever After Mustang Rescue will be bringing their horses to the event. This charity provides a haven for wild horses from all over the U.S. There will be a table selling “hot dogs for a cool cause” and all profits will be donated to the mustang rescue program.
The day is filled with many other sights and sounds. Miss Maine United States 2008, RaeAnne Seubert and Miss Maine Teen United States, Christina Morse will be making a special appearance at the Kennebunk Town Hall from noon to 4 p.m. Recently crowned, they have been guest hosting a numerous events including, a year-long event that will be giving away a free wedding for a lucky couple wanting to be married in the Kennebunks. They will be signing autographs and having their pictures taken with the public. The town’s fire department has been collecting their 8x10 glossies every year adding to their collection!
Lucy and Ethel and their Chocolate Conveyor belt will be there along side the crazy Sugar Plump Fairies who make the annual trek to Maine’s favorite chocolate city! Straight Lace, Maine’s favorite band returns for their umpteenth performance playing the crowds favorite tunes as venders compete to give away the best free chocolate.
“It’s very important to our community that everyone is invited… whether you’re two years old or 102, this day appeals to everyone, plus, it’s handicap accessible at the Kennebunk Town Hall which makes it terrific for everyone. Local Kennebunk businesses join in the frenzy in addition to door prizes during the event. It is amazing what some of the businesses tables come up with,” Connolly said.
Some ideas that have been presented in the past are chocolate nachos, chocolate coffee, and a chocolate kiss bustier. They have also had attractions such as a five-foot chocolate fountain with strawberries that the On The Marsh restaurant featured last year as ‘On the Marshmallow’ while Federal Jack’s creates mini hot fudge sundaes as their special giveaways.
FMI call Danie Connolly at (207) 985-8888 or e-mail
Photos: Top - Miss Maine United States 2008, RaeAnne Seubert. Bottom - Miss Maine Teen United States, Christina Morse. (Courtesy photos)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Restaurants Continue “Stimulus Package”

By Magen Petit
Staff Columnist
News headlines display it. Civilians are frightened by it. Most everybody is affected negatively by it. The fact is the country’s economy is failing. Many people are facing foreclosures of their homes and businesses, banks are closing, and the rate of unemployment is skyrocketing. Now, more than ever before, more and more restaurants in the area are continuing their own version of a stimulus package.
With feature guest Tommasi Viticoltori, Bintliff’s Restaurant, located in Ogunquit, will carry The Wines of Italy on Friday, Jan. 23. Besides cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and a four-course dinner, Bintliff’s also features Thursday night specials all winter long. For only $17,95, you can choose three entrées, demi-salad, glass of wine, and Chef’s choice dessert.
Just a few miles up the road in York on Clay Hill Rd., the Clay Hill Farm Restaurant, which features modern cuisine and a classic setting, has January winter warmer specials where Wednesday nights are wine nights and two people can eat for just $59 and that includes soup or salad, a choice of five entrées, dessert, coffee and/or tea, and a bottle of wine. People can enjoy prime rib and popover night for under $20 on Thursdays. If you want to take your loved one out to dinner, Clay Hill offers date night on Fridays where the second entrée is half price.
Over a couple towns in Kennebunkport, The Port Tavern & Grille, which is at the Kennebunkport Inn offers a two-for-one special where every Wednesday night, through the spring, you can purchase one entrée and receive a second for free! As Kennebunkport’s only steakhouse and seafood grille, The Port Tavern & Grille carries a neighborhood appreciation special on Wednesdays and Thursdays where all entrées are priced under $16.
Some places like the Bull and Claw, located in Wells, has a $7.95 comfort menu and offers a free six-piece shrimp cocktail. The cocktail bar features signature drinks like The Nubble Light, The Perkins Cove, The Wells Jetty, and Grey Goose Combos.
All you can eat fried haddock and clam strip dinners are under $12 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at The Barn Seafood and Grill in York. A one-pound lobster is just $12.95 from Wednesday through Sunday.
Sundays are special at Spring Hill in South Berwick because you can relax to the live jazz music of Vivando and you can buy one entrée and receive the second free.
When you purchase the first lunch at regular price at Chef’s Cove Café in Kittery, you get the second lunch at half price. They also feature luncheon specials like chicken cordon bleu on ciabatta. If that doesn’t make you hungry, I’m not sure what will!
Finally, you can enjoy a neighborhood bistro in downtown Kittery at Anneke Jans, which is open seven nights from 5 p.m. to close.

Former Civil Air Patrol Cadet Robert Piazza Receives Mitchell Award

The General Billy Mitchell Award, the first of four major Civil Air Patrol cadet awards, was recently presented to former Cadet Robert Piazza in a ceremony in the office of Col Richard Martell, NHANG Commander. Piazza earned the award three years ago when he was a cadet in the Seacoast Composite Squadron, but due to his going away to college it was never presented. The ceremony was attended by his whole family as well as Squadron Commander, Maj. Nic Goupil, Deputy Commander Maj. Mike Hall, and former cadet Tim Brennan who is now attending the Air Force Academy.
Piazza the son of Charles and Cheryl Piazza of York is now a junior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. where he has chosen double majors in nuclear and mechanical engineering. Upon completing high school, he received a four year Naval ROTC scholarship to RPI. At Rensselaer Piazza is active in the American Nuclear Society, Rensselaer Christian Association of which he is vice president and the NROTC trick rifle team. He also volunteers weekly at a local food pantry in Troy and teaches a Bible study class at church.
Cadet Piazza earned eleven ribbons including the Mitchell while a member of Seacoast Composite Squadron, CAP which he joined his sophomore year in high school to gain leadership training and experience and to learn more about aerospace fields. His two brothers also joined CAP. Michael now attends the US Air Force Academy and Matthew is a Cadet Airman First Class having just recently joined the squadron.
After graduation in 2010 from PRI Piazza will receive his commission in the US Navy where he hopes to become a submariner.
Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer auxiliary of the United States Air Force and is tasked with 95 percent of the inland search and rescue missions. It also serves local, state and federal agencies in disaster relief, homeland security and counterdrug missions. It also has an outstanding cadet program for young people ages 12-18.
Photo caption: NROTC Cadet Robert Piazza with Col. Richard Martell, NHANG Commander (Lt. Cheryl Piazza, CAP photo)

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Weekly Sentinel Reaches New Heights with Inauguration Coverage

By Magen Petit
Staff Columnist
The Weekly Sentinel has accomplished another milestone in its bid to serve the people of York County with news they want to read.
“In three short years of publication, this newspaper has become the largest circulated newspaper in the county and will start its fourth year as the only weekly newspaper to report on the Presidential Inauguration with its own staff reporter in attendance,” reported Mark Wilcox, The Weekly Sentinel’s publisher.
The Weekly Sentinel’s very own Staff Columnist Devin Beliveau will have a preferred placement while viewing the swearing-in ceremony of the new president followed by the Inaugural Parade. He will also cover the Youth Inaugural Ball, which will be hosted by President-elect Barack Obama. Beliveau is a Kittery resident and a history teacher at Thornton Academy in Saco.
“The Youth ball is intended for young Americans aged 18-35 and will celebrate the inauguration of the new president and the role young Americans can play to serve their communities,” according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC).
The President-elect and the Vice President-elect Joe Biden will appear at a total of ten inaugural balls.
“President-elect Obama will host the Youth Inaugural Ball, five Regional Inaugural balls, and a ball for his home states — Illinois and Hawaii. Vice President-elect Biden will host a ball for his home states as well — Delaware and Pennsylvania,” according to the PIC.
The coverage will begin with a luncheon featuring traditional Maine and New Zealand cuisine to celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Obama at the New Zealand Embassy, which will be hosted by His Excellency Roy Ferguson and Mrs. Dawn Ferguson and Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau and Pachios, one of Portland, Maine’s most prestigious law firms.
According to the Inauguration of the President 2009 Events web site, the luncheon “often features cuisine reflecting the home states of the new President and Vice President, as well as the theme of the Inauguration, the Luncheon program includes speeches, gift presentations from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), and toasts to the new administration. While this tradition dates as far back as 1897, when the Senate Committee on Arrangements first gave a luncheon for President McKinley and several other guests at the U.S. Capitol, it did not begin in its current form until 1953.”
The honored guests include Governor John E. Baldacci, Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan M. Collins, Congressman Michael H. Michaud, Congresswoman Chellie M. Pingree, and former Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell.
On Tuesday, January 20, the Inaugural Parade follows the Inaugural Address and will make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. The PIC selected the Sanford High School band from Sanford, Maine to march in the parade in Washington, D.C.
Other events during the day of inauguration include musical selections from the United States Marine Band, the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Aretha Franklin, John Williams, composer/arranger with Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill.
For more information on the schedule of events, visit
The Weekly Sentinel will publish a special Presidential Inaugural edition the following Friday, January 23 including many stories of historical interest to its readers.

Local Restaurants Feature Their Own “Stimulus Package” with Attractive Dining Specials

By Magen Petit
Staff Columnist
It’s a new year – and hopefully a better one at an economic standpoint – and with that comes many specials and discounts at numerous local restaurants.
With the recession, sales were way below what they were expected to be at during the holiday season. That’s why many restaurants in the area are opting to give generous discounts so as to create a flow of people coming through their doors.
One local restaurant, The Front Porch, is doing a special such as “cloud 9 nights” where five homemade entrées go for $9.99 and at another, Katie’s, every Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. there is a “four for forty four” where you not only get four courses off the normal menu, you can get it twice and you get two salads, two soups, two entrées and two desserts for $44 per couple.
With weekly culinary delights at Five-O, they have their Monday night G-7 special where entrées are just $7.
Other restaurants feature a different special on different nights of the week, such as Prime Steakhouse, which features half off Fridays where you can buy one entrée and get the second one 50 percent off or they feature Wednesday basics where a 10 ounce prime rib or steamed lobster goes for just $9.99.
Another Ogunquit-based restaurant, Angelina’s, offers three-course dinners for just $18 on Wednesday and Sunday nights or Thursday night is personal wine dinner for just $55 per couple. This deal also includes a bottle of wine of your choice.
Many restaurants also do coupons like Warren’s Lobster House, located in Kittery, that are $10 off two dinner entrées from Sunday through Friday.
Some restaurants like York Harbor Inn, host beer tasting dinners. This Saturday, January 10, YHI will feature beers of Maine’s own Allagash Brewing Company. This dinner is only $49.95 per person.
These are just a few restaurants that are having such specials to reel people in and hopefully alleviate any pain caused by the economic hardship people are facing. Be sure to look through this week’s dining guide for more specials and discounts at your favorite restaurant.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Carnegie Medals Awarded to Berwick Man for Extraordinary Civilian Heroism

In its fourth and final award announcement of 2008, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission named a Berwick man, Fred Hunt, Jr. along with 18 other individuals as recipients of the Carnegie Medal. The medal is awarded throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Three of the awardees lost their lives in the performance of their rescue acts.
Hunt died helping to save Maureen A. Jennings from drowning, and Qemal Agaj helped to save her on Cocoa Beach, Fla. on October 22, 2007. Jennings, 68, was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean when she was caught in a current while attempting to return to shore.
Hunt, 51, senior buyer, and others on the beach, including Agaj, 65, retired factory worker, were alerted to her situation. They entered the water and waded and swam out to Jennings. They then pushed her toward shore before succumbing to the current themselves. Jennings struggled through water to reach shore safely, receiving aid en route. Responding members of a rescue team recovered Agaj from the water, and then, joined by a lifeguard, returned Hunt to the beach. Hunt could not be revived, as he had drowned. Agaj recovered from exhaustion and ingesting water.
The recent 19 individual awardees range anywhere from California to New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
The heroes announced bring the total to 92, the number of awards made in 2008, and to 9,243 the total number of awards since the Pittsburgh-based Fund’s inception in 1904. Commission President Mark Laskow stated that each of the awardees or their next of kin will also receive a financial grant. Throughout the 104 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, $31.1 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance.
Resumes of the acts follow. To nominate someone for the Carnegie Medal, write the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, 436 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1101, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, or call 1-800-447-8900 (toll free). Fuller information on the Carnegie Medal and the history of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission can be found at
Article submitted to The Weekly Sentinel by Cindy Hunt courtesy of
Photo caption: A verse from the New Testament encircles the back-side outer edge: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). ( photos)

Ogunquit Christmas by the Sea Winners Announced

The Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce announces the winners of the Christmas by the Sea Chowder and Chocolatefest. In the Chowder competition, first place went to Clay Hill Farm for their creamy Lobster Bisque. Second place was awarded to Five-O Shore Road for their chunky Clam Chowder. Third place went to Bintliff’s Ogunquit for their flavorful Crab and Scallop Bisque. In the Chocolate competition, first place was awarded to Five-O Shore Road, serving a multi-layered Chocolate Gelato Cake from their sister restaurant Caffe Prego. Second place went to Sundaes at the Beach for their dreamy Triple Chocolate Daydream Ice Cream.
Winners of the Decorating Contest were: In the resident category, first place was awarded to the Hawkins/Lebel Household. Judges’ Choice went to the Mayhan Residence. In the business category, Anchorage by the Sea won first place, second place went to Scotch Hill Inn, and third place was taken by Angelina’s Ristorante. The Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce would also like to acknowledge and thank Keith Shubert of Floral Concepts for decorating the town Christmas tree at Veteran’s Park, Ogunquit Rotary Club for decorating the tree at Rotary Park in Perkins Cove, and Carla Bashaw of Genesis Day Spa who coordinated the decorating of the entire town along with the Ogunquit Public Works Department and several Chamber members and volunteers.
The Village Spirit Committee’s Christmas by the Sea Parade was another sucess. Five-O Shore Road won first place for their magnificent float. The Cub Scouts won second place for the second year in a row. MaineStreet took third place for their float featuring Sandy Bottoms the Snow Queen and Mr. Ogunquit. Santa’s reindeer were busy grazing on the beach, so to the delight of the crowd, Santa rowed himself down the street in the Ogunquit Dory.
In spite of the cold weather and snow, the participants of the 22nd annual Christmas by the Sea had a wonderful weekend. The Ogunquit Chamber thanks all who participated, and especially those who helped to collect food for St. Mary’s Food Pantry, gifts for Caring Unlimited, and money for Hospice of York and our other non-profit members.
Photo caption: Santa rows down the road in the Ogunquit Dory. (Courtesy photo)