Friday, February 27, 2009

Born With“Broken Heartstrings”

By Richard “Chip” Schrader
Book Review Editor
The line from page one of Wayne C. Perreault’s novel Broken Heartstrings: “In the tomblike silence inside, Father Madeiras padded slowly beneath the windows of the shadowed nave,” sets the tone for the rest of the novel that takes place in a small New England mill town that is haunted with the very ghosts you’d only expect from one of Faulkner’s equals.
An abusive priest, a brutal Greek patriarch, and a local doctor are the opening players in this skeleton laden small town. They make a pact to help pull off a scheme to cover up a scandal that would surely jar the town to its foundation, and be the end of their good friend.
In Broken Heartstrings, Perreault extends the gothic American milieu into Post-Vietnam New England. The narrator, Ashton, is a home coming Vietnam Vet facing a nation that shows disdain toward the war and the people who fought it, and he steps into his home to a defeated mother and combative father only to realize he wants that to be in his past.
Like any small town, everybody knows nearly everything about everyone. Perreault has a deep understanding of this dynamic as Ashton (Ash) finds himself out of favor with many women’s families for what his father might have done twenty years ago.
Then along comes Evangeline, the small town beauty all grown up and decked out in nylons and a dress suit working as a secretary where Ash grinds his days away as a laborer, and drinks through his debaucheries of the night life. But, he has met his match through an unusual courtship with this Greek woman of mythical beauty.
A major hitch in his designs emerge when he finds a Marine Veteran stands in the way already claiming this bombshell as his current fling, but Ash sees more than just a few evenings of fun as he falls in love with Evangeline. Even though he gets caught in a love triangle commonly found in fiction, the angle from which Perreault depicts it is unique, and the confrontation that ends the triangle is too original and funny to give away.
Marriage and children grace their lives and appear to create a familial union that shatters the preoccupation with Ash’s non-Greek heritage. But, the relationships is again tested with a loss that deeply wounds Evangeline, and Ash as he can only observe a woman who has fallen from his reach with grief. The pathos is played evenly within these pages and never glides into the melodramatic droning that tempts many authors.
Soon Ash finds that Evangeline too, has inherited an unforgivable family history, a well kept secret that gets exposed during a court case involving Evangeline’s family estate. The effect it has on the players of this drama unfolds before our very eyes and heightens the drama to tragedy. This piece of the saga consists of the final chapters of the novel, and brings the reader to realize that life itself is a series of trials.
The romance and the character of Ash are what Hemingway would have written if he had emerged from Vietnam and came from small town New England. The characters are tough, cool, and heartbroken and the marriage is stricken with loss and interfamilial conflict. All the while, Perreault has honed his own style while unmistakably being influenced by the twentieth century’s best writers in this treat of a novel.
Anybody looking for something more than the mass produced novels the mainstream publishers crank out should give Broken Heartstrings a read. It is provocative, funny, emotional, and tightly written without the sacrifice of detail. This book is a fine representative of the storytelling that our independent press has to offer, and proves how relevant the small press really is.
Photo caption: Cover of Wayne C. Perreault’s novel Broken Heartstrings. (Courtesy photo)

A Century of Heartfelt Home Care:
SMMC Visiting Nurses

Dottie Valentine isn’t one to mince words. She knows what she likes, dismisses what she doesn’t and has a delightful charm that is hard to resist. She is independent and prefers to stay that way. But at 90 years of age, it is challenging to live on her own. A variety of ailments related to her advanced age require professional attention. The key to ensuring Dottie’s independence, as it has been for thousands of individuals in southern Maine over the past 100 years, is SMMC Visiting Nurses.
Founded as the Kennebunk Public Health Association in 1909 in order to provide a public health nurse to the Town of Kennebunk, SMMC Visiting Nurses has evolved from a single person entity to a national award-winning 60-person organization that was named to the 2008 HomeCare Elite, a compilation of the most successful Medicare-certified home health care providers in the United States. This annual review identifies the top 25 percent of agencies, ranked by an analysis of performance measures in quality outcomes, quality improvement and financial performance.
“We’ve come a long way from that simple beginning on the second floor of the Pythian building in Kennebunk,” said Elaine Brady, RN, executive director of SMMC Visiting Nurses and an employee for 27 years. “The one constant, though, has been our continuous service in providing home visits and health promotion activities to the community. Our goal is simple: We want to ensure that our patients are able to function at their highest possible level of health while living independently.”
Registered nurses teach, supervise, coordinate referrals and provide skilled care in concert with physicians and other health care professionals, including physical, occupational and speech therapists, social workers and home health aides. SMMC Visiting Nurses also offers flu shot clinics, blood pressure screenings and support groups. But the key service remains the highly technical, acute restorative care, which often requires the temporary installation of equipment in the home.
One of the newer technologies in use is the Telehealth monitoring system that allows patients with chronic needs to have their vital signs monitored daily for close observation and compliance with the doctor’s orders. The monitor has a voice system that instructs patients and their families on how to take specific readings. Many patients say that it’s like having a nurse in the home 24 hours a day. A recent hospital study proved that patients on the Telehealth system have less readmission to the hospital than those without the system. This saves health care costs while enabling the elderly to remain at home.
“We service all of York County with the very best home care services,” noted Brady. “Our affiliation with Southern Maine Medical Center enables us to provide the highest level of coordinated care with electronic medical records that work in synch with the hospital’s system. Physicians can log on and receive reports from our nurses and therapists in the field that provide updates on the status of their patients living at home. With the aging of the population in Maine, the need for our services is growing every day.”
According to a community study initiated by SMMC Visiting Nurses, people 65 years and older will comprise 16 percent of the population in York County by 2012, a number that has increased over the past few years as retirees choose to move to the southern Maine coast to enjoy the advantages of the lifestyle here.
The growth in the aging population creates challenges for SMMC Visiting Nurses, which is celebrating its centennial year. “We receive funding from private donations and some municipalities,” said Brady, “but in challenging economic times towns and individuals are tightening spending. Yet the need continues to grow.”
For Dottie, who was born just a few years after SMMC Visiting Nurses was founded, the service represents more than independence. Nurse Barbara Ingraham has become a friend.
“The care she provides means a lot to me,” said Dottie, who has received cardiac, diet and ostomy care for several years. “She boosts my morale, gives me a confidence and makes my day every time she visits. I look forward to seeing her.”
Article submitted by Tim Dietz.
Photo caption: Barbara Ingraham, RN, CDE, CWCN, a diabetes educator and wound care specialist with SMMC Visiting Nurses, gets a warm greeting from Dottie Valentine of Kennebunk during one of the twice weekly visits provided by SMMC Visiting Nurses. (Jeff Stevenson photo)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mission for Third Graders at EES:
Help Save Endangered Species

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
The New England Cottontail is on the Maine endangered species list, and 19 local third graders have decided to do something about it.
In mid-January, Melanie Dodge’s third grade class at Eliot Elementary began a six-week service-learning project. The first job was to choose the way they would serve their community.
“We started with 30 project ideas,” Dodge explained, “but children love animals. That is definitely where their passion lies. They decided they wanted to save an endangered species.”
Selecting which animal to save turned out to be an easy decision.
“I researched what actual endangered species there are in Eliot, and there was only one, the New England Cottontail, which is a little gray and brown rabbit. It’s already extinct in Vermont and there are only about 250 left in Maine,” according to Dodge.
After deciding to help the New England Cottontail, the students split up into groups, and worked on various tasks to start fighting for their cause.
One group has focused on making posters. “They’ve completed - and I’ve laminated - over 30 signs already. They’re going to put them up in businesses, municipal buildings, telephone poles, and also in the Eliot schools,” Dodge explained.
Tech-savvy students focused their efforts on creating a PowerPoint presentation about the endangered bunny. The presentation will be shown in all the Eliot Elementary classrooms, and it will also be sent to teachers at the Marshwood Great Works School, Middle School and High School.
“We’re going to put it online too, and it will be part of the Eliot Elementary web site,,” added Dodge.
Another student subcommittee composed letters to get the word out. They already sent one letter to the Portsmouth Herald.
“Next, there will be a letter to Eliot residents, and also one for President Obama. They will send those letters after school vacation because they’re not finished editing.”
One student wanted to write his own letter to President Obama and hand-deliver it.
“That would have been interesting,” laughed Dodge.
Students’ efforts on behalf of the Cottontail have recently expanded beyond the classroom.
“The kids are really into going into the woods and making habitats, it’s the number one thing they want to do. They want to grow plant shrubs so the rabbits have a place to hide and find food,” said Dodge.
Whatever the result of their efforts, Dodge hopes that the students will learn “that they can make a difference, that Eliot is their community and they should care about everything that has to do with their community.” She wants them to know that “they can change the world, but first start with their community. They can make things happen; they have power and a voice.”
The students hope to get the New England Cottontail on to the National Endangered Species List. It is currently no. 2 in line to make it on that list.
Dodge requests Eliot residents contact the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (207) 646-9226 if they see rabbit tracks, so that staff there may track and continue to monitor the endangered animal.
Photo caption: The Eliot Elementary Third Graders decided to help the endangered New England Cottontail for their service-learning project. (Courtesy photo)

Goggles Teach Valuable Lesson

By Magen Petit
Staff Columnist
South Berwick Police Officer and Marshwood High School’s School Resource Officer Jeff Upton and Race Director of the Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival Kathleen Donatello have recently teamed up to promote safety to MHS students.
Donatello approached Upton with a $2,500 donation to help educate students about the dangers of alcohol abuse, which resulted in the purchase of six Fatal Vision® goggles. These specially designed and manufactured goggles simulate the visual impairment caused by alcohol or other drugs.
According to the Fatal Vision® web site, “Viewing through the goggles is rather clear, but confusing to the mind. The wearer experiences a loss of equilibrium, which is one of the effects of intoxication. Both the wearer and those observing are convinced that such impairment makes activities with known risks, such as driving vehicles, very dangerous.”
Donatello and the Festival partners with different organizations in the South Berwick, Berwick, North Berwick, and Eliot area to give back to the community. In two years, the Festival has donated over $50,000 to local sports teams. For more info, visit
“We made a $2,500 commitment,” said Donatello. “If it makes a huge impact with the kids, we can make adjustments to see if we can purchase more or others like it.”
Upton believes MHS is the only school with these goggles.
“We had a “knockoff” version of these goggles before, but these are better,” explained Upton. “These goggles have different impairment levels, ranging from a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .06 to .25. And we even have a nighttime vision pair. I think this will make a huge impact and I believe we’re the only school system [in the area] that has these goggles.”
The legal limit to drive with a BAC level is at or below .08 percent. This varies from person to person.
“On average, the body metabolizes one drink per hour, which is either a 12 oz. beer or a shot of liquor,” explained Upton.
The one issue Upton is concerned about with these goggles is whether the students will take them seriously or not.
“They are a lot of fun, but we don’t want to present them as a toy,” explained Upton. “We want to send out a positive message in the process of a school assembly. We are aiming to present it just before prom, which is usually at the beginning of May.”
Upton and Donatello are hoping this will make an impact on the students and open their eyes to this reality.
“I think it will be key - and hit home - for the kids watching the teens who are experiencing [the goggles],” said Donatello.
Upton added, “We will look at the kids reaction to this and the questions they have. Even if we have one student that says, “I didn’t know this could happen” or “It made me think twice” then that’s success.”
Innocorp, Ltd. introduced Fatal Vision® at the Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety in June 1996.
“Innocorp’s mission is to promote safety in our schools and communities and to contribute to the reduction of alcohol and other drug fatalities and injuries through innovative, interactive, and fun educational programs,” according to the Fatal Vision® web site. “When people experience impairment first-hand while trying to do a task, the lesson sticks. Research shows that those who learn from hands-on experience retain two to four times more than those who learn from just listening or listening and seeing.”
Photo caption: MHS School Resource Officer Jeff Upton and Pumpkinman Triathlon Race Director Kathleen Donatello teamed up to provide students with Fatal Vision® goggles. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mardi Gras is Coming to Maine

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
Next weekend, February 20-21, is Ogunquit’s Mardi Gras 2009, a festival in its second year in the small coastal town.
“We had such a great turnout last year,” said Karen Marie Arel, president of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce. “People came from across town to all the way from New York, Massachusetts and northern Maine. I can close my eyes and see the faces of the people from last year. There were people up and down the sidewalks just having so much fun in the middle of winter.”
Why Mardi Gras in Ogunquit?
According to Arel, “Some people get cabin fever in the winter, and this is a chance for neighbors to get together and have fun.”
This year’s Mardi Gras has two days of entertainment, most of which is free or inexpensive.
“We’re always looking for things that people can do that costs little or no money,” Arel added.
It kicks off Friday night with the Mardi Gras King & Queen Crowning Competition at the Maine Street Bar at 9 p.m. On Saturday, the King and Queen will have the honor of leading a sidewalk parade at 2 p.m., which will begin at Maine Street, and all ages are invited to participate. People are encouraged to bring their own wagons and sidewalk-sized floats.
“It’s more of a hat parade,” Arel explained, “ and The Hat Sisters, who are very well known around here, are going to help people make their hats before the parade.” Participants can bring their own hats, or pay a small “materials fee” if you want to make your own hat at the Mardi Gras Hat Party at Maine Street from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Ice sculptures will be on display in the Fancy That courtyard from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. before the parade begins.
The parade will wind its way from Maine Street to the Old Village Inn, with a pit stop for pictures at The Front Porch.
“You’re going to be able to stop in with the photographer, Audrey Gottlieb, to get your picture taken, and then get back into the parade,” explained Arel.
Prizes and refreshments await the parade participants at its conclusion around 3 p.m.
Just added to Saturday’s lineup is a US Army Band Quintet, who will be performing Dixieland music following the parade around 3:30 p.m.
“I heard them last summer and their music is fabulous,” Arel commented.
The final official event will be a concert by The Funky Divas of Gospel at the Dunaway Center. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $15 at the door, or $12 in advance or for seniors.
Several Ogunquit stores and restaurants plan on running Mardi Gras specials and menus. And if history is any guide, people can expect to find the famous purple, green and gold Mardi Gras beads available throughout town businesses.
For more up-to-date information as this event approaches, visit or call (207) 646-2939.
Photo Captions: Top - Image taken from the Mardi Gras 2009 brochure published by the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce for the event. (Courtesy photo) Bottom - Neil McLoud carefully sculpts his ice creation. (Courtesy photo)

High School Seniors and Juniors: Ready for a Math Challenge? Register to Compete for $80,000 in Scholarship Prizes

Less than a month remains to register teams for the fourth-annual Moody’s Mega Math Challenge, an Internet-based applied math competition for high school students. Teams must register online by Monday, March 2 at 5 p.m. to be eligible to win scholarship prizes totaling $80,000. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams by The Moody’s Foundation in early May.
Teacher-coaches must register their teams online at and each high school may enter up to two teams of three to five 11th or 12th grade students per team. There are no participation or entry fees.
Students choose which day they wish to work during Challenge weekend, March 7 or 8, and have 14 hours to solve an open-ended, realistic, applied math-modeling problem focused on real-world issues. Teams are able to download the problem at 7 a.m. on their selected Challenge day and must upload their paper by 9 p.m. that same evening. They will have no knowledge of the problem until they download it from the M3 Challenge web site. It is recommended that all teams prepare in advance using any resources available. There are several sample problems available for practice on the Challenge website at
This year, more students than ever before are eligible to participate as the Challenge has expanded to include all high school juniors and seniors in New England and Mid-Atlantic states, from Maine through Washington, D.C. Find out if your school is eligible at
Teacher-coaches are responsible for selecting and registering their team(s), communicating the contest rules and guidelines to their team(s), receiving all contest communications including and especially the team ID # and password, and preparing their team for the Challenge (optional, but recommended). Teacher-coaches are not required to be physically with or near their team on Challenge day and are prohibited from helping their team during the Challenge itself.
Moody’s Mega Math Challenge spotlights applied mathematics as a powerful problem-solving tool, as a viable and exciting profession, and as a vital contributor to advances in an increasingly technical society. The Challenge is funded by The Moody’s Foundation and organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).
More information on Moody’s Mega Math Challenge 2009 can be found at

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Youth Enrichment Center at Hilton-Winn Farm Honored by the State of Maine

The Youth Enrichment Center at Hilton Winn Farm is proud to announce that it was recently honored with a proclamation by the State of Maine. Nancy Breen, its executive director, was recently presented with a Legislative Sentiment from the 123rd Legislature of the State of Maine.
The Sentiment was introduced by Representative Dawn Hill of District 149 and passed by the Legislature and the Senate. Representative Hill presented Nancy with the document at a ceremony held at the farm. Community members as well as twenty children from Club Chameleon in New Market, N.H. were on hand to see the presentation and hear speeches from Representative Hill and Nancy.
Nancy Breen purchased the 1907 Hilton Winn Farm house and 48 acres from the Hilton family in 2002 to begin her dream of creating a nature based learning experience for children from all walks of life. After hundreds of family and friends gathered for thousands of hours volunteering, the house and barn were renovated. The Youth Enrichment Center at Hilton Winn Farm was established as a 501(c)(3) corporation in 2003. Their mission is to create a country farm experience to enrich the hearts, minds and spirits of our children.
Hundreds of children and their families who come to the farm every year enjoy environmental, educational, team and esteem building exercises, and nature based development activities aimed at fostering a sense of stewardship and personal connection to the natural world and to one another.
Nancy Breen and the community of volunteers are dedicated to shaping the leaders of the future through cooperative efforts that teach young people about caring for and appreciating nature.
The sentiment closes with the following: “ We acknowledge Ms. Breen’s dedication to the Youth Enrichment Center and to her community. We extend our best wishes for the continued success of the Youth Enrichment Center. And be it ordered that this official expression of sentiment be sent forthwith on behalf of the 123rd Legislature and the people of the State of Maine.”
The Youth Enrichment Center at Hilton Winn Farm is located at 189 Ogunquit Road, Cape Neddick, Maine. For more information, please call (207) 361-1385. Or visit our web site
Photo Caption: Nancy Breen, executive director of The Youth Enrichment Center at Hilton Winn Farm (left) was presented by Representative Dawn Hill (middle) with a Sentiment from the 123rd Legislature of the State of Maine. Unidentified woman stands to the right. (Courtesy photo)

WHS Student’s Work Selected in Maine Department of Education Photo Contest

On a weekend in late July of 2006, Wells High School student Erik Cady was on a visit to Maine’s Baxter State Park. A while after entering the southern entrance to the park, Cady stopped at a turn off and walked to the shore of a nearby lake. There, just a few feet in front of him, was a large frog clinging to a stick; perhaps enjoying the warm sunshine. While the frog remained motionless, Cady snapped a photo of the big-eyed amphibian and added the digital picture to his growing collection of images.
For Cady (and the frog) it became a situation of being in the right place at the right time. In January of this year, the MLTI Screen Saver Contest, sponsored by the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, selected Cady’s frog photo to be one of 20 to appear as screen savers on thousands of Apple laptops distributed to Maine middle school students and teachers during the 2009-2010 school year.
Cady’s art teacher, Vanessa White-Capelluti, was notified of Cady’s selection from MLTI Project Manager for the Maine Department of Education Stephen Vose. According to Vose there were 192 entries in this contest this year.
“Congratulations,” stated Vose’s letter in all capital letters. “We are thrilled with the quality of the work and are VERY excited about Maine student artwork being placed on the 45,000 MLTI laptops.” The letter indicated that a photographer, an art teacher, and a college professor comprised a panel of judges that helped to make the selections.
Cady indicated that he has been snapping photos for about five years. He said that by seventh grade he had saved up enough money to buy his first digital camera, a Kodak Easy Share camera. Recently, he says he “wore out” a Sony Cypershot DSC H2 when an important part of the camera broke off. He said he took over 8,000 pictures with that camera in just one year alone. Today he still uses a Sony but has moved up to a Sony Cybershot DSC H9.
“I was kind of surprised,” answered Cady when asked for his reaction to being selected to be featured on the MLTI laptops. He said that he entered the contest on the day of the deadline for entering.
“I will always do photography whether I major in it or not,” said Cady about his future plans which include working on his Associates Degree in Architecture at York County Community College (YCCC) after graduating from WHS.
“He is a prolific photographer” commented White-Capelluti of Cady in a brief interview. Capelluti went on to add that Cady also videotapes many events that happen at the school. “He has done so much for the school. It was really nice to have him get credit for his work,” said White-Capelluti who later added, “I love the (frog) picture.”
When asked about his other interest Cady said he was a Boy Scout in local troop 390 and reached the rank of First Class. Today he is active in “Venturing,” a program of the Boy Scouts of America. It is an activity for boys who are 14 and have passed the eighth grade through age 20. This past summer Cady spent time at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico where he was a “Venturer” on a venture crew.
Cady, has a website of his photography on display on his newly created website found at His frog photo, titled “Jump” can be found in his gallery on the site called “Water.”
This article was submitted by Reg Bennett, the Public Information Officer of the Wells Ogunquit Community School District.
Photo caption: Sitting for a photo with his winning digital picture on is laptop in the computer lab at Wells High School is senior and photographer Erik Cady. (Reg Bennett photo)