Friday, May 29, 2009

Shipyard’s Economic Impact on
York County Increasing

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has long been a key factor in the economic health of the Southern Maine and southeastern New Hampshire, especially when other portions of the economy are struggling. In the last three years the shipyard story has been a positive one with overall employment remaining virtually the same but the dollars pumped into the economy are continuing to rise.
According to figures released by the Seacoast Shipyard Association, the civilian payroll at the shipyard for last year was $361,600,759, of which $210,997,710 was paid to Maine residents, $192,873,619 of that to people living in Southern Maine towns. (See Fact Box for Details.)
Of the 4,867 civilian employees, 2,795 were Mainers, by far the largest number from any area, and nearly 2,100 of those lived in Southern Maine with a payroll of $172,873,619.
With the addition of nearly $3 million in purchased goods and services and more than $18 million in utilities, mostly to Maine companies, the financial impact of the Naval facility exceeds $230 million in Maine alone.
Already underway at the shipyard this year is the recruiting and hiring of more than 400 additional workers.
According to a shipyard spokeswoman, in the last four years approximately 1,200 new employees have been hired, including 553 for the apprentice program. In February of this year 176 apprentices were hired.
The mechanics/worker skills progression program and secretarial positions have been filled for 2010 and recruiting for engineering and miscellaneous positions continue.
The Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School that was housed at Brunswick Naval Air Station and the United States Army Recruiting Battalion - New England are being relocated to the shipyard.
The shipyard’s workload will not increase when the relocations are complete, as the school and battalion are different than the shipyard’s mission, which is the overhaul, repair and modernization of nuclear-powered submarines.
When the relocation is complete, the Coast Guard, the Army, Navy and members of the Marine Corps will all be working from one central location in a joint-service atmosphere.
“Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is committed to providing exceptional service to our Fleet customer,” Capt. Robert Mazzone, the shipyard commander, said. “We continue to focus on process improvement to ensure the deliveries of submarines are on schedule and on budget.”
The shipyard has received $24.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for repair projects to strengthen its ability to more efficiently execute its mission by upgrading and modernizing critical infrastructure and gaining energy efficiencies.
Other scheduled construction projects include the renovation and demolition of the current waterfront support facility in three phases to support ongoing submarine overhauls. Phase I, for which $20.7 million has already been approved, will consolidate production shops.
Phase II, part of the Department of Defense five-year plan, will demolish 65,000-plus square feet of the current waterfront support facility and construct a 46,000 square foot addition to Phase I.
Phase III is not currently part of the Department of Defense five-year plan.
The consolidation of structural shops is a planned Military Construction project in the Department of Defense five-year plan and is not part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The consolidation and renovation will provide efficiently configured facilities for improved process flow of steel fabrication, forging, heat-treating, sheet metal work, welding training and lab operations that support submarine overhaul.
There are currently four submarines at the shipyard. These include the USS Greenville, the USS Oklahoma City, the USS Dallas, and a Naval Research Vessel that is being inactivated.
The shipyard is also doing intermediate level work on submarines belonging to Squadron Eleven in San Diego, Calif., at Portsmouth Detachment Point Loma.
Portsmouth’s scheduled workload for the remainder of 2009 and 2010 includes projects for the USS Helena, USS San Juan, and the USS Hampton and USS Topeka at Portsmouth Detachment Point Loma.
Finally, the USS Virginia, the first of its class, will arrive for work in the fall of 2010.

Berwick Area Kindergarteners
Get Their Book Bags

More than 200 children who registered for kindergarten in Berwick, North Berwick and Lebanon this spring were given brightly colored fabric book bags stuffed with literacy materials to celebrate their launch into the “big kid’ world of public school.
This is the sixth year Noble Adult and Community Education has coordinated its popular project, which receives broad community support and is a big hit with the children.
Celia Momenee, 5, registering at the Primary School in North Berwick, chose a patterned pink bag bulging with a storybook, coloring book, crayons and pencils, a ruler, magnetic letters and numbers, a toothbrush, a Frisbee that folds into a pouch—and a coupon for a free haircut.
“She’s been waiting two years for this bag,” said her mother, Jessica. “We still have her older sister’s in a special spot at home. She said, today’s the day I get my bag.”
“A lot of people contribute every year to make this happen,” said Louise Burns, literacy coordinator for Noble Adult Ed who plans and oversees the three-town project. “All the bags are sewn by local women, area businesses donate paper and pencils or money to purchase books and other items, people donate fabric and ribbon. It’s a big production. We’re already planning ahead for next year.”
The kindergarten bag tradition started in 2004 after Adult Ed director Brenda Gagne heard about a similar project in another district.
“We didn’t have money to purchase bags and there wasn’t time to write a grant to buy bags,” she recalls. “Being a lover of fabric, I went through my stash, asked my quilting friends for help, and the process began. Dolly Bolduc and every friend who could sew made a dozen or so bags the first year. As people saw these jewels, staff and quilting friends joined in and the word began to spread.”
This is the second year six members of Adult Ed’s Do Your Own Quilt Thing group devoted a three-hour session to making more than 100 bags, and several participants in Quilter’s Weekend also helped out. The regulars include Nancy LeClair, Ilya Thomits, Kelly Munroe, Becky Hanson, Jacki Lavachhia, Lisa Huestis, Nancy Hay, Jean Whitaker, Joanne St. Pierre and Alice Eaton.
Businesses that contributed to this year’s book bag project are P.Gagnon & Son, Gateway Gas, Farwell’s Auto, Ray’s Barbershop, Kennebunk Savings Bank, North Berwick Physical Therapy, Allard’s Market, Red Leaves, Welch’s Hardware, Chix Salon, Goodrich Insurance, and SAD 60 Title I, also Rachel and Ronald Smith, Alice Eaton, and Kelly Monroe and Lucas.
Photo caption: Alexandria, who will attend North Berwick Primary School in the fall, considers her book bag selection at kindergarten registration recently. The bags, a gift of Noble Adult and Community Education, are sewn by volunteers and filled with literacy materials donated by area businesses. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, May 22, 2009

High Conspiracy in the Ocean Depths

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
Jack Rutledge’s Coverup is a cool story. In two hundred pages the author crams World War Two conspiracy theories, submarines, scuba diving, investigative journalism and a potential “oil slick the size of Texas” into one compact novel.
The opening chapter depicts the covert mission of a doomed French vessel manned by a German Valkyrie mission hoping to inform the United States of an internal plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler. As a commercial American plane spots it outside of Cape Cod, the allied forces go in to sink it after a similar ship approached London indicating surrender and attacked instead. The American forces succeeded in sinking the friendly vessel.
Years later, a roughed up Maine scuba diver and history buff named Jerry Scott is asked to help a fisherman untangle his equipment from an unexpected obstacle outside of Cape Cod. Thus begins Jerry’s journey to uncover what he figures are French Nazi-sympathizers in a sunken submarine that the Navy has long obscured. Scott reasons this was to maintain the calm of the American public from the proximity we came to an “Atlantic Pearl Harbor,” or to mask a fatal error.
In order to get funding for this deep sea excavation he and his friend Greg Rivers intend to execute, they needed some publicity to generate interest in their possible discovery. In comes the beautiful, young, and hard-headed reporter Ashley Powell.
Ten years younger, Jerry knows there is no chance, and she is not one for unclean fishermen who carry the stink of booze, misery and the sea. But she is intrigued by a man who knows what he’s talking about.
When he mentions that the ocean is filled with sunken tankers from the war that are slowly leaking, she is all ears. Her story in progress is an exposé of said oil that she figured was coming from modern oil tankers, and she is sure this is her ticket to the big time. Gradually, he works to lure her into his own story so that his expedition could begin, and perhaps to land her interest.
From there, people involved in the sub’s fate come out of the woodwork to fill in the details of the story, to try and trespass and take claim to the wreckage, and friendships change and weave within the narrative. All the while the reader is hoping Jerry and Greg get everything they are seeking, and that Ashley catches the stardom for which she reaches, but first they need to get out of exposing this conspiracy alive.
Rutledge fleshes out the characters’ back stories nicely without them reading like digressions. Moreover, he cleverly uses Ashley’s lack of military expertise to allow for Jerry to more clearly explain the convoluted logic that is involved in the military strategy. Simultaneously, Rutledge portrays Ashley as having an acute ear and razor sharp logic, a fine nuance that avoids the negative stereotype some authors might inadvertently give women.
Rutledge’s respect for his characters reveals his evolved sensibility as an author, and his capability to integrate the finer semantic distinctions of the human psyche. All the while, he has no problem to poke a little fun.
Taking place in areas surrounding Portsmouth, Portland and Boston with several mentions of the Portsmouth Naval Yard, Rutledge will immediately engage the reader familiar with seacoast locales.
From the action packed first chapter, Rutledge hooks the reader in like a seasoned fisherman, and does not let up on the questions, the facts, and the speculations that make this read so compelling. As with any novel with a tough guy at the center, there is romance and flirtation tastefully infused for some narrative flavor.
Fans of Tom Clancy, W.E.B. Griffin, and Clive Cussler will appreciate the details and research the author has put into this story, and will enjoy the opportunity to look just beyond their back yard knowing that is where it all happens. It will surely be compulsively read from page one.
Photo caption: Cover of Coverup by Jack Rutledge. (Courtesy photo)

Designers Focus on
Family Room, Guest Bedroom

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
Two of the decorators at this year’s Decorator Show House sponsored by the Old York Historical Society were working this week on their assigned areas. The McIntire Farm on Cider Hill Road is the 20th show house presented by Old York. It will be open to the public from July 18 through Aug. 5. The Decorator Show House is the largest fund-raiser annually for Old York.
Valerie Jorgensen of V. Jorgensen Design of Wells and Frank Hodge of F. D. Hodge Interiors of Boston, Mass., were working on the family room and guest bedroom respectively.
The family room, located in the rear of the house with windows overlooking a vast area of woodlands, salt marsh, bog areas and many pastures, was nothing more than bare studs and insulation when the process began.
“This is a wonderful professional challenge,” Jorgensen said standing in the room early this week. “I can do anything I want.”
Last year she did an entry hall at The Ledges in Kittery Point and this year entered a proposal for the dining room. When that area was assigned to another decorator, Carol Coles, the chairwoman for the project, asked Jorgensen to use her ideas on the family room, which she was more than happy to do.
She said she is taking part in the show house because “it is good exposure” and she wanted to support Old York Historical Society because “they do a wonderful job.
Ms. Jorgensen has been in business for herself since 2006.
Mr. Hodge did the master bedroom at The Ledges a year ago and this year had been given the guest room and the kitchen at the McIntire Farm.
“Basically we can do whatever we want to do,” he said standing in the upstairs room.
He plans to finish the bedroom before moving on to the much larger kitchen area of the farmhouse.
He likes doing the show house because of the exposure it gives his work.
The Show House will be open from July 18 through August 5, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. It is closed on Tuesdays.
Photo caption: Valerie Jorgensen of V. Jorgensen Design of Wells measures spaces in the family room at the McIntire Farm on Cider Hill Road in York, this year’s decorator show house for the Old York Historical Society.

$2 Million Gift to Berwick Academy
to Support Financial Aid

Berwick Academy is pleased to announce a major gift to support financial aid for the next twenty years. Former President of the Berwick Academy Board of Trustees, Mary Z. Schleyer, has donated $2 million from The Schleyer Family Foundation to establish the Mary Z. Schleyer Scholars program. During a time when affordability is a major concern for all private educational institutions, the Academy is delighted to receive this kind of support and generosity from a family that has held Berwick Academy close to their hearts for many years.
Mary and Bill Schleyer sent their three sons Will, T., and David to Berwick for a combined total of 26 years. All three sons have continued to find great success in their endeavors after Berwick Academy, receiving educations from Yale University, Amherst College, and Vanderbilt University, respectively. Prior to serving on the Board, Mary was a president of the School’s parent organization. Her years of service and her love of Berwick continue long after her boys have left the Hilltop, and her legacy has been one of continually finding strategies to maximize the potential of the Academy while creating ways to improve the experience for all students.
Mary Schleyer commented, “Access to quality education has always been important to our family. Both Bill and I were recipients of scholarship funds when we were young and it made such a difference in our lives. We are honored to assist Berwick in its quest to find and nurture talented local students to reach their highest potential. Berwick is such a special place; the relationship between faculty and students is magical. To be able to offer this experience to students who may otherwise not be able to attend is so rewarding. In these difficult economic times it is incumbent upon all of us to invest in the next generation, each to the best of our own ability. These investments are important to our future.”
The Mary Z. Schleyer Scholars Program was created specifically to assist students who demonstrate financial need and a potential to graduate in the top 10% of their class at Berwick, along with a significant talent in at least one of the following areas: Athletics, Arts, Service, or Student Leadership. Two students will be awarded with the scholarship each year, a boy and a girl entering ninth grade. This annual restricted gift will be provided by the Schleyer Family Foundation for immediate use, and therefore has immediate impact on the school’s financial aid budget and admission process. Berwick Academy has recently enrolled the first two Schleyer Scholars for the 2009-2010 academic year: Kelsey Hayden of South Berwick and Ben Muthig of North Berwick.
Head of School Greg Schneider commented, “This gift from the Schleyer Family Foundation is nothing short of transformational for Berwick Academy. By supporting our financial aid budget in such a creative way, the Mary Z. Schleyer Scholars program has been able to make a Berwick education more accessible to the brightest students in the Seacoast. We are particularly thrilled to award the first two Schleyer scholarships to students from North and South Berwick.”
Kelsey Hayden is currently attending Marshwood Middle School in South Berwick. She is a straight A student and a member of the Gifted and Talented Program. She contributes to the life of her school by playing flute for the school band and as a peer mentor. Her greatest passion lies in the pool, ranking as a top ten swimmer in New England three times. She also possesses a dedication to community service, which includes greeting troops at Pease Air Force Base, preparing Christmas baskets for needy children, and volunteering at a local soup kitchen. For fun, Kelsey skis and enjoys reading and writing.
Ben Muthig attends Noble Middle School in Berwick. When discussing his advanced math placement in geometry, he gave the credit to his father who is a math teacher. Ben contributes to the life of his school on the baseball field as a star pitcher, hockey rink, and cross-country trails. During the summer, Ben volunteers his time at a YMCA family camp by delivering mail, assisting with program activities, and helping out on the waterfront. On his own, he began a camper recycling program. For fun, Ben enjoys football, archery, and swimming.
Berwick Academy believes that these two recipients will be the first in a long line of incredible Schleyer Scholars on the Hilltop.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shipyard Benefiting From Stimulus Package

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has received $24.4 million funding under the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The funds will be used for repair projects to upgrade key infrastructure and improve energy efficiency for a of number yard facilities.
There are five projects specifically identified to receive funding under ARRA. These include structural repairs and upgrades to berths; repairs and improvements to the waterfront building adjacent to Dry Dock 2; roof repairs to the main administrative building; and roof repairs and some window replacement to the training building.
Maine has received nearly $130 million in state stabilization through the ARRA as well. These funds will be allocated by the Maine State Department of Education formula already in place for state aid to education.
The school districts in Southern York County will share in the funding through that formula. According to a report on the department’s web site, York will receive $157,335 for the 09-10 school year while Kittery will receive $106,302, Biddeford $929,988, and Wells/Ogunquit $106,778.
School Administrative District 35 will receive $583,362 and School Administration District 60 will receive $605,844.
It is estimated that Maine will receive $1.2 billion, plus $650 million in tax benefits to its citizens, and a significant but unknown amount in grants for specific projects in a number of areas.
“I voted for the stimulus package because I know how important these investments are going to be for Maine,” U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said. “ Over half a million people in Maine will be getting a tax cut and well over a billion dollars will be invested in saving and creating jobs in education, health care and clean energy in Maine.”
Maine veterans and seniors are already receiving $250 checks as part of the federal stimulus package approved by Congress and signed by the president earlier this year.
“When we passed the stimulus package, we wanted to get money back into the economy as quickly as possible,” Rep. Pingree, said. “These stimulus payments to seniors, disabled veterans and SSI recipients do just that.”
Later this summer similar payments will go out to Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, followed by Veteran Compensation and Pension beneficiaries. Altogether, Maine residents will receive over $72 million in payments, Pingree said.
U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said the state stabilization funding will provide needed budgetary support for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education and for other high priority needs such as public safety, and the modernization, renovation, and repair of K-12 and postsecondary schools.
Sen. Snowe and Sen. Collins worked with a bipartisan group of senators to craft the legislation that became law in February.
According to the offices of the Maine Congressional Delegation other money coming to Maine includes $5,158,000 for water and environmental projects, $6,757,951 to support child care for working families, $11,281,300 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements, $41,935,015 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment, and $27,305,000 to the State Energy Program, available as rebates to consumers for energy saving improvements; development of renewable energy projects; promotion of Energy Star products; efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings; and other innovative state efforts to help save families money on their energy bills.
Funds to be used for health care include $2,590,713 to fund two new Community Health Centers, which will serve an estimated 11,170 patients and create a projected 85 jobs; $3,345,917 to expand services at 18 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 11,862 patients and create or save a projected 62 jobs; and $485,000 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
Also included is $9.6 million for state and local law enforcement assistance available through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. The program supports a variety of efforts such as hiring and support for law enforcement officers; multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces; crime prevention and domestic violence programs; and courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives.
These are a few of the Maine projects and programs supported by federal funds at this time as the state and nation deal with slow economic times.

Berwick Student-Athletes Cook Up
Hot Meals for the Homeless

Berwick Academy student-athletes Peter Jenkinson of North Hampton, N.H., Tell White of Newcastle, N.H., and Ethan Hawes of Eliot and St. Thomas Aquinas senior David Baxter of York have been cooking up meals for the homeless on the first Sunday of every month for over a year. The boys volunteer their time and donate the home-cooked meals to 50-70 people staying at Cross Roads House in Portsmouth, N.H., the largest emergency and transitional shelter in New Hampshire housing both individuals and families. The idea to become involved with Cross Roads came from Peter’s mom Vickie Jenkinson, after their family served dinner to the residents during the winter holidays in 2007. Since March of last year, Tell, Peter, and Ethan have been whipping up a different meal every month. On May 3, they brought a spread of salad, hot dogs, baked beans, green beans, and √©clairs for dessert.
The boys made the decision to become involved with the program on their own; it is not a school or sport related requirement. Uncertain of what to expect, all three admit they were nervous on the first day of volunteering because the experience was truly stretching them outside their comfort zone. Once they met the staff at Cross Roads and interacted with the residents, however, they realized how rewarding it would be. When asked why participating in the program was important to them, they all had the same thing to say; it is a gratifying experience that has grounded them, and has given them a greater appreciation of what they have in life. It has allowed them to realize and be grateful for certain luxuries they have always been accustomed to and has motivated them to continue with charity work like this indefinitely.
All four students are actively involved in several sports and activities both on and off campus at their schools. Peter, a senior, plays varsity soccer and lacrosse. He was an EIL All-Star and MVP on his soccer team this past season, and was an All-League player on his lacrosse team last year. He graduates from Berwick this June and will attend the University of New England in the fall where he will play lacrosse. He plans to continue doing volunteer work while in college.
Tell, a junior, plays varsity soccer and basketball and received the Coaches Award on his basketball team this past season. He traveled to Costa Rica for a community service program his freshman year and has played percussion instruments for two years.
Ethan, a junior, plays varsity soccer, basketball, and baseball. He was the class president his sophomore year and has participated in on-campus community service projects like the Red Cross Blood Drive. He also earned the Science Department Award as a sophomore.
David Baxter, a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas captained the varsity basketball team and was voted MVP last season. He also received an honorable mention for the Class I All state team. David will be attending University of Miami this fall. All four boys will volunteer at Cross Roads through the summer and although Peter and David go off to college this fall, both Tell and Ethan plan to continue, with the hope of making it a Berwick tradition.
Cross Roads House Volunteer Coordinator, Diane Bundow, commented, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the boys for the past year. The fact that they cook the meals at their homes and bring them to Cross Roads House has been such a big help to us. I am so pleased that they plan to continue volunteering through the summer and into next year. They have been such a wonderful addition to our volunteer program and I look forward to continue working with these boys as well as other Berwick Academy students in the future.”
Photo caption: From left – Peter Jenkinson (BA’09,) David Baxter (STA ’09,) Ethan Hawes (BA ‘10,) , and Tell White (BA ’10) have been cooking up hot meals for Cross Roads House residents for over a year. (Courtesy photo).

York County Community College Inducts
26 Students Into Phi Theta Kappa
International Honor Society

York County Community College recently held the induction ceremony of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, where they honored 26 students for their outstanding academic records and achievements. The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society requires the following qualifications of its members: each member must be matriculated in an associate degree program, carry a minimum of six credit hours per semester, have earned at least 12 credits at YCCC in an associate’s degree program, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, and in order for each member to maintain their membership, they must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and carry six credit hours per semester.
The mission of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society is to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students, and to provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming. Today, Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education and is the official honor society for two-year colleges.
The new inductees are: Andrea Baldwin of York, Stacey Bessette of Lebanon, Cassidy Bisson of Wells, Melissa Canney of Saco, Gary Collin of Saco, Mike Collins of Berwick, Matthew Colson of Kittery, Brody Ford of Wells, Joanne Goodreau of Sanford, Maria Kindelan of Saco, Kathleen McDonough of Wells, John McLean of Wells, Sean Moroney of Old Orchard Beach, Meagan Piantoni of Lyman, Sarah Quaker of Berwick, Elizabeth Quinn of Biddeford, Lindsey Riccitelli of Ogunquit, Christopher Richardson of Kittery, Alexa Schaffer of York, Dane Steffens of Alfred, Tarren Stiennen of Alfred, Kristan Stringer of Sanford, Nicholas Trent of York, Rebecca Vieira of South Berwick, Michael Wilford of Cape Neddick, and Jill Young of South Berwick. Also inducted as an honorary member, was Dr. Wesley Mills of York County Community College.
Photo caption: YCCC’s Phi Theta Kappa inductees: Front Row: Tarren S., Cynthia C., Maria K., Katie M., Kristan S., Liz Q., Melitta N., Second Row: Lindsey R., Nick T., Dane S., Stacey B., Cassidy B., Matt C., Meagan P., Joanne G., Third Row: Brody F., Sean M., Dr. Mills, John M., Mike W., Jen S., Ashley L., Sarah Q., .Alexa S., Rebecca V. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Renovated Hurd Manor,
North Berwick Landmark Set to Open

By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist
North Berwick got an early look at the newly renovated Hurd Manor on April 30 as new owners Ben Gumm and Sally McLaren hosted the 50th anniversary celebration of the North Berwick Historical Society. The iconic Victorian mansion will soon open its doors as the Angel of the Berwicks, an upscale Bed and Breakfast. Gunn and McLaren have spent the past four years restoring the manor to its former elegant self. While the couple has renovated other places in their careers, the Hurd Manor was different.
“This one is bigger than ever,” McLaren said of the project. “The sheer size of it for one thing makes it different. And because it’s so old, we needed to do renovations to bring it up to code but still wanted to keep the aesthetics intact.”
The result of the efforts is a building that closely resembles the original structure built in 1893 by North Berwick Industrialist Mary Hurd. The 25-room mansion retains its classic woodwork, stained glass windows, fireplaces, and 11-foot high decoratively painted ceilings and gilded plaster friezes. There will be five guest rooms and suites in the house and an additional suite in the Carriage House, the original home on the property before the mansion was built.
The first floor is highlighted by the music room, the largest room in the house. It is dominated by a fireplace with a spectacular mahogany mantle. “It’s unique because it is a double columned mantel, which is very rare,” said Gumm. “And there’s the ceramic tile. It’s all original. All the ceilings are decorative. They were painted over. In the 1970s, the owners scraped off the paint until they got down to one corner (of the original). They used that as a template and recreated the pattern. The original pattern was reproduced.”
The exterior of the mansion got a face lift also. It’s yellow with gray trim was changed to mulberry with a bright plum trim.
“It’s on the National Historic Register,” McLaren said. “That gives you a lot of freedom, unlike being in a historic district. As long as you leave things like slate roofs, it’s OK (to change things). We tried to update it in a way that you’re not going to walk in and say ‘Oh, this is new’.”
The connection with Mary Hurd is evident immediately upon entering. There’s a photo in the main entry way that pictures Hurd, her second husband, Daniel, and step daughter, Margaret Hobbs. McLaren said keeping that connection is important. “Mary is on the Register of Historic People,” she said. “She was one of the first female industrialists. So, it’s not only the house (that’s historic), but also the person.”
This is the couple’s first project in Maine. Previously, they renovated and ran an inn in Bethlehem, N.H. Prior to that they lived in southern Connecticut where they renovated three historic homes.
This home has particular significance to North Berwick’s history, so using it to host the Historical Society’s anniversary was important, McLaren said. “They are very supportive of what we’re doing,” she said. “This building and Mary Hurd helped make North Berwick what it is today. She was the benefactress of the school, bank, fire station, and library.”
Indeed, many of the Society’s members attending the celebration acknowledged the building’s symbolic value. Society President Royal Cloyd was one of those that did so.
“This was started by David Brooks, who restored it and it went onto the National Registry,” Cloyd said. “These people have now restored it so magnificently. It’s interesting for both its history and its architecture. It’s a spectacular piece of late 19th century architecture.”
Gumm and McLaren still have a few minor things to finish, but the building is essentially complete. They hope to open for business by Memorial Day. After four years of work, the end is in sight.
“There’s still so much of the original architecture,” McLaren said. “There are three sets of original pocket doors. None of it was taken or destroyed.”
The Hurd Manor is located at 2 Elm Street, at the intersection of Routes 9 and 4. FMI about the inn, contact Gumm at 207-676-2133.
Photo caption: The newly renovated Hurd Manor in North Berwick is set to open as the Angel of the Berwicks Bed and Breakfast. (Courtesy photo)

A New King of Horror

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
Maine born Joe Hill’s stab at the exploding Graphic Novel genre follows up his chilling debut novel Heart Shaped Box. Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft follows a family’s return to a small town that is haunted by its own past. It has all of the elements of Gothic tale: a Giant house, a tragic family story, unfinished business, portals to other worlds, and of course, demons.
Following the violent death of their father, the Locke kids (Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode) move from San Francisco into a creepy old coastal New England mansion that every town seems to have. Tyler lives with the great guilt of having befriended the kid who would eventually murder his father.
Meanwhile, the youngest child, Bode, finds a doorway in the house that functions as a portal to the other side that knocks his soul out of his body. During these out of body experiences, Bode finds comfort in experiencing what it’s like to be a ghost as he watches his siblings from the other side and notices his own body looks like “a sock with no foot in it.” One day while playing outside, Bode meets a voice at the bottom of a well he calls “Echo” who is looking for a way out. As we can assume, Bode is in for a world of trouble.
Tyler and Kinsey are wrapped up in their own issues with grieving their father’s death, teen angst, peer pressure, and a new community and school to really pay much attention to what is going on with Bode. Adding to this, the kid who killed their father takes a bloody cross-country trek to eventually find himself in Lovecraft, Massachusetts where he can finish his job.
As the story proceeds, the many threads and characters intertwine into a stunning climax where the pages cannot be turned quickly enough. Hill creates intricate ties within a deceptively complex story. The characters and the story line are far more complex than the typical tale of terror, but with Hill’s masterful pacing and writing, it reads smoothly and logically.
Coupled with Hill’s sharp prose are the amazing full color illustrations of Gabriel Rodriguez. He doesn’t need to rely on blood and gore to render strange and terrifying imagery, although there are some pretty gruesome scenes. The characters are drawn with lifelike expression and detail, and the landscapes and architectures keep with the tone of the writing. The colors are vivid and they pop off of the page, and his use of angles gives the reader a more cinematic experience. Once the story is memorized after several readings, the illustrations are worth revisiting again and again.
This graphic novel hit the shelves last October, and has spawned a monthly series of comic books early this year. Graphic novels and comic books are immediately dismissed as kid’s stuff, but be warned, this book is not for children. It is a dark, brooding occult masterpiece that echoes the works of Alastair Crowley and H.P. Lovecraft, as the fictitious town is in reference to. The series will become a monthly habit for me to drop by the comic book shop to pick up the latest issue.
As far as the author, Joe Hill was born Joseph Hillstrom King, and grew up in Bangor. Anyone keeping track of the mythos of Maine authors knows that Stephen King resides in Bangor part of the year and happens to be the father of Joe Hill. According to Wikipedia, Hill chose to use this pseudonym so that he could earn readership upon his own merits, rather than as “the son of Stephen King.” Heart Shaped Box and Locke and Key are the work of rare talent. Joe Hill has easily earned his right to be at the helm of contemporary horror. Locke and Key is a must read.
Photo caption: Maine Author Joe Hill’s new graphic novel Locke and Key. (Courtesy photo)

York Middle School Students Present
Service Learning Project In Augusta

Eighteen schools across Maine gathered at the State. Capitol building on Thursday, April 30th to share, and recognize service learning achievements. Service learning combines citizenship, community, and curriculum to give students the opportunity to work as a team, problem solve, get hands on experience, and make an impact in their community.
Service learning stems from something students learn in class that broaches a problem in their community or a need. This year when students learned about how much waste could be decreased through composting (1/3 of our trash is compostable), students in Ms. Renfrew and Mr. Webster’s fifth grade classes at York MIddle School decided that they wanted to do something about it. They researched methods of composting and contacted local businesses that already compost. They also discovered residential methods of composting. To maximize their efforts, they designed an expo to bring together resources for residents and businesses to start a composting system.
At the ninth annual Hall of Flags ceremony in Augusta, six students from York Middle School represented their CompostKids service learning project.
They explained the process of the project, and informed participants about composting. They also learned what other students across Maine are doing in and out of the classroom to make a difference in their community.
“One project we saw was about tobacco and smoking and how bad it is for you. The students had replicas of lungs when you smoke and healthy lungs. They had a year’s worth of tar from smoking daily in a jar. They taught other classes and schools about the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes,” recalled Kelsey Cole.
Teacher Kelly Renfrew noted, “All the students learned a lot from that project, we’re going to see if that group can come to York classrooms to teach us more.”
“I liked teaching people there what kind of worms are used for worm composting bins, and answering questions about our project,” commented Shannon Todd. Spencer Cribby’s favorite part of the day was “...learning what other schools have accomplished and feeling good about helping the Earth.” Cori Galante enjoyed “...the awards ceremony, receiving the plaque, and getting our picture taken with Mrs. Baldacci.”
With new state standards incorporating service learning into the Social Studies curriculum, our community and students will have an increase in these types of learning experiences. Service learning is an unforgettable experience because it increases the level of involvement of students and ignites their desire to be part of change in how we live and learn.
Photo caption: Grade 5 teacher Kelly Renfrew; YMS students Spencer Cribby, Kelsey Cole, Shannon Todd, Cori Galante; Mrs. Karen Baldacci; students Kevin Wade, Michael Monz. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Look Inside the White House

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
Washington D.C.—
The nation’s capital is a great place to visit in the spring. Especially when you have a sibling who can give you a private tour of the West Wing of the White House.
Emmett Beliveau is the Director of Advance for the Obama White House, and he is also my older brother. As President Obama closed in on the symbolic 100-day milestone of his historic presidency, I was lucky enough to get an insider’s look at the halls of the legendary West Wing.
The tour began at the side entrance of the West Wing, the center of operations in the White House. On the hallways inside, there is an array of large framed photographs primarily documenting the early international travels of the 44th President. The locations of the photos are wide-ranging, including Iraq, France, Germany, England, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, and the Czech Republic to name a few. These photos continue through most of the hallways and bring a lively feel to the West Wing atmosphere.
Next the tour passed the Situation Room. As this room is restricted to the public, one can only imagine the high-tech communications gadgetry that must be available to the President in emergency situations. Across the hall from the Situation Room is the White House “Mess,” the private West Wing dining room run by the US Navy. Here the President can meet with elected officials and other important guests over dinner without the media present.
After climbing some stairs to the next level of the West Wing, it was out to the Rose Garden. The Rose Garden is often used for outdoor press conferences, but President Obama has yet to hold one there due to uncooperative weather. From the Rose Garden, one can look left towards the residence of the First Family. The residence is the most recognizable part of the complex, with its grand columns on both the north and south porticos. To the right is the outdoor entrance to the Oval Office. The mere 50 yards between the residence and the Oval Office makes for an easy Presidential commute. This covered outside area was made famous in part by the photographs of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Attorney General Robert Kennedy troubling over the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
On the way to the Oval Office the tour passes the Cabinet Room. Images of an exhausted President Lyndon B. Johnson sitting at the middle of that large conference room table come to mind, from the turbulent days of the Vietnam War. President Obama has not yet held his first cabinet meeting, as his choice for Department of Health and Human Services, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, was only confirmed by the Senate on April 28, 2009.
The public is not allowed into the Oval Office, but most of it is visible from standing just outside the door. While President Obama has not yet changed the carpet and drapes used by President George W. Bush, he has added two busts of President Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In addition, a playground has been added behind the Oval Office, so President Obama can keep an eye on his daughters, Sasha and Malia, while they play outside with their new dog, Bo.
The Roosevelt Room comes near the end of the tour. President Richard Nixon gave the room its name in honor of related Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Nobel Peace Prize won by Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt is prominently displayed, which he earned by negotiating the peace process in the Russo-Japanese War, a process that took place in Portsmouth, N.H.
No matter its occupant, the West Wing is an impressive sight to see. And seeing it by way of your older brother makes it a very special experience indeed.
Photo caption: Columnist Devin Beliveau toured the West Wing of the White House during April school vacation. This is a view of the rose garden from outside the oval office. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Fort Bragg General Allyn, Berwick
Native, Receives Second Star

Berwick native Brigadier General Daniel B. Allyn, deputy commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, was promoted to Major General during a ceremony at the Fort Bragg Main Post Flag Pole on April 27.
The ceremony started off with an 11-gun salute in honor of Allyn, during which, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Burpee, first sergeant of the salute battery from Klamath Falls, Ore. presented Allyn with a brass shell casing inscribed with his name and the date of his promotion. Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, deferred the gun-salute to Allyn in honor of his promotion.
Shortly following, Allyn joined by his family on the field, smiled with pride as his wife, Debbie pinned on his new rank. His children also participated in the ceremony by placing their father’s new rank on his beret.
“[Allyn] is the kind of leader who knows how to build winning teams,” said Austin. “He uses creative ways to get more with less. He is always forward thinking and mission focused.”
“It has been extremely clear to the Army, and to anyone who has ever served with General Allyn, that he leaves excellence in his wake,” said Austin. “Dan has led men and women through savage combat. He has experienced the limits of war. And he has stood tall in the face of adversity.”
Austin concluded by congratulating Allyn on his promotion. “It has been an honor for me to serve with you,” Austin said, “and I certainly look forward to continuing to serve with you in the future.”
Allyn then took his place at the lectern, addressing the friends and family that supported him throughout his military career.
“Thank you all for joining us today, thank you all for honoring Debbie, Danielle, Josh and I,” said Allyn. “We look forward to paying back your sacrifice and your service with service from us in the future.”
Allyn’s promotion to Major General was announced Sept. 2, 2008, while he was deployed to Iraq with the XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters. He served as the chief of staff for the Multi-National Corps -Iraq. During the 15-month deployment, the XVIII Airborne Corps saw unprecedented security gains throughout the country.
Prior to his current position, Allyn completed joint assignments with the Joint IED Defeat Organizations and the Joint Operations Directorate, J-3 of the Joint Staff. He also served as commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), culminating with service during Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as two tours of duty with the 82nd Airborne Division; two years with 2nd Infantry Division, and three tours of duty with the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Allyn, a 1981 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, went on to graduate from the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses at Fort Benning, Ga.; the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; and the Naval War College at Newport, R.I., where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Strategic and National Security Studies.
Article by Spc. Crystal Abbott, 10th Press Camp Headquarters.
Photo caption: Debbie Allyn pins her husband, Maj. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, deputy commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps, with his new rank during a promotion ceremony at the Fort Bragg Main Post Flag Pole on April27. (Spc. Crystal Abbott, 10th Press Camp Headquarters photo)

Two WHS Seniors Recognized
for their Citizenship

Wells High School students Hope Beisswanger and Molly Burgess have been selected by officials of Wells High School to receive the Western Maine Conference’s Citizenship Award for 2009.
“It’s such a huge surprise, I never really thought I did anything out of the ordinary while I was at Wells High School,” commented Burgess in an e-mail. “It’s a huge honor to be selected for doing what I thought was expected of me.”
Each year, two seniors are picked from schools in the Western Maine Conference area which includes the counties of York, Cumberland, Oxford, and Androscoggin. Students are selected by their own schools based upon their contributions in academics, athletics, leadership, attitude, and good deeds for others.
Beisswanger and Burgess have received high honors in academics and are involved in numerous extracurricular activities at school. For example, both are members of the National Honor Society.
“It was a great honor to be selected for the WMC Citizenship Award,” wrote Beisswanger in an e-mail. “Just the other day my dad told me that both of my older sisters had received this distinction when they were seniors; knowing that made it even more special for me.” Beisswanger is referring to her sisters Jess (WHS Class of 2003) and Laura (WHS Class of 2006) who were honored by WHS and the WMC for their display of good citizenship.
On May 5, Beisswanger and Burgess, along with many other good citizens from other schools, will be honored at the Western Maine Conference’s annual banquet at Verillo’s Conference Center in Westbrook.
Article by Reg Bennett, Public Information Officer of the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District.
Photo caption: Recognized by the Western Maine Conference for their demonstration of good citizenship are WHS Seniors Molly Burgess (left) and Hope Beisswanger. (Reg Bennett photo)